Tuesday, July 19, 2016

USATF Masters Outdoor Nationals 2016 - final thoughts

Well.... so far, 2016 has been a good year.   Three consecutive 400m National titles - outdoor '15, indoor '16, and outdoor '16.   It's hard to defend a title.   I felt more pressure and more nervous about competing at Nationals as defending champion this year.  Several World Champions went down to Silver and Bronze at this meet.  Me and Antwon D. are the only men who have won 3 consecutive national masters titles in the 400m.

I thought 2015 would be hard to top, but depending on how things go in Perth, 2016 could be comparable.

After the meet, I talked with a lot of my masters colleagues.  Starting to feel like a regular, but really just a newcomer still compared to the old guard.  Some have been doing this 20 yrs, this was my 6th.  It has definitely changed my life and I think, given my friends and family some enjoyment.

My favorite picture was with 'the legends' of masters track: Oscar Peyton, Charles Allie, and Bill Collins.  These men are the fastest in the world over 60 right now and hold World Records in my age group and above.  Charles Allie holds the M55 400m WR - 52.24, Bill Collins - 200m M55 WR - 23.32, Oscar - the 60m M60 record - 7.52.  All are members of the Masters Hall of Fame, Oscar inducted this year.  Bill Collin's book, "The Ageless Athletic Spirit" was a big inspiration for me in my early years of masters track.

Oscar, Charles, me, Bill

I was happy to see Ben James.  He, Jim and I have been fiercely competitive over the years, but we combined with Don to set a World Record for the 4x200m relay in NM in March.  Ben was there to watch and support his wife who is a thrower.  He told me he was taking time off to care for his dad.  Ben, just about to turn 60, is a very quiet and classy guy.  He told me that he takes 2 months off a year and does no running, just cross training.  Good advice.   Like Ben, who has won many titles, world and national, Jim has been around for many years and has been a great mentor for me. I wish I had his running form.

Jim, Ben, me

Don McGee has become the most dominant M55 sprinter in the world.  He beat both Val and Alan -the World Champion in the 100m, running 11.74 into the wind.   Don ran a smokin' wind aided 200m in 23.90... no one was close.  I hope we can get him to run a relay with us again.

Jim, Don, me

Sue from Maine was dominant in all the sprints last year and was able to defend her title in the W50 200m.  She won by quite a bit.  She didn't race the 400m, but took second in the 100m.   She agreed, it is harder to race when defending a title.  

Well, now back in Sewanee for vacation, I've fallen off the diet wagon.  It started at the airport with a 'dinner' of french fries and ice cream.  Lately, have eaten fried fish and potato wedges, sushi, and everything I feel like.   Fitness goes away real fast.  Eating for pleasure - 'food sport' as I call it, is accumulative.  The more you do it, the more you want it.  I find myself eating when I'm not hungry just because something tastes good.  When I'm training and watching my weight, I don't think about eating and don't have that much of an appetite.  I have to dutifully force myself to eat.  But, when suddenly, all options are open, it can easily become an addiction.   It won't last long.  I'll have my annual splurge and it'll be over.   

I'm really in decent shape considering the long season.   No serious injuries this whole season, and the aches and pains aren't too bad.    I'll be taking time off from running.   Not much, just 2 weeks, then I'll start back on the track once or twice a week beginning in August.  In the mean time, I'll be in the weight room, on the bike, and on the rower.   I expect to be back to full scale training on the track by mid-late Aug in preparation for the World Championships.   Fortunately, there is a fall series of Senior Games that will give me some races in Sept. and Oct.   The World Championships will be the first and only time I will ever have raced a track meet in November.   When I get back from Perth, the first indoor meets will be about 4 weeks away.   I'll probably take some time off in Nov. and Dec. and shoot for Indoor Nationals and World Championships in S. Korea.  

Well... that's the plan anyway.  I recognize how tenuous this activity can be, just one injury at the wrong time and it's over.

Saturday, after the 200m semis, I drove to Kirk Park Beach and watched the sunset on Lake Michigan.   Being so far west in the eastern time zone, sunset was at 9:18 and it stayed light until nearly 10pm.   Beautiful... light brown sand, gentle waves, no salt, no sharks...

1 comment:

  1. Very nice photos, Bill, to say the least. Yes, Ben James is a very classy guy. He will never, never tell another sprinter that he's better than they are, but I have said at the finish "It's Ben James in front " more times than I can remember.

    Hope to see you in Albuquerque.

    Peter L. Taylor
    Meet announcer