Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Recovery, schedule, decisions

The Sunday meet seems to have thrown my schedule off.

I need today, a second day of recovery which will likely give me only one good workout day this week. I'm still sore but better, and I have to decide whether to run Sewanee this Saturday by today. Taking the weekend off would be an option.

I guess I'll go for it. If I feel strained after the 55m, I could bail on the 200. Just don't see that I'll really have much training time to improve by Saturday.

I will need to focus on injury preventative stretches and resistance, particularly adductors, abductors, hams, and quads/hip flexors. I might be able to start tonight, we'll see.

2 days off and chocolate chip cookies... feel like I'm getting soft.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Recovery day and meet photos

From Saturday's TSU Invitational meet: the top photo is the final 60m of the 400. The guy in front of me tied up and faded badly, he finished just a few tenths ahead of me. On the final straight I moved to lane 2 thinking I would pass him but didn't. That cost me some time. Such is the indoor 400. Bottom photo is from lap 1 just before the break. I didn't mind lane 5, Much less turn to run... anything but lane 1.

Looking ahead, there are just 3 meets left before nationals on my schedule... unless I want to drive a few hours. The Mason Dixon Games are on March 2. Not sure I want to drive 3 hrs each way to run on boards, although it is a banked track and would give me one more meet, 2 weeks before nationals. As it stands now, I have 2 meets at Sewanee where I'll concentrate on the 55 and 200, and one meet at MTSU where I'll do the 55 and 400. Sewanee's track is a great surface but tight, only 160 meters. It might be tough turning a good 200 on those tight turns, especially in lane 1. That's 3 meets in 4 weeks, then 3 weeks off til Nationals.

As expected, the groin is sore today but not terrible. I may be back on the track tomorrow. With a Saturday meet, I will be hard pressed to get in 2 hard and 1 easy track workouts in this week. I need to do some speed work and maybe some stadium stairs. Some block work wouldn't hurt.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Progress! TSU Invitational meet report

Finally, some respectable times.

The funny thing is, the 400 didn't feel that hard. 57.57 and I didn't 'rig up' ... like the last 2 races, (and like the Nationals) and I felt pretty strong all the way through. Honestly, I felt I tried much harder the previous 2 races where I ran around 59.

Also, I ran my first 55m of the season in 7.47. Just .04 off my PR of last season.

I felt a very noticable groin strain after the 55, not serious, but noticable. Same left groin. It felt worse after the 400 and I should not have run the 200m, but I did anyway, in a slow 26.25. I'm pretty sure I was the only sprinter to do the 55/200/400 triple today. I'm sure tomorrow, my groin will be pretty sore.

As of today, both my 400 and 55 are third ranked in the M50 USA Masters Rankings, but it's only January, and those rankings will diminish. My 26.16 from the first week would rank 5th, but I won't submit it. I hope to do better when I don't run the 400m first.

The new Adidas tights are definitely a go for future races. I think I'll also keep the chocolate bar and coffee regime for a pre race meal. I think previously I had been running with too little fuel.

I'm 137.0 lbs after racing today. I'm definitely modifying my diet to include a little more carb. Enjoyed sweet potatoes with lots of butter and maple syrup last night, along with fish and sauteed spinach. I've eaten about a pound of chocolate in the past few days and it is NOT putting weight on me... heh. Good to be at my sprinter weight.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pre race day - indoor meet #3

Pre race day and I'm not planning to do much. I will at least go through my stretches and warm up. Maybe do a half mile sprint-jog.

I did not draw good lanes in the 200 and 400, I am either the furthest outside or inside... Lane 5 in the 4oo, lane one in the 200.

I'm looking forward to my first 55m of the season and my first triple event meet. Will miss seeing the MTSU team there, they went to a meet in KY today.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Sunset 300s

A light workout tonight left me feeling good and invigorated.

I specifically wanted to try working with my new interval split timer/beeper - the Gymboss.

I didn't want to do too much since I'm still a tad sore from resistance ... and the meet on Sunday will be a workout in itself. Like Coach Page said, "Racing is the best training."

I ran some short striders, and two 80-85% effort 300s. I wanted to concentrate on my 'fatigued form' in the last 100m.

So, I set the interval beeper to beep at the following 100m intervals:
100m - 14 sec
200m - 15 sec (29)
300m - 14 sec (43)

Assuming a last 100m in 16, that would be 59 pace. It felt good, not too hard.

800m warm up, stretches, drills

Adidas spikes on

2 x 50m striders

2 x 300m - 43.5, 43

The first one I nailed the first 100 in 14, but was 2m short of the desired 200m split and the 300m split ... which means I was just a half second off on the 2nd 100m. The second run, I nailed my splits exactly. THIS Gymboss is going to be one helluva tool for 'event runs' and my own education. Even on my second 300m, I felt like I had something left and was not near the rigging point.

The question is, what are optimum splits for a race? I'm thinking, in a perfect world... for me... 13, 13.5, 14, 14.5 would yield 55.0. Or something like that. A 26.5 sec 200m is way more taxing than the 29 I ran today.

I'm going to try one thing different in this weekend's 400m. I'm going to ditch the heavy CW-X Pro compression tights for the much lighter feather weight Adidas Supernova sprint tights. I tried the Adidas tonight and they feel great. I've been told (by Bill Collins and others) the CW-X compression tights with the built in support bands are great for injury prevention, so I will wear them in the 55m race. I just think they are too restrictive and for the 400, I need all the help I can get.

I felt really strong tonight and maybe it had something to do with that giant 500 calorie chocolate bar I ate a few hours before I ran? With my weight hovering around 138, and my workout routine established, I can now eat chocolate and carbs, and other goodies in moderation, usually not on consecutive days.

After workout weight - 137.2

Looking forward to the meet and hoping I don't get lane one.

Pain poll:

Elitetrack.com forum - question:

What is the most painful race?

It's nearly unanimous.

I was talking to an MTSU hurdler, I asked him, "Do you run the 400?" He said, "I hate the 4."

Everyone does.

But it keeps sucking me back for more pain.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Indoor workout: blocks and long sprints

Dipped into the starting blocks rack today on this rainy day. Was hoping to do a significant speed workout outside today but it doesn't look like the rain will be letting up before I work 2-6pm, and there is an ESPN covered basketball game at the Murphy Center tonight. But ! ... I just had my 3 pm student cancel so, I can squeeze a brief workout in, 3-4:00 pm. I wanted to run hard today so I have 2 days recovery before Sunday's meet at TSU - where yes ... I am signed up to run 3 events in this order: the 55m, 400m, and 200m.

I forgot my watch so I ran some long sprints and some full power starts.

1200m warmup, stretches, drills

Spira training shoes on

2 x 300m - untimed, 70% increasing to 90% effort at the end.

Adidas spikes on

50m striders

5 starts from blocks - 2 full out accelerating to near max.

200m - 80-90%

Spira training shoes on

300m - 80%

The 300s put me into that familiar pain zone so that I could practice my form while fatigued. That is the biggest thing I learned today. I MUST practice form while at the fatigue point if I'm ever going to run a decent 400. My brain works best in athletics if I don't think too much but remember some basic concepts. Relax, stride, open hands, pump arms, high knees, in line ... this will be my mantra for the end of the 400m.

The block starts were good, no strain. I am a bit leary of the 55m. It is a risky race for injury but I feel ok and did a good high rep explosive resistance workout of quads and hams last night that left me a tinge sore today. I credit these exercises for bringing me back last season from the ham and keeping me from reinjury. Every 55m I raced last season, I felt soreness and strain afterward. Now, I have a much better warmup routine that I adopted in April and am better prepared. I would like to run under 7.5 this weekend, which is competitive for my age group. Last year I ran 7.74, 7.60, 7.52, and 7.43. I think I'm good to go for the 55m.

Doing a triple is not problem except that the 200 always suffers. I ran my PR 400m after running a 100m race at SE Masters, so hopefully the 55 will help.

Also, I bought a GymBoss programmable beeping interval timer. It was recommended for 400m 'event runs' - to help train myself to run more precise splits. So... I haven't given up on the 400.

Today, at the Murphy Center, every one of the MTSU sprinters came up to me and said hello, many shook my hand. They are really very polite and encouraging.

Weight is 137.4 lb before dinner. A little sore but OK. The hardness of the Murphy Center track is what I think caused my knee to feel sore. That is why I will not do lengthy workouts there in spikes. Better in training shoes. Knees is better today, as is my shoulder. Shoulder not 100% but good to go for Sunday.

Since I just got this Gymboss timer, I may do a speed workout tomorrow on the outdoor track. Probably just 2 or 3 300s.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Gettin' smoked

Me in lane 5 ... way way behind.

Photo from my 400m race at MTSU. This is from just before the break at about the 280m mark. The guys 15m in front of me both ran under 50 sec, while the guy in the inside lane ended up beating me as well by about 5m after I rigged up in the last 50m.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Back to square one

Did a mixed workout today of tempo endurance and a little speed. Beautiful day to run outside, sunny mid 50's. After running on the hard as rock indoor track, I welcomed the springy outdoor track.

800m warmup, stretches, drills

Adidas spikes on

Long sprints with 4 min rest between

3 x 600m - 1:46 (68/38)*, 1:54 (74/40), 2:06 (84/42) *400/200 splits

2 x 200m - 27.5, 28

100m - 13.5

I tried to run the 600s with good sprint form in spikes. I was able to except the last one where I came down on my heels a bit due to fatigue.

The 200s and 100 I tried to start at strider pace accelerating to nearly 100% for a moment on the straight keeping good form and good elevation.

Felt ok. All except the nagging shoulder which is a rotator cuff injury that will take time to heal.

The masochist I am, still considering a 55/200/400 triple this Sunday.

My weight is exceptionally good. 136.8 after workout.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday Hiking

By Monday, I definitely was not recovered from my 400/200 double on Sat. Kind of feel 'beat up.' Aches have subsided, but a soreness/tightness in my left groin appeared. Instead of running Monday, I did some moderate mountain hiking on this 'day off' with Iska's dad, Zell. Need to burn some calories. Ate a lot yesterday... chips, brownies, cookies, etc...

Because of that, I ate light on Monday.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Rest and plans

My overly emotional response to yesterdays disappointing performance was not indicative of my future plans. The 400 is a tough nut to crack and these recent times make me just want to do better.

This morning I have no muscular soreness but I do have some aches in my shoulder and a little in my left knee.

I started last season with speed, running the 55m almost exclusively. I need more speed. If I can get my 200 under 25, I think the 400m will also improve. So, hopefully I'll be back on the track Mon or Tues depending on how these joints feel.

I must have really burned some energy yesterday. I weighed 137.4 this morning.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

No gain

Disappointingly, I ran about the same times as I did last week, only a few hundredths slower. This may be a turning point. I think I may quit the 400m. Whatever I had in the 400m, I don't have it now, and I doubt I can get it. I'm discouraged. This means I may not want to run the 4x400 in the Penn Relays. They do, however, have a 4x100. I just don't know at this point.

I was shaky, nervous and apprehensive before the 400m. I don't know where that stress was coming from. I had outside lane (in both the 400 and 200). After 2 guys blew by me on the first turn I think I may have stepped it up too fast because I rigged up in the last 80m ... again. I was about even with one guy at the break who ended up beating me by 3.5 sec. My official time was listed as "59.00" which left me wondering if it was just an estimate since I was so far behind the pack ... and '.00 flat second' numbers are rare in races. I knew I'd be at least in the 58s by the meet clock. It was a taxing effort. I felt like I gave it everything. It was .07 slower than last week. I felt totally spent. This race is no fun!

I thought I should scratch from the 200m because I was feeling so shitty, but I ran it anyway. 26.22 - .06 slower than last week. I felt a little tieing up near the end. I'm thinking I could run it considerably faster if fresh.

I did receive a lot of encouragement and almost feel like an MTSU team member. I'm getting to know the guys and ladies on the team, and no matter what I do, they always give me the thumbs up. Just wish I could run the times I did last June. I really am lacking in confidence and self respect a this point. I finished last in both events.

Moving forward

Next meet on 1/29, I'm going to do the 55m and the 200m. These races are FUN... and that's why I'm doing this. I'm going to adjust my training for more speed and power. I'd like to take starts with the team but I'd need to reschedule a student then rush back to teach my class.


My shoulder hurts. It's painful to even lift a coffee mug, but the more I move it the better it feels. I'm happy to say that I have no lower body issues including abs, legs, etc... and that is really a win in and of itself. My weight is excellent: 138.0 after the meet.

I'll endeavor to persevere.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Pre race day - first home meet

On the Murphy Center track this evening, teams were there in their color coded uniforms, warming up, taking starts, running around the track in preparation for tomorrows meet: The Blue Raider Invitational. I chatted briefly with an MTSU hurdler and some other athletes. The carnival atmosphere abounds.

I didn't come to do anything real demanding. I didn't even take my watch. Just went to get loose, stretch, work up a light sweat, do some starts, run some turns, and think about the races.

600m warmup, stretches, drills

Adidas spikes on

3 x 100m - on the curve, accelerating to 400m pace

150m strider

4 block starts

No heat sheets up yet. Guess I'll find out tomorrow. They have to finish the polevault that starts at 11:00 am before any running events can begin. The 400m is the second running event after the mile. Scheduled at 2:20 pm. There should be more than an hour n between the 400 and 200.

Weight is on target: 137.8 lbs. Should be about the same by race time.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I'm in

After not hearing back from Coach Hayes about Saturday's meet - the Blue Raider Invitational, I went to track practice today to see if I could find out anything.

I got there about 2 pm and began a lengthy warmup... really just stalling and waiting to see Coach Hayes come in. After a running almost a mile, I started stretching then I saw the coach and it went something like this.

(Coach Hayes sees me while walking away)

Me: "Hey, coach!"

Coach Hayes: "Yeah." (continues walking away, doesn't look back)

Me: "Did you get my email, are you going to be able to get me in on Saturday?"

Coach Hayes: (a little agitated) "Well... I guess so, since you're a faculty member."

Me: "Great. Thanks coach."

Coach Hayes: "Ok"

Me: "Have you ever met Payton Jordan?"

then... some small talk.

For Coach Hayes, I'm like the fly that won't buzz off. He told me a few years ago he is not interested in Masters Track, and unlike many track meets, MTSU meets are not open on-line registration, so they rarely allow unattached athletes. Dean Hayes must approve everything. I'm sure he does the heat sheets himself. Keep in mind, Dean Hayes has been around MTSU for 45 years and has coached Olympic caliber athletes. He is known as a great international recruiter of African athletes.

This will be a 'full participation meet' by the MTSU team. There are at least 6 MTSU sprinters in each of the 200m and 400m events. I think MTSU All-American Noah Akwu will be running, just back from a foot injury. Granted, it is ridiculous for me to be running with an NCAA All-American like Akwu, (recruited by Hayes from Nigeria). He ran 20.86 in the 200m last year - indoors.

I did a light workout this afternoon, concentrating on form:
1500 warm up, stretches, drills

Adidas spikes on

Long sprints at 80-90% effort with full recovery:

3 x 300m - untimed, 41, 44
My weight is good. 137.8 this morning.

If I can run a comfortably run a 300m in 40, which I think is doable, then I should be able to run the last 100m in 16. whaala - 56.0.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Indoor speed

Well, I got confused again about the track markings. I think I ran 410's tonight instead of 400's... at least I hope so. After the workout and now after looking at the photo of a previous post, it looks like I was running 410m sprints tonight (...from beginning of the handoff zone). Good thing ... after looking at the clock.

The plethora of markings, some faded, some bold, some from yards, some from meters, starting lines, handoff zones, etc ... make this a hard track to decipher. I still am not 100% sure where the break point is. I'm going to track practice tomorrow so I hope to clear this up. I still have to get permission from Dean Hayes to enter this weekend's meet - the Blue Raider Invitational.
900m warm up, stretches, drills

Adidas spikes on

50m strider

2 x 410m - 61, 64 (95 and 90% effort)

2 x 200m - 27, 31 (90% and 75% effort)

4 starts from blocks

600m cool down jog

I tried two 400 (410) 'event runs' tonight. The first I went pretty much full out for the first 130, floated for 130, then back to full effort last 130. I didn't have much for the end. The second, after several minutes recovery, I simply got up to full speed, about 30-40m and began to float, then reinvested for the last 130m. I had much more left. It was a slower time but not that much slower, and a whole lot easier. The first 200m sprint I did was full out for 60m then settle in pace for 100 and push hard the last 40m. It felt pretty good. The second one was just a strider.

Considering I ran about a 59.5 400m at nearly full effort, I have to be really ready and willing to spill my guts if I intend to run under 58 this Sat. That is the difference between an ok time and a great time. Guts and not rigging up. I'd really like to run under 58 this Saturday. The next slowest guy might be 53. This will be my first NCAA Division I track meet, if I am allowed to run. There will be guys running 47-48.


weight: 137.8 (after workout, before dinner). This is great considering I'm coming off a few days of eating bread w/ butter and jam. Goes to show that once a target weight is achieved, a day of gorging or treats can be inconsequential and be rectified with a back-to-normal diet and exercise routine. A day of light eating (or even fasting) after a day of gorging is definitely in my repertoire.

Shoulder hurts and is most painful during starts when the arm goes back. I wish this issue would go away. It clicks and pops when I first move it then it gets better. Also, I felt a tinge of pubalgia in the starts, but nothing bad or like it was before.

I think I'll do one set of resistance tomorrow and light track workouts on Thurs and Fri. Nothing real hard.

Monday, January 16, 2012


Today was supposed to be my day off but with crazy warm January weather, I decided to do a little 'moonlighting.' At 11:00 pm, it was nearly 60º and breezy, so I set off on what was supposed to be a jog, but turned into a flat out run. It felt great. Good to exercise the aerobic system.
Spira training shoes on, dynamic stretches

2 mile run: 13:37 (6:58, 6:39) - 6:48 pace
I ran the last 1/2 mile in 3:10, the last 300m on my toes. 2 miles never felt so easy at a sub 7 min pace.

Despite my eating a lot the last few days, including carbs: toast and butter, rice, cookies, (etc... in moderation), my weight remains decent - 140.0 lbs. The only issue I have is a nagging shoulder problem. Still sore after aggravating it with weekend projects.

Quality speed work tomorrow night.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tempo endurance - same but better

Going for quantity over quality today. Same workout as Thurs but I made sure I didn't start too fast.

(photo: lane three 400m start - Murphy Center, MTSU)

I wanted to run outside today but I thought I better be near a bathroom, so I went to the indoor track. Glad I did. Still sore in the calves and haunches from the stairs and resistance, I felt a little heavier today since I ate alot Sat., probably 2000 cal., so I was 1.50 lbs heavier today. Also, started the workout with a slight stomach ache.

600m warmup, stretches and drills

Adidas spikes on

5 x 400m - rest intervals - (3, 3, 3, 4min) - 66, 67.5, 72, 74.5, 78

200m - 29
Weight: 138.6 after workout

I took an extra minute of rest after 400 #4 because after 3 min rest, my pulse was still about 144. I would have never made #5. Actually, looking at the first four 400s, they were only 0.83 sec avg faster than last workout, but I did a 5th 400m and a 200m to boot.

A 400m is about 1.5 times around the Murphy Center. Easy to dissect the race into 3 parts. I'm thinking: 100%, float, then reinvest 100%. I'll try that out in my next workout which will be speed on Tues., probably evening.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Stadium stairs x 28

I ran 28 stadium stair sprints today.

After about 20, I wasn't getting too tired and thought, "I can do this all day" ... especially with the long recovery of walking down. So, I really blasted the last 5. Then, I tried to do a strider across the field afterward but I could barely lift my legs and just jogged. I was pretty quivery.

Weight is pretty darn good.

137.8 lbs after workout.

(My weight usually ranges about 4 lbs. in a day, the lightest after workout or out of bed to the heaviest after P.M. meal. Right now that range is about 137.8 - 141.8).

I feel like I really need to pick up the pace. Doing some real speed work, like 60-100m repeats accelerating to full speed, and block work. Of course, I need a lot of things.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Learning from previous races

Looking at my 400m race videos of the Masters Nationals and TN Senior Games, it's interesting to plot the 100m splits. Interesting to see what worked and what didn't.

I don't have a vid of my PR but I do know that the hand timed 200m split of 24.3 was well below my 200m PR, - probably around 25 flat since there was a tail wind - so that would make my second 200m 30.5

SE Masters - 55.54 (PR)
200 splits: 25, 30.5

Here's where it gets interesting. There just happened to be cones every 100m at the TN State Meet, so these splits are fairly accurate.

TN State Meet - 56.09
100 splits: 12.5, 13, 14.5, 16
200 splits: 25.5, 30.5
300 split: 40

USATF National Semi: 56.55
100 splits: 12, 13, 13.5, 18
200 splits: 25, 31.5
300 split: 38.5

USATF National Final: 57.61
100 splits: 12, 13, 14, 18.6
200 splits: 25, 32.6
300 split: 39

Of course these splits are not 100% accurate but close. What these splits show:
1) I generally run the first 200m 100% - under 26 sec at or very near my PR
2) The tremendous collapse* in the final 100m of both national races show that I just went 100% until I ran out of gas. Could that 1 second slower 300m in the TN meet made a 2 second difference in the last 100m? It apparently did since these were run less than a week apart.

Why did I rig up in my last 100m so dramatically at the Nationals?
  1. Training. 3 weeks before the meet, I was injured and could not run for over a week. It took me a while to get back. I did a very fast full recovery sprint workout on 6/27 and was really hurting afterward. My next meaningful workout was 10 days later. I did have at least 3 decent tempo endurance workouts in July. That should have been enough. Maybe I lost my foundation.
  2. My race strategy was unsound. The tension of the moment got to me. I was really tense before the Nationals. I remarked to my parents, "This isn't fun, it's as serious as cancer." I had made up the split on the winner, Ben James before the 200m mark in the National Finals, and I was more than 10m ahead of the Bronze medalist at 250m.
  3. I may have been running too lean, not enough fuel (nourishment) in my system. Maybe overly concerned about body weight?
  4. Form. I obviously was tight at the end, my arm movement looked very restricted and my torso was rotating side to side. They call that 'doggy paddling.'
Possible Solutions
  1. Better aerobic foundation since I'm a short legged 100m sprinter trying to move up to 400m.
  2. A race plan that conserves energy - particularly between 150-300m.
  3. Technique and form, mental reminders to relax, use the arms, open the fingers, etc...
  4. Need to do 'event runs' at near full speed so I know exactly where I should be. Clyde Hart recommends running with a beeper/timer to acheive exact desired splits. Most say full speed for 60m then float for 150m, then hard at 220m. I'm thinking more like 100m full out, float for 150m and reinvest full effort at 250m.
George Haywood, world masters silver medalist in the 400m hurdles suggested I should aim for 26/28 200m splits. Maybe a good idea?

Indoor tempo endurance - updated

Bitter cold tonight and snowy, finally feels like winter.

So, I hit the indoor track for some intervals.

The only distance on this track that I'm certain of is the 400m, so I ran 400 intervals.

Keeping the 3 min rest intervals and starting too fast was a recipe for total exhaustion. As well as the fact that I broke a 20 hour fast this morning and I'm very light.

600m warm up, stretches, drills

Adidas spikes on

4 x 400m - 3 min rest between - 61.5, 67, 77, 78

300m - 53

Spira training shoes on

300m cool down jog
My weight is 137.6 - the lightest since the Masters Nationals. My body fat is probably at or less than 10%.

The last 300 was supposed to be a 400 but I copped out. I really was totally exhausted - it was just a strider. I really started feeling it halfway through the third one. That's where I really started breaking.

I have the opportunity for 2 hard running workouts before next meet. Not sure what I should do. Maybe something similar to today and perhaps a speed/event workout. I'm thinking Sunday morning and Tues night, resistance tonight and tomorrow. Unfortunately, my shoulder is limiting the upper body stuff I can do since that slight injury last week. I do need to run fast. Soon I'll be running the 55m.

As it works out, beginning weekend of 1/21, I have the opportunity to run 4 consecutive weekends, including possibly doing a 55/200/400 triple on Jan 29 at TSU. After that 4 meet stint, just one more at Sewanee (55, 200) then 3 weeks off before the Nationals. I think it's doable. My dad and I have already started planning to attend the Nationals in Indiana, so I do want to stay healthy.

2 x 25 Bulgarian squats w/50 lbs (each leg)
2 x 15 squat jumps
2 x 15 single leg leaps from box (each leg)
2 x 45 calf raises (each leg)
1 x 50 quad / hip flexor resistance bands (each leg)
1 x 35 adductor resistance bands (each leg)
1 x 35 abductor resistance bands (each leg)

I'd like to run stadium steps tomorrow ... but it's supposed to be bitterly cold, windy, and only up to about 30º. I do have an hour break in my schedule tomorrow. So, I think I'll go for it if the stairs are ice free. That's why I bought the long tights.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Back to foundation work

After two days off, my soreness from the weekend races subsided enough to allow me to run, but not sprint; so I did some needed foundation work on the outdoor track. This time, NO cheating on the 3 minute rest intervals.

400m warmup, stretches, drills

Adidas flats on

6 x 800m - 3 min rest in between - 2:35, 2:54, 3:01, 3:07, 3:04, 3:09 (2:58 avg)
Weight is good - 139.2 lbs after workout. This week I have to fast for my yearly blood work, so I expect to be even lighter by next race.

Obviously my first 800 was too ambitious and I paid for it. The average was 2:58 - slower than the 2:55 average of a previous 5 x 800 workout in Dec. But at least I did 6 and did not cheat the rest interval. It felt pretty good. I didn't kill myself.

Afterward, I could still feel a lot of tightness in my groin. I'm going to need to do a lot of stretching and more rest. I don't know what I would do without my hot tub. Stretching in hot water has been vital for me - for recovery, warm up and injury prevention. Strength and sprinting later this week. I think the pubalgia injury is finally behind me.

I talked with Coach Dean Hayes today at the indoor track. When he saw me yelled out with a big smile, "If you want to see some real suffering, watch this guy run the 400. But hey, he even beat a few people!" I told him I quit running track at Cortland because I really didn't like to train, and knew I couldn't be the fastest. I told him that I really love to just be able to participate now. I think he sees that I really love the sport. BTW... Coach Hayes affirmed he also thought there were timing errors in last weekend's meet.

What really drove me to laugh at myself was my conversation last night with Iska about my motivation to race.

I was being all noble and humble ... saying, "it is such a gift to simply be able to participate at my age, without feeling the need to be competitive or be near the top."

She said, "Is that why you guys post your times on a website .... so you can compare times and pound your chests?"

'Nuff said, I still want to win.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Photos: getting smoked in the 200m (by a cheater)

My 200m heat from the Ed Temple meet. Coming round the last turn to home.

Hey, that guy cheated.

I win.

Check out the second photo, taken a few seconds previous to the top photo.

I'm in lane 2 and the leader is supposed to be in lane 3, but the photo catches him cheating.


The dude is clearly in my lane.

Despite his cheat, I did make up some ground on him on the turn. (Like he needed an advantage.... being 1/3 my age).

Tales from the track

I have to relate a funny story from the Ed Temple meet.

But first...

What was interesting about this meet was that the venue announcer was also a DJ, who after the start of the race would play Hip-hop music during races. Hip-hop music is an indelible part of culture these days, particularly in the black community, and of course, appropriate at a historically black college like TSU where the meet was being held. It seemed odd at first, but I really started to dig it. It is a great cultural experience for me to participate in this meet where, as a white person, I'm a 3% minority.

Here's the story...

In the finals of the Men's 55m, I was standing near the start line. A lot of guys were standing around posturing, blasting out practice starts, adjusting blocks, and basically 'shuckin' and jivin' while the track and clock were being readied. There were two starters, one with the start commands and one watching the line for false starts. The starter gave the commands and the runners blasted out ... but a second gun sounded signaling a false start, which means disqualification. After the starter held up the 'red card' on lane one, the embarrassed runner, all smiles, was taunted by the gathered crowd of teammates and runners with yells of "HAAAA!!!" and funny verbal pokes. It wasn't mean spirited at all, just comic relief. Then the disqualified runner remarked loudly that he jumped because he heard sound from across the track from behind where the line judge was.

The conversation went something like this:
RUNNER - "Hard to concentrate when I'm hearin' noise comin' from over there..."

STARTER to the LINE JUDGE - "Did the judge hear any noise from that side."

LINE JUDGE - "Nothin' from over here."
Then the starter turned to his right and muttered to an old coach standing just to my left trying to contain a laugh...
STARTER - "See... I know how to handle these guys."
The old coach just smiled and nodded... like he'd seen a lifetime of shenanigans on the track in his career.

It was really comical, everyone was laughing ... but as they say, I guess you had to be there.

The line official, one of my favorite starters, said hello and that he remembered me from previous meets and also remembered that I encouraged him to get back out there as a Masters runner. He said, "No, my wife would kill me."

Anyhow, it was great to run with 'the kids.'

Track meets are fun.


On a side note... I was asked again tonight to run in the Millrose Games with the Philly Track Club. I decided to decline but reasserted my interest in the Penn Relays.

(Photo: from my 200m race 1/7)

Rainy day recovery: great book!

I started reading the book "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand, a non-fiction book about the life of Louis Zamperini. It was named the top book of 2010 by Time Magazine, a NY Times Bestseller. It is a great read for those interested in track and field history, as well as WWII.

Primarily a WWII story of war and survival from a POW camp, the first 5 chapters are about the track career of Zamperini who competed as a 19 yr old in the famous 1936 Olympics in the 5000m, an event in which he competed in just 4 times prior to the Olympics. Growing up poor, always stealing food, he engorged himself on the ship taking the US Olympic team to Berlin. He gained 12 lbs. on the voyage. In the Olympics, best known for Jesse Owens, Zamperini made the finals of the 5000m. In the finals, nervous as hell, competing in front of 100,000, he came from the middle of the pack to run an incredible and legendary last 400m in 56 sec. to finish 8th as the fastest American, breaking an American record (14:46). His performance brought about a brief meeting with Hitler after the event.

It has a lot of anecdotal facts about fellow US runners and the track community. Zamperini's rival runners Don Lash, and Norman Bright were mentioned. Don Lash was expected to be the best US 5000m runner in the '36 Olympics, but Zamparini stunned the track world and finished in a virtual tie with Lash in the US Trials.

The foot note on Norman Bright - who was expected to make the Olympic team but failed, was particularly touching and related to Masters Track:

"Bright wouldn't have another shot at the Olympics, but he would run for the rest of his life, setting Masters records in his old age. Eventually, he went blind but he kept right on running, holding the end of a rope while a guide held the other. "The only problem was that most guides couldn't run as fast as my brother, even in his late seventies," wrote his sister Georgie Bright Kunkel. "In his eighties his grand nephews would walk with him around his care center as he timed the walk on his stopwatch."

I loved that foot note. I aspire to be Norman Bright. Also mentioned were the great miler Glen Cunningham and sprinter Peyton Jordan, who later went on to be a record setting Masters sprinter.

The remainder of the book, which I have yet to read, is a harrowing war story of survival. Thanks to Iska for the book.

Louis Zamperini is still alive at age 94 and lives in CA.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Good first outing - UPDATED

photo: start of the women's 55m

Although I suspect problems with the timing, I feel it is unsportsman-like to blame the timer for not achieving my goals. The post below was written when I was pissed and I feel I need to make a retraction.

I need to own my times: 58.93 400m, 26.16 200m. Dissapointing and likely accurate. Minus 0.5 sec per 200m for indoor track .... these values would convert to 57.93 and 25.66 for outdoor track... very close to the times I ran in my last outdoor races. The fact that I've only been seriously training (3 days a week) for a month, I should not have expected much more. Plus I have very little experience running indoor 200 and 400 races. I ran 26.30 in IN last year in my last indoor meet, my only indoor 200m.

So, bottom line, these times are plausible... and hey I beat 2 guys in my heat, 6 others overall. Some were 17 yr old highschool seniors from an Atlanta track club, kids one-third my age.

Anyway, one thing that led me to believe the timing was suspect is that in the last 3 heats, there were some exceptionally slow times for a college meet. I'll leave my previous angry post of yesterday up even though I now disavow it:


The trouble was apparent when all the result sheets were posted - except the Mens 400m. I asked the timer about it and he said there was some problem.

I ran a good race. I led the entire race until the final turn and finished second in my heat. The meet clock stops when the winner crosses the line. The winner in my heat crossed with a time that displayed 55.65 or something like that. I was 5 meters behind him - max. The winner of my heat, Kevricq Collins is a 23.3 200m sprinter. The time they gave him on the sheet was 57.+ and me 58.9 something - no way! The meet clock was 2 whole seconds off the official clock? I thought I ran no slower than 56.9. The meet clock had not changed to 57 when I crossed the line. I was so pissed and tired after the 400m, I ran my 200m and left. Didn't even stay to get my time, which I doubt was real good because I was pretty tired. The winner of my 200 heat beat me by about 15m and the meet clock said 22.+ for his time.

On the positive side ... I'm HEALTHY!!! No injuries or strains. Slightly sore in the hip flexors but the hams, abs, and groin are great. I'm 139 lbs and ready to burn some track... after about 2 days of recovery.

I saw Dean Hayes and he said he'd let me into the MTSU meet in 2 weeks. Maybe I'll stick with the 400m and 200m. I am itching to run the 55m. We'll see.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Pre race day - the season begins

All systems go for tomorrow.

I did a brief workout tonight. Mainly to go through my stretches and drills and get a light sweat. Also to do some thinking.

1200m warmup, stretches, drills

Adidas spikes on

Sprints at 80-85% effort

400m - 62.5

200m - 27.5

5 starts from blocks - last one accelerating to full speed

cool down jog

I found it a little difficult to maintain form on the extended turns at the Murphy Center. Definitely felt the centrifugal force competing with the forward speed. Just a slight tinge of muscular soreness from Tues workout remaining. Should be gone tomorrow.

Coach Page just emailed me, warning about going out too fast and 'rigging up,' like I did in the last 100m of the M50 400m National Finals. (BTW - "rigging up" is the term 400m runners use to refer to that point where the body becomes so fatigued that it feels swollen and stiff, like rigor mortis has set in, and it becomes impossible to run fast).

After the M50 400m National Finals, I swore I'd never again run a 400m race. It just isn't fun. So, why am I doing it? Do I like to cause myself pain? Well, I see it like this: the pain is very short lived, as compared with a 5k or longer race. During the race, it only starts to hurt after about 30 seconds, and persists only a few minutes afterward. This is a distance where training, experience, strategy, and technique loom larger than the short sprints. I am weak in some of those categories, especially strategy and experience. I see it as a challenge. And, it's about leaving the comfort zone to achieve, which I discussed earlier. It's also a rare opportunity for someone my age. Out of a few hundred athletes, there will probably be less than five over 40 competing (I know of only one other). Likely, I will be the oldest guy on the track.

Weight is good: 139.8 after dinner. Probably be 139 by race time.

Looking forward to donning the lime green uniform and Nike R3s. It should be fun and a learning experience. Hope it's a good and safe one.

Here's a good strategy session, the guy talks about 'rigging up' ... he also talks about going out fast.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tune up

On the indoor track again tonight. I felt sore in the haunches today from my intervals and resistance on Tuesday, so I took it easy with a light workout.

The revised heat sheets are out for Saturday's meet, and surprisingly, I am not the slowest qualifier in both of my races... but unfortunately, the slowest in my heats. So, I'm again relegated to lane one in the 400m. It's a huge meet, 10 heats of the men's 400m, fast to slow. I'm in heat #9. There are 16 heats of the 200m! I'm in heat 15 lane 2. After the 200, I may not hang around to get my time and just look it up the next day on line. This meet will take forever, and I want to see Iska that day.

My workout today was just to mainly stretch and 'lubricate the chasis.' I had never run a 600m for time on my toes so that is what I did first.

900m warmup, stretches, drills

Adidas spikes on

long sprints 80-85% effort:

600m - 1:36 (45, 50)

300m - 40.5

4 starts from blocks

400m cool down jog

Considering the effort level, not too bad.

It occurs to me that I've never run a competitive indoor 400 where there is a break to the rail and jockying for position. It's all the more reason to try to go out fast and lead on that 3rd turn, then relax and let them pass. I'm not running to beat anyone, but I know if I am boxed in behind someone or forced to pass someone wide, it will affect my time for the worse. And time is, of course, paramount.

Inventory: Hurt my shoulder trying to hoist a heavy object over my head, but it's not serious, just annoying. Very little trace of the pubalgia injury. I felt it much more a week ago in FL, now hardly at all, only a little from the blocks. It will not be a factor in my race.

Weight: after significant post holiday sacrifices, target weight has been achieved for this first meet: 139.8 lbs tonight after workout. I expect to be below 140 by race time.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The old man of the track weighs in

Looking at the start list of the Ed Temple Classic, a big indoor college track meet, my seed time in the 200m (25.26) put me dead last of 72 entries. Heh.... no where to go but up. In the 400m, I didn't submit my season best 55.54 as a seed time, a less optimistic 56.09 which put me 45th of 49 entries.

I was disappointed not to see some of my Masters track friends from Atlanta on the list. But, I did see on the list Sonja Friend-Uhl - the W40 800m / 1500m World Champion. At age 40 (almost 41), she is the #1 seed in this meet in the mile (4:49) and #2 in the 800m (2:10). Amazing. Knowing her, she'll probably win both. I sat with her on the plane coming back from the Masters Nationals and got to chat a bit with her.

Should be a fun meet. I don't want to set too lofty goals, but I'd love to be somewhere around 57.5 in the 400m and 25.5 in the 200m. That would be good for the first time out. Not getting injured would be even better.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Indoor 300m repeats

This evening was my second consecutive running day, a first this season, and very much needed. I planned to do more quantity than quality, but I probably ruined it by ... yes again ... starting too fast.

Dean Hayes emailed me back and confirmed that yes, the Murphy Center track is 300m in lane 4. So I started 300 repeats with what I hoped to be limited rest intervals. Didn't turn out that way. I ran the first one strong, but it didn't feel like I was pushing more than 90% but, definitely a strong sprint all the way. I was shocked to see my first 300 was 38. Ok, I cheated the line a little ... but 38 !!?? That's 53 sec 400 pace. I've never run a 300 in 38. Mistake? Maybe. OK, lets say 38.5. The rest of the times were more normal. I wanted to do 2 to 3 min rest in between - which I did after the first 2, but I felt shaky, tight, and sick after the third 300. An indication I'm really not in great shape. Also, maybe because I've been eating light. So, I copped out and ran 2 more with 5 min rest and just 'strider effort.'

Here it was:

900m warmup, stretches, drills

Adidas spikes on

5 x 300m - 38.5, 44, 45, 46, 49

I'm getting my 'race body' back on. 140.4 lbs after workout.

I'm going to do some resistance tonight and take the day off from running, the day off - save for some firewood cutting and stacking for Iska. Hope to do a moderate workout Thurs night and a very light tune up on Friday.

Updated: my 2012 indoor track schedule

Meets and events:

1/7 - TSU - Ed Temple Classic (400, 200)
1/21 - MTSU (400, 200)
1/29 - TSU Invitational (55, 200, 400 ?)
2/4 - Sewanee (55, 200)
2/11 - MTSU (400m)
2/25 - Sewanee (55, 200)
3/16-18 - Bloomington, IN - USATF Indoor Nationals (60, 200, 400)

I'm not sure I want to run the 1/21 or 2/11 MTSU meets. We'll see. Seven indoor meets may be a bit too ambitious.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Running inside the curve

Windy and very cold this evening, a perfect time to hit the indoor track at the Murphy Center.

I felt I needed to do a good hard workout today but I didn't have the stomach for it tonight. Maybe Iska wore me out this morning? One thing for certain, I wanted to run some fast turns and see what it would feel like on a fast indoor track. The Murphy Center track at MTSU is confusing. There are a plethora of markings and tape, I had no idea for certain what distance I was running.

And... I've changed my mind, It is not a fast track. It is hard, smooth, and worst of all ... 75% of it is on the curve. It goes something like this: first 55m is a 45º turn, then a short 10m straight and then another 55m 45º turn followed by a 30m straightaway. Repeat, and there you have it. Approximately 220m in 4 wide sweeping 90º turns and 80m on brief straightaways - 300m total. I'm not sure about this but I think it is 300m not in lane 1, but in lane 4. I started with what I felt was a fast but relaxed 300 - once around in lane 3 with a stagger and I ran it in 37 sec. - definitely not a 300. More like a 275. I felt a little nervous sprinting the curves because of the smoothness of the track. Like running on linoleum. Once, with my spikes on, I came down on my heal after a leap and slipped.

So, I ran 4 long sprints with 85-90% effort and did my first starts from blocks this season. All felt well. It was great to workout there... not a soul in the entire complex but me, so I enjoyed running shirtless. Here it was:

900m warmup, stretches, drills

275m - 37

2 x 200m - 27.5, 27.5

400m - 66

I felt sluggish and slow. But, I feel healthy in regard to aches, pains and injuries. No problems. I've made a decision to enter the meet Saturday 1/7: the Ed Temple Classic at TSU. I may even consider running more than one event. I'll register for both the 400m and 200m. The 200m may be less than an hour after the 400m - that would be hard. I could always scratch. I don't think I'll try the 55m until the 1/29 meet.

I will likely return to the track tomorrow for a more extensive workout. Hopefully, I'll see Dean Hayes or someone on the track team to explain the Murphy Center track markings to me. I feel like I need to do two things this week: a few starts at 100%, and some tempo endurance intervals.

Purging from holiday eating but not too much damage. 141.4 lbs after workout. Was 148.4 on New Years Eve evening. Great lobster dinner ... thanks Mom!