Saturday, August 30, 2014

Fighting to get back

Warm humid and rainy at the Sewanee track this Saturday evening.  About the same as it was the last time I was here.  I put my spikes on for the first time in 2 months... just to see how bad a shape I'm in doing a standard workout.   Well, not so fit.   Was going to run 4x400m with 2 min rest but all I could manage was 3x400m with 2.5 min rest + a 400m after recovery.   If I had tried a 4th 400m, even with 2.5 min rest, it probably would have been 90ish.    My hamstring still is feeling tight.  I definitely tweeked it a bit last time out on Wed.  Not too bad, finished with a 65 sec 400m.
600m warmup, stretches, drills 
Saucony Showdown spikes on 
3 x 400m w/ 2.5 min rest - 68, 69, 78 
10 min rest 
400m - 65
Still overweight.   It's really hard to go from a 'normal' weight of 146-147 down to race weight of 140 - 141 lbs.   That last 5 lbs is a killer.  I'm about 145.5 after workout.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The $50,000 dive

Athletes train hard, sacrifice and sometimes, it comes down to a hundredth of a second or less on who wins or loses.   I've always said that in situations like that, no holds barred ... DIVE for the line.

In today's Zurich Diamond League Meet, not only were medals on the line, but the whole Diamond League Series purse which pays $40,000.    Coming into the meet in third place in the women's 1500m series, the only way for Jenny Simpson to win the Diamond League was to win the race and for her top 2 competitors Hassan and Aregawi, finish lower than 4th.

Well, she wanted it.

She dove at the line, beating her teammate by 0.01 in 3:59.92.  Not only did she win the $40,000 Diamond League Prize, but she netted an additional $10,000 for First Place.

The $50,000 dive:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ladder down

.... into hell.   No, but even more oppressive than last workout in Sewanee.  After sunset at the Dean Hayes track, it was 84º and humid.   Was dreading this one because of the heat, air was completely still, not a hint of a breeze.  So, I generated my own breeze.

Saucony Ride trainers on
300m warmup, stretches, drills 
600m - 1:49 
500m - 89 
400m - 65 
300m - 45 
200m - 27.5
Was hard.   I took ample recovery time and noticed something weird about my heart rate.  Several minutes after the exhausting 400m, as I was lining up for the 300m, my heart rate was still 124.  A few minutes after the 300m, my pulse was noticeably stronger, but still ... 124.  Seems like even with lots of rest in between, my heart rate never drops much below 120.   Must be really out of shape.

Yesterday I was feeling a slight upper glute strain that caused me to cut short my Monday workout.  Probably because I started too heavy ... single leg split squats with 100 lbs.   Tonight in my last 200m, which I shouldn't have tried to run fast, I felt a slight tightness and pain in my left ham.   Probably nothing, didn't slow me down, but I think I will lay off the heavy weights next resistance workout.

Was under 145 for the first time in a while after workout.  Just barely.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Review: MTSU Rec Center weightroom

A great facility, but lacking a few vital machines for a sprinter.   But, if you're a body builder and your main goal is to develop pecs and biceps to show off to the girls, well ... it's a good place for that.

Actually, it's a decent weight room, but if you want to do anything for your hip flexors, you have to get creative with the cables and pulleys.   If you want to isolate your glutes without engaging your knees, they don't have the machine to do it.  But they used to!  Why would they eliminate it???

The glute-ham raise is listed as one of the 5 best training exercises for sprinters and runners.   If you want to do glute-ham raises... well, maybe I'm missing something, but I didn't see even one of these at MTSU:

MTSU doesn't have one of these hip flexor machines either, so important for a sprinter:

But ... they have an enormous amount of space for about a DOZEN flat and inclined benches. What an amazing level of redundancy, and really ... a waste of space.  I think they could get by with half that many.   I've never seen more than 2 or 3 of these benches being used simultaneously... and these benches are in addition to the other chest/pec machines they already have.  Very upper body oriented.

Don't get me wrong, I do workout there.  There are a lot of valuable machines and free weights that are really useful.   They even have a station in the corner for Lumberjack squats.  I do their glute machine and calf extension machine along with the leg curls, quad extensions, and my usual Bulgarian split squats and leaps with dumbells.   All valuable for a sprinter. Not to mention the core and upper body stuff.

Unfortunately, MTSU's glute machine doesn't isolate the glute like a real glute hip rotation machine does.   It engages the knee as well as the glute ... which is ok, but sometimes unnecessarily stressful.
Also, maybe it's in a different room but I also didn't see any plyometric boxes for box jumps and step jumps.   I just use one of the many benches near the dumbells, although they aren't designed for this.

I made a suggestion to the Rec Center staff about getting a real hip flexor - glute machine, like they used to have.  This was the reply from Assoc. Director, Ray Wiley:
"...please understand that we have requested feedback from our recreation students and other fitness professionals prior to purchasing any new equipment.   I do not foresee us purchasing this machine at this time. "
I have to wonder how many of these "fitness professionals" are athletes?   What was the thinking involved in eliminating any single machine to strengthen the hip flexors in favor of a DOZEN benches?

Sounds like those "fitness professionals" don't do a lot of sprinting... like people who play football, soccer, baseball, track, and a myriad of other sports.

I also work out at the University of the South in Sewanee - a Division III athletic school.  Sewanee's Fowler Center has all those machines I mentioned that MTSU doesn't have.   Plus they have longer summer hours than MTSU.   I like Sewanee's solid dumbells as opposed to MTSU's plate dumbells.   Plus... the Fowler Center is never crowded and always has lots of parking.  I'll try and plan to do more of my weight workouts in Sewanee.  Great to have a house there.

Another gym I worked out at recently was the Louisville Athletic Club.  Again, this gym had all these items MTSU lacked.  They even had a weight sled w/ turf runway, hanging ab straps, a full set of plyo boxes, and a big set of kettle bells.  Great gym.

I am happy for what MTSU has to offer me as a masters athlete, but their weight room should be getting better, more diverse, not eliminating valuable machines.   MTSU's track is wonderful as well.  This coming season I expect to be training for the National and World Masters Championships, so these facilities are a concern for me.

Overall, the MTSU Rec Center is amazing, but their weight room gets a solid B minus from this professor / sprinter.

Fall schedule

TN District meets and the KY State games are in the offing.   Here are the possibilities:

Sept. 7 - KY State Meet, Frankfort
Sept. 13 - Cumberland District, Crossville, TN
Sept. 27 - Nashville District

There is also a meet in Jackson on the 19th, but it's 2+ hrs away.   Crossville is 90 min.   So, I'll probably do just these 3 meets.  The Chattanooga district couldn't get it's shit together and cancelled until next yr.   I may do just 2 meets, but then I'd have to run all the sprints in the Nashville meet to qualify.   Surprisingly ... ALL the M55 sprint records in TN are pretty unattainable for me, unless I pulled a PR performance ... thanks to World Champion Jim Mathis, and the silly practice of judging hand and electronic time on an equal basis.  

The deal is that I have to run all the sprints to qualify for the TN State meet next year.  So, these TN meets, I'll be racing in the M55 age group... for the first time.

Looks like I'll be doing 12x more meets than Usain Bolt did this year.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Long sprint suffering

It was oppressively humid at the Sewanee track this evening.

Had to wait for the football team to finish so I didn't start til sunset. It was in the upper 70ºs with near 100% humidity, light rain ending and a dewpoint about 77º.   Oppressive.   Hard to breathe.

This one hurt...   my first significant interval workout since June.  I normally wouldn't be doing this now but I race in 2 weeks.
Saucony Ride trainers on 
300m warmup on grass, stretches, drills 
3 x 600m - 1:48, 1:53, 1:57 
2 x 200m - 27, 28
It was dark by the time I ran my last 200m.   The 600s were brutal... but the 200s felt free, easy and strong.  Sort of effortless until the last 50m, not tiring until they were over.

I think I'll plan a 3 day pattern of:  1) track, 2) lower body lift, 3) bike /core /upperbody... so I am off the track 2 days in between each running day.   The ankle issue is manageable ... tonight it hurt when beginning the workout, but was fine after the first 50m.  

I dropped 2 lbs during this workout, in the 145's now and am optimistic I'll be at race weight by 9/7.

Friday, August 22, 2014

up the mtn. and in the weight room

Did the bike climb up Roarke's Cove Rd. today.  Then, a little bit of weights.  Finally learned the right way to do glute-ham raises.

3 x 8 Bulgarian split squats w/ 100 lbs each leg 
3 x 10 step jumps w/ 60 lbs. each leg 
3 x 25 calf raises with 200 lbs 
2 x 10 glute ham raises 
2 x 15 hip flexor machine w/ 160 lbs 
18 pullups, 10 flys and ab work

warm track

The 'dog days' of summer ... here in Sewanee, not too bad, but humid and warm.  77º and humid at the track yesterday evening.

My back was killing me due to an exercise that I found I was doing wrong.   The glute-ham raise I was doing by starting with a bent waist, essentially starting the exercise with a back raise and using 20 lbs.  In this video, the guy demonstrates the correct way, he is not bending at the waist.  What I did was still a good workout but it left my back ridiculously sore.  It was Tuesday and I can still feel it this Friday morning.

On the track, I started with an up tempo mile, not as fast as I wanted to do, but really tiring in the high humidity.   Then I followed with some 300s at 80% effort and a 200m a little faster.
Saucony Ride trainers on 
stretches, drills 
1 mile - 6:50 
2 x 300m - 46.5, 47.5 
200m - 28
I would have done more but I wanted to save my ankle.  I think calf raises help my ankle and need to do them every workout.   Still refraining from putting the spikes on.  I brought 'em with me but decided to stay in trainers.

Today, bike up the hill and weights.

Still heavy, over 146 this morning but I'm back on a committed diet... but, yesterday after workout, I had a "junk food" dinner.  My version of junk food: grapes and almonds.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Bitchin' power sets

Tried these power sets - two consecutive sets of exercises focusing on the same area.  Upped the weight.  It was bitchin' .... heart rate up around 150 after each.
5 x 15 squats w/ 100 lbs + 15 squat jumps w/ 50 lbs (double leg)
2 (each leg) x  8 Bulgarian split squats w/ 100 lbs + 10 step jumps w/ 50 lbs 
4 x 20 - calf raises w/ 200 lbs 
3 x 15 - hip flexor machine w/ 160 lbs 
1 x adductors, pullups, flys, rows and shoulder press
It left me crawlin'.   Going to need to drop some weight, nearly 149 before workout.   Probably be about 146 tomorrow morning.  I may race on 9/7.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Same plyo workout

I like this workout because I can do it at home... yesterday.

5 x 15 squat jumps with 45 lbs  
3 x 15 single leg step jumps with 45 lbs  
Always create a bit of soreness, must be doing some good.

Friday, August 15, 2014

on the track, where I stand

Haven't done any sprinting in 7 weeks so I wanted see where I stand.   I didn't bring spikes but that's ok, I laced up the training shoes a bit tighter tonight and ran a 400m before starting my foundation workout.
Saucony Ride trainers on 
600m warmup on grass, stretches, drills 
400m  - 60.5 (29.5, 31) 
2 miles - 14:50
The 400m was good.   Considering I'm 5-6 lbs over weight, running in training shoes, and not full effort... 60 is good.

I hate doing 2 mile runs.   8 laps of the track is no fun.   If it weren't for my timer, I would lose count of the laps.  Boring, taxing, pounding, plodding ... don't like it.   Finding out today that heart disease has a significant tendency in my family, well... it kept me going.

It's been a pretty good week.  Ate very little today and I'm probably down a few pounds, about 145 after workout.  Back to the greens and fish diet.   Cauliflower, spinach and canned tuna tonight.

Saucony Ride trainers

biking, possible late summer & fall meets

My new mountain bike, a series 3 Trek, made it easier to get up Roarks Cove Rd yesterday.   The 21 gears have a particularly low range so, unlike my ancient road bike, I can get up the mountain's toughest spots in 1st gear without bringing my butt off the seat.  Still, it was a good sweat.

Yesterday, felt unrecovered from 2 hard days in a row, but this evening, I want to hit the track, maybe try to pick up the speed a bit.

I'm not in shape to race but I have these possible meets:

Sept. 7- KY State Games 
Sept. 13 - Upper Cumberland District Games 
Sept. 27 - Nashville District Games 
Oct. 18? - Chattanooga District Games

Not sure if I'll do all of these but definitely the last 2.   I do need an off season.   Still haven't put spikes on for 7 weeks.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sled n' stairs

Weight sled and stadium stairs for strength.

Complicated getting into the stadium today, just one clandestine gate left open and the breezeways buttoned up ... maybe to discourage spying /scouting on the football team (yea right - who cares).

I did find a weight sled there with about 100 lbs on it.   I found 30m sprints to be very good hard work, especially after yesterday's plyos since I was a bit sore.
Saucony Ride trainers on 
1 lap warmup, stretches 
10 x 30m sprints - 100 lb weight sled 
10 x stadium stairs
It's time to turn the corner and start to snap back.   I reached a year maximum weight last night after a huge pasta dinner: 152 lbs.   This morning, 150 lbs out of bed.   That's tantamount to about a 7 to 8 lb weight gain since June - end of season.  Anyway, it's ok because I think I've put on some muscle and will keep at it.   Fitness is fleeting and goes away quick.   Today, eating very light and 148.3 lbs. after workout.

Monday, August 11, 2014


Why do squats when you can do squat jumps?
5 x 15 squat jumps with 45 lbs  
3 x 15 single leg step jumps with 45 lbs  

vacation - hiking, weights, roadwork

Last night I ran on the road for the first time in forever.   2 miles in 13:52 (6:56/mile pace).   It has been finally typical summer weather, warm and humid, rainy.  Felt ok.   The new Saucony Ride trainers are pretty soft.

I did weights last Monday night in Sewanee and I found a way to get 280 lbs on the glute machine by putting big dumbbells on the stack (whole stack is just 150).   I could still do it 30x.

With all this glute work, still interesting that the hike out of Eagle Creek last Thurs. to Shuckstack in the Great Smoky Mtn National Park - 4 miles with a climb of 2500' - left my glutes sore... but in a different place - the upper glutes.   Every exercise has it's own specific muscle group I guess.  That's why it's good to do a variety.

Really feel out of shape and truly taking a vacation.   After meals, my weight is peaking over 150 lbs.   I do expect to work out at least 3x a week and hit the weights again tonight.   Also, stadium stairs this week.

There are a whole series of Senior games meets Aug - Oct., at least 5 or so I could run in, including the KY State Games which is FAT timed.  But, I do not feel enthusiastic about competing.  I need an off season and I'm interested in doing other things now.   I will probably do a few meets, maybe even run an 800m or something for exercise.  But I do need to compete in all the sprints so I can race in the TN State Meet next year.   These district meets will count me as M55.