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June Training Update: Getting My Groove Back

When I got to Europe and saw my distances in training and competitions fall by five meters, I was a bit mystified. This happened to me last year, but I thought I had fixed the problems that led to it then. As I posted at the time, I knew that the five meters didn’t just vanish. My results were down, but I kept up hope that it would come back with the right adjustments. But after a month, my patience was starting to wear thin. I e-mailed Coach Bondarchuk to let him know how things were going and eagerly awaited his response. I thought he might be able to identify some new critical flaw in my technique, or perhaps alter my training program since things were not going well. Instead I got a short reassuring response that I will reprint in its entirety: “Hello Martin. Continued program. Dont vory. A.B.”

He was right. I took his advice, and things got better.
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Fraenkisch-Crumbach Recap

I’m not sure whether to call it complacency or having perspective, but I threw horribly this weekend and am fine with that. I could search for reasons why I didn’t throw far and I could find the small victories that came from this meet; there are plenty of each. But, I’d rather not spend my time doing that. This is all that matters: I was in great shape two weeks ago, yet I only threw 62.53m on Sunday. Five meters of distance doesn’t just, like they say in the Shawshank Redemption, up and vanish like a fart in the wind. The distance is still in me: I just need the technique to bring it back out. I was talking with my friend Sergej Litvinov Jr. after the meet and he told me that “Everyone must have both good and bad meets every season.” I agree. But unlike him, I’m not able to win a meet on an off day and still throw over 77 meters.
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Rotary Club Speech

I spoke to the Bellevue Overlake Rotary Club this past week in an effort to get the let more people know about the hammer throw and the Evergreen Athletic Fund. The Rotary Club is a great service organization and it was an honor to speak in front of them. They were also thoughtful and donated over a thousand pounds of food in my name to fight hunger in the area.
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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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The Season is Underway

I’ve had my first few competitions of the season this month. With the start of the season has come a lot of excitement and a lot of frustration. To start off, I traveled to competed at the Sun Angel Classic in Tempe, Arizona and the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, California. Entering those meets, I was in great shape and ready throw far. Really far. I was coming off of personal bests in training with the heavy 9-kilogram and 10-kilogram hammers. But when the meet day came around, I ran into foul trouble. All the training with the heavy hammers had affected my rhythm with the 7.26-kilogram (16-pound) hammer. I tossed all of my attempts out of the sector at the Sun Angel Classic and only managed to keep a few easy throws in at Mt. SAC. While the fouls were far, they didn’t count and left me scratching my head and wondering “what if”.
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Dinner with the Olympians

Our training group (l-r): Me, Vanessa Wilhelm, Galina Bondarchuk, Deanna Zelinka, Coach Anatoli Bondarhcuk, Megann VanderVliet, Michael Letterlough, Jennifer Joyce, Kibwe Johnson, Crystal Smith, and Justin Rodhe.

Last night I attend the Dinner with the Olympians event hosted by the Kamloops Track and Field Club.  It was a great chance for the community to hear our local Olympians speak about their experiences in Beijing.  We heard from Gary Reed (800 meters), Dylan Armstrong (shot put), Catherine Pendrel (cross-country mountain biking), and Sultana Frizell (hammer throw).  The first three all placed fourth and barely missed bringing home a medal.  Ms. Pendrel’s talk was especially interesting. It is always fun to gain some insight on how elite athletes train in other sports.  She also told one heartwarming story about how her husband sometimes would follow her in his car on her winter training rides so that she could exchange water bottles whenever the water in her water bottle froze over. The dinner was a great success for the club and raised more money for us to purchase equipment, improve our facilities, and pay our great coaching staff.
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News and upcoming events

Adapting to full-time training is still going well. Without school and work, I feel more rested and relaxed than ever and it is having a great impact on my training. There are a few upcoming events people in and around Kamloops might be interested. First, Coach Bondarchuk recently won an award from the British Columbia Coaches association for his success this year. He will be honored in Kamloops Wednesday evening and my training partner and Olympian Sultana Frizell will be the keynote speaker. You can find out more details here. The Kamloops Track and Field Club will be hosting their annual fundraising dinner. This year’s theme will be “Dinner With the Olympians” and will feature speeches by Sultana, as well as Beijing fourth place finishers Dylan Armstrong and Gary Reed. The event take place on October 9 at Thompson Rivers University’s Independent Centre. Call (250) 851-2512 for more information. That’s all for now. I’ll have some more training updates next week. Read more

All eyes turn to Beijing

I returned home last night just in time to watch the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. I’m not a big fan of the opening ceremonies since I think it is the antithesis of what the Olympics should be about: it is full of grandeur and hype, yet lacks sports and competition. That being said, it is a sign that the greatest show on earth is about to begin. I spent the last few weeks training in Kamloops again and was able to see my training partners Sultana Frizell and Dylan Armstrong who will represent Canada for in their first Olympics. Both have a chance to place high and I can’t wait to watch them next week. Thankfully, I get CBC television here in Seattle and will be able to watch them.
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A lackluster competition

Well, to put it succinctly, I had a disappointing competition on Saturday. When I arrived on Friday afternoon, I did a short workout to wake my legs up after the flight and had some of the best throws of my life. On Saturday, things continued to feel good, but the results did not come and I only threw 64.44 meters. I still don’t know exactly what happened, but I’m trying to put the competition behind me and look forward to the rest of the season. The complete results for the meet can be found here. On the brighter side, my training partner Jennifer Joyce threw a new personal best of 69.84 meters at a meet in the Ukraine. Sultana Frizell also threw the Olympic standard for the second time, helping her finally meet Canada’s stringent qualifying standards. Read more

Off to Arizona

I just returned from the UW Law School Alumni Dinner where I had the pleasure of dining with D. Wayne Gittinger and his wife Anne. Both have been gracious enough to give me a generous scholarship this year. Without the scholarship, I am not sure I would be able to take time off next year to focus on my training. I just wanted to take a moment to thank them once again.
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