Saturday, December 22, 2012

Your Favorite Blog is Back

Ok, so most of you surely didn't even notice, but my blog was gone for a while, and this post marks its return.  A pretty weird time to re-start this thing, but that's just how it goes.  

So the first question on your mind might be "this blog was gone for a while?".  I won't address that question but if you did notice its absence you probably wondered at some point "why did it disappear?".  I'll be short with my answer to that question.  I reached a point in my pole vaulting career early last year where I was no longer attacking the event with the ferocity and vigor that I once had.  I was in great shape, but consistently competing poorly.  At that point, I must admit I was ashamed of the athlete that I had become.  I wanted to be done with that feeling altogether.  And that's why I took away my blog.  Make sense?  Probs not, but that's all I'm going to say about that.

Anyway, in about July of last year, following last years disappointments (5.40m season best, multiple no-heights, not feeling like myself), I knew I needed a change, so I called up my good friend Jacob Pauli and asked him if he would coach me.  He said yes, but wondered how we would arrange this coaching scenario.  I told him I would move to his city, and he said "giddy-up then" and hung up the phone.  (Sequences shortened for dramatic effect).

Fast forward a few months and I've had the best fall of my life while living in Waterloo, Iowa and training at the University of Northern Iowa.  It has been completely different than anything I have ever done before.  We attacked my base training with a focus on eliminating my weaknesses while still exploiting some of the strengths that I already had.  Different is good.  I don't want to get too much into details, but I'm feeling strong, fast, healthy and confident.  I feel like myself.

The move has also been incredible for my mental state.  Aside from Jacob, nobody in Iowa knows what I looked like before this year.  I don't feel like I have to prove anything to anyone, and I have no distractions from other coaches or athletes.  We are stuck in our little frozen tundra bubble, just plugging away.

It took me this whole fall of rebuilding myself to finally feel like I could bring back this blog.  It won't ever get too specific, because I don't think I have anything unique or profound to say about how to pole vault in a broad or general sense, nor should anyone probably be listening to what I would have to say about that anyway.  Everyone who knows me also knows that my theories on the pole vault are comically simple.  I just wanted to bring this back for the people who know me and care about what I'm doing.

Anyway, I just want this post to be over so I can quit talking about why my blog is back and start making jokes again.  

May the force be with you. 

By the way, this post is dedicated to Robert Coates, who reached out to me a while back and asked me why my blog had disappeared.  He's a former pole vaulter who now works as an air traffic controller. He apparently enjoys reading my posts and wanted the blog to come back.  Well it's finally time, Robert, so here's hoping you're not sitting there now wondering why you ever asked me to write again.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Reno, Home Meet, A Bloomington Visitor, etc

So. Check it.

Reno was super fun, but I blew it again. It was a pretty pathetic NH, and I walked away just feeling upset with myself. I had a great warmup and started the meet on a pretty decent starting pole, but when the crossbar went up I started running low, planting late, and not doing the things in the air that we had worked in practice. Bummer!

The rest of the weekend was super fun though, and it was sweet to see my best PV'er buddies (minus JP... so sad) and talk to all of the young pole vaulters. Here are some things that happened:

  1. Rosie's for at least 25 meals
  2. Gun Show
  3. Bro-Out all weekend
  4. Got fired up from Bemiller and Brad
  5. Blackjack table fiasco of 2012
  6. BTHBS (Bobby...)
  7. Chatted with some youngin's about the importance of proper training shoes. (Really? That's the best advice I could give?)
  8. Greg never showed
  9. Bencomo showed via Greyhound Bus
  10. Occupied the Horseshoe Bar
  11. Let the cat out of the bag about the T&M... so dumb... some of you know what that means
  12. Keno in Reno
  13. Howled like a wolf while winning on the Howlin' Wolf Slot Machine.

When the dust had settled, Dustin joined Vera and me on the plane back to Bloomington. We hit some hot training during the week, and I showed Dustin around Btown, which I had consistently, appropriately and perhaps exaggeratedly hyped for the past 9 months or so.

On Saturday, we had a meet at IU that went pretty poorly for us. I made 5.10m and 5.20m, and failed miserably at 5.30m, and Dustin blew over 5.10m by a foot, but then tweaked his hammy around the mid on his next trip down on a bigger pole, took it up anyway (gotta admire that), and came back down on the runway. He nearly saved it into a picture perfect tuck and roll, but he got tangled up, landed on his right foot, and bruised his heel a little. It's not that bad though, and he's been about 5.50m in the air every time he has the right pole in his hands lately, so look for a BIG one from him soon.

I also have to give a shout out to my boy Bobby Talley for his 5.31m PR this weekend in Seattle. If anyone ever gets a chance to watch him jump, please watch how hard he works in the air. It is pretty incredible. Serious feel.

So this weekend I'm headed to Champaign, Illinois to jump at the U of Ill, and I'm bringin back some old cues. I'm on the right track with things, but the only part that I'm missing is finishing jumps on the right poles. My 5.20m make this weekend was on a 5m 13.3, and was a pretty serious blowthrough. The problem, though, is that when I catch sight of the bar it feels as if I'm going to come up short. Because of this I'm not finishing the jumps I need to be finishing. In reality, I should have been on a 12.9 or 12.6 this weekend, which should equate to some big bars. SO, this weekend is going to be all about going old school... banging in poles and throwin' a spanker on it up top. In case you're a little confused about my nomenclature... here:

That's right.

OK, this is a super long blog post about mostly nothing, so it's over now.

Peace be with you all.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012 and returning to this Blog instead

Dude. That blog on my website really sucked to update. This is way better. That being said, my website is still awesome. Check that noise out HERE, y'all. There are one or two blog updates on there that you might have missed. They were boring anyway.

OK, so here we are in the rest week completing cycle four of training for this season. That means 16 full weeks of preparation, and this fall all I missed was one weight workout and one track session while the flu was trying to hold me down. Besides, that, stuff has been seriously going down. I have PR'ed for a triple in the snatch, tied a PR for a triple in the clean, PR'ed for my 8lb Overhead Medball Throw/Man Test, and had some cool jump sessions.

Speaking of jumping, this break was sweet. I got to have some sessions with some awesome friends in Dustin DeLeo, Mikey Woepse, Bobby Talley and Brad Walker (best photo ever?!?).

Pappa Woepse, aka "El Jefe", and also the dude next to Mikey in that glamour shot I linked to above, served as coach for three sessions at Mater Dei High School, which, as it turns out, is a dirty dirty place to pole vault. We were all beating in poles, turning the corner like banshees, and doing our best high-fiving.

Ok what else? So I have a meet this weekend at home. It should be a smashing good time. I'll be bringin' it from 18 steps and trying to go bangarang on some big boy poles. Mostly I'm just ready to compete again. It is fun.

After that, I might (or might not) head to Iowa to see one of my very best buddies, Jacob Pauli (JP, you SOB, you've done it again), and jump in a meet in the dome at UNI. After that, it's time to get our Reno on. Jeeeeeaaaahhhhhh son!

OK I gotta go hit this rest week. That's enough of this.

Peace Be With You.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Training and Changing

What up faithful followers?

Alright, check it... It's fall in Bloomington, which means fall training with Jake Wiseman, which somehow I can truly say I enjoy. We have been pulling out our old bag of fall tricks for two four-week cycles now, and 2 intro weeks, so we are pretty well into training. Vera Neuenswander has joined me this year on the ever-so-glamorous post-collegiate pole vaulting scene at IU, and it's been good having her around already. We train on our own in the mornings, and then go and lift at Force Fitness in the afternoons three days a week before heading over to IU to do some volunteer coaching. It's pretty cool, but pretty draining too, and I dont even have a real job.

So what's different this year? Let's resort to my patented list format.
1) Training partner, ya dig?
2) Longer approaches on the reg.
3) Drills. Then, more drills.
4) It's a secret.
5) Lots of corrective exercises.
6) Recovery. Suit. Every. Night.
7) Turnin' on the glutes (fire up the engine).
8) Big boys bring the noise
9) Meet in December (jeah boy).
10) I seriously wear a recovery suit to bed. That wasn't a joke.
11) Lots and lots of pole runs.
12) I'm giving away all of my dirty secrets.

OK so seriously, a lot has changed this year. I am focusing a lot in the weight room on getting my body to function correctly, and getting the chains to fire in the right orders. I'm taking that big bully TFL out of the equation and replacing it with some big bad hot firin' glute meads. That small change has already changed the way that I run, and (I think) how cleanly I'm getting off the ground lately. That being said, I haven't actually pole vaulted regularly yet. That starts next week. And I'm psyched. I will be back to 14 steps consistently by our first meet on DECEMBER 9TH which I'm super psyched about.

What else?

I guess that's it. I still miss my friends in Europe every day, especially Mitch and Nicole, and I can't wait to get back soon. Hopefully Duddy Ramone, C-Bait and I-Poodle Bencomo will decide to show also.

F0llow me on twitter for updates on whatever it is I feel like updating during the day.

Donate to my dream here if you feel like supporting me.

Big Ups.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

End of Europe/Beginning of 2012 Training

Ok y'all... How did I not know that I hadn't updated this thing since the land of good and plenty? My bad, my bad. Ok so the end of Europe went something like this:

1) immediately found out how expensive Denmark is by getting clowned at the clown downtown
2) lost rock paper scissors for the bed
3) couldn't convince anyone that Tivoli gardens is awesome
4) ate 25 hot wings with Greg 10 minutes before we warmed up for the meet
5) felt like crap warming up for the meet
6) tried to jump in the rain. No dice
7) dusin high salted a 3rd attempt at 5.25 for the win in a downpour
8) had the weirdest candle lit meet dinner ever
9) charged stuff to the room
10) blowout argument about women's tennis

1) Nicole brought chocolate hot dogs to the airport
2) took a bath in a public fountain upon arrival
3) Mitch blew over 5.50m in Lausanne
4) music festival + pale ale + club = hangover
5) learned to slack line
6) swam in the river lots of times
7) ate some really good sausage
8) drove to basel for a street meet
9) our car took home all of the money/wine
10) went to Tucino for some man time
11) fell in love with the swiss land once more
12) swam in clear blue waters, dove off of pale white cliffs, ended it all with a sketchy near-death departure
13) back to Biel and Zurich in the morning to leave
14) airberlin had a laugh, our poles "wouldn't fit" on the plane
15) shipped them home and got no receipt, confirmation, or tracking info
16) learned it feels weird to combine 11 hours of sitting with coffee, wine and tylonol PM
17) took 2.5 hours to get through customs at LAX... Welcome home.

OK well thats that. All in all I had a fantastic time in Europe and I am super glad to have had the opportunity to go on this trip. Thanks a ton to my manager, Chris Bencomo at Golden Spikes Management for putting it together and letting me on board the squad. When I go back the next time I know that it will be more business oriented, and it probably won't be for quite so long, but I have so many contacts now it will make it a blast every time we thrash in the future. More thanks go out to: Alhaji Jeng, Oscar Janson, Yoo Kim, Michel Frauen, Brad Walker, Andy Stubbs, Steve Lewis, Gio Lanaro, Chris Chappell, Tori Peña, Allison Stokke, Theresa Raub, and most of all, Mitch Greeley, Nicole Büchler, Dustin DeLeo, Gregory Woepse, Bobby Talley, Chris Bencomo and Robert Jan Jansen. Thank you!!! (also I probably forgot tons of people).

OK so now what am I doing now...

I'm currently back in Indiana getting my training going for the 2012 season. I'm back with my college coach, Jake Wiseman, and we are getting ready to fire everything up full steam and prepare for the indoor season. I learned in Europe and in San Diego that I am able to jump every 4 days or so from full approach and not be hurt, so we are going to definitely do more jumping this fall than we have done in the past, and I'm really excited for that. Physically I know that I am capable of much more than 5.50m, and my short run jumping suggests the same. This year I want to have about 10x the long run practices that i had last year, which would be about 20. Not too much to ask! Last year I practiced from full approach two times the entire year! That just doesn't really work out, so were gonna get a better handle on it this year. I am also excited to be back in at Force Fitness and Performance. We have a new focus this fall on functional strength, and activating the parts of my engine that arent quite firing right. I'm feeling really good about it and after a week I'm already happy with it since I'm sore in all of the places that I have never been sore before. Good feeling believe it or not!!

Ok well that's enough for now, but I do have a cool announcement coming soon for whoever stays tuned!

May the force be with you. And also with you.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Land of Good and Plenty

Ok so we are here in Götberg, Sweden, and I think it's time for an update. Dustin and I flew into Stockholm a week ago, struggled to get our poles from the plane to the terminal, left the airport (with 4 other runners that hated our guts for taking so long), and hit the road for Karlstad, which is about 4 hours away. We got in around 230am, checked into our hotel, had to switch rooms, rock-paper-scissored for who had to sleep on a mattress pad on the floor, and went to bed.

The next day was the meet and we both felt incredible warming up, and had to move our marks way back. I was coming from about 41.45m, which is about 40cm further than i usually do, and was still hitting some under mids and getting picked off of the ground. Unfortunately, the pits and box were not cooperating with the bending poles, and neither Dustin or I could get even our small poles to roll into the pit. I was on my 13.3 in the meet, with a bit of a tailwind, unable to catch up to the pole and going straight up in the air. I managed a measely 5.08 (hard one to post), but fortunately Dustin got it wired a tiny bit better and ripped around his 17.6 to blow over 5.25m for second place. Luckily I learned a valuable lesson in pit slapping, and next time i know it's happening I have a few tricks on how to deal with it.

Two days after the meet, after some hanging out by the river and riding bikes around karlstad, we headed to Götberg by train, took a cab to Friidrottens Hus where we would be training, and found the place where were staying, G.A.K, a wrestling facility not 50m from the track that features some nice bunk beds, wrestling mats, a weight room, a locker room and a kitchen/cafeteria. Sanitation is questionable but were immuned to that now.

The next day we went to the train station to pick up Greg, who never showed up, so we left. About an hour later he strolled into the near-impossible-to-find facility, and we were psyched to be re-adjoined. We have already seen lots of the town thanks to our new friends Oscar Janson and Alhaji Jeng, and we've gotten in two really good sessions of training, which is the reason we came here in the first place.

Tomorrow we are planning on having a jump session here, even though our poles are already in Copenhagen waiting for us at our next meet. I'm sure we will be able to find a few poles at the facility to jump on, and maybe we will post a few vids.

Until next time,

The thrash will go on here in Sweden!

Saturday, July 30, 2011


OK. Lot's has happened so I'll list them in order by place.

  1. Rippin headwind
  2. Dustin landed on the track and hurt his wrist
  3. I made 5.15m
  4. We feasted on brats, pasta and Dutch beer
  5. Talked to Rens Blom over dinner
  6. And his hot blonde girlfriend
  7. Dustin got no-shame 2011 off to a good start with Olive
  8. Changed into suits in the parking lot
  9. Blew Jason Wurster's mind with our exit
  10. Headed to Bern
  1. Rolled in on Mitch and Nicole at 2am
  2. Ate some Chocolate Hot Dogs
  3. Breathed the Swiss air and were immediately addicted to Switzerland
  4. Slept a few hours
  5. Drank some Level 10 Coffee and ate some more Chocolate Hot Dogs
  6. Left 1 hr late for Monaco for no reason
  1. Rolled in an hour late for the vault
  2. Found out the vault started an hour later than we thought
  3. Settled down in the thick of it. Deep in the cut.
  4. Watched Renaud blow over 5.90m and almost 6.05m - High salt.
  5. Took a picture with Bolt in the hotel lobby. He loved the thrash
  6. Went out to a club between the 2 biggest dudes in Monaco, Cantwell and Dylan Armstrong
  8. Scrapped things together in the morning
  9. Swam in the Mediterranean Sea. Negative ions.
  10. Ate some gelato, peaced out back to Biel.
  1. Rolled in on Mitch and Nicole at 1am
  2. Ate some chocolate hot dogs
  3. Flew around on Camp Greeley internet.
  4. Rock-paper-scissors'ed it for the bed each night. I never won.
  5. Slept until 12:45pm. Greg was pissed.
  6. Had a sprint session at a track so deep in the woods I thought it was a joke, and then it turned out to be the sickest Olympic Training Center of all time.
  7. Watched mitch go cowabunga on some shit in a jump session - repping 5.50m's with 4.10m+ takeoffs. Biggest PV transformation I've ever seen. Hands down.
  8. Floated down an amazing river for 2km in 16 degree C water that felt incredible. Best thing I've ever been a part of?
  9. Greg and Mitch chewed on some African Mud.
  10. Dustin got blown up by a fountain.
  1. Met up with our host family.
  2. Woke up Greg because we were sleeping so late.
  3. Got out-slept by their 12 year old daughter.
  4. Met a genuine Nazi.
  5. Jumped 5.30m in the pre-meeting, Team GS went 2-3-4.
  6. Had some EIN STINE BIERS.
  7. Ate some mustard with a 2am spread of food from our host dad.
  8. Watched the main event. 5 over 5.72m and Grande robbed at 5.80m... easily 6m in the air.
  9. Sung the National Anthem in front of 3,000 Germans thanks to Becky Holliday.
  10. Dustin ended up behind the bar.
  11. Greg wouldn't drink whisky, so for some reason ran around naked.
  12. Everyone slept in their normal clothes.
So then we went back to Leverkusen, where we have a meet today.

There's a live feed here:

I'm not sure how well it will work, but it's worth a shot. The field is stacked, and it should be tons of fun. Tune in at 12:30pm EST, or 9:30am PST for introductions!

Hope all is well back in the states, and stay tuned!