Sunday, February 28, 2010

Wrapping Up & Getting Ready to Go

I've gotten a couple of emails asking whether I might consider vaulting at Kamloops at the last minute. As tempting as it is I absolutely will not jump no matter how well I feel. Not even taking my shoes, tape or spray or gym bag. As I told Kirk Bentz, that is how I got in this situation; jumping because it felt better. Feeling better and "well" are two very different things as I've learned with this odd little injury.

In fact, I won't jump before Boston nor will I go to Boston unless I feel like I can jump 4m (13' 1 1/2"). I packed my poles for that trip today since I won't be needing them. Smallest 14' 1" (4.30m) pole up to the one I made 4m on in Sydney. I'll pull out the big 14' 7s later in the Spring.

This morning I ran 10 X 50m sled up our little grass hill then got my poles situated. Good hard last gym lift. My last home lift will be Tuesday before I get the plane. Feeling good and strong. Now go on vacation and heal!!

Have a great day. Go USA Hockey!! Bubba

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Big Meet Today

Today is The Woodlands High School Invitational. TWHS is where I train and help out Coach Robbie Dueitt. Girls go at 10 and guys to follow. Beautiful day with the temps to be in the low 60s and clear.

Me & Robbie
I'm starting to REALLY feel good. Lifting the last two days has felt very powerful yet well within myself - bench and deep squat = 225 (102.2 kg). Today I even caught myself picking up the 45 lb (22 kg) plate with my right hand and slinging it up to the bar. Last week that would have ripped my bicep. Today I didn't feel it. As soon as I noticed it I backed off and used the other hand to help. I have no desire to test it or antagonize it at all. Still two more lifting sessions and one running session before I leave so I will be super careful.

The OLD me of a few weeks ago would be planning to jump at Kamloops. After all, it is the World Indoor Championships. Reality says I've tried this before and it didn't work. Nothing has changed in that I can make 3.70m (12' 1 1/2") and maybe 3.80m (12' 5 1/2") but it's going to get re-injured so why risk it when I will only get well if I leave it alone when it starts to feel good. Stick with the plan and try to get to Boston totally well. I'm really starting to feel that is going to happen. Hope you have a great weekend!! Bubba

Oh, BTW - It's like Christmas for me as my six new poles came in yesterday so I will see them this morning for the first time. I'll bring them home and measure/tape them. Have fun. I will! B

Friday, February 26, 2010

Been Here Before

I felt a lot better today after blowing out the cobwebs from yesterday. My biggest issue is that I have neglected about half of my stretching because I do it between lifts - the ones I'm not currently doing. Basically I'm lifting as hard as I can without directly involving my biceps. No bars, vaulting, lat pulls, cleans, etc. I can do machine curls at a light weight with no pain so all is not lost.

Everything is starting to feel like it's getting well. This is the best I have felt by far at the end of week one of this process. This is my 3rd time on week one so I will leave well enough alone and enjoy the progress.

Yesterday part of my issue was a little foot pain or discomfort. Considering I haven't sprinted HARD in 14 weeks and I had a very long running day with the sprints at 90%+ with a sled, what did I expect? Today everything feels so much better.

My late friend and orthopedic surgeon, Glenn Almquist, used to call my situation "sunburn". He reminded me that if I haven't been in the sun for awhile, and I spend extended time in the sun, that I will get burned. How you handle that "sunburn" is the same as you should handle the irritations that follow a change or upgrade in program. So if I go right back out and hammer my running then my "sunburn" will get worse. Therefore you stay out of the sun for a few days and then slowly introduce the sun again until your body can be accustomed. A simplified explanation but easy to relate too.

At this point the goal is to complete my scheduled lifting and get ready to head out of town for a full nine days of rest. I will come back and hit my regular training for a week and then see if I think I can jump in Boston, four weeks from tomorrow. Again, I feel pretty optimistic. RIGHT NOW is when I usually blow it on my rehab by stepping things up. I've steered away from anything damaging so far and now I'm leaving town. Sometimes it helps to disarm the idiot.

Have a great day and thanks for being here. Bubba

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Crappy Running

Between the lack of activity as my arm and leg gains momentum, and the intense deep massage on Tuesday, my running today felt like total crap. Not injured, just stiff, sore and uncoordinated. Mom said there would be days like this. Bubba

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Clear Skies

Lifting day in the garage today in about 30 minutes. Nice - 54 and clear. Pretty sore from the "massage" yesterday but need to get moving around. Big running and lift day tomorrow.

At lunch yesterday Don says he thinks I should warm up and plan on trying to jump on a borrowed pole at whatever height I think it takes to medal. The way I feel today I don't think that's smart. I give it 5% chance that happens as I'm trying to focus on Boston.

Although I'm so sore from yesterday that it makes me wonder if I would even be ready by Boston. I'm sure that is an overreaction but I'll play it by ear. I've got my flight and I'm entered but I haven't bothered with the hotel yet. Nancy wants to stay at the Sheraton at Prudential and the meet hotel is the Back Bay Doubletree so I should be able to get into the Sheraton.

Kris is shipping my poles to me today rather than me driving the three hours each way Friday. Ashley is in The Woodlands on Monday and Friday so I would rather get my massage here than drive back into the city. I was going to Kris Friday but I have Ashley at 9.

I'm trying as hard as I can to be optimistic but I hate being in "no man's land" where you are well enough to train but can't consider jumping. It will almost be easier when we go on the trip on Tuesday. Then I'm on a forced rest, vacation mode. Until then I'll just keep putting one foot in front of the other and complete quality workouts. Thanks for being here and have a great day! Bubba

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I saw my new massage therapist, Ashley Black, today and she and her partner ripped me to shreds. He did the heavy stuff and she did the little stuff that needed smaller digging fingers. I've had this before and it made a huge difference. Though I need it I certainly don't enjoy it.

I've been looking for the right person to go along with my treatments with Dr. Clouthier. My friend, Rick Hagedorn, one of only nine Nike Sprint Instructors, referred her to me on Sunday and I saw her today. Torture again on Friday. THEN Rick can start working on my sprint mechanics both with and without the pole.

Have a great day! Bubba

Monday, February 22, 2010

Goals & Poles - 2nd Monday Post

Let's start with the Texas weather. It was 72 yesterday and is supposed to snow tomorrow. Go figure.

I've been working with Kris and Essx owner, Bruce Caldwell about a special set of poles for me and they are now finished. Bruce always makes my poles special including different colored tape so I can tell them apart. Tough to read those little numbers without glasses. This series is 14' 7" (4.45m) and has a higher sail/reinforcement piece to make the carry weight lighter/balanced and to help pick me up a little more at the take off. My style of vaulting works with a higher sailpiece so I'm thrilled.

Kris has a flex machine at his facility so he took all of my 14' 1" (4.30m) poles and flexed the new 14' 7"s on a 14' 1" scale so we could compare apples and apples between the 14' 7s and 14' 1s. All poles will have 2" removed off of the bottom and the tops will be trimmed to just above my grip heights so they don't come through and knock the bar off. Due to getting one comped, and the others based on trades, I'm actually only paying for one of the six new poles. YEP - SIX new poles. The grip on the first one (15.5 on a 4.30m scale) will be 13' 4" and go 1" higher per pole ending at 13' 10". The new poles are 15.5, 15.2, 15.0, 14.8, 14.6 and 14.4.

My goal is to clear 14'+ (4.27m) and that takes higher grips, longer runs and bigger poles. The first pole is actually .1 weaker than the one I jumped 13' 1" (3.99m) on at Belton on January 2. The same pole was too small at 13' 7" (4.14m) and that was from a 65' run. On these poles I will run from 76'+ to 87'+. I think Wolfie runs from like 105' and grips over 14'.

My objective is only to use the new poles at meets but train on the 14' 1"s. When I'm jumping well I always have a "meet series" and a "practice series". Too hard to jump on big poles in practice and get much done. Plus there is a bigger chance of injury. To meet this objective I will make sure to get in my three running days and four lifting days. Looking forward to beginning this mission. NOW I have something to look forward to. Bubba

As Time Goes By

Strange thing about pulling out of a meet that you were training hard for; that sense of now what? Of course I continue on with my training but my mind has no real direction other than getting the most out of every set and rep of running and lifting.

We leave a week from tomorrow for Kamloops so I'll get nine good days of training before a nine day break. Until I get back, there will be no vaulting, no bars, no cleans, no lat pulls or anything else that I know flares the healing. I can still do a lot as evidenced by my 27,135 lbs. lifted today. I'm trying to get excited about the prospect of jumping at Boston but it's too early to know if that's even a reality. I feel like it will be but ...

The bottom line is that I'm passing time until I go on vacation. I'm working hard and focused but there's no real goal other than that until I get home and I'm not used to that. Then I'll give it a week of regular training and maybe add in vaulting the following week. Maybe not. I wouldn't hesitate to go to Boston without jumping and use my smaller 14' 1" (4.30m) poles and start low. That just isn't good enough for Worlds.

I'm getting my poles from Kris on Friday so I can tape them all and start doing pole runs from longer approach runs on the biggest one. I have a meet the 3rd weekend of April and May and in those I want to come out only on my 14' 7" (4.45m) poles. We will have to wait and see how that goes.

That's it for now. Have a great day! Bubba

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Boston 80%

The more I know the less I know. I mentioned recently that I finished my 14 week running program - Today I started it over, this time with a sled. You also remember that I have this odd little catch in my right hamstring but it doesn't bother me to vault. Guess what? It doesn't bother me with the sled either and I can easily run 90%+. What an awesome discovery. I'll still continue with Dr. Clouthier to resolve the issue but at least I can get in some real high quality running.

Another strange finding - my arm didn't hurt today. Funny how fast it heals when you leave it alone. I didn't really think about it except when I almost went over to jump up on the high bar and take a few swings. I remembered my promise to myself that I would do nothing direct for three weeks. That said, I noticed as I carried the sled out of our shed and tossed it down at my start point that I had just carried/thrown it with my right hand and felt nothing in my arm. When I walk back to my start point I grab the rope and sling the sled past me to take out the slack so that when I turn around I can run. Again, I slung the sled with my right hand and felt nothing in my arm. WOW - what a day for REAL optimism!! Of course I can't risk Kamloops but I was tempted to call Kris and tell him to ship my poles just in case. Unfortunately I know that would be a huge mistake if I ever want to get it well so I resisted the urge.

Don't get me wrong, Kamloops is a huge event to miss and I'm very disappointed but I need to get well. Had I not competed well in Australia just four months ago, and had three indoor PRs this year already, it would be a lot tougher to accept.

This is kind of where I was when I went to Stanford for the National Senior Games - well enough to jump but not jumping good enough to compete without risking further injury and delay. At least I can come back and feel like I'm ready to go, and I'll have three weeks left to Boston. So that will be four weeks of no jumping or bars, followed by two weeks of ramp up jumping. Right now I'm 95% sure that plan will work. So why is the title "Boston 80%"? Because the more I know the less I know. But I DO know that today felt GREAT and I have the HOPE that I can be an athlete again. All the best and have a great day! Bubba

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Looking Forward

Right now I would say I'm 60% for competing in Boston at the end of March. Along the way these past three weeks I could tell I was getting significantly better but then bars or vaulting would set back the progress on my bicep. At that time a group decision was made to aggressively rehab the injury and we found that won't work. Three weeks of total rest should make a huge difference and I have five weeks until Nationals.

Of course I am running and lifting like crazy but nothing directly involving my arm. This is probably the most optimistic and certain I have felt about my prospects for getting well relatively soon. Why will this time be different? If you remember, last year after outdoor nationals in Oshkosh I made the same mistake with a groin muscle. That kept me out of the National Senior Games. At that time I did exactly what I'm doing now, rested it totally for three weeks and was able to bounce back quickly.

I plan to drive up to Kris' place Friday and pick up all of my poles, including the new 14' 7"s (4.45m). Every now and then I strip off the tape and remeasure the grips etc. It's good vault related task I can do during the time I can't vault. Looking forward to the tedious process.

The plan for Kamloops is to dress out in my USA uniform, declare (sign in) to compete and go down on the field and help my friends. I'll pass until 4m (13' 1 1/2") so I can stay down there for awhile. Should be a great meet. Just because I can't jump doesn't mean I can't volunteer to help my buddies. Looking forward to it.

I'm going back to a Sunday/Thursday vault day configuration and shift my lifting/running. I'll have three full three day rotations before I leave for Kamloops a week from Tuesday. Then I'll have 10 days off, come back and see if I can ramp up to being able to jump at Boston. Though 60/40 today, I think those chances will improve with the three weeks off of direct agitation to the muscle. If not then I'll go into a hardcore six week bootcamp type training to get ready for my first big outdoor meet near the end of May. Of course I'll be seeing Dr. Cloutier this week to lay out his ideas about completing this rehab and avoiding future injuries.

That's the game plan for now and it feels pretty good. Hope you all have a great weekend and thanks for being here for me. Bubba

Friday, February 19, 2010


As an athlete you have to take the good with the bad. I did not re-injure my arm yesterday as much as I set back it's healing to the point that it can't take the stress of anything above maybe 12' and that's not good enough to get the top six places. Like Don said, "you risk tearing it up for nothing, so just start the rest clock now and you will have three weeks under your belt by the time you get home". My coach said the same thing.

My rule is to always come back better than you left so I'll be hitting the gym and running hard. Pat Manson (22 years over 18') that he starts each year by spending two months of running 10 X 100 on the grass three days a week. I'm going to do something similar over the next six weeks. BTW - next week will be week 14 of a sprint program concluded.

These new goals excite me and will bring me back mentally and physically stronger than ever. It's not how many times you get knocked down, but how many times you get back up, and what you learned along the way. I'm at peace and refreshed that I have learned a lot and that I have a good plan. Thanks so very much for your support. Bubba

PS - during the Olympic coverage I saw someone flame out and they said, "next time". Their "next time" is four years away. Mine is much sooner.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


As it stands right now I will not make an attempt to vault at Kamloops because my arm is actually worse, not better. Maybe Boston but that is a 50/50. Today I easily made all three of my jumps at 10' (3.05m), 10' 6" (3.20m) and 11' (3.35m) on a small 4m (13' 1") pole from a 33' (10m) run. Felt nothing one jump one, something on jump two and MORE on jump three. I can't expect to be able to jump on a pole 30 lbs stiffer in two weeks. If I stop now I will have three weeks of complete rest by the time I return from "vacation".

I have been in the physical therapy business for 23 years and last year learned that a groin muscle cannot be rehabbed because a simple little "click" sets you back two weeks. I've just learned the bicep is the same way. I've been screwing around with this since January 2, and it's getting worse not better. It needs total rest and not rehab. Even bone heals in 8-10 weeks yet I've managed to turn a simple muscle strain into an injury. I've had it before and it went away but I rested it. Big mistake to rehab when only rest will work. Now I know.

USA Track & Field Indoor Nationals in Boston is five weeks from Saturday. With three+ weeks off completely I might be able to jump there and be OK. I'll play that by ear but right now in my mind my first meet is near the end of May. I had no off season after Sydney and I have a lot of running I want to do to get to some longer runs and bigger poles in time for the summer.

I can't feel too bad. Sure, I'm extremely disappointed but I won the World Masters Games in Sydney, Australia in October, and then less than two months later got my first of three indoor PRs (Personal Records). Time to get to the next level. Thanks for the support. Bubba

PS - to clarify one point, rehab works great; you just can't put yourself under full body weight swinging on bars or poles until it's well. On a lift you can stop or reduce the resistance. But once your bodyweight is swinging you can't protect from re-injury.

Closing thought - My goal for outdoors is to be able to start at 12' 6" or 13', make 13' 6" as often as I make 13', and get to attempt and make 14'. This requires a longer run and higher grip. Both I could do today f my arm was well. During all of this time I have run a ton so at least I never lost that progress.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Planning for Tomorrow

Tomorrow will be the most important test so far. It's not about jumping high as my goal is only to jump 11' (3.05m) or 11' 6" (3.51m) on my medium 13' 1" (4m) poles. It's about IS MY ARM BETTER? I think the answer will be yes but it will take me 3 - 6 jumps to find out. If that works then how do I hold up for the rest of the training load and how will it feel 1 - 2 days out? So sometime between tomorrow and Sunday morning I'll have a good idea where I am. If it goes well I'll be in the exact same position the following Thursday when I move up yet another level to my biggest 13' 1" (4m) poles. Again, cautious optimism. If I feel anything at any point tomorrow I will stop because I still have 15 days to get better. If I get through that then I think I'll be a go for the meet. Otherwise it will be a vacation that I will do my best to enjoy. Bubba

PS - A word about weight. I normally try to come in feeling powerful; in the 170-172 lb. (77-78 kg) range but I've been intentionally leaning out in order to get more height out of my smaller poles to protect my arm. I woke up this morning at 167 (76 kg) and it's possible I may come in at that or slightly lower or higher for the meet itself. It would be nice not to have to move to a big pole to jump high. That's the other reason I won't jump on my 14' 1" (4.30m) poles in practice; so they will throw me harder when I get to them.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New Developments

I found out today that I jump at 3:30 at Kamloops, the same time I jumped in Sydney.
We are the youngest that day so we go last. Most big meets go oldest to youngest in order.

I also got my portable electrical stimulation unit today so I'll try it out tonight and then have Dr. Clouthier give me the refinements in electrode placement and settings.

Today I did a light stretch and will travel tomorrow as well as see the doctor when I return. I'm moving my jump day up to Thursday so I can get two rotations of training in next week. Usually I jump Thursday/Sunday anyway so this will feel more comfortable. The weather is supposed to be clear in the mid 60s and Friday there is a chance of rain but still warmer, so Thursday is the safest bet.

I like to ramp up to a very high training level for the few weeks before a big event and then cut almost everything out for the last 4-5 days. As a result I always feel great at big meets. I did this for the first 10 days after Reno and now I'm scaled back again to try and get some jumps days in. So Thursday I'll jump, run, do three of my four bar exercises, and hit the gym for my hard lift day. There will be six days with no break so I will do each of my three training day components twice. Take a day off, jump my last day, do one last rotation and get ready to hit the plane for Canada two weeks from today. Looking forward to it.

I see the doc Thursday night at 5:15 so I'll feel good or bad. I'm expecting good and then better after I see him. All the best and have a great evening. Bubba

Monday, February 15, 2010

This Just In

I just saw the doc and he says everything looks good and we appear to be on schedule. I should continue to train exactly as I am. That's comforting to know. I was wondering if I should back off of some things but he agrees with me that the activities I'm doing are an important part of the speedy recovery.

I also got an email that the final time schedule for Kamloops will be out tonight or Tuesday on the website. Always good to know exactly when you jump. More later. Bubba

Electrical Stimulation

One of the things Dr. Clouthier has done for my arm that is proving effective is utilizing electrical stimulation. He sets the device in such a way that it is not contracting the muscle but providing a high level "buzz" to it. If it contracts then it's too much power and if I can't feel the buzz then it too is not as effective.

This morning I talked to my partner, Sam Fontenot, a Physical Therapist for 39 years and he told me that we have portable stim units I can take with me at one of our clinics within a physician's office. I'm hoping that between Sam and Dr. Clouthier guidance, that this will supply me with some near around the clock treatments. It's not like I don't have several area where I can use it so I see a big rotation in my future.

Today is a running day as I get a break from lifting or bars on my arm. I MAY lift legs though. I'll make that decision later. More soon. Bubba

Sunday, February 14, 2010

North to Alaska

As you have noticed we book our trips way in advance, hence Boston is covered so tonight we booked Sacramento for outdoor nationals; also the site of world outdoor in 2011. We had been toying whether to go to Yosemite (short drive) or Hawaii afterwards but a cruise in Alaska won out. Only appropriate we would book such a vacation on Valentine's Day. It's a fair trade off to Nancy - she goes to the meet and then we go on vacation when it makes sense. Very excited. Bubba

PS - The obituary came out today in the Cleveland Plain Dealer for June, Nancy's mom, who died one month ago today at our home with hospice. Great lady. Feels like she's still with us. Very comforting.

Counting Down

It's been 16 days since my strain in Reno and I have 19 days left until I jump at Kamloops. Still cautiously optimistic, but every now and then I hit a position where my arm feels weak and still injured. Like today I was changing the light bulb in the garage and I had to pull a lever toward me underhanded to open the ladder. It wasn't a sharp pain but certainly a dull hot spot. Then when I went to pick up the 45 lb (22 kg) plates for my lifting I felt it a little again and used the other hand to help. That said I ripped through 15 reps on my parallel high bars and was able to do some hang cleans a little heavier. All other lifts are back to 100%.

Part of this physical response is to be expected because I did something directly attacking the arm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday including bars on all three days and a little jumping Friday. Now I leave it alone until Thursday and get back to Dr. Clouthier three days this week. So work, work, work, rest, rest, rest and it seems to leap frog levels of recovery. Again, there were things that I thought nothing about doing at the end of this week that I wouldn't even consider last week.

All I can do is plan well and go out there and jump. If it works that's wonderful and if it doesn't I will stop rather than destroy the next eight weeks for full recovery. My feeling is that I can jump high enough on my small poles to get within striking distance of a medal and then hit the bigger poles as long as they will let me. I got three very good big pole jumps at Reno in warm up so if I can even get that I'll have a chance to go 4m (13' 1 1/2").

Overall my ramp up was to first get over 10' (3.05m) this week, which I did easy. Next week use a little bigger pole and make 11' (3.35m) and the following week go 12' (3.66m). That puts me eight days out from Worlds where I hope to jump 4m+. It's funny because I feel very certain I will hit my goal for the next two weeks without injury. It's when I hit the big poles that can go either way. Fortunately I have made 4m on five of the seven poles I'm taking.

Again, this is not paralysis by analysis but rather laying out all of my cards and seeing what matches up where as far as poles/runs/heights go. Even if I have to start on my smallest pole from 44' I can easily make 3.70m (12' 1 1/2") from there so that's a start. At this point I feel the majority of the focus needs to be on how I start. How I finish is purely a crap shoot since I won't try any big poles until 3.80m (12' 5 1/2"). If I got three jumps from there I'd at least have a shot at jumping high.

That's all my brain can take today. Thanks for being here. This is a great stress management tool. Bubba

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Hard Lift - Arm Decent

As an aging athlete you never know until a day or two later how you really held up the day before. I did some more bars today (and a very hard lifting session) and felt my arm a very tiny bit so I stopped. Part of this is stretching that breaks little adhesions from healing. I felt the same thing on my first vault yesterday and then never felt it again. I also felt it on one of my bar reps yesterday. I have four types of high bar/high parallel bar exercises and so far I've been able to do three of the four. Next Friday I'll add in the 4th. I will also jump on my medium 4m (13' 1") poles.

With everything said above I'm within 10 pounds (5 kg) of my normal heavy lifts on my arm exercises so that means the muscle is for the most part healing sound. I could have just waited for Kamloops but if these small efforts allow stretching and break the little adhesions I would rather do that gradually than just rip into it in big poles.

Of course I don't like the fact that I feel anything but on a comparative scale it is so small to anything I felt in my lead up to Reno. On my first vault day, two weeks after Belton (original injury) my first vault lit it up pretty good yet the next Friday was minimal so I"m really trying to stay WAY on the cautious side. I remain cautiously optimistic that I'll be OK. I leave two weeks from Tuesday. Thanks for being here! Bubba

Friday, February 12, 2010

More Waiting - Late Update at Bottom

Well, the temps are going to peak at 41 degrees so I'm out for jumping today - I think. Tomorrow will be near 60 and that just seems like the smarter thing to do. I'll let Don make the final decision.

Had a great session with Dr. Clouthier again this morning. What's great about it? He didn't even treat my arm but focused more on some issues he saw with my legs. The guy is amazing in that he uses so many disciplines as tools to verify and cross check my status and progress. Next week we will discuss his mental preparation techniques that he uses for athletes. Can't wait.

Have a fun day! Bubba

Don reminded me that tomorrow all of the small poles would be gone to the kid's meet so we jumped today in the cold - 38 degrees. I used a very small pole that I could jog in on from 23' (7m) and easily made 10' (3.05m) with no hint of pain and stopped - four bar jumps total. Did my bars also with no pain though I was very cautious hanging with my body weight. Running felt pretty good with the right hamstring about 30% better. Even though I don't feel it when I vault it's there when I run. At least it's getting better too. I'm starting to think I may have a shot at jumping somewhat normally in Canada. Reno was two weeks ago and Kamloops is three weeks from today. Feeling decent about that. Bubba

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Waiting for Tomorrow

Rain and light sleet today but tomorrow will be sunny and low 50s. I know tomorrow is a very low level day but I'm excited to vault at any level. I like to really work to keep constant tension on my hands throughout the vault and try to extend as long as I can and then some. These goals really get magnified when you move to bigger poles. My jump takes lots of hand tension so that makes it tough to really get in sync with small poles. But it translates so well it's worth the effort and sometimes frustration. Looking forward to it. Bubba

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Vaulting Friday - Dr.s Orders

Well it appears my body is responding very fast this time around with the help of Dr. Clouthier and my regular training. Today I had low level stim, cold laser and acupuncture. He wants me to jump this Friday as I had originally planned because he thinks I won't feel anything.

"Jumping" is a relative term since I will only be on the equivalent of a 12' 150 and maybe a 12' 6/165. If that works well then I'll move up to my small 4m (13' 1 1/2") poles next Friday and my big ones the Friday before Kamloops. To put this in perspective, when I originally hurt my arm I jumped on the small 4m poles in two weeks, the big ones at three and my small 4.30ms the next week. So I'm starting smaller even though I'm much healthier than I was at the two week point the last time. In addition I have five total weeks to get ready whereas I only had four weeks for Reno and I was much more hurt.

Again, this is cautious optimism as I will stop immediately if I feel anything. Don will also jump with me so that will be fun as well. More soon. Have a great evening! Bubba

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


I had my appointment with my new doctor (chiropractor) today at 9:45 so I hit the gym at 8 to get my lift in. At the 10 day mark I was able to do high P-Bar inversions without my 5 lb. ankle weights with no pain. It took me three weeks to get to this point before. My arm lifts were back up to nearly 90% as well so I think momentum is swinging my way. We leave three weeks from today and I jump three weeks from Friday so based on my gym session I feel like I will be ready. THEN I went to my doctor appointment.

Dr. Clouthier practices AK (Applied Kinesiology). Unlike a physician, physical therapist or a chiropractor, he looks at the body as a system and not just the part that's bothering you. He assessed several areas where muscles were "shut off" or not firing at the right time. He did muscle tests where I went from totally weak to being able to provide great resistance in a just a few minutes each. Some muscles came back on quickly and others took more work but when I left I could stride down the hall with no catch in my hamstring and my bicep felt normal. He said that when I got jerked off the ground in Belton that it knocked my bicep tendon off track. He did some maneuvers and had me rotate my shoulder slowly while he put a lot of sliding pressure with this thumbs along the tendon. I felt it snap back in place and suddenly I was about 40 lbs. stronger in the position I could not resist from just three minutes before. He did not put much pressure on the right hamstring but noticed that the left was the one turned off so he worked on that while putting cold laser on my right to breakdown the scar tissue catch. Ten minutes later I could stride in the hall without the catch. I see why they call him "Voodoo Doctor". GREAT experience and I see him again tomorrow. The tentative plan is to jump at a low level on Friday as he feels I did very little damage to my bicep, hence my quick return to strength. He thinks it was "off" because it was knocked out of it's track.

That's it for today. Off to do an easy running workout and help Coach Dueitt with the kids. Bubba

Monday, February 8, 2010

Reason for Optimism - I Think

Don always says that right after an injury you feel like you will never walk again, much less jump. Improvement is so slow and minuscule and then suddenly it turns around where you make more progress in three days than in the past 7-10. I feel like I'm gaining momentum all of the sudden and I certainly don't mind the good news. Bars were easy and I was able to also do some light hang cleans. Lat pulls are a little touchy still but I just drop the weight way down. You know the rule -BE CAREFUL!! I see the doctor tomorrow for an hour at 10 so I'm really looking forward to that.

I was thinking about when was the last time I ever warmed up for a meet and stopped before the competition began, like I did in Reno? I've done it once - Reno 1996. I then thought when was I injured during a meet. Once - I strained a hamstring after I won at national indoors last year. When did I stop at a meet as a precaution? Once, Oshkosh last year at outdoor nationals after I had gotten 3rd. So as much as I seem to get dinged, I've only been hurt in a meet, dropped out during the meet, or withdrawn after warm up, one time each in my career. I have also only failed to clear my opening height (nh) once, in 1973 at our conference meet. I bring this up because just as Don says an injury makes you feel like you will never walk again, my meets almost always go pretty smooth, so I should relax and stop worrying.

More later. Thanks for being here! Bubba

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Mike's comment about not thinking and just vaulting are exactly correct for a meet. For me I have almost always done well at big meets because I have answered all of the "what if" questions in advance. My first eight of my nine years in the business world was with a small Wall Street think tank where the rule was always to know the answers to questions before others even know they are questions. Now with 23 years on the business side of healthcare I do the same thing. I guess it should be no surprise that I got this mentality from vaulting. I study and plan and adjust constantly, but when it's time to go to the meet I am completely at peace because I am ready. No matter what is dealt to me I have a game plan to adjust to. World indoors will be no different. That makes big meets really fun. And we they are fun you tend to do well.

Lifting went great today as I'm feeling my strength quickly return on all lifts. A lot faster than last month. It took all of my willpower to stay off of the bars as I wanted to jump ahead a week and try them out. NOPE! Can't be stupid just because I feel good. But it IS nice to feel strong and fast again. SO hard to feel that way consistently when your vaulting in meets every other week or so. When that time comes again I will feel the benefit of all of the other stuff I'm doing now. Fortunately this little bicep ding has not affected my running as I feel that's where I am really gaining some ground. My rehab rule is always come back stronger and faster in some area than when you left. Work HARD on the things you don't take the time to when you're jumping.

Oh well, tomorrow I'll probably feel like crap so I'll keep a lid on my enthusiasm. Enjoy your Sunday and the Super Bowl! Bubba

PS - Running was 8 X 100m on the grass.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Game Plan & Predictions

Let's have some fun today. I'm going to share my game plan and contingencies and take you through each height and tell you what I think will happen with some of the 15 guys entered. Since I only know eight of them that should be comical. SPOILER ALERT - the winner is Kirk Bentz of the USA with a jump of 4.20m (13' 9 1/4"). Let's proceed.

I'm at peace because I have decided that I may make no attempt to vault between now and Kamloops. It will partly be up to the doctor on Monday but I've looked back over past records and I have gone 3-4 weeks without jumping before a meet with no issues. I'm pretty dialed in on my technique so it's more important to be healthy and I know/think I will. If I jump I risk progress in my rehab.

I said that if I had one more week before Reno I would be fine. Well where I am now would give me 2-3 weeks longer than I had before Reno. Lifting and running is going very well and I was able to do some bars today with no issues. The last time I was out four weeks before I jumped was before indoor nationals in Landover, Maryland last March. Here is my first jump of the meet. The bar is at 12' (3.66m) and I'm only running from 44' and it was good enough to win that day. I'm in a lot better shape than then, vaulting better and will be starting my run from 55' instead of 44'. I can live with not jumping if needed based on this.

I'm going to follow my plan from the World Masters Games and come in conservatively at 3.60m (11' 9 3/4") on my 17.0. In Sydney it looked like this -

Let me stop right now and tell you that I'm putting these videos in here because I'll need to relive those moments a million times technically if I'm not going to vault until March 6. I will also do all of my running and drills gripping on the end of a huge 1680 pole so I don't lose the run/plant feel. BTW - the wind was HORRIBLE in Sydney so this is a good baseline to look at.

At 3.70m (12' 1 1/2") I'll go to the 16.5, which is my largest glass pole before moving to my carbon series. I'm guessing 6-8 guys clear this height. In Sydney it looked like this - You can see these poles look really small which allows me to not push my run but also let's be protect my arm on the early heights.

At 3.80m (12' 5 1/2") I will move to the 15.9 carbon pole. In Sydney I moved back to 65' but here I will stay at 55' because it will make me do things right and give my arm it's first test. Moving in a stride (2 steps) on the run gives you another 6" in height. That pole has become too small from 65'. Look at the difference between Sydney at 65' and the Quintana Beach Vault from 55'. Much more blow off the pole from 55'. Five or six guys will clear here.

At 3.90m (12' 9 1/2") we will lose some vaulters. Maybe me if my arm doesn't hold out. I make no promises after my first attempt at 3.80m as that may very well be the height the arm lets go like it did on that pole in warm up at Reno. I hope not. If I survive 3.80m I will go back a stride to 65' and up a pole to the 15.7. Here is me on this pole and run at Sydney at 4.00m (13' 1 1/2") and again at 3.81 (12' 6") at Belton, Texas on January 2 -

At 4.00m we will have 2-3 clear, the medal winners. Here is me on my 15.4 from 65' at 3.99m (13' 1") on January 2, the same as I will be here - You have already seen me make 4m in Sydney on one pole smaller.

If by some miracle I'm still in one piece and over, at 4.10m (13' 5 1/4" - my PR) I'll stay on the pole I made 4m on but be a little more confident than when I tried 4.14m (13' 7") on it in Belton. Kirk will make this on the first jump and seal his win.

Of the big guys it's hard to pick a spot. Steve Hardison of the USA is hot or cold. If he's hot expect 4m or 4.10m. Allan Williams of Great Britain looked awesome in Sydney but didn't jump very high. I expect him to exceed his National Record by clearing 3.90m or 4m. Bill Murray of the USA is the greatest masters athlete as he has won worlds in the decathlon and gotten 2nd in the vault. He will go 3.90m or 4m. Kristjan Gissurarson of Iceland is a sure fire 3.80 to 4m as is Erno Mako of Hungary. The other wild card is Dan West of the USA. A good friend, Dan vaulted 4.20m (13' 9 1/4") when he was 50 but hurt his foot and is perfecting a style that allows him to take off of the opposite foot. Unorthodox but when he hits it it's BIG!

Based on the reality of my condition I hope to get in the top six. With me out at or after 3.80m I expect it to be;
  • Kirk Bentz - Gold
  • Steve Hardison/Allen Williams - Silver
  • Bill Murray/Kristjan Gissurarson/Erno Mako/- Bronze
If one steps up then the other drops. As you know, someone always steps up and someone alway falls down at big meets. The only given is that Kirk wins. He jumped 4.15m (13' 7 1/4") just before he turned 55 last summer and has several meets over 4.10m (13' 5 1/4"). No one else is in that league. No slight to the other jumpers as I just don't know them, or know them well enough to predict.

I'm just hoping to survive it. If I'm in the game at 4m I have a chance for a medal but based on where I am today I can't make that prediction. TODAY, and each day forward, I can only focus on me and my training, and these videos of likely pole/run scenarios. In any case I will have fun.

One month from today I will be sitting in the hot tub at the Four Seasons at Whistler Mountain and I will go back and review these predictions. Thanks for your support and for joining me for this preview. Bubba

Friday, February 5, 2010

Back to Running

I had my first running day since Reno and it felt pretty good.
  • 5 X 30m
  • 1 X 30m + 2 X 40m
  • 20m, 30m, 20m
Doesn't sound like a lot but the long warm up makes it feel that way. In any case it felt good to be an athlete again with a hard lift yesterday and a good run today. Tomorrow is another big lift day and I can't wait. THIS feels back to normal.

My pole bag showed up at Kris' from Reno with the cap missing. How the poles stayed in I have no idea so I need to get him a new bag or get a new cap made in the next two weeks before they are shipped to Canada.

In other pole news my two new 14' 7" (4.45m) poles came in giving me three. I'll probably wait until after Worlds to work with them as I am protecting my bicep.

In rehab news, I've been referred to a local DC who they call the "Voodoo Doctor" as he uses a number of techniques to speed healing and to correct muscular imbalances. I should be able to start working with him on a regular basis on Monday. I'm excited to become more proactive in that area. I've dealt with guys like him before in California and they did seem to be miracle workers how they could quickly get to the bottom of nagging issues and turn them around. I was very optimistic that I would be healthy for Kamloops but now I'm excited and certain I will be. I truly believe he will be the missing link to my overall training plan.

That's it for today. Going to watch an All Comers meet at the University of Houston tomorrow. Get this - two attempts and the bar goes up a foot at a time until there are six vaulters left, then it becomes a regular meet. Not very fair to the other 40 which is why I never jump there. Bubba

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thursday's Follow Up

I got a great email from my friend Eric Negley from the Atlanta area wanting to make sure that I was OK. He noticed that my post today was pretty short and to the point and lacked the regular spirit I usually have. I was appreciative yet surprised to get the email because Eric hit it right on the head. I'm worried and I'll be better off if I admit it.

As much as I feel I will be OK for Kamloops I also thought I would be OK for Reno; I wasn't. After outdoor nationals at Oshkosh I thought I would be ready in four weeks for the National Senior Games at Stanford University; I wasn't. So on two cases before BIG competitions I guessed horribly wrong about recovering from seemingly small injuries. Wouldn't you be worried? I guess I've learned that somethings you can rehab and some things you just have to leave alone. This biceps thing falls between the two.

For those of you that don't know I have been a businessman in healthcare for the past 23 years. I partner physicians and physical therapists in profitable situations around the US and manage the business part. My point is that I have ample access to the expertise I need but don't always use it as often as I should.

As you know, we vaulters have very strange injuries and dings and so we have become our own resource. With all of this said, my training partner, Don Curry made a statement this week that sounds stupid but I totally got it and he was exactly right. He said, "you're doing your rehab but you're not letting it heal". He went on to list the things I was doing that were promoting healing (certain lifts and therapy) and then listed the things that slow the progress by constantly pulling the healing fibers apart (vaulting, bars, explosive lifts). From these enlightenments I came up with a plan that I think puts me in a great position to rapidly improve. Since my first gym day went well I feel good about it.

So Eric, thanks for slapping me back to reality and Don, thanks for being the great friend you have been for almost 45 years. I knew there was a reason I post this stuff. Have a great night! Bubba

Finally Back to Training

I can see how people get out of the habit of training. I've been both anxious and dreading getting back to the gym but it didn't take long to feel like "home". We decided to lay off for the week to let my arm and right hammy heal. There was nothing really wrong with my right hamstring but it had a little grab in it that is now gone. The arm felt really good too though I made no attempt to do bars.

All in all I think I will show up to Kamloops at 100%. I'll just stay cautious and keep training. I will also take some smaller poles to start on and not bring out the big guns until the bar gets over 12' 6" (3.80m). I would say that last month it took me 2-3 weeks before I feel as good as it feels now so that's a good reason to have rested. I'm cautiously optimistic. Have a great day! Bubba

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Final Entries for Kamloops

Long road days on Tuesday and Wednesay so I need some rest. Will resume training tomorrow.

Event 320 M55 Pole Vault=============================================== Name Age Team ===============================================
1 Bentz, Kirk M55 United States
2 Charrois, Henry M58 Canada
3 Giskes, Dirk-Jan M55 Netherlands
4 Gissurarson, Kristjan M55 Iceland
5 Hardison, Steve M59 United States
6 Jacquet-Acea, Russell M57 United States
7 Mako, Erno M55 Hungary
8 Milliman, Philip M58 United States
9 Murray, William M56 United States
10 Salmon, Tony M55 Canada
11 Sparks, Doug M56 United States
12 Van Vliet, Marc M58 Netherlands
13 West, Dan M55 United States
14 Williams, Allan M56 Great Britain
15 Wolff, Joachim M55 Germany

Monday, February 1, 2010

Cautiously Moving Forward

So the bicep strain has settled into maybe a 20-30% setback instead of the 10% I initially thought, or the 40-50% I felt yesterday. I'll know this for sure after I finish at the gym this morning. There are a number of things I can do right now without any hint of pain that took me 10-14 days to be able to do before. That added with the fact that I have five weeks and not four, make it clear I can make a full recovery in time for Kamloops.

Fortunately my legs are good so I'll bump up the running to three days instead of two and stay on my gym/bars/stretch stuff. At the 14 day point I'll have my first jump day and it will be easier than my first jump day last month. I will have two more vault days, ramping up each time, also on Fridays, and then get ready to head to Canada. Like Sydney, the work on technique at the top should give me more out of my smaller poles.

I'm waiting to hear back from Kris and Don but I'm comfortable with no jumping for two weeks followed by three consecutive Fridays of jumping before I leave. What I learned in Reno was that had I stayed on my original start pole I could have jumped in the meet. I moved up too soon and too aggressively. I'm fortunate I didn't suffer a true re-injury.

I'll take these lessons and cautious optimism to heart and work toward the goal of winning a medal. My guess is that a first attempt clearance at 3.90 (12' 9 1/2") or 4m (13' 1 1/2") should be able to reach that goal. After that it's whatever pole, run or grip it takes to try and win. I've been honest and said all along that winning is unlikely due to the quality of the field with the younger guys moving into the age group. Considering the uncertain situation with my arm, a medal would be great. There is a lot of work between here and there and there are no givens at big meets. I just need to take care of me and my plan and then enjoy the event with my friends. Have a great day! Bubba