Wednesday, April 8, 2015

And the Clouds Parted!!

I went out to jump this morning, a day early because I'm leaving town on business tomorrow.  As is common lately, there was a GIANT headwind so I decided to go home and try later.  I figured that after lunch I might be a few pounds heavier, and the afternoon tailwind might allow me to finally relax on the runway and maybe I would get some quality jumps in.

When I get a tailwind in practice I'm always very careful not to use it. In other words I do just the opposite of what you might expect.  Rather than using it to run faster, I actually relax and maybe even run slower.  I do this because I need to know I can duplicate that run in average conditions.  The difference is that I'm not fighting the wind AND training fatigue.

A couple of years ago I was kind of where I am now in that I was using smaller poles and a lot of pole speed.  The problem was that I lost the ability to hit big poles.  Somehow in warm-ups at Reno that year, it clicked back and I suddenly had that big hand pressure feeling again. Three weeks later I jumped 13'1"/3.99m as a 59 year old.

Today I decided that I was going to force myself to find pressure. The method would be that I would jump from 2 lefts/4 steps/23' even if I had to wear spikes.  I had my first take off with no bar from that run and I knew I could get it back.  I made 9'6" on my second attempt and 10' on my first. 

I knew the pole was too small for 10'6" so I moved back a stride to 3/6/33', and up a pole.  Though the pole was too small I made 10'6", next pole 11' on first jumps.  I stayed at that run and went to a bigger pole and made 11' again. Moved back to 4/8/43" and boomed 11'6".  I then moved up another pole and blew through badly at 12' and stopped.

Huge breakthrough day with control on every jump.  I over-hit the bottom and committed to my swing every jump and that's what got me in.  I'm back.

Now this is a phase break as I will do nothing for a week as my body prepares for me next level. When I return I will go back to lifting legs on both jumps days instead of one, and will run 10X sleds three days a week.  It may take me a while to regain the conditioning to move back to these poles, but when I do I should be at the next level.

Today I used six poles from three runs.  I have three poles left which means I could easily jump 12'6" on these poles.  Suddenly very optimistic.  I knew that today was the day I had to quit forcing myself to jump in bad conditions and just get a good practice in.  Thrilled by the breakthrough.  Have a great day and thanks for the support.  Bubba

ACDC - "Thunderstruck" -

Monday, April 6, 2015

Fight Time?!

I've always said that masters vaulters train for big meets like fighters train for a big fight.  About 8-12 weeks out fighters go away to a training camp and begin ramping up to what they believe will be their optimum physical and technical fitness for the appointed day.  On 4/11 I will be four months out from France.  I'm training for it like a fight.  As bad as yesterday felt, I really feel like I'm making progress and I still have time to really improve.

In 1997 as I prepared for the world championships in South Africa, a friend sent me a T-Shirt of Bart Simpson vaulting on a bending pencil.  The caption said, "Shut Up & Vault".  During warm-ups in South Africa we had a giant headwind and everyone was complaining because they wouldn't turn the pit around.  I went down and cleared 4m/13'1.5" in my warm-ups and the officials loved it.  One guy from Slovakia was bitching the most and the officials started laughing, pointing at my shirt, and telling him to shut up and vault.

I need to find this inner fighter and shut up and vault. So I will.  Have a great Monday and thanks for your interest in this frail old man!  Bubba

Winery Dogs - "Time Machine" -

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Anatomy of a Dog Crap Day!!

Frustration is high; probably the highest it has ever been without injuries being a part of it.  Yes I'm still unhurt but can't seem to get any forward momentum.  Everything I'm about to say is fixable, but the fact that I didn't pisses me off.  So this is not whining but merely me bitching at me because I know better.

In Southern California the wind comes off the ocean, but in the morning it's a headwind.  It's 50/50 going to be a hard headwind if you wait past an hour after sunrise.  Yes I can wait until later when it's a tailwind but it screws up my day since I have a long leg lift and bars afterwards. 

So I take it for what it is realizing I'll be down a pole or two and maybe back a stride or two in order to use a pole that's normally too small.  That's life and my choice.  I know too many people who train in tailwinds and then struggle in meets.  I would rather have it the other way around.

We have a brand new $20,000 pit and it was left uncovered yesterday and overnight meaning it was soaked.  So massive headwind and soaked pit; what a great start to my vault day.  That's OK as I need two vault days and I have the poles to adjust.

I start on my smallest pole and it moves easier than normal but I can't jump on it from 2 lefts/4 steps/23' because I'm now 158 lbs.  So I move back to 3/6/33' and "finesse" the pole and don't get in.  Then I hit it and go almost off the back of the pit. 

Grab the next pole and have a ton of height but I'm not quite in far enough.  After three jumps I see I've skipped a pole so this one should be stiffer because it is.  I move back to 4/8/43' and go up a pole because I now this one will be too small. 

Two crappily timed jumps and then BOOM - I finally nail a good jump. Next two are really good and then I move back to 5/10/53" and up a pole.  Can't time it to turn up.  The grip feels too low from 5 but the pole is to stiff from 4.  Can't take it anymore and leave.

I sit in my car contemplating retirement. I'm sick of no progress and all of this hard work.  Somehow I drag my ass into the gym and literally talk myself into every single rep of every single set as I almost just get up and quit about six times.  I made it and I'm happy.

I need to get my weight back up but I don't want to feel fat. Big challenge to make that happen but I will.  Have a great Easter and thanks for your support!  Bubba

Sheryl Crow singing my feelings - All I Wanna Do (Is Have Some Fun) -

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Carrying On!!

The revenge of course is on my own body!!
Two hard lift and stretch days and ready to vault on my smaller poles tomorrow morning.  Have a great evening!  Bubba

Van Halen - "Eruption/You Really Got Me" from Jimmy Kimmel a few days ago -

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Working on It!!

First day on my 4m poles and it was weird.  Listening to what Kris said, I just kept moving my run back so I wouldn't try to run hard.  Finally found a groove on about jump #8 of 12 but it's something I can work from at least. 

On 9 of the 12 jumps I was running from 53' gripping low on my smallest pole.  Since I'm not used to running that far in practice so early, I took it real easy.  The pole was too small but rather than move up and struggle, I stayed put and relaxed even more.  I think I can build off of that.

The plan is to do this on my fresh days, Thursday, and go back to my 3.75s for Sunday, the short rest rotation day.  Not thrilled but it's workable.  REMEMBER - it's day ONE!!  have a wonderful day and thanks for checking in on me!  Bubba

Dire Straits - "Sultans of Swing - Live" -

Sunday, March 29, 2015


I didn't lift legs Thursday because I had taken 16 jumps and wanted to try and jump again today.  I felt flat, which is an indicator I should have lifted.  Remember me commenting that I recover faster when I lift after?  I need to remember that.

In any case, had a big headwind and feeling crappy, I took 9 jumps and called it quits.  That used to be a good day. Had to be back a stride to use a small pole and still had to work too hard to get in.

This said, technically I'm getting some consistency and confidence in my jumps.  I was going to start using 4m poles on my fresh day Thursday but I may choose to stay here on the 3.75s.  We will have to see.  Thanks for your support.  I will carry on!  Bubba

Living Colour - "Open Letter to a Landlord" - Vernon Reid is a GREAT guitarist.  I read where another famous guitarist said he was the only one he knew that could name every note as he played it, no matter how fast he played -

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Feeling Weak!!

It's inevitable that when you train consistently you're going to have days that you just don't feel strong.  Today was one of them.  It's super important that I finish these days and pay attention to every rep on every set.  Not anxious to move the weights up; just get it done right. I survived!  Have a great day and thanks for checking in!  Bubba

Winery Dogs - "Criminal" -