Friday, March 29, 2019

End of my reign

Watching the World Masters Indoor Championships
With the conclusion of the events at the WMACi in Torun, Poland today, my reign as M55 World Champion in the 200m is over.  The times I ran in Korea would have compared well with the times run in Poland.  My 400m time of 55.17 winning Silver is exactly what Jon Tilt ran winning Gold.  My 200m time in Daegu would have netted me a Bronze in Poland as 2 guys went under 25, including an exceptionally fast Fin who ran 24.3.   Happy to see David Pitts win 2 Bronze for the USA, as I did in my first world meet (outdoor in Lyon in '15).  I think the star of the meet was Emma McGowan who won triple Gold in W50 in all the sprints and the incredible Charles Allie who at age 71+ set an M70 World Record in the 200m in 26.11 - a time that would have won Silver in the age group below.   Looking at my new age group, Gerhard Zorn looked impressive, double M60 Gold in the 400m/200m and at age 62+, he's running very similar times to what he ran when I first raced him in Lyon in '15.  His form is superb and I would regard him as a top competitor next year in M60.

Fun to see my name in the record book... wonder if our record will fall tomorrow in the 4x200?  The real record should be 1:37.88 if it weren't for an officials mistake.  That 1:37.88 would have stood for a long time, I'm surprised our 1:40.22 has stood 3 yrs now.


Spring has sprung and I did my first wildflower hike last week on the mountain.  The knee is improving slowly and I'm able to bike a bit more aggressively including standing up.  Last night I did my interval set of 16 x 15 sec sprints (standing) with 45 sec rest in between.  It pushed my heart rate close to 160.   Despite that, I'm still heavy, about 152 lbs.  It's nice to be able to practice my running form without running, doing A marches and even gentle A skips while watching myself in the window reflexion for alignment.  It's going ok but my foot problem is still present, the arthritis in my right foot was hurting after workout.  Perhaps I will adjust when I start to run occasionally in a few months. 

I just bought 2 pair of the treasured Clifton 1s in anticipation of future training.  Hope it happens.  I'm wearing them around the house for fun right now.

Except for a few isolated freaks like Charles Allie, it seems that a lot of Masters have their peak and then retire or fade from prominence.  I remember Mike Sullivan and Ken Eaton, world medalists in '11, now apparently retired.   Perhaps for some it's not as demanding to train to be world class as it is for others.  I know for me, it takes everything I've got to make a world final and a medal stand.  Don't know yet if I'll ever get back there but should have some I idea in 6 months.  I'd like to race through the 2022 season if I my body will tolerate the training.  World Meets are: 2020 Toronto, 2021 Edmonton, and 2022 Gothenburg, Sweden.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Biking !

Yesterday, I did my first outdoor biking with friends and it went well.  I biked about 8-9 miles including a hill climb (which was steep enough that 2 of my friends passed on).  I can do almost anything on the bike as long as I don't stand up, and with the low geared mountain bike, I can climb hills.  This will make a big difference in my over all fitness and activity.   I did buy a foot float for a lap swimming but the pool is closed for another week in Sewanee.  Both biking and upper body swimming are cleared for PT.   I'll be fine for light hiking during wildflower season in 2-3 weeks.  Aqua running starts in 2-3 weeks.

I had mentioned previously that the magical Clifton 1 training shoes were reissued this year, the super soft super light training shoe.  They were pretty much sold out every where so I bought 2 pair at the only place I could still find them in my size, directly from Hoka.  These and the newer Clifton 3s I have should last me well into my M60 yrs.   I just hope they continue this line of Clifton 1s, but no guarantees.  These shoes weigh almost as little as Nike sprint spikes, about 7oz in my size, and with max padding.

Torun, Poland - World Masters Championships next week

This is the last week of my reign as World Indoor 200m champion, the finals of the 200m at worlds is a week from today.  If I were going, I would be leaving day after tomorrow.  It will be interesting to see how our times in Daegu compare to what they run in Poland.  I doubt anyone will run faster than Zavattero did in the M55 400m (54.39), and maybe not even as fast as I did (55.17).   But I do think Lonnie is capable of running faster than my 24.82 in the M55 200m.  He ran 25.01 on a flat track at Nationals, which is presently #1 in the world.  The 400m is really stacked if everyone shows up: I  think it will be between Pitts, Tilt, and Sherar for the medals.   Moody and Shute might contend if in shape.  There may be other new M55s I don't know about, usually are.

Good luck Team USA

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Meeting with Dr.

Met with Dr. LaPrade and his assistant Dr. Cook.  He said I was 'ahead of the curve'.  Dr.  LaPrade was happy to see the decent muscle tone in my quad which is important to recovery.   But Fred said I needed to pull the reins in a bit. In other words, be cautious and don't go ahead of the PT plan.  They said my 'go-to cardio' can be bike and swimming with a leg float, so I just ordered one.

They used euphemisms, probably repetitive 'tried and true analogies' to get their point across regarding rehab.  Here they are, as I can remember what they said:

"You have one chance to get this right, you want to hit a home run.   There are 2 types of people, those who learn from their mistakes and those who learn from other peoples mistakes."  - Fred Cook

Obviously better to learn from other people's mistakes.

Dr. LaPrade cleared the exercises that I had been doing (hip, glute, adductor, and abductor).    I said I thought I could move sooner into some of the other strength exercises because they are not unlike things I do in life, like getting up from a chair is a 'squat.'  He maintained that caution is best because of the fact that this is a very slow healing thing and premature repetitive motion, and anything involving repeated deep squat type exercise needs to be avoided for 4 months.  He used the analogy of a clothes hanger:  "bend it once it's ok but you keep bending it repetitively it will break."  That's why no aqua running for another month, and to continue to use the brace as much as possible especially when walking long distances and when I begin to run.

OK, points made.  He did say that running may be as soon as 20 months not 24, depending on next exam.  I'll likely see him again in June when he moves to Minneapolis.

It was a real fun trip.  Roya met me there and despite our tiredness due to essentially leaving in the middle of the night, having our sleep time reduced an hour by the spring time change, we met in Denver at 8:00 am.  My former student Jacob happened to be there at the same time for a  family ski trip, so we went out for breakfast at Panera.

We left Denver about 10am and headed to the mountains.  I wanted to drive to Loveland Pass but it was closed due to avalanches and deep snow.  We drove to our hotel and Whole Foods in Dillon.  Then we went sight seeing. Off to Leadville where we stopped at the famous saloon.

The trip to Vail was fine, although the area was under an avalanche warning.  We walked around the town and checked out the ritzy shops.  The prices were ridiculous.  You can spend $70 for a gift set that contains 2 bars of soap, or $90 for an espresso cup, one!

On the way back, we stopped at the historic Georgetown where we found an awesome Vietnamese pho restaurant.  It was great.  I had the seafood pho and Roya had the chicken.   We hung out at the airport a bit where I had a chance meeting with a fellow musician, a lute player who was actually quite famous, although I hadn't met him before.  I really felt the Southwest flight was far more comfortable than the Frontier flight.  Got back to Sewanee before midnight.  Nice trip.

In the spirit of Anthony Bourdain, here's a photo of the great pho we had in Georgetown.

Seafood pho at Pho Bay, Georgetown, CO


I've scheduled my followup for June 10th with Dr. LaPrade in MN.   It's a little more expensive to fly to MN, but it's actually shorter distance.  His office is just a few miles from the airport so I won't rent a car or stay over night.  Fly in morning, leave evening.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Gym and travel

Leaving tonight for Denver and my first post op with Dr. LaPrade.   Things seem ok.  I can walk up and down stairs with the brace on and last night, I did 15 min on a stationary bike with some resistance... not 'butt off the seat' type resistance, but enough to make myself sweat and push my out-of-shape heart to 140 bpm.  Just in time because I was developing a serious weight problem.  It started 2 weeks ago during my last week on crutches, I ran out of food at home and was eating fast food for a few days and resorted to eating carbs like pasta.  My weight got up to 155 lbs at one point, but after 3 days of very clean eating and less volume, back 'down' to 150.  I actually look fairly fit at 150.   I'm a week ahead of schedule doing biking with resistance, but it seems ok and I do it with the brace on.  I've now got full range of flexion back, which is also a milestone of sorts.

Also, I've been able to do glute machine and hip flexor with the affected leg no problem, it doesn't engage the knee, but I can't do it yet with the unaffected (R) leg because it requires standing on my affected leg (L) with full weight + .  I can also do adductors and abductors. 

The ability to do cardio on the bike is big.  When in shape, it would take a few 300s to push my heart rate to 140, but as out of shape as I am, the just moderate work on the bike does that.  Up until last night, my workouts were so mild I wasn't even sweating - as prescribed, no resistance biking.  In addition just one set of upper body including rows, pecks, shoulder press and then the glute hip stuff, and calve raises.  Every other day, a tabata ab routine.  Within a month I'll be able to swim, do aqua running, and elliptical.   It's going to be a long road back.  I dreamed last night I ran a 200m in a college meet.  I hope that someday happens again.

Complicating the trip to Denver tomorrow is that the 'spring forward' time change is tonight, which means I have to leave my house at 2:30 am (which will feel like 1:30 am), and there is severe weather in TN today, tornado watches and wind advisories.  I was hoping for a fun day tomorrow with Roya touring in the mountains, I just hope we're not too dead from the trip.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

back to the gym

First time in the gym in 6+ weeks.  It felt great to be there and it was a perfect time to go, I was the only person there late Friday night 9-10pm.  The 'workout' I'm doing is so light that I can do it every day.   The progression of PT exercises is frustratingly slow.  I'm beginning my 7th week post op and the new exercises for this time are biking with no resistance, and hamstring bridge sets.  I wasn't supposed to do calf heel raises for a week but I included those too.  I'm not supposed to bike with resistance, do body weight double leg squats and lunge holds til the last week in March, but I'll ask Dr. LaPrade if I can move it up a week.    Aqua running, hill walking, and first resistance strength exercises not until 2nd week in April.  Seems ridiculous that these exercises are delayed for so long when I do things now in daily life that are similar, like getting up off a chair or walking up stairs.  Stair master and full compliment of resistance exercises are not supposed to happen til June, and running, July. 

It's a long path back but I'm starting now.  I've been eating better.  As much as I love my superautomatic European coffee machines, I've given up coffee for a while, which means I'll consume less sugar.  When I drink a lot of coffee and I'm out of shape, I get this weird heart beat where my heart skips a beat.  After 2 days of no coffee, that issue is greatly reduced. 

USATF National Masters Indoor
Happy to see my friend Stephen G. win his first Nat'l Championship in the M60 60m dash at indoor nationals.  Also happy to see David Pitts win the M55 400m in a solid time.   I hope he goes to Poland.  It'll be a great race if Michael from Canada and Jon from the UK both come... and if Marcus is in shape.

Like all masters events, getting there and being healthy half the battle.