Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Back to Life, Back to Reality

Hey!! Remember this guy?! I still suck at updating this thing but just to let you know I am alive and well and heading down to Phoenix for a training camp with Athletics Canada from the 6-13, then I am staying an extra 10 days to take advantage of some warm weather training!

I have been in Edmonton for the off-season and have been very pleased with my progress. I have been training at the University of Alberta where they have the Canadian Athletics Coaching Centre. Their enormous indoor facility has given me the ability to throw in spikes (and out of the cold, snow and rain) 3X/Week.

Can't wait to throw outside and hopefully update the ole' blog in more depth which should explain my absence from the blogosphere.

Keep Chuckin'

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hey Guess What?! I Made It!!

So Sorry. I suck at updating this thing.

Anyways let me catch you up on what has happened in the last little while (2 months) since I last updated this blog but if you have followed my Facebook this will be a redundant but condensed.

In June I cam back to compete in the National Track League in Canada and I started it off with a bang. I threw over 80m for the first time ever, twice in one competition and won the Harry Jerome Track Classic. This was a huge accomplishment for me as well as my first Olympic 'B' Standard. 3 Days later I travelled to Victoria for the Victoria Track Classic and threw 81.21m, another 'B' Standard and again a personal best. After a forgetful meet in Langley where it was "rainin' sideways!!" I travelled to Calgary for the Canadian Olympic trials. This is what it boiled down to:

I throw 82m 'A' Standard or better - I get to go to the Olympics.
I throw another 79.50m 'B' Standard and nobody else does - I get to go to the Olympics.
I win and nobody throws 'B' or better - I get to go to the Olympics.
Scott Russell throws 79.50m or better - I need to throw 82m to go.
Anybody else throws 82m or better - I need to throw 82m to go.

I had prepared well and really felt ready to throw another personal best. Things were looking great and I trained as though Scott would throw at least his 'B' Standard and I would need to throw the 'A' Standard. When the competition got set up, the unexpected occurred although all of the competitors were excited about the setup in Calgary (ability to throw North or South). Instead of throwing with the wind (tailwind), we would be throwing into a headwind and a pretty strong one at that as there was a women's high jump competition going on at the same time. I knew that I needed to adjust my flight to cut the wind but I knew that it was unlikely that anybody would throw exceptionally far. So I re-focused on myself and directed on my attention on executing my own competition plan and technique. I opened the competition with a 77m throw and stayed steadily in the mid 70's through the competition as others seemed to struggle with low 70's. When we re-ordered the line up I would throw last and after the final competitor in the 6th round threw, I knew that I would be London bound!! I stepped onto the runway and unleashed another 77m throw, which ended up being the winning throw at 77.86m.

I ran back and hugged my girlfriend, mom, dad brother and family and friends and started crying it was sooooo awesome!!

That is the sport and the selection criteria I guess. I would have loved to have been able to go with Scott to London but he was very graceful and extremely supportive of me afterwards. He offered his advice along with his congratulations and something he has said to me since then has really stuck in my head and resonated and I am very appreciative of it so far. He said the Olympics are, "just another track meet," and I think that's the perfect way to approach it!

The next day they announced the team, handed out jackets and it was official. It took about a week for it to sink in and for me to really feel like I was going to the Olympics for Canada. In that time I had driven to Edmonton and competed in Moncton and Toronto where I ended up winning the NTL Finale after dropping the Moncton meet to Kyle Nielsen. When I cam home I competed and won the Provincial Championships then I was able to rest, let it set in and after a couple of days down, it was back to work.

After doing a bunch of interviews, calling an e-mailing people to let them know and trying to get tickets and travel sorted out with family, I was able to get out of town and spent a great weekend at my Coach's cabin with our better halves just kickin' back and relaxing.

I returned to Burnaby to continue training, ramping it back up for another peak and with new goals in mind. That's all for now but I will give another update soon, but don't hold your breath, I'm pretty busy right now :P

   - Keep Chuckin'!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Yeah Buddy. New personal best of 79.27M at the Halle Werfertage in Halle, Germany yesterday! The competition was great as Mark Frank (PB of 84.88M) threw over 80M twice for the win at 80.63M. All top 4 spots were over 79M and my good javelin throwing friend Juan Mendez (PB of 78M) from Mexico was 8th with 76M. Juan and I met a few years ago at the Mt. SAC Relays and have been good friends ever since with similar throwing progressions through our careers. My Mexican brother from another mother!

Before I get into more about the competition itself, I would like to back-track a little bit and introduce Halle itself as one of the premier throws facilities in the world!

Speaking with some of the coaches and athletes, I was informed that each province in Germany has a training centre dedicated to track and field but Halle is the cream of the crop (Churnin-Chermans?). There are numerous circles and javelin runways all of world class calibre and all that are replaced whenever they need it. There is a weight-room with equipment dating back to the old-old GDR days and also the most sophisticated state of the art equipment as well (lot's of the old stuff was pretty funky with no modern comparisons, like training equipment for hipsters). For example, check out the discus machine and the javelin machine:

The facility, like most things in Germany, was very well planned out and every aspect of training was accessible in one location. I must mention that the air was filled with the unmistakeable masculine musk of Ivan Drago from Rocky IV. I could have sworn he was seconds away from walking around the corner with his legendary game-face and a zingy one liner on deck:

When he finally did show up, he caught me awkwardly in the middle of my Uncle-Sam vs. The World skit I was doing for the locals, they love that one. Needless to say things got awkward... FAST:

All joking aside I was like a kid in a candy store.

It was completely eye-opening to see how seriously they take sport here. There is a sport University right next to the facility (no coincidence) and the students and coaches are all very involved. During the meet there were all kinds of sensors and cameras all over the competition area so I asked the man behind one of the cameras what the deal was and his response, "we use this data and information to study. I can send you the videos by e-mail." He said that they analyze all of the throwers and calculate the angles and throw velocity, but critiques of technique were reserved for the coaches. Can't wait to get the email of the video, but I was able to get some immediate feedback after the competition from Boris Henry (sorry, don't trip on that name drop). 

For those reading this who do not throw javelin, Boris threw 90.44M back in '95 for Germany, won two medals at the World Championships and now he coaches the current World Champion Matthias De Zordo (88M) and the 3-time World and Olympic medallist Christina Obergfoll (70M). Boris, Christina and I (yeah, first names now):

Both of them were very kind to pose for the picture and Boris even further to offer some critique.

Back to the facilities:

The competition itself was pretty darn sweet. I opened with a 77M toss which I thought was great but I quickly slid to 7th place giving you some insight to the calibre of throwers that this meet attracted. I re-focused but only managed 72 and 74 for the next two throws. When we re-shuffled for the remaining 3 throws, Juan and I were 8th and 7th respectively. We gave each other a high five and nervously smiled knowing that we had JUST snuck into the top 8 to get three more cracks at it. Juan had thrown 76.00M and 9th was 75.89M. I didn't realize that I was so close to being cut but in hindsight the 77M throw was just as important as the 79M throw. I say that because if I had not opened with the 77, I wouldn't have gotten the opportunity to throw the 79.27 in the 5th round. After the break I decided to go for broke (I had thrown out my pack of gum the night before at the hotel). The 5th round effort moved me from 7th to 2nd and immediately post-competition Juan turned to me and said, "Do you know who you just beat?!" we had both just spent the previous few hours spewing off names and distances of these guys and talking about different YouTube videos and Olympics and World Championships. I replied, "Yes, this is pretty cool." The field included, a World Junior Champion, World Championship finalists and the current #3 ranked javelin thrower in the world! I am now 23cm off of the Olympic 'B' Standard which I would have to produce twice to go to London and 3.23M off of 'A' Standard which I would need to produce once before July 1st to make the team. Here is a picture of the throws series:

Funny story, depending on who you are... Last post I mentioned that I had once broken a javelin on my way to a competition... Not terribly superstitious but I jinxed myself.

Well the airline baggage handlers/hitmen managed to break the PVC tubing AND bend and scratch the tail of my freshly painted javelin. They are offering to pay me for the repairs/replacement so they will remain nameless until it's all settled. The first time I broke a javelin I got first, the second time I got second so I don't want to continue this any more, but maybe it was just because I didn't break it myself and paid somebody else to do it for me. Courtney Knight later mentioned in a txt how expensive this habit could become so I think I'll wait until late July/early August for my next javelin breaking episode (hit the lights, it's dark in this foreshadow). 

This week Juan and I are staying in Halle to train and then to Berlin to catch our flight to Morocco for Saturday's Grand Prix. Pretty pumped about the Grand Prix and can't wait to get to Africa! Until then we will try to find some un-carbonated water.

That's all for now, need some rest. 

Keep Chuckin'!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sorry I have been absent from the blogosphere for a while but I promise to make it up in the weeks to come. So first I must inform you of what has recently happened this season. After a 73M throw in Abbotsford, I got invited to the Ponce Grand Prix (an IAAF Grand Prix Event) in Ponce, Puerto Rico. There were 3 throwers with personal bests over 80, but I managed three attempts that could have won the competition, ultimately winning in 75.32M. SOOOOOO PUUUUUUUUMPED!!! This was my second best throw of the year and it was incredibly hot and humid which doesn't make for very good javelin flight (or baseballs for that matter since we were competing in a baseball stadium - see vid below). Here are a couple of videos from the trip!

As you can see, Ponce managed to meld together two of my most favourite things! Track & Field and Baseball! Pretty interesting to see how the stadium was constructed but as it was all field turf, they had cutouts of turf to cover the track during baseball and the field turf had a thick layer of sand underneath so javelins would not be damaged. The turf apparently has a web like substructure that holds the grass but the javelins do not harm it. Interesting as we aren't usually even allowed to walk on turf fields at home let alone throw javelins into the fields. There were some great performances and even greater athletes that competed in Ponce. The WR holder and Olympic Gold Medalist in the 110M hurdles from Cuba, Dayron Robles, the World Champion in the same even Jason Richardson. Numerous Olympians and World Championship finalists as well as Javier Culson, the Puerto Rican 400M hurdler who ran the fastest time of the year in his event, stopping the clock in 48.00s. Really great atmosphere with some very passionate and animated fans:

Pics from Ponce:


Now if you caught any of what I said over the fans in that video, I mentioned three meets in Germany which is no longer true. After the win in Ponce I was invited to the Rabat Grand Prix in Rabat, Morocco so I am going to Africa!! I will be competing in Germany at the Halle Werfertage (at least I can spell something in German) on the 19th of May then off to Morocco to compete on the 26th. This is the same style of meet as Ponce and will feature 8 athletes with 4 throws each. I will try to find the link so people can watch it online but javelin coverage is usually quite sporadic if it is covered at all. Not to make you jealous much but here is the website for the hotel in Rabat where I will be staying during the Grand Prix meet:


I feel very confident going into this trip. I have rested and recovered from Ponce, I had a great training session today with my coach Don Steen in Burnaby and tomorrow I will definitely be packed in time to get to the airport! I have to admit that I am a notoriously nerve-racking traveller since I usually leave packing to the last minute and I usually JUST make it to the gate on time to make the flight. Even my attempts to pack early and get to the airport early have only yielded me cancelled or delayed flights and on one occasion I broke a very expensive and incredibly new javelin that Don had purchased for me to use (my bad - he told me that I had to win or I couldn't come home so I went and won! hmmm maybe I should...). So the method I have adopted seems to be working so far even if I do get everyone's hearts pounding a bit unnecessarily.

In Germany I will be traveling and competing with a javelin throwing friend in Juan Mendez from Mexico who has the same agent and an almost identical personal best. I am excited to throw with Juan as he is also a very fast javelin thrower, coming down the runway at a speed very similar to my recognizable sprint. My only knock to him is that he is left handed since they don't make a left handed javelin yet :P.

I better get to bed as need to get up early so that I can sleep on the flight over there and get time adjusted. I promise I will post periodically through my trip to keep everyone up to date on my journey and please don't hesitate to keep emailing me at curtisjmoss@gmail.com with any encouragement, inspiration, requests and grammatical errors! Add me on Facebook, Twitter @CurtisMoss and please subscribe to the blog so you don't have to keep checking it for new posts.

I'll leave you with a quote from Don. He's been telling me this one for years but it has been etched in my head this year, especially leading up to this trip, "We go to track meets to do two things; Kick ass and chew bubble gum and we are all out of bubble gum."

   Keep chuckin'!
    - Curtis

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sooooo Oregon didn't go so well. I only threw 69M but I learned more from this experience than I did from throwing 75M at my first meet. Firstly I don't want to make excuses for my performance but I do feel that I have been able to rationalize my lack of distance last weekend. I will not bore you with the details but I will list the lessons I believe any athlete in T&F can benefit from:

1. Stay involved in the meet even before you compete. This was the first time I have ever witnessed an event being delayed at the U of O and it just happened to effect my event. The HS Women's javelin ran later and our delay caught me as I was completely warmed up with 45mins to go until I actually competed. I was so focused on myself that I was unaware of the delay.

2. Live and let die. When something goes wrong (which it will occasionally - Thank you Newton!!) you have to be able to drop it and capitalize on the potential you have left. When I felt flat, I tried to ramp up my speed on the runway and lost everything I had learned this off-season technically. Your technique will save you when you are tired; not your adrenaline alone.

3. Take what you can get. Similar to #2, I should have slowed down and capitalized on my remaining technical abilities, but my eyes got big and I tried to muscle my throws. I should have relaxed and focused on the things I could control and not what I no longer could; my energy.

In the end I was disappointed with my performance but in perspective, it was my second meet of the year and I have since been able to rationalize my performance and move forward. I am remaining positive and have taken the positives out of it, by analyzing myself and learning from the weekend. I no longer dwell on the occurrences and just today I had my best throwing training session ever! I believe my ability to drop the stress and move forward will only make me a better athlete in and out of competition and it is something I can feel confident in.

On a higher note, I have been invited to compete in the Ponce Grand Prix (An IAAF Grand Prix event) in Ponce, Puerto Rico on May 12th. I am super pumped!! I will be competing against the World Championship Silver Medallist in 2009 and Bronze Medallist in 2011 as well as some other great throwers who have thrown over 80M. Here is a video of Guillermo Martinez in action (He is the guy with the huge calves):

Guillermo Martinez 2011 Pan Am's

 This is exactly the type of competition I have been looking for and my training has been refocused on this meet and the European meets to follow in May. Before I go I will be competing in Abbotsford on May 5 so if you are around please come out and support some of your local Olympic Hopefuls including yours truly.

Until next time!

  - Curtis Moss

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

On Your Marks... Get Set... Throw!!

And it's on! My 2012 Olympic campaign began with a solid effort in my first meet on April 7th at the UBC Open in Vancouver, BC. My second round throw of 75.49M was enough to win the competition and also to grasp the 1st overall ranking in Canada. My coach, Don Steen, and I were very pleased with the result as it is an improvement of over 5M from my previous season's opening marks. About 3M short of my lifetime best of 78.32M, this mark has definitely validated all of the training we have been doing through the winter. The confidence gained has been great through the last two weeks of training, and beginning the competitive season has proven to be both motivating and exciting. Although I am very pleased with the opener, our study of film revealed some old nagging habits, that when cleaned up, will surely improve my distances. Check out the video of my 75M toss here:

Seeing as this is one of my earliest blogs, I would like to take the time to tell you a bit about myself and to answer some questions that I run into a lot when discussing my sport so please read along below through my FAQ's!

1. What is a Javelin?

A Javelin, simply put, is a spear. The Men's competitive Javelins are made from Steel, Carbon Fiber or a Composite material. They weigh 800G (1.76 lbs) and are 2.60M-2.70M in length (~8'6"). The Women's Javelins are made from the same materials but weigh 600G (1.32 lbs) and are 2.2M-2.3M in length (~7'3").

2. How did you get into Javelin?

This one always comes up and first and foremost, thank you Neil Sami. Interestingly enough I did not initially seek Javelin as an event to compete in. I attended Burnaby Central Secondary School, which has a great tradition in track and field. Ken Taylor was the coach until the year I got there and his legacy was being continued by Micah Chan and Devon Chan, along with John Uzelac, all being former athletes of Ken Taylor. Prior to my arrival at Central, there were two Javelin throwers who had won the provincial championships in Javelin. Adam Pankratz and Blake Smelser, who both also played football at Central, won back-to-back titles together and consecutively set Central records. When they both graduated from Central, Micah asked at our first team meeting, if there was anybody who would like to throw Javelin. Darren Wilson, who also played football at Central, was already throwing but Micah wanted to add another thrower for more points at Provincial Championships. When nobody raised their hand, Neil Sami raised his. Shocked, Micah asked, "Neil?! YOU want to throw Javelin?" Neil's reply was, "No. Curtis should do it, he can throw a football and a baseball really far." I re-iterate NOBODY wanted to throw Javelin and I was one of them. I was also already training for the Decathlon, which I competed in the year before and although Javelin was one of the events, I never trained for it. After hearing Neil's faith that I could do decently well at it, I obliged. The next day I was out on the field throwing Javelin and getting beat by Darren as well as all the girls left right and centre. I measured my throw that day because I wanted to know how I was progressing if I was going to stick it out. My best at the end of Day 1? 12M. I was lousy, or so I thought I would continue to be, but something competitive in me saw it as a challenge and by the end of that year (Grade 10), and with a ton of coaching, I won Bronze at the BC High School Championships and threw over 53M. Again, thank you Neil Sami!

3. So, like, do you have a coach or something?

Don Steen has been my coach on and off for the last decade or so and I first met Don near the end of Grade 9. Micah Chan introduced me to this tall white haired gentleman at Burnaby Central and told me not to say anything stupid. I was pretty quiet but Micah had spent most of our practice gushing over Don and his accomplishments like today's ninth graders over Justin Beiber; I was weirded out and impressed by Micah's guffahing. Don was an athlete at the University of Oregon as a decathlete and also spent a lot of time playing basketball and rugby when he wasn't teaching, coaching domestically/internationally and building sports in British Columbia. He really needs to sit down and write a book before I even attempt to list his achievements as I fear blogger would cut me off. Try 'Googling' (Which owns blogger) his name and just peruse the entries. You will be shocked to find that yes, most of the entries under this name although vastly contrasting in achievement, document the same guy. When I began my Grade 10 year, Don began telling me that I needed to leave all that nonsense alone, that nonsense being Soccer, Rugby, Basketball, Baseball and Football. He said that I should focus on track as I reminded him of the likes of his son David Steen, 1988 Canadian Bronze Medallist in the Decathlon. To say the least, narrowing my athletic aim was a struggle. Playing football in my family is a right-of-passage as I have Uncles and Cousins who played professionally in the NFL and also my Dad, Leroy Moss, who played in the NFL and CFL (Drafted by the Bengals, played one year there), winning a Grey Cup with the Edmonton Eskimos in 1975. My Dad was also our coach (my twin brother Prentice and I, I also have an older brother, Ryan) for Basketball, Football and Baseball. Baseball was the other sport that was difficult to argue quitting as it was my favourite sport and arguably my best sport until I quit to focus on Athletics. By Grade 11 I was a Football and Track guy and after High School made attempts to go back to Football twice until ultimately giving it up to focus on Track and Field. Due to some unforeseen circumstances, I chose to head south of the border for a year where I trained with Justin St. Clair who himself had thrown high 70M's and with whom I threw over 70M for the first time in my career. Justin headed for Duke as a coach after my time at Southeastern Louisiana University and ultimately ended up as an athlete at the Olympic Training Centre in Chula Vista, California, almost every American T&F athlete's dream! I headed home and began to attend University of British Columbia where I was coached by Tom Nielsen for two seasons and won an NAIA title. When I finished my career at UBC I sought out Don's expertise again and for the last two seasons we have been training together with the same focus; Qualifying for and making the finals at the 2012 London Olympic Games. Not an easy task and one that has required a complete overhaul of my technique, training plan and focus. Patience young grasshopper!

My next competition will be this Saturday April 21st at the University of Oregon for the Oregon Relays. I won this meet last year with a 73M throw. I know I will need to throw quite a bit further than this to win and I am confident that Oregon will provide the atmosphere and conditions to throw very far. Hayward has often been referred to as the Track & Field 'Mecca' with the likes of Steve Prefontaine and Bill Bowerman (Don's coach while at the U of O) being the historically most prominent figures. Oregon is also the birth place of Nike, started when Bill Bowerman, then head coach at Oregon, made shoes for his athletes including Pre, using resin and many, many, many of his wife's waffle irons, completely ruining them for further use. Simple beginnings for one of the world's most recognizable brands.

The Forecast? Training has been great, my body feels a lot better than previous seasons and my confidence has been great. I am pumped for the competition and to go out and see what I am capable of. Taking the training wheels off for this one so it will be a good early season test of my progress. Please stay posted for results and hopefully I will be able to get some video of the meet on my next entry.

Well I think that is enough reading for today! I need to get on here more often so I don't feel like I am unloading such a huge entry all the time (A bit contradictory to the title :S). Please feel free to e-mail me at curtisjmoss@gmail.com with any questions, encouragement and inspiration you may have for me. I appreciate you taking the time to read this and I will try to keep this blog up to date on a weekly basis throughout the entire 2012 season (and hopefully beyond!). 

   - Curtis Moss

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Thank you for coming and checking out my Blog!! I am a Javelin thrower from Burnaby, BC, Canada. I will be posting blogs about my journey to the London 2012 Olympic Games including meets, training, and travel. I will be checking in periodically with my experiences, thoughts, and feelings as I work my butt off to achieve my goals. Please check back soon or subscribe via e-mail to be notified when I update the posts. Until next time!