June 1st, 2010

planet

track & field

I ran track all through high school, and for two years in college. I was a high jumper. Well, I'd do anything really, it was fun to try new things, I did a heptathlon or two. I could actually kind of shot put pretty well for a skinny girl, and there's not much to long jump, and hurdles is fun. I never got the hang of javelin. I always felt like I'd throw my whole self into it, and the thing went nowhere.

Anyway in college you actually need talent to be in a ton of different events, not just enthusiasm, so I had to focus on high jump and triple jump. I remember doing hurdles once or twice only because there are chunks out of my shins from screwing them up. The worst high jumping injury I ever had was a bruised back from landing on the bar, and I spiked myself once or twice. Unless you're crazy and miss the pit somehow you can't get hurt.

High jumping is not the most hard-working event. You have to be strong but not THAT strong, you don't spend hours in the weight room like the throwers. You need to be in shape but you don't need amazing endurance like the runners. We'd work out and do some drills, and lots of stretching, then we'd jump, or lay around the pits visualizing our form. It was the most zen experience. It's about completely trusting your body and letting go. And it's about physics and converting energy.

Anyway this weekend was the state track meet, so I went back to watch high schoolers and visit my old coach. I went in the morning when it was cooler. It was still a lot of walking around but I felt pretty good, took lots of breaks in the shade watching field events. It was an awesome day. I remember it raining every time I competed at state. State was always so tricky and structured, you had your one event, opening height was always crazy, you drove for a long time and only competed for a few minutes and there was so much pressure. The trip was fun... staying in a hotel and everything. But honestly I now think state is more fun to watch than be in. Coach was happy to see me, there were good races, they had a cool setup in the arena next door to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Kansas state track meet.

I had a good time. I still get this tugging feeling when I drive around in the springtime and see a school track with the jump pads out, sand pits raked, hurdles set up. I miss being really in shape and in tune with my whole body, and spending hours outside. Track wasn't a cheerleadery team sport for me, I didn't have tons of friends on the team, I did my own thing and appreciated every minute of it. It's really good for that.