Sunday, April 11, 2010

Venturing into a competitive event

It was not exactly the best weather for my first shot put competition, and there was the possibility that the event would be canceled because of heavy rain in the Bay Area. But the shot put officials squeezed in the competition this morning at Stanford University's track stadium. It was one of many events in the two-day Bay Area Senior Games at Stanford.

The shot put circle is made of concrete and was very slippery as the rain came down. Most of the competitors were a bit tentative as they participated, not sure whether they would fall if the put all their effort into a toss.

After a short warm-up period, we got four throws in competition. My first two attempts were from a standing position. I wasn't ready to glide across the ring in the rain. I just wanted to get a mark without fouling or falling on my rear end.

My first two marks were in the 25-foot range. I had set a personal goal of 27 feet, and was not sure how the elements would affect me. I kept a towel over the shot put to keep it dry between tosses. With about 14 competitors, it took awhile for your turn to come around again, and I was not completely warmed up early in the event.

On my third and fourth attempts, I decided to get some momentum behind the tosses. My third attempt was the best. It was recorded at 29 feet, 2 inches. I think it was much shorter because I have never thrown that far in practice. The rain pounded down on my fourth attempt, and I threw with my warmups still on and with a hooded sweatshirt over it all. It was not a good toss. I was fourth in the 60-64 age group, which sounds good until you find out there were only five competitors in that category.

On Saturday, I competed in the discus. I had not thrown it before and decided to give it a try a couple of weeks ago. Since I was going to drive to Palo Alto, I might as well try a second event.

My goal was 75 feet and I threw it 72 feet. I'll take it because I know I can improve with a little help on my technique. The discus competition was delayed about an hour because the soccer matches at the Senior Games were going on at the same time. Whoever laid out the field did not realize that the discus throwers would land their tosses well beyond the goalie. We were supposed to get six attempts, but they cut it back to four so we could get the competition completed more quickly. I could have used those two extra attempts.

The weekend was a good first competition for me. Too bad the weather didn't cooperate. But I had fun, and I can't wait until I can compete again. There's a competition in Manteca next month and I will see if I can get into it.