Sunday, April 29, 2018

300s, 200, 150

Amazingly quiet and beautiful at the Marist School in Atlanta this evening.  Dry, mid 60ºs with a light breeze under the setting sun.  Felt sore and rusty after the Friday stadium stairs, sore calves.  For a track in a major city, it was as quiet as Sewanee.
2 x 300m - 43.5, 43.8 
200m - 27.5
150m - 20
Ran the 300s hard, the second one really kicked my butt.  I took ample rest between each sprint.  This was really just maintenance, nothing really substantial but a very tiring workout as everything was 85-90%.

I'm really trying to reduce weight now.  Not near an accurate scale, but around 147.  This weight would put me right in the middle of the normal healthy BMI range, but not good enough if I want to run fast.  Would like to be 141.  Harder every year to get the weight off.

Enjoyed watching my team - GPTC win the Penn Relay's M50 4x400 by a mile.  The highlight of the meet for me was watching MTSU win the 4x200m, first relay win at Penn in 23 yrs.  I also was blown away by the Jamaican HS team from Calabar that ran times that would beat 99% of all colleges: 39.5 in the 4x100 and 3:03.79 in the 4x400.

I'm beginning to really see how hard it is to maintain fitness with age.  I never remember working this hard during HS track, yet I was still a fast 100/200 sprinter.  My brother excelled at the highest levels as a polevaulter, but I don't recall him working very hard on his strength and speed.  I'm just glad I'm getting healthy again and can still do it.  I'll try to race in 4 weeks, see where I am.  I'm getting close to committing to Spokane Nationals.

My dad turned 78 today, my brother is retired, and I'm 58 in 2 months... the sunset of my athletic career.  As Alan told me the other day, it's about the journey.

Friday, April 27, 2018

800m + stadium stairs

I'm really in poor shape still.  Today really drove the point home.  Beautiful morning at the MTSU track, mid 50ºs and sunny.  I met Jacob and we warmed up and ran an 800m before hitting the stadium stairs.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches 
800m - 2:46 (83, 83) 
15 x stadium stairs 
My 800m was pathetic.  I thought I could break 2:40 but didn't come close.  Jacob ran 72-78 splits, my last 100 must have taken me 21+ sec.  Pathetic.  I'm just too heavy and have lost any foundation I had built up in Jan.  I was definitely in better shape in Jan when I ran 57.02 at Vandy.  My foot has not allowed me to get the volume in.  Taking 4 weeks off the track is costly.  At least I have another month before I race.  It'll probably be 2 or 3 weeks before I attempt anything in spikes.

It wouldn't be a bad idea to keep doing 2 foundation workouts a week, and maybe one quality speed workout.

The stairs were hard as usual, we'll see how I feel tomorrow from them.

146.8 lbs after workout.  I can feel I'm carrying an extra 5 lbs.  Although I'm off the bread, I've developed an almond butter habit.  I have to knock that off to lose this last 5 lbs.  Always the hardest.  As usual, I have to do some fasting to get to my race weight.  Once there, easier to maintain.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

slow stuff

This morning on the track at Sewanee, cloudy, bleak, 55º... wet track.   Guess I'm not ready to go every other day yet, wasn't hitting my splits.  Ran faster a week ago. At least I got some meters in.
Hoka trainers on 
350m warmup, stretches, drills 
600m - 1:51 
500m - 89 
300m - 47
I didn't take full rest between the 600 and 500, probably why the 500 was so slow.  The last interval was supposed to be a 400m but I bailed after 300 when I saw I wouldn't hit my goal of 62. I should've finished it in a 64-65, but I copped out.  Not a good day.

In order to protect my feet better, I've added a lot of stuff in my new trainers.  In addition to the stock inserts, a thin shock protectant insole called Noene, then some Profoot plantar supports, and then some custom cut 5mm gel soles that I placed under the stock insert on the outside of my forefoot where I strike.  My heels barely fit in my shoe with heavy socks but it's very soft. Should be protective. I have 2 pairs of active trainers, one new, the other just slightly worn.  I have a third that I use in the gym.

I still need to lose 5 lbs.  146.7 lbs after workout.

May try to hit the stadium stairs on Friday.

Monday, April 23, 2018

foundation / spectator at SAA meet

Dodging rain showers on a nice spring day, about 60º and breezy at the Sewanee track.  It rained all day yesterday so I went to the weight room and did a brief but focused weight workout.  Today, the track was quiet and all the stuff left over from the SAA conference track meet was gone.

Needed to put in as much volume as I could today.  Not ready to run fast.

Sunday night, the weight room was a ghost ship, no one there:

3 x 15 w/ 80 lbs  - single leg squats/squat jumps  
15 box jumps
Monday on the track:
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
2 x 600m - 1:49, 1:49.5 
300m - 45.5
This workout was hard but much less painful and hard on the body as my workout on Friday.  I now know not to start a workout with a 61 400m in my present shape and expect to accomplish anything.   I could have done more if my feet could handle it, but it was enough since I expect to be out here again Wed morning.  I remember doing a lot of 600s in my '15 training cycle.  That was a good season, didn't run anything shorter than a 400m for 5 weeks.  (partly due to a hip flexor).  I still haven't had the balls to try a tempo workout yet, but that is coming.

Still heavy, 147.1 lbs after workout.

SAA Championships
The Southern Athletic Conference is a small school DIII NCAA division that includes 8 schools: Rhodes, Sewanee, Milsaps, Hendrix, Berry, Birmingham Southern, Centre, and Ogelthorpe... all small private schools with 100+ yr histories and high academic reputations.  Not exactly hotbeds of athletic prowess.

It was nice to attend a track meet in my hometown.  I hung with my fellow masters track rival and colleague, Marcus who was there with his family.  His amazing daughter Karmin won 4 medals, in the 100, 200, 400, 4x100 and ran the 4 x 400m.  I don't think I've ever seen a college athlete run 5 races in one championship meet.  She won the 200m in 24.26 - the 2nd fastest DIII time in the US after running 3 races.... the 400m in 56.5, the 100m, and the 4x100m.  I can't believe she finished 2nd in the 100m, just 20min after winning the 400m.  It was nice to see Marcus and his whole family.

To me, the most amazing and inspiring race was the men's 400.  It was won by a 5'6" white kid, a freshman from TX who was representing Hendrix.  I was stunned at how Levi Jones held his form and held off his competitors all the way down the stretch, finishing in a PR 48.74.  Wow.  The kid was built a lot like me, except possibly a tad shorter and a bit more muscular.  He weighed 153 lbs.  Definitely did not look like a typical 400m guy, or like any of his competitors.

Also, I saw a kid win the 100m in 10.57 into a slight headwind, very fast on this track.  I think he's the defending DIII champion from Birmingham Southern.  It was the second fastest DIII 100m this yr.  There were a few others that I think will qualify for the DIII Nationals.

Here is a photo of the SAA Championship Award Ceremony.  Rhodes College won the team title.

I love DIII track

Friday, April 20, 2018

3 hard sprints

Waited til after day 1 of the SAA Conference meet was over in Sewanee and squeezed in a workout between the track meet and a lacrosse game.  Perfect day, upper 60ºs and sunny.

I took 2 days off after the previous track workout and I think I bit off a bit too much starting with a hard 400.  After that, I was toast.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
400m - 61.5 (30.5, 31) 
300m - 45.5 
200m - 29
My right foot hurt a bit more than expected and each sprint felt hard.  Not as good a workout as last Tues.  Next time I won't start with a hard 400m.  Any thought of running at the Nashville Masters meet in 2 weeks was dashed today.  I'm not in shape.  I took the last 200m a bit easy because my foot and hip had started to hurt.

147 lbs after workout.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

first real track workout in a month

Beautiful day on the mountain.  60º and sunny at noon, breezy with temps climbing into the upper 60ºs by early afternoon.  Shirtless training weather.

Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
600m - 1:46.5 
         5 min rest 
200m - 27 
         full rest 
400m - 62.5 (31.5, 31) 
         5 min rest 
200m - 27.5

 I was planning to do 2 x 600m but I thought some faster stuff would be better.   I ran the 600m in my older Hokas and it felt ok, nothing really hard.   I changed into the new Clifton 3s supplemented with inserts and wow, did they feel supper springy in the next 200m.  Hope they stay that way for a while.  After a good long rest - about 15-20 min, I decided to run a negative split 400m.  I set a goal at 62 (32, 30).  The first 200 was just under 32 but felt too easy, I was thinking I had miss set my timer.  I finished just a step short of 62, and it really wasn't all that exhausting.  Surprising.  The last 200m run into the wind really wasted me.  I was particularly exhausted ... the type of whole body fatigue that knocks me off my feet.  I had to sit in the shade for 10 min before I could get on my feet to walk to my car.  It was a killer.  So, not bad a day... 1400m of work.  I think I might be able to break 60 in a 400m, despite just beginning this training cycle.

Still a bit heavy, 146.4 after workout.  Feet are holding up ok.  Plantar issue is almost gone.

Beautiful spring day... quite a rebound from yesterday when I woke up to a dusting of snow.  Was also freezing last night.   Sewanee Conference Meet on this track Friday and Sat.

sporting my new Hoka Clifton 3s and CW-X tights

Sunday, April 15, 2018

back, sort of

Back to the track for my first real track workout in a month.  I didn't do much but I felt ok.  Bad weather, 45º, breezy, cloudy, damp, track was wet.  To give myself maximum protection, I warmed up in my older Hokas and put fresh padded socks and my new Hokas on when I started my sprints.  I used the plantar inserts for extra padding.  The feet felt ok.  The plantar issue seemed almost gone but the right foot was a bit sore after the 700m of sprints.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
200m - 28 
300m - 45.5 
200m - 29
I ran the 200s the opposite way.  The 300 felt hard.  I'm probably not able to run a sub 60 right now.  When I get this out of shape, the difficulty transcends simple fatigue into a sickly feeling.  Nothing takes the place of this type of training.  Overall, it went well compared to last week.  Well enough that I may go out again on Tues.  I really need some foundation.  Like some 600s.

Of all the plantar inserts I've tried, the cheapest $8 Profoot ones seem to be the best.  Some people spend $80+ for custom inserts. 

145.9 lbs after workout.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

moving hurdles

After a good morning mountain bike ride, I spent Friday late afternoon at my hometown track meet volunteering... moving hurdles, watching handoff zones, etc...   After spending 4 hrs on my feet, I went and did a short weight workout, glute and adductors.  

2 x 55 glute machine - 340 lbs
1 x 25 adductor machine - 150 lbs
500m - rowing machine

Today, Sat. it's raining most of the day and is supposed to get much cooler, probably only in the 40ºs tomorrow, so I'm going to stay off my feet, do some ab work and give it another try on the track tomorrow.  I'm doubtful for the Nashville Masters meet on May 5, just 3 weeks away since I have not had any meaningful track workouts in a month.  Might try and start competing again at the Atlanta Relays in 6 weeks and Birmingham SE Masters is in 7 weeks.  

If it feels ok tomorrow, I could try a real interval workout next Friday, then maybe back to a regular schedule, every other or third day.  

Wednesday, April 11, 2018


Been in the gym 6 days in a row... will need to take Wed-Thurs off. 
Stairmaster, bike, rower, glute machine, and single leg squats have been most of it.  Becoming a gym rat.  Add to all this some outdoor biking.  Even with daily exercise, still 147-148 lbs.  Not too far off optimum.

I may try to run on Friday but may wait as long as til Sunday to try another track workout, we'll see how it feels.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Trial run, more cross training

My return to the track today was disappointing.  I did just 6 short stride/sprints and realized my feet aren't well yet.  Improved, and I probably could tolerate some training with minor pain, but not where I want to be.  I'm not ready to launch into a regime of any substantial volume.   It's not like I've been totally resting it... been doing squats, stairmaster, and even ran the stairs 20x in the Fowler Center Sat night (only 23 steps going every other stair, about half what the MTSU stadium has, but 20x full speed is a workout).

Today was the kind of day I usually like to suffer a hard one.  Cool, cloudy, dry, 47º on the Sewanee track.  It felt good to run again despite the minor foot pain.  I ran both on the track and grass.  Had my new Hoka Clifton 3s with my inserts which do help. 
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
4 x 50m - at 75% effort
2 x 100m on grass - 14.8, 14.2
I was walking back to do a 3rd 100m, but I thought, better not.  Dissatisfied with the workout, later in the evening, I went to the gym, did some ab work, 2000m on the rower in 8:53, and the usual 6 x 15sec sprint intervals on the bike w/ 45 sec rest.  I did notice a slight amount of knee pain from the squats I've been doing. 

I guess I'll try it again next weekend to run, maybe Friday. 

My weigh 148-150 and I'm feeling in really poor condition.  The May 5 Nashville Masters meet is looking less possible. 

I remember what it feels like to run fast.  Don't know if I'll get there again.  So many things have to work right.  The plantar issue doesn't worry me.  I can stretch and strengthen, I just wonder if the bone issue in my right foot will ever be completely gone.  I remember complaining about this issue 6 yrs ago.  It's nothing new.

Looking at athletes over the yrs, I'd sometimes notice a big drop in times  ... I would think 'what happened to that guy?'     And some who completely disappear from the sport after being elite.  Lee told me he was in the best shape of his life in Toronto but didn't run fast.  I felt about the same way.  I guess my time has come to get slower. 

I am about to embark on what may be a long period of free time.  If I don't teach this summer, it would be nice to be able to train.  Considering the relatively small investment of time training takes, no more than 2 hrs a day, I hope to maybe do some traveling this summer.  It would be nice to make Nationals in Spokane a destination for some touring out west, but I'm not going to make arrangements until I really feel like I can train.  I could put off running for 2 more weeks and still have 14 weeks to train.  We'll see.   Maybe time to also consider life without track and training.  Hard this time of year. 

Saturday, April 7, 2018

What I do

squats, bike, stairmaster, diet issues

I took Tues and Wed off, got back to Sewanee for a Thurs night workout and went in last night.

100m warmup, stretches 
3 x 15 single squats w/ 80 lbs  
rowing machine - 2 min sprint - 550m

2 mile hike  
100m warmup, stretches  
25 min - Stairmaster hill program level 15
6 x 15 sec /w 45 sec rest - sprint intervals on bike, level 15
Stair runs - two floors Fowler center 

147.8 lbs this morning.   The feet feel better, not 100% but I'm still going to try and run tomorrow.  I may stay on the grass.   Very cold today, may even snow later.  But I'm going to the weight room tonight and may even get out on the mountain bike today.  This is one weekend I'm glad to not be racing.  Bad weather, damp and very cold... won't get much above 35º today.

I feel a bit of weight gain, eating the forbidden foods like pizza over the weekend, toast and butter, and yesterday... one of my favorite treats: Brown Cow yogurt with crispy Browny Bark cookies.  Pizza and that type of yogurt, which is comparable to ice cream in fat, are things I might eat once a year.  Since I got the good news in Feb that my cholesterol was down to 163, and my calcium CT heart scan score was zero, I've taken license to eat more liberally.  Since Feb, I've eaten about a dozen eggs or 2, and I'm on my 3rd container of butter/canola oil blend and am eating toast.   It won't last though.  I don't like feeling heavy, lethargic, slow.  My Dr. told me the calcium CT scan is the definitive test for assessing heart disease, short of a catheterization.  My dad had the same CT test and it was 'off the scale' bad - indicating significant if not severe heart disease, but since his catheterization showed 50% or less blockage, he has taken that as license to continue his bad eating and sedentary lifestyle.  Knowing that could easily be me, it serves as an example.  If anyone has 'license' to eat liberally, it would be me... but I'll snap back to my normal healthy lifestyle as soon as I hit the track.  I can live on fish and vegetables, fruit, nuts, and protein shakes quite happily.  It's only when I stray off into 'carb land' that I start feeling it.  And now, I have that nominal little fat band back.  It's just a few lbs but I can feel it.

When I did that hard rowing machine sprint for 2 min on Thurs, I got that feeling... the feeling I get when starting a training cycle not in shape.   Not simply fatigue, but a sick feeling.  Reminds me of that old paradigm... 'the idea of being a 400m sprinter is far better than the reality of actually being one'. 

The bottom line is this:  even with rigorous training, I can still gain weight if I eat the typical 3 meals a day and eat anything I want.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Documentary: genes, diet, weight, lifestyle

As I gain a bit of weight, not so much from lack of exercise, but from eating carbs and generally eating more, I saw this documentary on human evolution.  Here, I excerpted a section on the famous running tribe of NW Mexico, the Tarahumara.

As in a previous post on fasting, I had noted that humans are genetically predisposed to be physically active, and to NOT eat multiple regular daily meals.  Humans' genetic heritage predisposes the species to store fat, as our ancestors had to deal with an intermittent food supply.  Early humans and indigenous people, have also have been accustomed to a lifestyle of physical activity, intermittent food sources, and usually natural foods. 

When taking indigenous people and putting them into a modern society, there is a genetic mismatch of genes and lifestyle which results in disease.  The video shows an example of this from the Tarahumara people of NW Mexico.  The Tarahumara aren't unique in having these genetic predispositions.  When our distant relatives lived on the African plains, they developed these genetic characteristics, an ability to run, an ability to store fat.  Industrial society has been around for just a tiny sliver of our evolution.

The Tarahumara people are the subject of the McDougall's book, "Born to Run," which I received as a birthday gift a few yrs ago from my parents.  I read this book on my long flights to Australia and Korea to compete.  It is unofficially reported that a Tarahumara record for long distance running is 435 miles in 50 hrs.  Runs of over 100 miles are not uncommon for these people.

Check out the entire documentary, "The Evolution of Us" on Amazon Prime Video. This section is from Part 2.

biking up the hill, weights

A double session of sorts on Monday... I did the grueling climb on the bike up Roarke's Cove Rd., an ascent of about 1000' in 2.8 miles.  Then later after some easy additional riding, I hit the weight room:
150m warmup
3 x 15 single leg squats with 80 lbs 
2 x 65 - glute machine with 340 lbs
2 x 30 calf raises
I jogged a warmup lap on the indoor track as a test, and yes... the feet still hurt.  If and when I do start running, it will likely be just on grass and only a few times a week.  Even if I was off a year, it would still hurt to run the first time as the body needs to adapt to it.

I've relaxed a bit on my diet, ate pizza for the first time in a well over a year.  Have put that 3 lb layer of fat back on around my waist, only took 2 weeks.  I'm not much heavier though, about 148 lbs.   I'm starting to reduce in the next few weeks so when I start running, there will be a few less pounds to stress my feet.   If I'm not able to do quality work in 2-3 weeks, no point in running in the Nashville Masters meet in early May.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Track World - post Usain Bolt

Today, I'm planning to burn some calories with a good long ride on the mountain bike, then weights tonight.  2 weeks now off the track, at least one more week.

Not being a competitor, these past few weeks, I've been really blown away by some of the new elite young tracksters on the scene ... and the season is young.

Many said track would never be the same after Bolt retired, but this season indicates that track is in good hands.  Here's some highlights so far:

  • Christian Coleman, 22, ran under the world record in the 60m THREE times this indoor season: 6.34, 6.37, 6.37 
  • Michael Norman, 20, broke the indoor world record in the 400m - 44.52 . Two other college athletes have also run under 45 indoors:  Akeem Bloomfield and  Bralon Taplin.  No one in the world has broken 45 yet this outdoor season. 
  • Sydney McLaughlin, 18, ran 50.07 in the 400m at the FL Relays ... in the rain.  A world leading time.  Her 22.39 200m is #2 in the world. 
  • Three college teams ran under the world record in the 4x400m relay: USC, TX A&M, and Florida.  All three faster than the World Champion/ WR team from Poland. 
  • Elijah Hall-Thompson ran a collegiate record in the indoor 200m - 20.02, the second fastest indoor 200m ever. 
  • Clarence Munyai, 20, ran a 19.69 200m, breaking Van Niekirk's record.  
  • Briana Williams, a 15 yr old Jamaican who has run 11.13 in the 100m, breaking Marion Jones WR for that age.   She may be the next Flojo. 
  • Mondo Duplantis, 18, cleared 19'5" to break his junior record.  I think he's clearly on his way to a WR in the coming years.  He may be the next Sergi Bubka.

I think the sport is in good hands and I really think that we'll see Bolt's records broken in the coming decade.