Tag Archive for: Reflection

2011 Season Review

Atop the podium in Basel. Photo by my coworker René Bettschen.

In reviewing my 2010 season, one of my main observations was that I did not build on each meet. Good meets were followed by bad meets and I never gained any momentum. Looking back at the 2011 season, the first thing I see is how I slowly built up my results throughout the course of the year. I reached three levels throughout the year. Level one, from March to early June, saw an average result of 62.57m in four meets (±30cm). Level two, during June and July, saw six meets averaging 64.95m (±66cm). Then, for my last meet, I improved to level three: a personal best of 67.90m. My technique was more stable and that allowed me to build on each meet.

Looking back at the 2011 season, I had some great accomplishments. But not everything went perfectly. As I begin to plan 2012, it is important to see what worked, what didn’t work, and where I can go from here. I already have a general plan for next season, but I will work out some more of the details when I visit Kamloops and sit down with Bondarchuk in a few weeks.

The Good

I was in the shape of my life. In addition to ending the season with a personal best, I also had personal bests across the board in training. My old bests with the 5-kilogram, 7.26-kilogram (competition weight), 8-kilogram, and 10-kilogram hammers were shattered and I was inches away from my bests with the 6- and 9-kilogram hammers.
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My Newest Claim to Fame

People search for some interesting things on Google.

I found out my newest claim to fame this weekend: my website is the second result listed on a Google search for “beer and chocolate diet.” Forget hammer throwing, I think I might write a book about a new fad diet.

It has been two years since I started to invest a lot of time in this website. Before then, I would write training updates once or twice a month to a handful of daily readers. For example I had 88 visitors before August 2009. Last month I had visitors more than 88 countries. It’s not that I’ve become more interesting. Hardly. It’s just that I found something more interesting to write about: others. For some reason, you all find it more interesting when I write about training methods, about the state of the hammer, and about the politics or other aspects of the event.
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2010 Season Review

I was looking back at my review of last season today and it is eerily similar to how I feel about this season. However, the two years were world’s apart. I not only threw three meters further this year, but I was also more consistent and had almost ten meets over my season’s best from last year. But, as always, I want more.

The Good – Like I said above, I threw better than last year. Much better. The highlight of the season was another win at the national championships by a convincing margin. I finished more than fourteen meters ahead of the next Swiss thrower (Björn, a German citizen, also threw great for second place), which by my research is the largest margin of victory at a Swiss Championship. Training has also gone very well. I improved my special strength and set lots of training bests from the 5-kilogram hammer all the way up to the 10-kilogram hammer. If I can get that strength into the throw, I know it will produce something over 70-meters. My technique also improved this year, although it is still not where I want it to be.
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It’s About the Athletes, Not the Medals

Alexandre Bilodeau, Canada's first gold medalist as host of the Olympics (photo by CTVOlympics.ca)

Take one look at Canadian freestyle skier Alex Bilodeau’s face today when the final results flashed on the scoreboard and showed his name in first place.  Take one look and you will immediately know what the Olympics are about: the athletes.  Bilodeau had the weight of the country on his shoulders.  Canada entered this Olympics in a unique position; it was the only country that had not won a gold medal while hosting multiple Games.  As a favorite on the second day of the games, many tapped  Bilodeau as a person that could break that streak.  And he did, reminding us in the process that as much as a country wants to succeed, these games really come down to individuals.  The Olympics are about those athletes that rise to the occasion and win.  And the Olympics are also about those athletes that weren’t even given the opportunity to compete.
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The Long Drive to Kamloops

Last night I drove from Seattle to Kamloops for perhaps the 50th time, returning from a three-week holiday visit.  The 300-mile trip now feels like a routine for me.  I can tell you ever twist in the road, every ascent of a mountain, and every spot that is prone to being foggy or snowy.  This is my commute; a byproduct of my choice to pursue two paths in life.

I have been traveling back and forth to Seattle since I began training with Coach Bondarchuk in August of 2005.  Throughout law school I would visit Kamloops at least once a month to touch base with him.  I moved north after finishing law school in 2008, but now am making the reverse commute back to Seattle so I can work occasionally, as well as to visit family and my girlfriend.

The route from Seattle to Kamloops

To drive from Seattle to Kamloops, you head north for a little more than an hour before exiting the freeway and turning northeast in Bellingham.  From there, you travel another three hours, cross the US-Canada border (remembering to gas up first as the prices are much higher in Canada), summit two passes, and drive through a national forest.  During most of this time, there is not a city, house, or streetlight in sight.  After about four and a half hours of driving, the city of Kamloops emerges out of nowhere, nestled in a valley at the confluence of the North and South Thompson Rivers.  When driving in the evening, as I have been doing too often lately, you can see Kamloops’ bright lights rising up behind the horizon as you approach in the pitch black night. Read more

Welcome to 2010

It’s 2010, and I’ve started the year off by making some small improvements to this site. To start with, I’ve added some new content. I have added some photo and video galleries to the site.  I’ve also changed the background and header images slightly and reconfigured the front page.  Expect a few more small changes in the coming weeks as I try to make the site more user friendly as it grows. If you subscribe to the site’s RSS feed, please take note that I’ve changed the address of the feed and you should change your settings in order to keep getting updates.

My winter break is also nearing an end.  Just to be clear, by a “break” I simply mean a chance to visit family and friends back in America.  The past few weeks have definitely not been a break from training, as I’ve scrambled to squeeze in practice whenever possible.  I had a wonderful time at Christmas visiting my girlfriend Kate’s welcoming family in scenic Mount Shasta, California.  After that, I put in some hours at work before spending New Year’s relaxing and sledding with my family at our property outside of Leavenworth, Washington.  Now I’m back again in rainy Seattle for one more week before I return to Kamloops and focus entirely on training again.

One thing I have yet to do is make any New Year’s resolutions about throwing.  It’s the new year and athletes all around me are setting their goals and making their resolutions for the coming season. But I have yet to set any goals and likely won’t. I used to be a goal setter. I used to have a long list of goals each season. But after a while I felt that goals were doing more harm than good.  I would be upset when I missed a goal and when I reached a goal I never really got to enjoy the moment.  Instead, I would react as though I had just accomplished something that was expected of me. Read more

2009 Season Review

My birthday is tomorrow, so I figured it would be as good a time as any to do a assessment of my season.
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Year in Review; Year in Preview

I have ended the year on a good note.  Coach Bondarchuk reduced my training volume to approximately 25 percent of its normal level this week.  The extra rest has paid off.  Today I threw 61 meters (200-00) with the heavy 8-kilogram (17.6-pound) hammer.  That is little more than one foot off of my personal best with that weight.  Add in six more months of training, a little warmer weather, and the adrenaline of competition, and hopefully some good throws will result in 2009.
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Merry Christmas

I just returned to Seattle for the holidays and was greeted by an unusual site in Seattle: a foot of fresh snow.  Training in the snow is one of my favorites parts of the season.  The air is always quite and cool and I feel very relaxed.  But then again, walking around in ice and snow with shoes that have absolutely no traction can get tiresome quickly.  My training has come together a lot in the past few weeks.  The step back I took in November has been translating into continued progress recently.  Coach B told me on Friday that my general strength and fitness level are both great right now, creating collateral improvements in my throw.  Unfortunately, I cannot update you on my training distances since the winter weather in Kamloops and Seattle has kept me throwing inside against a wall (temperatures have consistently been hovering between 0º and -10º Fahrenheit).  I’ll be posting some distances once the snow melts.
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A look back at the season

I flew back to Seattle yesterday.  On the flight, I had a chance to reflect on my season.  While I will likely compete in some small local meets over the next month, the core of my season is now over and I am beginning to look ahead towards next season.  My last meets in Turkey and Switzerland also did not meet my expectations.  Despite great training results, I again encountered foul trouble during the competitions.  Converting great training into a great meet has been my biggest problem this season.  While I was ready to throw near 70m at several times this season, I was never able to bring all the elements together in a competition.  The mental distractions and time commitments of law school and work likely had an impact on this, but it is nevertheless frustrating that I was not able to come through when it counted.
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