Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Sad Song

Nobody wants to hear it!    It have had one of my more difficult weeks while my eye on the Tennessee State Finals this weekend.   I will fill you in shortly, but I need to offer up some hope before I dwell in sorrow and agony on end.  I am also going to use ever bad pun and saying ever created. I remember many years back the late great Dale Earnhardt Sr had a massive wreck in Nascar and broke his shoulder.  6 days later he won on the road coarse in Watkin Glen--he ran away with the race.  He had absolutely no business driving and kicked their butts plus he had never won on  road course.  Mind over matter for this one.  A couple years prior to that Ricky Rudd had a wreck at Daytona that should have killed him.  His eyes were swollen shut and 6 days later, he taped his eyes open and he won the next race.  Nikki Lauda almost was incinerated in a wreck in Germany in the early 70's and came back after recovering (partially) and missed the F1 Championship by 2 points.   And this stuff goes on and on.  Challenge the racer or athlete and they will jump up and punch you out and take your trophy... Nobody wants to hear the bitching and moaning, shut up and deliver if you want, but shut up first.   Whew, that may be a bit harsh--but it is real life and racing is real life.  The clock does not care.  

Ok, here is my misery and then I will shut up and race.  On Monday I was flying to Tulsa for work and knew when I was starting my day I was sick.  I had some intestinal distress and my energy level was about 10% of normal.  I was really dead in my tracks.    My trip was Nashville to St Louis and then change planes and on to Tulsa.  This should take 3.5  hours total time.  I wanted to get to Tulsa and crawl in bed asap. Of course, it was not gonna happen that way.   We had weather in Dallas and LaGuardia was socked in and messing up the works.  Our plane from St Louis was delayed on arrival, so we were delayed.  LaGuardia was cancelled, so we had a plane in the gate next door we could steal--which we did.  But we ended up 4 hours late to Tulsa and I was absolutely out of energy at that point.  I slept on some benches at the airport from absolute boredom and exhaustion and when I arrived in Tulsa I took a four hour nap, got up and ate--that was a lot of energy as well-- and then slept 12 more hours.  On Tuesday,  I was 70% and went to work.   Enough already--no not yet. Monday was a really long long day.

I went to  the track close by in Tulsa on Tuesday evening  to loosen up and felt OK, I need to stay ready for the State meet on Saturday and Sunday.  I had a good warm up and started to pick up some intensity and was doing some high steps at  85% speed into the prevailing wind and my left upper quad gave me a little tingle.  Crap--that had not happened in months!   I shut it down and returned to my room iced the upper thigh groin intersection and it felt pretty good today.  I have a 2XU thigh compression sleeve that made the pain go away and it worked fine at the track on today's warm up. 

So today, lets just throw some salt into the wound time, I was getting loose and my back was wobbling trying to jump out of joint.  If it goes out, I struggle to walk correctly.  I stretched the hell out of  it and did some light running and took a hot bath and now it is being iced .  I hope it holds together  along with a funky knee--from Birmingham --and whatever else pops up tomorrow and Friday.  I got two more days of opportunity to mess up the works.   I think I will stay off the track tomorrow and rest a lot of stuff.

To say the least, the lead up to State  training has been junk, but my attitude is pretty good and I will show what I got on Saturday and Sunday.  I will more than likely scratch the 400 on Saturday so I can save what I got left for the 100, 50 and 200 in that order.  But, I may feel like Hercules and run them all, we will see.  So, I am done with my sad song and you don't need to hear it. I will take my cue for the championship racers that have come before and showed how it is done.

This picture helps a lot, too.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Post Meet Comments

Birmingham was a good meet in terms of my racing.  I earned an individual in the 200 meters and also set a PR of 28.26 and again got a silver medal in the 4 x 100 relay.  Two medals is a satisfying result for me.   The down side was skipping the 400 meters due to the ouchy knee and missing by 6 inches the 100 meters final.  The knee is much improved because it resting this week and hopefully I can avoid the issue I had one week ago where the knee seemed to jump out of joint.

Senior Olympians do have to invest quite a bit in our sport and that includes a large tape budget.  I had a mad right knee and used KT Tape to keep it in position and it very effective.  I also have some bad feet and they need some protection and are taped up as well. The final piece of protection was on my second toe on my right foot and it was in the process of losing the nail and it was completely taped up as well.  With all this tape needed it requires a lot of razor work to make sure it sticks and works as intended. Without the kinetic tapes, I would be dead in the water and out of racing business. 

I finally got a chance to wear both medals and I liked the feeling.  Linda is talking about a display case and I think see has agreat idea.  Currently the medals are all in a plastic bag in a drawer with a bunch of other training related gear. 
So what is next?

I talked with Coach Cleary from the SoCal track club and we discussed the USATF Outdoor Nationals coming up in Baton Rouge in July.  I will run in the 100, 200,400 meters as well as do whatever relays we need to win the team title.  With that said, I need to get my conditioning going because I will run at the most--3 400 meters, 2 200 meters and 3 100 meters races in four days.    That is a lot of track work and I need to get mentally and physically ready.  My role is to score points to get the team over the hump and individual glory will be limited.  I love the team aspect and that is why I am helping  SoCal work towards getting the team title.

The meet in Birmingham did not cause any new injuries and the legs came through in good shape with minor soreness.  I think my stretching and warm up activity are doing the job.  My speed was the best ever in a meet, even with an iffy knee.  How does that work? I will continue to work on my speed and starts and see if I can reach 27 flat in the 200. But, I may be at my terminal velocity now.  Time will tell.  Back to  the track this weekend and I will continue to explore new weight trainings routines for my core and legs.  I have found that if I have time, I can run and then lift together and really help my leg strength. I started this adventure in
May 2009, and who knows what is next along the way. But it will be an adventure for all to share. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Chance to breathe

We just finished a 5 day meet in Birmingham and it started really slowly and finished at warp speed.   Whew, the last day was nuts.   After missing out on the 100 finals and skipping the 400, I needed to deliver on the 200 meters with a finals on Sunday to get a personal medal.   I ran a PR 27.26 in the prelims on Saturday  to win the heat and make the finals.  We were scheduled for 6 heats and there was enough scratches that they redrew the heats and then we then had 4 heats with the winners making the finals and the 4 quick times going through as well.  My original heat was going to be winnable, but the new heat was an absolute slug fest.   I was in third place with 20 meters to go and won the heat!  I have made some miraculous finishes of late and this one is at the top of that list. I did not want to miss the finals--again.  All three of us transferred to the final and I was at the top of the heat sheet for the finals!!  I had to run my ass off, so there was no holding anything back for the finals--  In the finals, I ran as hard as I could but was a third and that was a  medal--that was exciting--finally after three Nationals an individual medal!!!      My prelim and finals times were essentially the same time, and it appears that is my terminal velocity.   Now I need to find some more speed to keep moving up the speed chart. But, this was a big deal for me. Linda was jazzed too.
This was a great feeling--finally!!!
The 200 was in the morning and it was getting really hot and the smart athletes that did not need to be on the track all left.  Linda and I included--right after the awards.  They announced check in times for the afternoon 4 x 100 relay race that was scheduled for 3:00 PM and they would end the running portion of the meet.  Check in was announced as 2:00 and we all left the track.  Well, why not change the report times while everyone is gone and move up the times!! They changed the report times and half our relay team  is not there yet and I am running around crazy trying to get our team lined up--we were the Tristars in the 55 year old group. I stayed to race this event, otherwise I would be home by then. I hate getting jacked around.    That kind of stuff went on all weekend and the NSGA is starting to grow old on me, I was pissed and the check in was absolute chaos--you asked for it--you got it.    Our team made it in the nick of time and barely got warmed up and we were as ready as anyone.  The track was 9 lanes and we were lane one and there was two or three ages groups racing at one time-- I am still not sure who in the hell we were racing in our heat.  The official scoring sheets are still not loaded on the web yet--maybe then I can figure out who was who. We nailed a 50.53 second race and looked at the electric scoreboard and we were listed as fourth quick--Ok?   That was really fast to be fourth in the 55 year old group.  We had Mark Lowry (TN) and David Jones (FL) from the 55 year old group and Michael Murray (LA) and me from the 60 year old group as our 4 runners. I was pretty bummed about fourth.   So,  we packed up our stuff and were making for the exit and I thought I would wait for the awards and be a good sport about 4 th???? Michael figured it out and I was still dazed and he knew we medaled.    They announced the groups and once they got to the 55 year olds, they announced fifth--not us, fourth --not us, third--no us....what is going on here?  Second--Tristars!     David's wife took this shot of some stunned and happy racers--The medals were a real surprise and we will gladly wear them.
Jack, Michael, David and Mark
These events are about people--good people.  This is a  picture of me with Charlie Baker from Tennessee who has been racing since high school and holds a lot of Tennessee state records and has won a bunch of National events as well.  This was Charlie's last National event and he medaled in a couple of sprint events --again.  He is one of the nicest people you ever will meet.  He will get inducted into the Tennessee Senior Olympic Hall of Fame  this year and nobody deserves it more.  This is the first year for the Hall and Charlie belongs with the first group of inductees. Congrats to a great human being!  He is true royalty in our sport......

I will write some more this week about the meet when I get the final official results posted and can figure out what happened in the relays.  I was a great adventure, again.


Friday, June 9, 2017

Fractional facts

Puck  Night did not work out as planned, Pekka Rinne is 0-6 in the Paint Bucket and he just struggles.  Hopefully we can extend when we get the Preds back to Nashville.

Here is the heat sheet for the 100 m,  hopefully it is legible. 

Today we ran the  100 meter prelims and I got fractioned out and missed the Finals by 6 inches.  We had 6 heats and you take the heat winner and next 3 quick for a total of 9.  I was third in my heat with a time of 13.38 seconds, which also the time of one other racer.  The time to make the show was 13.37 and we were outside looking in.   The time difference amounts to 6 inches!  A better lean or slight improvement could have moved me on, but it was not to be.  The time was pretty good and I cannot whine about that.  The knee is still off some  and it has a slight numbness like pain, it is going to need a tune up when we return to Nashville.  Tomorrow is the 200 meter prelims in the afternoon.  It is getting hotter by the day and my shoes are starting to have track rubber stick to them.  Bad sign to me about the heat.
Linda and I have eaten twice  at a little restaurant in town called Real and Rosemary.  The food is fresh, local sourced and really good.  Today was fried green tomatoes, turkey with a gravy, and slaw which tatsed like a fusion of kemche and vinegar slaw and it was fantastic.  Try it if  you get in the area.  We have two post race meals at the place and todya actually used the little discount that came in our athlete packet.  

More tomorrow from the track at Samford University

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Puck Night !

Nashville is in the thick of the Stanley Cup finals and Nashville has embraced winning hockey in the Music City!  Tonights game in Pittsburgh is pivotal to who wins the cup.  Go Preds!  We are at tthe races but we are watching right now.

I did race today at the National meet in Birmingham. I ran ninth or last in the finals of the 50 meters.  I ran a 7.33 time and got  a great start but had just didn't have the speed.   Linda videoed the race and it appears my right leg has some problems with crossing under my left hip when striking the ground.  I know it has been hurting, but I am going  to need to doctor on this deal.  I know it did not help my speed  but you race what you got and right now, it appears I need a chassis tuneup and alignment.

Tennesse had a lot of medals today in the 400 meters and field events.  We have a very large athlete count and it appears we are producing the medals.  Go Volunteers!

Tomorrow is the 100 meters and all the big guns will be running, it should be fun.  We run in the morning and will get to miss the afternoon heat.  Thanks to the scheduler. The weather has not been overwhelming, but it is the South in early summer and the clouds have been helpful in knocking down the sun, but when it clears, it is hot! It appears we will be getting some 90 degree stuff on the weekend and that will test the mettle of all the athletes.  They did have an accident today at the  50 meters finish line where a women athlete fell and apparently broke her arm.  Ouch.... they did bring the ambulance onto the track to carry her to a hospital.  I have seen no other real injuries , except for the occasional hammie failure.   Let's keep it safe the rest of the way.

If anyone is interested in the scoring, go to for real time timimg and heat sheets.  No failures in the timing today.  They are changing  the starter on a very frequent basis and we have not had the chance to "time" the starts and it has been keeping the racers honest. It is like playing Blackjack on a six deck deal. The meet personnel are USATF officials and have been doing a pretty good job thus far..

More tomorrow

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

NSGA Nationals

The Senior Nationals started today in Birmingham, Alabama.  Linda and I drug in last night after a very exhausting weekend.  We had house guests for several nights, hosted a brunch for about 35 to 40 people on Sunday and attended a wedding celbration as well.  The Predators kept us interested as well with their great weekend, the town is nuts! By the time we arrived Tuesday night we were on fumes--we drank a lot of coffee just to get to our butts to the hotel.   Then it was a quick dinner and to bed.

Today--Wednesday--I drove to the Convention Center and got my credentials so I could race and found out that I had a morning race coming up--50 meters prelim.  I had not put that race on my start time list, but I had two hours to get to the track and would run it.

I am going to do a 24 hour flashback for the purpose of making this story more interesting and complete.  After my final tune up session Tuesday at the gym, I warmed up and stretched indoors to stay in a nice cool place, I sat down at a table to check my phone after finishing and my left knee basically jumped a tooth and locked up!  What?  This has happened before , but the timing was just too much.  I hobbled to my car and had Linda to crank on it to get it back in place with limited success.  At that point, it is "run what you brung". Ice and KT tape were my only remedy at hand.

I made it to the track at Samford University and got checked in  and started my warm up and also did a lot of visiting with fellow runners from other meets. I did add some knee tape yesterday to help my knee cap stay in place and thought I would give it a go.  I was in the bull pen to get queued up for my heat and the timer computer crashed and we were dead in the water.  After a nearly 30 minute wait we got word that we would be delayed another hour before resuming.  So, I just tried to relax and find some shade and prep again.  I was in heat one,  lane seven.  I thought the quick 8 times would advance, but it was heat winners plus the other quick times.  It was a nine lane track, so 9 would make the finals.  I won my heat easily with a 7.45 and a negative 5.5 wind. I got a great start even though it was new starter and I had no idea of his rhythm, he had a slow finger we were to discover.  I knew we had a breeze, but that is a lot of wind! The other heats were around -2.5 (meters per second). My times was the slowest of the 9, but I smoked the heat and I was in!  In the finals tomorrow I should be in the mix for a medal when you adjust for the wind difference.  I am taking 0.15 seconds to rationalize the time.

I then scratched the 400.  My right knee was just iffy enough  on the turns to force me to cut my losses and stay with the finals in hand. I hate to scratch, but I have enough other crap wrecked on my lower legs.  I hit a high jump standard hard with my left leg, hit a hurdle with my right ankle, and had bruise on my right knee from the high jump standard and two bleeders on my left shin.  "Just settle down son and try now to kill yourself"--advice to myself!  

Tomorrow, I run again in my favorite race. Bang and done in the 50 meters.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Grandparent Weekend

Linda--aka Grandma Allen and I made it to Wauwatosa for the first visit with our spanking new grand daughter and we had a really fun weekend.  We got to see three kids, our  grand daughter and daughter in law and the  two grand dogs.  That sounds like a lot and it was, it was long weekend and I am tired.  

June took it all in stride and followed her routine of eating a lot of milk, wanting to be held a lot and making some wicked wind.   But, she is really just a darling and Linda had a lot of holding time that they both enjoyed.  June does prefer the left shoulder, every time we put her on the right side, she was just not happy and fussed until it was corrected.  I think she is going to be left leaning!   And that fits into this family quite easily.    

The Moms are doing pretty well.  Betty is back to work and Linsi will take a few more weeks off before heading back to the hospital lab.  That day  is going to be tough on every one, June is just a lot of fun to spend time with.
Grandma had to get out with June for a stroller ride.   We all took a little walk after feeding time to enjoy the beautiful Wisconsin weather.  Betty and Linsi moved into a new area this last winter and it is pretty quiet and has great access to everything you need to keep the family going strong-- Walgreens, dog park, pizza, interstate, walking paths, etc.

Even Grandpa got some holding time.  It was so nice to hold a new person again.   She is doing well and we hope that she makes us all proud as she grows.  We will do our part to support her!

Grandpa has a race this Saturday and he is not going to have a lot of training time, but this meet is just for fun.  But not as much fun as holding your grand daughter!!