Sunday, April 30, 2017

Penn Relays 2017 - meet report #1

UPDATE:   I won the Silver - confirmed  12.25

Fake News:
I did not win the Penn Relays M55 100m !!
The results on the website and the scoreboard were WRONG. Don won. I still am not sure whether I took second or third.  The video is from behind so it's hard to see, but it sure looks like Silver.  So, my time was 12.25 or 12.26.  Well short of my goal of 12 flat.

I was generally tired and not feeling 100% through this whole meet.  A cumulative affect of training since Dec., and working toward an ultimate season goal over a month ago in Korea.   Hard to maintain fitness for such a long period, especially in the 400m.  So, probably 'past peak' for this meet although I had hopes that I'd do better than I did in the 100m.   By the time my 3rd race came about, the M50 4x400m, I was toast.  It was a bit painful to walk through the airport the next morning.

Time for a significant break from running.

100m race
The cruel irony is the misreported fake result was exactly the real result I was hoping for.  After the race, I knew I hadn't won, Don had a step and a half on me, I saw my name on the scoreboard along side a time of 11.97... which was wrong but for about 5 min, I thought I had done it.  It was a terrible situation for both me and Don.  Don couldn't collect his medal, but I think that got straightened out by the end of the day, and I had to explain to everyone who congratulated me that I did not win!  At least 4 people emailed me about the result and I had to explain it was fake news.  The PA announcer called it right so anyone who was paying attention to the race would know Don won.

I got a nominal start, and since they were using college rules, 'one and done' ... I did not try to anticipate the gun.  It was an interesting study and comparison, especially since I lined up next to Don.  He also uses a 'bunch start'... quite similar to mine.  My reaction was about the same as his but my first step was the farthest and my blocks were closest:
Me in 6 (red shorts blue top) Don next to me in 5

Here is the race at about 60m.   Don has a step on me and Tony and Eugene next to him are close:

Here is the photo 10m before the end.  I think I took second, not third.  It would be nice to see the finish photo.  Anyway, me Tony and Eugene (I think) were all very close - 12.25, 12.27.

The Penn Relays experience was a good one, especially because my dad was there on his birthday weekend.  He got to meet many of my GPTC teammates.  We went out afterward.

I'll post more in the days to come about Penn, and other stuff... we took a Silver in the 4x400m, but I  wanted to get this correction on the M55 100m race out there.  It is still wrong on the website as of today.

Congrats to Don, nice to run with a World Champion in his race.  Maybe I should train for the 100m?

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

"World Masters Games"

Results are in for the "World Masters Games" in New Zealand.  

I've always considered USATF Masters Nationals and the WMA Championships as the 'legitimate' national and world championships.  However, there are others.  For example, the National Senior Games, the Huntsman World Games, etc...

These other events are all encompassing and include many other sports.  But, looking at the results of these competitions in the track events, these events seem very much to me as 'the minor leagues' of masters track competition.

Here are the winning times from  '17 World Masters Games in the M55 age group ...
100m - 13.18 (-2.6)
200m - 25.52 (+1.2)
400m - 57.12

Now of course, one or two masters elites would give such or any competition a much greater respectability.  For example, in the '09 World Masters Games in Sydney, Bill Collins and a German elite logged times that would win M55 in any WMA World meet in :
100m - 11.76
200m - 23.95
400m - 54.42

There was a discussion on this subject at Daegu about this.  A great diversity of opinions was expressed.  Two members on team America had opposite opinions: 1) These other events (like WMG) offer more venues and opportunities, and 2) These other events are illegitimate as so-called 'world championships'.

I see both opinions as valid, however I'm inclined to side with the second view that there are only single valid National and World championship entities.  The WMA has a relationship with IAAF through a 'masters commission.'  The IAAF and the USATF are the recognized entities for world and national athletics championships, and I think it should stay that way.

Whatever, at least there exists world masters rankings, which seems to be the only real measure of yearly masters athletic marks.   I don't mind the idea of more opportunities for masters, but it seems that there are already quite a few... state games, senior games, USATF associations, college meets, etc...    Bottom line is, I think the USATF National Masters and WMA World championships should be recognized as the sole national and world championships for masters.

Split 400, starts

Last workout before Penn on Tues night at Sewanee. Perfect spring weather, 70º at sunset, light wind.

Hoka trainers on
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
60m strider 
Split 400m - 300m / rest 1 min / 100m - 42.5, 14.5 
roller, resistance bands - hams, quads 
Puma spikes on 
6 x starts from blocks

Wanting to keep some semblance of 400m condition, I started with a split 400m.  Not as fast as usual, but ok.  Funny, but right after I finished the long sprint, I broke the clip on my trusty gymboss interval timer... (I glued it back together for the 4th time).  That timer has been the single most important piece of training equipment I've had next to my shoes.  It has helped me win 5 national titles and 4 world medals.  Not expensive to replace but I seem to have an attachment to this little box.  

Starts felt fine, maybe a bit inconsistent but feeling able to push to full power without a hint of strain.   Feel ready to blast this 100m race, think I'm good to go.  It's going to fun.   Dad will be there too.

I've been so focused on my short game, I don't feel I can deliver a 55 400m at Penn, but maybe a 56.  These relays are M50+, unlike the 100m which is M55... so I'll be racing people from the younger age group.    If I lead off the 4x4, I should be able to get into the top 3 like last time.   It'll be crazy as usual with 21 teams in a massive waterfall start.  SW Sprinters will win as usual, they'll probably have Marcus, Robert, Clinton and David ... all those guys can beat me.  Whoever it is for SWS, I'll be standing right next to them at the start as GPTC has 3rd position, SWS 2nd.  We have only one guy on our team that has run sub 55, John.  

The 4x100 should be fun... 9 teams, including for the first time - 3 teams of W40 women in the same race!  (Mixed relays are interesting, as we saw in the IAAF World Relays last weekend).  I think the ITS club should win it as they have Don and Lonnie.  Lonnie is one of the fastest M50 100m guy in the world, capable of low 11s.   We might be good for a medal in both relays.

Weather looks much better this year than 5 yrs ago at Penn Relays when it was cloudy, breezy and barely 50º.  Perfect weather is forecast this time, even a bit warm.   81º, sunny and zero chance of rain.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

starts, short sprints

Monday was cool in Atlanta, just getting to the mid 60ºs by sunset.  I went to the Marist school with blocks and spikes for a light workout.
Hoka trainers on  
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
200m - 26.75 
resistance bands - eccentric ham exercises 
Puma spikes on  
starts from blocks 40 - 60m x 8

Everything seems to be working.  Did these starts at full speed, and then ran a bit longer each time.  Last one was 60-70m.   I think I'm ready to race a 100m.  Still feel achy in the mornings ... at the end of a long training/racing season, but when I get warmed up, feels great.

Will probably do a final workout today, Tues, and then maybe something real light on Thurs.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

hill sprints

Nice and cool with rain ending Sunday evening in Atlanta.  I think I found the steepest hill in a very hilly neighborhood to run some hill sprints.  It was a killer.   I measured the hill at 130m, although I ran 160m for the first 2.  Didn't time them but I did all with 90-95% effort except #4, where I did 80%.

After 3, I was feelin the burn.  After 5, just glad my stomach was empty.  I could barely walk back down to my car.   Definitely steeper than Roarkes Cove road in Sewanee.
Hoka trainers on 
300m warmup, stretches, drills 
5 x 130m hill sprints

I'll be on the track tomorrow for some blocks and sprints.  Cool weather, could hit the 40ºs tonight in Atlanta, mid 60ºs tomorrow.

Friday, April 21, 2017

split 500, blocks, short game

Perfect quiet day at the track.  72º and mostly cloudy with thunder in the distance at the Sewanee track.   My last week of training for the indoor/early outdoor season.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
2 x 60m strides 
split 500 - 300m / 1min rest / 200m - 42.5 / 29
 Resistance bands - hams, hip flexors
Puma spikes on 
4 x blocks starts 
2 x 50m from blocks ~ 6.7 
100m from blocks ~ 12.2

Needed a long sprint to get warm and to maintain some long sprint condition.   Then I worked my eccentric hams and hip flexor thrusts with resistance bands and rolled them on my pvc roller in prep for some fast stuff.

With the spikes on, I did a few blocks starts and then a few hard 50s before running my first full out 100m in training this season.   It was fine.  I set my timer to beep at 12 sec, and I was just a meter from the line when it beeped, so I estimated a 12.2.  Not too bad at the end of a workout.  I think I'm capable of near 12 flat with a good start.  My hams and quads are fine, my limiting factors in training are the feet.  They're not too bad since I took Sat-Sun and Wed-Thurs off this week.

If I start training on May 22, I'll get a solid 7 weeks in before Nationals.

Looking forward to the 'drag race' at Penn.  145 lbs after workout.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


Tonight, I committed by travel purchase to USATF Nationals in Baton Rouge, LA at LSU on July 13-16.

Expensive habit.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

blocks, starts, 200, 300

A break in the rain late in the day near sunset.   Mid 60ºs and very serene after the lacrosse team left.  I was expecting I'd see the track team one last time since this is their last week ... but no.  They didn't show, were probably inside because of the rain or just taking the day off.   I imagined that this is what it's going to be like this summer.  A return to the 'ghost ship' track.   By mid May, this place will be a ghost town.   That's what I'm used to.  After getting to know other elite masters, I do think I'm in the minority as I train alone and do not have a coach.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
2 x 80m accelerations 
Puma spikes on 
5 x 50m from blocks  
200m - 25.7 
Hoka trainers on 
300m - 43
It sure feels like the end of the season.  Takes a while to get warmed up.  I ran the 50s from blocks full bore, really just testing the machine for faults and vulnerabilities.   I seem ok.  Right ham a tad sore but no strain.

I feel my 400m fitness is declining, but I did run 2 fast long sprints for maintenance.   I must say that my priority for Penn is to make a good showing in the 100m, since it will be my one and only 100m of the season, and the rest will be just fun.   My "indoor/early outdoor season" will conclude with the a 400m on the GPTC 4x400 team.  Then... a rest.  I'm going to need at least 3 weeks.  Probably pick it up again last week in May.

During my time off from the track, I'll work on my upper body, cross train with the bike and rowing machine.  For now, off to the weight room.

Monday, April 17, 2017

200 tempo / hills

After 2 days off, 'the machinery' was a bit stiff, but I got it loosened up in the warm Sewanee afternoon.   Mid 70ºs and occasional thunder and a breeze.
Hoka trainers on 
350m warmup, stretches, drills 
4 x 200m w/ 1 min rest - 30.5, 29.5, 30.5, 29 
8 x 100m hill sprints ~ 17.5
Slightly slower than last time, but not slow for the 200 tempo, avg. just under 30.  The 100m hills were run at 90-95% with a generous rest in between.   Most were under 18, which is fast for 100m up such a steep hill.

I may do weights tonight, or maybe will wait til tomorrow.

144.2 after workout.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Study: Best type of exercise

As reported in the NYT ... a study by the Mayo Clinic, published in Cell Metabolism journal this month evaluates the affect that certain types of exercise have on cellular health of muscles, the ability of mitochondria to produce energy for muscle cells, the gains in muscle mitochondrial function, and muscular maintenance and hypertrophy.
"The toll that aging takes on a body extends all the way down to the cellular level. But the damage accrued by cells in older muscles is especially severe, because they do not regenerate easily and they become weaker as their mitochondria, which produce energy, diminish in vigor and number. A study ... suggests that certain sorts of workouts may undo some of what the years can do to our mitochondria" . -- NYT
Study subjects, including a group over 64, was measured on aerobic fitness, their blood-sugar levels, and the gene activity and mitochondrial health in their muscle cells. The study group was divided into 4 groups:
  • 1) no exercise 
  • 2) vigorous weight training several times per week 
  • 3) high intensity interval training three times per week 
  • 4) moderate biking for 30 min few times a week, light weights
Results found in the biopsied muscle cells among the older subjects indicate a change in genes believed to influence the ability of mitochondria to produce energy for muscle cells.

The subjects who did the high intensity interval workouts showed the most increases in the number and health of their mitochondria, almost 400 genes were working differently now, compared with 33 for the weight lifters and only 19 for the moderate exercisers.
It seems as if the decline in the cellular health of muscles associated with aging was “corrected” with exercise, especially if it was intense, says Dr. Sreekumaran Nair, a professor of medicine and an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic and the study’s senior author. In fact, older people’s cells responded in some ways more robustly to intense exercise than the cells of the young did — suggesting, he says, that it is never too late to benefit from exercise. -- NYT 
Here again, more evidence to suggest the benefits of high intensity interval training (HIIT),  especially for older people.  HIIT reverses aging on the cellular level.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Penn Relay Masters 100m Start List - M55

Looks like a really competitive field.  

Lot's of competition - World Champion Don McGee, former Penn 100m masters champion Tony F., Jamaican rival Rudy B.  It's a hard meet to just get in to, and I have the Greater Phily Track Club's Chuck S. to thank.  That being said, I wonder how some of these guys got in, one not having posted a result in 7 yrs.

If I run a good race, I think I could medal, and maybe even give Don some competition.   This is early season for most of these guys, it's late season for me ... and I'm still running pretty fast right now.  I'll be focusing on my short game in the next few weeks.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Meet report - Sewanee Mountain Laurel Invitational

200m - 24.84

This was a really good meet for me.  Finished 4th of 8 in my heat from lane 2 on this slow Sewanee track.   It was my fastest 200m on this track by .34 sec.   This has set me up nicely for the Penn Relay masters 100m.   On a good day, I think I could break 12, or run at least 12 low.   No fear of injury now, I'm good to go and have 2 weeks to train.

Thankfully, they reseeded the 200m so instead of lane 1, I got lane 2, a little better.   I had a guy from Rheinhardt just to my outside in 3 who I'd beaten before in the 400m, so he was my target.   I got a good start, and I made up the stagger on lane 3 almost immediately, I mean in less than 20m.   I really went out fast as was just behind the leader at the top of the straight.   I tried to relax but tightened a bit right toward the end.  Overall, it went very well.   I beat 4 guys in my heat, that's always nice.

As a mid pack runner in a DIII college meet, just one of the boys ...  this was the second fastest time in the world for my age group in the 200m.   (It may have been the fastest ... as the authenticity of the #1 time is dubious, highly suspect).

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Pre meet day

Nothing doing today except hot tub, roller, and stretch.   Sewanee's meet tomorrow night looks great except for a slight head wind for the 200m.   Otherwise, warm, dry, 75º.

I'm just running the 200m and being 24th ranked out of 28 on the start list means I may get lane one in heat 3 - where I will be the slowest person in the worst lane.   That sucks, but this meet is just an exercise to get me ready for the Penn 100m.   I've never run under 25 on this slow track so it's not like I'd get a PR anyway, even with a good lane.

The 200m at Sewanee's twilight meet is really cool because it goes down right around sunset, and if the meet runs long (as it may because it is bigger this yr), we'll start in the dark.   The stadium lights only cover the field, so the corner of the track at the 200m start is in semi darkness.   It feels really good to sprint from the dark into the light.  As a kid, I remember sprinting at night across grass in bare feet.   Felt like I was literally flying.  I was really fast.

If I get stuck in lane one, maybe I can get the timer to move me to the slow heat... better lane and I could possibly win the heat.  I don't know this timer so I doubt he'll do it... (like Phil always does when I race at Berry).   If he was smart, he'd make 4 heats of 7 and not use lane 1.

Low expectations.  I'm really quite heavy, 148 lbs.  Ate some rice yesterday with Thai food.   Rice is almost like instant weight gain for me.  


I'm feeling an itch... like I should race more.   I'm in shape and feel like taking a break will waste all this training.  But, I know.... I really need a break.  I've been on the track 65 days of the first 113 days of this year... and that's not counting gym work.   There are 2 local meets in May I could run in Nashville, but I'm hell bent on taking most of May off... particularly considering that the Nationals are in mid July and the North, Central American and Caribbean Championships have just been rescheduled for Toronto 4 weeks AFTER Nationals.   That means a long season.   I'll be burnin' the Sewanee track in total solitude this summer.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

tempo 200s, hills

Warm, 75º at the Sewanee track.  Did a set of tempo 200s, and some hill sprints.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
4 x 200m w/ 1 min rest - 29.5, 30.5, 29.5, 29.5 
4 x 100m, 150m hill sprints - 17-18, 26
Must be in decent shape still, rarely average under 30 for these tempo 200s.  The hill sprints were also faster than normal.   Went to the gym and did ham work, glute machine, squat jumps with 90 lbs., ham raises.

A good two days of workouts, may take the next two days off before Friday's meet.  Can't do anything Thurs., tomorrow if at all.

Monday, April 10, 2017

speed - long sprints

75º and hazy sun at the Sewanee track.  Small breeze.  Feeling like it's getting near to the end of the season.  Takes a good long time to get warmed up.  
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
4 x 80m accelerations  
300m - 41.25 
Puma spikes on 
300m - 40.25 
150m - 19
The last 2 sprints I ran with the Sewanee guys.   All sprints were hard.  I'm surprised I ran 41 in trainers on my first 300.  I guess I'm still in decent 400m shape, but after the beating I took last weekend, I'm just going to run the 200m on Friday.  If Sewanee had a faster track, I might go for the 400m, but this is about the slowest collegiate track I've run on.  I've never broken 25 in a 200m here.  
This will be my last meet before Penn.  Likely my last 200m of the outdoor season before I take a break after Penn.   I'm expecting I'll start training for Nationals by the end of May - take about 3+ weeks off from running.

144.4 lbs after workout, which is good considering I was 149.5 last night before bed.

Weights and prehab tonight.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Meet report - Berry Field Days

Nothing gained here for me today.   Great day for a meet but it was early and with the time zone change, I got a late start, the meet was running ahead of schedule, so I had about 40 min to get ready once I got there.

I ran the 400m and it was one of those that wasn't well executed, and I suffered greatly.
In lane 7, with no one to my outside, I went out very hard and saw no one til the mid point of the final turn.   I was in second hitting the home stretch in a heat of 6.   I started losing time and fully rigged up in the last 20m.  Four! people passed me in he last 50m, I finished 5th of 6.   Afterward, I felt terrible, sick.  It took me 30 min at least to recover where I could just feel normal.   Too bad, wasted opportunity.   You'd think I'd have learned, but I was just sort of doing what I did in Korea, and I came within a tenth of a PR.   It was a risk that failed.  Also, I ate too soon before the meet, less than 4 hrs, that too was a mistake, even though it was just 2 pieces of toast.

On the positive side, no sign of trouble at all from the ham.  It was also nice to see fellow masters Emma, Sean, and Tecumseh there.  

I think I'll do just the 200m next Friday in Sewanee.   My main focus of prep and training is getting ready for the Masters 100m at Penn.  That will require a lot of prehab, strength training, and speed work.

Friday, April 7, 2017

blocks, event run

Cooler weather in TN today, sunny, upper 50ºs breezy and pleasant.   Just testing the ham with some race pace work and blocks in spikes.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
3 x 60m accelerations - up to 90%
Puma spikes on 
2 x 40m from blocks 
300m even run from blocks - 40 (13,13,14)
Race splits were right on, so I guess I'm ok to race.  I felt no problems whatsoever from my left ham that I tweeked last week, although there still is a small visible swelling in the area.  I've done considerable band work and weights to strengthen as well as vigorous massage.  Actually, my right ham felt more sore and vulnerable than my left.

So, I'm going back to Berry College tomorrow to race a 400m.   I added late, but I'm still not on the start list, despite emails to the timer from the coach and me.  I'll likely be running blind in lane 7 with no one in 8.  That's ok.   This is the track I ran 55.79 on from lane 2 a month ago.  I'd like to better that mark, but it will be tough.  Not in the same training mode I was in before Daegu.   However, the weather looks great, sunny and 60º at race time.  One and done.  Just the 400m.

Another week of training before I do a 400/200 double in Sewanee in a week.   Then 2 weeks to get ready for my first and probably only 100m race of the season at the Penn Relays.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

event runs

I'm in the meet on Sat. to run the 400m.  Unfortunately, I'll get lane one or 7, but that's ok.

Not much time for a workout this morning, mid 60's with some sun and breezy .
at the Sewanee track.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
Puma spikes on 
300m event run - 40.8 (26.3, 14.5) 
200m - 26.2 
Still a tiny bit tentative even though this was about 56 400m pace, probably at least a second slower than I ran in Daegu.    I'll be fine by Sat. and I won't be running the 200m.  Maybe at Sewanee in 10 days I'll do the 400/200.

Off tomorrow, back on the track Friday.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Comparisons - past WMACi

Daegu WMACi was the 7th World Masters Indoor Championship.  Beginning in '04, these previous events were held every other year, hosted by Germany, Austria, Finland, France, Canada, and Hungary.

With the prolific registration of Koreans who were unqualified or didn't show, I was curious to see how my times compared with other WMACi Championships.   I did OK.

My 200m time (24.82) would have medaled 5 of 6 previous championships.  Good enough for 2 Gold and 3 Silver.

My 400m time (55.17) would have medaled in all 6 previous championships.  Good enough for 2 Gold, 2 Silver, and 2 Bronze.

Such comparisons are often greatly affected by one exceptional individual.  In this case, Bill Collins.  Without Bill, my 'Gold medal count' in these previous events would double.   Bill won every year by huge margins in all his events while in M55.   Definitely an outlier.

Conclusion - my times were average among the elite medal winners in these previous events.  Not exceptionally worse or better, including Bill Collins.   (Without Bill C., I'd be well above avg.)

There are outliers in every masters division, some so far above the competition, their records will likely stand for a long time, even a lifetime.   For example, Merlene Ottey's masters records.  Unlike other Olympian elites, she continued to race on an elite level into her 50s.  She was too good for masters.  She wanted to train and compete with the elite, so she moved from Jamaica to Slovenia where she could make their national team in her 40s and even 50s.   She won 9 Olympic medals and 6 World Championships - (not masters world championship, World championships).   There is no male comparable to Ottey.   I can't see anyone coming close to breaking her masters records, ever.  She finally retired a few yrs ago.

Willie Gault, to a lesser extent, fits this profile.   He rarely competes in masters events, not since the '11 World Championships.   Some say he doesn't because they started drug testing at Masters events after that.  Definitely a fast one, masters WR holder.

more long sprints, hills

First warm day in a while, sunny 75º at the Sewanee track.  My ham is just a little sore, but not when running, only when stretching.  I feel no problems with it, although there is a visible defect - still a small swelling in the area.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
split 500m - 300m / 70 sec rest / 200m - 42.5, 27.5 
3 x 200m - 27, 27.5, 27 
4 x100m, 150m hill sprints - 18, 28
Past 2 days, good solid workouts, over a mile of sprints each day.  Today, a little faster.  I took parts of the 200s up to 90% level with no problems and my hill sprints had good fast turnover.

I'm still in decent shape despite the increase in bread I've been eating, 143.4 lbs after workout.

I see no reason why I couldn't race a 400m this weekend.  The meet would be at Berry, where I ran just prior to Daegu.  It would be nice to post a faster time than I ran there before, 55.79.  That will be tough since I feel like I've lost my edge a bit since Daegu.

I have to decide by tonight if I'm going to do it.

UPDATE:  Well, I won't be racing this weekend, the deadline was 5pm, I thought it was midnight.   O well.  A week from Friday is Sewanee's meet and by then, I should be good to go for the 400/200 double.

UPDATE #2:  I emailed the meet director at Berry, pleading ignorance.  Luke is a masters guy himself so maybe he'll let me in.

Monday, April 3, 2017

long sprints

On the track today for a significant workout.  Mid 60ºs, fair and windy in Sewanee.   My first workout since my ham strain on Sat.  It was definitely a strain, a bit more significant than I first thought as there was a small area of swelling on the surface.  I first noticed it through my jeans when I was driving this morning.  After spa and massage and stretching, the swelling disappeared.

I felt fine on the track but didn't run anything much over a 15 sec 100m pace.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
500m - 80.5 (64, 16.5) 
3 x 300m w/ 2 min rest - 46, 47.5, 49.5 
400m neg split -  62.5 (31.5, 31)

Leg felt fine.  Did a lot of dynamic stretches between sets.  I probably could have raced a 400m this Sat. but I decided not to.  This is my first ham injury in 3 yrs.  It's not bad and it's been my experience that these things heal quicker with a proactive approach rather than sitting around and 'letting it heal' ... an invitation for scar tissue and weakness to form.   Been massaging it out a lot with a pvc pipe and balm.  Tomorrow after the track, I'll go for some prehab/rehab in the weight room.  Should be fine in a week.

Well... I could still race a 400m at Berry College on Sat.  Have til tomorrow to decide.

Video: WMACi World Championships - M55 200m Final

Finally got this video up on Youtube.

 Video by Stuart Walker, team Ireland.

 200m Championship Final M55, Daegu, S. Korea 3/23/17

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Daegu stories, tributes, thoughts

The Daegu experience was definitely 'one for the ages'.  My first trip to East Asia.   My first World indoor meet, my first and (may very well be) my only World Championship, my fastest 400m in 3 yrs, my 2nd fastest indoor 200m, and two #2 World rankings to finish my '17 season.   It was also nice to have run a faster 400m than any M55 in Perth, and do it indoors.   A little redemption for the 'face plant' I suffered in the World 400m Final in '16.

I know how tenuous the level of fitness is in order to run sprint races at this level, especially 3 rounds of races.  You can be in great shape, but if you just slightly injured a ham, a knee ... anything that causes damage and pain, that's it, you're likely out of contention.  That point hit home yesterday for me as I tweeked my ham in warmups to run a 200m race.

Waiting for the final of the 200m, I watched Ben in the M60 Final, the favorite to win both the M60 200m and 400m.  It seemed like it was his year.  Ben had pretty much stopped running 200s because of hamstring issues, and I remember him collapsing in pain after winning the 200m at my first Nationals in '11.  He was a bit worried about it but looked fine in the prelims, was the fastest qualifier. In the final, he looked good up until the final turn where he grabbed his ham, for a moment, he bared down and tried to continue but it was no use, his ham came undone and he limped to the finish.  I felt so bad for him.  This not only cost him a 200 medal, but a certain 400 win - his strongest event.  I had to erase the thought of possible injury from my mind as I took the track in the 200m final.  Afterward, I shook his hand and gave my condolences.  Ben has been doing masters track for 30 yrs and I know he'll be back.

When I arrived in the cramped warmup room for the first time, Rudy from Australia gave me a nice orientation, where everything was, etc.  I got a pic with him and Toru.  I knew he wasn't 100%, if he was, he surely would have won the 60m, he medaled anyway.   He told me after the 200m prelim he had a knee issue.  Nevertheless, he gutted out a run in the 200m semis and then retired from the meet.  He sent me a message of good luck was there to support me in the 200m final, I thought I heard him yelling 'go Bill go!' on that recording of the race by Duncan.  I consider him a great sprinter.  He kicked my butt in Perth.  A helluva nice guy and great colleague.  Thanks bro and heal up.

Stephen, a Brit now living and competing for the USA is a sprinting aficionado, runs the FB site, Sprinting and Science.  I enjoyed hanging with him and having my only real dinner in Daegu at his hotel on Sat. night.  You can hear his super loud "Go Bill" at the start of my 200m final.   He earned a Bronze medal with the M55 4x200m relay team.  He said it was a highlight of his athletic career.  Great guy, happy to see him win a medal.  Definitely the team USA official cheerleader.  He joined me in the medal ceremonies belting out our national anthem.  Fun times.

Hard to imagine any of this without sharing with my Dad from afar who watched all or most of my races at odd times streaming live from Korea.  He was in contact with me the whole time and was happy to have his support.  He sent me videos via messenger of my races.  Happy to have brought home some bragging rights for him.

Just after I got to the venue for my 400m final, a harrowing experience (see below), I got a text from longtime friend Joe who had just been through a very difficult life saving and life changing surgery.  I'd been thinking about him recently, how difficult of a time he's had, and how he doesn't deserve this with the healthy lifestyle he's led.  He gave me a note to 'kick ass' before I signed off to start my warmups.  Heal fast man.

The Races

200m Final
I didn't want this this to be like Lyon where I ran faster in the prelims (25.04) than the final (25.08) ... and was happy to have progressed a little faster each race, all solid times... 25.05, 24.86, and 24.82.    Shane looked really strong in the semi, ran an Irish M55 National 200m indoor record (25.29), just 0.03 off his outdoor record.  I tied my second fastest indoor 200m in that race (24.86).    I really wanted a PR in the final but came up a bit short (0.17).  With Don, the World #1 not coming to Daegu, Rob (60m champ) getting DQ'd for a lane violation in the prelims,  Ray and Toru not looking competitive in the prelims, and Rudy getting injured ... I knew it was my Final to lose.  I had lane 5, a good lane, with Neil just to my outside.  I got a decent start and made up the stagger on Neil almost immediately, before entering the back straight.  I relaxed and hit the turn in the lead.  At the apex of the bank, I put the hammer down and took a 6 meter lead into the final straight.  I tightened slightly at the end but still won by a healthy 0.62.   I wish Don had come since I definitely had improved my speed since Nationals and could have given him a race.  I ran almost a half second faster in the World Final than I did in the Nationals Final.   Whatever, as James told me... 'when you win a World Championship, people will remember the win, not who was or wasn't there.'

400m prelim
Waiting for my prelim, I watched Benoit cruise to an easy win in 57.9, saving energy and looking totally smooth.  I was going to do the same but I wanted a faster time so I'd get lane 5.   Taking a large lead at the break, I relaxed on the last turn, looking around.  Probably relaxed too much.  I ran a 58, trying to stay as relaxed as possible and save myself for the final the next morning, but I finished 2nd seed, just behind Benoit.  Won my heat easily, didn't break a sweat.   Here's a professional photo from Rob, taken while leading the 400m prelims.  With so many Koreans DNS, we rolled to a final the next day, thankfully.

loose and smooth
400m Final
The back story to this day is that I really thought I might miss this race.  The previous day the usual highway exit was closed for the racewalk so, no big deal, I got to the stadium from the next exit.   The morning of the 400m Final, it was early and I left at 8am for the 10:04am race.  It is a 20 min drive to the track.   This day ... both exits that serve the area were blocked for the marathon.  I had to drive to a baseball stadium almost 3 miles away to park.  I was freaking out.  By this time it was 8:35 and I thought I might have to walk 45 min to the track.  I saw a Korean who spoke English and he advised me to take the shuttle bus from the train stop.  Thankfully, I go on one that was just leaving.  Even this bus dropped us off a mile from the track.  A good samaritan gave us a ride in his car so I only had to walk a half mile to the track.   Got there in plenty of time, about 9:00am.

This, my 5th race of the meet, I really was saving my energy.  When we were released onto the track, my fellow competitors ran or jogged the 60m to the blocks.  I trotted and walked half the way, arriving last.  I set my blocks and relaxed, just stepped out, not even a practice start.  I knew I'd be running blind out in lane 6 and I had to win the break if I had any chance against Benoit.  I got out fast and felt smooth.  I was comfortably ahead at the break and crossed the 200m mark in about 25.5, at least, might have been faster ... a time that would have medaled in the 200m.   Going down the back stretch I glanced up at the giant video screen and was surprised to see so much space between me and Benoit, I had a lead of several meters with about 130m to go.  But... I knew he'd be coming, and I knew it from the sound of the crowd.  I swung a bit wide on the turn and he caught me as we entered the home stretch.  He powered ahead by 5 meters and I finished as strong as I could, not rigging up, but just fatigued.  Benoit and I hugged and waited for our times on the scoreboard.  He ran a PR of 54.39.  It wasn't as if I folded, it was my fastest 400m in 3 yrs, my third fastest time ever, fastest on a 200m oval.   It was definitely a peak performance despite a risky maneuver ... to go out so fast.  The M55 200m final proved to be a 2 man race with a separate race for Bronze, which was won in 58.74 by a Roberto from Spain.   Benoit set a French National Record for his race and just missed a European Record by 0.20.  He suggested that my race tactic of swinging  a bit wide on the final turn, a standard race move in the indoor 400m, cost him the record.  Probably did.  Oh well.  Benoit is an amazing athlete and a fellow Music Professor (Trumpet).  He has kids that are also musicians.  He is built really different from me, taller, lean, thin calves and ankles, long legs, small butt.  Definitely like an 800m guy.  We discussed how music and athletics have many parallels.

4 x 200m relay
Naturally I wanted to run with the same M50 team that won Gold in the Perth 4x100m.  Initially, Phil had put me on the team but moved Clinton down to M45.  That was not what I wanted to see.  Then, a revised list came out where I was moved all the way down 2 age groups to M45.  I was a bit pissed. I thought with Marcus, Clinton, Robert and me, we might even have a shot at a record.  It seemed to me that Phil had buckled to some bitching and kept the M50 guys together.   Essentially, putting a strong M50 team together at the expense of M55 and M45.  And why move Clinton down?  He wasn't having a great meet.  Anyway, we front loaded our team.  Calvin had studied it and thought we could get a medal.   I drew lead off leg and was running against Lopez, the world M45 200m champion who ran 23.17, and handing off to our fastest guy, John.  As I was getting in the blocks, I was so distracted by what I saw that I went to the wrong lane.  The M50 team had new elite matching black team USA uniforms that no one else had.  This was predetermined.  No doubt by Robert, a big USATF guy, got these uniforms ahead of time and predetermined the relay team.  They even all had matching medal stand attire for the photos.  Didn't matter what Phil said, I wasn't going to be on the team.  There certainly was one guy on that team I was faster than, and they should've known it.  I told Clinton, "I wish I was running with you guys."  He said, "I wish you were too."  He sounded totally sincere.   For a minute, I thought they had set a record, but then remembered that they're M50, not M55.   Anyway, happy they won, and they did easily.  No big deal, but my first exposure to Team USA politics.

I got off ok but botched the handoff to John as his hand was moving so much, he reached around behind his back with his right hand to get the baton.  I think I held my own, he said "I held serve" against the M45 guys.  We were in 4th place and that's the way we finished, except Japan got DQd and we were promoted to Bronze.  Happy for John and Calvin to go home with a medal.

It was a great meet, happy to have won and run good times.  Even if I didn't win, I definitely 'brought it' to Korea, my 'A game.'  The amount of work I did between Nationals and Korea was about unprecedented in my training career.  No wonder my feet were so sore after my races.  It reminds me of how high a level I had attained within myself, with my training, lifestyle, diet, etc... taking center stage during those last few weeks before the event and even so, still thinking, 'have I done enough?'   I think I did.  Definitely hard to maintain this level.   Happy to have brought home 2 individual medals, most for team USA in M55.  It was definitely an experience of a lifetime.

May update this post in the future... but that's all for now.

Playing 'the Star Spangled Banner' for me

Saturday, April 1, 2017

The meet that wasn't

I arrived at the Choccolloco track meet in Oxford, AL... in time to run the 400m.  But I decided to stick with my regular plan and just run the 200m.   It didn't happen.  After warming up, chatting with my competitors, with spikes on I took a hard sprint down the back stretch and felt something in my left ham, which is odd, because my right ham was the sore one I was worried about.   Uh oh.  Well, maybe it was a fluke, so I tried it again, up to full speed and yes... the ham was definitely tweeked.  So, minutes before my heat, I scratched.  It was really a shame.  Had lane 5, a tail wind, a brand new track, felt strong ... oh well.  Better to do it in a warmup for a meaningless college meet than in a World Championship Final.  Disappointing though, because I was there all day waiting for the race.  If I had run the 400m, I would have been better warmed up and probably not have had that issue.

This is not serious, it's not even very sore, but it's no April fools joke either.  I haven't had a serious ham injury in 5 yrs and only a slight tweek 3 yrs ago.  This is about like that was.  That wasn't so bad, as I was actually able to finish my 400m in 57 sec, and I raced 2 weeks later.  However, this puts my 100m Penn race in doubt.  I'll really have to up the prep and prehab.   The faster I am, the more injury prone.  It gives me much gratitude, and I feel fortunate that my body held when it mattered the most... held up to 3 rounds of fast 200s in Korea with no issues.  Can't ever take wellness for granted.  I know that Alan and Don might have been there if it weren't for their injuries.  I know Ben would have 2 world championships if his ham didn't go in that 200m final.  You can't win if you're injured ... and it doesn't take much, any slight muscle strain and that's it.