September 08, 2022 0 Comments
Throughout August, I have managed small injuries. However, getting injured, recovering and then preparing both physically and psychologically for the biggest meet of my career to date all within a month was a daunting and stressful experience.
On July 12, I was competing in Decathlon at the BC Jamboree Provincial Track and Field meet in Kamloops. During the Pole Vault event, on my approach I was not in the right position as a result I was not able to generate the energy required though the pole to execute a proper jump.
As a result I landed short and hit the ground instead of the pit. I quickly realized I had strained my left shoulder. I obtained physiotherapy treatment and started my rehabilitation program.
On August 5, I started my final Decathlon of the season at the Legion National Track and Field competition in Quebec. I was feeling physically prepared for the event however I was not feeling confident specifically in my vaulting ability.
I feel to truly understand the pole vault event you have to do it; a vaulter may have the skill and physical ability to vault but to be successful, you have to be able to fully trust in yourself, your equipment and the conditions in which you are vaulting in.
Despite my doubts, I thought I would have a successful showing at the event. My goal was to break 7000 points which would break my own national record which I obtained earlier this year. After my day one I had earned a personal best score with 3700 points. I also jumped a personal best in long jump with a jump of 7.04m.
The second day started with hurdles which is usually my second best event. I had a really good start however I clipped the 7th hurdle with my left foot. This caused my to break stride and stumble through my 8th hurdle pushing it with my hands which is an immediate disqualification. As result I lost a potential 900 points and I found myself in 4th losing a comfortable 1st place lead.
I was devastated realizing that not only would I miss my record attempt but also potentially lose the gold medal. I had to put the DQ behind and focus on what I could control, so i put my discus shoes on and kept moving forward. I knew I had to have a good showing and I ended up breaking the meet rocked with my 3rd throw! This performance enabled me to stay in the hunt for the gold medal.
My 3rd event was Pole Vault. During my warm up I notice the trust and confidence in my abilities was lacking. I did not have a good warm up. I then had to wait in the 32 degree heat for 3 hours for the bar to get to my starting height. I was allowed 2 more warm up jumps and I was feeling even less confident. I quickly realized although I had the physical ability. My lack in trust did not allow me to tap into my potential. I ended up with the meet record but if had I jumped to my potential, my performance would have placed me back in first with a 100 point lead, which is significant at this stage in the competition.
For javelin, I found myself in a familiar position having to refocus my efforts and I was able to bounce back with a huge personal best on 52.70m. This record is 6m over my personal best. This kept me in the hunt for the gold. However the final event was my weakest and my competitor’s strongest. I tried to stay with him but I was unable to keep up., I think due to the exhaustion from the ups and downs of the day. I ended up coming 2nd in the Decathlon after scoring in only 9 of 10 events!
My final meet was the in Ontario at the U25 Canadian Summer Games. I was competing in the 4x100m and Pole Vault. I had a couple of practices leading up to the games which were not productive and my confidence was at its lowest. I talked to a couple of my performance coaches who helped me gain some perspective but there was not enough time for me to process or gain confidence with more practice. The day before I vaulted I competed with the 4x100m team in the final where we won 2nd place. It was an amazing experience to compete with such a young team and have such an amazing showing. It was a boost in confidence and joy for me.
The next day I competed in the Pole Vault. I was feeling slightly more confident but I was not there yet. I jumped 4:35m whereas earlier in the year I jumped a record 4.85m. I was relieved it was over. I needed a physical and mental break however I was not finished for pole vault and this makes me hungry for the upcoming season.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me this season. Overall this year has been an amazing experience.
Adversity; I faced it, I showed courage, and I accepted it.
Written by Aidan
Aidan is a track and field athlete competing in Decathlon and currently holds the U18 BC Decathlon record. He's been a member of The Runinn staff since late 2019 and is a wealth of knowledge for athletes of all abilities.