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.
Patterson advised women to have fun with exercise and to find good-tasting healthy food so that they are able to develop long-lasting habits. “Don’t be afraid to try things that you think are working for you, whether that’s food or exercise,” she said.
She also offered several beneficial tips for every woman. For one, she said it’s useful to “be open to anything as far as exercise goes.” Patterson said she never thought she would like hiking until she went backpacking a few years ago and discovered a passion for it.
Patterson also said to eat a lot of vegetables because they “get you more full than you think they might and are really good for you.”
Patterson is now looking forward to making the Olympic trials at the end of June and setting a new personal record to beat her record of 66.67 meters. Ultimately, she wants to make the Olympic finals and be the best she can be.
“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So ... get on your way,” Patterson quoted in the words of Dr. Seuss. She encourages all women to push themselves and find their passion, as she aims to take a couple of steps forward each day in her progression as a javelin thrower.
Edited by Jody Smith