Wednesday, October 11, 2017


Just for fun I totaled up all the track meets I've raced in since I started Masters Track in '11.

  • 102 track meets total  (multi day meets are counted as one) 
  • 51 college meets (50 college meets in 6 seasons)
  • most active season: '14 - 22 meets  
  • least active season: '13 - 6 meets (injured with fracture Jan - mid July) 
Racing in over 50 NCAA college track meets as a sprinter over the age of 50 must be some kind of a record.  Considering the multi day and multi event meets, my race total is probably well over 200.

That's a lot of sprinting for an old man.

Monday, October 9, 2017

brief speed

Same workout I did last Tues.  3 long sprints at 90% effort.  It was really hard despite the time in between.  Warm and summer-like today, upper 70ºs and humid.  I saw coach Jess and the X country team out there on the track for the first time.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
2 x 300m - 43.5, 44 
200m - 28

 Did one set of weights last night.  Faster than last time but it hurt a little, felt a little soreness in feet and hip, probably due to the hard set on glute machine.  Don't know what I'd do without the hot tub to sink into afterward.  The way I felt at the end of 300m tells me I doubt I can run must faster than 60 in the 400m.  I'm in bad shape so maybe I won't run the 400 in 2 weeks and just do short stuff.  I'm still heavy, about 146.7 lbs after workout.

Will be back on the track Friday then hopefully leaving to hike in the Smokies.

Last year during this time I was training hard for Perth.  But when I look back to 2015, I was only doing one track day and one weight day a week in Oct.  So, maybe I'm  doing too much too soon?   Don't know.  Will try to maintain one long and one short track workout a week.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Masters Awards point system

I don't know if this is new or if this has been up on the USATF website for a while, but apparently there is a point system that determines USATF Masters Athlete of the Year Awards.  Perhaps, if one of the elder statesmen of USATF Masters can enlighten me, (Peter?) please chime in.

Here is the point system.  Age group masters awards are given in 10 yr increments, 50-59, etc...
Point Scoring System:
10 pts = World Record
8 pts = American Record
6 pts = WMA Championship Gold Medal
5 pts = National Gold Medal
4 pts= WMA Championships Silver Medal
3 pts= WMA Championships Bronze Medal
It also states, "Age Groups: (number selected is based on 3% of those who participated in the age group at both the National Masters Indoor & Outdoor Championships) ... Various criteria are used to evaluate nominees. One of these is the following Point Scoring System."

Not sure what the "3%" means or even more vague is the "various criteria" statement.  What are the "various criteria?"  

Apparently the system isn't so cut n dry... and some people get overlooked.  For example, Dave S. won 3 National titles in '14 (M60 - 400m, 800m, 1500m) and did not receive the award.  Perhaps this was before the point system?  Or this was because he was a newcomer and no one nominated him?  Also, someone won this award last yr with one World title and one National title which was run uncontested (the only entry at Nationals in the event age group).  It's not uncommon to see just one entry in some of the hurdle events in the older age groups (especially among women).

Anyway, I do remember Mary H. at the awards banquet in Baton Rouge saying the NCCWMA would count as a qualifying meet for this award.   So, this was an unusual year in that there were four meets to accumulate points.  I know it would take some work, but it would be feasible to generate a spread sheet of all the points won at these competitions by the various athletes.

Good year

Despite my end of the year frustrations at Nationals and NCCWMA, it was my best season if you consider my point totals:
5 - USATF Indoor Championship (400m) Gold
6 - Daegu World Championship (200m) Gold
4 - Daegu World Championship (400m) Silver
6 - NCCWMA Championship (400m) Gold
21 - total
I'm assuming NCCWMA counts as a 'world meet'?   Even if I eliminate the NCCWMA points, that would be 15 points for the indoor season alone.  (Also, I know it doesn't count, but I got 2 silvers at Nationals, one indoor - 200m, and one outdoor - 400m).

Last time I got the award in '15, I had just 11 points (Nat'l 400m, 2 World Bronze).  By the time I got to Perth, I had 10 points and if I hadn't fallen at the finish, I would have totaled 13.

Not many people participated in all four meets.  As far as the 50-59 age group is concerned, I think M50 Karnell had the most points (4 National outdoor titles, 3 NCCWMA) 38 points.   Don had 28  (4 National titles -indoor and outdoor, and 2 Silvers at NCCWMA.   I think Rob T. had 18, all indoor.  So, not sure about field events, but I might have made the top 5 in my 50-59 age group, more likely in the track events.

Anyway, so this season wasn't such a bust.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

doesn't come easy

Getting back in shape isn't coming easy.  Does it ever?  I'm a little tired of being soft and slow.  With a hurricane heading this way for tomorrow, I decided to get out and get it done today.  I got a good hard mtn bike ride in yesterday. Today, due to a Sewanee game, the track there was unavailable so I went to the hard tartan track at SAS school at 5pm.
Hoka trainers on 
350m warmup, stretches, drills 
800m - 2:43 
600m - 1:52 
300m - 45
Same workout as last weekend.  Hurt just as much but just a tad faster.  I think an early season schedule of track, weights, rest - a 3 day cycle will be ok for a while with some biking and occasional hills or stairs thrown in.  At least 2 days off track for every day on.  So, I can be back on track Tues.

Still using 'tricks' to save wear on my feet: alternating pairs of trainers in between warmup and sprints, sometimes even between sprints, using very heavy padded 'mountaineering socks'.

It's mentally tough to start this training because I'm haunted by my lack of improvement at the end of the season despite a lot of really hard work.  If I could only manage a 57 after all that, what am I going to do this yr?

I'm not really super heavy, 145.8 after workout, but I haven't eaten yet today.  I set a pretty high bar for myself in terms of leanness and fitness, and I feel really soft... due to an extra 4+ lbs and a loss of muscle mass.  Time to cut the carbs.  Roasted vegs tonight.   No potatoes!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

brief hard workout

A brief workout by my usual standards on a stunningly beautiful day in Sewanee, sunny 75º.  I was just on the track Sunday and won't be back til probably Sunday or maybe Friday if I feel like it.   It did not go well today.  After taking time off, I'm not feeling refreshed, more sluggish and gimpy, just plain slow.
Hoka trainers on 
300m warmup, stretches, drills 
2 x 300m - 46, 46 
200m - 28
Considering I was running 300s in 41 in training shoes 2 months ago, these 300s felt really hard considering the slow time.  I guess I'll go back to longer foundation next time out.  But it's going to be a real grind getting back.

146.5 lbs after workout.

Happy to be able to run, although my championships and world medals are probably over for a few yrs... til I turn 60.   My little brother 400m rival Marcus turned 55 today...  and I'll be pushing 58 by mid season.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

First official training day

On my home track today on a crisp autumn day, cool and clear, little wind, in the 60ºs.  Suffered a lot today due to my lack of conditioning, even though I didn't run real fast.  It was still a hard workout.
Hoka trainers on 
300m warmup, stretches, drills 
800m - 2:49 
600m - 1:53 
300m - 44.5
I ran the 800m fairly brisk but didn't kill myself, about 10 seconds slower than my first foundation 800s after my break in May.  I felt slow, but to be expected this early.  These are comparable times to my foundation workouts in Oct '15.  It's just daunting the amount of work I'll have to do to run fast again.  Indoor Nationals are a long ways away ... 23+ weeks.   I don't think I'll be able to or should put in a volume workout more than once a week.  I think for this stage of the season, 2 or 3 times a week on the track is plenty plus weights and cross training.  As I get older, I can't do the same volume I once did.  But, I need foundation.  One workout a week of 800s and 600s for the next 6 weeks.  I will be mixing in some speed too.  I'm going to race in 3 weeks in Chattanooga to see where I am.  Be lucky to break 59 in the 400m.

Although I'm not terribly heavy, 145.5 after workout, I'm carrying about 4 lbs of fat I didn't have 2 months ago.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Stadium stairs

Taking advantage of my time at MTSU this week to run the stadium stairs.  Been a while since I did this.  So, with the daylight fading and thanks to a lesson cancelation, I hit the stairs.
Hoka trainers  
brief warmup 
20 x stadium stair sprints
Like doing an interval workout, the last 10 steps are the real workout of each flight.  I took a bit more time in between than usual but 20x is a lot for an early season workout.

This is a pretty good flight of stairs.  The exhaustion hits only after I finish the flight.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Rusty return

I felt that 6 weeks was enough so I hit the track today at Marist.   On a school recruiting trip to Atlanta to attend an arts job fair.

I was really surprised at how painful my warmup laps felt.  Carrying an extra 5 or 6 lbs than normal, everything hurt.  But after a full warmup it felt better... but, I'm in terrible shape.  I was going to run an 800m but I bailed.   It would have been a struggle, so I ran a 400 at 800m pace and did some up tempo stuff.
Hoka trainers on 
800m warmup, stretches, drills 
400m - 76 
300m - 44 
200m - 27.5
Actually surprised I ran the 300 and 200 as fast as I did.  My body is beginning to remember how to sprint.  It's going to take time.  I'd be hard pressed to run 60 sec 400m right now.   But, gotta start somewhere.  I just feel heavy and I should be back to normal in a few weeks.  Not looking forward to the foundation stuff i know I need to do.

I signed up to race in a senior games district meet 4 weeks from today.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Cardio health part 2

Well, I had my first CT calcium scan of my heart yesterday.  The machine was a low dose state of the art GE which was reassuring.  The actual scan took just a few minutes.

My calcium plaque score was ZERO.  yes!

That is a perfect result, essentially indicating almost a zero chance of heart disease or heart attack in the next 15 yrs, according to studies.  A zero score isn't that unusual, if I read the stats correctly, about 1/3 of white males age 57 tested get a zero result.   That being said, false negatives are possible with some blockage material being too low density to be seen on such a scan.  But, I'm encouraged.

It affirms the benefits of the fact that I haven't eaten beef or pork for 26 yrs, and only recently started occasionally eating poultry.   And, I've never allowed myself to become overweight or obese, never having exceeded a BMI of 25.

Unlike some who might celebrate this result with steak and ice cream, I'm going to persevere with the dietary recommendations that were given to me as mentioned in my previous post.

As someone stated, one of my risk factors is triglycerides and that makes sense because I've not been able to correct is my massive intake of sugar.   Now, I say sugar, and we all know sugar is sugar, but I am very particular about the sugar I use.  I use only 2 types of sugar exclusively:  1) raw turbinado or 2) pure maple.   If you have to eat sugar, these are miles better than white sugar, and they taste soooo much better too.  I have not ever purchased granulated white sugar.   But I will tell you this:  I would opt for the deadly pure white sugar in a heartbeat before I'd take a chemical sweetener like aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, acesulfame, or any of the others.    I hate chemical sweeteners with a passion.  It sickens me to see how pervasive sucralose has become.  I read labels religiously before I buy anything.

I consume almost all of my sugar in coffee or tea, which I probably also drink too much of.  I use sweet coffee and tea to ward off hunger when I am cutting fat off my body in preparation for race season.   Even in the widest swings, I'm only varying 10 or 11 lbs maximum.  To get that last 5 lbs of firm fat off prior to competition, takes some extraordinary measures.  Like eating one main meal a day and completely eliminating starchy carbs.   Essentially fish and vegetables, nuts and fruit.

Today, I tried a natural zero calorie sweetener blend of stevia and monk fruit.  It was ok in my oat bran, but terrible in tea.  But it was ok in cappuccino, not great.

So, I'm going to try and kick the sugar habit for a while and see how it goes.  I've decided that it's ok to eat some artisan baked wheat bread.  But oat bran + flax seed cereal and blueberries will be my go to in the morning, or for the first meal ... instead of sugar and caffeine.

What is healthy?  I guess olive oil is NOT
Everyone talks about the benefits of olive oil and the 'Mediterranean Diet.'  Olive oil is high in mono unsaturated fat.  Well guess what: studies in apes show monounsaturated-fat-rich diet and saturated-fat-rich diet were equally damaging. That's right, olive oil was no better than saturated fat.
“The monkeys fed monounsaturated fat developed equivalent amounts of coronary artery atherosclerosis as those fed saturated fat,” wrote Dr. Lawrence Rudel and colleagues at Bowman Gray School of Medicine at Wake Forest University in Winston–Salem, North Carolina. “The point here is, we’ve got to look beyond blood lipids. We’ve got to examine exactly what happens to our arteries,” asserts Dr. Jay Kenney, Nutrition Research Specialist at the Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami, Florida. As this very important long-term study on monkeys demonstrates, “better” blood lipids do not necessarily lead to better arteries. Though the monkeys on the mono-fat-rich diet had lower LDLs and higher HDLs than the monkeys on the sat-fat-rich diet, they ended up with the same amount of damage to their arteries.
So what is it about the 'Mediterranean Diet?'  Well, it's really not just the diet, it's the lifestyle.  If you are a farmer or a sheep herder in coastal Mediterranean community, you're on your feet and walking up hills a lot.  THAT is what gives the benefit as much as diet.  In the diet, it's not so much the olive oil but the other stuff:
 “The beneficial components of the Mediterranean diet,” concluded Robert Vogel, MD, and colleagues at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, “appear to be antioxidant-rich foods, including vegetables, fruits, and their derivatives such as vinegar, and omega–3–rich fish…
So, read this article if you think olive oil is so great. Apparently, the science say it's not. The science supporting claims that monounsaturated fats are heart protective is weak, based largely on population studies, not controlled trials. Whatever modest health benefits are associated with consuming olive oil are largely due to the beneficial plant chemicals, such as polyphenols and plant sterols, found in the extra virgin olive oils, but these plant chemicals are largely lost in the more processed ‘light’ olive oils... the kind my mother tends to use, unfortunately.

The article is full of scientific references, some studies of course better, larger and more conclusive than others.  But the bottom line is that all fats are generally bad in excess.   However, my personal experience is that fats seem to affect my blood sugar and put weight on me far LESS than starchy carbs.

I guess it's back to that old saying.... everything in moderation.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Off season workouts / cardio health

Off Season
I'm committed to taking the rest of the month off from the track, probably my longest break from running in about 4 years, and it'll be about 7 weeks.

In the mean time, I'm doing Stairmaster and Concept 2 rower.  Usually the 20 min hill program on the Stairmaster (level 16), then some weights... focusing on the upper body, core, hip flexors, abductors, etc... and other areas I've trained less on during the season.  Then I do a 2000m set on the rower in 8:40ish.   Not a killer workout by any means, just enough to stay somewhat fit and burn some calories.  I can get this done in 45 min or so.  This is a workout easy enough to do daily when I can.

After the season ended on 8/11, I binged a bit on stuff I normally don't eat.  Toast and butter, a few pastries, pizza.   After cleaning up my act for a few days and having the customary fast, I did a lipid profile blood test and it came back borderline high, thanks much to a family history of high cholesterol.   My total was 218, LDL (bad cholesterol) 135,  HDL (good cholesterol) 51, triglycerides 118.   My LDL has always been too high for comfort... ranging from 99 to 140 in the past several yrs and my ratio of 4.27 is above the optimal although better than average.

I dislike these comparisons to 'average'.  They are meaningless and because the 'average' in America is in such poor health, I don't want to be any part or close to average.

My doctor has given me an option to have a cardiac CT scan for a risk assessment.  This will yield a 'calcium computed tomography score.'   I'm surprised that a lot of health professionals I talked to about this test didn't even know what it was.  It's not particularly reliable as it often gives false positives and negatives.  Positives such as indicating 'severe' when it's not really severe - as in the case of my father's test where he received a sky high severe level score of 1800+ but a cardiac catheterization revealed only moderate blockage (50%).  Any score over 400 is considered high risk.  False negatives result when soft plaque goes undetected.  Also, there is a cancer risk of just having the chest radiated ... and I've had a fair amount of xrays in the past 7 yrs.

I probably will go through with the the test just to see where I stand ... approximately.   My doc is sort of pushing me to go on statin medication and I am NOT interested in doing that, as I have read it is not conducive to athletic training, may damage the liver, cause muscle soreness, susceptibility for muscle/ tendon damage, hurt recovery, impair aerobic conditioning, etc...!  One physician friend told me that the long term benefits of life extension use of statin drugs was mixed and inconclusive.   Plus, once you commit to using statins, just getting off them increases risk, so better to not start.

Partly due to aging, the risk factors increase.  My risk assessment with the same numbers was significantly less if you were to make the same calculations for a 51 yr old instead of a 57 yr old.

Borderline high cholesterol is a risk factor, doesn't mean I am diseased, or at least not terribly.   I have worked tremendously hard as an athlete, have excellent blood pressure for a 57 yr old (usually 116/60 in the mornings) and good resting pulse (in the 50s in the mornings).  So, I think I can improve these lipid numbers with other means than drugs.  I seriously detest the mentality that one can achieve license to indulge in a gluttonous lazy lifestyle by taking a pill.  Also, that you can 'eat your way to perfect health' by being a vegan... or train as an athlete to impeccable health.   I'm pretty certain there is more to it, especially heredity and genes, but the number one priority is to at least know where you stand with medical tests and assessments.  Otherwise, you're living in self indulgent ignorance - risky behavior - especially if you know your parents, uncles, aunts, had/have heart disease or cancer.  Nothing is for certain.  I'm reminded that life is fragile as a few friends have recently had bouts of severe cancer when they seemed to be living very healthy lifestyles and seemed to be low risk.  Risk is something that you shouldn't guess at.  Your life depends on it.

All that said, I've been a near vegetarian for most of my adult life.  Still haven't eaten beef or pork in 26 years.  Been vegan, mostly vegan + fish, recently vegan + fish and occasional poultry.

I'm ok with a challenge.  If I have to take statins sometime in my life, I hope to put it off for at least a decade or more.  I have consulted with friends, some in the medical field, who have successfully lowered their lipid numbers with lifestyle.  Some of these diet recommendations may seem odd and unproven, but they've worked for some people.   Here are some of their suggestions:

When not training, spend off days doing stuff on the feet, home projects, walks, bike rides, etc..

Eliminate -
- all dairy except low or non fat products
- off season binges
- fried food 
 Add -
- oat bran cereal with ground flax
- niacin supplements
- plant sterol and stanol supplements
- replace butter with olive oil or Benecol
- pickled foods or apple cider vinegar
- maybe an occasional glass of wine 

Next lipid test won't be until beginning of Feb. '18.   CT scan this week unless I chicken out.   We'll see how it goes.  I'm always good for a challenge.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

2017 season tribute

Athletics is an inspiring journey.  Here's a quote from an article I saw on T&F News:
Dear Younger Me: Michael Granville
Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.  Smile often. Don't take things personal, especially what someone else may do to you. But take what YOU DO TO YOURSELF personal. Life is 10 percent of what happens to you, and 90 percent how you respond. Remember to Follow One Course Until Successful (FOCUS).  Be grateful.  See the beauty in people and act as if that's all you see. Have Compassion. Continue to spread good news about health and fitness with conversation and lead by example.  .... Keep putting in the work. Keep pushing the limits of your dreams!

Below is a pro photo of the NCCWMA 400m final and a tribute I wrote on facebook.


Last week I went 4 days with about zero exercise and went on a few mild carb binges involving bread, pastry, and potatoes.  Nothing too excessive.  I'm still about 147.5 lbs.

Finally, last Friday I biked up the monster hill on Roark's Cove road, always a challenge even when I'm in shape.  I also hit the weight room for some upper body work.  I think it will be at least another 2-3 weeks before I set foot on the track again, and when I do, it'll be just once a week until about Nov.   I hope this end of season doesn't play too hard on my motivation to train.  It just seemed that I didn't reap any benefit from some very hard work at the end of this season.

Privilege of participation

One additional thing I wanted to mention, it is easy to take for granted participation on this level.  Even one minor injury can take the level of competitiveness or participation to zero.   Not being injured is #1.   In the world of masters track, one or two individuals being injured can promote a bronze medalist to a champion.

I had a few tweaks this season but thankfully no significant injuries.  As life is fragile, the fitness of a masters sprinter is even more fragile.  It is a also a matter of intelligent preparation and luck that one's body can withstand the rigors of training, especially for a 400m.  I was injured a lot in my first year, especially quads and hams.  That probably influenced my shift from being a 100/200 to 200/400 guy.  It is common for many world class 100m guys to start the season racing a 400m.   Tyson Gay, Usain Bolt, and Walter Dix have all done it.  This season, an M60 guy with a lot of experience ran a 100m in his first meet and tore a ham.  Out for the season.  This is an example of poor preparation.   Not real bright to start the season as an older masters with a 100m race.   I love running the 100m but I rarely do so.  Penn Relays is a good time to do it because it's after indoor and well before outdoor Nationals.


It has been probably since 2013 when I fractured my foot that I took more than a month off from training on the track. It's been a journey and a privilege, not only to put my hands down on the line with the fastest men my age in the world representing the USA, but also to compete in college meets (and not finish last).

My masters track colleagues are some of the best people I've ever met. A brother and sisterhood of speed, where we come together a few times a year like a family reunion, in a different city, or on a different continent as Team USA. The journey of the training and competition, as well as the respect and friendship of my masters track family has given much to my life, a vital balance and compliment to my career of music teaching and performing.

International competition has also given me the opportunity to drive through the French Alps with my dad, to the beaches of Australia, and the streets of Daegu, Korea. I'm a relative newcomer to Masters track, only beginning in my 50s 7 yrs ago, but it's been quite a run: Five National Titles, a World Title, a World Silver and 2 Bronze, NCCWMA Gold, a 4x200m M55 World Record relay, USATF Age Group Athlete of the Yr. Award, a bunch of Team USA relay medals, National Silver and Bronze medals, and the opportunity to join my GPTC teammates at Millrose and Penn Relays.

The great thing about track, is you bring it or you don't. Unlike music, where you're only as good as someone thinks you are, there is no subjectivity in track. My 400m time in Daegu (55.17) was the fastest time in the USA in my age group since 2014, #3 in the world this year (indoor and outdoor), and fastest M55 indoor time in the US in 9 yrs.

As we move up in our age group and make way for the faster and younger, we look toward being 'reborn' every 5 years into a new age group. The medals matter less than the journey. I look forward to maybe one more World meet next year in Malaga, Spain until I enter the M60 age group just before the 2020 World Championships in Toronto. Thanks to the USATF Masters and Team USA. Now, I think I'll take a little time off.

(Nah.... weight room tonight).

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

North/Central American and Caribbean Championships, Toronto - meet report

NCCWMA 400m Champion M55

It's been a great season for me.  And, I don't want to be too negative in this last post, since I won the NCCWMA M55 400m Championship, but I can't sugar coat it... I did not come close to achieving my goals and was very disappointed in my performance in this last meet, particularly because I had worked so hard for it.  On the plus side, I really peaked when it counted, at the World Championships in March.  So... before I summarize the good and the season overall, I have to review my failure at this meet.  Maybe I can learn something from it.  57.1 was my slowest championship winning 400m time.

It's been a long season.  Maybe too long and seeming longer than any other, due to the lack of a break last fall because of the WMA Perth meet in November.

Beyond what I did or didn't do, the bottom line is I had fun, especially the last day running the 4x4 relay and spending time with my dad.  I have to think that matters a lot and I have to remember what it is like to participate and not win anything.  The joy of this thing is people, colleagues ... this track family that I only get to see a few times a year, and being able to run fast without injury with the fastest guys my age in the world.    I don't need to get hung up on my times and forget about all the good stuff, especially when I come home with an individual Gold medal (and a relay Gold).   Many friends didn't get anything, some even got hurt.   

One of the greatest perks from this meet is the support from USATF and Nike.   We got an amazing Olympic kit, the same used in Rio.  No other athletes in the world get this except USA Masters Team and USA Olympic/World Championship team.  And... it wasn't just a singlet.   In addition to the sleek high tech rubber studded racing clothes (our choice between singlet/tights and one piece), we got a full warmup suit, and both long and short sleeve T's.   I chose the 2 piece since it's more flexible and better for a 400m.  I had to stand in line for an hour plus to get the kit, thanks to my dad who waited in the car... all this while trying to coordinate a plumbing emergency repair at my home with a friend's phone (mine didn't work in Canada).  What is cool is that I now have the US Olympic uniform from Beijing '08, London '12, and now Rio '16.   The new thing is the triangular rubber studs, assumingly placed to help wind resistance.  It fit really well, very comfortable.  Singlet was light as a feather.  Check it out:
Nike Vapor track and field kit with Nike AeroSwift technology 
I sometimes wear these uniforms at college meets.   Many of the kids recognize them right away.   "Where did you get that!?"

400m prelim
Ridiculously, we had to run a 400m prelim.  George warned me to not run it fast.  Jim said, 'we just have to beat one guy'.  I knew there were some stragglers in my heat, me and Jim ended up in the same heat due to a typo (someone seeded in 1.4 sec, meant to write 1:04, didn't even show).  I was jumpy and false started after a long hold.  We got off and Jim and I coasted down the back stretch together, and I felt good so I made sure I beat the guy outside of us on the turn.  I hit the 300m in just under 41 which was a tad less than goal, then jogged the last 100m in 17.  Finished in 57.78, Jim about 5m behind.   Felt easy but both Jim and George said it was too fast and unnecessary.  Anyway, that put me in lane 4 for the final and Jim in 3.  Daryl said he strained something but won his heat in 1:03.  There was a guy in my heat that ran 1:18, he muttered something about his 'first race in 15 yrs.'  He was overweight.  We had to run this prelim because he chose to enter, one of the few circumstances working against me, would have been nice to just run a final.

400m Final
Before the race, I asked my dad to drop me off thinking I could get to the track faster.  Huge mistake.  Got lost on campus and walked/jogged about 2 miles, sometimes in a mild panic trying to find the track.  I got misdirected and few people were helpful.  I finally got to the warmup area about 50min prior to race.   I was a bit tired.   I warmed up and headed to the track.  Rain looked imminent.  We already had a rain delay earlier.  Thought I heard thunder.   We had 2 scratches, so there wasn't much competition except Jim. We got in the starting blocks and I got a decent start, went out hard for about 50 - 60m and got called back by a second gun.  I thought, OK... rain delay.  But no.  Judges ruled 'unfair start'... someone didn't hear the 'set' command.  Ok, more wasted energy.  Finally, we got off and I cruised easily, knowing that the only way I'd lose was if I got hurt or rigged up really bad in the end. I was too conservative.  I hit the 300m in about 41.35, even slower than the prelim.  (I've run that fast in training shoes).  My last 100m I felt ok, no rigging, in about 15.75 ish... I looked at the scoreboard and was disgusted with my time:  57.10.   Even slower than Nationals.  All that work for this!?  Very frustrating.  Jim took second and ran a 59.  He looked at me and said, "why'd we run so slow?"   It was a failure to execute.  Didn't have that aggressive backstretch.  Was probably close to 27 at the 200 instead of 26.  Splits were probably 13, 14, 14.3, 15.7 or 27 / 30.   Goal was 13,13,14,15.  It was primarily the second 100m I think.  Saved too much.  My goal was to better my ranking and run under 55.55.  It was a fail... but I still won easily.  That wasn't the worst part.

400m Final

200m prelim
The schedule greatly favored the 100/200 guys and really screwed us 200/400 guys.  The 200m prelims were immediately after the 400m.  I had about 75 min.  This was the fastest M55 200m field in years, and of the 20+ guys, only me and Jim had just run the 400m, all the other guys were fresh, having run their 100m final 5 hours before.  The first 2 heats were really fast.  6 guys under 25 in 2 heats.  (Perspective: I took Bronze in Lyon with 25.08).  Because of Leondus, who put down a fake seed time of 24.08 then scratched, Jim ended up in a very slow heat and won it in 25.9.  I had Val in my heat, who I beat at Nationals last year with my A game, but didn't have it, having just run a 400m.  We ran shoulder to shoulder and he beat me by a few tenths and I finished in a pedestrian 25.6.   For the first time ever in a masters competition, I was eliminated from the final.  The World 200m indoor champion - eliminated.  James, who did make the final with a slower time, apologized and said he felt like I got screwed.  Wasn't his fault.   My dad tried like hell to change his flight and flee the scene on Sunday, but he found it wasn't worth it. $$$$ Afterward, my dad and I went out for a late dinner, had Thai food, I had a rare beer.  Felt the season was over. Didn't know whether we'd have a relay or not the next day.

It was a super competitive M55 200m final.  Don was beaten for the first time in years in both the 100 and 200.  Alan had a stellar meet, running 24 flat winning the 200m, and the 100m in 11.83.  If I had run the same time I ran in Daegu or Sewanee, it would have been only good enough for Bronze.   They did have a +2.9 wind, that helped.

The 4x400m relay was me, Jim, Daryl, and Dale.  But I was glad to get Val on the team instead of Dale, since Dale had just run the 800.  I got to the track late, probably 45 min before the race, warmed up a little.  Took a few photos.  Decided to run second leg, Jim led off.  We were racing a spectacularly fast USA M50 team, a Trinidad M50 team, and M55 teams from Mexico and Canada.  I was happy and joking, threatening Jim that I'd be standing at the end of the zone, and how far did he want to run?  Lee was laughing.   Karnell and Lee had the M50 first legs, they were way out in front but Jim was closing in on the M50 Trinidad team which I passed immediately after the hand off.  I just took off.  I swear I held my own against Lee on the back stretch at least, he's a 53 guy.  I felt like I was flyin' and I didn't seem to get tired.  Jim ran about a 60-61 on his leg and when I handed off to Daryl, the clock said 1:56.  Which means I ran at least a 56 leg, someone said 55.6.   Figures.  I didn't care, I didn't warmup, I just let it fly.  I just ran!   Probably the way it should be.  That was well worth doing. Our last 2 legs averaged only about 62 so our time wasn't great but we still won, had a good time.  Happy for Daryl and Val to get medals.  Dad elected to stay in his room, didn't go.

I'm not big on medals, I've got a pile of them.  I didn't even collect my relay medal.  (Daryl might have and may send it).  But these medals were some of the nicest.  Large, double sided, heavy.  Much better than the chincy medals that we got in Daegu.

After the relay, dad and I watched the World Championship 4x4s on NBC, then went to a nice park on the coast and had an excellent seafood meal over looking a marina.
It was nice.  Glad he could come and happy to have been able to see a small part of the coast.

Scarborough Crescent Park

It was quite beautiful.  I snapped this last photo while dad sat in the car.

It's always hard to walk away from a season, a training lifestyle, spartan diet.  Already I've had my 2 cherry pastries yesterday.  6 pieces of crunchy sunflower bread toast with butter and cappuccino this morning.   Just a small consolation for months of hard work.  I won't stop being fit even though I must stop running for a while.  Bike and weights.  Work on my upper body and core, rowing machine.  No need to make it harder than it needs to be to come back.  I have Sr Games district meets I can run in Sept / Oct.  Maybe I will.

I'll have more to say in a summary later, but all those who have followed this blog, I appreciate the interest and I'll be posting less regularly for a while as I make the shift to becoming a musician/music professor again.

Thanks to dad for the support and interest.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Last workout of the season

Went to the track today with a friend and former student visiting Sewanee.  It felt odd to have someone there with me.  Perfect evening, 72º, partly sunny.

I didn't do much.  My timer finally died ... after 5+ yrs and 6 titles, I'm sorry to see my little chirping mechanical friend die.

Did a full warmup, some strides, starts, one hard 100m in spikes which my friend timed in 12.51 from the 400m start, and a 90% 250m in trainers.  That's it.

Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
2 x 50m strides 
Puma spikes on 
3 x starts from blocks 
100m from blocks - 12.51 
Hoka trainers on 
250m ~ 400m pace from back stretch to middle of home stretch

Never feel like I've done enough to get ready, but I think this will have to do.   I think maybe I should have done more volume.  Who knows.  It's just a matter of being loose, rested, relaxed, and executing properly.  Sometimes I don't ever think it's possible to be ready for a 400m.

I'm getting a massage tomorrow and taking the next 2 days off.  Will stretch and get ready for a relaxed 400m prelim in Toronto at the NCCWMA Championships on Friday.

My weight is on target... even had 2 pieces of toast this morning, first carbs in a while and still 144.8 after dinner, which is good.

Been at this since mid December.   It's been a long road, quite a journey.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Rippin' n ready

It was a good day at the office.  After yesterday off from the track, I wanted to do a light speed workout today, and it went well.  Did blocks, some race pace turns, and drills.  The funny thing about speed is that it is not commensurate with effort.  Some days I work very hard, feel like I'm running fast but the clock says no.  Some days, the speed is there, faster than expected.  Today ... the speed was there.

Hoka trainers on
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
2 x 50m strides 
Puma spikes on  
3 x block starts 
100m from blocks, lane 4, 400m start - 12.8 
250m from top of the back stretch - 32 (12.7, 13.3, 6) 
150m from 200m start - 18 
100m strider on the turn 
Hoka trainers on 120m strider

My 250m and 150m were way faster than expected.  Granted, in the 250m, I took a 3 or 4 step flying start but I exceeded my goal of 33 by a lot.  It very well could have been 31 high.  Now, if I could just do that after running a 13 sec 100m... I'd be in PR territory.  To be fair, I probably was running a bit faster than 400m pace but it didn't feel like it until the end.  Same story with the 150m, right about 18 flat with the first 100m on the turn.

This is just what I needed to do today.  My weight is very good also.  141.8 lbs after workout.

All systems go!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Shake out / day off

Actually did go to the Fowler Center today and did a full warmup and some drills and hops, but no real running.  I looked at my archived workouts prior to some of my successful races in '15 and '16 that showed I pretty much adhered to the every other day regime, and since I did significant work yesterday and my feet were a bit sore, I just settled for a long bike ride today after my warmup.

I'm enjoying watching the IAAF World Championships.  Seeing LaShawn Merritt go down today in the 400m Semis reminded me how even an experienced guy like that can run himself out in the first 200.  I could see it happen to him... right when he hit about 270m, his stride changed a bit and I could tell he was losing fluidity.  Having Van Niekerk making up the stagger on him also didn't help.  It also happened to Fred Kerley, who seemed to go out too fast, running against faster guys than he's used to seeing.  He ran about a half second slower in his semi.   Unlike Merritt, Kerley was lucky to make it to the finals.

Watching Merritt and Kerley today reminds me... it's a fine line and you never know how the body is going to react after the first 300m.   I do like the fact that the track in Toronto is an IAAF with short straightaways, unlike what I normally train on and the track at LSU that had 100m straights.  I sometimes wonder what intangibles go into finding that perfect balance and executing.  I think I'm able to only pull it off 2 or 3 times a year.  Daegu '17 (55.17) was one, Albuquerque '16 (55.22), and Jacksonville '15 (55.29) and Vanderbilt '15 (55.11) were my best executed races.  It's all about getting to that 300m mark with the least amount of effort and the most amount of speed.  What is interesting is that my indoor times 3 yrs in a row were faster than anything I did outdoor.  It's kinda strange.  If you include the indoor season, I had the fastest M55 400m times in the US, 3 years in a row 2015-17.  (In 2016 Corey ran 55.28 outdoor, I ran 55.22 indoor, World #1 for '16  indoor season M55).

I was happy to see the USA bring home sprint titles in both the Men and Women's 100m.  First time in a while, I think more than a decade.  Kudos Justin and Tori.   Sad to see people still demonizing Justin.  Pathetic really.  Wanted to see Bolt win, but was happy for Justin, he earned it.  Perhaps the USA can get their act together and beat the world in the 4x100s.

Back on track tomorrow.  Blocks and turns.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

event run, blocks, conditioning

Perfect night in Sewanee, 70º, dry under a rising full moon.   Felt almost chilly by the time I left.  

I was going to do just starts and short stuff today but I felt I needed more.  Yea yea ... I said no more hard workouts but I think I needed this one.

Hoka trainers on 
500m warmup, stretches, drills, and more drills 
2 x 50m striders 
Puma spikes on 
2 x 50m from blocks, full speed 
100m from blocks from 400m start - 13 
350m event run - 47.8 (12.8, 25.8, 40) 
100m from blocks from 400m start - 13 
Hoka trainers on 
'split 500' - 300m - 42 / 1 min rest / 100m 14.8 / 1 min rest / 100m - 14.2 
2 x 80m striders on grass - cool down

It was a bit more volume than I intended, but I left the workout feeling good, strong.  I did the extra conditioning because I again wasn't happy with my event run.  My splits were ok but I pushed it quite hard on the front end and was already feeling tight by 350m.  It was better than last time, but not much.  Still 56 pace.  That's why I put the trainers on and went back to work.   I'm going to need to find that balance between an aggressive first 200m and running within myself.  The never ending quest.  Also, I feel my 3rd 300m on the turn could have better form.  I need to work on that tomorrow.  Tomorrow will be a lighter day.

For some reason, I've been heavier.  144 lbs even after workout.  It's not bad, same weight that I've run my best times.

Friday, August 4, 2017

light conditioning

Was going to do short stuff today but there was football again in Sewanee so I went to SAS. When I got to SAS, a storm was about to hit.  Thinking the storm would chase away the football players, I headed back to Sewanee, after warming up.  The football teams were gone but by the time the rain stopped, there was very little daylight left.   So instead of dragging out the blocks, I did a brief conditioning workout and called it a day.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
3 x 200m w/ 1 min rest - 28, 28.5, 29.5
I felt ok, I got some work in by the 3rd 200m and left the workout for the first time in a while not feeling like I tortured myself.  I guess that's good for this time of taper.

One unfortunate thing is that my trusty Gymboss interval timer is beginning to fail.  It doesn't beep loud enough to hear it so I have to put it in vibrate mode, and the clock itself sometimes gets stuck.  Funny that after 5 yrs and 5 Nat'l Titles, this essential little device is dying just a few days before season's end when I need it.  I can't overstate how important this piece of equipment is to me.  I've halted my workouts to go and get a fresh battery when it has died.  It is vital to my training.  I ordered another but won't receive it til late Monday.  I even thought about driving an hour each way to buy one but this one will do for 2 days.  I do want to run at least one more 300m event run in the next few days.

NCCWMA Championships
Not happy to see the 400m Final in Toronto is just 80 min before the 200m semi.  The M55 200m field looks like it could be the fastest in many years with an entire heat of 8 capable of running under 25.   (Compare with this year's European Champion who ran 25.10). Several present and former World Champions represented: Don, Alan, Jim, Rob, Val, myself have all won World titles, and then some really fast guys from the Caribbean and Canada: Jamaica, Trinidad: Ray, Martin, and Michael.   That's NINE guys that might run under 25.   It's crazy - (Consider I won Bronze in Lyon with a 25.08).     This semi totally favors the 100/200 guys who had their 100m Final 5 hrs before.  It should not have been scheduled like this.  They could have put the hurdles in between.  Out of us 9, I think only me and Jim are running the 400m.  It's going to be tough to make the final.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Alternate track

I was looking forward to this workout but when I arrived at the track, there was a football scrimmage going on so I had to go to the SAS high school track, a very hard worn tartan track, not particularly fast and hard on the feet.  Just a thin cracked red layer over blacktop.  

I was looking forward to NOT running a rippin' 500m to start.  I thought I could maybe run a PR 350m, which would seem a lot less taxing than a 500m.  I need to taper but need to practice splits.  I was shooting for a 47 350m, which would definitely be 55 pace, but no, 48 is what I ran.

Hoka trainers on  
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
2 x 50m striders 
Puma spikes on 
3 x starts from blocks 
350m - 48.2  (13, 26.2, 40.4, 7.8) 
more starts 
100m from blocks - 13 
200m from blocks - 25.8 / 45 sec rest / 100m - 14.8

I was still feeling a little soreness from previous workouts this week in the lower quads.  I think I need to work on my form and short game, as well as my splits.  I was a bit tight tonight, need to combine an aggressive start with total relaxation while pushing the pace to the max.  My starts were a bit inconsistent.  May try another 300 or 350 on Sat, hopefully back on the Sewanee track.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

spikin' up for speed

Perfect mid 70ºs and cloudy in Sewanee at sunset, calm winds.  I've reached out to some wise elders in the masters track world and am convinced that I need to start tapering now.  George H. suggested to cease the heavy weight workouts and hill sprints.  I need to go now for more specificity, technique, and race modeling.  I can say that I'm in much better shape now than at Nationals.

I put the spikes on and went for it today, doing the same workout I've been doing but taking it up a notch.
Hoka trainer on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
2 x 50m striders 
500m - 73.2  (56.8, 16.4) 
'split 500' - 300m - 41 / rest 1 min / 100m - 14.3 / rest one min / 100m  - 14.2 
Hoka trainers on 
2 x 80m strides
It was the fastest 500m I've run in training.  (As usual, I measured the stagger with my measuring wheel so I could run it all in lane 6, starting about 30m ahead of the 100m start on the straight).   I was nervous before I started, thinking it would really hurt if I hit the 400m mark sub 57, and yes, the last 100m was tough but it didn't kill me.  Felt OK.  I set my goal splits for the first 400m at 13, 14,14,15 or 13, 27, 41, 56.  Was running a bit ahead at 200, right on at 300, and a tad behind at 400m as the 4th 100m was run on the turn.  The last 100m I did ok bringing it home in just over 16.  The first 400m was comparable to the 400m I ran at Nationals.

 After that, I thought about just running a smooth 200m, but no... I did the 'split 500' (300+100+100 w/1m rest).    It was a killer as usual.  I thought, 'one more hard one for Toronto.'  I'm tempted to go back out tomorrow but I think I'll just swim and some light cross training, maybe some resistance bands.

I definitely think I've done the work this time and if I can't run sub 56 now, shoot me... I'll probably never do it.  I feel like I'm in the best shape since Daegu, maybe better.  Now just have to maintain, stay healthy, and sharpen.

After my 500...

Sunday, July 30, 2017

same stuff

One last workout on the Marist track in Atlanta before heading back to my 'training camp' in Sewanee.  It was hot, clear and less humid today, so the sun was particularly hot.  About 84º.

Got a decent resistance workout at an LA fitness on Sat, then this Sunday afternoon, back on the track.   I really think this workout is doing it for me.  I don't think at this point there is any benefit in doing volume tempo workouts.  Everything I'm doing now is close to race pace.  The over distance I think will help.  I've been blasting a hard effort 500m to start 5 of the 6 track workouts I've done since Nationals.  Today, was my second fastest.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
2 x 50m striders 
500m - 75.4 (59, 16.4) 
'split 500' - 300m - 41.8 / rest 1 min / 100m - 15 / rest 1 min / 100m - 14.4 
4 x 130m hill sprints
I'm going to have to mix in some short stuff soon, blocks and spikes.  Going to keep doing the hard core resistance stuff for the next week then, taper off by next weekend.   I really feel that by the end of this cycle, I should be able to put out a much better 400m than I ran at LSU, if I survive the training without injury.  So far so good.  Not overtly fatigued because I'm keeping the volume down to less than a mile of total work and every other day on the track.  It's definitely 'high intensity - feel it in the gut' stuff.  Significant suffering.  Feet feel ok since I'm training in spikes only sparingly.  (Not today).

Tempted to put the spikes on and run a 500 with the first 4 in 57 just to see how I can hold up under that fatigue.  Also, need to do some event runs / race modeling.

Friday, July 28, 2017

on track

Left the gulf coast a day early and took yesterday off as a travel day.   Wed, did some resistance work.   Today, at the Marist track in Atlanta, it was stiflingly humid but not too hot.  Very similar to Mobile, 84º with a dewpoint of 75º, heat index around 90º.  

Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
2 x 50m strides 
500m - 76 (60, 16) 
'split 400' - 300m - 41.2 / rest 1 min / 100m - 14.8 
Puma spikes on 
2 x 150m - 18.8, 19.2

Felt a bit harder and not as fast a 500m as my previous similar workout in Sewanee last Sunday, but a good strong 300m+100m.   Looking forward to returning to Sewanee and getting back into my routine for my last week of training.   Weather is changing and looks to be cooler in the evenings and less humid.  Was going to do hills tonight but may to put them off til tomorrow as rain is coming.  This hill I run in Atlanta is ball buster, harder than Roark's Cove rd., about 150m and steeper.    Sunday, I expect to be back on the Sewanee track in the evening.  Haven't done a limited rest tempo set of 300s so maybe I'll do that to see where I am.  

First race in Toronto 2 weeks from today.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

back in the swamp

Visiting on a business trip in Mobile, AL... I do what I often do to find a track.   Good thing tracks are usually associated with schools and colleges and are large enough to be seen easily from the air via Google.  I picked a good one, not a great track but an overall decent facility:  Bayside Academy in Daphne, AL - on the eastern shore of the bay.  I chose that track because it is less than 3 miles from my hotel and there is shade on part the track.   Unfortunately, the track itself was pretty bad, a black 6 lane thin tartan layer over blacktop worn out in some spots... but it'll do.   It's 400m, and thankfully, surrounding a field of real grass (not plastic turf like Sewanee).  At the beginning of the 300m, there was a nice shady spot where I stationed myself.  The school locker room was open and there was an ice machine right by the door.

So, instead of eating great golden piles of fried seafood, key lime pie, and Jamaican beer here in the land of gulf seafood markets... I'm still eating right.

It was horribly humid but not too hot at 10:30am.  84º with a dewpoint of 75º, heat index around 92º and there were some merciful clouds as it felt much hotter in the sun on the black track.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
3 x 300m - 42.2, 42.8, 42.5 
'split 500' - 300m - 43.5 / 1 min rest / 100m - 14.3 / 1 min rest / 100m - 14.3
I didn't start with my usual 500m but I did get in an adequate amount of volume.  I ran the 300s hard but not at race pace, reserving a little.  Finished with a split 500 when already tired so I ended with a hard one.

I got a last weight workout in at Sewanee Monday morning at 6:30 am before I left to keep my strength regime going.  I even brought my ankle weights and rubber tubing.   My hips are holding up well to the resistance work but my lower back has been a bit sore all spring/summer.  Overall, everything is ok considering the regime I've been on.  The hotel has a weight room with dumbells so I'm sure I can get some resistance in tomorrow.  I'll be back at the Bayside Academy Thurs, off/travel Fri, Marist track Sat., and Sewanee Fowler Center Sunday.  Then, back to the usual Sewanee regime for the last full week of training.

My temporary home...

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Same good stuff

Much cooler tonight in Sewanee, in the upper 70ºs with a breeze instead of the upper 80ºs.   I really think this workout is just what I need.   I've done this workout now 3 times and it's gotten a tad faster and feels a little easier, except for the hills.  So, 3 days on the track, 3 days on the weights.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
2 x 50m striders 
500m - 75.2 (59.5, 15.7) 
'split 500m' - 300m - 41.8 / 1 min rest / 100m - 14.5 / 1 min rest / 100m - 14.3 
2 x 200m hill sprints - 40, 43 
100m hill sprint - 17.5

Again, fastest 500m I've run in trainers....   I wanted to deliberately push it to the 'rig point' but It wasn't bad.  My last 100m, was under 16 and I caught myself tensing up a bit and corrected.   Mission accomplished.  Maybe when I do it again, I'll try to break 75, maybe with spikes.  The 'split 500' wasn't as desperately tiring as the first or second time I had done it.  It was very hard but not nauseating.  What was really hard were the hill sprints I did afterward.   The second one kind of felt like reaching the maximum number of reps you can do on a machine and failing.   I barely made it, jogging the last 10m.   But, after a several minute rest, I ended with a 100m hill sprint that felt pretty powerful considering what I had done before.

I think this is the ticket.  Beating myself up with high volume limited rest intervals I don't think is the best bang for the buck right now.  What I need is power and technique.  The speed will come.

I will be away from Sewanee for 5 days but will be able to train.   I may get up early and do weights since I will be with out them for 5 days.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Hot n fast

Very warm and humid today, mid 80ºs with a dewpoint in the mid 70ºs giving a heat index in the low 90ºs.   Close to the same workout as last time, but a bit more and faster.  Last night, another good session on the weights and I swear, it's already making a difference.  Got the new Hoka trainers in, same exact ones I have now, so I can alternate.  I opted to stay with the Clifton 3s as I sent the new Clifton 4s back because they were narrower and heavier.  I gave the new ones a spin today.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
2 x 50m striders 
500m - 75.8 (60.2, 15.6) 
'split 500m' - 300m - 41.7 / rest 1 min / 100m - 14.5 / rest 1 min / 100m - 14.3 
Puma spikes on  
150m acceleration - 19.5 (7, 6.5, 6)  
Hoka trainers on 
200m hill sprint - 39 
100m hill sprint - 17 
150m hill sprint - 26
It was the first time I've ever run a 500m in under 76 in trainers, and it wasn't 100%, except for the last 70m.  It went well, no rigging.  The fast 300 + 100 + 100 is ball buster... that last 100.

Finished the workout with some hill sprints.  I'm experiencing that phenomenon that I see when I'm in shape...  a delayed fatigue reaction.  When I did that all out 100m hill sprint, I felt strong the whole way and it never really hurt til 20 sec later when I was walking down.

Getting stronger, faster, lighter.   141.6 after workout.

I posed for a photo with a rainbow after my 500m.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

speed endurance, strength

The road to Toronto has begun.

Last night I did a good strong 3 set power workout emphasizing the 'business parts' - 3 x 50-55 glute machine with 325 lbs, 3 x 15 squat jumps with 90 lbs, along with hip flexors, calves, adductors, and quads.  Usually only do one or 2 sets.

Today, everything fast.  It was an ass kicker but I felt strong, ran fast.  This was the biggest bang for the buck considering a total volume of 1400m.  Did more form and power drills to start.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
500m - 76.8 (60.8, 16) 
'split 500' - 300m - 41.5 / 1 min rest / 100m - 14.5 / 1 min rest / 100m - 14.5 
2 x 200m hill sprints ~ 41
The last 100m of the 500m felt ok, and the over all effort was tough, but not overly sickening considering this was one of my fastest 500s not in spikes.   The 300m was very hard, considering 41 in trainers, then to sprint 2 x 100 right afterward, that was killer.

I then hit the hill for 2 long steep hill sprints.  These were every bit as hard as an all out 300m.

I feel pretty light and strong.   Back on the protein and weights should make a difference.  Even after 2 days I feel stronger and I swear I could go out and run faster in training shoes this week than I ran at Nationals.

142.3 lbs after workout

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

reference: pre world workout summary

In the month between National and World indoor, I must have been doing something right, so I'm posting this summary for reference.  I did notice that I crammed in some consecutive days but due to the travel and meet schedule, I had a significant volume taper.  The last significant volume, and it was just moderate, I did 10 days before the 400m final, last hill sprints, 10 days before the 200m final.  Now, I have just 24 days before my 400m final at NCCWMA.

2/24 - 
4 x 300m w/ 2 min rest - 47.5, 48.5, 50.5, 49.5 (49 avg) 
200m (negative split) 27 (14.5, 12.5) 
2 x 200m hill sprints - 38, 42

2/26 - 
3 x 300m - 41, 42, 42.5 
2 x 100m - 13, 13

2/27 -
3 x 400m w/ 2 min rest - 68.5, 69.5, 70.5 
5 x 100m hill sprints w/ 2-3 min rest - 17.5-18.5

300m / rest 1 min / 100m - 41, 14.5 
300m / rest 1 min / 100m - 41.5, 14.5 
150m strider - 21

200m, 200m, 100m w/ 1 min rest - 27.5, 28.5, 14 
Puma spikes on 
3 x 40m from blocks 
3 x 100m from blocks (lane 2) ~ 13 
Hoka trainers on  
200m strider (relaxed) - 28

3/3 - 
4 x 150m - 20, 19, 19, 19.5

3/4 - race
400 - 55.79
200 - 24.92

3/6 -
2 x 300m w/ 2min rest - 47.5, 47.5 
4 x 300m w/ 2 min rest - 47, 49.5, 50, 49.5 
4 x 100m hill sprints w/ 2min rest ~ 18 
2 x 150m hill sprints ~ 27

3/7 - 
5 x 150 ~ 18.5-20

3/8 - 
'Split 700' - 500m - 82 / 90 sec rest / 200m - 29 
'Split 500' - 300m - 44 / 90 sec rest / 200m - 31.5

3/10 - 
4 x 300m w/ 2min rest - 47, 48.5, 49.5, 52.5 
400m - 61 (31.5/29.5)

3/11 - 
3 x 150m w/ 30 sec rest ~ 21.5 avg 
10 min rest
300m - 43.5

3/12 - 
'split 400' - 300m 41.5 / rest 60 sec / 100m - 14.5 
'split 400' - 300m 41.5 / rest 60 sec / 100m - 14.5 
5 x 100m hill sprints ~ 18

3/13 - 
Puma spikes on 
300m - 40.2 (25.9/ 14.3) 
Hoka trainers on 
3 x 150m w/ 30 sec rest ~ 21-22

3/15 - 
3 x 300m w/ 2 min rest - 45.5, 47.5, 49.5

Puma spikes on 
300m - 39.5 (25.5, 14) 
2 block starts 
3 x 100m from blocks - 13-13.5 
Hoka trainers on 
200m / 70 sec rest / 100m - 26.5, 15

3/20 - 
3 x 100m ~ 13

3/21 -
200m  prelim - 25.05

3/22 -
200m prelim - 24.86

3/23 -
200m final - 24.82

3/24 - 
400m prelim - 58.5

3/25 - 
400m final - 55.17

Monday, July 17, 2017

Day four - 2017 USATF Masters National Outdoor Championships

I spent very little time in the stands watching but I did watch some of the 100m finals.  I was happy to have been in the stands when Julia Hawkins, whose daughter lives near me on the mountain, ran her world record 100m dash.  Julia is 101 years old and she was out there in her team USA uniform, in the 100+ degree heat, with a flower in her hair.   And she really ran it.   I was with Cheryl and Lorraine, and I said.... "that HAD to be a World Record."   I've seen other 100+ people "run" and well, they're not really running.  More of a fast walk... but Julia did run.  It was amazing.  Just to be out there in that heat, but to run 100m at age 101?   So inspiring.  I thought Walter Dix, Olympian would be inspiring to watch, running his first masters.... but Julia was awesome.  Her story has gone viral... world wide... Washington Post, UPI, Reuters, CNN, Chicago Tribune, etc....

Well, I thought I was ready... but not.  Apparently a 7 week training cycle after taking 3+ weeks off in May didn't get me back to where I should be for a championship race.   It's odd to run some of my fastest times indoors then 3 1/2 months later run some of my slowest times outdoors.  It's so inexplicable, I even thought about seeing my physician to see what might be wrong with me.  But I know... it was a lack of foundation, strength work and late cycle over training, trying to cram too many workouts in near the race.

A lot of my colleagues ran well and didn't medal, especially in the really competitive M50 age group.  So, winning a Silver is not a total fail.

My 200m final was simply embarrassing.  I've never run a championship race that slow: 25.75.   It was even slower than my first 200m split in the 400m final indoors in Korea.  I haven't run an outdoor 200m this slow in years.   I was feeling sluggish on Sunday, but ok save for a little soreness in the groin.  My plan was to get out fast and relax and try to catch the guys ahead on the straight.  I actually did get a decent start but relaxed and slowed way too much, allowing Rob to pass me.  And I just didn't feel the usual power halfway down the straight when I went for it.  It was a complete disaster.  I was stunned at how poorly I had done.

Since Indoor Nationals, I've run six 200s in 25.0 or less: 25.07, 25.05, 24.92, 24.86, 24.84, and 24.82.   The 24.84 I ran on a crappy college track in Sewanee would have medaled in this meet.  That's how far off my game I was.

Running 56.7 in the 400m, OK... I've got some work to do but I'm not that far off.  It was like a season opener type race.  But that 200m, was just on another league bad.  Whoever looks at these results will probably wonder what happened to me.  I can't really explain it ... but it is what it is.  Grade F fail.

Feet and groin are sore today, as I went out with my club at the end of the meet and ran a 4x400 relay in the M45 group.  We won and I put in about a 57 I think, it felt ok.  Didn't kill myself.  I deserved the punishment of another 400m after such  a shitty meet (for me).

I was really disappointed with the track.  It was the worst so-called Mondo surface I've ever seen.  It was dried up, hard as a rock, chewed up, and provided no spring.  Kind of reminded me of some old tartan tracks like the one at St. Andrews School.   It was heat damaged, so they say, and scheduled to be replaced.   The spikes made a clackity clackity sound when running on it.

NCCWMA Toronto is coming.  It leaves just 3 weeks for training and a taper.  The way forward won't be easy and I haven't much time, but I'm up to the challenge.  I'm determined to do what it takes to get back where I was in March, some redemption is in order.  That means a lot of serious work and respecting my recovery days.  I know what I have to do but sometimes I wonder if more than one peak per season / year is too much to expect?  It's going to be hard, painful, especially in the summer heat... but this is the last race of the season and once it's over, it's over.   I need to give it my best shot.  I'm hoping Corey will come, we had a great race at Nationals but I didn't deliver my A game.  I'd like to race him again.   Jim will be there, and he's always good solid competition.

On my feet all day working around the house, so my feet are pretty tired.   My training will resume tomorrow although I may or may not go to the track, I may just do weights.  I'll be in training in Sewanee this week, and Mobile the week after for a few days.

I've often though I have to work harder to get the same result as others.  This will be a test, I'm going to see what I'm made of in the next few weeks.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Day three - 2017 USATF Masters National Outdoor Championships

Again, to the chagrin of many (and even one belligerent protest), we took the 200m prelims indoors today at the USATF Outdoor Masters Championships due to an extended lightning delay.   We were minutes from taking the track to run outdoors when the weather delay began.  Of course I was digging the idea of racing indoors, but many were not.   At least one top athlete declined to race.   Grant it, the indoor 200m on an unbanked track is tough.  I narrowly won my heat but ran a slow time, more than a full second slower than in Korea.  (25.88) Surprisingly, it was 3rd fastest qualifying time in a very competitive semi.  I narrowly beat Rob, the 60m World Champion, but he was at a tremendous disadvantage having lane one.  With just 3 guys in the heat, don't know why they didn't run lanes 3, 4, 5.  

This 200m final tomorrow, I could easily take 5th... the way I've been running.   My chances for a medal are slim with 4 guys in the race having run 11.8. - 11.9 in the 100m, much faster than I've run.  Derek lost to World Champion Don by an eyelash in the 100m, 11.87 to 11.88, both blazing times.  They have the fastest qualifying times and will likely be Gold and Silver.  Val ran 11.92 in the prelims, but double false started and DQd in the 100m final.  Although I beat him last yr., he's in better form this year.  So, I'd have to beat both him and Rob to get the Bronze, and I doubt that will happen.  I have lane 3 with Don, Derek, and Val to my outside.  Don ran a blazing 24.99 in prelims ... on this track, that's fast.  Derek eased up and ran 25.79, Val easily won his heat in 26.02.

200m prelim M55 heat one

I think we'll get this race in before the rain since it's early, 10:30 am.   I'm supposed to race a 4x400m relay with the M45 guys at 1:45pm and I need to leave for the airport no later than 2:45pm, so if there's a delay, no relay.

AWARDS Banquet

Tonight was the awards banquet and seafood was on the menu.  It was good.  This was the 50th year of USATF Masters Track Championships and so it was a nice occasion.   I enjoyed the heartfelt speech by Bill Collins, overall Masters Athlete of the Year who despite having Guillain-Barré syndrome, has continued to set World Records as he did again today... running 12.34 100m into a headwind, at age 66.   Here are some photos...

Bill Collins overall Masters Athlete of the Year Award

Bill Collins, hero
Sandy and Cheryl
Emma, double World Champion sprinter

Ladies of Masters Track

Looking at the awards list, I was reminded that if I had not fallen one meter from the finish in the 400m final in Perth and gotten a medal, with 2 National Titles that year, I may have won another award.  However, there are inconsistencies... I remember a new comer at Nationals in 2014 winning the 400, 800, and 1500 and not getting this award.  Probably because no one knew his name, it was his first Nationals.  It seemed to me that the criteria was in 2015, you needed: '3 points' and any one of these would count as a point: National title, World Record, American Record, World Medal (any).  I had 2 titles and two WMA Medals that yr.

This year, there were the usual obvious awards, people who had many more 'points' than they needed, but a few had just two. Also, there were National Titles 'earned' when they were the only person in the race!  (Which I can't see how that would count).  I really do think there are some politics involved.  Perhaps it will become more uniform in the future.  If they go by the same system as 2015, I have '3 points', Indoor title, Gold and Silver in Daegu.  I also have a shot to add to this in Toronto, which will count toward the total.   I guess I even think about this since that disaster in Perth was so costly in an otherwise very good year, and this is the last year I had a good shot at winning Nationals and Worlds til I go up to M60.  But, being elite in this sport is extremely fragile.  One minor injury, not at your best, makes room for the next fastest guy.  And there are always talented newcomers entering, as we've seen this year.

Anyway, better sleep, tomorrow is my earliest race of the meet.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Day two - 2017 USATF Masters National Outdoor Championships

Didn't bring my A game but still took the Silver Medal today in the M55 400m.  56.78 is my slowest 400m in a championship race since my first Nationals in 2011.  Ironic that it occurred 3 1/2 months after my fastest championship 400m (55.17 - indoors in Korea).  Also ironic that it was slightly slower than the first 400m race of my life at age 51 (56.71).

It took me a while to get myself to watch the video, but before I did, I thought maybe I went out too slow.  After watching the video, my splits seemed ok, it was just my last 100m.  I rigged and didn't produce.  My 300m was right around 40 flat but my last 100m was a struggling 16.5 ish+.   Really awful.  I usually run this last 100m in at least 15 high, which would bring me in at 55 high, but not today.   I don't know what to attribute my poor performance to except possibly over training or not enough foundation.  Not really sure.  Maybe the heat?  Seems like I worked hard enough, but I guess not.  Maybe not enough recovery and not enough volume.  Just don't know.  Maybe I didn't have my mind right today.

This was the end of a 2 year winning streak that included these four USATF titles: outdoor '15 Jacksonville, indoor '16 Albuquerque, outdoor '16 Grand Rapids, and indoor '17 Albuquerque.  

It's been quite a run these past 2 years: 4 National Championships (400m), 1 World Championship (200m), 1 World Silver (400m), 2 World Bronze (400m, 200m),  2 Silver and 2 Bronze (200m) at Nationals, a USATF Age Group Athlete of the Year in '15, and a World Record in the 4 x 200m.   I guess, writing this all is a way of making me feel better for losing today.  It's OK.  I didn't win any national medals at all in 2014, so I'm ok with it.   Just wish I had run a better time.  I still have the fastest M55 time in the US in the 400m that I ran at a college meet back in April, a full second faster than I ran today.

It was nice that Corey's dad, age 85 was here to see him win.  This is his second National title.

The 200m is going to be real tough this year to medal in judging by the incredible M55 100m prelims.  3 guys, Val, Don, and Rob all ran under 12 in the 100m.   Faster than I've ever run, so they'll likely be the favorites for the medals in the 400m.   Since I rigged up today in the 400m, feel a bit beaten and not real optimistic.  We'll see how the prelims go tomorrow.

Out for some seafood with my fellow tracksters... John, Ray, Nick, me, Rob, Cheryl.   57 is the new 40.  Livin' well.