So my short, somewhat-miracle of a season has come to a close! My bronze medal at USAs this year allowed me to chase the World Championships A standard of 62.00m to potentially make my third Worlds team and travel to Moscow, Russia. I was fully capable of doing that physically, but my technique didn't allow for it.
I only gave myself one chance at the A. My knee was sore for two weeks after USAs, and I knew it was silly to even consider competing every week in a desperate attempt at a trip to World Championships. Tom Pukstys was awesome enough to set up a meet at Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago) for myself and a few other javelin throwers to throw at on July 20, the last day of the chase period. All or nothing!
The difference between my left knee on June 20 (USAs) and July 20 was ridiculous. I felt so powerful, so fast, and so much more comfortable on the runway than I had a month prior. I had had two great practices at Iron Wood the week before, and I felt more confident than I have since before my injury more than a year ago. More than anything, it was fun. National championships were fun this year simply because I was releasing a javelin in competition again, but Chicago was fun because I finally felt strong and sure on the runway. I've been patiently waiting for that feeling all year, and even though I only managed a 57.12m toss (a season's best and a win!) and will miss Worlds, I couldn't be happier looking at the future of my career. I also had a huge group of Purdue friends in attendance in Chicago, and couldn't be sad about spending time with them immediately following the competition!
This year, I started throwing javelins in practice in April. In the previous three training seasons of my career, I've thrown javelins from November (at least) through the end of the season (usually the end of August). That's five months of technique work that I missed out on this year; I can't duplicate javelin throwing with med balls, as many as I may have thrown! My shoulders, core, back, SI joints, glutes, and even knees felt awesome in Chicago, but a few great sessions out of only a few months of throwing practices are difficult to duplicate when the pressure is on. It's hard to not be disappointed about missing a third straight World Championships team, but I knew that if this was the outcome of this year I would be left hungrier than ever for future seasons, and that's exactly how I feel. I also know what I need to work on and what I loved about my training this year, and am empowered to put those things into practice in the Fall.
I've blogged about how long this journey back to health has felt and I've shared about the hard days, but I hope that the overwhelming feeling I have of gratitude has shined through. I took a few yoga classes in the week after my season ended, and one day we were asked to consider something that we take for granted in our lives. Honestly, moving to a new place, making new friends and cherishing the old ones, earning my health back day by day with the help of the best athletic trainers, relying on Russ and my family for support when I needed it, being lucky enough to re-sign with ASICS after a major injury, understanding how awesome my management team is, and knowing that I still have a place at the CSOTC by the grace of USATF even after a post-injury sub-par season left me hard-pressed to think of something. This year has been amazing despite the challenges I faced each day, and many days because I overcame those challenges. I'm going to stock up on seeing the beauty in the world through my camera lens during all of August and September before taking this grateful attitude and renewed hunger into my Fall training. So excited!