It was a very rough indoor season for me. Not only was I struggling to deal with my foot injury, but practices and meets were not going well, to say the least. Mentally I was a mess. And there was definitely a lot of tension between my coach and myself. I respect him a lot, but in the end I don't think that we are a good match as coach and athlete. I tried really hard all season to make it work. I tried to come into every practice with a positive attitude, but I always felt pushed aside and disrespected. And inevitably I left practices feeling dejected and down about my future in the sport.
After our last meet at Virginia Tech, my coach informed me that he had "lost the motivation to coach me.... months ago." At first, I was very hurt. For two weeks, I had decided that I was done pole vaulting forever. I was so down after the long season, that I really couldn't see a future for me in the sport. But with a little time, and some great friends, I decided that my time isn't quite up in this sport. I realize that my coach wasn't paid to coach me, he was doing it really as a favor and he gave up his free time to do it. So as harsh as it was, he had a right to make that decision. And I definitely learned a lot from him. And I can take that with me as I continue my journey this year.
It definitely still stings a little if I think about it too much. I have always prided myself on being so dedicated and working harder than anyone else. I have never ever had a coach give up on me in my 24 years of being a competitive athlete. And the end caught me by surprise. But even more surprising was the support I receive from everyone in Knoxville. Immediately I had several other training options to choose from in town. And I had a large group of people backing me up. I really was taken aback, and flattered.
But there are complications to staying and training in Knoxville. Everyone pretty much shares a pit. And even though all 5 post collegiate vaulters in town have different coaches, there are a lot of similarities in the training locations. So I would inevitably see my former coach and teammate at practices and meets. I don't know if I am mentally tough enough to make that work.
I am going into this outdoor season with two goals: qualify for the Olympic Trials, and have fun. Only one of those goals could be accomplished in Knoxville. So I created another option: Colorado Springs. It really fell together during our trip out there week before last. I have places to lift, sprint, and do gymnastics. I also found an AMAZING pole vault club in Boulder. We are going to have 3 elite girls training together this summer! And they have 3 elite guys too! Everyone is so positive and encouraging. And genuinely excited that I will be joining them. I feel like after months in the dark, I have rediscovered my love for the sport.
One of the biggest bonuses the being in Colorado Springs: My amazing, spectacular fiancé that I miss so much will be in Colorado Springs this summer. So we are not only going to have the chance to live in the same town, but in the same APARTMENT! I am so lucky. :)
So this is my last week in Knoxville. I will be moving most of my stuff into storage, and driving out to Colorado Springs! I am definitely sad to be leaving Knoxville. I will be leaving a lot of great friends here. But I will be back in TN in the fall. And really, everyone is welcome to come visit! If you come in July I can tour you around and show you the best that CO has to offer.