Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Doping

I made some interesting discoveries this week about my daily medications, one is a banned substance and the other is only banned during competition.   USATF does do drug testing and there is a long list of no no's and also a list that are no no's during the meets but OK the rest of the year.  It makes it pretty messy to stay legal.  I went to my doctor today and we worked through the scenarios and we have changed my blood pressure medicine to a legal active ingredient.   The old drug was basically a diuretic and they do not like that stuff in your system because it will mask other illegal actives by changing the urine.   I will start my new BP med this week.

My allergy medicine is a whole other kettle of fish.  I use Allegra D and the D is the bad boy. D is the antihistamine and it really works to dry up my sinus and keep me from becoming a snot factory--literally. The pseudoephedrine is the bad boy in this medication and it is legal during the part of the year you are not at a meet.  During a meet it is illegal.   I take 240 mg a day and need to figure out how quickly it leaves my system so I can get legal for races.  This will take some effort, I think I will need to consult the authorities at the USADA.(United States Anti-Doping Agency).   This is the group that busted Lance Armstrong and brought him back to earth.  I think they know what they are doing in terms of doping and need to get this corrected if I want to be a serious competitor. 

In the meantime, I will continue to be a "user" and hopefully I can get this squared away by July and meet time.

I did join the So Cal Track club.  They were very interested in getting me on board.  I think they always have a need for relay teams and I can definitely help out in that respect.   Plus!  they have some great looking colors!!
 
I have not run for the last ten days.  I have done some weights, but really I have been busy with a little back porch remodeling job and I am doing my resting.  Running the indoors meets  this year did throw off my winter schedule.  I like to get the feet healed up and just get some rest.  I am at the point now, where I will start doing some running. I am really hesitant to run in cold weather as well.    I am also signed up for an adventure in early November this year where I will be a group of family members and we will be hiking the Grand Canyon --Rim to Rim.   It is a four day adventure and we will be doing a lot of elevation changes in those days.  So, I can also work on my power and stamina with a 40 pound pack as a change of pace.  It is a heck of  a view from the bottom.  
 
Linda has been doing some very interesting core work at a local studio and I have went along the last two weekends to join in the fun.   The sessions are yoga based and are designed to get your core activated and performing properly.  I have enjoyed the sessions and it is a great way to connect your mind to different body parts and make them respond.  
 
My next meet is probably May 20, which is an all comers meet held in Nashville and sponsored by Fleet Feet and some other local running groups and retailers.  Last year we had this very young girl ( 4 or 5) wearing a  tutu running down the track with her arms waving like a butterfly!  She was way cute and having a blast. I really enjoyed it and I will go to get in a lap or two and break up any training monotony. 

Saturday, February 25, 2017

USATF Indoor Nationals

Last weekend I experienced for the first time a USATF National event and had a really good time.  Earlier this year I ran in an indoor USATF event and really enjoyed the meet and also met some interesting people that encouraged my to give the Nationals at shot in Albuquerque.   They were correct about me enjoying the event, it was a lot of fun and the best Masters athletes in the world are there to enjoy. 
# 4 bib.
 The meet is  in the Convention Center in downtown Albuquerque and the elevation is about 5100 feet at the location.  The thinner air does make for less wind resistance, but recovery is tough for the longer events.  I struggled after my 400 to recovery.   More about that later.  The track is portable and has substantial banking in the curves, which are a fun to negotiate at speed.  It is a quick surface and design. I arrived on Thursday from a call I had made in Canada and did not get on the track until Friday morning.  I signed up and got my info packet and bib and got a feel for the track by doing some running in the curves while the field events were going strong.   I liked the feel of the curves and you can run downhill in some sections. My first event was the 400 Final in the afternoon. 
There were two heats of the 400 and my heat was first (slow heat) and I was on the outside lane (6) and started on top the banking.  You run a 2 curve stagger and then blend just like the 800 and longer events.  I like that style of racing, you can actually race a little by picking a spot to accelerate and overtake.   I won the heat easily at 63.45 seconds and waited for the faster heat.  I finished fifth and did score two points in the meet for that finish.  This time as 1.5 seconds quicker that the earlier indoor time and the fastest for me in two years.  I felt good the entire two laps and did tie up a little near the end, but was real strong and had a little there if challenged. Nice run for me.  If I could have made the fast heat, maybe a little quicker--you do not know.  According to the "World Masters Ranking" that is the ninth fastest time in the world currently for an indoor 400 for my age group of 60-64. I will take that all day long. MastersRankings.com is the web site for these results.  I am a member and have access to the data and it is useful to track your progress and how competitive you really are in an event. My next race would be tomorrow afternoon and it was time to recover.  

I took Lyft back to the hotel and got a hot bath and relaxed and then headed out to dinner at Chick Fil A.  Chicken fingers and a milkshake were a great fit.   I was struggling at this point from the altitude and had to get cough drops to help the hacking and I was getting the altitude head ache as well.  I started on some Motrin and took a lot of electrolytes.  The head ache did subside over night, but the lungs were still a little sore in the morning.   On Saturday morning, I rented a car and headed out to get some fresh Motrin and I wanted to see if anyone had any oxygen. I had an gentlemen at our gym who travels to altitude a lot, tell me about canned oxygen that will help the starvation.  I found some at Dick's Sporting Goods along with another roll of KT tape.  I used a lot of tape this meet. The Boost is 95% oxygen and you basically huff the stuff.  I used it heavily Saturday morning and felt better by race time.  Was the Boost the difference?  I am not sure, but I think it did help get me ready to race.

Saturday afternoon the 200 preliminaries were run in three heats.  My heat was first and I was in lane 6 again.  One lap and stay in your lanes.  The finals would be each heat winner and the other 3 quickest runners.  I knew that I was going to need a fast time to get in, so I ran full tilt the entire lap and finished second by a step.  27.79 was my time and that should be OK, but you still have to want.  After about 20 minutes of trying to find a result, they were posted and I was fifth quick and in the final on Sunday!  I was pretty excited about making the finals.  Time to recover and it was a lot better the third night.  I still had trouble sleeping, because I was close to medal speed and was 'nerved up' and just rolled around all night.  

Sunday's race was at 11:00 AM and I did my routine and got ready to run.  I was seeded in lane 2 this time, so I could watch everyone during the race.  It does not work that way, the track is a little narrow and you really concentrate on staying in your lane and the lean in the corners.  There is little time to look around.  Again, I ran as hard as I could the entire lap and finished 5th with a slight improvement in my time to 27.71.   It was good trip for me, but they are faster. Period. That time is currently 14 th in the world in World Masters Rankings.  Oscar Peyton won it.  He is still the king at 64 years old and was very sick from the flu and altitude, but he still won easily!

Overall I had two fifths and ran very good times and was happy with that.  Going forward I need to get my 200 time to 27 flat and the 400 in the 62 range to challenge for a medal.   I want to get my weight down to 188 and I raced this event at 194.  I still have some work to do on the diet.   I had my body fat checked Tuesday after the race and it was less than 19% and that is considered "lean".  My running has been helping a lot, and my muscle mass is increasing--my legs are getting bigger and harder each week. 

The spoils of victory was two ribbons and some PBR. The post race PBR is getting to be a tradition and it typically tastes pretty good.  leading up to the races I will cut out any alcohol for at least a  week or two to make sure my gout inflammation does not appear and mess up my stride.

The USATF runs a very organized meet with everything on time and no problems with keeping the show rolling.  They also take great care of the athletes with a full medical facility and trainers and massage therapist available to work on muscle related issues.  All the services are free.   They also provided Gatorade and electrolytes as needed.  The massage tables were full late every afternoon.  I did not need any help, but I now know it is there if I need to rub out a cramp or two.  The events are also recorded and you can get replays of your race a few hours after it finishes.  I signed up for the video service--a fee is required.  I reviewed each race and it was very helpful in pointing out the points in the race you gained or lost ground and this does come into any strategy you may need to use.  It will also be useful for relays to see how to stage your athletes to match up correctly. You can also play the video on your IPad and record they with your phone and message them to your wife.  I like that option too.  Linda can give excellent feed back on the races as well.  She knows what it takes to stay in front.
I was asked by Bill Cheadle to join the So Cal Track Club.  It makes a lot of sense for me to get involved with a Club if I am going to race in this league.  They are a large club that wants to win the team point total at the National events and have athletes from all over the country in the club. They recruit all the time to keep a large group ready for the National events which they want to win.  There is a trophy given to the championship team as well by USATF. Several runners top runners  from Tennessee are in the club. The club has it own area at big meets for shade and has a massage therapist on site.  Nice! This would also get me in a lot more relays to help win team points--it is always a lot of fun to do relays.  I could do the 4 x 200 and 4 x 400 in USATF. The 4 x 800 is not something I would want to try.  So, I am signing up and will be a member shortly and displaying the So Cal colors.  They are trying to get a big showing at Baton Rouge this summer.  My ability to deal with humidity will be quite useful during the national Outdoor meet. I am excited to be on a real track team again and hopefully I can pull my weight and score some points--I had 4 in this meet.

I know what needs to be done to get faster, now I just need to carry out my plan and stay healthy.  I intend to stay healthy. 
 



Thursday, February 16, 2017

BLOG 200 with some advice sprinkled in

Bicentennial Blog as defined by Linda.   My first blog was 8-6-2012.  I think I have covered a lot of subjects in that time period and will continue to cover the ones that have biggest effect on me.  Well, today that is easy as pie.   I am in LAX or Los Angeles International Airport.  Holy cow is this place nuts!  

I flew in Monday on Delta and needed to switched to WestJet for my leg into Vancouver, Canada.  Well, you get to go outside and wander thru a parking garage and then worm your way to the terminal across the way for WestJet.  Security into the International terminal was unlike any I have seen anywhere.  No habla Ingles was the rule.  Basically no one spoke English or knew what was going on.  Just herds of people flowing up steps and into the queue.  PreChek--you don't get no stinking PreChek! Absolutely crazy,  and I know how to navigate this crap.  Chaos at its finest.     LAX is a very big airport.  I found out when we got on a bus to go to our plane which was parked out on the tarmac near the ocean.   Almost cake by the ocean, but foiled again.   We rode the bus about 3 or 4  miles before we reached our plane.  By,  then things had gotten a lot better.  About half the flight was returning from a weekend at Disney and that group was ready for a nap.  Monday was Family Day in Canada and that is a holiday for most.  I survived the experience,  but was I was left a little dazed.

Today I flew back into LAX again--moron.  I needed to get on a Southwest flight in terminal 1 ( I arrived in T2) and would have to run the gauntlet again in security--same chaos with more people involved this session.  I thought I was in a Ground Hog Day time warp.  How does this place operate??  I had lunch at California Kitchens and asked about the security mess and the answer was--"Oh it was pretty good today"!  I may never return.  The pizza was good at CK, but not worth that much crazy to eat pizza.

If I need to go to Vancouver I will work another angle.  I had some conversations with the flight attendants on WestJet and they will be running a direct flight from BNA to Calgary starting in May and I can connect to Vancouver from there.  I like the sound of that.  It eliminates this chaos and keeps me on the 737 planes which I really like.   On the trip today, it was about as rough as I have ever been through.  We got pounded for about 10 solid minutes and later again for 5 more minutes.  It was pull them belts tight, shut your eyes and hang on to your lunch.   I cannot imagine trying to ride a RJR thru that stuff.  

LAX-- be warned, it is absolutely nuts.

I am about as ready as I can be for the meet this week end.  I did stretch and warm up Tuesday and I will do that again tonight when I get to Albuquerque.   Nothing is hurting and I hope to keep it that way.  A lot of rest this week.  No beer this week, I drank a lot of water in the bars in Canada. That is a little strange, but I do not want any gout related excuses to show their ugly faces. 

I will write up the races this weekend.  I hope they are fun and I am competitive--we will find out soon.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Nationals in sight


I am on my way West today for a visit in Vancouver through LAX.  I have been flying since I was 18 years old and have at least 300,000 air miles and I have never been to LAX!   I guess I do not have  any need to go to Southern California.   But today, I will pop in for short visit, eat some lunch and continue on my way to Vancouver.  Right now I am over the Grand Canyon and the clouds are breaking up—one big ditch you got down there.  One the way to Vancouver form LAX, there was a lot of snow in the mountains.  Hopefully the drought conditions will subside this season.

I have the Masters Indoor Nationals coming up this weekend in New Mexico and I have been training as hard as I have for any meet. The last two weeks have been really hard.  I ran and went to the gym for 7 days in a row.  I knew I would have some off days when I went Tulsa and that is why I pushed for 7 days in a row.  Typical training is max of 3 days in a row running. But, I figured I would take a day off and continue my speed work at one of my favorite tracks in Owasso, OK after a days rest.  I hurried to the track after work in Tulsa and my legs were not going to have any of this running and literally refused to go!  I was just stunned, I had never had a refusal like this before.   My knees were just too painful, I guess, and my stride was totally junk.  I did not try any more, I just walked 1.5 miles and called it a night.  I ended up taking off four days and I still was not feeling that peppy when I got back to the track.    If I really work my legs hard, they will recover and be better than ever—I hope that scenario does play out.  Seven days of leg work is way too much and I think I will be able to remember that going forward.  

My last three visits to the local track in Brentwood over this last weekend were on windy days and they were tough conditions to get anything serious done for training.  I used my parachute one day ( I had to use some tape to take out some hold back)  and ran into the wind the other days.  You really have to concentrate on form and swing the arms hard to get anything going while running into a 20 MPH wind.  I worked hard on some shorter—100,200 –sprints and did OK.  I pushed as hard as I could and did not get any lactic acid to form, but I was whipped.  I think my conditioning is good and I will let it rip Friday—not worry about fatigue—just fly.  Plus,  we will be at 5200 feet and the air density is great for speed and shitty for recovery.  I will worry about that pain after the race.

I have been trying to get the weight back down and I should be able to run at 195 pounds this weekend. This summer I will be even lower, but getting weight off in the winter is tough to do.

Linda it made it to the grand baby shower this last weekend in Wisconsin.  2 months to go and everything is on track for a healthy grandbaby which will be named   June Rosemary.  We already have a Rosemary and a June on the Allen side of the family and it is nice to carry on some classic names. Linda and I are just as ready as the parents!  

 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

On The Edge



I ran yesterday outside and ran OK for a couple of 200 at 95%, but it was a little cool for my pansy ass and I finished up at the gym with some slower speed treadmill cycles.  A couple days earlier I ran indoors at the 300 meter Vanderbilt training facility.   I really liked the warmth and lack of wind.  The wind yesterday was from the South, but it is just too much for me to handle--it really messes up my breathing--which is my real weakness.     At Vandy I ran a bunch or 60 and 55 meter repeats and timed them all.   I did some with running and standing starts.  And the start is worth 0.7 seconds standing vs. running.  In these short races, a good start is worth a stride and that is the difference between a medal and nothing.   My times were in the 8's and that would be very competitive at the National level, BUT the 400 and 60 meters are typically stacked on top of each other figuring the same athletes will not do both.  They are correct, you cannot if you want to survive the 400.  I will get a legal time one day, I may have to skip the 400, but I am really curious of how well my speed is matching up to the old geezers in my class.   I really like the short sprints, because the pain inflicted is nothing compared to the longer races I am involved.

I have been actually training as hard as I do in season and we are still in January.  My hope is to avoid injuries from the high amount of work.  Work hard and get stronger and be competitive or take your time and progress much slower,  is always a balancing act you need to manage.  Currently I have no real issues with injuries.  I have actually been running with spikes a couple days a week and no using any KT tape for the plantar on my right foot.  I have not run without tape since the injury 4 or 5 years ago.   I call that real progress.    I have also been much better with my running form and I think the form improvement and stronger lower body has made a difference.   I also use compression calf sleeves every time I run.   I am a firm believer in sleeves and the support they provide. 

The weight is still a struggle, but I want to be around 194 if I can by the time I get to New Mexico.  Christmas is tough with food everywhere and it all tastes wonderful.  The waist line is already under control and it firming up nicely.  I still have a little giggle of fat on the stomach, but I am not sure if that will ever go away--some genetic deal I suppose.   I will continue to train 6 days a week until I get back on the road and then do the best I can.  

I watched some college track at the Arkansas indoor facility, which is a banked track just like the one we will race on in New Mexico.  I have not raced on a banked track and I did pick up quite a few little pointers on how to win your heat.  The racing is quite similar to the old Nascar sling shot off the last corner and beating them down the straight away.  Several  times is the 400, the leader would just weaken slightly  rounding the final curve and the field would cover them.  Strength is paramount in the last 50 meters.  I think I can use some of this race savvy to help my results.  I also looked like a lot of fun.

I will continue to tread on the over training edge and try not to fall.  Easier said than done.  Enjoy this sun shine!

Monday, January 23, 2017

USATF SE qualifier race

Linda and I were in Winston-Salem for my first USATF race and my first indoor race.  I raced well and enjoyed the meet.  USATF is very professional in their meet administration and it is on time and done correctly.  Both of these items I like a lot.   I like to know when I run and they stick to the schedule!   The facility is an indoor track with no banking, but wide turns.  The turns are 50 meters and the straightaways are also 50 meters.  The track is basically square and it was pretty easy to keep track of where you were at in your race.  The traction was really good on this surface and it did give you a little push back which I liked a lot.  The humidity was over 90 %, but I run much better is moist air than dry because my breathing is much better. It was "close" as they say.

This was my first indoor meet and I like the format.  It is a quick day and you get some great competition---I was chasing people in each race.  The 400 was first and it is two laps, and you break after the second turn and can race without lane restrictions the rest of the way--or you get to race the other people.  I liked that part of the race and I actually did run a guy down in the last straightaway to get a bronze in the 400.  My time was 65.01, which is pretty fast for me this early in the year, I was really happy with the time.  I ran a 31.6 first 200 split. Linda videoed the race with her phone and there is a time monitor at the starting line and I got this number of her video!! That is so cool.  I ran a good race and that time for a 60 year male is USATF AA Standard Bronze level achievement !   There are Silver and Gold AA Standards that are way too fast for my feet, but the Bronze is a great start.  I have never achieved any of these standards as a 55 year old in the 400, so the field is coming back to me.

There was 60 minutes between the 400 and the 200.  I got something to eat, drank more liquids and tried to cool down my legs with some jogging to flush them out.  I ran very hard in the 400 and was feeling like I could possibly get crampy on the 200.  I started a little hesitant and about half way down the first straight let it go.  I felt good and the cramps were not coming, but I started too slow to really have a shot at this race.  If we raced it first, I would have been a lot faster--I think. I ran 29.00.   But it was another bronze medal and also the absolute slowest time to make USATF AA Bronze Standard again!!!   Two in one day!  I did make the Bronze level as a 55 year old as well.  
  

That was it, two races and done.  After the race it was time to load up and head back to the Charlotte airport.  But first we needed to eat and watch some football.  Atlanta was pounding Green Bay as we ate some really yummy turkey burgers and had a couple of beers--we did not realize they were 24 ouncers. One of the traditions of mine that is developing is some PBR after the race, nice and tasty carb reloading!    At the airport and on the plane we tried to watch the Steelers, but the zone defense was awful and that one was over quickly as well. It was a full day of racing, football and travel. 



 
Today is Monday after the races, my calves are really heavy and just hurt. I think the traction on the track was good enough for my calves to get way more than they can handle.  Typically my hips, abs and hammy are a little sore.  Today it is mostly the calves with a touch of abs.  I did go to the hot tub to work on the calves, it helped, but I will need a another day or two for these puppies. I guess I will need to find a way to torture my calves with some different training to get them up to speed.
 
I did like the indoor racing and will do it again.  The USATF Masters Indoor Nationals is in 3 weeks in New Mexico.  I am trying to figure out how I can get in the show.  I will be in Vancouver, Canada early in the week and I think I can swing by for three days of racing on the way back.  400 finals on day one, 200 m prelims day 2 and 200 finals day three.  So I think it is plausible, I just need to make it happen. Stay tuned.  

 
 
 

 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Indoor Racing

I just signed up for an indoor track meet in Winston-Salem on January 22.  I am going to run the 200 and 400 double. I have never raced indoor as a Master or otherwise.  This is going to be something new!!   This meet is USATF sanctioned event and this will be my first time for a USATF event as well-- I will be running around with eyes wide open taking it all in !!!

I have always wanted to run indoors and I just decided I  am just going to do it this season.   But if I can get some decent times, I will work on getting into the USATF Masters Indoor Nationals in New Mexico in February.   Run good and move on to the next meet. I want to get a feel for how I can do indoors before signing up for that event.  It is easy to get really smoked in the Nationals if you are  not ready.   I want to be competitive and have a shot at the finals in each event.  

I have been busy with Family until last weekend and my training has been limited.   I did run in Flagstaff, AZ this week on the treadmill.  The altitude is 6950 feet where we stayed in Flagstaff.  I ran two 800's and one 600.  I was struggling to get my breathing regulated until the last 800 meters.  The thinner air does need to be moved a lot faster in and out of the lungs.  But, I did not have any issues and actually flew home that night from Las Vegas and felt fine.  Today is the second day home and I am still a little fatigued from the trip.  We also drove a lot of miles in a pick up truck and that did wear on things.    I also split some wood yesterday in a little fence building project I am working on while the weather is cooler.  I think the bending over and picking up firewood had something to do with the fatigue as well.

Next week I am in town for company meetings ( nice)  and I will have to get some serious training in this weekend and get ready for a meet next!  I have my gear ready and I am looking forward to getting some racing done indoors!