Archive for October, 2011
It’s the start of my full-time training season. So far this off-season, I’ve spent a lot of time with myself, thinking about a lot of things, focusing on others, working and saving up some money/ paying off debts, but the thought of training, making the Olympic team, and breaking the U.S. record were never far from my mind. I worked on my general fitness a lot, and managed to drag myself out to do various drills at least once a week. I feel good coming into my off-season the fittest I’ve ever been and feeling mentally and physically refreshed to do so. (check out a recent lifting video here)
The Start Has Arrived
So the start of my season has arrived. Monday morning was cold! I wake up by 6:45am to pack my bags for the long day ahead. It was only about 36 degrees when I arrived at the track and I got started into my drills and throws and that’s when the thoughts set in. Are you going to be able to do this? Have you lost it? It feels so hard. I’m starting over from scratch! For some reason, my inner monologue likes to second guess everything I do… It’s cold and I know that I can skip out on reps and no one will know. I know the only person keeping me here is me… but I stay and I work hard.
At the end of my almost two hours of warm-up, drills, throws, and light conditioning, I change in my honorary locker room/ track handicap porta-potty before heading to work. I work my shift until close then hurry to the gym to lift getting home around 745-8 to make dinner, eat by myself, play with my dog (the high light of most days), and then go to bed before doing it all tomorrow…
It’s the first day and it felt miserable… The comments from friends and family who ask why I continue to do this to myself start to wear on me. The thoughts of why I devote some much time to something which no one cares about and little support when I could be pursuing more stability in my life weigh heavily on my mind.
Tuesday I have off work now, so it gives me a mental refresher that I didn’t have last year. As I show up to practice, Coach Bedard is there. Coach Bedard, after us knowing one another for almost 11 years now, is more than a coach. He gives me advice, knows what’s going on in my life and can see the connection between the outside world and the hammer circle.
In between drills and throws, we talk about what’s going on in my life: how’s work, how’s life/family, am I still single (um, yeah! lol). While I’m throwing, I mention how much I dislike the start of the season. It feels like I’ve lost everything and I’m starting over and my goals feel so far away.
That’s when the advice comes in. He asked me if there was anything else I wanted to do right now, because you know, this whole situation is a choice, I choose to be here. I think about it and no, there is no where I’d rather be than in this 40 degree weather throwing the hammer. I want so badly to throw further, to be the best I can be. Because I love it and I know there is more in me. I know there is a 75m throw within me and I will do anything to find it. I believe it’s there and am willing to make these sacrifices, not for USATF, not to prove to someone else, certainly not for fame and money, but for myself.
He talks about his time with Casey Malone, they’ve been working together for over 15 years. Casey is still trying to figure things out, figure out the discus. He’s had to made some hard choices as well and despite his success over the years, has fought every year for everything he’s gotten. Even this year, trying to work through an injury, he fights.
But the difference is Casey enjoys the process. He chooses every year to come back and looks at each year as an opportunity to build layer upon layer hoping this year will make that perfect throw.
Coach Bedard told me to enjoy this process, because it won’t last forever. Enjoy the start of every season as an opportunity, not an obligation. Enjoy building up a new and better base, working on all those little things that eluded you the year before so I could get to my throw.
He told me about the Loree Smith that competed in college who didn’t care who she competed against, or what position she was in the hammer, she just threw hard and confident and she loved every minute of it…
She’s still here, and it took me a little bit of soul searching to find her again, but I did. So this year, there are going to be a lot of changes, a lot of positive things. I’ve laid a great foundation this off-season and I am continuing to put in place everything I need for this Olympic year.
Plans for 2012
This off-season has given me a lot of time to think about my past seasons, what went well, what needed to be better and evaluate what I wanted out of my sport. This last season had some very promising high notes and unfortunately, some low ones as well, but coming into a new training environment, I was able to see where things went off and where they were going well. The difference between me doing okay and taking off was right on the brink (I had peaks in practice and in warm-ups) and I believe this year will finally be the tipping point I need.
Some of the biggest changes I’m putting into effect is my work life balanced with my training life. I had a very big hole to dig myself out of since leaving AZ, physically, mentally, and financially. This past year, I worked a lot trying to get back on target and had a very unhealthy balance. At one point, I didn’t have a day off for nearly two months where I was either working, traveling, or competing and my work and training days were going from 8am-8pm! This also bled over into my meets where I was getting in at 2am to compete the next day or arriving the day of the meet…
So, this season, with some hard work put in during my off season, I will only be working three to four days a week, keeping my schedule at 20-25 hours a week which is really nice to have a few days off to recover and give me time to really put in focus on training.
My training days are as follows: Sunday: throwing/rhythm Monday: throwing,work , lifting/conditioning Tuesday: 2 throwing/drill sessions and conditioning/lifting Wednesday: Rest/work Thursday: 2 throwing/drill sessions and conditioning/lifting Friday: throwing, work, lifting/conditioning Saturday: Rest/ work
It’s the best schedule I could come up with that should give me enough time to get in all my training, all my recovery, and still barely pay my bills. (Sorry, no more buying shoes until I make the Olympic team!)
I’m also trying to keep time for me in there as well. I write in my spare time, trying to keep time for friends and people who are important to me, and having my dog back is AWESOME because Koji is a little amazing guy. I’ve told myself this year when I am tired I will actually rest and listen to my body. And when all things come together I will be on the US Olympic team again this year and it will be my best season to date.
So yeah, it only took me 11 years to figure out how to enjoy this crazy thing and see each year as an opportunity!