Monday, April 16, 2012

Ok, So I'm Not 'Always' Right

This past Saturday I competed at Western Kentucky University.  Let's just say Saturday morning didn't start out too good.

I'll start with Friday night.  My training partner Gwen Berry and I traveled 3hrs to Owensboro, Kentucky and stayed the night there since we competed at 10:30AM the next morning.  Well, I am not much of a night person, so I of course fell asleep around 8:30PM, leaving Gwen up all by herself with the 12 channels we had at the Days Inn.  At 11:28PM, I know because I looked at the clock, I was woken out of my peaceful sleep by knocking on the door.  Me, being half sleep yelled 'Come In!' as if I were at home, forgetting I was in a hotel.  Gwen of course laughed at me, and I proceeded to get out of bed to see who was at the door.  There was a gentleman whom I have never met before standing there, but hey, I'm not scared, so I opened the door.  He proceeds to ask if my mother is there because he had just had a conversation with her.  I of course responded that there were no mothers here, but he insisted that she was and he had more money for her, I'm assuming soliciting for either sex or drugs.  Now, in my head I am thinking, "If my mother was really in this room, why would I allow some random participate in any of these illegal activities with her with my knowledge".  I told the man that he was again mistaken and to "find some business", in a not so nice tone.  He apologized and I went back to sleep.  10mn later I was awoken again by knocks at the door.  We decided to ignore it hoping he would go away...but of course...he didn't.  This time he starts yelling and cursing outside the door for me to open it up.  Now, call me crazy, but I don't take kindly to people yelling or cursing at me, regardless of the situation or who it is, so I became frustrated and got right back up, but this time didn't open the door but pulled back the curtain and talked to him through the window.  He still was trying to give my supposed "mother" this $200 and was convinced I was lying to him.  Being me, I gave him a stern piece of my mind, which I won't type out exactly what I told him here, but it went along the lines of me telling him to 'kindly' not knock at my door, wake me out of my sleep, yell or curse anymore.  He again apologized and left, and we never heard from him again.

Fast forward to Saturday morning.  It is 730AM, and Gwen and I travel down the road to the good ol' Waffle House for breakfast.  I'm checking my e-mails on my phone and Ashley Duncan (Muffet) sent an e-mail regarding directions to the meet, which I saw the day before but mentally checked it as 'boring' and didn't read it.  I decided to read it just to see what route she would have taken to the meet, and it was quicker than the one we took, and I saw her directions were leading me somewhere completely different than where I was.  In my mind I'm thinking "Silly Ashley, giving me the wrong directions like this...what if I would have taken them?.  So I call her up and say, "Hey Muff...why are you sending me to Bowling Green when the meet is in Owensboro?".  She of course tells me its not and we go back and forth about it (Yes I am arguing with somebody who went to University of Kentucky and is a college coach in Kentucky).  My argument was that the signs said Western Kentucky and the hotel was across the street from the campus.  Finally, I decide she might be right (this is after asking the patrons of Waffle House what school it was down the street and not getting an answer of 'Western Kentucky' and the waitress saying that WKU was in Bowling Green).  By now, it is 8AM and we are 67mi away, which actually isn't too bad since we don't compete for almost 3hrs.  We took our food to go, went back to the hotel, packed up in 3mn, luckily we had washed up before breakfast, and were on the road at 8:09AM.  We made it to Bowling Green at 8:50 (You do the math on how fast we were going), and to our luck, no real bathrooms anywhere near the track, so we had to change in the port-o-potty, fun stuff let me tell you.  Ashley definitely had to rub it in a little once she got to the meet that I'm cocky and can't always be right lol.  I of course don't consider myself cocky at all.  I like to think of it as confidence in whatever my mind decides should come out of my mouth.  It does help that I'm more right than wrong though ;)

Now comes the good stuff.  I had my best competition of the outdoor season thus far.  I threw 68.39m, which still isn't anywhere near far enough, but it felt good to get one over 68m.  It means I am heading in the right direction after my whopping 63m performance last weekend.  Another big plus was Gwen throwing 71.93 on her first throw, getting the 'A' standard out of the ways so congrats to her.  I take full credit for getting her adrenaline pumping by sending us to the wrong city.  But back to me, I threw 68.39 and I probably had 70% power on the release.  I didn't hit the finish like I usually do, so there is definitely more to come in there, especially with still being in the middle of base training.  My body also felt more recovered than I have felt all season.  I knew I had a better chance of recovering since I was competing on Saturday.  6 days after lifting I have found is usually my best competition day.  I got some extra rest this past week also without losing any practice reps which also helped.  It felt good to compete without my body feeling like it needed a nap.  Last week, I remember being in the middle of competition at 4 in the afternoon and yawning and my eyelids being heavy, but that wasn't the case today.

I had a decent lifting workout yesterday, my power is slowly coming back, 125kg hang clean, 333kg box squat.  I wanted to go for 342kg but coach wouldn't let me.  I feel a little sore today so I am curious how my throwing will go today, but I'm a little excited for practice today.  I think its because my job gave me some good news that I won't have to come into the office this week and I can work from Carbondale instead with the possibility of even better news coming tomorrow.

Ok, I think I typed enough for today.  I will update again soon.

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Wrong Direction

I competed this past weekend at SEMO since it is less than an hour away from Carbondale where I train.  I didn't throw very well needless to say.  I think what messed me up for this weekend was the fact that on that Monday, Ashley Duncan (Muffet) came down to throw shot with coach and Jeneva as she does every Monday, and we ended up having a discus duel.  Let's just say that I was confident I could compete, after not throwing discus in 4yrs, and I lost by about 20ft (170 to 150).  This I feel broke my confidence to the point that I didn't have anything left for the hammer this past Friday.  And thats a true story.

In all seriousness, coach and I feel like my body is getting a little fatigued and worn down from my lack of sleep where I'm not recovering in time to compete.  For those wondering, here is a run down of my weekly schedule so that you can see what I'm talking about.

550AM - Wake Up
6AM - 3PM Work from Carbondale
315PM - 530PM Lift

3:50AM - Wake Up
4AM - 1230PM - Work from Carbondale
1245PM - 3PM - Throw
4PM - 9PM - Take train to Chicago
9:15PM - 10PM Start my laundry, unpack, shower

315AM - Wake Up
330AM - Drive 45mn to work
4:30AM - 430PM - Work in the office
430PM - 515PM - Drive to CSU to practice
530PM - 730PM - Throw
8PM-9PM Eat and Shower

315AM - Wake Up
330AM - Drive 45mn to work
430AM - 1130AM - Work in the office
1130AM - 12:15PM - Drive to CSU to practice
1230PM - 2PM Throw
230PM - 315PM - Eat & Shower
330PM - Pack
445PM - 930PM - Take train to Carbondale

420AM - Wake Up
430AM - 10AM - Work from Carbondale
1030AM - 1PM - Throw

9AM - 930AM - Lift
Travel and/or Compete

Travel and/or Compete, or 2-a-day practice

So basically during the week I don't get to sleep much and on top of that I have to travel twice a week.  I will need to figure something out soon in order to make sure im rested enough for trials.

In the mean time.  I hope Ashley is ready for a rematch in a few weeks after I've got some practice throws in.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Outdoor Season Has Begun

I haven't posted in a while since I haven't had much to talk about.  I figure I will post so Ashley can stop bugging me about it =).  I competed this past weekend at Ole Miss, I was a little disappointed in how I threw.  I threw 66.52 or 218'3 in my first hammer competition in almost 4yrs.  Coach is telling me it wasn't bad, but I felt that for as tired as my legs felt I could have still gone 68m this past weekend because I didn't hit one single throw.  I kept running into trouble on my entry the entire meet where I couldn't get it moving fast enough to do much of anything.  Their ring was a little slow which was some of the reason why I couldn't get my entry moving, but the main thing is my legs, mainly my hips, felt really tired.  I suppose it was from doing my heaviest squat workout I've done since I've started training again that Sunday and I didn't recover out in enough time.  Right now we are still in base in the weight room and on the throwing field but the high reps should start to taper down in the next few weeks. But that's enough excuses...

My best year as a collegian I threw 63m when I opened and 5 weeks later threw over 72m, so I am not too worried about where I am right now.  We are going to tweak some things in my weekly routine for this week and see if that helps when I compete this Friday.  Coach has had me doing similar training to Jeneva but I will be going back to my old training routine from my collegiate days with some minor changes by yours truly and see if I will recover on time for meet day.  Practice has been going pretty decent though.  My practice marks are pretty close to what they were in college and a lot of them are even farther so that is promising.  The only area in my mind that I am down training wise is my squats, but I had a 600lb squat today that wasn't too hard so the power is coming back slowly.

So far in my weight loss I've lost 20lbs since March 1st, so I am still about 30-40lbs from where I want to be this year for hammer, but if my performance starts dropping I will have to stop losing and stay where I am.  So far I have been getting stronger and throwing farther in practice so I will keep at where I'm at.

Anyway, I am running off of 3hrs of sleep so I am going to get off of the computer and go ahead and relax for the rest of the day.  I will try and update again soon.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, February 27, 2012


I got back from USA's yesterday and lets just say I didn't perform how I wanted to.  I'm not sure exactly what went wrong but it is something that I don't intend to happen again.  I like to learn quickly from my mistakes so next year I will be better prepared.

My coach peaked us correctly, my body felt great and the ball felt light.  I honestly felt like I could have thrown 85ft on Saturday but I couldn't seem to hit a throw.  I didn't get warmed up until my 5th throw and it was a cage foul.  Cory Martin was coaching me at the meet and he felt like that would have been the throw to do it because for the first time that meet I had the ball in the right position and I didn't turn it all of the way through and rushed the finish.

After I threw I called my coach and told him that I felt a little too good for the meet.  I haven't thrown in a big meet in 4 years which means I haven't had a peak in 4 years.  My confidence was high, my body felt great, and I feel as though that made me a little too relaxed.  After the opening throw I should have been fired up to throw, but I wasn't.  I was so loose and relaxed that I kept getting my foot down late on my 2nd turn and in turn kept falling back on my release.  Like I said earlier, I couldn't seem to get my blood to start pumping to throw until finals and by the time I was ready I was out of throws.  Cory kept telling me that I didn't seem aggressive and that is exactly what I couldn't seem to find.  I threw high 79s on my last throw but decided to scratch it because it wouldn't have won the meet.  I will say that what it came down to was that I wasn't prepared enough mentally to throw far at this meet.

Now we move on to the event that matters most which is the hammer.  I look forward to seeing how far I've progressed since going indoors.  I think I've actually taken more hammer throws indoors than weight so the transition should be pretty easy.  Starting March 1st I will be working out with one of my coaches Connie Price-Smith and my training partner Gwen Berry to get into better physical shape for the hammer and I'm sure my coach John Smith will put me into a month of hard base training before I open in April.

After performing at USA's I find myself with a little extra spark and motivation heading into outdoors.  One thing that I am is a competitor and I take losing personal.  I try to think of where I went wrong and what I can do the next time so that I don't lose again.  I feel as though I have something to prove this year outdoors, and hopefully I am capable of proving it.

Thanks for reading

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Last Update Before USAs

Tomorrow morning I am flying out to Albuquerque from St. Louis.  I want to note that I am afraid of flying, so while I am excited to get there, I'm not excited about the trip to get there.  My practices have been going really well this past week and I can tell that I am peaking at exactly the right time.  I tweaked a few things earlier this week on my entry thanks to Gwen Berry, which hopefully will translate into bigger throws on Saturday.

That is really all that I have for now.  I will let how I do on Saturday speak for itself.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


It is 6:30AM and I am wide awake.  This is a habit of my work hours where even on my days off I wake up at 5:30AM wide awake.  It feels good to be off for the next 3 days and being able to sleep a little longer than I do on my work days.  This weekend I won't be competing and will be using the time to rest up and work on a few technical things before USA's.

Practice yesterday was a little frustrating in most ways but there were some good things I got out of it.  I have to remember that once I was in better throwing shape in college Wednesdays weren't very good throwing days for me and Mondays, which is the day after my hard lifting workout of the week, always seemed to be better.  Since I started back training those days had been reversed until now, where Wednesday I always threw better than I did on Monday.  I see the change as a good thing due to the fact that Mondays are much heavier throwing days and all of my balls went far this week.  Yesterday I felt a little sluggish but nothing to worry about.

For the past few weeks I have developed a problem with letting my ball rise too much on my entry which has attributed to me struggling to throw over 80ft.  If anyone watched me compete the past 2 weeks, you could see that I was throwing the ball into the rafters.  I think the ball went 80ft into the air before it even landed these past two weeks.  The highlight of yesterdays practice is that I think for the most part I fixed that problem.  Coach had me doing a few different things yesterday to try and keep the ball down and I think it helped a lot.  The biggest adjustment though came from when J.C. Lambert started helping me on my entry at the end of practice.  At one point he had the same problem that I am having now and was able to correct it.  He had me try two different things on my entry and the ball started taking off instantly.  I am looking forward to working on this the next few practices before I leave.

One of the great things about training here at SIU is just the overall throwing atmosphere.  Everybody pushes everybody everyday.  I train with two other hammer throwers and they are my legitimate competition every meet, and to make the Olympic team this year.  Yet, if we see each other doing something wrong we help each other, knowing it is only making our competition better.  The best advantage of throwing with them is that every single practice is a competition.  If I am struggling one day and they aren't, I work that much harder to try and beat them every practice, and they do the same.  The training intensity we get from practice is something you can't get from training by yourself.  Also, the fact that we are three different builds of throwers makes things interesting also.  Coach calls us his Ferrari, Mack truck, and Tractor lol.

Today is Thursday so I will be throwing hammer a little later today but before that I will probably go and help Coach Connie out in the office for a few hours.  I'm about to go cook some breakfast and relax a little before I head to the track office so that is all for now.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

2 Weeks to USAs

USA's is 2 weeks away and I couldn't be more anxious, but in a good way.  I am excited to see how far I can throw when my body is peaked out.  In an effort to keep myself as fresh as possible, I will be in Carbondale for the next two weeks and won't be traveling back and forth to Chicago which should help my body out a lot.

This past weekend I threw at Iowa State University.  I always like throwing there because their ring is fast like ours in Carbondale.  I ended up throwing 24.35m this time out.  I really felt like I could have gotten over 80ft again but I feel like the day to do it would have been the day before.  Usually I lift hard on Sundays so that my body is recovered by Friday to throw my farthest but I threw on Saturday this week and I feel as though I was too recovered.  This is something that I will have to adjust for USA's since I throw Saturday there as well.

Since today is Sunday, I lifted weights this afternoon.  I can feel my body getting ready to peak because I am feeling the most powerful and explosive that I have felt this season so far.  I had my best clean workout of the season so far at 135kg.  Since being off for 3yrs my squats are still a little down from where they were when I was in college but was able to box squat 308kg today.  I have faith that they will get much better during outdoor season now that I can consistently lift weights with my coach in Carbondale.

March 1st marks day 1 of outdoor hammer throwing.  SIU is building a new outdoor track and field facility, so although the winter has been mild here, our old cage was torn down in the process so we have unable to go outside to throw.  I am very excited to finally get outside and start throwing hammer.  I probably won't open up until April so that gives me the entire month of March to adjust to throwing outdoors as well as getting into better overall physical hammer shape.

Well, its 7PM here now and I am on my way to go see the new Denzel Washington movie Safe House so that is all for now.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, February 6, 2012


It's been around a week since I last posted on here so I think that it is time to update.  As I have more time I will update more often.  It is pretty time consuming to train, compete, and work full time.  Today is Monday so I will be traveling back home to Chicago for 2 nights before coming back to Carbondale for the next few weeks.  I get off work at 12:30PM today (yes I am working right now) and will go to practice as soon as I get off and then hitting the road for the lovely 4hr drive back home.

It feels good being back in Carbondale so often.  When I was in college I didn't appreciate the small town environment as much as I do now.  It is the perfect place to train because there aren't distractions like there are in a big city where all of my friends and family are, although I do miss them at times.  I would like to make one note and that is "Go Giants!".  Although I am a Bears fan at heart, the Giants are my 2nd favorite team and I am glad they won.

Indoor season is slowly coming to an end now.  In less than 3 weeks, my training partner Gwen Berry and I will be traveling to New Mexico for USA Indoor Nationals.  I threw 24.52m I think was the mark, this past weekend here at SIU.  I am glad I got over 80 again, but I feel like I could have thrown farther.  My lower back has been sore since Wednesday when my SI slipped out during practice.  Coach and I decided to err on the side of rest that week, so I didn't throw or lift on Thursday like I usually do.  Friday morning I was still a little sore, but nowhere near as bad as Wednesday and Thursday so I decided to go ahead and throw.  Usually on Thursdays I do an explosive light lifting workout which gives me a little more, 'snap', as I like to call it on meet day.  Since I skipped it this week I did not feel anywhere near as explosive as I usually do on meet day although I felt powerful.  Technically, I threw pretty badly and still managed to throw it over 80.  I was allowing the low point on the ball to drop too low and bending over on my entry.  The fact that I had probably my worst week of practice in over a month and threw over 80 gives me a little more confidence going into Nationals when my body will be peaking.  I have a goal distance that I would like to throw, but I won't say what it was until after I compete at USAs.

I am looking forward to outdoor since that is when things really start to count.  I have gotten better technically and at feeling the ball since I started training again.  I have put more focus into my footwork than I have done in other years.  I have always had a habit of picking up my feet and skipping across the ring on turns 2 and 3 but I have cleaned  that up a lot.  It is nowhere near perfect, but better.  With outdoor season, also comes time for me to drop weight.  I am very motivated to get leaner and more explosive for outdoor season.  I am confident that I can lose a decent amount of weight while still building my strength levels.  I will admit it will be hard because I like to eat, but it is something that I need to do.

Well, I think that is all for today.  I will try to update again soon