“It is now officially winter here in upstate New York and the training facility is prepped and ready to handle all aspects of my indoor training.
“Although it looks less-than-pretty with boards on the windows, it remains functional and has character. The boards are our unsuccessful attempt to keep the heat in, or cold out, depending how you look at it.
“As is the norm for this time of year, the fields around us that used to be full and green are now brown and withered. I spend the mornings walking Tundra (my dog) through our trails and the nights doing the same.
“We follow the deer prints in the snow and then I set up a motion camera in the most-travelled areas to try to catch them on their journey across our property.
“However, recently, I seem to be catching more than just the deer. Hunters have figured out that deer find our property to their liking, and are also following the tracks in the snow. Our land is posted and is not to be hunted so this fall and winter I have added to my resume. I am no longer just Jenn Suhr, the pole vaulter. I have deputised myself – Jenn Suhr the conservation officer.
“I grew up with a family of hunters so hunting is nothing new, and it is not something I am against, especially in this part of the country, but I’ve come to realise that deer must see our property as a sanctuary from human predators. And now that they are being hunted here, I have a lot less photos and tracks to follow.
“I am a self-professed animal lover, and my interest in deer and most other animals grows daily. I understand the circle of life thing (yes, I saw The Lion King) so I try to keep it in perspective. I enjoy spotlighting them at night but once hunting season starts I stop so they can get their rest during the night to be able to run for their life in the morning. Thankfully, the hunting season is almost over so I can soon focus on my other job – pole vaulting!
“Talking about that, my goals for 2014 are a little different than in the past. For the past couple years, it has been about qualifying and performing at the summer’s major global championship, but this year I am excited to hit some meets that I haven’t jumped at recently.
“For the indoor season you’ll probably see me jumping in the US with the goal of being prepared to compete at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot, Poland. Most of you might remember my maiden name was Stuczynski, so a trip to Poland will allow me to connect with and better understand my heritage.
“My great grandparents primarily spoke Polish to each other and I remember them speaking to me in Polish, and then saying in English, ‘If you don’t use it you lose it.’ If I secure a spot on the team, I’ll have to work on my Polish, and there will be more details of my Polish heritage to come in my next diary.
“As for the outdoors, I would love to have a season where I have the ability to jump high without the worries of qualifying and placing. A couple of street meets over in Europe, and maybe a beach vault, something that I have never done. Until then, I will continue training to jump as high as I can while protecting ‘my deer.’
“Have a happy holidays,