Monday, February 20, 2012

Reload for Outdoors + Simplot Video

This last weekend was my last chance to improve my mark before USA Indoor Nationals, but I was unsuccessful. I had some decent jumps and made my highest opening height of 17'5", however when it mattered most I was unable to leave the crossbar up. Standard placement and pole selection are two strategies that I am really going to work on for the outdoor season. Overall, I had a fun indoor season marked by consistently high jumps and that is the hardest thing for a vaulter to accomplish, so I that gives me confidence.Plus I was able to visit my Idaho friends that I had not seen in quite awhile and also got to see Paul Litchfield get an Olympic qualifying mark of 5.52m. In other good news I just received a PowerBar sponsorship so now I have plenty of food for workouts and competition days. I have a lot of reasons to be positive right now, for example; I am also happy just to be able to physically do what I do. I am very blessed and even after poor performances I thank God for the abilities and opportunities that I have. I feel that my abilities should be used to entertain, encourage, and help others so that they aren't squandered, and pole vault is a way to do that.
Well, I hope you enjoy the videos and updates! Better things to come this outdoors.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Guts = Glory

This weekend I decided to try something new. I talked to my twin brother Jacob after the last meet and we agreed that starting low when I am having great warm-ups is a waste of energy. He also expressed to me his regret for never having opened at a PR or a really high bar in a high jump competition. So at the end of the conversation I agreed to open at a minimum of 18' this weekend just to see what it was like and also because I felt I had a good chance of making it.
Well, when I got to the meet I saw the bar progression went from 5.48m(17'11.75") to 5.53m(18'1.75") so in keeping my promise I passed to 5.53m. The top pole vaulter's in the world can open at this height no problem, however it is 6" higher than any bar I have ever cleared and to give some perspective, it is higher than the opening bar of the 2008 Olympic finals. Being extremely nervous and choking in the moment was a strong possibility, but instead I came into the meet with confidence. I have felt like I have the ability to jump 18+ for some time now, but I have only attempted 18' in one meet in my entire career. And if you want to make a bar you have to be jumping at it. So that is what I did.
My first attempt went well, too well and I blew through my 5m 13.8 pole. So I moved up to the 5m 13.5 for the second attempt and had an okay jump. I regained my focus for the third attempt and it was much better, but I knocked the bar off on the way down. Bummer...but the video gave me a real confidence boost, but you can decide for yourself. I feel like an Olympic Trials qualifier is within reach now.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Good, but not great.

I traveled to Moscow, ID this weekend to compete in the University of Idaho's Vandal Indoor meet. I had never been there before and was pleasantly surprised at how nice the setup was; big new pit, raised runway, and nice standards. I traveled down with some of my training partners to get a better mark for USA Indoor Nationals and it went pretty well.
I had great warm-ups again, but I decided to start a little low (16'7.5") so I wouldn't get a no height. I ended up clearing that bar on my second attempt, then made 17'1.5" on my second attempt, then cleared 17'7.25" on my third attempt. Finally, a new PR! However, I was barely able celebrate it because I have been jumping higher than that for quite some time now and it just felt like a bar that I had no reason not to make. I was/am happy to have up'd my personal record, but I am not content yet.

I took a couple okay jumps at 17'11.25", but by then my technique was falling apart due to fatigue. I realized that starting as low as I did and taking quite a few warm-up jumps left me with very little reserve for the high bars, the ones that matter the most. So what I am taking away from this meet is a new PR of 5.37m and a realization that I need to save some energy for the end of the competition.
By the way here is a video of my warm-up jump with the standards set at 18'6", however it is a bungee that is hanging down a bit.