Saturday, July 23, 2016

Harvest time

With the hot weather the last couple of weeks, the tomatoes have been turning red by the bucket.  I planted some Roma tomatoes for sauce--pizza and spaghetti, and I found a variety that claimed to be good for sun drying.  Linda likes sun dried tomatoes, so I thought I would give them a shot.  I have two large cookie sheets in the oven now drying.  Sun drying is basically done in the oven if you do not live in an arid area.   Hopefully they work.  I am allergic to garlic and that allergy is not getting any better as I age.  So getting any sort of tomato sauce or sun dried tomatoes without added garlic is nearly impossible.  We fixed that problem by doing it ourselves.  We did make a batch of pizza sauce--picture above--that was olive oil, basil, salt and  Roma tomatoes.  Add some heat and cook it down and you have pizza sauce.  We have already eaten on jar and I am going to repeat the process this weekend.  We have been enjoying fresh veggie pizza with onion, peppers, basil, tomato and some sort of cheese and meat if desired.  Yum.. I love the fresh veggies.

This year is the first where all our garden is in one spot and inside a fence.   Our favorite deer was all over the yard on Wednesday.  I must have seen her a dozen times during the day.  I used some salt water to kill some weeds in the driveway and she was after that.  She grazed all over the yard during the day, the hot weather must have been making her extra hungry and in need of salt.  She is staying out of the garden and that makes gardening a lot more fun.   We feed us, not he deer.  She does trim any squash runners and leaves as they escape thru the fence.   But the fence has paid off handsomely.
I have been running on a regular basis and depending on the weather, I may run in the morning or evening.  Humidity makes it a challenge in the morning and the heat makes the evenings a little tough.  Today I am nursing a head cold and I am not sure what caused this snot attack.  I have been pushing it for training and I may have pushed my body a little too far and it is pushing back??
Once I can go again with some normal breathing I will get to the track.  I have been doing some speed work, but when it is speed day, I have been cutting down the volume to less than 2000 meters per session.   More intense with a little less volume is working in the hot weather.  My feet are holding up fine--speed and my feet is usually a bad mix.    I purchased a thigh sleeve last week from 2XU to try out.  My right ham string was a little ouchy the other morning after warm up and I slipped on the sleeve and ran the entire work out without any more issues.  Apparently I found another device to keep in my running bag of tricks.  I was very happy with the results of a leg compression sleeve.  I use sleeves on my lower leg, so the upper legs appears to be a normal progression.
I am still on target for the Michigan race in a couple weeks, and I hope this little sinus mess will not linger and cause any more delays. Off the garden to gather some nice bright red tomatoes for some more sauce!!

Thursday, July 7, 2016


1975 Track photo

I found this photo in my box of track memories and this was the state of the art of track wear in 1975.  A little singlet  and the billowing lightweight pants with your jock strap underneath.  I would probably cry if I had to wear this today.  I need the modern systems that support the calves, hips and upper body.  I do not miss wearing this stuff.  And the shoes were just really starting any sort of development, they were still awful. Time marched on and I am really glad!
I have been adding some additional core work to get the waist a little trimmer.  It is helpful, as is the fresh garden veggies that we have been eating for a couple of weeks.  Beans, tomatoes, corn, peppers, carrots and cukes are all plentiful and we are enjoying picking and eating them.  The fence I put up last winter is keeping the deer out and we can keep our veggies instead of feeding the wildlife. Another big help on the core and recovery (my fitness) has been adding some longer runs.  Last night I started with a 6 minute 1200 meter run, followed by a 800 meter in 3:40 with 9 minutes rest between the runs.   My pace in the 1200 was slow enough to keep my heart rate below 95% and is easy on my feet.  The long runs are keeping me in a fat burning zone longer during my work outs and the scale and tape are showing the results.   Long term a 36 inch waist and 195 pound weight are the real targets that I can achieve.  I am around 37 and 197 now.
I have been doing a couple of these longer run cycles per week and I may add some more.  They are pretty easy on my body at this point.  I have been wearing some Saucony Guide 9 shoes which are light and have a great cushion in the toe where I can really feel the bounce.  I have enjoyed these shoes since I got my first pair a month ago. I have struggled with shoes since New Balance  did the next series of their 880 V5 shoe with a different sole.  I hope Saucony will keep this sole around for a while, they make training a lot more fun.   Speaking of fun, last night I enjoyed my track time about as much as I did in high school.  High school training was a lot of fun for me, we would work hard and do our share of screwing around in practice. We had  5 or 6 real runners and some kids on the team.   Last night, it has really hot and we had a really quick storm come through.  After the storm, I headed to the track for my session.  It had cooled to around 70 degrees and was really nice.  I wore some sleeves to stay warm and put on some Go Go's for music and warmed up.  Once I got to running on the 1200 and 800, it was a lot of fun and very satisfying.  It felt like I was getting better--I think I could feel the improvement.  Maybe it was the ozone in the air after the storm, who knows?  But, I was having some real fun.
After doing my distance running, I thought I would do a little faster stuff and cracked off a 32 second 200 with absolutely no effort and ran a 100 meter curve in the 15 second range.  I felt great and really strong. It appears I can recovery much quicker than before and still have the speed to get the job done.   I did some slower cool downs and headed home for dinner
I am registered for the Michigan Senior Games  that are a one day show at Oakland University near Detroit.  Linda is going travel with me and she will be my lead cheerleader as usual. That event is Saturday August 13.   August 13 will be my real test of the latest edition of my training.  If the early indications continue, I should be very competitive.   And who wants to have fun with a loser? 

Friday, July 1, 2016

Post Race review

Most engineers, at the least the good ones,  like to learn from their experiences and take notes and just kind of keep track of things.   Engineers are just stupid about calculating fuel mileage, gas prices, project costs, household budgets, loan principal remaining, exercise journals and so on.   I have done all of these and still continue to keep an exercise log( two formats) also keep track of my projects and loans.    My training log is actually in Excel and is over 2600 lines at this point.   I keep track of location and any environmental oddities and the calories, body weight, time, intensity and the heart rate and elapsed time for each distance ran.  Excessive recordkeeping?  Maybe, but it is helpful to review after good or poor performances and try and find the key factor that has effected the outcome. 

The latest meet was very successful.  I felt very good and still had a little left at the finish of the 200 and was not in a coffin at the end of the 400.  In recent races I had been breaking down at the very end and getting beat.  That situation is what my most recent training was trying to overcome and to a certain extent it was successful.  What was different??  My weight was at 200 pounds which I want get into the mid 190's for the Nationals.  I also started some new type of running that would minimize the risk to my feet--they are my real weak area now.  I started doing 800 meters on the track at a pace that would finish at 3:40 to 3:50 minute range.  Slow? Yes.  My goal was to manage my heart rate the first 600 and ramp up the speed the last 200 meters so I would not lock up the hammies but get some real strain on them.  I think this was effective in getting my fitness to a higher level.  I did the long and slow 1 or 2 times per week.  Going forward, this will be a major part of my training and I will do it 2 per week. Even at the 3:40 pace, my heart rate be at 96% max at the half way point.  So, I was running an entire 400 meters with my heart rate 95 to 99% of the maximum of 169.  My breathing was OK and I could manage to control it well enough to keep my running form in the last 200 meters, but yet still get a great heart and lung work out.  This seems to be the most significant change. 

I did my speed work all in the last three weeks before the finals and this was incredibly helpful in staying healthy.  There was a lot of good runners at the State that had injuries from training that keep them in the stands. I made that mistake when I was 55 and it has not been repeated.

Another area that I have been trying to improve is strength.  I have done weight room work in the past and have had some really sore legs the next couple of days.  I have finally found a way to fix the soreness and now I can run the next day with my long and slow session.  I have finally realized that I need to do cool down running after the legs strength work.  After I get the legs done and a session takes about 60 full minutes, I run around the gym track and I actually look like an old man jogging.  The knees are ouchy and power is just not there, but I get in some laps and call it a day.  I think this bit of running is enough to flush out the lactic acid and speed the recovery immensely.

So going forward,  I am looking at my training cycle to be weights, low and slow, speed, rest, repeat.  The weights are tough to do on the road and I will try to make sure I can get them in at least weekly.

Now the anal retentive section:
I have been doing this Sr Olympian thing since I was 54 years old--actually 53.5 years, with my birthday in November , it is to my advantage for the age groupings. My first meet was the 2010 Tennessee State meet.  My previous meet was the 1975 Ohio AA State Meet in the horse shoe at OSU.  In that meet I ran a 50.7 split 440 meters to lead of the 6 th place RV Bears mile relay team with a time of 3:28.0. At 54 I ran 61.0 seconds in 400 meters and won by a bunch. At the Ohio championships I long jumped and took 5 th at 21' 1 3/4".  I no longer do any jumping--my leg knee gets way to mad and it kills my running--I am just a runner now.    Also at 54 I ran 200 meters in 27:30 seconds to win in the  TN State meet.  My fastest time in high school was 24.2 as a junior or sophomore on cinders.   I could not win the 200 in high school, so I did not run it (coaches decision)!  River View High school had a cinder track and it had a long chute that was set up to run the 220 on a straight!!!!!!!!!   I suck at straightaways now, I guess I sucked than too.  I really think if my high school had run the 220 on a curve, I would have won some meets at that distance.   I think it is quite interesting how things develop over time.  Running the curves is one of my major strengths now. 

I have been asked how many medals have you won?  My stock answer is a bunch.  The correct answer is a bunch.  In my seven years of running the TN State Finals I have won 9 golds, 9 silvers and 1 bronze medal in three different age groups and running 20 events.   I have won  3 (1 gold) in Ky and one at the National Meet, but the TN medals are most useful for any real comparisons.   Total medals are 23 at the State or National level.   Only one bronze--which was when I was the old man in the class at 50 meters.  Ran a great time and got smoked.

As I review the results, I am most competitive in the 200 and 400 meters with 3 golds in 400 and 4 in the 200, 2 in the 50 meters.  None in the 100--the straightaway thing again.
Silver medals are 2 in 200, 2 in 400, 4 in the 100 and 1 in the 50. 
Bronze--50 meters.  
There was three times  I did not run the 400 due to illness or injury. 

Looking at the medals-- I waste my time with the 100-total agreement there.  I can win the 50 at the local and state meets and I am competitive at the State and nationals in the 200 and 400 meters.  I plan on playing to my strength at the Nationals again next year--50 meters for fun, 200 and 400 meters to make the finals and the 4 x 100 relay to get the Tennessee Tri Stars another medal. My training will work towards strength in the longer sprints and not getting hurt!!

Have great Holiday and remember to "Not Act Your Age"

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

2016 State Championship

400 meter race with Richard Westbrook 70 meters to go 

Richard Silver, I took Gold
200 meter with 70 m to go.

World class speed, 55.55 sec 400 meters on left, 55.78 on right!

Another successful State Finals over the weekend! It was the usual hot Tennessee summer weekend spent on a black rubber track!  The competition was very spirited with multiple records in all the classes--just great athletes from Charles Baker to William Yelverton.   Charlie Baker is in the 90-94 age group and was running by himself and still setting records in the sprints.  His doctor did not want him to run, he had something acting up, but Charlie stated -"I have to run" and indeed he did.  Charlie is nearing the end of his career but wants to go to Birmingham next summer and win some more National medals.  He is truly Senior Olympian royalty.   Yelverton usually does the USATF Masters but lives relatively close to Birmingham and wants to be in the show in the 200 and 400.  He won the bronze in the World's last year in the 400 meters in the 55-59 class.  Great medal chances for both next summer. 
I ran in 4 events and won two gold and two silver medals. I also ran on a 4 x 100 meter relay team  that was with three of the original members from last years silver medal winners at the Nationals--The Tennessee Tri Stars. .  Lyon Fleming was injured and ran anchor for that squad, so we picked up a rookie to fill in for him-Mark Lowry.    The relay was a lot of fun as usual, I ran the third leg and our time was 52.8 seconds which was just 1 second slower than last summer!   I really felt good digging in around the curve. 
    I had pretty solid times, had fun and did not get injured.  All three are very important in this league.   The first day we ran the 400 right off the bat--get the pain out of the way I guess.   There are a couple of great pictures of me and Richard Westbrook duking it out on the final straight.   He had pulled even and I was just getting that feeling he was going to get past me and win it.  As you can see, I am showing a lot of discomfort and just to my limit.  Right after this photo, a knee issue cropped up on Richard and he broke stride and I cruised to win it.  We had the field covered easily, it was between us two for the win.  This was one of the most tense 400 meters races I had been in, ever.  Richard was in the lane inside and was able to stalk me the entire race, I knew it was going on and could to nothing to get in control of the situation.  I did not like that one bit.     I looked back at least 6 times trying to get a feel for his position.  I was really on edge.  Coming to the main straight, he made up the stagger and it was dead even with 80 meters to go. I had adjusted my speed a couple of times at the turn and coming out of the turn, trying to not lock up the legs--I was really getting close to failure.  I had slowed and then accelerated and then we were all even.  I had lost several races of late at the wire and I was not happy with having that occur again. At this point, I said to myself to remember to swing the arms and keep good running form.   Richard faded quickly and I glanced back and he was gone, I thought he went down or something like that..  But he did recover and finished pretty well.  Whew!! That finish line looked really good to me.  That a big win for me, new class this year, I wanted to start it out right.   Richard's injury did knock him out of the other races.  I hope he can get healed up soon.  That was it for Saturday morning-- and that was plenty for me. I ran a 64.67 lap.
In the evening, I ran the 100 meters and was beaten by a couple of steps, I was gaining at the end, but too late.  I felt good, just got beat. I ran a 13.84 second 100..  The weather was suitable to great times, dry, hot and no wind. But it was really hot and I carried a bottle of water continuously.  Shortly after the 100 we ran the relay and I enjoy that as much as anything.  The Tri Stars looked solid and we will try to medal again in Birmingham next summer.
Day two was still hot.  We did the 50 meters first and I felt great, got a good start and lost by a step.  7.46 seconds which is one of my all time best runs at that distance.  I do struggle in the shorter sprints for some reason.  But the 200 and 400 are where I have a little more time to get my long stride working and take advantage of my 80 inch stride! 
After a long period of other races, we would wind up the meet with the 200 meters, which is my favorite race to run.  Not as painful as the 400  and it has a curve where I seem to do very well.  Thomas Siegele had beaten me in the 100 and 50 and I did not want to get beat three times by the same person.  He did mention he was iffy on the 200, but he  did decide to compete. I was working two scenarios for the 200--full tilt on the curve and hang on down the straight or try to beat Thomas if he ran.  I have not done the full tilt curve yet, maybe at another meet I will get a chance to try that strategy.  We only had four runners show for the race, injuries and heat took the toll on the competitors.  I like to outlast the competition  if possible and it was another case where the proper training really helps along with staying hydrated and in the shade.   I got to pick my lane and took lane two, Thomas was in lane three.  I get to stalk this time.  At the start, I made up the stagger really quick--so much for stalking-and stood on the gas at the normal 60 meter mark and was gone.  It felt great all way to the end.  I ran a 27.97 second race.  I did not lock up at all and probably had some more to get, but that was enough to cruise home first.  That one felt pretty good as well.

Overall it was a great meet.  I am in the show at Birmingham and got to spend some time with some great athletes and highly motivated people.   I chatted several times with Chris Edlin who is one of my blog followers.  He medaled in the 50 and also won gold in the softball throw.  Pretty good for an injured athlete. 

As far as my physical condition, my feet are sore from the spikes--which is to be expected.  I have a little hip tightness, but I went to the gym last night and loosened up and stretched.  So, overall you could say I made it through unscathed.  I will review my training in a later blog and the training was as different as I have ever done.   But it was effective and I felt very strong and had no break downs or muscle lock ups in the final few meters.  I think I am learning how to run to my body's limit in these big meets and not past the limit.  I did leave my blocks at the track and went back over on Monday and found them.  They were stacked up with the schools blocks, I am glad they did not disappear. The fun of aging is almost limitless.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Prep Week

A follow up to the last blog.  Today I ran at the Ravenwood track and there was a dozen people involved with some sort of activity.  Leaving the grounds open is a big deal.  All week I have been using the track and the least amount of people has been two.  One day I ran after a really nasty rain storm and it was only me and a young footballer getting in some sprints.  If you have a nice facility-- let everyone in.

This week was the "hard" training week where you do plenty of work, but do not get hurt.  Easier said than done.  I have been alternating between fast days and pace days.  Yesterday was grass sprints in the morning with parachutes and some 50's on grass.  I ran on grass just to give my feet a break.  It was a good work out and I also chatted with Bob Van Fleteren.  Bob is a great jumper and was tuning up his pole vault.  He looked pretty solid and will haul in his usual bucket of metals.  Good luck and stay healthy, Bob. Today I did some endurance work.  I ran two 800 meters in 3:40 and 3:50 seconds, followed by a 600, 300 and a 100.  I felt pretty racy in warm up and I think the training is starting to really kick in a bit. Tomorrow I will get into some speed stuff and see how strong I feel.

The weather has been a challenge-really hot.    I have tried to run early in the morning, otherwise, late in the day it is impossible to be safely hydrated.  Dehydration equals injuries and that is not an option this late in the training.  I will try to get a least two more intense work outs before a couple days of rest on Wednesday thru Friday.  The meet days are Saturday and Sunday.

Sometimes good things just fall into your lap.  Linda's massage therapists has a friend that..... Well, I have ordered a pink tutu with a 37 jnch waist so I can wear it in my October races.  October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and last year I used pink arm sleeves to support those who have struggled with this horrible disease and really got a great response. I want to up my game this year.  The NFL wears a lot of pink game wear and I think I can rock it as well. And that little girl at the Nashville meet can pull off the tutu look, I think I can give it a shot as well.  And no, I will not be wearing any heels!  I stop at that!  Running is supposed be fun, not torture for the feet.

A couple more days and it is time to qualify for The Nationals next summer in Birminham.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Chains and locks

Finally some good training weather.   I like some humidity and warmth to allow my muscles to release and do some work. The humidity also is a great help to my breathing, denser air seems to work better for me.

I did go to the doctor after the Nashville meet and we looked into what was going on with my lack of energy and investigate some bites on hips.   The best the doctor and I could diagnose was that I had been bitten by a tick of some sort and also had gotten some flu type sickness due to my reaction to the bites.  She put me on an antibiotic and things got better immediately.  The bites are very slow to heal and after a month a couple still have some swelling in them!!  But I am feeling much better.  It could be too many hotel rooms or paper mills... who knows. 

I have upped the training so I am ready for the State Finals in a couple of weeks.   I lifted over the weekend and my legs hurt so much that I had to rest two full days before doing anything. I am still strong.   Two days ago I ran on grass.  I like to do some 100 m sprints to get a feel for the 400 pace and get the rest of the soreness out of my legs.   It worked quite well, soccer pitch is just fun to run on.  Yesterday evening, I went to Ravenwood and ran on their new track surface.   I ran all speed type work, with a 200, some 100's and 50 meter cycles.  I also have been working on a speed ladder to get my footwork speeded up.  I felt really good, I did the 50's at 95% and they were in the high 6 second range with a running start.  I felt pretty good about the speed part.  I will continue to do the speed work for another couple of weeks and then rest at least 4 days prior to the meet. 

In my most recent travels, two high schools have installed beautiful tracks around all weather football fields.    One track is in Catoosa, OK and the other in Florence, Al.   The stadiums are first rate for the size of the  schools and look fantastic--except they are locked up.   Prior to the renovations, the tracks were very nice and the fields were a "public" place where people were allowed to come and run/walk  etc.   I actually would work my travel around using these facilities if I knew I would do a track workout during that period.  Every time I used the tracks, there would be people running and walking.  Great to see people out burning some calories.  Now, both are locked up with signs about no one allowed except the athletes from the school!  What?  You speed millions and lock it up so it stays nice?  Mother Nature will wear it out much quicker that a bunch of mothers with strollers and kids working on their running skills or an old man getting in some speed work. I don't get it.  Two states and the same results.  Are people that rotten and no to be trusted with a nice facility?  Makes me shake my head..

I am glad I live in an area where the local high schools still have grass fields and the facilities are open to the public to use.  The new school in Nolensville will have a turf field, and I will check it out and let you know about the track and access.  And yes, people do go to the track and run.  I was at the high  track for 60 minutes last night and at least 8 other people used the track during that period. The facility is a public resource that I do not think it should be hoarded, share it!  Thanks to Williamson County schools for leaving the gate open. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Back to Racing

Enough about the kitchen.  We need some minor painting,  two window treatments and it is finished. Done.  No mas.....

I did get a chance to race last Saturday at the Second Annual Nashville Track Classic.  Fleet Feet puts on the event and I was at last years as well.  It is open to all.  This year there was a lot of children ages 3 to 10 that ran in the sprints.  One cute little girl was 4 or 5 years old and ran with a very stylist knee length yellow tutu/dress.  She was decked out and I was quite proud of your running gear.  Classy!   But when she ran, she would flap her arms like a bird--it was a show stopper and everyone really appreciated the show.  She was a lot of fun to watch.  As the ages progressed into the early teens the girls were spanking the boys pretty regular and the boys were kinda pissed--they did not expect the results.  Girls and boys were mixed in the events and the racing was pretty good--no runaways.  It was a lot of fun, even though I was feeling lousy. 

I ran the 100 m and 200 m races and skipped the 400.  I was not feeling well at all, some sort of cold/flu/ allergy deal that was just killing my energy, but I don't train year round to sit home and cry about it!! I gave it my best shot, I ran 4th in the 100 at 14.36 seconds--electronic timed and really had nothing so to speak in that race.   The picture is of the 200 finish, nipped at the wire by 0.1 second.  I decided to kick in the speed coming around the corner and just let it rip.  About 40 meters to go, my gas was gone and I started to break stride and struggle.   I had made the stagger up pretty quickly and was not sure where everyone was, and then this guy had his speed at the finish, I used my up a little earlier.  The same thing happened last year in the state, I need to get this part of the finish figured out a little better.   Great race, but I got beat. I finished with a time of 28.82 seconds into a very persistent head wind of 10 MPH or so.   Not the best conditions, plus it was a little chilly.  I have more excuses, but I ran pretty good for my condition and health situation.  I am going to the doctor today and discuss the morass my body seems to be engulfed. I can build from these results. 
If you ask your body--yell at it sometimes--it will respond in most situations.   Mine responded at the meet and I am proud of what it produced.  I just need to keep asking and hopefully I will not need to yell as much next time.
Next race is in a month, TN State and this one is the National Qualifier.  I am pointing my training for this race, I need to shake the respiratory deal and do some real training. 
I did have cake for breakfast today.  This is an apron that my wife picked up recently and makes me happy to read and also obey.  Yesterday, for some reason I was starved and must have eaten 4500 calories.  I had cake and ice cream (twice), and my regular diet as well.  I just was craving carbs!! I do feel better today, so I may have been healed by cake, or I am getting better.  The illness has been dragging on for almost two week and besides the energy loss, my mental sharpness has been lousy.  Just no real brain power so to speak, and it was actually effecting my work and that is a no no.  I hope my Doctor and I can sort it out today and not have this crap show up again.    
I am thinking I can slip into the store on the way back from the doctor's visit and get some more breakfast cake!