Monday, October 30, 2017

Foundation on a nice day

Pushing 60º on a sunny afternoon at the Sewanee track, perfect except for a little breeze.   I was able to peel off my shirt after my first run.  I attempted to replicate the workout I did 2 yrs ago on Halloween:  so this was Halloween Hell II.  I tried to beat my times from then, I did but ran one less sprint at the end.  Still a good workout, glad to get it done.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
800m - 2:43.5 
600m - 1:53.5 
500m - 85.5

All these times were a 2 or 3 seconds faster than my '15 work out, although I didn't do an ending 400m like I did on that one.  My back, hip and feet are definitely recovering so I didn't want to push it.  However, I took about full rest in between and didn't go all out.

It was hard, I'm still rotating shoes and socks to pad my feet better in between reps but my older pair of Clifton 3s is noticeably not as soft as the newer ones.  I'm definitely not in shape, and doing a once a week workout like this will not provide any gains.  I will need to start doing some cross training, which I haven't been doing in preparation to going to 2 days a week on the track next month, probably Friday and Tues.

Kind of a pet peeve of mine is that the mens room at the track is locked, although it was open all spring and summer for at least 4 months.  Maybe I'll ask the AD about it.  Perhaps I can get a key since I'm faculty.

Shane suggested some exercises on FB for back issues.  It is common for older sprinters, Rudy mentioned it too.  Although my back is much better, I may have an imbalance and perhaps some anterior pelvic tilt.  Going to try some new exercises.

Still not feeling 100% or close to start running fast.  Was thinking about the world class guys I know like Nick, Ken, and Ed who just quit, right at the top of their game.  They were all younger than me when they quit.  Nick has set a WR, Ken took a World Silver, Ed won numerous titles.  Then there are guys like John who is training like a beast right now, even running 5ks, hills, 800s... he's in the massively competitive M50 group.  I definitely could not do that volume.  We'll see how it goes.

I'm still heavy, low 147s after workout.  Good low carb stew tonight but the last few days eating bread.  Can't get lean and eat bread, although I've given up butter blend spreads and I'm using a basting brush with a light touch of olive oil and some garlic salt.  Better than butter.  I think even at my present state I'm still in the mid teens in percentage body fat, guessing about 14-16%.  I think for me, 12% or less is competition weight.   It's not an exact correlation between BMI and body fat %.  My BMI indicates a fat % in the mid teens.    40% of men my age in TN are obese which yields a body fat % of about 35%... of course that all depends on muscle mass as well, so it's approximate.

Beautiful day!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Back after a week... again

Decided not to race this past Sunday, and I hope the Sr. Games enjoyed my $40 donation.

In '15 at this time, I was still doing once a week on the track. (last yr. training for Perth) I think I tried to run too fast and combined with some resistance, I tweeked my hip.  Today, my hip and back felt better, not 100% ... but on the way.  I did some easy foundation.  So, I'm pretty much starting from scratch.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills  
2 x 800m - 2:54, 2:53
It was a good outing. Not real hard.  I wanted to make sure I got a second 800m in, so I ran the first one easy and ran the second one without full rest.  The second one, of course was much harder despite the slow pace.

So, the training season begins again... slowly.  I probably won't be racing til Jan.

I'll probably continue with foundation for a while before attempting to run fast again.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Back after a week

On the track to test the legs.  I am thinking at this point I will not race this Sunday but I will make a last minute call.  I have a hip issue that probably resulted from running fast too soon and doing glute ham raises with weight.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
800m - 2:39 
400m - 66.5
I was actually going to run a 500m but bailed after 400m.   Although this was my fastest 800 in this preseason, it was hard, very out of shape.

Being so active as a masters sprinter with long seasons and many meets is beginning to take it's toll.  The Perth meet in Nov. last yr was the killer.  Never really got much of a break from training.  At this point, it makes sense to not try and race in an early season Dec college meet, although I'd like to.  Don't want to nurse an injury throughout the season.

When I look at successful masters 55+, virtually none of them run the number of meets I do, next to none run college meets, let alone the 51 I have over age 50.  Guys like Bob Lida, Charles Allie, and Bill Collins pretty much run masters meets only and just a very few each year, like the Nationals, Worlds, and maybe Penn.  I need to perhaps follow these great athlete's examples if I want to keep racing, race less, and plan on a focused peak.


As I recently heard from Peter on my post about awards, the athletes that come out and produce a record or world best performance in their one or two appearances seem to get awards and are most successful... rather than those who medal in every championship meet... and then some.  In a way, I think it's a bit of a red herring to post a Masters Awards point system, apparently as a carrot to encourage achievement and participation, then have the voting members pretty much ignore it, (as Peter mentioned).  With all the talent in the 50-59, record setters, world leaders, masters awards are probably clear without a point system.

Anyway, if I don't race anymore this year, I'll do a season summary soon.  I guess I may need more time to get back into full scale training.  My weight is still high but OK... about 146.5 after workout.

I think '17 was in all ways, my best year ever.  Particularly the Daegu WMACi meet:

  • World Silver Medal 400m - 55.17, fastest indoor 400m by an M55 American in 9 yrs (since Bill Collins in '08), #2 World Rank indoor, fastest 400m indoor or outdoor in the USA M55 
  • World Champion indoor 200m, 24.82, #2 World Rank indoor

Both these performances were markedly faster than my Bronze medal times in Lyon when I won an Athlete of the Yr Award in '15.

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.