“Hi everyone, so the hay is in the barn as the American saying goes!
“Training for the IAAF World Championships next month, and the remainder of the IAAF Diamond League, has been just what I had hoped for back here in western New York. My speed, confidence and technical aspects of preparation are all there.
“Now comes the part I hate… packing!
“In the grand scheme of things, this isn’t a huge issue but it isn’t as easy as one might think. A US-based pole vaulter has to plan to travel better and more efficiently than most other athletes on the circuit because of these long sticks we carry.
“You need to practice, and you need to compete, and that requires different poles and more room than my pole bag can fit. I have to make smart decisions on what poles to bring and what poles to leave behind.
“This is just the poles, now let’s talk about clothes!
"With my pickiness you now have a genuine crisis at the Suhr house. Training gear, competition kits, shoes (plenty of them), casual wear and of course, food to accommodate my gluten-free needs… oh my!
“I basically start packing a week prior to departure. I start with everything I want to bring and then as the days pass I weed out the ‘wants’ and try to keep the ‘needs’. I want this black dress but I need this rain gear. I want to bring this jewellery but I need this chalk and tape. You see what I mean.
“We’ll travel, train and compete in at least five countries in the next month. Cold, warm, competition, casual, wet and dry… I think we’ll see it all. Therefore, I need to have it all.
“We don’t have an apartment or training base so everything has to be mobile and easy to manage. My solution for it all is to try to keep my number of travel bags to a tolerable and manageable number; and use some of (my husband and coach) Rick’s extra space in his bag.
“But when in doubt, go with pink!
“Speaking about pole vaulting, and being a bit more serious now, pole vaulting is the most extreme of the disciplines. It takes a certain mental toughness, craziness maybe, to hang upside down on a piece of fiberglass on a daily basis.
“All the vaulters in Moscow have their own stories of facing down their fears about our event, but none of us have a story as compelling as US high school pole vaulter Charlotte Brown.
“Legally blind, Charlotte approaches vaulting with a courage that is second to none. Imagine throwing in the challenge of limited sight into the mix of variables as you launch yourself into the air?
“If there is ever a time in my career where I have a crisis of confidence, I know who I’m calling for a bit of a pep talk. Check out Charlotte online when you have a chance, she’s an inspirational young woman.