If you look at the results I threw extremely poorly, and honestly I did at my most recent meet at Herculis Diamond League meet in Monaco. Final result was 7th place (last) with a best throw of 245'5" (74.79m). But I leave with a bit of self reassurance, and a little bit hungrier for the Olympic Games.
It was a fight a week before the competition trying to get into the Diamond League meet in Monaco. We had a backup plan of going to Karlstad Sweden if we could not get into Monaco. Monaco was a long shot honestly. There are only 8 or 9 spots and they are reserved for the best in the world. While my 83.16m personal best is impressive in America it does not rank me in the top 8 or 9 in the world. I finally got word that I got into Monaco about 5 or 6 days before the meet, and I was like a little boy on Christmas Eve so excited for the opportunity God has provided me!
Training didn't change much, we stuck with the plan knowing that even though this is a big meet it's really more important to throw well at the Olympic Games. But mentally and physically I was ready to throw really far! My knee felt 100x better than at the trials and it was a full recovery. Practices and lifts had been going really well in Denmark and I took them as a sign of good things to come.
I got my travel arrangements and was excited about all the rumors about Monaco Diamond League meet. About how luxurious and amazing everything is, how great the meet is, the people in the stands, the atmosphere; I was ready to impress.
I left at 2:15pm the day before the competition, and was supposed to arrive that night around midnight. But instead I was delayed in germany and stayed the night there. The early flight to Nice was booked and I was on the afternoon flight that got me there just in time for the competition. The meet had a car waiting for me and a high jumper from Qatar before it took us to our hotel in Monaco.
Monaco is not far from Nice, but the traffic is pretty terrible and it took well over an hour to drive to our hotel. I ate at the lobby, went up stairs to my room, showered and changed for the meet. It was Game Time.
I felt surprisingly well for traveling for the last 36 hours. It was warm and humid in Monaco but was refreshing compared to the rain we had been getting in Denmark. I arrived at the call room just on time and the crowd seemed to roar with excitement at all times.
After a long wait in the call room we were escorted to the far side of the track passing thousands of people screaming for autographs at the railing. They didn't know who you were but they didn't care. They knew you were important just for being there. No one signed autographs though. It was time to throw and you didn't have time to stop to make someone's day.
We all got our spikes on but no one let us throw on the grass like I was normally used to. I hadn't been able to warm my arm up since almost 45 minutes ago at the practice track; I kind of needed some short picks in the grass. I instead threw short approaches on the runway. My legs felt good but there wasn't much on the javelin. The 800g javelin felt so heavy as if it was like it was 1200g in my hand; my arm felt so slow. I didn't get worried because my full approach is SO much more powerful than my short approach throws; there was nothing to worry about.
Finally the competition started and I was the second thrower. I popped one out and felt like it was a decent start. There was only an 80m line out there and it was close to it but not over. I expected (from the look of the flight and relation to where it landed) a throw around 76-78m but the board read 74.79m far from what I was hoping. I scoffed at it and said ok, now let's throw farther!
I was in 4th place after the first round and I knew I could improve as the meet went on. My body was only going to warm up as I progressed through rounds. I was confident I could turn the meet around.
I stayed in 4th through round 2 but really wanted to work on my technique in round 3. I threw again and cringed at the board, but again I knew I could turn the meet around! I dropped into 5th in round 3 and he was only at 77m not out of reach even for me throwing poorly.
I focused on driving my hip and chest up in the following throws but nothing seemed to work. Throw after throw not only did not challenge 4th place but I wasn't even throwing farther than my first throw. In round 5 I slipped out of 5th place and into 6th. And in round 6 I slipped out of 6th and into last place.
My worst fear had happened I took the amazing opportunity of throwing in my second Diamond League meet, at the most amazing stadium/atmosphere I have ever experienced and not only couldn't challenge the leaders but took dead last. It was a hard pill to swallow! My technique was there, maybe some minor adjustments could have been made, but no matter what I tried it would not work.
I sat down in the stands with the OTC distance coach Mark Rowland, his wife, and our massage therapist and somewhat sulked to them my experience. Within 2 minutes I was already feeling better about the situation. I had been traveling for the last 36 hours arrived just in time to head to the track and threw poorly. Anyone would have thrown poorly in my situation. In fact the high jumper from Qatar that was on my airport shuttle to the hotel took 7th place as well, and he had the 2nd highest jump at World Championships last year.
I enjoyed my dinner meeting some new middle distance friends that sitting at my table, then walked out on the town with the best 800m pacer in the world Matt Scherer and Duane Solomon who just had a huge PB in the 800m 1:43.44. We took photos of all the yachts in the pier and talked about how amazing Monaco was.
I had to travel back to Denmark in the morning at 7:30am but I really wanted to stay and enjoy Monaco. Definitely a place I would love to just relax and enjoy for a week or two. I rode the shuttle with Robby Andrews, he too did poorly in his 1500m race and did not finish, so we got along well. We found we had the same flight to Zurich and tried to decipher the Nice Airport. Our plane delayed again, we landed late in Zurich but I was able to make my connection because I had plenty of time.
I learned that my flight got cancelled to Frankfurt but was on the following flight that would still make my connection to Billund. After many more delays, cancelled flights, re-booked travel I landed at 11pm and to my surprise my roommate and his mother were waiting for me in the Billund airport terminal ready to take me home. I was so surprised; I couldn't believe how nice they were. How generous they were being to me, and how bad I felt for imposing on them. After 16.5 hours of travel, and only 3 hours of actual flying, I was home!
Next time I do my traveling I will be sure to schedule a non-stop flight I am so tired of airports!
Glory to God, Stay Healthy, Throw Far. 2012
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