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.