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#15- 15’ 15.0

(The coincidence of the post numbers and titles is getting eerie)
For the non-vaulters out there I am going to attempt to explain the title and what it meant for me this past weekend in Reno. 15’ is 15 feet the length of the pole, that’s simple enough. 15.0 is what called the “flex number” and basically measures pole stiffness and that’s where it can get confusing if you haven’t been around the pole vault for a while (or if you have never jumped on a pole). So, to make it simple the stiffer the pole you plant and move toward the bar the higher it will push you. If the pole is too small it will push under the bar and off the back of the pit (which is what happened to me in warm-ups). We took 8 poles to Reno 18.5, 17.9, 17.6, 17.1, 16.5, 16.0, 15.5, and 15.0. The biggest pole I had successful jumps on before Reno was the 17.6 and I planted the 17.1 a few times, but didn’t have much success on it. My first warm-up jump was on the 17.6, which I destroyed and nearly fell off the back pit. I skipped the 17.1 and went to 16.5, which I never jumped, and it was too small too. To make a very long story short, I was on my biggest pole by time I was just getting into the swing of things. The moral of that story is…

There are some things you just can’t prepare for.

There is also the story of grip height, which has several ramifications, as well as complications in terms of portrayal to non-vaulters. It would seem the higher you hold the higher you would go, but that is not always true either. There is also the story of speed, the story of technique, the story of everything. In all these stories the constant is jump higher, which is of course my goal. Some of the observations I noticed while in Reno made me appreciate my performance a little more, but still there is no time to stop and smell the roses. I have to get right back to work for the Indiana Open.

(I cannot prove or confirm any the following, but based on my observations…) My grip height was lower than anyone in the Elite, Emerging Elite and Men’s Open 1; I was the shortest vaulter in those three groups, and in terms of speed…Toby Stevenson (Olympian), the runner-up of the Elite division told me that I was “significantly faster” than anyone in Open Men’s 1 group. With all those observations I jumped 5.25 (13th Overall) and that’s 0.54m away from my goal for this year. One other thing that Toby told me that stuck with me was that I had things (talents) that could not be taught. Now all I have to do is implement the things can be taught, things I have already learned, with my talents and skills (and "lose the negative baggage").

Workouts (not much working out actually):
12/28- OFF
12/29- Stretch and Jog; 18 mins (2 miles) Run; Aerobic Exercises
12/30- Happy 25th Birthday! OFF
12/31- Sprints, 3x100m and 6x50m FAST
1/1/08- Holiday, OFF
1/2- Vault Day: short jumps from 4 lefts, 15’/21.8 from 56’ (bungee at 4.75m), Grip 14'2"
1/3- Travel Day (2:30am -2:00pm)
1/4-Pre Meet
1/5- Reno Vault 5pm PST; 5.25m, holding 14’6” on a15’ 15.0 from 8 Lefts or 114’
1/6- OFF
1/7- Travel Day
1/8- Recovery Day; Sprints 2x10m, 2x20m, 2x30 2x40m; PV Drills, pole runs and pulley drills

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