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!     

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


The kitchen work is almost done.  I need to paint two window frames, crown molding and two door frames and install the lighting in the cabinets. A couple of hours should do it all.    Wow, what a change in looks! From old country over the top decorations  to new world in a couple of years.   In these pictures, we are looking at the same corner.  The old kitchen is staged for the sales brochure by the previous owners.  I staged the new one to look "normal"

The only pieces we kept from the previous kitchen were the garbage disposal and frig.  The rest is basically new or completed refurbished. We are pretty happy with the turn out.   I will get a panorama shot in the blog was soon as we get the trim finished. 
I did run this week!!! The weather was cool and looked like rain was coming over the hill, so I ran on the gym's 1/11 mile track. I really need to get outside and on the track.  I felt strong and had a pretty good workout.   I was trying out some 6 ounce Under Armour ultra light shoes.  They are light, but tended to move around on my foot too much and were going to be a blister.  So I switched back to my New Balance old reliables and did not blister. I also lost my heart beat sender and was without any electronic support!!!  I have a spare I need to learn how to use and will have the electronically hooked up next session, which should be today.  Although it is raining like crazy right now.     
Today is second day after running, and the soreness is light in the legs.  The hips are the worst, but I did not have any injuries out of the chute and will get in some running today, albeit indoors.  Track season has officially made it!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Kitchen redo


The biggest piece of the kitchen puzzle is complete.  The stove and tile are in and everything is operational and in use.   We are pretty happy with the result and are now learning to cook on a completely different stove.   I have the new cupboards in the living room in their boxes for the last section to be completed around the frig.  It appears that will happen this weekend.   I need to get finished so the rest of my life can continue.  

I have been on break from remodeling at home for a couple of weeks.  In the mean time, we have been getting our gardens in shape, painting the new fence at the veggie garden, changing the brakes on the car, mowing and anything else that would happen after work.   One thing that has not been happening is running.   Oh, and for a weekend away, Linda and I headed to Chicago for three days to help one of kids do some building.  Aaron and his girlfriend live in a warehouse space with a couple other youngsters.  The space is very open and he wanted something that would resemble a room within a room.  So, we drove up and helped hang a bunch of drywall and change up some wiring.  The results were very promising and we did have a good time helping out.  

I have not been putting in the time to train, I really need to get some speed stuff going.  My first meet will be May 21 in Nashville.  It is an open meet with electronic timing.   A masters event is coming up in 10 days, but I have too much going on that day to make it.  I am not ready anyways.   SO this year feels like a sabbatical of sorts.   I will get going soon, but the kitchen needs to be done and my target is two more weeks to have ALL the boxes and tools out of the house. Period.   Don't fail me now. 

I have been traveling about 50% of the time and when I am home, I am beating on something with a hammer or mixing up something.  My travel is picking up slowly and so will my training.  Nice weather helps a lot, it has been a little chilly to run hard prior to this last couple of weeks. 

The weight is staying pretty good and should not be an issue, I feel strong from all the construction activity--a career of that has got to wear you down after a decade or so.  I just need to run.... more.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Kitchen redo

We are right in the middle of the second kitchen remodeling project.  Spending money like water and it is going to be really nice when we get finished. I am on the regular list at Home Depot and Lowe's.  The top photo is the cabinets (sans doors) in place to make sure everything fits and establishing how much subway tile we need to put on.  The second shot is the new tile just hung and waiting for it to dry so we can grout.   I have been spending a lot of time getting the plumbing, electrical, ventilation,  dry wall and paint ready for the tile and new stove.  The red Bertazzoni  6 burner with griddle -dual fuel - will be here in two weeks and I want the place to be ready. I was talking with Linda about the number of kitchen remodels and this is my third major remodel of a kitchen.  I have only owned 5 houses!! Enough, next place better have a good set of cabinets and not need a major job, this is not my career--fixing junk kitchens.   I am pretty excited about this remodel and Linda is tired of temporary cooking conditions and stuff stored everywhere with the cupboards gone.  She has been patient through out and is really good at hanging tile.  I hope she is as good with grout--it is a challenge to the that patient. 

Training has been limited the last couple of weeks--the weather has been too wet and cool and I have not been traveling.  I generally can get some running in while traveling.  While at home with the house in chaos, I cannot seem to get out long enough to run some laps.  I will be traveling the next few weeks  and hopefully get in some miles, although I am heading to some Northern climes.

I think my first race will be organized by Fleet Feet and will be May 21and called the "Nashville Classic".  I ran in it last year and enjoyed the event.  Last year was the first year for the event.  It did have electronic timing and had some really fast talent.  So, I will time my speed work for that event and I need 4 to 6 weeks to work on the speed.  I gotta get this kitchen work finished so I can do some training and move on with the garden and yard maintenance.