Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Meet list 2018 - season in review

My annual summary.  2018

- USATF National Indoor Silver Medal M55 400m 

- #1 Rank USA M55 indoor 400m - 57.02  (#6 in World)

- #3 Rank USA M55 outdoor 400m - 56.65 (#10 World)

- #5 Rank USA M55 outdoor 200m - 25.30

- World Championship M55 Team USA 4x100m relay, WMAC Malaga

Season PRs in Blue


1/13 - Nashville -  Commodore Invitational (flat 300m)
  • 400m - 57.02

1/28 - Birmingham Crossplex, KMS Invitational
  • 400m - 57.71

2/3 - NYC Armory - Millrose (200m banked Mondo)
  • 4 x 400m - 3:51.21  1st (57.7 split)

2/11 - Atlanta, Dunamis Meet
  • 400 - 59.03 (foot injury)
3/16-18 - USATF Masters Indoor Championships
  • 400m - 58.57 (Silver)
  • 200m - 26.36 (prelim)
  • 200m - 26.30 (4th - injury)


5/27 - Atlanta Relays 
  • 400m - 57.30
6/2 - Birmingham - SE Masters Championships 
  • 400m - 56.65
  • 200m - 25.30
6/9 - Rome, GA - USATF GA Assoc.
  • 400m - 56.82
  • 200m - 25.32
7/27-29 - Spokane, WA - USATF Masters Nationals
  • 400m - 57.50
  • 400m - 57.43
9/7-16 - Malaga, Spain WMAC World Masters 
  • 200m - 25.72
  • 200m - 25.70
  • 400m - 57.00
  • 400m - 57.54
  • 4 x 400m - 3:51.31 (Silver) 56.6 split
  • 4 x 100m - 47.40 (Gold) 11.40 split
9/30 - Nashville, district meet
  • 100m - 12.22 (h)
  • 200m - 25.62 (h)

11 meets
7 races indoor
13 races outdoor
22 - total races including relays

2 - 100m (1 relay)
7 - 200m
13 - 400m (2 relays)

2017: 12 meets / 29 races
2016: 18 meets / 40 races
2015: 12 meets / 30 races
2014: 19 meets* / 42 races) *not including 3 fall senior games meets 

Considering one of my worst seasons as a masters, to still be top 10 in world is an accomplishment... I guess.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Change of Plans

I called off my Friday surgery. It was too soon and I had some reservations about this surgery. I have confidence in my Nashville Dr. but I think I am going to go out of network to seek the treatment of one of the world experts on this procedure at the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Co. Dr. R. LaPrade has apparently treated masters sprinters successfully before and has numerous published articles and clinical trials on this specific procedure. I sent him a personal email asking him if I could contact the masters sprinter he worked on cited in this article. I was surprised that he responded personally to me and said he couldn't remember the guy's name but he may have been from the NY area and if he is still competing would be M60 now.

Telling Dr. LaPrade I was going to have this surgery in Nashville he said this surgery is "pretty complicated" and ... "-make sure he does a big release and pulls your meniscus back into the joint or the surgery may not restore your cushion well enough to return back to running."

 From what I have read, if anyone can do this surgery successfully, LaPrade can. So, I am trying to arrange a date for the week of Jan 14 to see him and have it done. Not to say my Dr. in Nashville can not, but I think LaPrade has researched this procedure perhaps a bit more extensively. He certainly has published a lot on it. And the fact that he has treated masters sprinters before is a plus. I was pretty much a basket case about having surgery tomorrow. Wasn't mentally prepared.

 I do feel a huge debt of gratitude toward Steve, Burton, and the team at Elite Sports Medicine in Nashville for their understanding, expertise, care, and scheduling me so quickly.

 I do not want to do anything at all that might contribute to a poor out come so I'm going to shut down all workout activities involving legs, save for some casual bike riding. I don't need to extrude the meniscus any worse than it is.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018


I committed to Dr. Elrod for surgery Friday.   Doc said he'll know when he scopes my knee how he'll approach it. He said due to the ACL reconstruction I had almost 28 yrs ago that it makes me a bit more susceptible to this type of injury.   Repair of a meniscus root tear is not always successful.  Stats show anywhere between 50-70% full healing of such repairs.  If after scoping it he decides to not attempt the repair, I may go out of network to a specialist in CO.

I'm considering the good possibility I may retire from masters track.  If the repair is done, it's possible it might not heal or might be reinjured.  So, more chances for negative outcomes.

I never thought at the time that this injury would be as consequential, because unlike a ligament, it's not really painful and I can do pretty much anything except sprint. 

I just hope for the best and hope this decision works out.

My head tells me I should retire from track, but my heart tells me to try.  Funny, I still have a pair of brand new Hoka training shoes with the tags still on I had earmarked to get me ready for Poland.  I have kept my beloved Puma track spikes in good shape, epoxying the soles when needed.  I've hoarded dozens of spike risers to last me what I thought would be for a decade or more.  Little did I know. 

Monday, December 10, 2018

rowing and biking

Past two nights I've done the same workout pretty much, and I'm challenging myself to work harder.  Have brought my time down on the rower considerably.

Here's the most recent:

2000m - 8:29 Concept 2 rower 
10 x 15 sec sprints w/ 45 sec rest - Cybex stationary bike 
250 lbs x 50 - glute machine
Abs - inclined situps 

I meet with my doc Wednesday to discuss and perhaps schedule surgery to fix this meniscus. 

Saturday, December 8, 2018

The long 'off season'

This will be my longest 'off season' and who knows, it may be forever.  I don't expect to be on the track again til summer, depending on the knee fix.  It's hard to stay motivated for me without the metrics of sprint training... i.e. intervals at a specific time goal, timed rest.   There is NOTHING that burns the calories and is as intense as long sprint interval training.  There is nothing you can do in 6 minutes that compares to a 4 x 200m w/ 1 min rest set of intervals on the track.  However, I've settled into a regime of rowing on the Concept 2 machine and 'sprint intervals' on the stationary bike along with glute machine and various other exercises.  I'll do this likely until the surgery, depending on what Dr says Wed.

2000m row - 8:59  Concept 2 rower 
8 x 15 sec sprint w/ 45 sec rest - stationary bike 
50 x 250 lbs - glute machine

I'm exploring 3 possibilities for this meniscus root repair surgery, my local Dr. Elrod, probably the likely choice, the Steadman Clinic at Vail, CO, and the Mayo Clinic that is doing a clinical trial on this exact procedure  (they asked for my MRI after I inquired).  Sooner the better.  Before end of Feb., preferably sooner.

Looking back, I sure did a lot... 103 meets, probably 250+ races.  In a typical track career, most healthy college track athletes would only run 50 - 70 races in a 4 yr track career, running both indoor and outdoor seasons.  I've done triple that, after age 51.  So, a few injuries are to be expected I guess.

When I have a date for surgery, I need to try and get in as good shape as possible going in.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Out for the season

After review of my MRI, I've decided to not compete in the '19 indoor and outdoor track seasons.  Due to the fact that my knee is not painful, I assumed the damage would heal slowly, but it looks as if the best course for the long term would be to have a meniscus repair surgery.  Overall, except for the single break in the meniscus, the joint is in decent shape.  No ligament or tendon damage, only mild wear on the articular surfaces.  My Dr. initially was going to give me a steroid injection and a lubricant and send me on my way.  After researching this particular injury, that course of treatment would guarantee a rapid degeneration of the joint if I returned to training.  Repair seems to be the best course.

Right now, I can bike, hike, row, even stairmaster ... but I need to get this fixed if I want to train to run by 2020.  The specific surgery I'm looking for is not common.  My friend Alan, a orthopedic surgeon and world champion masters sprinter (member of my Gold relay teams in Lyon) told me he does this surgery only a few times a year.  If anyone in my network can do it, it would be my present Dr. who is THE Sr knee surgeon in Nashville, and it would save me a lot of money than going out of network.  However, I'm still in the decision making stage and considering options.  Two out of network options I'm considering are - 1) the Mayo Clinic that happens to be doing a clinical trial on this exact surgery - I just emailed the director; and 2) a Dr. in Colorado who seems to be the nation's expert on this procedure and is very much involved in treating elite athletes. 

Surgery is always a bitch because it's generally 'creating' an injury to fix one, and will require a lengthy rehab.  I would like to have this done by late Feb which would put me back to full strength by end of summer, plenty of time to get ready for 2020.

There is always the possibility that I won't 'sprint forever' and will walk away from training and competition.  That probably will be decided after I start to try and train again.  I'd be ok with walking away from this sport, I've accomplished a lot in 6 seasons... 5 USATF National Titles, a number of National Silver and Bronze, 4 individual World Medals and a World Championship, a USATF Age Group Athlete of the Year... so I can't complain.  I have a nice life and a lot of other interests, but... all that being said, I am seeking the treatment appropriate to allow me to train and race again.  A decade ago, I don't think this particular surgical procedure even existed.  I'm setting my sights for Nationals and Worlds in 2020.  So, this surgery and the rehab is going to be just another test...

I'll be updating this blog probably less regularly so thanks to all my regular readers who have visited here over the 8 yrs of these blog posts.  Assuming things go as planned, this will be about my journey to repair and rehab this injury, as it was back in '13 when I broke a bone in my foot.  The journey continues....

Here's a photo from the medal stand in Korea.  If I never race again, happy to be a World Champion.

2017 WMACi Masters World Championships - M55 200m medal ceremony

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

cross training

Decided to take a week off from the track and cross train.  I've been fairly active and getting control of my diet.  Woke up just under 150 lbs for the first time in a while.  Have been trying to do something active everyday.  Still haven't given up on this season, however, I do recognize that before you know it, summer will be here and I'll be looking toward my first M60 2020 season the following year.   I need to protect what I have and put recovery first while not falling too out of shape and continuing to strengthen. 

I've been biking every other day and at the gym.  Sat was my last day on the track and will likely wait until Sunday before trying to run again. 

Last night at the gym:
Concept 2 rower  - 2000m in 9:23 
Stationary bike - sprint interval program - 10 x 15 sec sprints w/ 45 sec rest 
leg extension, leg curl, adductors, abs, pushups, pullups
Today was freezing.  Sunny but upper 20ºs.  I did a 5 mile mountain bike ride with some good hills.  Should be back at the gym by Friday. 

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Just a little running

Very quiet on Thanksgiving weekend at the Sewanee track.  Partly sunny about 50º.    A short warmup run revealed my knee is still an issue.  I felt the familiar pain behind the knee, not too bad to get a little running in.
Hoka trainer on 
250m warmup, stretches, drills 
25 single leg squat jumps each leg 
4 x 100m w/ 1 min rest - avg 14.5
A little faster than last time but still not able to really train with any meaningful volume.   I had 2 days rest since last track workout, maybe I'll give it three before next, maybe do some hills too.   The knee pain is not too bad and it doesn't persist after running.  So maybe there's some improvement. 

Been doing something active everyday and have cleaned up my diet but still hovering around 151 lbs.  Hard to be fit without training full scale.  Yesterday, I just did a simple single set workout of abs, upper body and squats.  The day before I rode my bike several miles, and the day before that I cut and split a half face cord of wood.  Trying to stay off my butt. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018


On the track today, nice weather but cool.  45º and sunny.  

I wanted to do a little endurance while keeping volume low.  This was the 3rd time in 6 days I've been on the track.  Did stair master on Monday.  Rode the bike up the big hill at Roarks Cove on Sat.
Hoka trainers on  
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
5 x 100m w/ 1 min rest  ~ 15 - 15.5 sec
This wasn't much but all I could do.  I felt a little short lived pain in the usual place on the back lateral part of my knee.  The feet hurt a little a first but were ok after warm up.

Starting to eat right so hopefully will shed some of this weight.  Tomorrow looks nice, mid 50ºs and sunny so maybe a good long bike ride.   Not being able to sprint train hard makes it easy to gain weight.  

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Back out on the track

Just did a little today, nice weather 58º and mostly sunny late afternoon.  Feeling OK and I've decided to forego any needles in my knee and cancel my appointment tomorrow.  If if was really important to me to compete this season, and if I hadn't shown improvement, I would get the steroid and Euflexxa injections.  But it seems to be improving slowly.  I can sprint nearly full speed from a 3 point stance, it's only full stride when my leg is fully extended where I feel any problem.  

I'm going to get my mri report and send it to Alan T., a fellow sprinter who is also a knee surgeon.  He said one steroid shot wouldn't hurt and the Euflexxa wouldn't either, but since I'm in no hurry, I'll continue on as I am.  Since I can run 15 sec. 100s, if I can string a bunch of them together with 1 min rest, that's a workout.  

I was just on the track 2 days ago so I didn't do much today.  
Hoka trainers on 
100m warmup, stretches, drills 
2 x 100m - 14.43, 14.34 
2 x 50m - 7.00, 7.03
25 x single leg squat hops 
Four sprints from a 3 point stance.  No problem accelerating.  I think if things keep going as they are, I should be able to do some meaningful volume in 2 weeks.  

Really heavy though, 151.5 lbs this morning.  Need to work on that.  I'm going to do something physical everyday.  I think being on the track more than once a week is ok with such low volume.  

Looks like fair weather Tues - Thurs so I'll be back out to run some track or hills.  Still not ruling out Poland.  Will make a decision by 12/15.

Friday, November 16, 2018


Today I saw the first improvement in a while on the track.  46º and sunny near sunset at the Sewanee track.  I did pretty much the same things but added a second set of single leg squat jumps, and I interspersed my runs between strength exercises.
Hoka trainers on 
2 x 100m warmup, stretches, drills 
100m - 15.65 
2 x 25 x single leg squat jumps 
25 x single leg step up jump 
3 x 100m - 15. 69, 14.90, 14.62
This is not exactly fast, but it's much faster than I've able to run in weeks.  I do feel terribly out of shape.  Just running a brisk 100m tires me and I feel out of breath, which is silly for a 100m.  I am almost able to run with normal stride and I didn't feel any swelling afterward.  100m though, is about the furthest I can run right now without a small amount of pain.

My MRI showed some wear on meniscus and articular cartilage, but apparently not requiring surgery.  They recommended a steroid injection followed later by a lubricant injection, probably Euflexxa.  With my knee beginning to improve, and the likely possibility I may sit out the '19 season, I wonder if I should go through with these injections?  I have an appointment Monday.  I think it's important to my health to be able to do track workouts even if I am going to sit out, so I guess I will.  I still haven't definitively ruled out Poland, but I would have to see some pretty immediate improvement.  I'm in a pretty deep hole right now in regards to fitness.  People talk about cross training, but there is nothing like a sprint interval workout on the track.  It's good to be able to sprint. 

I requested the MRI report but they didn't send it.

I'm fat, probably over 150lbs.  Seeking to reduce. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Warmup, strengthening, a little running

My weekly test of my legs and little improvement.  I was surprised at how sore I was even several days after last workout due to the strengthening exercises I did (squats, lunges, step ups). 

It was good ole' fall weather in Sewanee ... damp, mid 40ºs, cloudy, raw and breezy.  Still some colorful leaves on the trees.  This time of year last year I was on the track at least 2 days a week doing hard foundation like 3 x 600s, etc...  Quite a different story this yr.  It's been 4 weeks since the knee injury and not much improvement.  I still haven't got the results of my MRI but probably this week.
Hoka trainers on 
250m warmup, stretches, drills 
25 x single leg squats, step ups/hops, lunges 
2 x 100m on grass - 18.5, 16.2
I did try and run a little faster in my last 100m on grass but my stride feels short, choppy, protective, and before I was finished I started to feel the swelling behind my knee again.    Not much improvement. 

I did wake up quite light yesterday, 147 bs but back up to 150 today.

I have to set a deadline of decision for competing in Poland.  If I am not able to train full scale in 4 weeks, and sprint race pace in 6 weeks, I'll likely sit out the entire 2019 indoor and outdoor season.  I think the likelihood of that is probably good.  I miss running fast but I don't miss the pain and suffering of training.  If I am to be competitive, I need to commit to it as if it's my living depends on it, the same level of commitment as past seasons.  I won't go to Poland unless I am 100% and can train full scale by mid Dec.   If I do sit out '19, a come back after such a long period will be tough especially near age 60, depending on how my cross training goes.  There is also a possibility I could retire from track altogether.  Some of my colleagues have done that right near the peak of their career.  Nick B. set an 800m WR then retired shortly after.  Ken E. won a World silver in the WMA then retired shortly after.   Ed W. won numerous Nationals in the 400m and was a SWS WR relay member, then just disappeared.  Better to retire I guess than compete and not be competitive.

I expect to be in the weight room and on the track about once a week.  If I show improvement, I'll ramp it up.  The good thing is that the knee doesn't remain sore after a bit of running the swelling is minor and subsides quickly.  This injury on my L knee is unfortunately my strongest leg, so the previous idea of trying long jump is out since this would be my take off leg.

I need to focus on music and other things now.  This fall I rediscovered how much I enjoy boating and hope to do more of it in the spring/ summer if I'm not competing.   Funny but since I've been seriously racing, I used my boat only once or twice a year, and not usually until fall after the season is over. 

Not one to rest on my laurels but it's been a helluva ride.  A World Championship (200m), 5 USATF National Championships (and 3 silver), a USATF Masters Age group Athlete of the YR., M55 4x200 World Record, 4 individual world medals, World #1 Rank ('16 indoor M55 400m), 53 college track meets after age 50.   I've made my mark and if I choose to walk away, it's ok.  But, I hope to be back.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Modest strengthening, a little running

I hit the track today to do a little exercise, far from a real workout.  I did two 100m warmup runs on grass then my usual drills and stretching.  Then I did sets of body weight strengthening exercises including double and single leg squats, step ups, lunges, etc...

I then went to the hill, ran a 100m felt ok.  Then after the second one I started feeling a bit of swelling behind my knee so I stopped with that.  It was enough work to cause a bit of muscular soreness today the day after. 
Hoka trainers on 
200m warmup on grass, stretches, drills 
double and single leg squats, step ups, lunges 
2 x 100m hill runs
I am really out of shape and know that it's going to be a long road back if I ever do get back.  No mri results yet.  Now 3 weeks since the injury and it's still a factor.  I'm feeling no knee pain today, just muscular soreness so that's a good thing. 

I would say I'm doubtful for the upcoming indoor season at this point.  This is the least I've run in years and it's easy to get into the regime of NOT training.   I think it has also had detrimental effects on my weight, strength, and general health as I have taken weeks to fight off a cold which is unusual.  Hanging right around 150 lbs and trying to eat better.  Looking forward to some time off during Thanksgiving week and the weekends before and after.  I hope to be running foundation by then.

I was talking with Sue M., a many time Nat'l masters champion sprinter who has been out for a year due to spinal problems.   We talked about making the transition out of masters track.  I hope that doesn't happen for me, bit its always possible.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Warmup and stairs

Went to the Marist track on Sunday.  After a warmup it was apparent my knee couldn't take any running even on grass so I did several stadium stair runs, every step (instead of every other step), keeping the movement small. 

I've decided to get an MRI tomorrow.  2 weeks since injury and it's still an issue.   From what I've been told, it's most certainly a meniscus issue.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Inactivity is dangerous

Still in my off season recovery.  With some recent boating trips and my knee injury, I was inactive for over a week, save for some leisurely biking.   But yesterday I did my usual 7.5 mile mountain biking ride that included a few lung burning hills and went to the gym to do a full warmup, drills, and a few light weights and a few stair runs.   The upper body stuff was definitely beneficial for my left hand circulation problem and wasn't as painful last night.  However, the knee is far from recovered.  Although it feels better today, it felt very tight last night, especially behind the knee.  Stretching definitely helped.  I think that very steep hike in the Smokies contributed a little to the knee issue.  Both actually hurt a bit when running stairs. 

Having been 3 weeks since my last meet (100/200) and 5+ weeks since my last race in Spain, this has been a long time off.  I think I may be ready to do a little running in about a week on grass.  I really think extended periods of rest beyond 3 weeks with no activity is dangerous for an athlete.  It may have contributed to my knee injury last time on the track.  The longer one takes off, the more fragile the body becomes.  I think the body responds to light stress and heals faster than when doing nothing. 

Time to start eating better.  I'm still not totally fat, 148.5 this morning.  Anything under 150 for me is ok for off season.  I have time.  For a good 12-14 week training cycle before Poland, I'd need to be on it full scale by early Dec. 

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Back after 2 weeks

I hit the track for the first time in 2 weeks, since the TN District meet where I ran the 100/200m.

I didn't want to do much, had really gained a lot of fat in the last 2 days of bad eating, but probably ran one too many today.  With my pastry-fed fat body, I managed a moderate effort 800m, rested then decided to run one up tempo 200m.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
800m - 2:43 
150m - 21 
 I was planning on going out Tuesday but maybe not.

150.4 lbs after workout.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Off season break - boating/hiking/biking

I've done nothing in terms of training for 2 weeks.  However, I did a serious hike in the Great Smoky Mountain Nat'l Park last Sat. Oct 6.  Serious, not in length but in steepness.  The Lost Cove Trail from Eagle Creek ascends 2400' in about 3 miles from Fontana Lake to the Appalachian Trail then to Shuckstack firetower.  I've hiked this trail several times but this time it seemed harder due to foot fatigue that I'm not quite recovered from after a long track season.   Comparing distance and elevation gain, this trail is about as long as Sewanee's Roark's Cove Rd., but ascends 2.5 times the elevation.  The last 2 miles is like walking up a stair case.  I found it difficult on the knees walking down as well.  The trail is also challenging due to a dozen water crossings.  It is best accessible by boat.  The view from the tower at Shuckstack is the best in the Park.  The total hike was only about 8 miles.

I hadn't used my boat in a year and had some problems with the carburetor, but made it back after an emergency repair of the gas line (duct tape).   After installing a new fuel line, it ran perfectly yesterday in test run.  Going to do a river trip today to Chattanooga.  Taking my bike to get around town.  Much cooler past few days, only in the 60s.

I'm scheduled to race on Friday in Chattanooga and if I do, I'll probably just run the 400m as it would be risky for my to run a short sprint due to my 2 weeks off the track.  I may cancel if my slight chest cold gets worse.  Not expecting to run fast but maybe I can still break 60, probably not.  I plan to start back on the track on Monday with a few 800s.  Still a reasonable weight, 146.5 - 148.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Photo: 400m prelims

This was my best race in Spain.   I put much less effort into this race and ran a faster time than the semi race.  Too bad this was a prelim.   I won by 10m+ and was relaxed and looking around the last 80m.  Still ran a 57.00 which ended up being the fastest 400m by an M55 American at this meet. I feel I could have run much faster in this race.  The track at Carranque I liked better than the others.

Interesting how I can run faster with less effort, then the next day I kill myself to run a half second slower.  Live and learn.   Just happy to have had the experience.  Spain was great.

Dave Albo photo:

Sunday, September 30, 2018

End of season meet: 100m/ 200m

I had really no reason to race in this meet but to just have fun.   I raced the 100m and 200m at the Greater Nashville Sr. Olympics District meet.  I like this meet because they hire a certified USATF official to start, and usually have experienced hand timers.

100m - 12.22(h)
200m - 25.62(h)

I hadn't run at all for 3 days and got there a bit late but had just enough time to warmup for the 100m.  My times weren't anything exceptional, about what I've been running in training (add 0.24 for standard FAT conversion).

There wasn't any competition there.   Duane was running in training shoes and just doing it to qualify for the state meet, not running full effort.  (I probably won't do much track this summer, may not run the TN state meet).  The 100m felt good, I got a good start but someone false started and we were called back.  My second start wasn't quite as good.  By the time the 200m came around I felt pretty sluggish, but got through it.  I had a slight knee pain so I scratched the 400m.

Although I am signed up to race at the Chattanooga Sr games in 3 weeks, I feel that this is the end of my season.  I feel a bit despondent that the work I put in after coming back from the plantar injury in March didn't come to fruition.  I lost momentum in June after a ham injury and in July after a hip flexor.  These were relatively minor, keeping me out for just 2 weeks each, but were at a very bad time.  I wish I could go back to June before that first injury.  I worked pretty darn hard this summer and feel in some ways, it didn't pay off.  This was the first year in my masters career I failed to run under 56 in the 400m.  The worst moment was my semi in Malaga.  I should have been in that final. My semi time would have earned me a 6th, and I should have been able to run at least a 56.5.

Time to rest, recover, strengthen, and retool for Poland.  I plan to be regularly in the weight room and lessen the resistance and do higher reps, and hit the track or grass for longer runs once a week.

Maybe give the long jump a try.   Curiously, there was no USA competitor in Malaga in the M55 long jump (an M55 WR was set at 21'3" !!).  At Nationals, Brian won with a jump of 18'3" but other medals were 'low hanging fruit' ... the silver and bronze were just 16'6" and 13'1" (!) ... only 4 competitors.

At the Nashville meet, I think I raced at about 147 lbs or so.  Afterward, I went to a local strip mall, had a bagel with cream cheese at Panera and an ice cream next door at Cold Stone, and a coffee.  I didn't eat much of anything the rest of the day except for some chocolate, fruit and nuts.  Despite this bad eating, I weighed just 145.5 this, the next morning.. the least in a week+.   Amazing how many calories are used in the warmup and execution of just 2 short sprint races.   Maybe it's just verification that 'calories are calories' and if you eat bad, fatty, sweet, carby foods.... as long as you don't eat a lot of them or do it often, it's ok.

Back to the solitude of Sewanee.  Will do some biking and maybe weights today, along with some guitar practice.  Lovely morning here... Jura coffee and a Panera cherry pastry.   Perfect weather.   Just a tinge of color as the leaves are starting to change and the sunset view returns to Champion cove and soon, 'fireplace weather' will be here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Goals are good

I'm going to Poland.   I committed today.

WMACi '19
Torun, Poland
March 24-30

Maybe I'll do all 3 sprints.  Maybe I'll long jump.  It'll be fun, that's what it's all about

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Sprints, blocks

I got to the track and wanted to do something to test my 100m speed as I would be racing the 100m this weekend and not training for the next 2 days.   So I brought my spikes and blocks.  It was partly cloudy, upper 70ºs at the Sewanee track.

Hoka trainers on
4 x 100 on grass, stretches , drills 
200m (2 step flying start) - 25.68 
60m (2 step flying start) - 7.61
Puma Spikes on 
2 x 60m from blocks - 7.56, 7.43 
100m from blocks - 12.18 
Hoka trainers on 
200m relaxed - 27.00

Add 0.25 to these times for reaction (for a good start) and they are pretty decent.  The last 60m would be in PR territory (and consider, the World Champion ran 7.81 for this distance in Daegu.  Even with a 0.38 reaction, this last 60m would be that fast).  I made a slight change in my blocks, moving the feet one inch further apart.   Funny that my first 200m was faster than my 200s in Malaga.

My feet hurt before and after the workout, but with 2 or 3 days off, I'll be fine,

147.0 lbs after workout.

300, 200, 55s

Sunday, I got out and did a few sprints at Marist because I'm committed to racing in the Sr. Games on Sat. It was very warm, probably mid 80ºs.   I'm definitely not recovered from the season.  My feet still hurt when I get up every morning and I've put on about 5 lbs.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
300m - 42.8 
200m - 26.43 
2 x 55m - 8.10, 6.98

The last 55m was near full effort and seemed pretty fast considering my PR for that distance is 7.23.

Monday, I went for a bike ride and then went to the gym where I did a full warmup, some drills, cable work with my hams and hip flexors and a few cleans.  I seemed to sweat a lot.  I think that's a function of being out of shape.  When you're fat, ya sweat.   I am reminded of how quickly fitness is lost.  I think that increases with age.  I know I have to stop training on the track to give my feet some time to recover.  i am committed to another Sr games meet in Chattanooga in 3+ weeks, but I will reduce track sessions to once or twice a week max after Sat.

I'm about 148.5 lbs today.  I think I can be 145 or less by race day on Sat.

Today, Tues... I'll go to the track and warmup, do a few short sprints.

More touring in Spain

With my failure to make the 400m finals (by 0.07 sec), I had more time off than anticipated.  I made 5 trips in my little rented Fiat 500.  1) to Tolox, 2) Trevélez, 3) Ronda, 4) Cordoba, and 5) Granada, Sierra Nevada, and the beach near Nurja.

The first trip to Trevélez was recommended to me by a friend who had been there.  It is the second highest village in Spain at nearly 5000'.  I went up there alone on my day off on Friday after the 200m prelims.  Driving east toward Motril, then north to the great Sierra Nevada mountain range, my first glimpse of the Sierras was awesome.  These are peaks over 10,000' and look as high as the Rockies, particularly due to their proximity to sea level.   I've heard that on clear days, one can spot the African coast with binoculars from up there.  As I got higher into the Sierras, I came upon the Rule Reservoir and stopped to call my parents and take a few photos:

As usual, olive trees were everywhere and the higher into the mountains I got, I started seeing almond trees, which I stopped to sample.
I spotted Trevélez from a distance, a typical 'white village' of Andalucia, tightly situated on the mountain and made of white stucco with Spanish tile roof.

I drove to the top where the paved road ended, was sorry to not have an SUV to continue to the higher terrain.  The roads were ridiculously narrow and really meant for walking.  The locals eyed me but were probably used to tourists as is seemed obvious that is what their economy depends on.

This town is famous for it's dried cured hams, hanging in almost every store.  I don't eat ham but nevertheless I tried it.  It was quite good with the local manchego cheese, one of my favorite cheeses.  But, you'll never see the Spanish putting mustard on their ham and cheese.  Olive oil if anything.

I walked into a cafe a had a delicious cafe con leche and into a tourist shop where I bought a fig and almond bar.  I had a brief conversation with my limited Spanish with the owner who said he was 55 yrs old and had lived in Trevélez his whole life.    Not a bad situation.

I wrote about my trip to Tolox in the mountains west of Malaga in an earlier post.  I went with John and Carlos.

I went to Ronda,  with Sandy on Thursday. Ronda is a magical city built across the deep El Tajo gorge west of Malaga.  It was a cool drizzly day and was happy to find a cafe for some of the usual cafe con leche.  The views from and of Ronda are tremendous.  We drove both above and below the city.

I found a guitar shop and a local guy was about to play a concert for about 7 or 8 people gathered.  I wish I could have tried out some of the guitars in there.  There were some good ones but the concert was about to start and it wasn't a good time.  We decided not to stay for the concert.  

We drove back into the sunset which gave the landscape a beautiful tone. I stopped for a few photos ... wheat fields and windmills.

Saturday, Stephen had a car so we met for breakfast at my hotel and  drove to Cordoba to see the grand Mosque-Cathedral, and whatever else we could find.  I also wanted to see the Alcazar Gardens but they closed early (2:30).  But, I did find the guitar shop of José Rodriguez, and a nice cafe for an early dinner. 

Entering the courtyard of the cathedral, it was filled with perfect orange trees surrounded by moorish tile and masonry floors.  The  medieval Mosque-Cathedral, containing both Muslim and Christian motifs, was grand and immediately impressive for it's series of stone arches and highly detailed alters.

After enjoying the Mosque-Cathedral, Stephen and I navigated through the narrow streets to the guitar shop of Jose Rodriguez. It was a small shop with a tiny waiting area. I honestly could not imagine how this guy could get any work done, with his work space open to the public and people walking in and out.  He didn't speak any English and I stood around for 10 minutes with others and decided to leave and come back right before the 2-4PM afternoon siesta.  Stephen and I had a cafe con leche and I returned to his shop just before 2.  There was a guy in there who spoke a little English and I managed to tell him I was a guitar professor visiting from the US.  He closed his shop and showed me 2 spruce guitars and a flamenco.  His prices were high but appropriate.  4500 Euro for the standard concert model, 6500 Euro for his top German spruce guitar ($7650).  The first guitar was ok, but the second, his top model was really superb.  Very colorful and loud.  If it were a bargain, I would have bought it.  I played for about 15 min.  Stephen seemed to really enjoy the scene, me playing, Jose listening, and trying to communicate not knowing much of each other's language.  Stephen took a few photos, I thanked him and we were off.

We then had a great dinner in a street courtyard of fried cod and headed back to Malaga.

Granada, Sierra Nevada, and the beach
Saturday was my last day to tour and I could not find a travel companion so I took off to Granada on my own, with the goal of seeing the cathedral there and then driving up to the ski resort in the Sierras.  I arrived and found parking in an impossibly narrow 4th basement level urban parking garage.  Thankful for the smallness of this Fiat.  The cathedral did not disappoint.

After leaving the cathedral, I wandered around an upscale urban market close to the parking garage. It was a paradise of seafood, and produce. I could definitely see why people live well here.

Granada market
 I found my way out of Granada and headed toward the Sierra Nevada resort town of Pradollano, Europe's most southerly ski resort at 6900'.  The highest peaks of the Sierra Nevadas are over 11,000'.   Unfortunately, it was socked in with rain and fog,  I couldn't get much of a view.  The road to the observatory was gated and a sole gate tended sat in the isolated shack.  This destination was filled with empty hotels and bicyclists who would take van to the top and ride down.

I started back, stopping numerous times to enjoy the view below the fog and I decided to not take the highway back but to take a smaller road through the mountains.  It was really cool.  Fortunately, I found a gas station where I fueled up and had yet another cafe con leche.  Funny that gas station coffee in Spain is better than you get pretty much anywhere in the US.

As I approached Nurja, I decided to drive the coastal road and look at some of the beach views.  I wasn't planning on swimming but that changed when I saw a really cool beach.

It was 300' or so below the highway and above the beach were the remains of an old castle.

Granada market

 I carefully made my way down the difficult rocky slope and onto a pebble beach.  There weren't many people there.  Of the sparse beach patrons, some were naked or partly clothed, not surprising ... (and actually a bit refreshing compared to the conservative area of the US where I live).  The water was crystal clear and there was no sand!  It was all smooth pebbles, like walking in jewels.  I took a few stones as souvenirs.  I later found out that this beach was called Las Calas del Pino and was regarded as one of the finer beaches in the area.

Not having a towel nor a swimsuit, I stripped to my underwear and took a brief swim.  It was refreshing, the water temp about upper 70s.  I then scrambled back up the cliffside and had a brief chat with a local that could speak some English.  It was beginning to thunder and I started my drive back.  My time was short because I would be attending a flamenco show that night with teammates, Roxanne, Dale, and Lucho.

Road through the Sierras
Beach - Las Calas del Pino

Clear water pebble beach
I got back in time to attend the flamenco show near the Malaga cathedral. Due to the near impossibly navigated narrow streets in town we took a bus from a meeting point at the team hotel toward the Malaga cathedral.
I had a 2 course dinner of paella and turkey and potatoes with dessert.  The flamenco show featured a very good male dancer and few older and not so good female dancers and a singer and a guitarist who relentlessly hacked out very percussive rhythmic accompaniments, nothing particularly virtuosic or nuanced.  However, noticing the palmas (clapping) ... it was the real deal.  This was a popular restaurant version of flamenco.  Probably not the highest in the gitano art form but nevertheless, the first and only flamenco I saw there.  I was expecting flamenco to be more mainstream and visible but it still remains a subculture, even in Andalucia.  I met the guitarist afterward, he didn't speak any English but we compared nails.  I had the characteristic ping pong ball glue ons, he had very hard and long ceramic nails, hard as rock ... appropriate to his aggressive and percussive style,  He was no Sabicas, but got the job done and knew his rhythms. 

Malaga Cathedral
Flamenco show

It was just after dinner I got the text informing me I had indeed been assigned to the USA 4x100m team.  I actually didn't think my appeal would go through but it did.  It made for a nice end to the day, I'd get a chance to race twice on Sunday.

After the relay races on Sunday and the award ceremonies, I sat out on the lawn of the stadium, watching the sunset and I began chatting with a US teammate who was there with her daughter and were drinking champagne.  I had a glass and a nice chat with her.  I felt a bit sad that the meet was over and I didn't do well individually.  But nevertheless, it was well worth the trip.  I was really very hungry.  Not eating anything all day, due to the huge meal I had the night before.  I knew the hotel restaurant would be closed and so, still in my uniform, I put my t shirt and sweats over the USA kit and drove through the streets of the local village of Campanillas near my hotel just hoping to find a coffee shop or cafe open on Sunday night.  What I found was absolutely perfect...   a wonderful coffee house with sandwiches, pastries and the usual great spanish cafe con leche.   I called Roya and video chatted from this place. It was just what I needed.  Had a great chicken sandwich and 2 coffees and a pastry.  Was a bit sad knowing this would be my last cafe con leche in Spain, and I'd soon be heading for the 'land of bad coffee and rednecks'.  It was a great trip despite the disappointments.  

coffee shop in Campanillas
The trip back was exceptional because I had 3 seats to myself.  What luck!  I arrived back in Sewanee for a stunning sunset, the same day I left Malaga.   Life is good.

Welcome home sunset - Sewanee

I'll probably expand this post in the future with more details, but that's it for now...  

it's about the journey.  Athletics, a good way to see the world.  

Friday, September 21, 2018

Maintenance workout

Four days no exercise, eating freely has put a few lbs on and left me feeling pretty soft.  After a massive lunch of a lb of fried fish, fries, and apples, and sweet peach tea, I went to the track this evening.  Despite a decent maintenance workout, I still weighed 151.0 lbs afterward, most in several months.  It goes away fast.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
4 x 200m - 29, 28.5, 28, 27.8
Nothing fast today.  Just had to remind myself how to sprint.   There is no way I'll be in shape to race a 400m next weekend but maybe I'll do the 100 and 200m.  Need to lose a few lbs.

151 lbs for me feels heavy, although I don't look particularly heavy.  My present 151 lbs is a BMI of 23.7 - in the normal range.  (For perspective... a 5'10" man, with an identical BMI of 23.7 would weigh 165 lbs).

I hope to post more about the Spain experience this weekend.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Day 4 - Malaga World Masters Athletic Championships

My fourth day of competition was relay day.  I would like to post more about the entire Malaga experience - both as an athlete and a tourist, but I don't want to turn this into a travel blog.  However, in the days to come, I'll post more stuff about Spain, and my entire experience including the tourist things.  After all, I had more time off than I was expecting.

M55 4 x 100m - Gold Medal - USA:  47.40 (11.85 avg/leg)
This was the only day I'd be running at the big main stadium.  Seemed like a pretty nice track.   I really wanted to run on this team but didn't know if I would be til the last minute due to flaws in the selection process (see below).   We had 4 solid legs and if we could get the passes right, we could win. 

We met out front of the stadium, measured steps, and practiced handoffs for about 20 min.  Rob to Damon, Damon to me, me to Don.  I had 3rd leg, the turn and needed to get the stick to Don, hopefully with a lead.  Don was tired, having run 9 races by now.  The Brits had some fast guys, Neil and Paul who were 200m finalists in Daegu, and John who was a 200m finalist in Malaga ... so they had a solid team.  Australia did as well.  We had lane 4, Aussies in 5 and the Brits in 7.  I felt really good, no signs of ham soreness and a bounce in my stride.

The race started and Rob seemed to hold his own and the exchange with Damon looked ok but the Brits had a slight lead.   Damon came and I was about even with the Brits but ahead of everyone else when I got the stick in a good pass.  I was against Paul (4th in Daegu 200m) and I made up the split  and gave Don about a 1-2m lead.  Our exchange also went real well and I remember the baton slap into his hand and I ran behind him half way down the straight yelling 'Get it Don!! Get it!'.  I was a bit worried as John from the UK started closing the gap at the end but Don held on to win by 0.37 in 47.40.  Good time, not a great time as we were .25 faster in Lyon.  Our splits as posted on the team spreadsheet were:
Rob - 12.80
Damon - 11.80
Me - 11.40
Don - 11.40
We were fortunate to win as I had learned later, Damon had injured his ham during the race and had to withdraw from the 4x400m team. 

M55 4 x 400m - Silver Medal - USA:  3:51.31 (57.83 avg/leg)

We were not going to beat the UK in this one.  They had 4 of the top 5 finishers in the M55 400m.  So we were dueling with a strong Australian team for Silver.  They had Todd and Darren, tall 400m/400mH guys front loading their team.  Don led off for us, me second, Rob (subbing for Damon) third, and Marcus on anchor.  We were in lane 5 while the Aussies were in lane 3.  I got the baton from Don behind the Aussies and well behind the Brits.  Determined to beat the Aussies to the break, even though Todd had inside lane, I took it out a bit hard and paid for it in the end.  I took at least a few meter lead in front of Todd and expected to hold it, as I wasn't rigging, but to my surprise, the tall Aussie came loping by me in the home stretch and I passed off to Rob about 3m behind.  That sucked, I hate being passed in a relay.  Rob held his own giving the stick to Marcus just behind the Aussies.  Marcus at 6'4" tall was racing an Aussie who was about a foot shorter than he.  Marcus ran a good smart leg and finally passed the Aussie with about 40m to go giving us the Silver.  The Brits won by a ridiculous 9 seconds in 3:42.42, setting a European record - averaging 55.6 per leg more than 2 sec faster than our avg 57.83 per leg. 

Splits as recorded on the team spreadsheet:
Don: 57.2
Me: 56.6
Rob: 60.4
Marcus: 56.6

The Aussie who passed me on my leg, Todd is 58, and John, the Brit who won Silver in the 400m running 55.95 is 59 yrs old... and Gerhard who won M60 at age 62, ran 55.88 - which tells me M60 is going to be no picnic in the 400m.   I'm thinking I'd be more competitive in the 100m at M60 - the bronze medalist ran just 12.74 in the M60 100m finals.  Of course Don and Allan will both be moving up as well at the same time as me.

USA Relay controversy

Unfortunately, the USATF Masters committee is overwhelmed by the task of putting about 40 relay teams together, and because the decision has to be made quickly and the criteria is vague, the system often fails.  Filling out paper forms with some scribbled notes is not a good way to do things.  I will propose at some point an online form with clear criteria and links to athlete performances so everyone is privy to the situation and there are no politics involved.  It's a complicated issue, especially when comparing athletes who, for example - don't usually run the 100m, for placement on a 4x100m team relay.

All that said, there was controversy and I had to make my case that I should be on the team because one of the members - like me, who only ran the 200m/400m,  had: 1) ran slower than me in the 200m Malaga prelims,  2) ran significantly slower than me in our last recorded 100m races from '17 (12.25 vs 12.65).   I was told by team captain Phil, decisions are based 90% on performance at this meet.  I had emailed team captain with no response, talked with Rex the masters chair, no response, then finally contacted Robt. who agreed with my case.  He asked me 'why I didn't make my case to the team captains at the Friday night social?'  The fact is, I did.  That is when I talked to Rex.  I didn't know why I had to make my case if they had the data.   It was 11:30pm the night before the race that I found out they made the change and I was in the M55 USA 4x100m.   This unfortunately caused some bad feeling, particularly because, unbeknownst to me, someone close to me contacted the athlete in question and asked him to do the right thing to which he responded negatively and with some falsehoods.  I was very embarrassed and extremely upset that it had come to this.  I didn't need anyone meddling in my issue, didn't matter who was right.  I felt the fallout later.  I hope I can salvage an apparent lost friendship. 

In Daegu WMACi '17, I was placed on the M50 4x200m relay team by the team captain.  At the last minute I was replaced by a guy who in the same meet, had run a 26.31 200m.  I had run two 200s at 24.86 and 24.82 in the meet.  It was the wrong thing to do and I never complained to the team.  It cost me a relay gold, so I wasn't going to let this issue go quietly.

I've always produced fairly well in these short relays.  Setting the WR twice in the M55 4x200m in Albuquerque in '16 which still stands; and in Perth, our Gold medal M50 team ran a blazing 45.15 - that's 11.29 a leg.  I looked and it was significantly faster than Willie Gault's 4x100 in Sacramento. The only WMA M50 Championship 4x100m that was faster was the Bill Collins team of 2003, and only faster by 0.2.  We were just .6 off the WR.  So, I feel I can hold my own on a sprint relay.  I did my job and we won. Good passes, good leg.  As team co-captain Jerry told me afterward - referring to the fiasco, 'all's well that ends well'.    It's a nice medal... heavy. 

Friday, September 14, 2018

Day 3 - Malaga World Masters Athletic Championships

Been reluctant to make this post since I must report the fact that I ran my worst 400m race of the season at the worst possible time - when it mattered the most, in the 400m M55 semifinals.  Good thing I don't make my living doing this!   It took Don's best 400m of his season and my worst (of 7 I raced this year outdoor) for him to beat my at the tape by few inches or 0.07 sec and eliminate me from the final.  I was nervous, not relaxed and I completely rigged up in the end, went out too fast, a stupid race.  I ran the prelim easy... 57.00 while slowing up and looking around all the way down the stretch.  All I had to do to make the final was to do the same thing again.  I ran 57.54 my worst time of the season.  A mere 57.47 would have got me into the final.  Needless to say, I was devastated.  I really let myself down.  After all that painful work, I just threw it all away.  Wasted.

Still, my easy 57.00 prelim was the fastest time at the meet by any US M55 400m racer.  But it would have taken a sub 56 to win a medal, which I think I could have done if I executed perfectly, but that obviously didn't happen.  Don who beat me in the semi, completely collapsed in the final and ran 59.88.

I was so pissed that night I could not sleep.  I stayed up til 4am and guess what I was doing... booking arrangements to go to Poland to race the WMACi Indoor in March.  I stopped short of buying a plane ticket, but I think I'm going to go.  Might as well, already have the request for time off approved.  Ending the season in good shape, no serious injuries.  I may even race the district Senior Games... which start in 2 weeks.

So, I ended up having 3 days off unexpectedly in Spain... went to Cordoba, Ronda, and had a great time.  I really have enjoyed being here.

I'm looking forward to some consolation medals in our relays.  I should be on both the 4x100m and the 4x400m.  The initial listing had Marcus ranked above me and me as an alternate, but that was a mistake and if I hadn't pointed it out, they may have gone with it.  When choosing 4x100m relay members, you have to look at 200m times when guys haven't run the 100m, or the most recent 100m a guy has run even if it's last year.  If they go by the numbers, there is no issue.  So, I hope they correct it by tomorrow.  If not, I'll be going to Robert and Marcus directly.  I don't want a repeat of the Daegu situation where I got pulled off a relay at the last minute and someone's friend or roommate got put on instead.  As of tonight, they still haven't fixed it. 

One more free day in Spain.  Thinking about Granada.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Day 2 Malaga World Masters Athletic Championships

Day two of racing was a bust for me.  Under-performed again, still only a 25.70 from lane eight in the semis, finishing fourth.  Did much like I did in the first round, except stumbled slightly at the start.  I was even with the top 2 coming off the curve but rigged in the last 15m and was passed by the Japanese who took 3rd.  I led him through the whole race until the last 20m.  I lost so much time at the end he beat me by 0.24 sec, or about 2m.  Don't know what is the matter with me.  Have felt generally weak since I got here and have lost confidence a bit.  This is the first event at a World Championship that I've been eliminated from the finals.

If I had run what I ran in June twice - (25.30 and 25.32), I would've made the finals and finished 6th.  If I had run what I ran in Lyon twice (25.04, 25.08) or in Perth (25.04) or in Korea 3 times (25.04, 24.84, 24.82), I would have medaled.  Hell... my 200m split in my 400m final in Daegu was even faster (25.5).   No excuse.  Conditions were good.  Can't really explain it.  Seems like I must have peaked back in June before that series of injuries.  To race at my A game, I have to be on a roll.  I'm not so good I can win with my B game at M58.  Plus, I really haven't done much 200m race modeling, although my times in training shoes were faster than 25.7, and my 200m split in a 300m event run was about 25.7, this lack of speed is pretty bad.  I think I over estimated my fitness and under estimated how fast I was running in the first 100m.  Can't run a 200m like a 100m.

This photo was of my semi, about 40m before the end.  I got passed by the guy to my left from Japan.

Was planning on doing a big drive today and take some friends into the mountains, but no one wants to go and many are sick with colds.

Well guess what... Corey Moody - the defending World Champion from Perth IS here, and he's in shape.  He just ran a 2:14 in the 800m semis.  Shoot, if he can run the 2:14 in the 800m semis, he's going to kick ass in the 400m.  Going to be tough to make the 400m final.  Corey hardly ever races and no one knows whether he's going to show up or not.  He qualified 10th of 12, be curious to see if he'll run the final or if this was just a warmup. 

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Touring in Spain

First day off, the first real night of sleep I've had in 3 days.  I finally got out of bed, dressed and out the door by 3:30pm and decided to pick up John and Carlos and drive to a mountain village called Tolox in the Sierra de las Nieves, a town I just selected off the map within an hour drive.  We drove through the olive groves and small towns until we reached the end of the paved road high above the city at a historical spa called Balneario de Tolox, and a hotel called Montaña.   The road was really beckoning me, but it was for SUVs only, unpaved.  How I wished I rented an SUV.   It probably would be cheap here. 

The spa opened in the 19th c. and is reputed to have waters infused with gases that are therapeutic. I noticed many of the people visiting and apparently waiting to get in were elderly.  I walked down the stairs and peeked in the windows.  I told John, "you gotta see this."  The place had nice tile and ceramic designs, but the inside looked totally bizarre, with institutional like booths set up with 'inhalators' where patrons could inhale the magic mist from the local waters.

We then drove down to the hotel where John and Carlos had an awesome looking apple pie and home made ice cream. I had the usually superb Spanish cafe con leche. 

In this region of Spain, we saw many many olive trees and some orange trees.  It looked tropical, like Florida, but with mountains. What was most stunning was how very quiet it was. 

I stopped and picked a few olives.  They are a bit bitter when unripe.  Some of the small olive trees had big thick trunks, denoting they were very old.   They've been growing olives for a good long while here.

The flora here ranges from dry scrubby grassland to lush and tropical, with unusual barkless trees and pines.  The mountain roads are typical cliff sided with no room for error, my kind of roads.  My dad's favorite too.  ;)

Hungry when I got back, but the local supermarket closed.  Wow, closed at 8 pm on Saturday night, unimaginable in the US, so I had to drive into Malaga to get some food.  Time for bed and another go at the 200m tomorrow.  May run it once or twice, hopefully twice.