When I stepped off the plane in New York on Thursday I was hit with the most intense wave of heat. It was suffocating. The pilot had mentioned it was over 100 degrees but once you factor in the humidity and all, you were miserable. Not to worry. By the time I made it to the track on Friday for a pre meet warmup it was about 20 degrees cooler and absolutely perfect weather for a track meet. Storms were in the forecast but they were supposed to be intermittent and I was hoping for similar weather the next day. If you watched the meet on T.V., you'd know that wasn't the case. It was cold. It was rainy. But most of all, it was windy.
The meet directors were nice enough to put us in the pre meet portion of the meet, hours before the real track competitions got started and eons away from the television broadcast. There was probably 17 people in the stands by the time we went out to the infield to get started, but as field event folks, we are used to the love (or lack thereof). I immediately made my way up to the event coordinator to enquire as to whether or not they'd be switching the runway to allow us to jump in the opposite direction because the wind was blowing something fierce. The beauty of having sand at both ends of a runway is that you are able to choose to not fight it. Unfortunately, we were told that no, they wouldn't be switching the runway because the T.V. cameras were already set up for that direction.
Just so you understand completely, we started jumping at 1pm. The "live" television broadcast of the meet was from 3pm-5pm. It was already obvious that we were somewhat of the forgotten stepchild and had no real chance of being part of the television coverage. The most we could hope for was a snippet of the winning jump in between laps of the 5k. But instead of giving us an opportunity for decent jumps and a respectable showing, they asked us to jump into a tornado. We did our best, but our best ended up being quite embarrassing. I was 5th out of 13 jumpers, and could barely manage a best jump of 6.29. I felt like I was on the runway trying to run fast toward the board, but got stuck doing the running man in place as soon as I stood up. It was awful. Instead of getting out of the pit and seeing if you landed anywhere near 7 meters, we were stepping out of the pit hoping it looked to be beyond 6 meters. I think everyone in the competition had a few jumps where that wish didn't come true.
You can't control mother nature and I don't like to make excuses for crappy performances, but if you were wondering what the reason was for such dismal performances, hopefully that clues you in a bit. At the end of the day though, 4 other people handled the situation better than I did and so I'm not to thrilled about that. I'll just take from it what I can and make sure that's not the case in two weeks.