The outdoor season is upon us. High Schools and colleges have started their first outdoor competitions. Even the Europeans, who start their season later, have completed their first round of meets with Pawel Fajdek emerging as the first 80-meter hammer thrower of the season last weekend. This is the time of the year that marks the transition to the final phase of the season. This phase may last just six more weeks for some athletes, but it is the most important of the year. Below is a list of five things throwers in any event should keep in mind as they start out down the home stretch. Read more
I have been thinking a lot about this since our meet this afternoon. I am a bit worried about the sport I am so passionate about and particularly the events I am so passionate about. Read more
First lets back up. Kamloops has an annual indoor meet called the Van Wryswick Invitational. This year it was on Valentine’s Day weekend and the weight happened to be contested just as we were finishing our second session of the day. Bondarchuk thought it’d be fun if we competed. I threw a result that led me to believe I could make some money at USA Indoors. So I went to Boston! Read more
Obrigado! After a season that started well with 64.26m early on and a lack of competition thereafter, I decided to hang up the shoes for the season and rest. Never have I been is such good shape and competed so little. The USA national championships made only my sixth meet of the year! It was my fourth if you don’t include the competitions that only had five or so throwers (thanks Tim Miller and Jerrod Cook) , which were gracefully put together to give a few of us a chance to compete in May and June. Actually since April 12th, USATF nationals would be my third “real” meet with competitors in other events with exception to my final competition in April while boasting a hefty sinus infection. Along with the lack of competition, I was largely focused on the possibility starting a career in a new field. 2014 was the weirdest and most spread out season of my career, but from it I still learned a lot.
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The European Championships are not even over, but since my competition finished yesterday I’m already looking back on it. And I can’t help but feel mixed emotions. There was lots of good. I placed 21st in Europe. The support of my friends, family, and throwing community was amazing. I got to represent my country in front of a home crowd, and I helped more people learn about the hammer throw. I will write more about the positives in the future. But unfortunately there was also some bad. Mainly: the media coverage.
Yesterday the Swiss Championships took place in Frauenfeld and I captured my sixth straight title. And while I again had little competition, this victory felt a extra special. The crowd was small, but with my parents arriving the day before the meet I knew I had fans. The European championships organizers also used the meet to fine tune their preparations, including live coverage and interviews from Schelbi in the infield, a live stream, and the official European Championships hammer retrieval car. My top athlete also made the women’s podium for the first time.
I always have the tendency to want to “man up” and train through small injuries and pain. By my recollection I have missed only one day of training due to injury over the past decade and I’m quite proud of that. I have a very high pain tolerance that lets me put the little aches and pains in the back of my mind and push through. But just because I did train doesn’t mean I should have. Looking back there are many days where taking the day off would have been a much better decision. Just because the pain has been moved to the back of the mind doesn’t mean that it has disappeared. The body adjusts and copes to avoid the pain. And when the pain finally disappears, the body still reacts like a trained dog, bracing itself for the pain it expects to arrive.
I haven’t blogged about my season so far because, frankly, the results weren’t worth writing about. Had I been throwing personal bests, you’d be the first to know. Had my training gone in the crapper, I’d be dissecting it right here before your eyes. But instead I’ve been stuck in a middle ground: great training but bad meets.
The start of the 2010 season was huge for me. A personal best of just over two meters in some great wind conditions led me to many competitions over 65m. I still feel that my all time best performance thus far was at the Prefontaine Classic (Eugene Diamond League), where I threw 66.95m and was third just behind the likes of Zoltan Kovago and Piotr Malachowski. This allowed me some Diamond League points but for some reason immediately exiled me from two other Diamond League meetings to come? I had passed on the opportunity to compete in Monaco, as my wife and I where dead set on getting pregnant that summer. After being snubbed from 2 contests which I had already been invited, I competed after a 6 week layoff at the Zurich Diamond League Final, and in addition my season best of 69.90m qualified me for the Continental Cup (World Cup) in Split, Croatia.
After taking two weeks off at the end of September, I have already jumped back into training for 2014 and the first week is now behind me. During my time off I took some time to reflect on the last season. Whether I make this public or not, this is something I do every year. Some things are more clear in hindsight than they were at the time and everyone must learn from these moments in order to continue to improve in the future.
I had just two goals to start out the season. Unlike many athletes, I do not define my goals in terms of how far I want to throw or what place I want to finish. I simply identify what I need to do to get better and then focus on that. After the 2012 season I was physically in the best shape of my life but I couldn’t translate that into the throw. Therefore my first goal was clear: my technique needed to get better. My only other goal related to my priorities for competitions. Rather than trying to hit a peak for the Swiss Championships, I wanted to shift my peak to the Jeux de la Francophonie this year. Having a later peak allowed me more time to prepare and hopefully reach better performances. With those two goals I started out towards the 2013 season.