Sunday, June 29, 2014

Meet report - AL USATF Championships 2014

A decent triple 400/200/100, a fun, well-run meet to end my season... my 19th meet since I began competing in the indoor season on 12/7/13.    I had to get up at 4:30 in the morning after less than 4 hrs sleep to make it to the starting line for the 100m race at 8am at Birmingham Southern College.  Had only 15 min to warm up and run the 100m into a headwind, a rather slow time.

100m -12.46 
200m - 25.22
400m - 56.37

The meet was run by AL's 'iron woman/godmother of track', Mary Birdwell, who has put a lifetime of dedication into this great sport.  I particularly liked the schedule of doing Masters first in this all ages meet, although it kind of worked against me in the 100m.

There was a decent crowd for this meet, because of the youth participation.  Normally, I don't like age group meets, but this one wasn't too big because it didn't have age groups going all the way down to '4 and under'.   I was done by mid afternoon.

Some of these kids were great to watch.  It was fun sitting in the clerks tent with the 8-10 yr olds after the 100m.  Mary was telling the kids to stay in their lanes and listen to the starter.

The catbird seat
The weather wasn't too bad, with heavy clouds it stayed below 80º through most of the morning, but probably hit 90º in the afternoon by the time I ran the 200m.

I found the most amazing situation. I went inside the stadium building and walked the cool dark hall til I found an elevator.  I took it to the top where it opened into the air conditioned Press Box.  It had a private bathroom and a commanding view of the track.    I had the place to myself so I called my parents and was boasting about my situation until the Birmingham track coach, Kenneth came up with some personal friends who had kids in the meet.  I think Kenneth recognized me and let me stay.  It got to be a big group with several kids and 4 adults.   I got one of the guys to record my last race of the season, the 200m.  I enjoyed the novelty of being the sole white person there, as well as in all of my races.

Unfortunately, my best competitor M50 world champion Marcus S. didn't show up.

It was ok, I hastily warmed up and tightly wrapped my thighs and went.  I was just happy to finish uninjured so I could keep racing.  I was disappointed in my time, even slower than in TN, but a headwind.  12.46 - which was a meet record, surprisingly.  I beat two M35 guys... so the competition wasn't too fierce.

I went out fairly conservatively, didn't really feel tired until the 240m mark, then I stepped it up. I felt the rigging only in the last 10m or so.   I won by a good 20m+ over an M35 guy.  56.37 -  It was a nominal performance, about a B game.  I've run slower this season.

There were just four of us in the 200m, but all were in my age group.  One of my competitors was built like Marcus, about 6'4" and muscular, but more of a pentathlete than a sprinter.  Since it was my last race of the season, I tried to anticipate the start, but false started.   The women official at first showed me a red card, but I said they don't red card masters on first offense, so she let me go.  My second start was ok and  I won the race by almost 3 sec. It was probably my best race of the day:   25.22 - my 5th fastest time of the season, (including the 24.8(h)).   I wish I had run that time last Sunday in Nashville, where I missed the record.   Six times this season I ran faster than my 25.26 season PR from 2011, but was unable to break my 2012 PR of 24.88.

The video wasn't great, but happy to have a few clear segments. It is very interesting for analysis.  I can see stride length, reaction time, form, and other details.   It appears as if my stride on the turn is about 2m, stride frequency about 4.1/sec.   Reaction time about .2.   More analysis on another post.

It was a good overall experience and I'm glad I did it.  My third triple this month.  The hip was really sore by the time I warmed up for the third time before my 200m, but I got through with just minor aches in my quad.   Since I started thigh wrapping, I haven't had a hint of a ham issue.   My major issue was a right quad which was helped a lot by the compression tape.

I expect to do some biking this week and some upper body.  No running for a good while.  There is a meet series at the end of the summer, Aug - Sept.   I was thinking I might even run the 800m in some of these meets for foundation.   Already thinking about next season.

At some point I'll do a statistical season review.

Life and track have a lot in common.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Last workout

And it wasn't much....

Just a few sprints and blocks at the Dean Hayes track tonight.  Even saw the man himself there ... Coach Hayes.  Hope he never retires.

Feeling a little achey, which is to be expected ... it has occurred to me that I've been training for 11 months with very little down time.
500m warmup, stretches, drills  
2 x 200m - 28.5, 27.5 
several block starts + 30 - 40m 
Thought about form a lot in my runs.   My form generally sucks.  It gets really bad when I'm fatigued.  My legs come apart and my stride loses length... too much outward rotation of my hips.

Looking forward to Saturday's final hurrah.  Not expecting any great times, just to experience it all one more time.   It's going to be hard next week staying away from the track.   Hope I can do it.  I'll bring my bike.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

One last week

Last significant workout of the season... as it seems as I've decided to race one more weekend.

Relatively cool for a summer night at the Dean Hayes track.   77º breezy with showers.   I did a substantial speed endurance workout and the injuries were noticeable, but no where near as bad as Sunday.
500m warmup, stretches, drills 
Saucony spikes on 
500m - 79.5 
400m - 60.5  
300m - 43

I kept fairly even splits on all these runs, about 16/15/14 100m pace for 500/400/300.   I'm still in fairly good shape but I couldn't run near max today because of slight injuries, no event runs.

I may have one more decent 400 in me.   No expectations for this meet... my 12th outdoor meet of the season, 19th including indoor.   I feel I've already peaked this season but I'll give it a go one last time.   Marcus and Don will be there and so far, it looks like a small turnout.  I'll enjoy chasing Marcus around the track again....

I'm a decent weight, 141.5 after workout... 2 lbs lighter than Sunday when I raced.

The sky was nice tonight with the sunset and a purple sky of thundershowers threatening.   End of season is at hand.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Season best and worst

Three TN State Record Holders: Dave Schmanski M60, me, Grady Cash M65
I lowered my M50 400m TN State record from 2011 (56.09) to 55.85.  It was a season best officially timed (FAT).   But, I might have traded that and all 6 gold medals I won in KY and TN for just .004 seconds in the 200m.

The 200m State record stands at 25.7 ... since 1997.

This season, I've run:  25.06, 25.10, 25.16, 25.25, 25.30 .... so, surely a 25.7 would be easy, even on a bad day.   Right?  Hell yea, I've run faster 4 times indoors on a 200m track this season... I even ran a faster 200m on Sewanee's tiny 160m track.

Disaster.  25.71  The WORST (official FAT) 200m time in my masters outdoor track career... and what a time to do it!  Readers, prepare for some bitching.  It took me a while before I could even bring myself to write about this....

The timer looked again.  25.704 to be exact.   Not even a tie, rounds up to 25.71.  Now anyone who knows anything about track knows that 25.71 FAT is faster than 25.7(h).   But as far as the old crows that keep the TN record books, a time is a time ... and my time didn't make it.

So, I missed by .004 sec.   Four 1/1000s.   Probably about the width of a thumb.

Why so slow?   Fatigue, 95º heat, slow soft black track, slight injuries to quads and hip, went out like a 100m ... lost form and rigged in the end, was heavy for a track meet, weight about 143.8 lbs when I left the house.   Surely, 1/2 lb could have made the difference of .01.   I had no lift at all, I started really fatiguing and going bowlegged in the last 10-20m.   My hip was really hurting.  It's the nature of the sport.   Just a really bad day.  It was the first time this season I ran in serious heat.

Why does this bum me out so much?  I couldn't get this record in 2011 because of the pubalgia injury, 2012 - a hamstring,  2013 - broken foot, so ... I blew it.     Being so close made the agony even worse.   This ranks up there with my biggest track disappointments... losing a  Bronze in 2011 Nationals by .05 (my second worst 200m), and losing a Bronze at the 2014 indoor Nationals by .02.

There are few rewards in masters track.   Medals are a dime a dozen, but at least getting a state meet record provides some satisfaction for a guy like me who will never hold an American record.  

Saturday, I also failed to get the 100m record by 0.10, and I kind of expected that outcome.   They scheduled the 100m after the 400m (stupid!!!) and it's really hard to be sharp to run a 100m after running a 55.85 400m, even with hours rest.   I ran 12.42, record was 12.32.

Dejected on Sunday night, I was certain that my season was over.   Nothing to gain by racing in Birmingham this weekend.   But now, I've healed a bit and rested, I won't rule it out.   Have nothing else to do, but it is a 2 1/2 hr drive and I'd have to leave at 5:30 am... and it's going to be hot.   I think I'll go out for a workout Tuesday evening and see how it feels.  I have to make a decision by Wed night.   Hate to end my season on such a shitty note, but I've been pretty beat up by racing 3 triples in 3 weeks, not really solid enough to train... but I'm feeling pretty good after a days rest.

The worst 200m of my masters career, look how little lift I'm getting.   Even so, I won easily.

Friday, June 20, 2014

relaxed 200s, 300

Thursday was busy but I got to get to the track to 'lubricate the creaky old machinery.'   At this point in the season, I feel all sorts of aches and pains just doing a warmup jog, but by the end of warmups, and after the first run, it feels a lot better.   They left the shed open so I was able to get some blocks out to practice with.  Started the 200s easy.  Everything at a relaxed pace.   It was warm at the Dean Hayes track so I got a good sweat.
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
saucony spikes on 
3 x 200m - 29, 28, 27 
300m - 44 
starts from blocks
I adjusted my start a bit, bringing my tail up a bit.  Seems to give me a better disposition in my first few steps.

First race tomorrow is the 400m.   Probably about 10am.   Then a break and the 100m at about 5:30pm.  Should be warm.   I've been lucky this season and have not raced in any real hot meets.  Nothing above 85º.  The next 2 weekends, especially Birmingham, will be an exception.  I already have the 400m record of 56.09 (from 2011), so I'd have to bring my A game if I want to break it.  I've only run faster twice this season.   Including indoor, this will be my 15th 400m race of the season, but only my third 100m.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Off day workout

Felt like a slug today so I did:
8 x stadium stair sprints - high knees 
resistance bands
Will do one more track workout this week.   Feeling a bit achey in the L hip.  Weight is ok.  About 142.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tuesday - back at it

I did some pool work yesterday, the flutter kicking seemed like the perfect exercise for my quad.   It felt better afterward.  

After my concert tonight, I hit the Dean Hayes track at sunset, very warm, mid 80ºs.  Left quad felt fine, right quad almost there.  So, didn't want to run too fast.
600m warmup on grass, stretches, drills 
Saucony spikes on 
400m - 60 
2 x 300m - 44, 45 
Saucony Virratas on 
100m strider
I was going to do more but I felt a slight twinge in my right quad when dialing it up on the last 100m in the second 300, so I shut it down.  It's not bad.  

It seems that the chronic ankle soreness is from running left turns, so I ran a 100m turn the 'other way' in training shoes and wow, it felt great.   Like running on air.  There is no coincidence that the inside right ankle gets stressed on the turn, the spike riser on that shoe on the outside always breaks - same place where the broken metatarsal is that put me out in '13.  That part of the anatomy gets pounded.   Theresa suggested that I train running the opposite way.   Feels so weird but it may be a good idea.

142 lbs after workout.

Just ... just one more?

AL has it's USATF Association meet at Birmingham Southern on June 28... should I do it?   

It would be my 19th meet of the season.  

Too many...

But it's a nice Beynon Track...


But these triples are killing me.   

Maybe go and run the 100/200?

A lot of waiting around.  

We'll see.

Bluegrass Games - M50 200m record


My third race of the day, after running a 56.16 400m.   The guys in this race were in my age group except for an M45 and a M25 kid in the outside lane.

This was only my 4th fastest time of the season, but still faster than my 2011 season PR of 25.26.

Thanks to Roya for the camera work.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Racing old men

The Bluegrass Games 100m M50 record.   Lucky it was as fast as it was ...considering a bad start, injury, and my lack of flexibility.  12.36

Should not have been in this slow heat, although there was one guy my age in there.  (4 of the 5 were M65 senior citizens, no "Charles Allies" here.  And, it's not funny).  There was one guy in his 30s who was slightly faster in another heat, I should have run with him.

You can see how the starter 'quick started' us... if you look carefully, I wipe my hands off and get on my mark, then... I get 'set' for a very short moment before the gun goes off.

This is a photo with Sonny Collins, who holds most of the Masters KY state sprint records - (but not M50).   He was out this meet with an injury and he looks great for 63.   He ran 11.11 100m at age 40, and his M55 100m record 12.22 is lower than my M50 record 12.36.  However, my M50 200m is slightly lower than his M55 record (25.25 vs 25.62).   I told him, "I'll be comin' for your records next yr."    He said, "break 'em... you're the first guy I've seen come along that has a chance."

The KY records book has been updated...  looks like I'm the only one to have broken more than one record last Saturday,

Competition this weekend?

TN State Senior Games, (and I hate even referring to them as "Senior",) have never produced any competition in my state.   However, a new initiative will allow first time competitors enter without qualifying district races.   So, as a 54 yr old (per Sr. Games rules), I may get some competition from first timers, some guys are only 49 (but considered 50 as their birthday may be later in the year).  There is a big turnout this year, enough to have as many as 3 heats in my age group of 100m and 200m events.   One M75 competitor has been boasting to me for a while now that his 50 yr old son will enter this year and smoke me.   I won't mention the guy's name, but he's 4 yrs my junior and is a tall Marine Corps officer.   OK.... bring him on, let's see what he's got.

Sore after Saturday's triple.  I felt a serious amount of fatigue on Sunday.  Not the best condition for a peak performance this weekend since my training this week will be hampered.  But, I certainly will be motivated to do well and the meet schedule is good to afford plenty of recovery in between events.

Despite my weekend visit to the Pie and ice cream kitchen, I'm still 143.5 lbs this morning and ready to get into the pool tonight for a light workout.

It looks like there will be a series of Sr. District meets in Aug - Sept.   So, I could put together a late summer season like I did last year.   Only  the KY State Games on 9/7 will be FAT, all the others, hand timed.   I do expect to take 2 weeks+ off from running completely in early July.  I want to start running the 2.8 mile run up the mountain, do some weights, and some swimming this summer.  Also, work on my flexibility.   I was way more flexible in high school.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Meet report: Bluegrass State Games 2014

Got it done - 3 new KY records: M50 100m, 200m, 400m.

I probably wouldn't have run this meet if it weren't my last chance to log some M50 records (since I'm considered 54 by meet rules).   With both quads strained, I taped with stretch tape under my tights, and a couple rounds of regular non flexible athletic tape over the injury points.   Considering, not at 100%, I fared pretty well.  It beat the crap out of me, but I survived without significant injury.

100m - 12.36 (old record: 12.56 -1985)
200m - 25.25 (old record: 25.89 - 1991)
400m - 56.16 (old record: 57.41 - 1991)

The biggest bust was the 100m.   Since it was an all ages meet with so many heats, in an effort to speed the meet along and avoid false starts, the starter 'quick started' the races with a very short set time, probably less than a second.  I don't think I was even set.   Many of the college and HS sprinters complained about this.  The gun took me by surprise and I got a slow start.  Even worse, since I happened to be the 6th oldest guy in the event, I wound up running in the slowest heat with M55-M65s.   It was ridiculous, winning the heat by 40+ meters.   I know I can run faster.  Under the right conditions, I still think I can go under 12.  I just run so few 100s each year.

50m mark of the 100m race

Toward the finish in 100m

Probably the day's best effort, it was exhausting, more so than most.  Unlike my 55.32h where I stayed fairly strong throughout, I ran out of gas in this one and lost some time at the end.  Still it was my second fastest FAT 400m this season, 56.16.  I had lane 5 and like all of the day's races, I never saw anyone.

I felt like a 'walking wounded' before I started this one, got out ok and got the record.  It was ok, no PRs.

I will definitely have to get into the pool this week.  Won't be able to do much meaningful training this week, hopefully by Monday I can do something.  
Next week's meet will be a much better situation, if I can recover.   400m Saturday morning, 100m Saturday night, 200m Sunday morning.   

This was the last meet of this season I will attend with Roya, our 7th.   She is responsible for all these photos all season long - (most of which are actually video stills).  It has been so nice to share this with her.  Thank you sweetie.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Pre race day

Thursday, I ran an easy 800m on the road, did some stretching and one set of resistance.   Quads still slightly sore but ok, hope they will be good for Saturday.   I'm going to try physio tape (Rock tape), some say it helps protect vulnerable muscle groups.  (I doubt it, but it's worth a try).   I'm definitely a bit vulnerable to injury, but will be pretty well rested.

Weather in Danville, KY at Centre College looks perfect for the meet Sat.   60ºs in the morning, dry and sunny, light or no wind.   I hesitate to even think about this but ... this is the same track that I strained a ham in April... but Sat is a new day, and it's a decent track, although just 6 lanes.

Like the Senior Games, the KY Bluegrass Games assigns participants into age groups based on their age at the end of the year, so these will be my last competitions in the M50 age group - since I'm technically 54 for purposes of these events.  Which means, last chance to get M50 records.   Hey, it's the end of the season, I can run with a little pain to break a record, as long as it's not an all out muscle tear.   Feeling like I can get it done.

As Randall said, "all the hay is in the barn."

Photo - start of the 400m at the Striders all-comers meet on 6/5.  Dan and Randall on the left in lanes 8 and 7.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

end game

End game for the season isn't what I had hoped with this injury issue, even though it's minor, it may keep me from a 100% peak performance.  Both quads were sore today so I'm just icing and resting today.   In fact, I don't expect to do any significant track work this week.   Just some light stretching, and resistance.

I underestimated the stress that Thurs evening meet put on me.   If I had to do it again, I would have rested 2-3 days and returned to the track slowly, instead of working out all weekend.   Now I have to rest 3 days before my Saturday race and hope for the best.  I'll just tape and go on Saturday.   I want that 100m record because it's easily had (12.56) and it's 29 yrs old (1985).

I think I'll be good to go by Saturday.   .

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

not good

Not a good day at the track.   Felt sluggish and strained quads.    I really feel it only when accelerating to near full speed, even with the thighs wrapped.  I really felt it on 2 of my starts.
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
Saucony spikes on 
2 x 200m - 28.5, 27.5 
4 x block starts on the curve 
4 x blocks starts on the straight 
Saucony Virrata trainers on 
400m strider - 63
I did the 400m after taking my spikes off just to feel like I had done something.

The strains, actually both quads, are not debilitating, but I really need to take it easy and no more full speed running til the meet on Sat.   Disappointed in today's workout.  Quads are sore.  Never fully recovered from the Thurs. meet I guess.

I guess I'm still in pretty decent shape,  141 lbs after workout.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Last Sewanee workout of the season

Did sprints with limited rest tonight at the Sewanee track. Wasn't alone, there were some walkers tonight. It was nice, low 70ºs and less humid than Sat. night. I was tired after the 200s and I wanted to do more but was still sore from Thursday races. I really need to take it easy this week.  Did some 100s focusing in form.
 600m warmup, stretches, drills  
Saucony spikes on  
5 x 200m w/ 45 sec rest - 29, 30, 30, 31, 31.5  
3 x 100m on turf - 13.5, 13, 13 
 It was so nice, I probably would have stayed til dark, but I began feeling some new soreness in the quads during my 100s.  The red bug infestation of the track is gone, and lacrosse equipment on the turf has been put away.  With the cool evening weather, it was a nice environment to burn some rubber.

 I'll take a day off tomorrow from the track, and do some prehab resistance tomorrow night.  Probably light workouts and blocks Tues, Thurs.  As a precaution, I should wrap for every workout for the next two weeks ... as I can count on one hand the number of workouts I have left before this long competition season comes to a close.

When it's all over, I'll have run 18 meets this indoor and outdoor season.

I'll miss this track.

Saturday, June 7, 2014


Sewanee is a 'ghost ship' this time of year.  Like the town, the track was serene and very quiet.  74º and humid with an approaching storm.   Always train alone but today seemed more alone than normal because of the utter quietude.

I didn't realize how sore I was from Thursday's race until I started stretching.  It was mostly in adductors and hams.  I started my workout slowly and increased the speed with each rep.
500m warmup, stretches, drills 
Saucony spikes on 
4 x 300m - 44.5, 43.5, 43, 41.5
I ran the first 3 from the 400m start (curve-straight-curve) except the last one (straight-curve-straight).   All felt good and I left without being totally ass whipped.

I'm thinking I'll go out tomorrow night (Sun) and then do Tues and Thurs next week so I'll take Friday off before the meet.

Striders meet race photos

1) Start of my 11.81(h) 100m. Both guys on either side beat me by a step, but I think I got the best start.

2 + 3) End of my 55.32(h) 400m. In the last photo, look at the pain on that kid's face in lane 3, that's what happens when you go out too fast or don't train for it. 
 I know the feeling, he ran the kind of race I usually run.  He led the race for 320m, we were about 90m ahead of third place.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Nashville Striders meet report

It was a really good outing and a shame it was just a hand timed meet.  Possibly my best triple ever.
100m - 11.81 (h)
200m - 24.79 (h)
400m - 55.32 (h)  
Taking 3 weeks off from competition and not over training helps.

Dan S. running the 3000m

Although it was hand timed, the meet had a USATF official observing and the timers were very experienced.   The guy who timed my 400m was Gary Perry, 1500m record holder at MTSU (oldest track record in the book - '77).   He told me he timed his son every weekend throughout the season and was never more than 0.20 off the FAT time, and usually just a tenth.  So, even with a standard correction, it was still mid 55s.   The brand new track at Rose Park certainly didn't hurt.

It was iffy that this meet would even happen since there were severe thunderstorms to the near west.   The track was wet and and it was warm and very humid, but not super hot.

There was competition.  I had two post collegiate sprinters in my heat, late 20s.  They both beat me, but not by much.  The winning time was 11.61 (h).  I was nervous about running a 100m.  First one in 9 months.  I wrapped both thighs as a precaution and it went well.  Felt great, no signs of strain.

I almost didn't run this race but I have had previous success running a 400m an hour after a 100m (SB in '11 55.54).  I think running a 100m race is a very good warmup for a 400m, so long as there is time in between, and no injury.   I had competition.  A college kid who claimed he had run 49 was on my inside.  I had lane 4.  He blew by me on the first turn and I thought 'this kid is the real deal...' until coming off the last turn, he started fading.  For a change, I really had something left for the last 100m.  I kept good form and caught the kid at 80m and passed him.  Wow, was he surprised.   We were significantly ahead of everyone else.  I knew it was fast because the race clock said 53-something with just over 10m to go.   Like every fast 400m I've ever run, didn't hurt as much as the poorly paced ones where I rig up.

This was a fun race, a full heat.  I got to run with my buddy Randal (M65), Dave (M55), three high school girls, and a few others.  I love these mixed all comers meets.  I won my heat.  It was a decent race, probably low 25s in actuality.   (Last time I raced a girl was at the Mason Dixon Games, and wow she was fast, thankfully I won by a meter).

Well, this gives me confidence that I can get those TN and KY records weekend after next.   I really would like to lower my 56.09 M50 400m record in TN .   I'm healthy and going to try and not overdo the training this coming week.  Need some speed, but have to be careful and not strain something.

 Again, bummer this was not FAT... so I can't really claim it as a season best, except I will for the 400m.   Also, I wasn't exceptionally light for this meet, 142 lbs.  So, maybe a lb or 2 heavy or lighter doesn't mean that much.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

short speed

This is the type of workout I should be doing more of at this point of the season.  Felt good afterward, not ass-whipped like these volume workouts I had been doing (like... miles,  800s at 2:20 something, and then some).  I am a sprinter after all.  I've decided not to run the 800m at the Music City Distance meet.   I think I may show up at an all-comers hand timed meet on Thursday night and run at least a 200m.   I will be running my first 100m since Sept. in 11 days.  

Warm and humid at the Dean Hayes track tonight at 8 pm, about 80º.
400m warmup, stretches, drills  
Saucony spikes on 
4 x 200m - 28, 27, 26.5, 26 
100m from blocks - 12.8 
3 x 50m from blocks
Considering the festivities, food and drink this weekend, still pretty light, 141.6 lbs. after workout.

Actually still recovering from hosting the guitar festival.   Enjoyed performing with colleagues tonight on stage.  

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Brief speed workout

On less than 4 hrs sleep...  a brief tough speed workout.   Humid and warm on the Dean Hayes track but with a cool breeze at sunset.
600m warmup, stretches, drills 
Saucony spikes on 
2 x 400m - 59.5, 61 
300m - 43.5 
200m - 27
Hoping to get back to normal sleep and workouts this week.   Haven't done any resistance in a while.

142.8 lbs after workout