Needless to say, my alignment is off.I still feel physically awesome. I was a little more achy than recent weeks on Saturday, probably because of the slight sickness I've had and all the travel I've done in the last three weeks, but a little achy shouldn't mean 54m. Last year, I threw at Drake Relays and had two meets at Tucson Elite before USAs. Those three competitions were low-key and fun, and I got a chance to really trust the technique I had developed. I wasn't trying to win on every throw, I was just trying to solidify the things I had done in practice. This year, I threw at Drake Relays, flew to Rome a month later, went to Eugene the next weekend, and competed in New York the weekend after that. Rome, Eugene and New York were much more high-pressure than my competitions last year, and dealing with external pressures from having prior success has been something I thought I was prepared for, but perhaps wasn't.
I think it's important to talk about the mental side of track and field. I started working with Dr. Ross Flowers here at the training center last year, and his help has been invaluable. I get to talk to him this afternoon, and I'm craving a good, tough conversation. After I threw 61.56m in 2008 at Big Tens, I suddenly felt like I needed to throw that far every single time I competed, and (in my head) it seemed like people following my career would be disappointed if I didn't. Not true. I realized eventually that people were watching me because they were excited to see me succeed. Sure, they'd be a little bummed if I didn't throw far, but if I did, they'd be happy. I wanted to make them (and myself) happy! It took me a while to learn how to use other people's energy as a positive thing, and I think I'm dealing with the same kind of stress now. Every athlete takes a different path to where they want to be, and I'm doing my best to learn and grow from everything I experience!
It's pretty cool to receive congratulatory text messages/facebook messages/voice mails/tweets when you do well, but something that I took a lot of comfort in this weekend was that people didn't hesitate to contact me to tell me how much they are still supporting me after a poor performance. I feel blessed to have people in my life who cheer for me and lift me up when I'm feeling a little bit down. I try to be that person for them when they need it, too! Part of athletics, though, is always moving forward. So, on to practice today and away from a meet I'm happy to leave behind.