Sunday, October 27, 2019

2nd week off the track

It's been 2 weeks off the track and I feel the plantar fasciitis is much improved.  I feel I could do a track workout tomorrow but I'm going to give it at least another week.  

Been biking both road and stationary a lot.  I was attacked by the local redneck's pit bull on Monday while riding, I got away but he chased me off the road and I almost went down.  I bought some pepper spray and have begun 'training' him.   First 'training session' was yesterday and he responded well.   Hopefully the dog is smart and will not need further 'lessons.'

There has been a stupid infringement on my use of the glute machine in Sewanee.  I guess I'm partly responsible since I've often left the added weight (usually 3 dumb bells weighing 60-70 lbs each) on the stack.   The management took the dumb bells away and hid them (I found them later) and posted a sign on the machine saying, "Do not add extra weights to this machine, you will break it."  Instead of ripping the sign down, I wrote on the sign a response:  "This is absolute bullshit, I've been adding weight to this machine for 5 years.  The machine is fine."  From now on, I will not leave the added weight on the machine but will keep the dumb bells stored behind it.  It should be ok.  I always workout during the last hour that the place is open, often between 10-11pm.  There is almost no one there at that time.   So I don't expect any resistance to my routine.  This glute machine is particularly good for me because I can strengthen my upper hams and glutes without stressing or engaging my knee.  It's kind of a stupid machine... the stack only goes to 150 lbs.... not enough weight to effectively strengthen the glutes - the largest and strongest muscle in the body.  I could literally pump 150 lbs all day.  When I add 190 lbs in dumb bells on the stack, making the total weight 340 lbs, I can still pump it 50 to 60 reps.  This machine is used by sprinters a lot I think.  I saw 2 of them at LSU where their track team trains, except the stack was much larger, I think 450 lbs.  

My fitness has lapsed slightly as my diet has not been as good.  Outings with students and friends last week caused some minor weight gain, however, I quasi-fasted yesterday and weigh in the 146s today.  

Tonight, going to the gym to do glute machine and maybe I'll rip that damn sign down.  

Monday, October 21, 2019

No meet, taking time off from the track

I elected to not race Sunday, although I'm sure I could have gutted out one 400m, but no point in exacerbating my plantar fasciitis.  I did my 3rd bike workout last week - a long sprint bike workout on Thursday (6x60sec w/ 2min pedaling rest) and afterward, I did some drills on the indoor track.  My foot was feeling a little better so I tried to sprint from a 3 pt stance and it definitely hurt my foot.  It was a slight setback as it hurt the next day, so I decided not to race on Sunday.  I will probably take up to 2 or 3 weeks off from running until this plantar issue is gone.

Beautiful sunny morning in Sewanee on Monday, very thankful for this free day.   Windy, about 68º with the wind blowing across my bed this morning.   It felt so great to linger between awake and dreaming for a few hours this morning.  I got my butt out of bed at the crack 10:30am to do a hard 6 mile ride on local roads including some good hills.   I've become aware of how important sleep is so important to healing - both physical  and mental.  I ordered a plantar night splint to help me get over this PF issue.  My friend Shaun has done research on sleep and told me that the real deep 'Delta  wave sleep' is essential for brain health, hormone support, and physical healing.

Today looks like a rainy day, so I'm going to get some kale and vegetables to make a soup, and hang out on my porch today.  Tonight, I'll go to do my usual workout.  Need to do an ab set today.

I'm sort of feeling a little behind regarding workouts, seeing all my colleagues well into their training... but, since I'm probably not going to run indoors, I really don't have to be racing til May and peaking til July.  The rapidity with which fitness 'goes away' at this age, tells me that it is very hard to maintain an elite level peak of fitness for very long one or 2 months maximum, especially at this age.  However, it depends on one's base level of fitness when the training really begins.   Having run a 62 400m last week with no regular track training workouts puts me at a decent level of fitness to start out.  If I were able to run in spikes and had not gotten this plantar issue, I'm fairly confident i could've been running sub 60 by now in race conditions.... but that will have to wait til later this year.  I think with a base level of fitness, 6 months training is certainly enough to reach elite level for me... which at M60, would be breaking 58, and hopefully faster.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

bike sprints / new treatment

Last two nights I've done some sprint intervals on the bike.

Stationary bike intervals:
Monday:16 x 15 sec w/ 45 sec rest 
Tuesday:8 x 30 sec w/ 60 sec rest

My impression of bike sprints is that the quads get fatigued moreso than running and it is less aerobic than sprinting on the track.

I'm not planning any workouts for Wed and Thurs, my main work days.

Today, I was tipped about a treatment for plantar fasciitis by a friend and it has shown some results.  Yesterday after my track workout, I was limping, but now it's quite a bit better.

This treatment is like Graston.  Deep tissue massage with an implement.  I use a large metal spoon and Voltaren gel as a lubricant.  The goal seems to be to stimulate blood flow and break up kinks in the tissue.  I found this video and generally do something like this:

Monday, October 14, 2019

first 400m in more than a year

My plantar fasciitis is only allowing me one minimal track workout a week.  Back in July, I was on track to run a sub 60 400m by now, but with this plantar issue keeping me from a serious track regime, I'm not in 400m shape.  Today, beautiful day in Sewanee, mid 60ºs at the track.

As I was warming up, I was really aware of the pain in my feet.   Only ran 250m warmup.  But after stretching drills, it felt a little better.  Doing every trick to protect my feet, K-tape, fresh thick socks, inserts, new Hoka Clifton 1 trainers put on just before the run.

Hoka trainers on 
250m warmup, stretches, drills 
400m - 62.3

It was close to my goal of 62.  I had set my goal splits to 14,15,16,17... pretty much hit them spot on. albeit with a short running start.  The foot held up ok during the sprint but I know I'll pay for it in the next few days.  The sprint definitely hurt, it was pretty much a maximum effort, although I did not run the first 200 at my usual race pace.  I'm not used to that level of exertion.  The glutes, gut, lungs... etc... hurt.  Not in terrible shape to run a 62 in training shoes in Oct, but have a long ways to go.

The way it has been, for a month, I do a track workout, then limp for a few days ... and when I'm about recovered, I do another track workout.  If I do race this senior games meet on Sunday, it's not going to be any faster than 62... because I have to go from a standing start and I definitely will not be in spikes or use blocks.  It's supposed to be warm but raining that day.

It looks like I'm going to have to take some time off from the track if this is going to heal.   Heal the heel.

I'll probably go to the gym tonight and tomorrow night and do stairmaster or bike.

145.3 lbs after workout.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Masters National and World indoor championships relegated to flat tracks

This is really disappointing.  Especially for me,  about to move into a new age group and having had a lot of indoor track success. 

There will not be a Masters Indoor Nationals on a good banked track until 2021 at the Armory. 

However, most disappointingly, the 2021 WMACi World Indoor Championships in Edmonton will be run on a flat track.  Banked tracks have been standard for Indoor Championship events since my entry into the sport in 2012 when I won my first National Indoor at IU.  I seriously doubt any World Records for the 200/400/and 4x200 races were achieved on a flat track.  It's simply a much slower surface and is conducive to injury, especially if you have an inside lane in a 200m.  I reinjured my foot at the 2018 Nationals in DC on a flat track in lane 2.  Not that I blame the facility, but it's a fact that flat tracks are 1) not standard or desired for indoor championships, and 2) are harder on the body for a sprinter.  I've sprinted plenty on flat 200m and even once on a 160m indoor track without being injured, I just happened to be battling plantar fasciitis at the time. 

What is most disturbing is that the Edmonton bid document listed a new facility as their #1 venue. 

Page 31 of the document, describes the facility as having a "200m hydraulic (IAAF certified Beynon surface) banked track.  (see the image at the end of this post).

I wrote a few USATF and WMA officials.  I heard back from Rex, USATF Masters Chair.  As a former sprinter, he gave me a very thoughtful reply:

I have recently learned the same thing that Edmondton will not be building a new hydraulically banked indoor track.  We can't fault Edmondton for bidding with that track because it was promised to them.  Over the years we have learned to not trust "promised" facilities, but I think in this case, Edmondton was the only bidder for this Championship so they got it.  But now that it is not happening, what should be done?  I'm afraid that we do not have much power over that.  It is WMA's business, not ours in the US.  We have to remember that anyone in the world that does not want to run on flat tracks is perfectly free to not do so.  They simply vote with their feet. As you recall, many, many Europeans did not go to Kamloops for the WMA World Indoor Championships for the reason of the flat track.  That had the side effect of a lot of Americans winning world championship medals that they otherwise would not have. I enjoyed a good competition much more than merely winning because of who was there, or not there but that is a personal preference.  Also personally, towards the end of my running career, I stopped sprinting on small indoor ovals as it was too hard on my body.   Flat tracks are certainly not the ideal, but there are hundreds of things that are not ideal at any given track meet and each of us has to decide to accept those deficiencies, or avoid them.
Spokane is bidding for the 2023 WMA Indoor World Championships with a "promised" hydraulic track.  The difference is that they have already broken ground and the construction is underway and is bidding for the USATF Masters Indoor Championships for 2022 as one of several "warmup" meets .  I must say that it will be difficult for Spokane to win the WMA bid if a European site also decides to bid because that will mean three WMA Championships in a row in North America (Toronto, Edmondton, Spokane).  It is my opinion that WMA doesn"t worry about three in a row in Europe, but they do North America.
I guess the bottom line is that each individual needs to make their own decision.  Every meet has its challenges, and it is up to us whether or not to accept those challenges.
Rex Harvey

I am disappointed that Masters indoor has been relegated to substandard facilities, but it is the same for everyone, (except in Masters World Rankings where Europeans almost always use banked indoor tracks in their Championships). We as competitors are compelled to embrace a 'culture of gratitude' for the opportunity to compete, as the administration and organizers of Masters Track are generally unpaid volunteers who donate their time.  Many National and WMA championships bids have very few if not just one willing bidder.  We are compelled to 'take what we can get.'  Hopefully things will improve.  I guess I got accustomed to running on great indoor tracks at great venues at 4 USATF Indoor Championships - at I.U., Boston's Reggie Lewis, a 2 in Albuquerque; and one in Daegu.  2016 Indoor was the only season I finished with a #1 world rank.  I finished 2017 indoor with #2 world rank.  I love running indoor, but a good facility makes a huge difference. 

The track that was never built for Edmonton 2021:

one sprint

I tried running today with 2 days rest and paid for it.  The plantar fasciitis is still an issue.  It feels ok, just a little sore before workout then after one moderately hard 300m, it was very sore, causing me to limp for the rest of the day.  I seems to heal quickly, and in a few days feels fine.  I may try a short workout again on Friday.  Unfortunately, can do really only one or 2 long sprints and that's it at this point.   I did notice, that the plantar is strained more by sprinting fast and sprinting on the curve.

The weather has changed radically.  After a few October days of 95º and swimming, it back to the usual fall weather.  On Monday, Sewanee was completely socked in with fog and occasional rain all day, and about 60º.   Visibility about 50m.  A 30º difference from just 2 days ago.  This is the weather I'm used to training in.   As I was driving from the track... in my SUV, with the deep dense fog, colorful leaves on the road, out of tune bluegrass music on the radio ... it felt like it is supposed to ... this time of year in the Tennessee mountains.
Hoka trainers on 
400m warm up, stretches, drills 
300m - 44.5

And that was it.  I felt there was more in the tank afterward, it wasn't race pace, so I think I could run around 62-63ish right now in training shoes.

I almost didn't go to the gym afterward because of my sore foot, but I did.  Did hip flexor machine, single leg squats with 70 and 80 lbs., calves, and adductors.

I still want to run a 400m in the hand timed meet on Sunday the 20th, but... due to this plantar issue and the fact I likely won't be wearing racing spikes, I doubt I'll be anywhere near breaking 60, if i can run at all.

Friday, October 4, 2019


The plantar fasciitis is still an issue but I'm working through it.  First day on the track in 11 days.  It felt ok but the foot hurt a bit after the first run so I didn't want to do much. 
Hoka trainers on 
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
800m - 2:43 
100m - 13.46
It was a beautiful evening, breezy and a cooler feel to the air but still in the mid 70ºs.  I wanted to do more but the foot started to hurt.  But I did one last 100m sprint, was disappointed it wasn't very fast although I felt like I was pushing it.  I still haven't tried to run full-out sprint or do a full speed start.  Maybe by next month.  I'm not going to be in shape for the Chattanooga race in 2 weeks, and likely won't be able to wear spikes due to the foot issue.  The foot was sore afterward but not terrible.   We'll see how it recovers tomorrow.  No hurry since I'm not planning on racing indoor. 

144.8 lbs after workout

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Off track work, PF recovery

The endless summer continues in Sewanee.  Unseasonably hot and dry.  35 days, no rain, 95º today and similar temperatures expected for 3 more days.  Warmest September on record here.  Will likely be the warmest year on record.   I had to look at my blog to see when the last time I ran, it was just a week ago.  I probably could have run today in some slight pain, but elected to wait til Friday.  My plantar fasciitis is improved but not completely gone.  So, I'll wait til it improves a bit more.  I can barely feel it when I walk in shoes.   I believe in a proactive solution to this issue.  Rolling, foot massage, stretching, heel raises from maximum dorsiflex, calf strengthening.    Last time I had this, I reinjured it (running a 200m on an indoor flat track on an inside lane) and had to take 5 weeks off.  I've heard people having this for months... so I guess it's not too bad, even when I had it at it's worst.  I think I have a pretty good method for getting over it. 

Have done in the past few days, a stairmaster set, ab routine, a hill climb on the bike, swimming, and tonight... a 3 set workout of single leg squats and glute machine:
3 x 50 - glute machine (310 lbs, 330 lbs, 340 lbs) 
3 x (15, 12, 11) - single leg squats w/ 70 lbs
Swimming - about 600m 
3 x 12 heel raises w/ 210 lbs
Weight is ok, between 144.5 - 147.5   Probably will swim again tomorrow.  The lake is still very warm and I'm thinking this week may be the end of very hot weather.  Temperature is forecast to drop 20º by early next week.