Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Carrying on, weights, rest

I got back from Nationals on Sunday, decided to hit the weight room Sunday night.  I did some cleans with barbells w/ 115 lbs and 3 sets of squat jumps, some with weights.   Having never done any barbell work before, I was sore afterward, especially in the traps and shoulders. 

Monday, I spent 3+ hours loading, moving, and stacking/splitting firewood.  I was tired and still sore.  So, today, I'm taking completely off.  I expect to return to the track tomorrow.  It'll be 4 days off from running, and I needed it.

I was not well trained for Nationals, and had done no short stuff or much of a taper down.  I think all those hills and stadium stairs, I may have over trained a bit.   One thing is for sure, I'm not recovering from workouts as easily as I once did. 

I was actually quite embarrassed with my race. Having won Nationals 5 times and recently won a World indoor title and a Silver, I noticed the staff photographers focusing on me as I got into the blocks.  Afterwards, I felt like I hadn't spent all I had on the race, wasn't as tired as usual, maybe just running gingerly still.  I mean there is no way I ever could have won against David, having never run under 55 (55.1 - three times), but I should have managed a medal.   I watched in envy some of my colleagues having the meet of their lives, particularly Alan, Roxanne, and Val.   Alan is now the fastest M55 in the world, faster than Willie Gault.  Roxanne was at PR levels in all her 3 sprints, won 2 Gold and a Silver.  Val just missed a AR in the M60 100m. 

I did register for that tiny Masters meet in Orlando in Aug.   What if I don't improve by then, should I still go?  I guess so, it's about the journey.  I just need to set more modest goals, like just making the final.  Hoping to complete all rounds without injury and running a few relays. 

Looking forward toward the end of my M55s, I think I may go to Poland, but beyond that, not sure.  Next year will be my M59 year for outdoor season.  It's the next year I really want to aim for so I may just end my competition season after indoor next yr.  I also would like to try long jump and work on my 100m/200m race.   The next peak I want to aim for is the 2020 outdoor and 2021 indoor seasons.  It's really not that far away.   I think with a fresh approach and some intelligent training, I'd like to be at the level to be in World medal contention during that first M60 season for me.  Since I've always run faster indoors (3 of my top four 400m times), I'd like to think I have an outside chance to approach the M60 indoor 400m WR of 55.62.  But that is a long ways away.  My first indoor meets would be Dec 2020, more than 2 yrs away. 

It's really hard to be consistent and maintain speed through the years and stay uninjured.  I remember Gerhard who in his first M60 meet had the meet of his life in Perth, running 55.05, and 24.66 ... a 400m time that would have won M55.  Then, he just disappeared.  Haven't seen any results from him in more than a year.  I guess that is the nature of the sport.  Even in the pro ranks.  I remember sprinters who were expected to be dominant on the scene just disappear, like Marvin Bracy and Trayvon Bromell.  Anyway, I guess rest days and maintaining general health and strength when not on the track becomes more important as we age if we are to maintain our competitive edge. 

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Meet report USATF Masters National Outdoor Championship 2018

The meet was a bust for me.
57.43 - fourth in the 400m

Of the 4 outdoor 400s I've run this season, this was the slowest.  My slowest outdoor 400m Championship race since my first in '11.   I knew I'd probably not be ready to deliver my A game, being injured June 15 - last weekend.   But still, should have eeked out at least a bronze here, which I missed by 0.03.   But ... it wouldn't have mattered much if I did bring my A game, a new M55 star emerged that blew away everyone: David Pitts, running 54.58 in what was I think his first masters meet... the fastest M55 400m time in the world, by almost a second and a half.  I'm fairly certain this time will end up being #1 in the world at season's end.  A stunning performance.  Fastest M55 400m in the US since '14 I think.  He would have medaled or won in all other age groups.   I'd like to see what he could do in the 200m, but he didn't sign up.  Good thing he's a new M55 and won't be in my age group much longer.  

Tyrone really improved from his '15 and '16 races to grab the silver in 56.43.  

Having lane 2 in the race an able to see everyone was a luxury, but the problem was that it made me run a little too conservative.  I probably went out too slow.  I would be rigging in the end anyway, but it may have made a half second difference.  

It was pretty discouraging since I am usually more motivated by success than failure, but I have 5 weeks to train before Worlds, and good thing is that I pretty much healthy again, except for the usual foot soreness.  I just wish there were some meets I could race in in Aug.  Be good to have an intermediate goal.  Nothing in my area.  Seems like there is a masters series in Winter Park, FL in Aug.  That's about the only thing I could find.  

Anyway, the struggle is real.  I need some speed work.  I've been on the medal stand enough, it's about the journey.  Just hope to make the finals in Spain. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

shake out and stretch

Went to track for a ritual warmup, but nothing much more.  Another beautiful night, low 70ºs in Sewanee at sunset. 

Hoka trainers on 
800m fast jog - 3:02 
stretches, drills, roller, eccentric ham exercises with resistance band 
bike ride

Tomorrow will be off and travel.  I won't get to my hotel until after midnight, but I won't have to leave my hotel until 11ish.  I'll go hang out at the track well before my prelim race at 3:10.  I'd like to see the M55 800m final at 1:10 since 4 of my best competitors are in this race.  Should be a good race.  I hope we do have a prelim.  If history holds consistent, there won't be a prelim due to scratches but somehow I think this yr will be different.  I think we will have a prelim, unlike LSU, it's an 8 lane track not a 9 lane.  (At world regionals last yr in Toronto, we had to run a prelim to eliminate one person, since there were 9).   Anyway, want to see my friends and do a nice long warmup.  It's nice to have a prelim to get a feel for the track and see who's in shape.  I like that there is an indoor warmup area since it will be in the 90ºs with no shade. 

Masters Rankings
Kermitt just posted a 55.9 in Masters Rankings, first M55 this yr to break 56, and another Brit a 56.2, which gives the top 3 ranked M55 400m all to the UK.  All 3 will be in Spain.  It sure would be nice to better my 56.65 time, win or lose in this race.  This bumps me to 5th, still US #1. 

140.9 after workout 

Monday, July 23, 2018

taper workout

71º and calm winds in Sewanee on a moist track.  My feet were sore this morning and a little muscle soreness after yesterday's speed work, so I took it easy today.  Nothing very fast, a taper off workout.  No spikes or blocks, didn't want to take any chances this close to my race now that I'm finally healthy, and this being my 5th day on the track in 6 days.  

Hoka trainers on
800m run on grass, stretches, drills 
100m strider on grass 
200m (50m straight - 100m turn - 50m straight) - 27.8 
40 sec rest 
100m - 14.0 
bike ride

Felt fine.  Probably won't do much tomorrow either, just warm up and stretch, some strides on grass, an easy bike ride.  I leave Wed.  Prelims (maybe) Thurs.  Finals Friday.  Return very late Sat.

141.0 lbs after workout

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Speed test weekend - test #2

I'm good to go.

On the brand newly resurfaced SAS track this evening in Sewanee.  First hint of fall in the air today, was in the upper 60ºs by the end of my workout.  Cloudy, light breeze, rain in the area, felt cool.  Wore my sweats for the first time in a while.  I warmed up, measured the track with my wheel, and waited until almost dark to do my main event run. 

This final speed test consisted of full power starts from blocks and a 350m event run.  I was a half step off my goal of 48, call it 48.2 for the 350m.   Still, a pace that should be definitely in the 56s.  No strains, problems or vulnerabilities felt.  I passed my tests, I'm racing. 
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
50m strider 
2 x block starts 
Puma spikes on 
50m strider 
2 x 40m from blocks 
350m event run - 48.2 (13.2, 13.2, 14.1, 7.7) or (26.4 / 40.5)
Above splits are approximate.  I'm not carrying the speed I'd like, need to be sub 48 at 350m to get into the 55s, (but still possible to run 55.9 with at my present split w/ last 50m in 7.7,  or a last 100m in 15.4, which is doable).  I ran a 48 flat 350m (on a worse track) before I left for Perth in '16, and was running mid 55 pace then.

Although I'm not carrying the speed I'd like, this pace was balanced enough where I really did not feel too much fatigue or any rigging at the end of this.  I must be in shape because it didn't really feel all that hard.

Tomorrow, I'll wind down and run 2 race pace 200s, and do some blocks.  This has been quite a training season.  And... a full 6+ weeks after I get back to train for Spain.  Surviving the training is hard part.

140.9 lbs after workout.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Speed test weekend - test #1

Perfect weather in Sewanee, 75º calm winds. 

This is a critical weekend - the weekend I decide whether to blow several hundred $ on a trip to USATF Nationals in 4 days.   It's pretty insane to think I'd be competing at Nationals having done zero full speed work for 5 weeks.  So, I was nervous before today's workout, afraid of the result and afraid of getting hurt, but I passed test #1 - fitness test.

The reason I was nervous about this one is because this is exactly what I was doing when I pulled my ham on June 15.   A near even split 400m... easy first 200 in 28, followed by a 200m in under 30 = 58 400m in training shoes.   I did it.  Although a few tenths short, it was ok.

Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup - 87, stretches, drills 
100m - 13.9, 13.1 
400m - 58.2, (28.5, 29.7) 
200m - 26.56  (~ 400m race pace)

I felt not full out on that 400m, was a bit spooked by doing that workout again, so I think I'm near the shape I was in when I injured myself.   Probably no better though.  Likely won't be running under 56 this week if I go. 

I was trying to simulate 400m race pace on my last 200m.   Came pretty close.

Tomorrow will be an event run in spikes and some block work.  It'll be the first full speed test.  I'll either try and run a 350m in under 48 or a 300m at 40.5.   I think I'll go to the new track at SAS and give it a whirl.  If I don't make my splits, I could try again on Monday night and make the decision then.  Better to test it now and identify an issue than have a problem in Spokane. 

I'm about 80% sure I'm going.  I'll probably not do much on Tues, travel Wed, prelims Thurs.  My toughest competitors are also running the 800m which is Thurs, 2 hrs before the 400m prelim.  Peter is definitely the man to beat, just moved up to M55 and logged a 2:10 800m, faster than world champion Benoit Z. this year.  Peter, Ray, McDuffry, and Tyrone are all capable of 56-57, and maybe more.  I'm hoping some of these 800m guys will scratch after their final, but I'm fine with running a prelim, I think it will help me.  The weather looks crazy.... 95º and sunny everyday.   Dry heat.

Took Friday off so my weight is up slightly, 140.8 lbs after workout.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

split 500, 100s

This is the first consecutive day I've done in a while so I kept the volume down.  I also went swimming again, which is almost a daily ritual.  I'm now running close to race speed and it feels fine.  I think I'll be good to go for Spokane, but still not 100% certain.  I'll decide when I do some race modeling with blocks and spikes this weekend.  Talk about getting it together at the last minute. 

Another beautiful night in Sewanee, 75º calm winds.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
2 x 100m - 14.4, 13.3 
'split 500m' - 300m - 43.2 / rest 90 sec / 200m - 29.5 
100m - 13.6 
Felt ok.  Still not pushing near 100% but 13 sec 100s are about race pace.  I really am looking forward to testing myself on Sunday with an event run.  Feel fairly strong and light, from all those hill sprints. 

Including tomorrow, there are 5 days before leaving for Nationals.  I need to take one or 2 of those days off.  Not sure yet, but speed and spikes are on the agenda for Sunday and/or Monday. 

140.2 lbs after workout. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018


This is beginning to get interesting.  I haven't run at race pace in a month and I'm still considering going to Nationals a week from today.   I feel I'm approaching, if not at full recovery from my injuries.  No sign of any issues in tonight's workout.  Felt fine, although I did not run race pace, but not far off. 

Beautiful weather 75º, less humid at sunset in Sewanee.   I started with 2 100m strider tests... which I passed with no trouble.  Fastest I've run since the injury.   No sign of it.  I can do full hip flexor stretches without any hesitation.   I was going to test myself with a 3 x 400m w/ 2 min rest workout, to see if I could get close to my times for a similar workout before Daegu, but after 2 good tempo 400s, I bailed on the third one, feeling that I had a good idea of my fitness and it would be better at this point to rest and push a 400m a bit faster.  So, I did.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
2 x 200m strides - 15, 14 
2 x 400m, 100m with 2 min rest - 67.5, 68.5, 14.5 
400m - 62.5 
The last 400m felt pretty smooth and no issues.  Still running a little cautiously, but will try race pace in spikes by this weekend.  Then, I will decide by Monday night about Spokane.  Even if I'm healthy, I may not go if my splits aren't 'A-game' or if I feel at all tentative.   Either way, I've already changed my flight and decided not to race the 200m.  I feel pretty fit, but we'll see if my fitness translates to speed.  I may get a few consecutive day workouts in between now and Spokane, assuming I go. 

139.7 lbs after workout.

Monday, July 16, 2018

600s, 300

It's coming along.  Not yet ready to pull the plug on Nationals.  The hip feels much better, I felt no sign of the injury today and ran up to 16 sec 100s.  Wed, I'll ramp up to 15 sec 100s and do some tempo work.  By the weekend, it's possible I could be 100%.  But even if I'm injury free, I still may not go if I can't turn a decent event run a week from today.

Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
2 x 100m strides - 17.2, 16.3 
2 x 600m - 1:46.5, 1:47.5 
300m - 47

Still not running fast but certainly recovering faster now from the strain.  Before today, I though my chances for going to Nationals were slim, but today, I felt more hopeful.  Still 11 days before the 400m final, maybe it's enough time.  I'll know more after Friday's workout.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

800m, hills

A hard one.  Relatively cool on the mountain for July, upper 70ºs and hazy with thunder.  I started the workout like last time, warm up then striders, then an 800m.  But, I left the track while I was ahead and went to the hill.

Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
3 x 100m striders - 19, 17.5, 16.5 
800m  - 2:33 
4 x 200m hill sprints - 41-43

I ran faster than last time out and wanted to do more on the track but I didn't so as not to irritate the hip flexor.  I can still feel a general soreness but no sharp pain.  I can run in a way where I emphasize good form, tall running, quick recycle, slightly shorter stride, and it puts less pressure on the hip flexor.  I wonder if my injuries come from bad form?  

I'm running out of time.  My feet are hurting from the volume and the street hills, and I'm not anywhere near race pace.  Nationals are just 11 days away and unless I see dramatic improvement in this injury, I'm not going.  I'll make the call fairly soon.  Spoke to Emma today, she's not going and urged me not to risk it.  Still not ready to pull the plug but these next 2 - 3 workouts will tell me what to do.  Feel fit but not fast.  

140.5 lbs after workout.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

striders, 800m

Really feeling like summer today, mid 80ºs and humid early evening in Sewanee.   My quads and calves were predictably sore from yesterdays massive stadium stair workout.  Probably shouldn't have done 30.  Just trying to make up for lack of track work.

I tested the injury tonight, it's improved but a long way from gone.  After warmups I started 100m strides gradually getting faster, 20,19, 18, 17.   No faster than 17.  So, that's certainly fast enough to run foundation, so I ran an 800m hoping to exercise my aerobic system a bit.  Taking it relaxed and not fast, just 76 400m pace (19 sec/100m), happily ... I was able to run without feeling the injury at all. After the 800m, I rested 3 min and did a 200m at 34 pace.  I did feel the injury for the first time in this last interval, probably should not have run it, but it's ok, it wasn't bad.  Went to the weight room afterward to do the peripheral muscle groups.

It's going to be a last minute call for Nationals.  The race is 2 weeks from today and I'm no where near able to sprint.  If I can't sprint in 10-11 days, I'll cancel.  I don't want to go out there and re injure it.  I should change my flight now and come home Sat. and save a few hundred and not run the 200m.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
4 x 100m strides - 20,19,18,17 
800m - 2:34 
   3 min rest 
200m - 35

I'm reminded that hills and stairs and bike are no substitute for the specificity of track sprinting.   Better than nothing and I'm still in top shape... considering.  140.7 lbs after workout.

stadium stairs

At MTSU for a rare visit.  Mid 80ºs with a heat index of 90º.  Went to the stadium for some stair sprints.  This is a go to workout when I have a strain like the hip flexor I have now.  It is less range of movement and doesn't irritate the issue.
Hoka trainers on 
200m warmup, stretches 
30 stadium stair sprints

This equals the most I've ever done in a session.  If I'm not sore tomorrow, it means I'm n good shape.  Certainly light, 139.6 lbs after workout.

I may try an 800m tomorrow, maybe only one since these past 2 days were hard.

Malaga registration is closed.  82 400m entries in my age group.  World indoor champion Benoit Z. did not sign up.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


Last evening, was on the hill at Roarkes Cove Rd for some hills.  Mid 70ºs and humid, not bad for July.  Then afterward to the weight room for the usual regime.  I did my warmup on the track, did not push or test the injury.   It's definitely still there but improving, although slowly.  I'm thinking I could be running 800s certainly by this weekend.  Definitely not going to race an 800m this weekend though.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
5 x 200m hills - 43-44 
I did the first 4 with avg 4 min rest.  These are comparable to running a 300m on the track due to the steepness.

This evening, since I'm in Murfreesboro, I'll run the stadium stairs.  I've been doing something hard everyday when not running.  I'm hoping to wake up and not feel this issue in a few days.  It's just a bit sore, no sharp pain like before.

141.1 lbs after workout.

My boss signed off on my leave request for Spain and Poland.  Registration closes today in a few hours and still, Benoit Z. has not registered to my surprise.  He ran 55.33 indoors and won the European Championship.  Also, Richard W., bronze in Perth hasn't signed up.   There is still time but the field is mostly complete with about 80 competitors.  Corey, Marcus, Jonathan, Peter O., Kermitt, are probably the front runners.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Game plan

Still feeling the injury, it's better but not improving as quickly as I'd like.  I took the advice of my brother and decided to completely eliminate running for 2 days, but I continued to cross train hard, in an effort to retain what fitness I have.  Past 2 days I've biked, including the huge climb up Roarke's Cove Road, done Stairmaster, sprint intervals on the stationary bike, and weights focusing on adds, abds, abbs, hips, hams, and quads.

I was really on a roll in June, doing hard workouts and running decent times til the ham injury on June 15, then just as I was stepping it back up to full speed, this strange hip flexor hit on July 5.  I think it's going to be at least another 10 days before I'm 100% which would give me just enough time to compete at Nationals.  I'd say my chances are better than even, but to bring my A game, less than even.  Over all, chances of racing probably 50%.

Today, I can still feel it, although it is better, I will go to the track and warm up and do the same hill regime of steep 200m repeats.  Tomorrow, at MTSU, stadium stairs.  Hopefully by the end of the week, 800s.  A reinjury at this point, I'm definitely out of Nationals, and will be hampered in preparing for Worlds which is still 9 weeks away.

I was really distressed about this situation for a while but I'm just taking it in stride now, playing more guitar, enjoying the last 1/3rd of my summer vacation that is really flying by.

Today is registration day for worlds.  Corey and Marcus have signed up, both seeding themselves in the 54s.   Surprisingly, Don M. signed up for the 400m as well.  Strangely, Benoit has yet to enter, maybe waiting til the last minute.  This meet looks huge, every bit as big as Lyon with 70+ in the 400m, and 80+ in the 200m.  About 30 different nations represented in the M55 200m.  There are over 100 competitors in the M50 200m event!

I just registered.  $141.00.  Non refundable.

Saturday, July 7, 2018


Mid 70ºs and humid at the Sewanee track.  I warmed and tested the hip flexor I had strained.  Slightly better but not even well enough to run an 800m, so I went to the hill.  I can run high knees and and short stride but if i push a tad too hard, the stinging pain hits my hip flexor.  Very disappointing, but need to be patient.  Need to get past this asap, but unfortunately, it looks like another week of no race speed.... just foundation, hills, then tempo.   I think just stretching and warming up too hard doesn't help.  However, what does help is doing resistance on peripheral muscles like abductors, adductors, and quads, which I did in the gym after the hills.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup stretches, drills 
2 x 50m 
5 x 200m hill runs ~ 43
These hills were longer and much steeper than the hills I ran in FL a week ago.  I wouldn't say I sprinted them but ran on my toes, a few seconds slower than usual.  The last 100m is especially steep and required shorter steps and faster turnover, so it was a good hard workout.  The road was wet and steamy but cool by the time I finished, 73º.

I'll go out tomorrow and see how it feels and definitely do some rehab in the gym.    Time is short.  Need to get it together. 

140.9 lbs after workout.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

another issue

Was going to get in a quick 4x300 tempo workout this evening but discovered a hip flexor issue, a strain that did not occur during training that I was unaware of until trying to run.  During warmup striders, I thought...'what the hell is that?!"   Very disappointing...  just as I was getting ready to start running race pace.  It's not too bad, should be fine in a few days, no where near as bad as the ham I had 20 days ago, which is now 100% as far as I can tell.   So .... I just ran slower today.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
3 x 50m striders 
3 x 100m strides - (16-18) 
800m - 2:36
 Anyway, back to rehab and more volume.   Be back on the track on Saturday.

140.7 lbs after workout. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

split 700, 300s, 200

Warm, around 80º with high humidity, heat index upper 80ºs at the Sewanee track.  I needed a hard one today.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
'split 700m' - 500m - 78.5 (61.5, 17) - 90 sec rest - 200m - 33
2 x 300m - 42, 42.2 
200m  - 27.5
The split 700m is always a bitch.  Especially when running a 78 sec 500m first.  I pretty much had very little to give on the 200m.  I took generous rest after the split 700 so I could get some quality 300s.  The split 700 was about the same in total to one I ran before Daegu, although today, a much faster 500 to start (78/33 vs 82/29).  After, to the weight room.  I've been doing ham and quad prehab everyday, a least one set.   

I feel like I'm past the hamstring issue and can start doing event runs soon, spikes, etc...  There is a meet on July 15 that I was going to run an 800m in.  I'm thinking that maybe I should run a 400m to see where I am.  I have over a week to decide.  

I left the track tired but feeling physically ok.  Feet are ok, ham ok, a little soreness in my L quad but it's good.  I knocked out that chest cold with some EmergenC+ powder (love that stuff!) and a gallon of orange juice - consumed in 3 days.  Also, I felt a bit too light and have been eating a bit more.  Weighed 141 lbs after workout.  Yesterday, I ate a lot so I ate my main meal today at 9:30 pm after workout. 

Some are complaining that turnout is low at Nationals.  Not in the M55 400, there are 15 ... that is more than last year at LSU.  I expect there will be semis ... which kind of sucks because I get in around midnight the night before the prelim round.  Then again, there were 16 signed up in '16, but half didn't show and we ran one round.  

World Championship deadline is in 8 days, and it looks to be as big as Lyon.  Even more competitive.  40 signed up so far in the 400m, that may double in the next week.  There will be several guys seeded in the 55s and lower.  It will be tough to make the final, let alone get on the medal stand.  

I probably shouldn't go out tomorrow, but we'll see.  I need to train as well as I can, but not necessarily as much as possible. 

I've purchased 2 excellent reference books on sprinting, I may do a review sometime: 


Sunday, July 1, 2018


Happy that my foot is better and allowing me to train.  I was worried on Friday.  76º in Sewanee with high humidity, light winds.

I wanted to run fast-ish, but still not fast and work on form.   I set my pace a bit faster than the last 200m of a 400m race and I started from the 150m mark in lane 7, ran the full turn and finished at the 350 mark.   
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
5 x 200m - 28.5, 28, 27.5, 28, 27
I didn't do full rest so it was pretty hard, but I waited for my pulse to get into the low 120s before each rep.  

Oddly, I have a slight chest cold, but not an issue.  (I ran 55.22 in NM with a chest cold 2 yrs ago).  

And, I'm as light as I've been in 5 yrs.  139.4 lbs after workout.  

McDuffry added his name to the 400m start list.  Yet another really fast 800 guy.  There are 3 now.