Sunday, December 31, 2017

Meet list 2017 - season in review

My annual summary.  2017 - a good year!

WMACi World Masters Indoor Championship Gold Medal: 200m - 24.82
 - Ranked #2 in World indoor 200m M55

WMACi World Masters Indoor Championship Silver Medal: 400m - 55.17
 - Ranked #2 in World indoor 400m M55, #1 USA
 - Fastest indoor 400m by an M55 American in 9 yrs (since Bill Collins '08)
 - Fastest 400m by an American in both indoor and outdoor seasons, #33 on all-time list

USATF National Indoor Champion Gold Medal M55 400m - 55.92

USATF National Indoor Championship Silver Medal 200m - 25.07

USATF National Outdoor Champion Silver Medal M55 400m - 56.78

NCCWMA North American Championship Gold Medal 400m - 57.13

Penn Relays Masters M55 100m Silver Medal - 12.25

AWARD: Greater Philadelphia Track Club Athlete of the Year

Season PRs in Blue


1/20 - Nashville -  TSU, Ed Temple Classic (flat 300m)
  • 200m - 25.65

2/4 - Murfreesboro - MTSU Invite
  • 400m - 57.56 
  • 200m - 25.62 

2/11 - Birmingham - Samford Open (200m banked Mondo)
  • 400m - 56.66

2/17-19 - Albuquerque - USATF Masters Indoor National Championships
  • 400m - 55.92
  • 200m semi - 25.07
  • 200m final - 25.22

3/21-25  - Daegu, Korea - WMACi World Masters Indoor Championships
  • 200m  prelim - 25.05
  • 200m semi - 24.86
  • 200m final - 24.82
  • 400m prelim -  58.62
  • 400m final - 55.17
  • 4 x 200m relay - (M45 Bronze) 


3/4 - Mt. Berry, Berry College, GA - Victor Ice breaker
  • 400m - 55.79
  • 200m - 24.92

4/8 - Mt. Berry, Berry College - Berry Field Days
  • 400m - 56.33    

4/14 - Sewanee, Mt. Laurel
  • 200m - 24.84

4/27 - Philadelphia - Penn Relays
  • 100m - 12.25
  • 4 x 100m relay - 49.02 (4th)
  • 4 x 400m relay - 3:51.33 (2nd)

6/17 - Trussville, AL  - AL State Games
  • 200m - 25.69 
  • 400m - 56.99

7/14 - Baton Rouge, LA, LSU - USATF Masters Outdoor Nationals
  • 400m - 56.78
  • 200m prelim (indoor) - 25.88
  • 200m final - 25.75
  • 4 x 400m relay M45 (Gold)

 9/17 - Toronto - NCCWMA Championships 
  • 400m - 57.13  
  • 200m prelims - 25.63
  • 4 x 400m relay M55 (Gold)

12 meets
14 races indoor
15 races outdoor
29 - total races including relays

2 - 100m (1 relay)
14 - 200m (1 relay)
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 

Some firsts and peculiarities for this season:
 -Indoor and Outdoor seasons overlapped with the 3/4 outdoor meet in GA, and WMACi in Daegu 3/21-25
 - Semifinals of Outdoor Championships contested indoors due to weather.
 - Least number of races in 4 seasons  
 - Most number of (wind legal) sub 25 200m races in a season - four: 24.82, 24.84, 24.86, 24.92

Saturday, December 30, 2017


With both feet a bit sore, I'm taking a break while vacationing in FL and play at a friend's wedding.  Better to take a break now than enter the season injured.  However, this  break may cost me some time as I was still hoping to race at Vanderbilt in just over 2 weeks.  

I'll be back in TN Sunday night and expect to be on the track New Years Day... however the weather looks rough:  20º with a wind chill of 8ºF.

Definitely long tights.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas 300s

At the Villages HS in FL, crisp and windy 58º 8:30am.  Much earlier than I normally train so wasn't really feeling like it.  No choice in the matter as far as schedule.

Hoka trainers on  
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
4 x 300m w/ 2 min rest - 49, 51, 55, 55 (avg 52.5)

It didn't go well, started a hair fast and really couldn't get the last two up to speed.  I was worried about my plantar issue in my left foot but that felt fine.  It was my right foot that started hurting more than it has in months on the last 300.  It's a degenerative talonavicular joint issue.  It usually recovers ok with a day off.  It's worrisome since this is a long term issue and can not be aided by taping or prosthetics.  We'll see how it goes and if I can train on Wed.  Had a bizarre elbow injury in the airport while holding my backpack.  Very sore, very weird.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

brief long sprint workout

I almost took the day off but decided to go do something.  After a horrendous weather change, 68º, winds gusting to 47mph, then a cold rain and temperatures falling almost 30º and then a fog.... I hit the track mid afternoon.  41º with fortunately only light winds and dense fog.  It really wasn't too bad since the wind died down.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
400m - 62.5 (31, 31.5) 
'split 400' - 300m - 43.5 / rest one min / 100m - 14.5

I was a bit sore and my foot was hurting a bit more than usual from the speed work Thurs and some squat jumps yesterday, so I just ran low volume but hard.  Fell short of my goal of making the 400 a negative split, but at least it was close to even.

Looking at the indoor season, I don't think I'm going to race at TSU.  Not a fast track and if I can race at Vandy and Birmingham, I'll run better times.  I could race 4 weekends in a row after Vanderbilt on 1/13, so no hurry to get started since it's a long indoor season with Nationals still almost 12 weeks away.  I'll likely get to race Marcus in Birmingham since he does the Emory meet every year.   He's the top dog 400m guy in M55 this yr.   I rarely beat him, but have  beat him twice at the Crossplex. Don't need to wear out my foot since I'm having issues and do too many meets.

145 lbs after workout.   Been a struggle to get the weight off but it's going well, and eating extremely well.

Grilled fish and steamed vegetables for my one meal every day, and by the time I eat at around 6pm or later after my workout, I'm hungry.   Sprinter meal, low carb, high protein.  Grilled mahi-mahi, with steamed red cabbage and broccoli.  I could eat this every day.  Definitely "lick the plate" good.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

speed, starts, technique

An easier workout today, low volume but still hard on the feet.  53º, dark, moist, and misty in Sewanee.  Emphasis on acceleration, and mechanics.
Hoka trainers on  
400m warmup, stretches, drills and more drills 
3 x 50m accelerations 
Puma spikes on 
starts from 400m start: 
2 x 50m from blocks  
2 x 100m from blocks - 13.3, 13 
Hoka trainers on 
3 x 100m w/ 30 sec rest - 14, 14.5, 15.5

Today was specifically to work on mechanics.  I've not done enough work on form.  Drills are like any technique study, they require repetition to become integrated in running.  I realized I was doing my B skip drill wrong by forward stepping.

I put spikes on and did 2 full speed starts, then two 100s with a beep start command at 400m race pace.  I try to hit it around 13, the issue is how long do I put up full power before I switch to the 'float pace'.   My second one was faster but it seemed like a lot of effort, close to 200m race pace.

My feet were hurting after 4 full speed blasts so I put the trainers on and did one short conditioning set of 100s.  145 lbs after workout.  Eating very clean.  Basically, fish and greens.  Some berries, nuts.

I found some decent sprint drill videos from a high school coach on form and mechanics, acceleration, and max velocity  Here they are:

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

more tempo 300s

Great weather to train, 60º and mostly cloudy at the Marist School in ATL.  Making the most of my time, and the best bang for the buck, the usual 4 x 300m set w/ 2 min rest.
Hoka trainers on 
380m warmup, stretches, drills 
4 x 300m w/ 2 min rest - 49.5, 50.5, 52, 55 (51.75 avg)
The last one on these is always brutally hard and today was no exception.  The foot was achy to start but felt fine afterward.  Thought about doing more but I didn't want to push it.  Good to leave the track feeling healthy.

Enjoying the warmer weather.  Looking forward to training in FL next week, maybe take my spikes and work on my short game and some event runs.  I can train on Christmas day so that allows me to stay in my every other day training schedule.  I may race at TSU 2 weeks from Sunday.

I've not been able to weigh myself but I'm probably around 146.  Just 2-3 lbs away from race weight.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Quality sprints

At Marist School for a couple of quality sprints.  Decent weather, pushing 50º with light sprinkles.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
2 x 300m - 43, 42.7 
200m - 28
Didn't reach my goal of 42 on the 300s, but ok considering training shoes.  These hard sprints are particularly hard on the feet so this small volume of high intensity was about all I could do.   Happy that the second was faster than the first.

Friday, December 15, 2017

tempo 200s +

Cold in Sewanee today, freezing.  By 2:00 pm the sun finally broke through and the wind died down a little, bringing up the temperature to 31º.  I hit the track about 2:40.  Still warm enough for t-shirt, shorts and gloves.  I did retreat to my car in between sets.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
4 x 200m w/ 1 min rest - 30.5, 32, 33, 35 
neg split 400m - 65.5 (33.5, 32)
The 200s were a total bitch, this was my first set of 4x200 w/ 1 min in quite some time.  Barely made it home on the last one.

I think doing lower volume workouts like this will be OK, about 1200m total volume.  This plantar issue is not getting worse although it's not getting better.  Rest didn't help it back in Sept.  I think the body has to adapt to the activity and it takes longer with age.  Bob Lida said something similar in an interview.  Tempo workouts are the most painful but they're over very fast.  My tempo 200s lasted less than 6 min.  It took me 15-20 min to recover before I could do anything else.  It's the best bang for the buck, but it's tough psychologically.  Torture, but it's over quickly.

144.5 lbs after workout.

I am now committed to racing at the Millrose with GPTC on Feb. 3.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

tempo 300s

Cold and breezy in Sewanee today but full sun, 41º .... T shirt weather.   My usual 4x300 tempo set.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
4 x 300m w/ 2 min rest - 50.5, 51, 53.5, 53 (52 avg)
Back down to 2 min rest and hopefully will begin to bring the avg time down.  This is always a tough workout but it's over very quickly... in less than 10 min, but it feels like a very long 10 min.  After recovering, I have the appetite for more work, but if I am going to keep this every other day regime, I must keep the volume low.  Yesterday, my foot was sore and I was doubtful I'd be able to go out today, but every other day seems to provide just enough recovery as long as I keep the volume down.

Post workout weight is hovering around 146ish, but I feel like my fat is finally loosening up and burning off.  Haven't eaten bread or starchy carbs but maybe twice since Thanksgiving, save for a small amount of oat bran.  

Have to make a decision about Millrose very soon.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Speed in spikes

Warmest day in a while in Sewanee, mid 50s and light winds, sunny.  Today was the first time I put the spikes on in 4 months.  I felt the need to test myself, as the feet were feeling ok.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
2 x 60m accelerations 
Puma spikes on 
2 x 60m  
400m - 57.8 (27.3 / 30.5)   
300m - 42.3 
resistance bands - ham / hip flexor
I was nervous before the 400m event run.  I walked around a lot, thinking, doing drills.  I set a goal of 58 (27/31) and beat it by half a step.  I was not sick-exhausted afterward and felt OK.  I rested and ran another fast 300 in spikes, fell short of my goal of 41.  (I had run a 300m faster than this in training shoes).  Wanted to do more but running in spikes is hard on the feet and I didn't want to push it now that I'm on the track every other day.  I finished with some  resistance band exercises - eccentric ham and hip flexor.

Considering I'm 3 months away from Nationals, and weigh almost 147, I'm pretty happy that I can still run fast.  'Running my age' (just barely) today was encouraging.  I have to make a decision on Millrose soon and I'm leaning toward it.  I think I need to work on my short game a bit more so will do some block work this month, probably indoors.  I need more speed reserve and better form, I was far from hitting my 200m in an optimum 26.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Cold 600s

Coldest workout of the year, wasn't looking forward to this one.  Cloudy and 34º with variable winds at the Sewanee track.  At one point, the windchill was in the low 20ºs but it settled down to a light breeze.
Hoka trainers on 
300m warmup, stretches, drills 
2 x 600m - 1:47, 1:49 
100m - 13.8
This was a test to see if my feet would hold up to one days rest.  After my 300m jog, the foot started hurting but then improved and felt fine after drills and stretches.  I took full rest between 600s.  The wind died down and I ran them in a T shirt.  The first one was more painful than the second and afterward, I was contemplating doing more, but I just ran a hard 100m and called it a day.  These 600s were comparable to a similar workout I did 2 yrs ago in Dec.  So, it's coming along.

Weight is coming down, woke up under 147 for the first time in a while.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Keith in Kenya

MTSU coach Keith V. sent me this from Kenya... wow, is he well connected or what?  No wonder his XC team is ranked in the top 20 something NCAA Div I and he won a coach of the yr award.

Here's the photo... world class runners training at altitude on a dirt track in Kenya.  The guy in the middle is Asbel Kiprop, '08 Olympic Gold Medalist in the 1500m.

From Keith yesterday in Kenya:

 "Yesterday was an amazing day, I'm staying with a world class Nike runner Alec Rono, (Hillarys brother) he and his two boys picked me up from the airport. I go to the track the girls can run they even talked to me for about 30 minutes. Asbel Kiprop and Eliud Kipchirchir show up on the track to workout. Asbel is the best 1500m runner in the world. Hung out with Polat Kemboi while watching the kids workout, world class 10km Olympian. Had lunch at Augustine Choge house, (Jacobs brother) he's a world class runner as well. Eliud Kipchoge lives right across the drive from Augustine, best marathoner in the world."

Go, MTSU !!

Tempo 300s

Mid - 40ºs and mostly sunny and breezy on the MTSU track, I was joined by Jacob for my usual 4 x 300 tempo set.
Hoka trainers  
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
4 x 300m w/ 2:15 rest - 52, 52.5, 54, 52 (52.5 avg)
Slower than last time, but with :15 less rest.  Ultimately, I need to be 3 seconds faster with :15 less rest by competition season, under 50 avg w/ 2 min rest.  I was doing this ... and then some in workouts 2 weeks before Korea in March.  Need both work on form, fitness, and strength.

The plantar issue seems a little better.  K tape really helps.  Hopefully I can start doing every other day on the track now.   Damn cold weather in store for the weekend, 30ºs and windy on Sat., better by Monday but continued cold afterward, at least no snow.

Monday, December 4, 2017


Back on the track today, last warm day... although at 58º and a stiff breeze, didn't feel all that warm, but much worse is coming.  Felt slow and sluggish, still some soreness from the stadium stairs on Friday.

Hoka trainers on 
300m warmup, stretches, drills 
600m - 1:48.5 
500m - 87 
400m - 64.5

At least I completed the workout.  Last time I tried this about 17 days ago, I bailed on the 500m.   The 600m and 500m were pretty slow but I ran an OK 400m.   2 of the 3 straights of the 600 were into the wind.  I may not be out again until Thurs or Fri.

145.9 after workout.  Watching my diet.

Wore my Spanish singlet I got in a trade with an athlete in Korea.

Brief workout / possible meets

I should have taken the day off as my quads were still sore from the stairs on Friday, but I thought a brief shake out workout would help, plus it was an incredible 68º in Sewanee on this Sunday, Dec 3.
Hoka trainers on  
300m warmup, stretches, drills 
2 x 200m w/ 1 min rest - 28.5, 29.5 
100m - 13.8
I definitely paid it for as my heel plantar was quite sore afterward.  I had done so little that I expected to be back out later today for some foundational stuff, a more substantial workout since I know I can't be out there Tues, and Wed due to weather and work.  Monday is essentially the last warm day, maybe of the month as a very cold airmass is settling over TN the next 2 weeks.  It's not expected to get over 45º for the next week.

Wish I could have raced at Vandy on Sat.  Good to see my fellow masters out there, Duane and Don.

145.7 lbs after workout.

Possible Indoor Season
I won't race at all of these, but only Vandy is the one that I may or may not get permission for.  The others I can get in

Sun. Jan 7 - TSU
Sat. Jan 13 - Vandy
Sun. Jan 21 - Emory Crossplex
Sun. Jan 28 - KMS Crossplex
Sat. Feb 3 - Millrose , NYC
Sun. Feb 11 - Atlanta
Sat. March 3 - Berry, GA (outdoor)
March 16-18 - USATF Masters Indoor Championships, Landover, MD

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Congrats to USATF Masters Award winners! And to a few non-award winners!

Masters Age Group Award winners 2017

 30-39: Sean Burnett, Walter Dix

 40-49: Antwon Dussett, Sonja Friend-Uhl, Allen Woodard, Derk Pye, Jeferson Souza, Latrica Dendy, Eric Cole

 50-59: Khalid Mulazim, Lorraine Jasper, Joy Upshaw, Antonio Palacios, Oneithea Lewis

 60-69: William Collins, Carol Finsrud, Myrle Mensey, Reta Hanscom, Doug Torbert, Thaddeus Wilson Sr, Noel Ruebel, Charles Allie

 70-79: Kathy Bergen, Joanne Marriott, Larry Hart, Gary Patton

 80+: Jeanne Daprano, Gloria Krug, William Bell, Robert Culling, Ian Reed

Kathy Martin, Bob Lida

Yes, there were inconsistencies
Overall, very few awards were given this year.  No one in the M55 group got it.
It's very clear why most of these athletes received this award, less clear why a few did, and why a few did not.  With any type of award that depends on voting, there are always inconsistencies.  What is clear is that the so called "Masters Award point scoring system" was completely ignored.

As a prime example of the inconsistency of this award -

I'm not going to mention any names except for one.  It is completely astounding to me that Karnell Vickers  did not get this award.  He finished with FOUR #1 World rankings in M50: (100m, 200m, 110m H, and 400m H) and won 4 National Championships.  And he did it in what is arguably the most competitive and stacked age group in the world.  What does one have to do?  Contrast this with another hurdler that received the award who won just one National Championship and finish with just a #3 world rank indoor, although he had (one) #1 rank outdoor.  And, a W75 lady won 4 Golds in Daegu.

OK... then a #1 world rank seems like a good indicator.  What about Karnell?  What about Don who finished with #1 rankings in 2 events indoors?  At least one of the award winners was no where near #1 World rank.

OK, then perhaps American records seem like a valid criteria?  Not even this was consistent.  Some American record setters won the award, while others did not, like two who set American records in the 5K and 10K.  The 10K was a WR!  Still, not good enough?

Personally, I think that the point system takes all of these things into consideration... it accounts for both championships and records.  Yet the voting committee ignores it.  In the past years, at the awards dinner, a very clear spread sheet was developed noting the accomplishments of all the award winners.  I can't wait to see the spread sheet on this one.  Indicated by a spread sheet I saw on the '15 and '16 seasons, it seems that the point system was followed somewhat or informally, why not this yr?

In a sport like track and field, there shouldn't be awards given on any other basis than what is empirical:  data and numbers.  Personalities, opinions, cuteness, and name recognition (i.e. those that have participated for many yrs)...  should not play a part.  That is why I think an awards point system is appropriate.  It deals with numbers.  But, even that present point system could be improved, perhaps adjusted to reflect how competitive the championship event is (i.e. number of entries) and World and US rankings.  Not all championship events are equally contested.  For example, one person got the award for '16, winning a World Championship in a fairly low turnout event, and a National Championship where the person was the only entry in the event age group and ran uncontested.  In '15, it seemed that the award required at least three medals:  World Medals of any color, and/or National Championship Gold.  The award criteria has shifted year to year and that isn't consistent or good.

Another argument for adherence to an award point system is that it encourages consistency and participation.  This is the way the professional elite track competition the Diamond League is run.  Why shouldn't masters be run the same way?

stadium stairs

Friday morning, I was at MTSU to run stadium stairs, my first set in a while.  Nice weather, 50sº and sunny.  I was happy to be joined by my colleague Jacob and his wife Madison.
Hoka trainers on 
200m warmup, stretches 
17x stadium stair sprints
After 8x I was really feeling it. I had to stop and rest.  Wanted to do 20x but ran out of time since I had a meeting to attend.  After my last one, I was still running at a good pace.  I felt I could do it all day with enough rest in between.  Nevertheless, today on Saturday, I'm pretty sore in the quads.  The good news is that my feet feel ok and I should be back on the track tomorrow.  3 more days of excellent weather in the 60ºs before a massive cold air mass moves in on Wed. which will effectively drop daytime temps 20º ... so it will be in the 40ºs daily for the next 3 weeks of Dec. training season.


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

tempo 300s

58º and sunny in Sewanee with a light breeze.  Great weather for training.   My most common tempo set but a little slower with 30 sec mote rest.
Hoka trainers  
300m warmup, stretches, drills 
4 x 300m w/ 2:30min rest - 50.5, 50.5, 51.5, 54  (51.6 avg)

When in shape, I do these 2 sec faster with 30 sec less rest.  As usual, the last one was a butt kicker. But this is ok for Nov.  Next 4 x 300m tempo session, I'll take 2:15 rest.  Next time out will probably be Friday and I'll do long sprint foundation.  My feet have been surviving with a 2 days off in between track sessions.  I hope to do a Fri, Sun, Tues, schedule in Dec.

146.5 after workout.  The fat loss has been slow.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Low volume but swift

Nice weather at the Marist track, low 60ºs.  A treat to run shirtless in late Nov.
Hoka trainers on 
300m warmup, stretches, drills 
500m  - 81 (64, 17) 
300m - 43.5 
200m - 28.5

The 500m felt ok but hard.  The 300m really wasted me and the final 200m was tough and not so fast.  This was ok considering just 2 days rest.   I think I can start doing 3 days a week soon, maybe Friday, Sunday Tues.  The plantar issue is still a problem so will probably stay with 2 days rest in between.  

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

first tempo intervals / hills

Cool in Sewanee, 45º and a light breeze but sunny.  I hadn't done a set of tempo intervals this season so I started gingerly, a much easier set than my standard 4 x 300m w/ 2m rest.  I tried 3 x 300m w/ 2:30 rest, and it didn't end real strong.  Kind of expected in my 148 lb body.
Hoka trainers on 
300m warmup, stretches, drills 
3 x 300m w/ 2:30 rest - 48, 49, 56.5 
3 x 100m hill sprints 19, 18, 19
The first 2 were fine but the third one suffered.  I normally try for 48 and usually end up with 49-50 avg on a 4 x 300m w/ 2min.  Today, I struggled to complete 3 x 300m in 51 avg with even more rest.  Next time, maybe I'll try for 50-51 for the first few and maybe will be able to complete a more consistent set.

Afterward, I went to Roarkes Cove hill to sprint some 100s.  These were run hard but a bit slow, usually 17-18.

Kind of feels like I've hit the downward slope toward M60.


147.7 lbs. after workout.

I've always thought that I have to work harder than my colleagues to achieve similar results.  Being short, with less than great form, I've been able to do the bitchin' hard work to get me into the sub 56 range at least a few times every season.  Now my limiting factor is foot issues.  Due to plantar issues with my left foot and joint issues with my right, I need more recovery and less volume.  My hip and back issues are much better.  My left plantar issue is both in the heel - stemming from an injury in Toronto where someone stepped in front of me while I was running full speed in my spikes, I had to come down hard on my heel to miss him - and a little in the ball of the foot (metatarsalgia) which is completely alleviated by taping and padding.  It's not getting worse and I think it will be manageable, but has prevented me from doing the every other day regime I used to.  I need at least 2 or 3 days in between track workouts.

I've been crosstraining everyday this week.  Last two days a 5 mile hilly mountain bike ride each day, Monday - weights and leaps, Tues - 25 min Stairmaster, 2000m row.

I'm also eating much less since my fall party, but as I know, it takes at least 2 weeks to see any fat reduction after a new diet regime.  I plan on resuming the amino, creatine, protein supplements and hopefully I'll get leaner and stronger.

Right now, I'm actually fairly fit.  Could probably run a 60 flat 400m in spikes right now, but making that transition from my present 'normal level' of fitness to a 'competitive level' of fitness for the 400m, is about the hardest task I've ever undertaken... And it's not getting any easier.   I'm sure it's not as hard for those who ran competitively in college track and are 6'4", and who used to run sub 50 in their youth, but for me it's real hard and includes significant diet restrictions and good lifestyle choices.


I wish I was ready to race Dec 2 at Vandy, it is their only meet with no restrictions on entry.  Their other meets require coaches permission.  Realistically, I won't be ready to race til at least January and was thinking about starting at the KMS meet on 1/28 at the Crossplex.   It's a mixed level meet but generally has attracted elites and even Olympians.   Maybe I'll do the TSU meet in early Jan to see where I am, although it's a slow flat track.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Media from WMACi Daegu 2017

A new pro photo and youtube videos of my 200m and 400m finals have emerged.   Thanks to Shane for the FB tag on the videos.  These were recorded by someone from France.

Here's the photo in full resolution, you'll have to click on it or scroll to the right to see all of it.

What is interesting is the 400m Final where Benoit caught me in the end, running a PR 54.39 - the fastest M55 400m in the world this year by a lot, both indoor or outdoor.   My 200m split was clearly at least 25.4, faster than my 200m race at Nationals and NCCWMA. Might have been 25.3.  I was just inches from a PR and going sub 55.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

600 / 300s

Warm at the Marist School, mid 60ºs.  Busy so this is the first workout after a 4 day rest and after gaining weight due to party leftovers.  I definitely struggled today, despite laying down a decent 600m.
Hoka trainers  
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
600m - 1:45 
2 x 300m - 49, 46
The first 300m was a bailout, it was supposed to be a 500m.   I had planned a 600-500-400 workout but just didn't have the mental fortitude to suffer a 500m after a hard 600m.  So, I bailed after 300m, and finished with an uptempo 300m.  Normally this type of workout wouldn't kick my butt so much, but I'm still 5 lbs overweight and not in condition.   It's going to be a long way back.

Monday, November 13, 2017


Brisk cool day on the track, 48º and a light breeze but sunny on the Sewanee track.  Volume day.
Hoka trainers on 
300m warmup, stretches, drills 
3 x 600m - 1:51.5, 1:53, 1:55

Not my fastest set of 600s but glad to get it done.  My back feels much better and my hip is almost ready to go.  Still no fast intervals, just doing this foundation.  Soon will need some hills and limited rest tempo intervals.

Still about a month away from spikes and any real speed work.

146.7 lbs after workout.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Brief but hard

Friday, I squeezed in a workout despite a buy day in Sewanee.  It was sunny, light breeze but cool, temperatures falling into the upper 40ºs by late PM.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
500m - 84 
300m -  45.5
Doesn't look like much but it kicked my butt.  Just a testament to how slow I am and how far I have to go.   Ran way short of my goal, was hoping to run 81-82 in the 500m.   Hard to image I ran a 500m in spikes in 73.6 just 3 months ago.  Working around the house so my feet were sore.

It's still early but by Dec., I need to be running faster and adding some hills.

147.1 after workout.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Foundation ... again

Same workout as last Monday, even a bit faster.  On just 2 days rest, which included several miles of hilly bike riding, I did a volume workout today.  Beautiful unseasonably warm peak color fall day, 71º in Sewanee with light winds.
Hoka trainers on 
350m warmup, stretches, drills 
800m - 2:41.5 
600m - 1:52 
500m - 84.5
Happy to get this one done.

Woke up rather heavy after late night eating, and a dinner at the amazing Atlanta Botanical Garden.  Wow, that carmel custard was good!   150 lbs out of bed and still 147.4 after workout.  Still not losing the weight, dinner tonight at Sewanee was broiled redfish, vegetables and Key lime pie.  Very good.  However, I can feel the body beginning to respond a little to the training.  Still a while before I will start running fast, but I can see a bit of improvement.  Tomorrow, I'll hit the weights and maybe Stairmaster and be back on the track by Friday.

Got plenty of time.  Over 19 weeks until indoor nationals.  It looks like the next 2 indoor nationals will be on flat 200m tracks.  BAD idea.  Forget about breaking any relay records.

Friday, November 3, 2017

baby steps...

After just 3 days rest, back out for a short one.  Sewanee is warm and humid for Nov.  Mid 60's and rain ending.  Beautiful fall colors and fog in the cove.  I did low volume, brisk tempo.

It's Homecoming weekend in Sewanee and I was happy to have the track as the football players weren't practicing.  They were under the stadium in street clothes in one of the dingy rooms under the stadium engaged in some weird ritual ... probably some silly Homecoming tradition.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
400m - 65 
300m - 46
This felt way harder than it should have.  I'm still not 100% but better.  Have been doing no weights for 2 weeks except some pull ups and core at home.  I'm no where near the fitness level to do a tempo set of 4 x 300s w/ 2 min ... or the like.  I need to start cross training on the stair master and weights 2x a week with my 2x a week on the track.  It's still early, at least 9 or 10 weeks before I have an opportunity to race.  On the track I need to slow down and add one volume workout a week, at least a mile.  Maybe in a few weeks, I can try a brief tempo set.

Lighter, 144.7 lbs after workout.  Taping the right foot, feels better.  Hip coming along, back improved.

The view from my house this morning....

Monday, October 30, 2017

Foundation on a nice day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beautiful day!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Back after a week... again

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Back after a week

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 11, 2017


Just for fun I totaled up all the track meets I've raced in since I started Masters Track in '11.

  • 102 track meets total  (multi day meets are counted as one) 
  • 51 college meets (50 college meets in 6 seasons)
  • most active season: '14 - 22 meets  
  • least active season: '13 - 6 meets (injured with fracture Jan - mid July) 
Racing in over 50 NCAA college track meets as a sprinter over the age of 50 must be some kind of a record.  Considering the multi day and multi event meets, my race total is probably well over 200.

That's a lot of sprinting for an old man.

Monday, October 9, 2017

brief speed

Same workout I did last Tues.  3 long sprints at 90% effort.  It was really hard despite the time in between.  Warm and summer-like today, upper 70ºs and humid.  I saw coach Jess and the X country team out there on the track for the first time.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
2 x 300m - 43.5, 44 
200m - 28

 Did one set of weights last night.  Faster than last time but it hurt a little, felt a little soreness in feet and hip, probably due to the hard set on glute machine.  Don't know what I'd do without the hot tub to sink into afterward.  The way I felt at the end of 300m tells me I doubt I can run must faster than 60 in the 400m.  I'm in bad shape so maybe I won't run the 400 in 2 weeks and just do short stuff.  I'm still heavy, about 146.7 lbs after workout.

Will be back on the track Friday then hopefully leaving to hike in the Smokies.

Last year during this time I was training hard for Perth.  But when I look back to 2015, I was only doing one track day and one weight day a week in Oct.  So, maybe I'm  doing too much too soon?   Don't know.  Will try to maintain one long and one short track workout a week.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Masters Awards point system

I don't know if this is new or if this has been up on the USATF website for a while, but apparently there is a point system that determines USATF Masters Athlete of the Year Awards.  Perhaps, if one of the elder statesmen of USATF Masters can enlighten me, (Peter?) please chime in.

Here is the point system.  Age group masters awards are given in 10 yr increments, 50-59, etc...
Point Scoring System:
10 pts = World Record
8 pts = American Record
6 pts = WMA Championship Gold Medal
5 pts = National Gold Medal
4 pts= WMA Championships Silver Medal
3 pts= WMA Championships Bronze Medal
It also states, "Age Groups: (number selected is based on 3% of those who participated in the age group at both the National Masters Indoor & Outdoor Championships) ... Various criteria are used to evaluate nominees. One of these is the following Point Scoring System."

Not sure what the "3%" means or even more vague is the "various criteria" statement.  What are the "various criteria?"  

Apparently the system isn't so cut n dry... and some people get overlooked.  For example, Dave S. won 3 National titles in '14 (M60 - 400m, 800m, 1500m) and did not receive the award.  Perhaps this was before the point system?  Or this was because he was a newcomer and no one nominated him?  Also, someone won this award last yr with one World title and one National title which was run uncontested (the only entry at Nationals in the event age group).  It's not uncommon to see just one entry in some of the hurdle events in the older age groups (especially among women).

Anyway, I do remember Mary H. at the awards banquet in Baton Rouge saying the NCCWMA would count as a qualifying meet for this award.   So, this was an unusual year in that there were four meets to accumulate points.  I know it would take some work, but it would be feasible to generate a spread sheet of all the points won at these competitions by the various athletes.

Good year

Despite my end of the year frustrations at Nationals and NCCWMA, it was my best season if you consider my point totals:
5 - USATF Indoor Championship (400m) Gold
6 - Daegu World Championship (200m) Gold
4 - Daegu World Championship (400m) Silver
6 - NCCWMA Championship (400m) Gold
21 - total
I'm assuming NCCWMA counts as a 'world meet'?   Even if I eliminate the NCCWMA points, that would be 15 points for the indoor season alone.  (Also, I know it doesn't count, but I got 2 silvers at Nationals, one indoor - 200m, and one outdoor - 400m).

Last time I got the award in '15, I had just 11 points (Nat'l 400m, 2 World Bronze).  By the time I got to Perth, I had 10 points and if I hadn't fallen at the finish, I would have totaled 13.

Not many people participated in all four meets.  As far as the 50-59 age group is concerned, I think M50 Karnell had the most points (4 National outdoor titles, 3 NCCWMA) 38 points.   Don had 28  (4 National titles -indoor and outdoor, and 2 Silvers at NCCWMA.   I think Rob T. had 18, all indoor.  So, not sure about field events, but I might have made the top 5 in my 50-59 age group, more likely in the track events.

Anyway, so this season wasn't such a bust.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

doesn't come easy

Getting back in shape isn't coming easy.  Does it ever?  I'm a little tired of being soft and slow.  With a hurricane heading this way for tomorrow, I decided to get out and get it done today.  I got a good hard mtn bike ride in yesterday. Today, due to a Sewanee game, the track there was unavailable so I went to the hard tartan track at SAS school at 5pm.
Hoka trainers on 
350m warmup, stretches, drills 
800m - 2:43 
600m - 1:52 
300m - 45
Same workout as last weekend.  Hurt just as much but just a tad faster.  I think an early season schedule of track, weights, rest - a 3 day cycle will be ok for a while with some biking and occasional hills or stairs thrown in.  At least 2 days off track for every day on.  So, I can be back on track Tues.

Still using 'tricks' to save wear on my feet: alternating pairs of trainers in between warmup and sprints, sometimes even between sprints, using very heavy padded 'mountaineering socks'.

It's mentally tough to start this training because I'm haunted by my lack of improvement at the end of the season despite a lot of really hard work.  If I could only manage a 57 after all that, what am I going to do this yr?

I'm not really super heavy, 145.8 after workout, but I haven't eaten yet today.  I set a pretty high bar for myself in terms of leanness and fitness, and I feel really soft... due to an extra 4+ lbs and a loss of muscle mass.  Time to cut the carbs.  Roasted vegs tonight.   No potatoes!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

brief hard workout

A brief workout by my usual standards on a stunningly beautiful day in Sewanee, sunny 75º.  I was just on the track Sunday and won't be back til probably Sunday or maybe Friday if I feel like it.   It did not go well today.  After taking time off, I'm not feeling refreshed, more sluggish and gimpy, just plain slow.
Hoka trainers on 
300m warmup, stretches, drills 
2 x 300m - 46, 46 
200m - 28
Considering I was running 300s in 41 in training shoes 2 months ago, these 300s felt really hard considering the slow time.  I guess I'll go back to longer foundation next time out.  But it's going to be a real grind getting back.

146.5 lbs after workout.

Happy to be able to run, although my championships and world medals are probably over for a few yrs... til I turn 60.   My little brother 400m rival Marcus turned 55 today...  and I'll be pushing 58 by mid season.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

First official training day

On my home track today on a crisp autumn day, cool and clear, little wind, in the 60ºs.  Suffered a lot today due to my lack of conditioning, even though I didn't run real fast.  It was still a hard workout.
Hoka trainers on 
300m warmup, stretches, drills 
800m - 2:49 
600m - 1:53 
300m - 44.5
I ran the 800m fairly brisk but didn't kill myself, about 10 seconds slower than my first foundation 800s after my break in May.  I felt slow, but to be expected this early.  These are comparable times to my foundation workouts in Oct '15.  It's just daunting the amount of work I'll have to do to run fast again.  Indoor Nationals are a long ways away ... 23+ weeks.   I don't think I'll be able to or should put in a volume workout more than once a week.  I think for this stage of the season, 2 or 3 times a week on the track is plenty plus weights and cross training.  As I get older, I can't do the same volume I once did.  But, I need foundation.  One workout a week of 800s and 600s for the next 6 weeks.  I will be mixing in some speed too.  I'm going to race in 3 weeks in Chattanooga to see where I am.  Be lucky to break 59 in the 400m.

Although I'm not terribly heavy, 145.5 after workout, I'm carrying about 4 lbs of fat I didn't have 2 months ago.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Stadium stairs

Taking advantage of my time at MTSU this week to run the stadium stairs.  Been a while since I did this.  So, with the daylight fading and thanks to a lesson cancelation, I hit the stairs.
Hoka trainers  
brief warmup 
20 x stadium stair sprints
Like doing an interval workout, the last 10 steps are the real workout of each flight.  I took a bit more time in between than usual but 20x is a lot for an early season workout.

This is a pretty good flight of stairs.  The exhaustion hits only after I finish the flight.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Rusty return

I felt that 6 weeks was enough so I hit the track today at Marist.   On a school recruiting trip to Atlanta to attend an arts job fair.

I was really surprised at how painful my warmup laps felt.  Carrying an extra 5 or 6 lbs than normal, everything hurt.  But after a full warmup it felt better... but, I'm in terrible shape.  I was going to run an 800m but I bailed.   It would have been a struggle, so I ran a 400 at 800m pace and did some up tempo stuff.
Hoka trainers on 
800m warmup, stretches, drills 
400m - 76 
300m - 44 
200m - 27.5
Actually surprised I ran the 300 and 200 as fast as I did.  My body is beginning to remember how to sprint.  It's going to take time.  I'd be hard pressed to run 60 sec 400m right now.   But, gotta start somewhere.  I just feel heavy and I should be back to normal in a few weeks.  Not looking forward to the foundation stuff i know I need to do.

I signed up to race in a senior games district meet 4 weeks from today.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Cardio health part 2

Well, I had my first CT calcium scan of my heart yesterday.  The machine was a low dose state of the art GE which was reassuring.  The actual scan took just a few minutes.

My calcium plaque score was ZERO.  yes!

That is a perfect result, essentially indicating almost a zero chance of heart disease or heart attack in the next 15 yrs, according to studies.  A zero score isn't that unusual, if I read the stats correctly, about 1/3 of white males age 57 tested get a zero result.   That being said, false negatives are possible with some blockage material being too low density to be seen on such a scan.  But, I'm encouraged.

It affirms the benefits of the fact that I haven't eaten beef or pork for 26 yrs, and only recently started occasionally eating poultry.   And, I've never allowed myself to become overweight or obese, never having exceeded a BMI of 25.

Unlike some who might celebrate this result with steak and ice cream, I'm going to persevere with the dietary recommendations that were given to me as mentioned in my previous post.

As someone stated, one of my risk factors is triglycerides and that makes sense because I've not been able to correct is my massive intake of sugar.   Now, I say sugar, and we all know sugar is sugar, but I am very particular about the sugar I use.  I use only 2 types of sugar exclusively:  1) raw turbinado or 2) pure maple.   If you have to eat sugar, these are miles better than white sugar, and they taste soooo much better too.  I have not ever purchased granulated white sugar.   But I will tell you this:  I would opt for the deadly pure white sugar in a heartbeat before I'd take a chemical sweetener like aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, acesulfame, or any of the others.    I hate chemical sweeteners with a passion.  It sickens me to see how pervasive sucralose has become.  I read labels religiously before I buy anything.

I consume almost all of my sugar in coffee or tea, which I probably also drink too much of.  I use sweet coffee and tea to ward off hunger when I am cutting fat off my body in preparation for race season.   Even in the widest swings, I'm only varying 10 or 11 lbs maximum.  To get that last 5 lbs of firm fat off prior to competition, takes some extraordinary measures.  Like eating one main meal a day and completely eliminating starchy carbs.   Essentially fish and vegetables, nuts and fruit.

Today, I tried a natural zero calorie sweetener blend of stevia and monk fruit.  It was ok in my oat bran, but terrible in tea.  But it was ok in cappuccino, not great.

So, I'm going to try and kick the sugar habit for a while and see how it goes.  I've decided that it's ok to eat some artisan baked wheat bread.  But oat bran + flax seed cereal and blueberries will be my go to in the morning, or for the first meal ... instead of sugar and caffeine.

What is healthy?  I guess olive oil is NOT
Everyone talks about the benefits of olive oil and the 'Mediterranean Diet.'  Olive oil is high in mono unsaturated fat.  Well guess what: studies in apes show monounsaturated-fat-rich diet and saturated-fat-rich diet were equally damaging. That's right, olive oil was no better than saturated fat.
“The monkeys fed monounsaturated fat developed equivalent amounts of coronary artery atherosclerosis as those fed saturated fat,” wrote Dr. Lawrence Rudel and colleagues at Bowman Gray School of Medicine at Wake Forest University in Winston–Salem, North Carolina. “The point here is, we’ve got to look beyond blood lipids. We’ve got to examine exactly what happens to our arteries,” asserts Dr. Jay Kenney, Nutrition Research Specialist at the Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami, Florida. As this very important long-term study on monkeys demonstrates, “better” blood lipids do not necessarily lead to better arteries. Though the monkeys on the mono-fat-rich diet had lower LDLs and higher HDLs than the monkeys on the sat-fat-rich diet, they ended up with the same amount of damage to their arteries.
So what is it about the 'Mediterranean Diet?'  Well, it's really not just the diet, it's the lifestyle.  If you are a farmer or a sheep herder in coastal Mediterranean community, you're on your feet and walking up hills a lot.  THAT is what gives the benefit as much as diet.  In the diet, it's not so much the olive oil but the other stuff:
 “The beneficial components of the Mediterranean diet,” concluded Robert Vogel, MD, and colleagues at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, “appear to be antioxidant-rich foods, including vegetables, fruits, and their derivatives such as vinegar, and omega–3–rich fish…
So, read this article if you think olive oil is so great. Apparently, the science say it's not. The science supporting claims that monounsaturated fats are heart protective is weak, based largely on population studies, not controlled trials. Whatever modest health benefits are associated with consuming olive oil are largely due to the beneficial plant chemicals, such as polyphenols and plant sterols, found in the extra virgin olive oils, but these plant chemicals are largely lost in the more processed ‘light’ olive oils... the kind my mother tends to use, unfortunately.

The article is full of scientific references, some studies of course better, larger and more conclusive than others.  But the bottom line is that all fats are generally bad in excess.   However, my personal experience is that fats seem to affect my blood sugar and put weight on me far LESS than starchy carbs.

I guess it's back to that old saying.... everything in moderation.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Off season workouts / cardio health

Off Season
I'm committed to taking the rest of the month off from the track, probably my longest break from running in about 4 years, and it'll be about 7 weeks.

In the mean time, I'm doing Stairmaster and Concept 2 rower.  Usually the 20 min hill program on the Stairmaster (level 16), then some weights... focusing on the upper body, core, hip flexors, abductors, etc... and other areas I've trained less on during the season.  Then I do a 2000m set on the rower in 8:40ish.   Not a killer workout by any means, just enough to stay somewhat fit and burn some calories.  I can get this done in 45 min or so.  This is a workout easy enough to do daily when I can.

After the season ended on 8/11, I binged a bit on stuff I normally don't eat.  Toast and butter, a few pastries, pizza.   After cleaning up my act for a few days and having the customary fast, I did a lipid profile blood test and it came back borderline high, thanks much to a family history of high cholesterol.   My total was 218, LDL (bad cholesterol) 135,  HDL (good cholesterol) 51, triglycerides 118.   My LDL has always been too high for comfort... ranging from 99 to 140 in the past several yrs and my ratio of 4.27 is above the optimal although better than average.

I dislike these comparisons to 'average'.  They are meaningless and because the 'average' in America is in such poor health, I don't want to be any part or close to average.

My doctor has given me an option to have a cardiac CT scan for a risk assessment.  This will yield a 'calcium computed tomography score.'   I'm surprised that a lot of health professionals I talked to about this test didn't even know what it was.  It's not particularly reliable as it often gives false positives and negatives.  Positives such as indicating 'severe' when it's not really severe - as in the case of my father's test where he received a sky high severe level score of 1800+ but a cardiac catheterization revealed only moderate blockage (50%).  Any score over 400 is considered high risk.  False negatives result when soft plaque goes undetected.  Also, there is a cancer risk of just having the chest radiated ... and I've had a fair amount of xrays in the past 7 yrs.

I probably will go through with the the test just to see where I stand ... approximately.   My doc is sort of pushing me to go on statin medication and I am NOT interested in doing that, as I have read it is not conducive to athletic training, may damage the liver, cause muscle soreness, susceptibility for muscle/ tendon damage, hurt recovery, impair aerobic conditioning, etc...!  One physician friend told me that the long term benefits of life extension use of statin drugs was mixed and inconclusive.   Plus, once you commit to using statins, just getting off them increases risk, so better to not start.

Partly due to aging, the risk factors increase.  My risk assessment with the same numbers was significantly less if you were to make the same calculations for a 51 yr old instead of a 57 yr old.

Borderline high cholesterol is a risk factor, doesn't mean I am diseased, or at least not terribly.   I have worked tremendously hard as an athlete, have excellent blood pressure for a 57 yr old (usually 116/60 in the mornings) and good resting pulse (in the 50s in the mornings).  So, I think I can improve these lipid numbers with other means than drugs.  I seriously detest the mentality that one can achieve license to indulge in a gluttonous lazy lifestyle by taking a pill.  Also, that you can 'eat your way to perfect health' by being a vegan... or train as an athlete to impeccable health.   I'm pretty certain there is more to it, especially heredity and genes, but the number one priority is to at least know where you stand with medical tests and assessments.  Otherwise, you're living in self indulgent ignorance - risky behavior - especially if you know your parents, uncles, aunts, had/have heart disease or cancer.  Nothing is for certain.  I'm reminded that life is fragile as a few friends have recently had bouts of severe cancer when they seemed to be living very healthy lifestyles and seemed to be low risk.  Risk is something that you shouldn't guess at.  Your life depends on it.

All that said, I've been a near vegetarian for most of my adult life.  Still haven't eaten beef or pork in 26 years.  Been vegan, mostly vegan + fish, recently vegan + fish and occasional poultry.

I'm ok with a challenge.  If I have to take statins sometime in my life, I hope to put it off for at least a decade or more.  I have consulted with friends, some in the medical field, who have successfully lowered their lipid numbers with lifestyle.  Some of these diet recommendations may seem odd and unproven, but they've worked for some people.   Here are some of their suggestions:

When not training, spend off days doing stuff on the feet, home projects, walks, bike rides, etc..

Eliminate -
- all dairy except low or non fat products
- off season binges
- fried food 
 Add -
- oat bran cereal with ground flax
- niacin supplements
- plant sterol and stanol supplements
- replace butter with olive oil or Benecol
- pickled foods or apple cider vinegar
- maybe an occasional glass of wine 

Next lipid test won't be until beginning of Feb. '18.   CT scan this week unless I chicken out.   We'll see how it goes.  I'm always good for a challenge.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

2017 season tribute

Athletics is an inspiring journey.  Here's a quote from an article I saw on T&F News:
Dear Younger Me: Michael Granville
Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.  Smile often. Don't take things personal, especially what someone else may do to you. But take what YOU DO TO YOURSELF personal. Life is 10 percent of what happens to you, and 90 percent how you respond. Remember to Follow One Course Until Successful (FOCUS).  Be grateful.  See the beauty in people and act as if that's all you see. Have Compassion. Continue to spread good news about health and fitness with conversation and lead by example.  .... Keep putting in the work. Keep pushing the limits of your dreams!

Below is a pro photo of the NCCWMA 400m final and a tribute I wrote on facebook.


Last week I went 4 days with about zero exercise and went on a few mild carb binges involving bread, pastry, and potatoes.  Nothing too excessive.  I'm still about 147.5 lbs.

Finally, last Friday I biked up the monster hill on Roark's Cove road, always a challenge even when I'm in shape.  I also hit the weight room for some upper body work.  I think it will be at least another 2-3 weeks before I set foot on the track again, and when I do, it'll be just once a week until about Nov.   I hope this end of season doesn't play too hard on my motivation to train.  It just seemed that I didn't reap any benefit from some very hard work at the end of this season.

Privilege of participation

One additional thing I wanted to mention, it is easy to take for granted participation on this level.  Even one minor injury can take the level of competitiveness or participation to zero.   Not being injured is #1.   In the world of masters track, one or two individuals being injured can promote a bronze medalist to a champion.

I had a few tweaks this season but thankfully no significant injuries.  As life is fragile, the fitness of a masters sprinter is even more fragile.  It is a also a matter of intelligent preparation and luck that one's body can withstand the rigors of training, especially for a 400m.  I was injured a lot in my first year, especially quads and hams.  That probably influenced my shift from being a 100/200 to 200/400 guy.  It is common for many world class 100m guys to start the season racing a 400m.   Tyson Gay, Usain Bolt, and Walter Dix have all done it.  This season, an M60 guy with a lot of experience ran a 100m in his first meet and tore a ham.  Out for the season.  This is an example of poor preparation.   Not real bright to start the season as an older masters with a 100m race.   I love running the 100m but I rarely do so.  Penn Relays is a good time to do it because it's after indoor and well before outdoor Nationals.


It has been probably since 2013 when I fractured my foot that I took more than a month off from training on the track. It's been a journey and a privilege, not only to put my hands down on the line with the fastest men my age in the world representing the USA, but also to compete in college meets (and not finish last).

My masters track colleagues are some of the best people I've ever met. A brother and sisterhood of speed, where we come together a few times a year like a family reunion, in a different city, or on a different continent as Team USA. The journey of the training and competition, as well as the respect and friendship of my masters track family has given much to my life, a vital balance and compliment to my career of music teaching and performing.

International competition has also given me the opportunity to drive through the French Alps with my dad, to the beaches of Australia, and the streets of Daegu, Korea. I'm a relative newcomer to Masters track, only beginning in my 50s 7 yrs ago, but it's been quite a run: Five National Titles, a World Title, a World Silver and 2 Bronze, NCCWMA Gold, a 4x200m M55 World Record relay, USATF Age Group Athlete of the Yr. Award, a bunch of Team USA relay medals, National Silver and Bronze medals, and the opportunity to join my GPTC teammates at Millrose and Penn Relays.

The great thing about track, is you bring it or you don't. Unlike music, where you're only as good as someone thinks you are, there is no subjectivity in track. My 400m time in Daegu (55.17) was the fastest time in the USA in my age group since 2014, #3 in the world this year (indoor and outdoor), and fastest M55 indoor time in the US in 9 yrs.

As we move up in our age group and make way for the faster and younger, we look toward being 'reborn' every 5 years into a new age group. The medals matter less than the journey. I look forward to maybe one more World meet next year in Malaga, Spain until I enter the M60 age group just before the 2020 World Championships in Toronto. Thanks to the USATF Masters and Team USA. Now, I think I'll take a little time off.

(Nah.... weight room tonight).