Two Winners - American Recordholder Jeff Hartwig & Starstruck Boy
This was going to be a different type of post today and I will get to it after this paragraph. I went to the gym early this morning so it wouldn't be crowded and I would have plenty of time. That all worked well but two sets into it I felt so beat up and run down that I went home. As you know I don't do that often but sometimes the best choice is to quit. I've had a very solid three weeks on training so to feel horrible today did not need to be met with me being stubborn. It just felt like the right thing to do. I know that we make 100% of our progress during rest and my body is clearly stating that it needs rest. Can't win them all!
My original story was about "what is winning"? On a hot August day in 2005 I was sitting on a bus riding with other masters athletes to a luau in Honolulu. We had just finished our national meet. I had been out for three years with two Achilles surgeries and other life oddities. I had miraculously gotten 3rd to win the bronze medal and I was THRILLED. Next to me on the bus was a girl who was a distance runner. She said she was ready to celebrate because she had a breakthrough performance. In her six years of going to national meets she had finally won her first ribbon. Ribbons are given at outdoor nationals to those who finish 4th - 6th places. So neither of us "won" or did we? I think we did!
We tend to take somethings for granted. My first national masters meet was in Boston in 1997 and I won. I didn't win again until 2009. Also in 1997 I got my first world championship medal, a bronze, in South Africa. I did not get another one until 2009 when I won the World Masters Games in Australia. I didn't think I would win every year but "C'MON MAN"!!!
Recently I have been in touch with a guy returning to vaulting who feel that 12' should be pretty easy. He has already "won" because he is back with a passion! For him 12' may very well be easily attained. For me, starting back in 1989 I felt I would jump 14' within a week. It finally happened in 1997.
Pole vaulters are a strange bunch of people. Not only do we help each other in meets and practice and become great friends, we really don't care if anyone watches us, or even if there are meets. Like surfers, as long as we can jump we're happy. I think that means we CAN win them all. Have a great day and thanks for being here. Bubba