Saturday, November 26, 2016

Let's run a 5K !

Last year I ran a 5K on Thanksgiving as a test of my conditioning and I did it in 30:53 minutes.  I was trying to beat 30 minutes, which I have been trying to do for the last several 5 K races I have raced in the last 5 years.  I have run 3 5K races in the last 5 years.  I just struggle in these "marathons". 
I signed up this year for the Grace Works 5K, which is run around the Cool Spring Galleria at 8:00 AM on Thanksgiving morning.   It was about 60 degrees at race time, pretty nice for this time of the year. 

I was up early and put on 10 pieces of KT tape.  I put a tape job on both feet and knees and wore my best support wear to keep from getting any cramps or knee problems.  My knees have been getting a little loose lately and have on a rare occasions gotten twisted and that is a real annoyance.  I was taped and compressed to withstand anything that was to come. 

Last year I struggled at the start because I got into the starting chute too late and was mixed in with the strollers and other chaos and could not get a good pace early.   It was a battle to make any time.

This year, I got in the chute early and started way ahead of the chaos and that was the smartest move I made for the race.   I was after 30 minutes and at the lighter weight, I thought this was my best shot-ever.  When we started, I was 4 seconds off the first runners, I did want to not mess up their races with my plodding butt. We were led out by three guys on Harley motorcycles, they were supposed to lead the pack-- so to speak.  I got a great start and had a pretty fast pace and felt good.  I did not look at my Heart Rate--I wore my monitor--because I knew it was going to be high.   I was making good time and started to look for the one mile mark so I could judge my progress.  The one mile mark was no where to be found!! Did they forget to put it out?  Finally, we came to a marker for 2 miles and I checked my watch and it said 13:30.  Holy shit! I must really be smoking up the track!  I could walk in and make 30 at this rate!   The final 1 mile was run in 10:11.  I was not pushing because of the time split at 2 miles.  I walked a couple of times, because my heart rate was 100% plus.   But I pushed on and finished in 23:41.  Wow! an improvement of 7 minutes over my previous times.. When I finished I was going to say something to one of the  race directors and he was talking with one of the timers( it was chip timed and USATF certified),   and I could tell something was screwed up with the course.   I had ran it the previous year and realized that the course was not the same as last year.   I went down to the race central and checked the course and the bikers and race leaders ran the wrong track!   They turned in one block early and we ran a 2.7 mile race, not a 3.1 race..  That explained some of the low times.   OK, now it makes a lot more sense.  I was kinda bummed, I wanted to run a legit 5K under 30 minutes.  Not this year.

I did run a 4.35 K in 23:41.   I finished 9 out of 53 in the 60 to 64 year old class and 420th  out of 2300 total runners. A big improvement over last year.  If you add in 0.4 miles and make it the full     5 K, my time would have been in the 28:30 range which would achieve my 30 minute goal.  I can take that, a 2 minute improvement..   I like my lighter weight, it makes a big difference. 

I thought I would have a lot of soreness the following two days, but I felt great with only some fatigue in the knees and little muscle soreness.  I did a thorough stretch the day after the race and that helped keep the soreness out of the legs.  Now, I can take off a couple of weeks and get some rest and get some juice back in the legs.

For Thanksgiving, we visited Fleming Steak House near Vanderbilt and enjoyed some turkey and trimmings.  Hopefully everyone can have a great Holiday season.    Linda is making huge progress on her back pain and is back to work again.   The procedure to help the leg and back pain was done about a week ago and she is getting stronger daily and the pain is slowly easing.  She is finally gaining her old form and can resume a more normal daily routine!!  Yea!!!!!!!  I has been a tough go in 2016.   I am excited for 2017,  a lot more pain free days will be really welcomed.

On to Christmas, we put up a tree today, so it has started.

Sunday, November 20, 2016


This is my back yard entertainment this year.  If you spot some antlers, you are looking in the right spot.  Looks like an eight pointer is using our yard as his local hook up spot. 
This is what he was after today just before dark.  Pretty good buck bait. Both pictures were taken at very low light.


I know the rut is in full swing now in Brentwood.  Deer have been everywhere and the bucks are 50 yards away--like this one-- and they are basically fearless of humans.  We have a nice buck in our backyard and I may have to get a crossbow so I can take he out.  he has ruined a lot of trees with his antlers and that is not why I planted them.
I ran a warm up for the 5K I plan on running on Thursday.  I ran my hilly course in 30:30 for the distance.  My goal on Thursday is less than 30 minutes and I should be close to getting under that time. I will rest my legs  the remainder of the week and do some upper body weight work. I need to get my feet feeling better, they take a beating on the road events.    I think I have the right amount of clothing selected to wear, it will be around freezing on Thursday when we run. I stayed warm today with a hat, gloves, two layers lower and 3 upper layers with my camelback water tank on my back.  it worked out pretty well, I did not need to remove anything until I was done. There was also a very cool breeze from the North today in my face on the return leg of my run.
As the calendar heads towards Thanksgiving, I need to get my Christmas shopping going.  I have some early things done, but I need to get the harder to find things moved to the top of the list.  Christmas will be staggered this year, we will not be traveling.  Aaron will come in for a few days and Betty will also drop by after the Big Day.   But we will get to see some of kids and not have a high energy event where everyone gets into town and chaos is unleashed.  With the new knee on Linda, we will keep it a lot lower key than in the past.
By the way, Ohio State Vs. Michigan is coming up this Saturday.  There is a lot on the line for this game.  I hope everyone can watch the game.  Go Bucks!!


Friday, November 11, 2016

More Animal crap

I am getting a handle on the moles and now there is a buck white tail that is using my small trees as the his personal antler polish.  It has been so dry lately, I have not been mowing the yard and I have not had chance to see all the trees around the property. The other day I was walking around and two trees in the front of the house were torn up  pretty good.   I bought some 4 Inch drainage pipe to protect them, but several are in pretty bad shape and will probably need to be removed.  Deer and beaver are not my favorites in this area.  It is very frustrating to plant trees and keep them alive and then some idiot buck just shreds your work! 

I am signed up for the Nationals next summer in Birmingham, Al.   The meet will be 5 days and they will run all the ages in those 5 days.  It is going to be crowded and busy.  In the past, the 65 and up ran a separate meet the week before the youngsters arrived.   That is a lot of heats in the prelims in one day..  Hopefully the competitors can stay out of the weather until it is time to run.  

Enough whining.   Linda asked me the other day about a 5K I ran last year on Thanksgiving morning.  I had not given it any thought up till then,  But, I did go out and do some distance work and I think I will sign up and run the lap around the Cool Springs Galleria.  I am still thinking I can beat 30 minutes and have failed every time.  Maybe this go round, the lighter me can do it.  I am still keeping the weight off  and trying to get below the 190 pound barrier.  I hit 191 the other day, so a little progress has been noticed. 

I am in my "off season" and do a lot more weight work and no speed work. Core, legs and arms are the bulk of the gym time. I also continue to do my stretching routine and my flexible continues to pretty good in my opinion. But this off season I am going to make time to work on starts from blocks and get my quarter mile speed nailed down. I have been quite a bit of reading and I am going to start trying some different strength work and see it  can make me any faster.  Some of it very simple and what I have tried causes some pretty good muscle burning!

Linda and I went to the knee doctor yesterday( the surgeon) and she is basically ready for the real world with her new knee.  No problems and it is in place.  This knee was much easier than the first for various reasons, but the technology gets better every year.   She is trying to get some back pain under control and we hope to have an answer for that problem by month end.  The back pain has been an absolute nightmare the last couple of months.  She is tough, but it has been pretty rugged to handle all the pain and suffering.   I wish there is more I could do to help.  But is has been a hard two months for her to handle.

This weekend we are going to go at see the Titans and the Packers play in town.  An Facebook friend had some tickets they could not use and they ask us if we could go?  well of course.  I have new Steelers jacket I can show off.   I guess I can wear Steelers gear.  Linda does have a Mariota jersey and she can support the locals. It should be fun.  We did not see any NFL live last season.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Moles and my life

I live an area where moles enjoy just tearing thru my yard and enjoying life. Things have changed in the last two years for the little miners.   Where ever they have tunneled in the yard in the past has died out the following weeks and has made the yard a little unsightly.   I am not the biggest yard nut, but I do like to have a relatively smooth surface that has an even cover of grass.  The moles had become a problem and I needed to act in early 2015. 

I mow over 1.5 acres total and about an acre is subject to mole damage.   I do not want to eliminate the grubs with pesticide so I have to address mole control a little differently. There several old tree root systems in the yard and from trees removed and trees that are still alive.  There are a lot of places for the grubs to survive and the moles know this.   The moles have a lot areas in which to find food and there is a lot of food available.  

Last year I tried the usual baits that you put in the tunnels and some of the high tech worms that go in the tunnels and they are supposed to kill the moles after they are eaten.  I am not sure anything worked.  I also tried a couple of mole traps that would crush their body when the trigger was knocked off.   These traps were worthless.   What is left to control moles??   Death. 

My system has evolved and is getting pretty effective now.   If I see mole activity, I will water that area to make it softer and then roll the ground with my large yard roller and get rid of any bumps or tunnels.  After I get the ground rolled I will check it closely through out the next couple of days.  Normally the tunnels will show up again and at that point I can a good idea where the moles are working. 

Yesterday I watered and rolled and today-- nice new tunnels about 10 feet in total.   I knew with these new tunnels I could get pretty close to this mole.   I filled one end of the tunnels with water--which took at least five minutes.   I then started to work my way outward from the center of the tunnel maze to the outer sections  with the hose.  The dirt got to shaking when the mole was getting more water than it needed and that gives away the location.  At this point, I take a shovel or metal pick and dig the mole out and flip it onto the ground.  Then I will dispatch it quickly, because they can get back underground very quickly.     The entire water process takes from 2 to 10 minutes and is not always effective, but I am getting over a 50% kill ratio now.

Last season I developed this mole control method and killed 6.  I also nailed one with the tiller.  This season I have upped the game and managed to smoke 8 of the little grass killers.  I think I am just as proud as any big game hunter with their trophies.  Sometimes you need to work on them a few days to finally get the kill and getting that mini pelt is a very satisfying.  Plus your yard sure looks better and riding the mower gets a lot easier as well.   

I have a few weeks of warmer weather left, I wonder is I can get to 10 pelts this season???

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Chatanooga Race

I have been really busy and have not followed up with the Chattanooga race results which was held over two weeks ago. 

The conditions were very good for sprinters with a very light wind  and a very fast blue surface down by the river at the Girls School.   I ran in two races, the 100 and 200 meters.   I ran within 0.1 of my personal best in each race and the speed increase due to weight loss is real. 

In the 100 m, there was no one ahead so I ran my own race and finished with a 13.39 hand timed.  In the 200 meters, there were three runners.   William Yelverton was in lane 4 and I was in lane 2.  He decided to run the race at the last minute and I was glad to have someone to pace me--so to speak-- or someone that I would try to catch. Bill race 24.89 and I ran a 27.39 and felt great.   That was the second fastest time in the 200 since started the Senior thing at 53 years old.   This time was faster than my Nationals qualifier which I thought was pretty good.  I think breaking 27 flat is a real goal I need to work towards.

Bill is getting his usual great start and he made the stagger up in short order   I need to work on faster starts and relaxing my shoulders.  The shoulders are too high and I am pinching my body and not letting it relax.  I have been working on the relaxing in the turns and that will continue this off season.

Bill is now in Perth, Australia representing the USA in the Masters World championships.  Good luck Bill, that is one fast dude and an incredibly pleasant person.
This is a gorgeous venue in Perth.
Currently I am recovering from a cold or flu, I think some flu I managed to round up it while in Mexico last week.  I was  in Acapulco for a presentation to about 150 South American and Mexican tissue makers. I flew in on a Tuesday--with connections in Atlanta and Mexico City-- and out on Thursday.  Acapulco is not easy to get to in the off season.  Plus it was incredibly humid day or night.  The humidity may have been the problem--I have not been in any real humidity for several months and I got nailed.  I missed a day of work yesterday--I could barely get out of bed while in Tulsa, OK this week.   Sick on the road is a real test, getting fed is really tough, cause you have to go get it.   
Linda's knee is doing very well.  No issues.  Her back and hip are a mess and hopefully we can find something to get her  more comfortable--soon.   Prayers would help, because the doctors are really being tentative on offering up any real solutions.  

Thursday, October 6, 2016

New Knee

Linda has a new knee and now has a matched set of Zimmer knees that should last her a really long time.  The knee surgery recovery is going very well.  Some other pain that was developing before the surgery is causing some problems with back pain that she does not need!   We are going to address that soon and hope to cure a lot of pain problems very quickly, that is our hope.     So in the meantime, a lot of ice and cold packs are getting used.   The freezer is half cold packs and they are constantly in motion.   Linda is improving daily and can walk without her walker after 7 days!   Progress!

I tested some new shoes this week.  These models by Asics and New Balance are supposed to be targeted to the 400 meter runners.   Both have very aggressive and are built with a quite stiff fore foot which feels great and they both have great traction with Omni Lite 7 mm spikes.  The NB does have a much higher arch on the transition back to the heel and that ridge does rub my foot and is a little uncomfortable.  So by default the Asics are preferred until I can figure out how to manage around the rubbing in the arch. I found both pair on eBay.  They are last years model and were about 40% the cost of new spikes.  It is always fun to try some new gear.  
The actual spikes are Omni Lite and are not steel, they are a carbide based material--similar to ceramic and are lighter than metal.  I am interested in how they hold up. 
My left hamstring is still in some sort of distress.  It just seems to be a little sore.  It stretches out fine and my massage therapist can find nothing wrong with the muscle-no trauma of any sort.  I have been resting it for over 3 weeks and only this week did any hard running during the spike tests.  I ran the 50 meters with blocks at 85%.   The hammie does fine for speed and power, it just hurts....  It might be the new normal of old age, hopefully not, but you just don't know.  
I am still going to run next weekend at Chattanooga and hopefully the hammie will cooperate.
I put up the third Diversity Flag about one month ago.  I do not want to run my mouth and have something bad happen, but it still flies.   I  did make some changes to the pole and it is much more secure now.  I hope the flag stealer will finally yield and leave it alone.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Run Fast- Train Hard- No Injuries

Racing when you are older-- 59 years old in my case--is risky business.   Injuries are a part of any sporting activity, whether you are running on the track, the sidewalk, or driving a car very fast.  You are going to get hurt if you take enough chances and in many cases do not take the right precautions. 

The hard part of the entire process is to know how to challenge your self and perform training that will address your weaknesses and make you more competitive.   And when meet day arrives,  running at the best of your ability and not exceeding  your capability is very tricky.   When we arrive at capability and ability the waters get very muddy and experience is the best teacher if you listen to your body properly.  The real difficult part of this process is that there is almost no material that has been published to address training as a senior athlete.  I have looked, it does not exist.  The material currently available is for younger athletes that are still growing, not on the decline as senior competitors.  Now what?  Get a coach?  That is just as tough, because the training as a senior is way different that I did as a high school track athlete.  I was looking at some old documents and we raced 2 or 3 times per week and trained between the meets in high school.   When did I ever heal?? 

What options are available to the senior athletes for training programs? 

  • To design a good training program, you must first establish your goals.  How do you establish your goals?  Getting beat is the best way to find out where you need to get better.  Go racing and watch how you get beat or if you are winning, what is it going to take to compete on the next level??   Who do I need to beat?
    • I have a two ways that I track my progress.  I train with a heart rate monitor and record the calories and time per training event.  I typically like to train from 55 to 75 minutes and I will cut off the session quickly if I feel any dehydration issues. All this data is on an Excel document.  I also add weight, training times, sets, location and other info regarding weather and altitude.   I also have a note pad that I track the training session with notes about the sets and anything else relevant.
    • All my races times are on the Excel sheet along with a lot of other race information. One click gets me a lot of info.
  • Have a time frame in mind.  If you have a race in 6 weeks or 6 months the options are very different for the prerace training program.  If you race soon, you are basically going to be doing track work with minimal work in the gym and fitness training. If the race in 6 months, you can work on your weaknesses--where I am losing races?  What are the others doing better....
  • Have a time you are looking to achieve.  What is your competition running?  How much do I want to improve?  Be realistic.   Time are improved by 0.1 of seconds for my sprinting distances. 
  • Make absolutely sure you address injuries and other aging related health concerns.  Go to the doctor or specialist, talk about your meds, your weight, your blood pressure, your diet, your injuries and what you are trying to achieve.  You would be surprised at the help they can provide.  
  • Injury prevention is the biggest challenge of all.  I had my worst injuries early in my senior racing career.  I have found that the fast people will get injured and this is typically from a training incident or improper race prep. 
    • Dehydration race week is a very easy way to get injured.  Cramps and pulls are just lurking for those not properly hydrated. I have trained after a long day at work and was not properly hydrated all day and this has resulted in several big time cramps that ended that entire week.  Hurts a lot too. Find a good source of electrolytes and take them race week and during training in hot weather.  A great insurance policy against injuries.
    • Stretching and warm up are very often not properly performed by at least 2/3 of the athletes.  Get a program that works--yoga is a great start. My warm up takes 20 minutes and at the end, I can go 100% with confidence that my legs can do what I ask.
    • Overtraining race week will get you eventually.  Make sure you have several days of rest to get the juice back in the body. Many times I will work race week and I make sure I get plenty of rest and eat properly. Just have the discipline to "Don't Do It"
    • Another way to get hurt and this is how I managed to really kill my racing for over a year and miss a Nationals--run at race speed in training to see how fast you are..   Race speed is only for races. Period...  You should never go harder than 95% in practice.  You should run under control during your training, the speed will follow.  Again, have the  discipline to keep the accelerator off the floor.
    • Find gear that works.   I have a rather large budget for racing and I am constantly experimenting with new compression wear, shoes, training aids, etc. I am currently addicted to compression sleeves on my calves and compression racing tights. The sleeves prevent foot cramps that have been a problem for me for decades.  I also keep a supply of soft shoes to train. I rarely use spikes for training. Saucony Guide 9 is the shoe of choice currently and it works very well at 10.5 ounces.
    • Limit your racing.  Every weekend?  That is crazy and those that do that do get hurt and it is serious stuff.   Take break to rest and do something else for entertainment--play with the family.
    • Under training is also a way to get hurt.  You cannot show up race weekend without the proper prep.  Getting out of your car and going racing will put you on the shelf in a hurry.
  • Why is not getting hurt such a big deal?  Because the seniors heal very slowly and we may not heal at all.  Also surgery is many times the only fix for some injuries and that also will take the fun out of racing.  Coming back takes months/years and in the meantime you get to watch and typically gain a bunch of weight that needs to be removed later.
I have had my share of injuries and I will more than likely have something go bad again.  But, I have been disciplined the last 5 years and I have really limited my injuries that have prevented me from racing and competing at the national level. I may not win every weekend, but I give them a run for their money and put on a good show trying.    Am I racing to my capability yet?  No.  Am I racing to my ability??  Yes,  and that is all that can be asked. 

See you at the track!