U.S.A. Women’s javelin thrower Kara Patterson lives to conquer challenges and looks forward to doing just that at this year’s summer Olympics.
Patterson overcame a huge setback in 2007 when she experienced a major back injury, but rebounded to set the U.S.A. women’s javelin record in 2010. She also represented the United States in the 2008 summer Olympics and has set a goal to make the Olympic finals this time around.
Patterson, 25, grew up in Vancouver, Washington and started throwing the javelin her freshman year in high school. She won state three years in a row and went on to throw for Purdue University.
While throwing for Purdue, Patterson won three out of the four Big 10 championships she attended and was named All-American by the NCAA twice. In 2008, she threw a personal record and went on to the Olympics.
Patterson didn’t perform as well as she would have liked at the 2008 Olympics, but she said it was a great experience. She is now training full-time in Chula Vista, California, for the 2012 summer Olympics.
Diet and training play a large role in Patterson’s success as an elite athlete, so she focuses on maintaining good daily habits. Her diet consists of lean protein, with a lot of chicken and tuna, and limited carbs.
“I think it’s just a natural progression of trial and error,” Patterson said of figuring out what foods helped her perform best.
She also throws nearly everyday, and frequently works out twice a day. Many of her workouts include jumping sessions and lifting to help her build strength.
Patterson said the easiest way to stick to a diet and fitness program is to think proactively. “Planning ahead is a good way to counteract [unhealthy cravings],” she said.
Although Patterson has developed good eating habits, she said she has not always been that way. “I was the queen of pasta in college,” she said.
Patterson said it’s much easier to prepare unhealthy meals, but that eating healthy on a regular basis leaves room for occasional indulging. “In eating more protein and having more veggies, I can still eat some pasta when I want to,” she said.