I've created this page to enable my friends and family to keep track of my training and competitions. Most of my posts will be related to training, traveling, and competing but I'll put in other interesting things as they occur. Look for new posts, pictures, and video at least once a week!
For the rest of this post to make sense, I should clarify a few things. My training is split up into blocks. A training block consists of four weeks; three hard weeks and a down week. The kinds of exercises I do (type, and number of repetitions) and weights of implements I throw during each block are pretty much the same from week to week. The fourth week (down week) serves as a rest period before starting a new block the following week. Each new block consists of different exercises, numbers of reps, etc. Normally, I have between 6 and 8 strength blocks per season but due to the surgeries, I missed about half of them but much to my surprise, my strength levels came back relatively quickly. My current lifting block is a transition phase between strength and speed (moderately heavy weights for two or three reps, focusing on moving quickly) but the one before it was a strength block (heavy weights for one or two reps). You can see some video from my training sessions on my new YouTube Channel. I set lifetime bests in the jerk, split jerk, and snatch as well as squatting over 600 lbs for the first time in a few seasons. All in all, I'm very pleased with the progress I made in a short amount of time. From here, my focus will shift into doing more explosive movements at lighter weights in order to help transfer strength into power and speed, which are very important for throwing far.
Upon returning from the holiday break, I was cleared to start athletic activity by the surgeon. I had to start slow but over the course of January, February, and March, I swam, jogged, biked, and lifted my way back into shape. My first meet was at the training center on April 14. I only threw discus but opened up the season at 61.87m (203'), significantly better than my opener in 2010 of 56.81m (186'). I threw next at Drake Relays on April 30th. I strained my groin twice in the weeks leading up to Drake so I was apprehensive about competing, especially in both events. Discus went rather well and shot went rather poorly. I won the disc with a throw of 61.40m (201'), by far my best career performance at Drake stadium. My groin started hurting while warming up for the shot and about all I could think about during the event was not injuring it further, having already lost two weeks of training because of it. Next, I threw both events at another meet at the Training Center. I threw the shot 19.94m (65' 5") and the discus 62.22m (204'). The Tucson Elite came next, offering two throwing opportunities for each event. The competitions were on May 19th and 21st. I really like competing at the Tucson meet every year. It's a throws only meet and the atmosphere is great for big throws. It's also held in the afternoon and evening so it isn't too hot and we get to throw shot under the lights. On the first day, I threw the disc 60.55m (198' 8") and shot 19.77 (64' 10"). On the second day, I threw the disc 60.49m (198' 5") and the shot 20.28m (66' 6"). On my last throw I went from 3rd to 1st and ended up winning. I can't remember the last time I came back to win a competition on my last throw. I think the weekend was a turning point for my season as I identified the trouble areas in my technique which I'll spend the next several weeks working on. Also, my throws have caught up to where I was at around this time last year (pre-surgeries). I still feel a lot of soreness from the sports hernia repair but my wrist and hand feel great. I'm working on a daily basis to mobilize scar tissue, as well as increasing flexibility and range of motion. All of which will help me get and stay healthy for the rest of the season. The best news is: after this post, I'm all caught up to present day on my blog posts! Thanks for your patience!
I'm fully aware of the fact that I may be the worst blog poster ever but my intentions are good. I didn't update my blog while I was on vacation because, well, I was on vacation. I'm sure everyone understands. But to fill everyone in, I'll give a brief synopsis of my time off up until New Years:
- I took Kara on her first backpacking trip and it was AWESOME! We were in the Weminuche Wilderness in southwestern Colorado near Durango. We were in the woods for 5 days and 4 nights and hiked around 25 miles. Check the Picasa Photostream link for pictures of our adventure.
- We also went camping in Rocky Mountain National Park for a few days and hiked, fished, and watched the elk chase each other around.
- After 19 years, my dad drew an extra special elk tag for a unit in northwestern Colorado. I tagged along with my dad and our friend Les. Kara even joined us for a few days. The trip was unbelievable, we saw a ton of wildlife, hiked all over in amazing country, and enjoyed the best of Colorado's beautiful fall weather. Best of all, the elk were in the peak of the rut (breeding season) and the bulls were bugling and fighting like crazy all week. My dad was able to fill his tag on the 7th day of the season with a nice bull. Again, check the Photostream for images.
- I saw a hand and wrist specialist and decided to have surgery to correct an issue that's been giving me pain while throwing for several years. The surgeon, Dr. Karl Larsen, moved one of my thumb tendons and shaved down part of my radius. I was bummed that I needed the surgery but very hopeful that I wouldn't be limited as much by wrist pain in the upcoming season.
- I made the drive from Colorado Springs to LaCenter, Washington to meet up with Kara so we could road trip all the way back to San Diego. We went all the way down the Oregon coast, stopping along the way for fresh seafood (my favorite). We spent a little time in Redwood National Park, visited one of my friends in Reno, and drove down to San Diego along the eastern side of the Sierras.
- I spent Thanksgiving with Kara and her parents in Honolulu. It was incredible! We were in the water every day, went hiking, boating, paddleboarding, snorkeling, sightseeing, etc. It was great spending some time with Kara's folks. They're usually really busy when I visit them in Washington. I can't wait to go back someday and maybe visit some of the other islands!
- Even after a few months off, my groin and lower abs were still causing me pain. After seeing a few more docs, I decided to have surgery to repair what's referred to as a sports hernia. As opposed to a regular hernia, which is a tear in the abdominal wall itself, a sports hernia is a blanket term for a chronic strain or tear in the ab muscles or surrounding fascia. There are apparently a few ways to fix this and I opted for the laproscopic option (smaller incisions, less invasive). I had the procedure done in LA by Dr. Craig Smith. He put two layers of Mylar mesh in behind the muscles in my lower abdominal region. The idea is that the mesh is absorbed into the muscles and the scarring cures it in place and strengthens the area, much like re-bar in concrete (as it was explained to me). The first few days were awful and the first few weeks only a bit better but by the time I returned to San Diego from the holiday break, I was able to start working out again.
- For the holiday break, Kara and I went first to Alabama to visit my grandparents (my dad came down too) and then to Colorado to see my mom. While in Alabama, we fished (big surprise there), ate delicious food, and relaxed. Kara didn't even suffer an attack from a wild animal this year (last year it was a sting ray). As usual, Colorado was a blast. We played a ton of card games as well as a game called Bananagrams. It's sort of like Scrabble but way more fun. I even got to reconnect with some family members I hadn't seen in several years. Of course we also had to squeeze in an ice fishing trip (my favorite winter past-time).
While in Germany, I found the best mustard ever. Another thrower told me about it last fall but I had forgotten until I was browsing at our neighborhood Rewe (German grocery store) in Cologne. It's called Thomy and comes in mittelscharf delikatess-senf, scharfer senf, and other varieties I cannot spell or pronounce correctly. It's packaged in a foil tube, later earning it the nickname "toothpaste mustard" from our friend Les. All kidding aside, the stuff is AMAZING and I packed a handful of tubes in my luggage for friends and family that I knew would appreciate the stuff. Upon arrival at my mom's house in Colorado Springs, I proudly presented the mustard and told of it's awesomeness. Mom tells me that there is a German deli on the West Side that sells brats and other authentic German dishes so we make time to swing by and grab some brats for the grill. The place is pretty small but as I'm looking on the shelves, what do I see? Yep, they carry the same kind of mustard at a deli 7 miles from my mom's house that I brought on a 7,500 mile journey. I was crushed but at least we know a place where we can replenish the supplies...