I’d have to start out by saying my outdoor season was really bittersweet this year. There were SO many great things about my outdoor season that I am thankful and excited about. First and foremost, the addition of Coach Ken to the WPI vault crew. Finally having a consistent vault coach three times a week for the first time since my senior year of high school was the highlight of my season. The guidance and support was invaluable and I’m not just saying that because Coach Ken feeds us tasty things once a week! There were many physical and mental breakthroughs for me as well this spring, which went hand in hand with finally having a coach there to really critique and figure out what I needed to do to get better. I mentioned in previous posts about my epiphany about getting my hands up, but I also finally stopped (most jumps anyways) my terrible habit of round-housing my plant.
I’ll have to admit that my season did end on a bitter, frustrating note. If anyone saw me at NEWMACs (which thank goodness wasn’t -that- many people) you would have seen me miss my final attempt at 9’6″, a height that would have qualified me for DIII New Englands and extended my season, and march angrily away from the pole vault area. I was upset with myself for not making a height I had made several times every season since 2009, for not extending my season (this was the first year that I didn’t make either indoor and outdoor DIII New Englands,) and for not living up to Coach Ken’s expectations. After I was gone maybe 15 minutes, my mother came to find me. We talked about why I was upset and my mom helped me see the light that it wasn’t a wasted year. Having watched me from my terrible beginner season to now, she told me this is the best form she has seen me in, and that I should be proud of my progress, even though it hasn’t translated to a new PR. She also brought up that this is the best shape she has seen me in, something I have struggled with since I graduated high school, when my HS coach told me I needed to slim down more if I wanted to be a serious vaulter in college. I also obviously talked to Coach Ken after that and even though I felt I had let him down, he assured me that progress had been made and that he was proud of what I had accomplished.
I took a week and a half away from the pit after NEWMACs to clear my head a bit. I thought it would be too painful to practice with the girls who were about to head to DIII New Englands and that it would spark those feelings of being inadequate again. When I did finally return to the runway, Coach Ken and I decided to try something new- going after that pesky free take-off I had never attempted before. We moved my step back the prescribed amount and it was magical. After the first attempt at that new take-off mark, Coach Ken looked at me and apologized for not thinking of that pre-NEWMACs so I could have gotten that 9’6″.
It was one of those moments where I just thought, wow, it would have been great to have known this then, but I never would have learned to deal with how I felt after not doing well at a big meet for me. That was the same day that I tweeted “Hands on fire, forearm bruise growing and I’m loving it. These are the days that I fall I love with polevault all over again.” And it’s true – through the frustration, the improvements, the failures and the epiphanies, I keep falling in love with the pole vault.
So, since my season has ended, a lot has happened. I’ve dabbled here and there in workouts, some insanity work outs, some lifting, some runs, but I didn’t do anything “serious” or “consistent” until this week. Like I said last time I was here on Nantucket, the gym is astronomically expensive. For three months, the local gym is $385, and as much as I want to be lifting, there is no way I am paying that much. Instead, I’ve started my own weird workout schedule. There isn’t much planned yet, but essentially I’m trying to get in a good mix of “distance”, sprinting, abs, arms and legs (if anyone wants to help me out with the legs things, that would be great. I’m having a mental block.) I put distance in quotes because I have never really run that far before. I feel like I need to ease my body into it. So, I have started doing a 1.2 mile loop, which has a nice big 200m hill in it, and once I do this for about two weeks (on my distance days) I’m going to up it to maybe 1.8 miles or something and keep going up once I feel comfortable at the distance. My sprints are currently 7x100m sprints, ever so slightly up hill. I’m aiming to do the sprints twice a week and my WPI coach wants us up to 10x100m sprints by the time august rolls around, so every few weeks I’ll add another 100m rep.
Essentially, I want 11 ft really badly. Not just 10 ft, which has been my goal since 2009, but I want something big. I want to go out my graduating season with a bang. To help inspire me, I made my own twitter hashtag to use when I’m doing workouts #11fttakeswork
Wow, that was probably the longest post I’ve ever written, and probably just sounds like a lot of jumbled thoughts. I hope ya’ll enjoy