So, I don’t have a full entry for you (I’m sure you’re all secretly cheering inside) and if I don’t hurry I’m going to end up being late for vault practice. No, there is no time difference between MA and PA. Yes, I have 6:30am pole vault practice. Vaulting is 1/4 dedication, 3/4 insanity, right? But the point is, on a website that I adore, even if I don’t get any of their complex math/science jokes, I found a reference to pole vaulting. So I’m sharing. Hope you enjoy, and don’t forget to hold your mouse over the comic once you’ve finished reading.
Archive for January, 2011
I was thinking to myself last week that my entries have not been as exciting as when I was at UMass Lowell. No more blizzards, no more car fires–boy, did I jinx that!
Last weekend was the Great Dane Invitational at The Amory in NYC. I was very excited because I have never been to The Armory, let alone New York! I was mentally prepared, pumped, and ready to go. The snowstorm delayed our bus by an hour. We were all starting to get a little worried because we were already pressed for time. Once we got out of Massachusetts the snow let up and it was actually sunny outside. We got to New Haven, Connecticut, and pulled over to the side of the highway. We were all already watching the clock and getting stressed and were upset that we were stopping. It turns out we lost the air pressure in our brakes (what? I know. I’m such a girl) and we couldn’t go any further.
Coaches decided to move the girls that had earlier events over to the guys’ team bus. Originally they were yelling, “POLE VAULTERS! MOVE! GET OFF THE BUS NOW!” but it turned into, “Sorry, girls. You’re not gonna make it.” We all tried to remain positive and thought of good things that could come out of this: “Hey, at least we don’t have to carry the poles.” “We have another day to rest our injuries.” The other girls hopped out on the highway and got on the guys’ bus. A handful of us stayed behind: vaulters, hurdlers, and girls that didn’t have races until later tonight. We waited on the side of the road for the other bus to come get us.
When the other bus did arrive, we could not open the bottom compartments to get our stuff. Girls had their meet duffle bags down there, throwers had their equipment down there too. We were a foot away from the guardrail, sinking into piles of snow, with cars whizzing by us. We finally got the bottom compartment open when the tow truck arrived and we quickly moved all the stuff to the other bus.
An hour and a half later we were at The Armory. I was fine with accepting we weren’t competing until we saw that women’s pole vault was still going on. It was weird to see it go on without us, and it got me really bummed out. We were there all day to cheer on our team and did a short workout while we were there. Coach Jackson & Coach Julie got us into the meet at URI the next day and we were preparing for that. We didn’t get home until 11:30pm and were taking a van to URI the next day at 6:45am.
Although we were extremely exhausted, our four vaulters and a hurdler competed at URI. Sure, it’s not The Armory but at least we got to get some competition jumps in. We all really had to work together to try and pull our best attitude and energy into the competition. I was exhausted! I ended up jumping 11’2″ to tie my personal best. My jump at 11’2″ looked exactly like the first time I cleared it at NE-10s last year–no turns, just right over the front. I reverted back to my old habits, but the bar did not fall! It sure was ugly, but I’m happy with it. The bar went up to 11’8″ and I wasn’t nervous at all. I took 2 full attempts at 11’8″ then I ran through on the last attempt.
Overall it was an exhausting weekend and we were challenged. I think we met challenge and learned a lot in the process. I know I learned a lot about myself in trying to keep positive, keep those around you positive, and feeding off each other to get through difficult times.
Luckily, next week we’re only going to Reggie Lewis!
One of the weirder things about being in college as opposed to high school is that I now have two first days of classes instead of just one. I have my first day of classes for my M/W/F classes (though this semester only M/W which is awesome) and my first day for my T/Th classes. According to the email Ingrid sent me I’m not supposed to talk just about track, which I’m perfectly fine with. I like to talk. It doesn’t really matter what it’s about.
M/W I get to spend an hour and fifteen minutes stuck in a classroom learning about philosophy. Here is probably the best advice I can ever give you. Unless you for some reason don’t value your sanity, stay away from philosophy. I took it because I needed a fourth class and it was an intro class and I figured it would be easy. I’m now seriously considering taking it pass/fail (I haven’t tried this out yet, but I’ve heard good things). The first day of class my professor told us that the Earth doesn’t revolve around the sun. And (as anyone who knows me can tell you, I’m not a science person) I have no idea if he meant that literally or philosophically or metaphorically or if he was just messing with people’s heads. Long story short, I may end up getting owned by an intro level class. Which would just be sad.
On a more positive note Tuesdays and Thursdays are going to be much better. I have a Ne0-Victorian lit class from 9:30-10:45 which pretty much is reading Victorian era novels and then contemporary adaptations and comparing and contrasting them. Which sounds really cool to me. And means that I’m finally getting around to reading Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. This weekend. Luckily it’s a short book. My other two classes are both history classes. My Problems in Contemporary America class seems like it’ll be wicked good. Studying America as an imperial power and modern crises like the hostage situation in Iran and the atomic bomb. Plus, since I go to a little school, I found a professor I really liked and I took him twice last semester and I have him twice again this semester. I also know at least one person in all of my classes. Another plus to a small school.
And, because I can’t have a post without any track, I can tell you all about the best part of me week. I had my first pole practice! And yes it consisted of a single mat and baby drills and will probably by at 6:30am from now on, but I’m finally getting to jump! And I got to do this weird ab/inversion exercise and I didn’t completely fail. I’m not jumping at the meet tomorrow because I haven’t done anything longer than a four step since probably my sophmore year of high school. Which was five years ago. But I’ll work up to it. And hopefully finally get that 10 feet Coach Lang has been promising me since I was a freshman.
And there was all my excitement of my first week back at school. Intense lifting, four classes, my first vault practice, and as of tomorrow my first meet. Oh, and my first day as a desk assistant in the IM office. This could quite possibly be my busiest semester so far. And I will love every minute of it. And to this you might say ‘every minute? Really? I didn’t realize a female pole vaulter from Westborough could have such endless optimism’. And then I’ll be forced to age myself by making a Get Smart reference. So I’m going to circumvent all that by saying it’ll be an interesting semester, and you’ll probably be getting frequent updates on it.
I was excited to come back for winter training. We returned to campus January 4th, ready to go. For two weeks we had two workouts everyday, some days had lifting, and sometimes we attended some fitness classes at the rec center [pilates, ZUMBA!]. We trained together, ate together, and lived together. As tiring as the days were, they were so much fun. I have gotten so much closer to my team and fellow vaulters. It’s a great feeling
Last weekend I competed in my first meet as a UMass Minutewoman at University of Rhode Island’s Sparks Sorlein Invitational. This was a brand new experience for me, even as a second-time around college junior. Things are SO DIFFERENT here and needless to say, I am now spoiled. They fed us breakfast on the bus, gave us $20 dollars for meal money, and they issue us more clothing and equipment than I know what to do with. We are told what to wear, but we actually have choices to wear on meet days! When I was issued my warm-ups, I had to be told what the difference between a “travel suit” and our “rain gear” were. Our head coach Julie said, “See how we treat our girls out in Amherst?” I laughed to myself, because I really was thinking the same thing in that moment. I feel so spoiled!
Coming into this meet I was mainly concerned about a few things: putting my training into practice in all of my attempts (duh), working with the other vaulters, and working with my new coach in competition. Overall, it was great. The dynamic between our group of vaulters & Coach Jackson is wonderful. We cheer each other on, we help each other out, and we eat lots of yummy food after! I know I’ve said it thousands of times already, but I absolutely love my vaulters. I’m very lucky to be vaulting with them this year.
Vaulting went well. I felt amazing. Focused. Pumped. Strong. I had some sort of knot in my quad, but I still felt okay enough to jump. I ended up with 11ft, (okay, 10’11.75″) coming in second place (because of misses). My attempts at 11’6″ were GREAT! I’ve never been so calm in competition when the bar got higher than my personal best. They were really solid attempts. According to my father I “missed them by a butt-hair.” [I have no idea what that means, but thanks, Dad.] It was the closest to vertical I have ever gotten and vaulting felt much more natural. I got on a 12’6″ 130 — one of the biggest poles I’ve ever been on.
Overall, I’m extremely happy with my first meet of the season and know 11’6″ will be mine in no time. I’m happy we’ve finally competed to have a mark of progress in our training now so we know what to work on from here. This week I will be nursing my quad (like a crazy person!). Our next meet is at The Armory at the Great Dane Invitational–it’ll be my first trip there, so I don’t want to miss it! But, if it doesn’t work out that way, so be it. I’m even more excited for this season and can’t wait for my next competition.
[And, even weirder/funnier--they put my picture up on the webpage. Haha. "Newcomer Chrissy Silvar"]
If there is one thing I’ve learned from being a 4 year vaulter for Westborough High is that pole vaulters can be some of the most intelligent and dumbest people at the same exact time. Which I’ve attributed to the fact that book/school smart doesn’t always equal common sense. In some cases, the two cannot coexist. Which makes for a plethora of quotes to put on the back of our t-shirts and some hilarious practices.
That’s not what it resulted in today. And before you start to worry or anything I was not anywhere near a pole. Nor was anyone else. Today was our first practice of the season and our coach is so excited that we have a second one this afternoon. But I’ll be throwing then and that has nothing to do with vaulting so I’ll stick to our lifting session this morning. Long story short Coach hands out a piece of paper with a bunch of lifts on it and says go. Do it as fast as possible. I don’t recommend doing 50 deadlifts in a row, break them up into sets. He bragged about how fast he did it, then warned us against going his speed because he almost vommed. Yeah, bent over the trash can is not how I want to start my post-winter break track season. So I took things a bit slower.
Me and the three other girls I was lifting with were going through the sheet. We did something that some random guy in the weight room called a 300. That was not my choice of words for it. Let me see if I can remember. 50 sit ups, 25 push ups, 25 jump squats, 50 deadlifts, 50 DB shoulder press, 25 lat pull down, 25 calf raises, and 50 lunges. And that equals 300 so that should be right. Yeah, so we did all that and then went onto the next section Olympic Lifts. We cleaned, squat pressed, and benched before wondering why everyone was leaving the gym. I mean, we’d started before they did and weren’t wicked slow. Yeah, it turns out we weren’t supposed to go onto the next section. So we did almost all of tomorrow’s lifting.
Coach laughed. Told us it would help make up for the fact that we didn’t lift over break (which is an unfounded assumption. Yes, I did not lift as often as I should have, but there were extenuating circumstances, and I haven’t told him that yet). So pretty much this leaves me at a familiar crossroad. Either I was not very observant and did more than I was supposed to or I was an overachiever. I don’t really want to be either. Because on the one hand I have my coach asking me why I didn’t dye my hair while I was getting it cut and on the other I don’t want to be that girl. The one who shows up and does more than they’re supposed to and makes everyone else feel awful about themselves. I’m usually on the other side of this. And it’s no fun.
I guess this is my advice for those of you on your way to college. Especially if you’re a freshman don’t be an overachiever and throw it in the upperclassman’s faces. They don’t like that.
Not that I think any of you are particularly worried, but I’m going to recover from my weight lifting session today, and I have learned a valuable lesson. Before doing something you think is ridiculous, check with your coach. You’re probably right.
Hopefully at some point I’m going to actually start jumping so I can talk about that. Though classes start on Wednesday so soon I’ll be able to regale you with tales about the Destruction of the Bison (this is an actual book title of mine) in America or give you my deep philosophical thoughts courtesy of Socrates and Plato.
Well classes started yesterday and I’m already swamped with work. So I figured I’d take a reading break to write a quick entry.
I came back to campus last Sunday and had practice all week. It was kind of strange being on campus pretty much with just other athletes and without having classes. But it was nice only having practice to worry about. It was a pretty rough week of practice, though. Sprinting on Monday was really tough, and vaulting on Tuesday and Thursday didn’t go quite as well as I had hoped.
After such a rough week of practice I was a little nervous going into the meet. But I’ve gotten used to that; seems like the practices before meets never go well for me. The bus left for Dartmouth at 7:15, luckily I was able to sleep for most of the 2 and a half hour ride up to Hanover, NH. Then we had to wait until about 11 before warming up since the women’s vault went off at noon. Originally I was planning on opening at 11 and I felt pretty good after warm ups, but I couldn’t get the past weeks practices out of my head, so I decided to open at 10’6″ to be safe. I started warming up on a 13′ 140 then started the meet on a 13′ 145, same as last meet. I ended up clearing 12′ on a 13′ 155, one of the biggest poles I used all of last year. So, so far this year is going much better than last year. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season, hopefully some bigger poles and a PR is in the near future Next up is Yale this weekend, I plan on opening at 11′, for real this time.
For now, it’s back to the books though!
Just a quick update:
I got back to school on Tuesday for intersession training, where only a limited number of the track team were invited back for early training. I actually had no idea we had a meet yesterday until the day before, because it wasn’t on the schedule online. So, the meet yesterday was our first meet of 2011. The metro coaches’ invitational at the NY armory. Pole vault started at 1, so we planned to leave campus at 11. Due to the snow, we were a bit delayed, and didn’t get to the armory until 12:15 ish. I was worried that I wasn’t going to have enough time to warm-up, but I did.
My warm-up jumps were not that great. Stevens only has one pole I can really use, a 12’ 150, and I was used to using a 12’ 130 at practice for warm-ups. So because of my warm-up, and the fact that I had not taken any long runs in over a month, I decided to come in at opening height, which was 7’10”. I went into the meet thinking that it was just going to be another practice, and therefore did not think I was going to do that great. Well that was not true!! I definitely should have opened a foot higher! Every jump, however, I was just making it over the bar. I wasn’t finishing my jumps when I realized I had already made the height. I could have been getting a lot more vertical on my jumps, and I could have been turning earlier. But I was very surprised and happy when I cleared everything on my first attempts, and then when I jumped 3.00 meters; which is about 9’10”, also on my first attempt. I set the school record at this meet last year too, at 9’4.25” so I was excited to have jumped 6 inches higher after only 2 days of practice this week! I didn’t actually realize it until my coach pointed it out, but that’s actually an indoor PR for me! My grip was 11’3”, and I was running from a 5 step.
My first attempt at 10’4” was ok. I was more vertical than on any of my other attempts. The second attempt, I hooked my ankles around the bar, so that knocked it down. I moved my standards back for the last attempt. On the last attempt, I was pretty tired, and when I planted, I just couldn’t do anything with the jump, and just blew through it.
So I was very happy about yesterday considering it was the first meet back. Branko had told me the day before, he didn’t know if I should even jump, because my hamstring was a little sore, and he didn’t want to risk it. But I told him that I wanted to jump, even if I used it as more of a practice, and didn’t do a long run. I am glad that I jumped, and now I can’t wait for me meet next Friday. It’s the Gotham Cup, also at the NY armory. I have 2 vault days next week, and hope to set a new school record next week as well.
Also, Branko wants to work something out over the summer where he could come out to Patriot PV for a few days, and Patriot could go hang out at Apex for a few days. are. So Ingrid if you want to get in contact with him about this summer, and see what you can work out that would be great! And he told me he reads my blog, so I have to be careful what I say about him… :P