Monday, November 5, 2018

Senior Olympian Week at Sunrise Center

I had a chance to give a 30 minute presentation to the residents of a local senior center today and to talk about my travels in the USATF Masters and Senior Games.  That was an interesting experience and like any other presentation that I have given to a larger group.  You had some dialed in to you and others that feel asleep--   I had some PowerPoint slides and a couple of videos of my experiences the last 9 years of competition.   The prep was interesting, as I assembled pictures and researched the names and ages of the runners, I would remember other people to include and it was an eclectic mix of people that had come through chemo, stroke, heart attacks, knee operations, major surgeries, obesity.... I also included Orville Rogers as the shining example of a late bloomer.  He is 100 now and still competes in USATF meets and started when he was 80 years old.  At 95 and 100 he has broken a lot of world records for his track accomplishments.  He has also been involved in a book about his life and has numerous articles in magazines.  That was fun to try and pump up the old timers in Brentwood. 

I am progressing with the bathroom redo so we can give a bed and breakfast a shot.   I am down to the shower enclosure.  The sink and toilet are completed.   This has been a slog!  

 We are going to build in a 32  x 60 inch shower and include a built in shelf and have a seat for shaving activities.   The intentions is to have a glass sliding door system to keep the water in the enclosure.  It will not be too long now.  With every project at this house there is the moment when you notice something has been poorly installed or engineered.   I notice after working on removing a door way and widening the passage that you can mate different styles of crown molding if you install one upside down!   I solved this one quickly be removing both pieces and throwing them out. What sort of carpenter let this happen??

If we are basically done by Thanksgiving, I will be a happy camper on this project.  Hopefully we can continue the progress and get the tile up and then do the detail work and painting.   
On Thanksgiving, I am signed up to run the 5K Turkey trot in Franklin.   I have not done any real work on the track for weeks and today is really nice, SO I am going to get some laps in shortly.  I have been doing Pilates weekly and that helps the strength and flexibility, but my wind is going to be weak until I get running again.   I don't know about you, but the time change is going to make any afternoon work outs impossible.  I am not a fan, it is dark here by 4:30 PM now.  yuck

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Still kicking

I am still kicking, just way busy on non racing stuff to keep everyone up on the latest. 

I started remodeling a bathroom that we will eventually use as part of a bed n breakfast we are working on.  Remodeling is basically keeping the toilet, but in a new location, and replacing an old stone floor with tile, updating the lighting and ventilation and a new shower and sink.  Sounds simple, but nothing in this house is square or level and every thing has to be custom fitted and attached.  It is time hog and it would be incredibly expensive to hire done due the time required.  It will get done. I am about half way and if we are finished by Thanksgiving that will be cool. 

This weekend,  I am racing in Fort Collins ,CO in USATF regional meet.  I wanted to get another meet in this season and this one is altitude.  If I struggle with 5000 foot elevation, then Albuquerque is off the table next summer.  THE senior Games will do their outdoor event there next summer.  My first trip for the USATF Indoors there was really tough to recover. I will test my recover and see how I feel.   I am jumping in Fort Collins and running the 60, 100 and 200.  No 400.  The meet arrangement will not allow me to do all the races. 

I have been running only once a week due to lousy weather lately.  It has been so rainy the last couple of weeks, that getting to the track has been impossible and I live next door to a track!

Next week I will be in Wisconsin for meeting and I will get to see the grandbaby a couple of days.   I think I will also be the handy man for my daughter.  She owns a house and a storm blew a tree limb onto their storage shed and put a hole in roof.  Hopefully it will not rain for that repair job as well.  My carpenter muscles are in pretty good shape right now.


Friday, August 3, 2018

USATF Masters Outdoor National Meet


Last weekend I ran and jumped in the USATF Masters Outdoor National meet held at Eastern Washington University.   This is my second USATF Outdoor National event and I enjoyed the meet and had a lot of fun meeting people and doing some competing with the best in the world.   I was in the High Jump (4th), 100 and 200 (4th in each) 400 (5th) and 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relays--both were Gold medals.  Just like every meet the goal is to make the finals, score some points and do not get hurt too badly.  I made all the finals, scored 15 points for the team and also finished up with just a minor complaint from my right foot and both Achilles.   With all those bases covered it had to be scored a success.  I am still seeking the elusive individual medal, but I had a shot in the 400 and I think I screwed up in the final straight.   But, it was fun, and Linda got to visit a part of the world she has never experienced. 

This is a Lane1--Dave Albo picture.
The weather was typical for Eastern Washington in the summer--very dry with temperatures in the 90's and not a cloud in the sky.  I was hot--with very limited shade available and shade helped a lot.  The track had a permanent set of bleachers between the track and endzone of the football field in the turn 3/4 area and we could get some shade there--but it was really limited.  Everyday a layer of SPF 50 needed to be lathered on a couple of times and hats were mandatory.  We stayed in Cheney, a couple minutes from the track and we would go back to the hotel room between events to cool off and rest.   That really helped me out and kept me fresher.

Right out of the box on Thursday is the 400 prelim and we had 12 in the race and needed to eliminate 4 to get down to 8 for the finals the next morning.   I ran a 65.74 lap to finish 4th in my heat and transfer the final.  I really just cruised the last 200 meters, you cannot win anything in the semi's and I knew I had enough people behind me to make the show tomorrow.  In the finals, I was in lane one and had a stalking runner on my outside that beat me last time in Baton Rouge with a late surge.  I wanted to prevent that late pass this trip and was trying to figure our how best to not make that happen with 150 meters into the race.  I should of just ran my race and not even worried about how to beat him, but I was in race mode and that is what you do.   I came around the final corner in medal contention and I think I screwed myself out of a medal with my finish.  I accelerated as hard as I could with 90 meters to go and was in third, but with 40 meters to go I was used up and finished 5 th -- I was out of juice.  In hind sight, I think I should have skipped the blast of speed and finished with my normal strong strides.  I did not and it cost me.   But it was a 62.96 which was this years fastest lap and I will take it. The hardest race was complete. 

100 m finals, lane 1
In the afternoon on Friday I had the High Jump final and 100 prelims.  Friday was my busiest day. I jumped pretty well and finished with a jump of 4' 7" for fourth and 3 points for the team.  It was very hot on the jumping pad in the late afternoon with very limited shade.  I had no misses until three at 4' 9" and they were all very close.  First time in the event and I get 4th, I think I will take it.   I had about 15 minutes between when I finished the  HJ and  100 prelim.  I changed into running spikes, added my back bib and had 5th quick time to transfer to the 100 final on Saturday late morning. I ran a 13.53, which also my finals time--same for both.  Two days in and feeling pretty good. 

Day three was the easy day.  100 finals and 200 prelims were it.  Plenty of time between races to rest and tell stories.  I ran 4th in the 100 as another team points event. I typically do not run the 100, but the coach likes to fill the field with our team.  My track  team -SoCal-- dominated the team event and doubled the second place team point total.  We had a lot of runners, walkers, jumpers and throwers and some really good ones at that. This team travels well and about a dozen are going to the International meet in Spain this summer. This was the 17th time SoCal has taken the team title.  

4 x 100 Gold medal Team
Day four and everyone is getting tired and sore.  We ran the 200 finals around 11;00AM and I ran a very competitive fourth.  I was trying to get close enough for a big lean and medal and it was not be.  I lost out on a medal by 0.2 seconds.  It was a fair fight and I lost.  A little rest and then the relays.  I was in the 4 x 100 relay and 4 x 400 relays and these are my medal events.    In the 4x100,  I was the third leg and had a nice turn, even though no one saw it since it was behind the bleachers. We won it by  less than 0.2 seconds in an absolute nail biter.  Their lead man had a bad hammy, but their anchor was really quick and closing fast.  We were fortunate to win it.   Finally a gold medal!!   In the 4 x 400 it was nearly the same team, with one new members.  But our competition in the very last race of the meet was not that strong and we cruised to the gold.  My third straight capturing a gold in this event.   I actually wore my regular running shoes for that lap, my Achilles was starting to get some strain and was ouchy. 

4 x 400  2/3 leg
Orville Rogers also made the meet.  He is 100 years old and ran the 100, 200 and 400.  I chatted with him a couple of times and he skipped the 800 due to his  blood pressure getting too high.  I think he was just nerved up!  But he ran pretty well and appeared to enjoy the weekend.  I think his grand daughter was assisting him.  She would yell into his ear as the translator,  he is pretty well hard of hearing.

Linda and I did some sight seeing in Spokane and enjoyed the river and falls right in the middle of town.  We also spent three days in the Boulder area on the way home.  She had never had an opportunity to get into the mountains and we did some serious exploring of the mountains just West of Denver.   We took a drive to Estes Park and just South of town two of the nicest bull elk were just grazing away on each side of the road.  Not a care in the world.  They are huge animals.
That was quite a show!

I came through the race with just some Achilles soreness and our team massage therapist suggested getting some heal on my spikes.  I use Asics Sonic Sprint which has no heal and the Achilles is always stretched out.   I run on my toes, but I will get some different spikes and see if I can control the Achilles pain a little better.   This is part of the calf issue--I need to get this fixed. My right foot gets sore after several races and that is an injury from high school that never did heal properly. Nothing can be done for that problem.  

Looking forward to the next big race-- that will be indoors in January and March.  With those dates on the calendar, I will have to make sure I control my weight better this year.  I raced this event at 194.5 pounds and I cannot get up to 203 like I did last winter... too hard to get it back off. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Family and 5 miles

Linda and I traveled this  Independence Holiday to Upper Peninsula of Michigan to celebrate with her very large family.   Linda is from Rapid River, but the majority of the action was in Gladstone.  They have a massive parade and also they hold a fund raiser on the 4th with a 2.5 mile walk or a 5 mile run early in the day.   I had agreed earlier in the year to run the 5 miler because of  the death of a family member and we wanted to remember him because he has run this event before. 

Jay Thoman was a JAG in the Army and was out for his morning run when he was struck by a car and killed a couple blocks from his house in Washington DC area.  He had no ID and was not identified until later that afternoon.  Just a frantic situation and really hard on all involved.

Part of the family that participated
He left a wife and two or three relatively young children behind.   We had some shirts made with his likeness and tried our best to make his memory live on.   I wanted to celebrate the life of a fellow runner the best way I could.  

My daughter Betty on the left
The 5 miler was on a flat course with chip timing and a cannon start--literally.  We were lined up and ready and all of a sudden a massive boom and we were off-it could have been two bags of powder.  That was much loader than the .38 caliber starting pistols used earlier this season indoors.   My plan was to run and walk and try to make it in under 60 minutes.   I was pretty successful with a PR of 56:11.  It was my first 5 miler, so of course it is a PR.  The weather was quite humid, even by my standards, but it is great for my breathing.  I had on a camelback with 1 liter of water and it was all used on the course.
My brother in law Buck and me.
  5 milers are a little different in terms of knowing  your progress.  They had timers at each mile mark and it made keeping your goal time much simpler.  I wore my heart rate monitor and kept my rate between 145 and 165 the entire event.
Walk when it got high, take off after a little rest and water.   My brother in law ran the course in 43 minutes and my daughter made it in 63 minutes. There was 700 numbers used, so it was a nice sized event.  

I was actually surprised how quickly I recovered the next couple of days.  I had a little soreness in my quads, but nothing else of note.   I starting training again yesterday after a few days off.   

I did all the family things including some beer and brats.  You get fed very regular and well at these family events!  I bought an 18 pack of Blatz beer for $9 at Woodman's in Milwaukee, which is the cheapest beer they carry. I like the flavor and it is not carried anywhere in Tennessee to my knowledge.  It is a very old German style beer from Milwaukee and has a great lager flavor.  That beer was incredibly popular for some reason at the gatherings.  Maybe the old flavors are making a comeback. I hope... 

Gladstone has a parade very 4th and it is also the time that Linda's family do an annual gathering.  There must have been over 100 family members around  at one time or another.  They are quite prolific and gather at a family members house for the parade and picnic.

A lot of fun for all.  The parade is about 90 minutes long and there is just a ton of people lined up to watch the spectacle. Bands, fire trucks, politicians, horses, every business and club in the area marched and threw a lot of candy out for the kids along the way.  It is a grand affair.

Our grand daughter also made the trip and we kept her a couple of nights at the local hotel where we stayed.  She was recovering from an ear infection.   Even though taking medicine, she was the usual fun little kid we have gotten to love so much.  She loved playing with the other kids and also is keen on Grandma's jewelry.  She put it on every chance she had.  She just loves $1500 necklaces!  It gets harder to give her back every time we get to keep her.

  We also visited the newlyweds in Milwaukee.  Adam and Audra were married a few months back and we checked in on their progress and things appear to be pretty good. 

Swing time with Grandma

Monday, July 2, 2018

Mental Race Prep

State Record in HJ
I wanted to add some thoughts I have on some of recent success in my racing as I have transitioned from Senior Games into the USATF competitions.  The mental side of performance is the where the difference really  exists between participants.  The mental strength in the last two seasons of racing is where I have began to excel.  Sounds a little boastful by all midwestern standards of decorum.  It is not that I am talking trash, just making the results… pretty simple.


Do you want to excel and do you have the mind set to perform?  Can your body delivery when you make the call? These are questions we handle in many situations during life and in particular competitions.   Physical prep is also important,  but I have seen really good athletes just fail because their minds were not right--it happens every week in college and pro football. 

5 Golds in 5 Events
 Early this season I have run three  400 meters events in race conditions.  Two were around 66 seconds and the third was 65.5.  These speeds are not acceptable in the world where I want to race this summer. My  last race was 63.52 , which is where I want to be time wise.  That result was produced while running virtually on an empty track, I was leading by 18  seconds at the finish.  My training was no different, no more physical prep was done.  So how can you cut 2 seconds off your premier race event?  You use your mind in the proper way…think it through and deliver the result.  My mental prep was about as good as it has ever been.  I was ready physically, even though I was recovering from an iffy calf muscle.   I was tuned in to what I wanted and was not going to screw this race up.   Deliver like the stars of the sport.   The bigger the stage and more the pressure, the stars make it happen and in that sense I am developing some star qualities in this track and field world.  Shut up and race it…. Show us what you got......


What do you do to get your mind into the place where the desired performance can be produced?  The answer is not simple, but a process and system evolves over time,  where the past failures are eliminated and attainable results take their place in your mind.  You  develop  real targets that you know are possible and make your brain accept  your expectations. You also need to leave some room for surprises.  Don’t make your goal so crazy that you will miss it and are  bummed with a fantastic result.    Achievement is what you need and want.   

   What kind of voodoo is that?  I don’t know, but it works in my head.   After years of competition at all levels of Master Track in the US, I have found my niche so to speak and know where I can excel and what events  to avoid.  You also need a support team-Linda, Kaylee , Geoff and other racers that keep you physically in the game and also talk you off the ledge if needed.   But, the mind is where the difference ultimately exists.   Can you make your body endure the pain to win, is it worth it? I have begun to understand these elements of competition and one day I want to compete at the International level and test those waters.   I would really like to wear the US colors and represent.

 My next mind trick will be a 5 miler in Gladstone, MI on July 4.  The weather has bound to be better than the last couple of races.  How can I get a happy result, even though I am completely out of my running and racing  element?  I think beating 60 minutes would be a very successful result.  Do some walking and running and watch the clock.  Let’s see how this plays out, stay tuned .  

I have also bought some toys to work on some new skills.   
As I age in my age class I want to try some pentathlon at the indoor  and outdoor meets.  AND, I have something to work on all winter when it is too cold or messy to run.  I have already been flinging the spear in my yard and the other throwing will follow shortly.


Thursday, June 28, 2018

Tennessee State Finals

The Senior Olympics held their Tennessee State Finals last weekend at Battleground Academy.  The school had just done some work on their track and it was in great shape and fast.
The old track was black and they have coated it with a blue material for a uniform surface and a great look.   The picture at the left is a 98 year old women who competed in  all the running races.  Her was 1500 was at 21 minutes in stifling heat, I thought she did a great job of finishing them all.   The weather was summertime in Tennessee, relatively sunny  with heavy humidity.  The humidity is  great for my breathing, but it was quite hot and shade was necessary to survive.  Any breeze was a welcome relief.   

This season I was going to attempt to compete in 5 events, the usual sprinting races and the High Jump. I had not done any field events at the State meet.   I jumped 4'8" last Fall in the qualifier and knew I could get a shot at a win if I did my best.   The high jump was Friday afternoon around 4:00 PM.   I got there early enough to set up my large tent near the jumping area for some shade, the sun was pretty hot that afternoon.   I started at 4 feet even and the competition was in increments of 2 inches.   The current record holder was also jumping against me, so he was defending his record. I had my first miss at 4'8" which is the State Record for my age group.   I cleared 4'8" on my second attempt and the  record holder--Steven Green-- was out with a jump of 4'6".  Edwin Lee also was still in by clearing 4'8", so there was two left to fight for the gold and a State Record, we had both tied the old record.  I missed my first attempt and made some adjustments to my speed and hip position on the next two attempts and squeezed over the bar on my third attempt--it was moving when I looked back!  But I cleared it for the win and the record!   That was pretty exciting.   Edwin Lee missed all three of his attempts.
    Whew!  a great start to the meet.    While I am jumping Linda is hanging in the tent and some sort of security guard is giving her a hard time about the tent being inside the track--against their policy of some sort.   He stopped by once to tell us it could not be there--OK--I am busy right now jumping.  We will move it in a few minutes.   I am trying to jump, not worry about tent location. He comes back  later on in the middle of the competition and gave the "my boss wants this out of here" crap because it can't be here,  blah blah.  But he interrupts our group and in particular Linda during my third attempt at 4'10" and she missed the jump!  Linda was really pissed at rent a cop and unloaded on him, which he richly deserved.   What is your problem dude, we were quite busy at the time?   We moved the tent later for the rest of the running events the next two days--which I would have done anyways....  When I set it up, I asked a couple of track officials and they said to put it up where I did.  The next day they did have a sign to the effect of no tents in the infield of the track--by the way--that  sign was not there Friday afternoon.  Just sayin......

On Saturday, we started with the 400 meters  around 9:30 AM  and at 5:00 PM we would run the 100 meters after a full day of field events. I needed to improve on my 400 from the two earlier times and I really wanted to get an All American time of 65.00.   I had been mentally working on this race for several weeks and I did run a fast time without anyone to add some push or pace to my effort.     I finished in 63.52 which is easily an AA time and won by 18 seconds--so it was not much of a race as racing goes.  I felt great and got the job done!   In the afternoon I ran the 100 in a relatively slow time but won it easily and was 3 Golds with 2 AA standards in 3 events.  The HJ was also an AA effort.

I thought I was doing pretty good until I ran into Neringa Jakstine who is a 55 year old woman with 8 golds at that point and several new state records!   She is incredible and could beat most of the men her age.  She breaks 30 seconds in the 200 and ran a 7.62 50 meters!! She does pentathlon as well and has the World leading score in that and multiple field events as well. 
Here is Neringa with her first 8 golds!
I think she ended up with 12 golds and 7 new state records in 3 days--just nuts her talent.  She is headed to Malaga to the World Masters and should get multiple medals.   Go get them Neringa.    That is the talent in our area, great athletes coming out of the wood work...

The third day is the easiest physically with a 50 meters at 8:00 AM and a 200 meters to finish off the meet around 10:30 AM, but in between is the longest most agonizing wait possible.  You need to keep cool and relax but they are running the 800 meters and a 1500 m walk events that seems to take forever. It is so hard to stay hydrated and loose and motivated. You just want to go home and rest. 

The 50 meters is my fun race and this year it was a really interesting race.   I use blocks and  most of my heat did as well.  As we were getting ready for the start, there should be a approximate 2 second pause between the command to 'set' and 'pow' from the gun.  I run USATF and you will wait for the gun with them, no jumping the gun, period.   In this race, I am in lane 2 and ready for the 'pow' and about 0.3 to 0.5 seconds before the gun lane 3 is gone!  It is an absolute false start.  I waited for the gun and off I went, thinking there would be a second bang,  nope, let's race it then.  So I race him down pretty quickly and ran a very quick 7.37 for the win.   I have been beaten in that race before from timing issues with hand timers, but today, I got to come from behind and win it.  That felt good to have to top end speed.  You got to be ready for anything at these events.

The last race after the long hot wait was the 200 meters which I ran a relatively quick 27.90 and won it easily.  5 events and 5 Golds--that is pretty special to me at this part of  racing career. 
In the picture to the right is Grady Cash on the right who has a current World Record in a relay and competes at 70 years old and dominates his age group. Next to him is Richard Westbrook who had a stroke in November and lost part of his vision.   Holy shit!  He medaled in the 200 and 400 events in his 65 year old group and nearly won both races!!  The stories are just incredible each year at these events.  

My goal this season is to get All American times in all my events that I compete and right now all I need is a really fast 100 meters which more than likely will not happen.  I will not run it much more this season and I also need to pick up 0.6 of a second which might just not be possible.  It is my dog race for some reason??  I did come through the race without any injuries and I am giving a lot of the credit to Smart Core which is the studio of Kaylee Cahoon.  She has helped me with body mechanics which have prevented issues with strains, cramps, etc.  I will finish up my rest period of 5 days and get back to USATF Nationals prep by this weekend.   

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Fathers Day and June

Our grand daughter visited last weekend --Fathers Day-- with her Moms and we had a great time with June.  BUT, she will wear you out. She takes two naps during the day and she is up at 5:00 AM sharp-- ready to go.  Just hang on from there, she like to drive the bus really fast.  

   Linda and I were both just exhausted after two full days and three nights with June in the house.  We need to get in better shape for this stuff.  It was worth it, she is just the sweetest thing ever!  She loved playing in the creek with a bucket, some sticks and of course a dinosaur floating in the bucket.  I think it was some soup starter.   We see her again in two weeks!!  Grandma made cookies for June  and a banana crème pie for Fathers Day along with a killer pot roast and we just had a great time.  That was a fantastic Fathers Day treat with June, Linsi, Betty and Bruce the pug in town as well.

The week after the Southeast Regional meet I was in NY state and was doing some speed work and got a cramp/ tweak in my left calf.  Similar to the calf issue I had a Baton Rouge, but not as bad.  I iced it right away and had some swelling in the soleus muscle under the outer calf muscle.  I did nurse it for about a week and after 10 days it was pretty good shape again.  I think I am healed but I will be using KT tape to see if I can avoid another occurrence.

I have been working on high jumping, javelin and also rounded up a 5 kg shot and 1 kg discus to begin work towards some pentathlon competitions next year.  As I move up in my age group, I want to work on some other events that need more technique rather than raw speed.  The pentathlon for the indoors and outdoors are very different in terms of events and I am going to play with them all and see if I can get competitive in at least the indoor events.  This season I am going to high jump in the Senior Games state meet this weekend.  I have done a fair amount of training for the jumps and hopefully it will pay off.     I might as well stay busy at the big meets and have some more fun.

My training has been pretty good leading up to the meet this weekend.  My mental state is about as good as it has been for a long time and that is really huge.   My times earlier in the season are competitive nationally and now I need to deliver with a great effort this weekend.  HJ Friday afternoon,  400 Saturday morning, 100 Saturday evening, 50 early Sunday and 200 closes the meet on Sunday afternoon.  Good spacing for resting, but it is still a lot of hanging around a hot track and just the strain of the heat and waiting, but that is where the mental strength pays off--just go do it!
She is just too sweet to be true!