I apologize for the delay in entries for the end of indoor track. Life got a little hectic. As crazy as it was, it was still a very exciting time with mixed emotions and personal achievements.
My favorite meet of the season, New England Championships, went well. I finished with 8th place, but my body was screaming for a break. My lower back, hips, and legs were just shot. I was lucky to even make it down the runway. As tired and achy as I was, it was nice to see everyone at the meet.
ECACs was a new experience for me. I had no idea what to expect. It was kind of cool to be the only jumper representing UMass and I was just happy to be there. It was strange to have Coach Jackson’s undivided attention though–I’m so used to him running around to all the other jumpers’ events. When I found out that opening height was the qualifying height–the highest height I have ever made in my life–I didn’t even get nervous. It was more of a “Well, here goes nothing.” Again, I was just happy to make it down to the pit. My body was just not responding the way it needed to–double leg swing, round-house plant–and overall hurting. I ended up no-heighting that day, but as my mom seems to keep repeating, “It’s an honor just to be nominated…” (I explain that it’s not a ‘nomination’, but she still says it anyway).
That was it. Last indoor season over. I’ll admit it, I teared up. Not because I no-heighted, but because it was the first reality that my college career was coming to a close. There isn’t a “well, there’s always next year”. I’m happy that it was the best season I’ve had so far. I was still upset that I didn’t get 12ft for indoor, but I’ve come a long way from last year’s indoor season: I went from placing 8th to 4th at A10s, an indoor PR of 11’3″ to 11’10″, from no place to 8th place at New Englands, and qualifying for ECACs for the first time.
And now we are in between seasons. With our first outdoor meet around the corner, I can’t believe that the training went by so quickly. After a week and a half of rest, recovery, and multiple tune-up trainer’s appointments, I felt back to normal. I stayed in town over spring break and worked out with Coach Jackson learning some new things for outdoor. That’s already a huge improvement from last year. This time last year I was recovering from a broken nose and concussion.
One of the biggest changes we’re making is that I will be moving back to 6 steps. I’ve been doing 5 steps since I started vaulting, and will admit, I feel a little silly with the shortest approach at most of the meets we go to (except for when I place with only 5 steps–that feels great!).
A 6 step approach is a HUGE change for me. I had a hard time wrapping my head around it. The rhythm is different. The sounds are different. I know the last three steps are the same, but it’s getting to those three steps that throws me off. I’ve had to run it about a BILLION times over this last week and a half and it finally is starting to feel a bit more natural. The biggest thing I had to get used to was the speed of it. I’m used to cranking up the speed much quicker because I had a shorter amount of time. I felt so much slower at 6 steps. Since I felt slower, I didn’t have the same confidence at take-off and it just didn’t feel right. I was able to take off a few times in our first jumps practice over break, but the second one I just stayed on the ground and worked on rhythm. I’m looking forward to pole vault practice this week to put it all together.
Hopefully I’ll have another update before the first meet, but if not–our first meet is April 7 at American International College! Good luck to everyone who has already started their outdoor seasons & keep it up for those who are still training!