Continuing my season in Germany

While World Championships may be over that doesn’t mean my season is done. It would seem odd if football teams continued to compete after the Super Bowl, or NBA teams kept playing after the playoffs, but that’s exactly what we do in track and field. World Championships finished up on August 14th, but some of the biggest competitions in the European circuit are still yet to come.

I was lucky enough to find a good training base in Jena Germany with Olympic Champion, Thomas Rohler. Jena (Yen-a) is centrally located in Germany, only an hour from Leipzig airport, so I can easily be anywhere in Europe if I get confirmed into a last-minute competition.

I got confirmed into Werfertag (roughly translated to “Throwers Day”) meetings in Thum and Bad Köstritz Germany August 18th and 25th respectively.

The werfertag meetings are well known in Germany for being very popular with the javelin. These small towns host some of the best meetings in the world for the javelin. They have music pumping, tons of spectators on the field, and food and beer is served on the track!

I was excited to throw in an atmosphere like it. It’s exactly what I tried to create at the Chasing Down the Dream event in Chula Vista a few weeks ago. I was so busy planning the meet, I didn’t get a chance to compete at it. But throwing in Thum (pronounced like tomb) was my chance to experience that feeling.

Warm ups were not going that well. I am just realizing now that I was the oldest competitor in the field at 31 years old (just turned August 8th). These young throwers were smashing throws as hard as they could in the grass and on the runway. And I was just plucking away nice and easy, looking like a fool.

Jokes on them. When I go from full approach I can easily add 10-20 meters from my warm ups. So I was confident I was on the right path. All my warm ups were fair (behind the line), and easy; after all its called, warm ups.

Johannes Vetter’s second throw in warm ups from short was 85-86m I knew he was on. He just won the World Championships in London last week with a throw of 89.89m. He’s also had a few throws over 90m this year including the world leading mark of 94.44m (309-10).

I remember last year we went to the Paris Diamond League together and I was able to beat him. Now it seems like that is nearly impossible for anyone to do.

Thomas Rohler was throwing about 81-83m in warm ups and then the field was pretty much open. Good chance for me to place in the top three if I could throw my best.

The atmosphere was right, and I was feeling pretty good. It was perfect conditions for far throws.

First round was like deajvu from London World Championships last week. Tons of power, good positions, but my tip was up and the javelin stalled out at 77m. It held the lead for a couple throwers but I knew it wouldn’t last.

Second throw my foot planted hard; there was no bend in my knee, and it caught me off guard. That solid of a block was enough to get me out of positions in other areas and I dropped my chest down. Again, the javelin stalled out at 77m.

I was feeling good as the throws progressed. My shoulder was warming up, and I was confident I was going to throw far.

Then BOOM, Johannes Vetter hit one! It was high and flat. And didn’t want to come down out of the sky. it landed clearly over the 90m line and was shortly after measured 93.88m (308 feet). It was the farthest throw I have ever seen with my own two eyes!

Johannes has a bit of an unorthodox throw. It’s not common for elite athletes to throw like he does. But it works for him. He has a hard-pushing right leg, a long delay between right and left, and he slams his left elbow into his side. All things that aren’t really taught at the elite level. But Johannes is naturally incredibly strong. He can hit and hold positions that maybe no one has ever been able to hold. Not to be a fan boy or anything, but if he fixes some things in his throw he could very well break the most untouchable world record in all of track and field; Jan Zelezny’s javelin world record (98.48m).

Third round came by best throw, but with probably my least intensity. I was very upright (which is good) in my delivery, but just didn’t attack my last two steps. The flight was cleaner, but still not great. 78.17m (256-6) popped up on the leader board and I was in 5th.

Just a month ago at the USA Championships it took a perfectly clean flight to throw that far. Now I can throw a javelin sideways and it still goes 77-79 meters. It was a good sign that something big was going to come.

But it didn’t come later in the competition.

I had a bad throw when I missed my approach mark. I kind of consider that a turnover in the javelin. I might as well have not thrown.

My last two throws looked like they were edging near the 80m line, but came up as some of my worst throws.

Just goes to show you perfect conditions with an awesome crowd doesn’t mean perfect throws. Throwing the javelin is kind of like hitting the jackpot. The more you train, the stronger and healthier you are, the better your odds of hitting the jackpot, but you still have to try a bunch of times to win.

I am back in Jena now, I have a throwing session with Thomas Rohler on Monday and then I am off to Bad Köstritz Germany on the 24th; competition on the 25th.

I have put in the training. I am healthy and strong. Time to win the jackpot


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5 months ago