Sunday, October 4, 2009

Destiney, Random Thoughts & Video at Bottom

Today when I entered my local 24 Hour Fitness where I lift legs and do some of my bars, I was invited to place a goal on a big board for everyone to see. Of course there were many goals on this board but for the first time I wrote - "World Champion, World Masters Games M55 Pole Vault, Sydney, Australia - 10/13/09". I thought, "There, I said it". This felt odd and is even harder to explain. Why would I spend the better part of a year targeting this one day and yet feel strange about actually saying what my goal is? Yes I am very capable of winning but we know that means absolutely nothing. You have to do it that day in that place and weird things always happen. So YES I hope to win but I can't say I expect to win. That type of attitude lands you right on your butt and in the stands. Ask the world's greatest women vaulter who did not clear her opening height at the recent World Championships for the elites. All I can say is that if things go great I expect to medal and hope to win. But still, writing an absolute goal felt strange even though I think it all of the time. In fact I'm driven by it. WHY? I've worked my but off so why should I feel so unsure? Because I've been there and seen it firsthand. It's a 100% crapshoot. My first collegiate championship I was ranked 10th and I repeated the following year after having only the 6th highest jump. I saw Sergey Bubka fail to clear his opening height in Barcelona at the 1992 Olympics and I saw him withdraw during warm up for the 1996 Olympics where a few days earlier I saw him trying 20' 8" with a bungee and looking great. You never know so just be prepared, pay attention and focus.

I was reading Track & Field News magazine yesterday and saw where Australia's Steve Hooker came into the World Championships in Berlin only eight days after straining his groin in practice. The defending World Champion, Brad Walker withdrew because he partially missed the pit 12 days out from the big meet. I'm nine days out today. Then I was looking at YouTube video and saw a team of guys all nearly fail to clear their opening heights even though they had tons of height. They all managed on their third attempts but what a nightmare start. It was these thoughts that had me reconsider my workout this morning when I saw that we have nothing but rain between now and when I leave on Wednesday.

First, vaulting was not an option so I'm done there. Last year when I strained my left triceps I went 2-4 weeks without vaulting on a regular basis and would show up at a meet and still vault well, so I don't see that as a big factor. Remember, less than two months ago I was in California watching the National Senior Games with a strained groin. When I came back and started this blog I hoped to be able to get back over 12' before I left for Oz. Since then I've vaulted 12 days and made 13' on two of those days, 12' 6" on three others and 12' on five more. All of this with no run further than 43' (usually 33') on small poles. In meets I start from 54' on much bigger poles. So I'm cool not jumping anymore.

The rain made me unsure about running with the sled because a hard slip could twinge a hamstring or overstretch an Achilles. So out of the blue I decided to flop things and go lift legs first and then come back and run some hill/sled reps in the rain. The purpose was that my legs would be too tired to try and be too powerful. It worked perfectly as I had some very nice and rhythmical sled pulls after a great lifting session. That was my last gym session before I go. I'll do a strength test in the garage tomorrow and then run again on Tuesday morning - in the rain because suddenly we're the new Seattle.

I started getting my stuff together last night and Nancy got out the suitcase this morning. The weather there has been showing low 50s to low 60s with a lot of rain. Two weeks ago it was nice and warm. Needless to say I have to take more clothes options and consider more stuff to make sure my grip on the pole works in the rain.

OK, I'm done for today. In closing I want to make an observation about expectations. No matter what goes through my head when I am approaching a meet, when it's "GO TIME", I shift into a highly focused and accountable athlete. I will not vault to stay alive but will compete to win. It's hard to explain but there is a certain expectation, not only of myself, but of others who know me (including you) that I do my best, and that's what saves me at big meets. That switch hits and the doubts are gone. Until then I'll continue to be afraid so I don't make careless mistakes or oversights. I've done everything within my power to be ready, I am, and I will give everything I have. The great motivational speaker, Tony Robbins, says that people will do more to avoid pain than to gain pleasure. I guess this is why we obsess over clearing that first height as that represents the greatest pain we can experience. Once you're past that then it's off to the races. With that said, I have nh'd (no heighted - did not clear my opening height) only one time in my career - my sophomore year in college at conference. I don't plan on this being number two but if I'm not afraid of it, it could happen.

Thanks a ton for being here!! MUCH appreciated! Bubba

PS - I will blog from the plane and airports but I won't be able to post it until I get to my hotel unless I can pick up a WiFi at LAX.
For fun I thought I would try and post a video here since I will from Sydney. This is 12' 6" (3.81m) at the Quintana Beach Vault.

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