Photo by Becky
Down the Backstretch: You’re in Chula Vista at the US training center, how is that working out for you?
Liz Podominick: The weather here has been absolutely amazing, which has helped the consistency of my training. It's such a gift to not have to throw into a net during the winter. There have certainly been adjustments to living in a new place and staying in the dorms is not glamorous. It's just like freshmen year of college again sharing a room, so hopefully I can afford to live off site next year. I need my own space lol :-)
DtB: What are the advantages/disadvantages of being at the center? A lot of the top talent comes to the center periodically, so you get to see them. You don’t have to travel to get decent competition. Have you seen improvements because of the environment?
LP: Well, I mentioned one of each(advantages/disadvantages) above. While there are a lot of advantages to training here, it is not for everyone. I certainly did not expect it to be such a hard transition. Certainly the financial stress has greatly been alleviated, but it is very hard to find separation from training and personal life. It's essentially living where you work and it can be isolating here. However, it is certainly the most ideal facility I have ever trained at, so that is certainly an advantage.
DtB: What has your season been like thus far? You’re throwing over 200 feet. Gia Lewis-Smallwood is sort of setting the standard for US throwers this year having thrown 213’2”(She’s throwing at Bislett today, so that may change)This is a non championship year, so what are you trying to achieve this year?
LP: This season has had a lot of ups and downs. I have been trying to make A LOT of technical changes that will help me in the long run, but my consistency is not there yet. It is certainly humbling and I had hoped to br further along than I am. I'd love to set a new PR at USA's, and I never doubt my ability to compete when something is on the line.
DtB: Gia has been going to the bit meets and it seems to be working for her. What does it take to get invites to these competitions and get on the circuit? Is that something you’d like to do or do you think you can achieve the same improvement by training and competing in the US?
LP: Gia had an amazing year last season and that opens doors to the big events. I am not at that level yet in terms of consistency (and distance to be honest). There is also a bit of luck sometimes on who you know... I will be traveling to Europe this summer to gain some more international experience. My agent is still working on finalizing those events, but there is still a lot of experience to be gained from smaller meets because they get out of your comfort zone. I certainly train to make it to the next level and will continue to everything in my control to get there.
DtB: Funds have always been an issue as sponsorship dollars do not flow to many track events these days, with the situation being even more lean for the field event athletes. How are things going on the funding front?
LP: I have received a grant from the USATF Foundation that has greatly helped me this year to cover costs (e.g. being able to pay for health insurance!) and take some financial stress away. I have won some prize money at some meets and hope to make more this summer. I have also joined a non-profit called National Athletic Institute (NAI) that will hopefully help bridge that gap once they are on their feet. It's a new way of looking at bridging the funding gap and recommend that any athlete check it out, or if anyone is interested in donating to go to http://www.nai-usa.com
DtB: Where have you thrown this year, and where are you hoping to compete for the rest of this season?
LP: I have been to a lot of meets here in SoCal (which is very convenient) and as well as Arizona couple of times. I did get to go to Jamaica early this spring to compete at a World Challenge (great experience) and like I said earlier, I will be competing overseas this summer. That schedule is still not set in stone, but I am really looking forward to it!