as originally posted on WiscNews
I’ve been in Rio for two weeks now and am three days post-competition. Here’s a mini recap of my Heptathlon. Stepping on the Olympic track for the very first time was a feeling I’ll never forget! I barely noticed it was raining I was so excited! I ran a solid time in the hurdles considering the cold and rain. High jump was next and I almost had a personal best, just missing the bar at 1.83 meters (6 feet). I jumped well, but was a little disappointed because I really wanted to be able to say that I jumped 6 feet, not to mention the extra points that come along with that clearance. I ended with 1.80 meters (5 feet, 10.75 inches) only one centimeter off my personal best.
We then took a break as the morning session concluded and we had to come back at 8:30 p.m. and throw shot and run the 200-meter dash. This scheduling is much different than other heptathlon competitions. Usually we go straight through and just get 30 minutes between each event. I knew this was going to be different and tried to prepare ahead of time both mentally and physically.
I came back for the night session and both shot put and the 200 didn’t go so well. No one ran particularly fast in the 200, so I didn’t drop in the overall standings, but I felt like I missed an opportunity to climb. This is all part of the heptathlon. When one event doesn’t go well you have to move on to the next! In this case I had to wait until the next morning to get rolling again as the 200 concludes day one.
Long jump was next—my favorite event. The stands were packed and the energy was great. Usain Bolt was running his 100-meter dash prelim that morning so the fans were excited. If anyone was following the live stream they may have noticed that I looked confused before my first jump. That’s because my starting marker got pulled up. They pulled the tape measure up off the track so I really had no clue where to start my run up from. I eyeballed it based off another mark and went for it — 6.16 meters (20 feet, 3 inches). I was very pleased with that. It’s a great starting jump and I kind of guessed at the approach. Unfortunately, I fouled my next two jumps so 6.16 was my best mark. It was solid, just looking for better. We then took another long break and came back at 8:30 p.m. to throw javelin and finish everything off with the 800-meter run.
Javelin went fairly well. It is my worst event so anything around 40m is good for me. I was hoping to throw a personal best (that is usually always the goal) and I was throwing well in warm-ups. I ended with 40.25 meters, a meter off my personal best and time to move on to the 800, my best event.
At this point I knew my overall score wasn’t going to be a personal best, but I wanted to run a personal best in the 800 and win the overall event. My training and workouts had been going great leading up to Rio so physically I was confident I could run a good time. Heptathlons can be draining for obvious reasons … and it is very hard to run a good 800 at the end of two very long days when nothing is on the line. I quickly got my mind off these thoughts because at the beginning of the season I had a goal to be the best 800 runner in the heptathlon. This was my chance. I also had the fastest 800 girl in my heat, so I was up for the challenge. I ran a personal best time of 2:06.82 and won the 800. It is the sixth best time ever run at the Olympics in the heptathlon 800. A very nice ending to my Olympic debut.
I write this on my way back to the track to watch my USA teammates compete in the decathlon, the men’s version of my event.