Monday, August 31, 2009

Zagreb Grand Prix Action

Another day, another race.

I feel like I am getting right back in to the swing of things. This is how I am suppose to be spending my summers! Not at home chilling out! I thank God that he brought me through this little impasse, I was at serious crossroads a few times about whether to continue an attempt to run this year or just scrap it and pick up in 2010.

At these competitions, I don't know why everyone feels it's their duty to start of with some variation of "Man, I know you gotta be hot seeing the results in the hurdles from Worlds...." when I first see them. But I tell them the truth, I could care less. When you are seriously injured and trying to make it back, your priorities change as does your focus. I tell them that I am just happy to be out there again, whether it was at Worlds or a race at Disney, I don't care.

I am also an individual who doesn't dwell of things that I can not control. Once I got hurt, everything went out of the window and the singular focus was to get healthy, I wouldn't have cared any more if somebody was breaking the world record every race.

I'm back out on the track tonight in Zagreb, Croatia. I ran here in 2006, came third right behind Allen Johnson (13.19) and Dayron Robles (13.20), I ran 13.23. In this race, I will be competing against the world champion Brathwaite and Joel is here too.

My focus is to run better here than I did in Zurich, to continue building race after race. I believe that I will be successful in that attempt.

We go off at 8:05 local time (2:05 est).

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Zurich Post-Audit

I went out and caught a serious L last night.

This was the first race I lost since this competition last year.

I finished way down in 5th place, I can't remember the last time I finished so low, but I met all of my main objectives for the competition. I banked another set of ten hurdles in competition, I'm still healthy and I ran a better race than I did in Tallinn a few days ago.

I ran 13.33, so I'm moving in the right direction. I started the race poorly, got back in the mix, then kind of ran out of gas at the end. Aub put it quite simple, he said it was as if I had run three separate races in one. I will get my race rhythm back soon, I just have to stay patient and continue to run my lane.

I am catching a flight in a few hours to Zagreb, Croatia for my next competition that will be on Monday. Joel arrived there from Orlando this morning, so it will be good to have someone there to practice the hurdles with, it was about late May the last time we actually trained together. The opportunity to get next to somebody and actually feel the rhythm is key, we always think we're running fast until you get next to somebody else.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Weltklasse Zurich Golden League Meeting

The comeback trail has lead me to easily the most prestigious competition in the sport of athletics, Weltklasse Zurich.

This is the meet of all meets, the competition that everyone wants to go to every year. They meeting organizers compile the most competitive fields, the food is the best on the circuit, they have the best medical staff, the list goes on and on.

I have had the pleasure of attending this meet every year since my first as a professional in 2005. Zurich is the only meet I've been to every year.

I ran the second fastest time of my career thus far at this meeting last season, running 12.98, you can count on two hands the amount of people throughout history who have run faster than that time. I am pretty sure that I probably won't be able to duplicate that type of performance this time around given the circumstances, but that won't stop me from trying to!

It has been a good feeling getting back in the mix of things, seeing some friends on the circuit again and a lot of other whom I haven't seen in almost a year. It felt equally as good back warming up with my training partner Novie, who will open up the competition tonight in the women's 400.

The race starts at 8:20 local time (2:20est) and I will face the final from this past Berlin World Championship race. I drew lane three, right next to the recently crowned World Champion who will be in lane four.

Brooks again reiterated that we will treat this meet the same way as a meet in April. I can't sacrifice my technique in order to start over competing because when you do that, it leads to more injuries and you start grooving in bad things. He stated that the main goal is to finish in one piece and build upon what I established in Tallinn a few days ago. He feels that April set up May and the same will happen here. I am very excited to have the opportunity to race again.

The only goal I have in mind is that I want to make sure I'm getting back to doing the technical things I use to. Tune in to the meet, it will be a great one! Send up some prayers for me!

You can catch the meet on the web at it starts at 2pm eastern.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tallinn Results

First race back, picked up a W.

I ran 13.46 (-0.6w) in less than ideal conditions. I could care less about the time, I know that I need to build my race callousness back and get back in to the swing of things race wise. I am just happy that after a near four month layoff, I was able to finish the race pain free and win.

Now this competition is nothing close to the caliber of individuals I will be racing on Friday in Zurich, but I needed a starting point. On the flip side, all these guys competed in the recently run World Championships. Brooks and my main focus was to get a marker which to work from. We were treating this meet like it was the Disney Invitational in March, I'm basically starting all over again. Next meet will be like the Florida Relays.

Today, my start sucked worse than usual and my technique started falling apart toward the end. I was basically "thuggin'" it. I was able to run down everybody within the first few hurdles aside from Shamar Sands who I didn't catch up with until way late in the race. He finished second with 13.50.

Everyone who knows my style, knows that I will get better when I get a couple of races under my belt and get the competitive juices flowing again. I will clean up the certain areas I need to, but like they say "Rome wasn't built in a day", well this comeback won't happen overnight either.

BigBank Tallinn Meeting 2009

I woke up this morning with a feeling that I haven't felt in a very long time.

I was extremely nervous, first thing in the morning. Today is race day. Finally I am back in action.

My last competition was nearly four months ago, 1/3 of a year has gone by since I last put my uniform on! I know that this is what has lead to my extreme nervousness. It's sort of the feeling you get before your very first competition of the year. You're hoping that all your fall training and practices leading up to the first time under the lights went exactly as you and your coach planned.

Me, I just want to get out and get back under the lights again. It is funny how we sometimes take for granted something as simple as pinning your bib number on the front of your competition jersey or doing the preparations we go through before we head out of the hotel to catch the bus to the stadium.

My good friend and hurdle legend Allen Johnson is in the field today, we sat in the lobby of the hotel and talked for a good three hours after dinner last night.

I usually have several goals I want to achieve in every race, but here, I just want to finish the race and have a good performance. I have been over a minimum of ten hurdles at least 12 times in the recent three weeks perfectly fine, but I'm just hoping that everything will be okay and I will have some good news to report back to you guys later on tonight.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Update From Germany

I am updating from Germany, I arrived here on Tuesday to see the doctor and get final clearance for my attempt to return to the track for racing.

When the season started, I planned on being in Germany at this time, but my destination was Berlin, not Munich where I am currently. We all know how life throws you curve balls, so I'm swinging for the fences like Albert Pujols and getting ready for my homerun trot!

Everything is clear, scans look good and I'm itching to get back out.

How about the World Champs?

Usain Bolt? Doing what he did twelve months ago, but even better! He's great for the sport. They are having a segment on him right now as I type on ESPN's Mike and Mike in the Morning.

My friend and genuine good guy Dayron Robles was injured again, don't know what it is with the hurdles lately, but we haven't seemed able to get the best guys in the World lined up on the track at one time in years. Hope he has a speedy recovery.

A guy who was on nobody's radar at the beginning of the season Braithwaite, wins the hurdles gold. He was my pick once Robles went down even though that went against everything I believed. I just never think I guy who has never been in a final before wins the hurdles on a world stage and I wouldn't pick a guy to even make a US team in the event if it's his first final. But there are always exceptions to the rule, this is the first I can remember.

I feel like I am watching the CARIFTA games, LOL! In 2007 in Osaka, the carribbean islands on 16 medals, 4 gold, they have 17 already and 7 gold. It's three full days left and they aren't done. Goes to show that in this sport, things change faster than Bolt runs 100 meters!

Team USA had 14 golds in '07, we've got a measly 4 now, maybe we will be able to at least get half of that total this time around.

P.S. Please can the USA managers put Terrence Trammel on the first leg in the 4x1!! (Trammel-Wallace-Doc-Tyson can compete with the Jamaicans I think, given everyone's healthy)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

IAAF Adopts No False Start Rule....Finally!

As an individual who competes in an event that seems to take two to three starts per race sometimes, I am happy that the governing body of my sport has decided to go this route.

I can count on two fingers the amount of times I have false started: 2006 at the meet in Zaragoza, Spain and this indoor season at the Florida Invitational (if that competition was a "real" meet, I wouldn't have been hit with it, but whatever.)

If you think about it, it's never your top flight guys who commit this infraction. Can you recall when you saw Terrence Trammel, Dayron Robles, David Payne, myself, etc false start, let alone false start out of the competition?

Now I do understand that stuff does go wrong sometime and false starts just happen. I believe that at your major meets (Olympic Games, World Championships, National Championships) the rule in which we are governed by now should be used, but at your Golden League, Super Grand Prix meets, this zero tolarance for false starting should be in full effect.

Do you know how hard it is in that restart? The thought that always comes to my mind is "We could have been done already!" But you just have to focus and re-focus.

A quick thought of mine goes back to the 2008 Olympic Trials where one individual felt the need to false start every single round, too bad he was in three of my four heats.

I don't understand why hurdlers think that they need to get to the first hurdle before everybody else, just to give it back later on down the track.

Off the top I my head, I can think of these instances in which the guy who was first, didn't finish with the win:
2000 OG- Colin was out ahead of Garcia
2004 OG- Liu was a hair behind Terrence, but went on to set the Olympic record
2005 WC- Allen touched down first, Ladji wins
2006 in Liu's world record race, he comes from behind
2007 WC- Terrence and Robles were out stepping Liu, who once again comes from behind and wins the race and runs sub-13

Personally my Olympic Trials win as well as first sub-13 performance were of the come from behind variety.

Only Robles world record race and 2008 Olympic Gold come to my mind as major races where the guy won start to finish.

I'm not going to claim to be an aficionado of the history of 110 hurdling, I only started paying attention recently. I'm sure people can point out instances going against what I said, but I'm sure the runners they will bring up aren't going to have to deal with this new rule anyhow.

Bottomline, I nor anyone else has heard of a 13.7 meter hurdle race, so why all of the jumping? I chalk it up to either bad coaching, teaching athletes to anticipate the gun instead of react to it or the said athlete allows the nervous energy to control him instead of vice versa or the guy is just doing it on purpose. I tend to go with the guy doing it on purpose.

I have been flat out told before by a notorious false starter "I am faster than 95% of you guys (hurdlers), so I'll take one and make you guys sit even longer on the re-start."

Do I agree with his assesment, no, but can you blame him? If they aren't going to punish you for it, you might as well take advantage.

I would never do it for the simple fact that I DO NOT want to feel the wrath from one Brooks Johnson for false starting. I can not even write what was said to me on that Monday at practice after I did so in Gainesville, nor the three page email I received prior to that. The FCC might shut me down! LOL.

I am happy that the IAAF finally took notice and became proactive in this situation.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Rocky Mountain Independent Article

I had the pleasure to talk with Chris Tomasson of the Rocky Mountain Independent last week for an interview.

Enjoy the read.

East High grad hurdles the odds

Hurdler David Oliver won bronze in last year's Beijing Olympics. (

Hurdler David Oliver won bronze in last year's Beijing Olympics. (

The Olympic bronze medal sits on a dresser in David Oliver’s Orlando, Fla., home. With the odds he overcame and as hard as he worked for his medal, you better believe Oliver isn’t going to tuck it away where it can’t be seen.

“I’m not going to put it in a safe-deposit box,’’ Oliver said. “Hopefully, nothing will happen to it.’’

It was Aug. 21, 2008, in Beijing when Oliver, a 2000 graduate of Denver East High School, became an unlikely medalist. It happened in the same decade Oliver had to write letters to Howard to beg school officials to give him a track scholarship. And it came barely a year after Oliver was pretty much an unknown in the 110-meter hurdles.

Oliver, though, burst into world track prominence in May 2008 in Qatar, when he clocked a time of 12.95 seconds, then the ninth-fastest in history. Then he won the U.S. Olympic trials in June and took the bronze in Beijing to cap quite a summer.

A year later, Oliver, 27, can’t walk down the street like he used to, especially in nations where track and field are big.

“You go around town, and a lot more people know who you are,’’ said Oliver, who clocked a 13.18 in Beijing to finish behind world-record holder Dayron Robles of Cuba and silver-medalist David Payne of the U.S. “I want back to China (last September), to Shanghai, and people followed me around with cameras. . . . When I was in Australia (early this year), people would say, ‘I think I’ve seen you,’ and then we would strike up a conversation and it would dawn on them who I was.’’

Last October, when Oliver made his first return to Denver following the Olympics, it was a big deal at East High School. A video was shown at an assembly, Oliver addressed the students, and then it was mayhem.

“It was kind of crazy,’’ said Oliver, who said that visits to his blog have taken off since last summer. “At the end, the kids went on the stage for autographs and pictures. It was definitely a mob scene. The kids were really excited. They had to get me out of there quickly. It was amazing the support I had.’’

Things have been quieter this year for Oliver. He did set a personal indoor best in winning the 60-meter hurdles at a February event in Stuttgart, Germany. And he was pleased with how his outdoor season began in May, when he clocked a 13.09 to win the event in Qatar again.

Shortly thereafter, Oliver felt something pop in his left calf during training. With Oliver’s coach, Brooks Johnson, saying his condition initially was “misdiagnosed,’’ it was not until late July until the injury was deemed a torn calf muscle.

While he was trying to figure out what was wrong, Oliver mostly remained on the sideline. He pulled out of the U.S. Championships in June in Eugene, Ore., meaning he wouldn’t be able to compete in this month’s World Championships in Berlin. In late July, he returned to his training track in Orlando to get ready for his next meet, expected to be Aug. 24 in Estonia.

“The U.S. Championships just didn’t pan out, but overcoming that incident is just part of being professional,’’ Oliver said. “But I don’t want to push it. If you go out there and start running slow times, you hurt your reputation. I’m taking a solid month (in Orlando) to get my legs back.’’

While he’s working his way back into the groove, the one-year anniversary will arrive of when Oliver really put himself on the map by becoming an Olympic medalist.

“David is very keenly aware of the fact that he is no longer a face in the crowd in his sport,’’ Johnson said. “He carries himself very well and is aware of the responsibility that comes from success and exposure.’’

While Oliver is now thinking more about getting fully healthy, he does pause at times to realize how far he has come since being lightly recruited out of high school and mostly unknown as he continued to improve his times throughout the decade.

“A few years ago, I wouldn’t I have penciled myself into the position I was at with the Olympic Games,’’ Oliver said. “That keeps me motivated. I think my story is an inspiration. . . . I never had anything from a silver spoon. I had to work for what I got. I didn’t have everything handed to me in college.’’

Oliver hopes there will be a “lot more medals’’ in his career, including one at the 2012 Olympics in London. If he wins another Olympic medal, don’t be surprised if a safe-deposit box again is shunned in favor of his trusty dresser top.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Taking Baby Steps...

Everybody that knows the "Big Guy", knows that emotion is something that I RARELY show, but yesterday was an instance that I couldn't control and felt like posting about.

While I was out at the track for a training session yesterday, I wasn't too sure how things were really going to shake out. I went out with what I wanted to get done in my mind, but you know how when you plan something out in your head, it rarely goes as planned. Things end up looking a whole lot better "on paper" than they actually turn out in reality.

With this said, I wanted to get back to some serious hurdling in training. All of us athletes know that the hardest thing to overcome in regards to a serious injury is actually the mental part of it. Tears, bone breaks, sprains and strains all heal with time, but it's something about the process that takes place between your left earlobe and right earlobe that is the hardest to get past.

I have been training and working out very hard, but I had yet to take it up a couple of notches because I was apprehensive about the possibility of a re-injury, but I ended up just saying to hell with it, it's no better time to see what I'm feeling like than right now.

I placed 16 hurdles up on the woman's spacing and told myself lets see what happens. I started out five stepping, just to see if something would go wrong. I was good doing that for two reps, then I made a decision to spike it up and let's hit it. I was able to go full speed on my calf for multiple reps, spiked up, three stepping and it felt like I had never left.

When I got through the first rep, about 150 meters from where I started, I got a little teary eyed. Yeah, you read that right.

This might have been the happiest I felt on a track EVER. I wasn't emotional in winning and Olympic medal, winning U.S. championships, running sub 13 seconds, making my first team, whatever you can name. In all of those situations, I was still able to compete. Even if I came fourth at the games, never made a team, never had an all-time performance, I was still able to compete. Being injured and not able to do what it is you want to do, is harder to overcome than any on track performance fault. At least when you're able to compete, there is always another race tomorrow to get it right.

Anyone that's been hurt knows that when you get over that first hurdle post-injury is the biggest step, giving you the confidence that you will be OK. During the workout, I was running out of gas around hurdle 12, but that was the least of my concerns. My hands were shaking while I was trying to send Brooks an email informing him on what I was able to do.

Even with all these off track issues, air conditioning going out at my house AND my car, my main computer being on the fritz, my Blackberry is tripping and personal heartache, I will keep my eyes deadlocked on what it is I need to do to make a successful comeback. Everything is looking right on track.

Bottom line is: I LOVE MY SPORT