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 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