Sunday, August 30, 2015

More WMAC meet photos

Here are some new meet photos of the M55 400m and 200m final from UK athlete/photographer Tom Phillips.  Race and individual medal ceremony videos here.

It goes away fast

First time on the track in 2 weeks, and it was a little clunky.  Some tightness and aches, and feeling the 4 lbs I've gained with my rampant eating since the season ended.  Definitely need to get back on the glucosamine.

Back to the ole Sewanee track and it was quiet, cool... upper 60ºs, and nice.   Warmed up, stretched and ran some brisk 150s for form, untimed.
Saucony trainers on 
600m warmup, stretches, drills 
4 x 150m @ about 85%
Walked 250m in between.  Felt pretty tiring, not the way it would have felt 3 weeks ago.   Feels like I'd be hard pressed to run a sub 60 400m right now.   400m fitness goes away fast, in a matters of a few weeks.

I didn't pack my timer, felt naked at the track without it.   But I think for the next 6 weeks or so, I'll limit my track work to once a week or so and start doing long stuff.

Just 14 weeks to the first indoor meet, 26 weeks to Indoor Nationals!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The training season begins

Just kidding... not yet.  Just some off season maintenance.   It's been 9 days since I raced the 2 relays at the Worlds, and save for a 5 mile mountain bike outing, this was my first real exercise.   Considering I've been eating everything I avoided before... fried food, pastry, ice cream, pasta, etc...  I really haven't gained much weight, still below 145 lbs in the morning.   

The exercise felt good, low impact.
Saucony Virrata trainers on 
400m run on grass 
dynamic stretches 
10 x stadium stairs
I should have more and better race photos from Lyon coming up.   I'll post them soon I hope.

Looking forward to tomorrow's World 200m Final - the rematch between Bolt and Gatlin.  

My old friend... the stadium stairs.  Felt good.  

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

World Masters Championship race videos

Fun to hear my name announced in 2 languages ... William Yelverton - 'médaille de bronze.'

200M World Final M55

400M World Final M55

4 x 400M Relay M55 - Brent Cottong, William Yelverton, Alan Tissenbaum, James Chin

4 X 100M Relay M55 - Tony Disalvo, William Yelverton, James Chin, Alan Tissenbaum

Winner: M55 200m heat - 25.04 (Shane in 2nd sets M55 National Record for Ireland)

M55 200M Medal Ceremony

M55 400M Medal Ceremony

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

WMA World Championships - Day 6

Relay day and closing ceremonies.

USA M55 4x100m relay - GOLD  (Disalvo, Yelverton, Chin, Tissenbaum)  47.10
USA M55 4x400m relay - GOLD  (Cottong, Yelverton, Tissenbaum, Chin) 3:48.33

The M55 relay teams looked unbeatable on paper.  We took the attitude that we just needed to get it around the track without a lane violation or a dropped stick, and we would win easily.

And we did.

Tony and James had some minor injuries but were good to go.  We got to use the infield for exchange practice.  I was really glad to have this team together... especially Alan, the M55 100m World Champion on anchor.  I was second leg, running against the German who I narrowly beat in the 200m -  probably the fastest non-American on the track.  I carefully measured the steps that I thought I'd need to accelerate into the zone but when I saw Tony rippin' around the turn, I left early.   Our pass went well, as did all our passes.   It was actually a little closer than I expected with Alan getting the baton with a small lead.  He blew away the field by 10m, and that ... was that.   I was surprised that our 47.10 time was less than a second off the world record!   Not bad for a pickup relay team.   We even ran faster than the M50 4x100 USA Silver Medalists, which was no shabby team.  We averaged 11.77 a leg, not bad.  Unfortunately, my name wasn't listed in the official results as I was a sub on this team.  Doesn't matter, I have the medal.  Germany was Silver, and France - Bronze.  We beat teams from Great Britain, Spain, Australia, and India.

The medal ceremony was nice.  They chose some hot French women to kiss us and award the medals.

This looked to be a blowout in the making and it was.  I had two concerns... first was Alan hadn't run a 400 in forever, and James on anchor had a ham issue and was going to run anchor against the 400m Gold medalist and the 4th place 400m guy from Germany.  So, he would need a lead.  We were all tired, especially me and James ... having run 3 rounds of the 200 and 400, and the 4x100.   Brent led off against Great Britain who narrowly beat him in the semis.  I was running second leg, we had lane 7.   Brent ran a respectable leg and I got the baton in a tie for the lead.  I ran relaxed and fast, never saw anyone after receiving the baton as I led at the break.  Looking at the video, I gave Alan a 30m+ lead with a leg of about 56.   Alan blew it wide open and by the time James got the baton, he had a 70m+ lead.  He didn't give any back to France and we won by a comfortable 70m.  We all ran 56-57.5 legs and finished in 3:48.53.  We beat teams from France, Germany, Great Britain, Spain, Australia, Chile, Russia, and India.  (We could have lapped India if they were in our heat).

James had to catch a train so Brent, Alan and I stayed for the medal ceremony for the 4x400 relays -which was also the closing ceremonies.  I was tired and sunburnt, but had fun.  Lots of photos and enthusiasm.  A lot of heart felt congrats and good byes.  Team photos and hugs, flags flying, emotional expressions ... some of the female athletes were crying.  It was cool.

I'll have a few closing thoughts in a later post but let me say, Viva la France!   You really did it well.


Monday, August 17, 2015

WMA World Championships - day 5

I've now left Lyon and am in the Alps, so I wanted to catch up and issue the first of 2 final reports on the World Masters Athletic Championships in Lyon.

World Championship Bronze Medal - 400m - 55.30

The 400m was a big event for me since I felt it was my best shot for an individual medal.  Already having a Bronze in the 200m took a little of the pressure off, but not much.  I was definitely feeling it the night before, probably more nervous for this race than any.  The night before was pretty restless.

Unlike my competitors (except for Gerhard from Germany), I had not held back in my prelims and run pretty strong (55.46, 56.00).  I knew it would be Brazil and France most likely Silver and Gold and a fight for the Bronze with Germany.

Being my 6th race of the meet, I was pretty tired but feeling ready.  I warmed up less than for the previous races and tried to save as much as possible.  I knew that Brazil and France would finish strong so my tactic was to save as much as possible while getting around the track with as little effort as possible.

To my utter surprise,, they gave me lane 3... I was expecting 6.  So, I had the competition in front of me with James to my left in 2.  France was in 4, Brazil in 5.  With all the pomp and circumstance we get in the World Final, music and introductions, I was really relaxed and casual when called to the blocks.  "On your marks" ... "set"  ... "click" - the gun misfired.  I turned to James and said, I heard a click"... he says he did too, it wasn't just me.  No one was charged and we got a green card.  The second time, we were off.

I pretty much ignored what everyone was doing and tried to stay relaxed.  I felt good at the 220m mark, not tired, the staggers were about even with France and Brazil just ahead.  As per plan, we came around to the home stretch even, the three of us with Germany just behind and the rest of the field beginning to fall away.   I hit my stride and for about 2 steps, I was leading the race.  I motivated me to push hard, maybe a bit too soon, as France started pulling away at the 70m mark.   I couldn't stay with him but I thought I might have a chance for silver.   As we neared the finish, I ran out of gas, Brazil went by, and I felt Germany - as predicted - coming hard.  It was a helpless feeling as I was starting to rig in the last 10m.  As my stride shortened, I leaned hard at the finish, stumbled and went down... it wasn't pretty, but I got the Bronze ... by just 0.07 sec.  France and Brazil won in times that exceeded my PR - 54.46, 55.04, and my time of 55.30 was almost exactly what I ran at Nationals (55.29) on a much faster track.  So, I felt I brought my A-game.  It was my 4th fastest time ever in the 400m.

What could I have done differently?  Well, maybe not pushed it at the top of the stretch and waited til 40 or 50m out.  Perhaps.  Don't know, but as I have lost medals very closely previously, I was happy this came out as it did.   Here is the sequence of photos coming down the final stretch.


Well, that's how it unfolded. Everyone pretty much ran what they said they would in their seed times.  I was fortunate, in both the 400m and 200m to get medals.  Many of these competitors, like the Brazilian here in the 400m, came for just one specific event.

As usual, the time leading up to the medal ceremony was nice.  Getting to know the medalists and others backstage at the medal ceremonies.   Gold medalist, Benoit, like me is a music professor (trumpet).  We chatted about music in broken English.  We both agreed at the similarities of the two disciplines, track and music.  Benoit is a remarkable athlete, he won Bronze in the 800m in 2:04 and will be representing France in the 800m Masters Exhibition race at the Bejing World Championships next week.

The medal ceremony was nice, save for some bizarre woman who shoved my dad repeatedly, probably trying to get in position for a photo.   The music and ritual of the medal ceremony is really pretty cool.  The French did it well.  The music, national anthems, introductions, handshakes and at the end, the customary signing of a giant card which all medalists sign.

I didn't really mind standing for the French National anthem a second time.  It was a memorable day.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

WMA World Championships - day 4

I had the easy heat in the 400m semis.   The Brit scratched and so it was just me and James - veteran of many national and world championships.  He was in lane 5 and me in 4.  He went out hard, too hard and I followed him.  Mistake.  I paid for it in the end and ran a slower time than in the prelims: 56.00.  It beat me up a bit, since I was rigging at the end... but I won the heat, making it a perfect 4 wins in my preliminary heats of this meet, although this was the slowest heat.

I liked the track at this stadium much better than the main stadium and ... the warmup are was actually beautiful.  A park setting with a shady lane and a dirt path where I did my warmups.  Much better than the jr soccer field of artificial turf at the main stadium.

Looks like it's going to be between France, Brazil, Germany, and me in the finals which is back to the main stadium tomorrow.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

WMA World Championships - day 3

My third day of competition went well.

Fastest qualifier in the 400m.  See the list here.  


Feeling good, confident that I'm ready.   My execution was good in the prelims.  The track at Rhone Stadium is faster than Balmont Stadium, where we ran the 200s.  It was the 4th fastest 400m I've run, and by far the easiest race I've run in the 55's.  I was not totally spent afterward, no rigging at all.  I think I could've even run faster.  My form down the stretch was quite good - the top photo was taken in the last 50m.

With a day off (Thurs) between the prelims and semis, I wanted to run hard to test my race plan, and to simply get a good training run in for the next two rounds.  The next round will have to be a maximum effort if I want to win it.

I was in the very first of 10 heats, so I'm sure some of my competitors got a good look at me ... and a message.  I think many observers would see this as a wasted effort, not a smart race, winning a prelim by 40m.  But I really think I needed to do this.  I felt no stress or soreness afterward.  It was good for me.  Alan T. said to my dad that he thought I should have 'shut it down' coming down the stretch.  I just stayed relaxed and did my thing.

I love this track ... there are big electronic race clock displays at 200m and 300m.   I saw my 200m split and was surprised to see how fast I was moving.  It occurred to me I that I might try for a PR, but that would be too much, so I just stayed relaxed and floated in.  No one else except Gerhard ran this strong in the prelims, and even he was .36 behind me.

They haven't published the start list for tomorrow's semis, but if they seed it as expected, I should have Rob, the defending World Champ from 2013 in my heat, probably me in lane 4, him in 5.  He doesn't concern me as much as 2 others.   He, Gerhard, but more likely Benoit from France and Ferreira from Brazil should be my main competition, assuming I make the finals.

Here are photos of my heat in the M55 400m prelims.  You can see my competitors at the edges of the photos.  (In the second photo, there is a competitor in lane 5 not yet in the photo).

Monday, August 10, 2015

WMA World Championships - day 2

World Championship Bronze Medal
200m M55 - 25.08

My first World Medal.  I didn't expect to medal in the 200m, but happy to collect.  My times didn't come close to the 200s I ran in Jacksonville on that warm wind-assisted SX Mondo track. That seemed the rule among other sprinters that were here, and at the Jacksonville Nationals.  The track at Balmont Stadium is the typical granular red track, a little mushy.   Plus, I am totally sleep deprived. My third night here and I have yet to be able to sleep a complete night.

We had semis in the morning at 10:10am and finals in the evening at 5:15pm.   The weather was great, actually even chilly in the morning. Cloudy, 60ºs.   I was really excited about the semis and sort of lost my head and forgot my race plan.  I went out burning on the turn and rigged in the end, losing a lot of time.  I still won my heat - the slowest of 3, but almost got nipped at the end by my countryman Don S., who I think ran a PR.   My time sucked, 25.24, but it got me third seed for the finals and a good lane - lane 3 with the competition on the outside of me (Bruno and Ric).  Went back to the hotel for a little food and sleep.

The finals.  There was excitement and tension in the air.  Not a lot of smiles in the warm up area.  It was serious business.  I have not run in a stadium this full since the Penn Relays.  The atmosphere was electric with an enthusiastic crowd, choreographed music playing in between introductions of athletes at the starting blocks in 2 languages.  It felt like the Olympics ... or something.

I was determined to run a smarter race and not let myself get out of hand.  Bruno from France had run a smokin' 24.5 in the semis and was the favorite - also having won bronze in the 100m.  He was just to my outside in lane 4.  The dude is fast... but you'd never expect that by his appearance.  Not a particularly athletic looking guy, white, balding with wire rimmed glasses, (sort of looked like the "Radar O'Reilly" character from MASH).  However, he holds the 100m M50 European Record at 11.37.  A respected serious veteran sprinter.  In lane 5 was Ric from England, ran the fastest time in the prelims.

I got a good start and relaxed into cruise mode.  I pulled within one step behind Bruno and Ric a the top of the straight.  Bruno just ran away from Ric and I.   I fought down the stretch with Ric and he got me by a step.  I felt the S. African, Thomas close to me and knew it would be close for the bronze.  I leaned real hard and got it!   James C. was a close 5th and Gerhard Z. 6th.   Bruno crossed the line celebrating with his finger in the air, comfortably ahead.  It was very close for the bronze... 3rd-6th place was separated by just 0.18 sec.

My dad was pleased.  We decided to go back to the hotel and change for the medal ceremony, which was very professional, with all the pomp and circumstance... I stood for the French National Anthem, which the locals belted out raucously.   It was held on a stage in the indoor track arena next to the stadium.  Back stage in the 'medalists only' area, I got to chat with Ric and the W50 200m medalist who all spoke English (an Aussie, New Zealander, and a Dutch).   It was a memorable occasion.

I feel fortunate to have a medal.   Besides Lee who won bronze in M45, many of the big guns of the USA Masters missed getting any hardware.  There were 3 USA men that won medals in the 200m dash, none of 'em gold -  Antwon, Lee and I.

The fence surrounding this track is weird, almost something you'd see at a NASCAR track.  Doesn't make for very good photos.   Ken Stone remarked on his blog, "The track fans of Lyon must be very dangerous to need a fence like this."

If I'm to do anything in the 400, I need to start sleeping!   It's supposed to e 95º for Wednesday's 400m prelims.

200M World Championship Final - M55

Dad and I after the medal ceremony

Medal ceremony

With the W50 women medalists representing Australia, New Zealand, and the Netherlands

The first 40 of 80+ competitors in the M55 Prelims - people from everywhere

Entering the call room, last stop before the track ... uniforms from many nations

Official post race photo: M55 200m finalists

Sunday, August 9, 2015

WMA World Championships - day 1

25.04 - 200m prelims (2nd fastest qualifier)

After a number of travel disasters, including losing my new iPhone, only one hour of sleep 2 nights in a row, I hit the track at Balmont Stadium for the 200m prelims.  The weather was great, cloudy, low 70's.  After pinning my bibs to my USA speed suit, I went to the warmup area and was stunned at how small it was.   Just a 40 meter kids soccer field.  It was pretty crazy with people of every nation trying to get in striders.  With 83 competitors in my age group alone, the 200m is a huge event - hundreds.  I warmed up ahead of time and then went out on the area surrounding the stadium to run a few 80m striders.

It was nice to see my teammates Jim, Tony, David, Alan, and others...  and meet a whole bunch of people, many of whom I couldn't communicate with.   The call room and pre-race marshaling seemed very regimented - a specific place to sit in the call room for each heat, one guy to take us to the track, one guy to wait for us and check our names, one guy to lead us to the start, etc...

I got lane 4.  In my heat were sprinters from England, Ireland, Italy, Brazil, Germany, and the US.  I knew my competition would come from Ireland and US (Ken T).  After being 'green carded' (all told to 'stand up') for my jittery left leg, (as Randall had once warned me about), we got off on the second try and, I got a good start.   The three of us emerged ridiculously ahead of the the other 3 by the end of the turn.  I would say it was pretty relaxed but close to a maximum effort.

It turned out to be one of the faster heats.  (I saw some that were won in over 26).  Shane from Ireland told me he broke the M55 200m Ireland National record with his second place finish in the heat, 25.26 ... or something I think.   Ken finished a close third.

There is a lot of competition.  Watching the heats ... I thought "this is no Senior Games" ... a 'we're not in Kansas anymore' moment.  Several of us all within 0.2 sec.  Wish it were a timed final but, I have to run semis and finals tomorrow.  Haven't seen the complete list but I think team USA did ok, James won his heat, Ken and Tony qualified.  I could have run a second slower and still qualified, but the instinct to win pushed me, plus a guaranteed spot in the semis.  Plus, it was cool to hear the female announcer with the sexy French accent say over the stadium PA:  "William Yelverton from the United States - wins in a time of 25.04."  In masters events like this, it is an exercise in attrition... as the finals are sometimes slower than the semis.  Most give full effort to make the world finals and with the finals in the same day, it's hard to bring it twice.  With 3 semi heats, it's heat winners + next 5 fastest.

I'll post the data on the prelims when they make it available.

I'm good to go, no strains or issues, just need food and sleep.

separating the qualifiers from the participators

heat 3 of 11, M55 200m dash prelims

after the race, all systems go

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Final workout

Pretty short and simple workout.  My final of the season.  Felt good.

Occurs to me that I have been at this now for 13 months - (due to those silly fall "Sr Games" events).  I've been training almost continuously since August '14 when I was doing foundational long sprint repeats and weights.  I kind of took a break in Feb and scaled back a bit, but came out in early March and ran a PR 200m.  Even after the injury on 3/29, I still continued to work, taking off only 5 days after that horrendous hip flexor tear.  I learned how to rehab.  Learned how to run a 400m.  Found a way to get faster as I get older.   The track has been a good place for me to be, truly a lifestyle, a challenge.

I took it easy today.  I ran in my Olympic Team USA speed suit supplied by the USATF.  Beautiful but humid, high 70ºs at the Dean Hayes track.   I got to share the track with 2 female sprinters from Ghana who will be racing in the African Championships soon.  They run similar times to mine in the 400/200m.
Saucony trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
2 x 60m striders 
Saucony spikes on 
3 x 30m from blocks 
200m event run from blocks (~400m race pace) - 25.75 
3 x 30m from blocks
Better eat something, too light... 141.4 after workout.  Off to France tomorrow for the World Championships, let the adventure begin.

It fits!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

more event runs

This, one of my final workouts in Sewanee... the hottest day here since '12 but by sunset it had cooled to 84º and was quite nice.

I did everything fast ... from blocks.   Went well, felt good.  Spent a good long time warming up and dove into a fast 300m event run.
Saucony Trainers on 
600m warmup, stretches, drills 
2 x 100m striders 
Saucony spikes on 
2 x starts from blocks 
300m event run - 39.75 (25.75/14) 
3 x 200m - 25.75, 26, 26  
100m strider  
3 x starts from blocks
Felt a bit better than last time out.  Nailed the splits with less effort than last time.

I'll probably go out and do some technical stuff Thurs. night in my team USA uniform to see how it feels.

Ready to represent.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

300 event runs

Perfect evening at the Sewanee track, mid 70ºs and low humidity.   I warmed up and did a few race pace 300s and a 200 from blocks.

The 300s I hit close to race pace, 40.25 and they felt a tad hard, perhaps stayed at full tilt a tad too long before backing off.
Saucony trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
50m strider, block starts 
Saucony spikes on 
2 x block starts 
2 x 300m - 40.25, 40.25 
200m - 26
Feeling like it's better to do less than more now, but always think it's not enough.  I'll race 200m prelims one week from today.  Will do some starts and fast 150s next time.

No physical issues, ridiculously light, probably not eating enough.  140.6 after workout.