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5/22 - Tucson Elite Throws Classic
Nothing can prepare you for your first meet jitters; for as long as I can remember my heart would always race whether the meet was important or not. Tucson Elite is not an important meet to win, but it does have a great field of athletes and terrific conditions, which is why I love to throw there.
My goals were to stay relaxed, stay focused, and throw far, but with my experience I have learned that while this seems like a modest goal, it can be nearly impossible in a first meet. I look to my past and think of my previous meet openers.
In all instances I felt as if I opened the season with something decent but had so much more potential left. And I knew what would happen to me at this meet before it even happened. I knew that no matter how much I relaxed I was going to be mentally over stimulated and unable to focus and really fine tune my technique.
I knew that how my first throw in warm-ups felt was going determine how the meet was going to go. First throw on the runway, 7 steps and POW! It was hard to judge the distance but I want to say 75m from a 7 step. I heard people standing by say "wow, there's a good throw!" as if it was unmatched by anyone else. I was confident this was going to be a great meet!
I was the 11th of 14 throwers in our flight, it was going to be a while so I stayed calm, sat down a lot, but got up and kept moving around from time to time to stay warm. And when I was called to throw I tried to shut everything down in my mind and just let my foundation of hard training take over. I was confident with my training, so there was nothing to worry about.
I barreled down the runway at what felt like 100mph, slammed a block, and screamed as loud as I could. The flight was low but fast, but I was completely unaware of the result because the field was so deceptive. 80.37m (263 feet 8 inches) on my first throw. I had the early lead by 4 meters (13 feet). I knew I had more in me, only time would tell if I could throw farther on my next 5 throws. The flight was low, and in the light tailwind I could add considerable distance if I could just get up through a throw.
I struggled on my second throw. I tried to focus on coming up through a throw with a high release but just before I threw my mind went blank and before I knew it the javelin was already in the air. I debated scratching it because the flight was so terrible, but I was going to take each throw as a learning experience and see how my series was. 76.11m (250ft), I was still in the lead and no one had progressed in their second round.
I kept working on getting up through the point, and results were a little up and down. 79m (260ft) on my 3rd, 74.29m on my 4th. Finally Corey White hit a clean throw late in the competition on his 5th throw and the official called out 80.95m a new season best for Corey and he took the lead from me. I was happy he did it because I was sure it would push me to a bigger throw, especially because I threw right after him.
On my 5th throw I hit another clean flight and they read out 79m high (260 ft again) I did not steal the lead back like I wanted to. I thought back to Pan American Games in October of 2011 and remembered my 6th throw of the competition; I stole the silver medal from Braian Toledo, and I knew I could do the same thing. I charged down the runway and slammed my block leg down, only to have it give out under the pressure. I could see my throw would not break 80m and intentionally scratched the throw. Corey White got me this time.
I walk away from the meet with satisfaction though. I opened with the best season opener of my life. 20th best throw in the world right now, 3rd in America, a 5.50 meter (17'10") improvement over last year, I opened with better throws than some of the best in the world (Andreas Thorkildsen and Tero Pitkamaki), and a series of imperfect throws that almost all could have won the USA Championships last year. I may have not come up with a victory in the books, but I know that this meet was a meet to knock the rust off, flush my system of the first meet jitters, and was to see how well I could throw with hard training under my belt.
As we progress to the Prefontaine Classic in 11 days we will be working on getting more explosive and fresher for the meets. With the added quickness and health I should be throwing even father. But all goals were met, throw for God, throw healthy, throw far.
Stay Healthy, Throw Far. 2012
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