Monday, May 31, 2010

Good Training Day

Good hard lifting and bars day. Though I didn't report it, yesterday was also a very good training day.

I had a guy ask me yesterday when I thought I would be able to jump. The truth is I can jump today but six jumps later my healing clock starts over. I had this same problem when I strained my tricep. Rest two weeks, jump in a meet or practice, rest three weeks, jump again and start the healing over. So I guess the good news is that YES I can jump. The bad news is that it won't get well until I don't at all for 4-6 weeks. That said I can do every single bit of my training without limitation except for vaulting so I might as well use the time to get in better shape.

Off to a movie with Nancy. Have a great Memorial Day and to those service men and women, including my brother Bill - THANK YOU!! Bubba

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Officially Starting Over

Calculating my time left before any meaningful meets tells me that it's not worth trying to put up a mark for this year's outdoor season. Contrary to what it may seem, I'm OK with that. I know what it takes to get my body to the next level so I can quit having these injuries and that's what I have been doing, working for the future. Fortunately my legs have been fine so I have run and run and run and will continue to run and run and run. In case you didn't know, running is a big factor in how high you jump. But my injuries to my upper body are flat from not being strong enough or conditioned well enough to take the impact of big poles. So I'm working on it. The fact that my legs haven't been the issue means those results are showing.

For June I'll stick to what I'm doing. In July I will make half of my running with a heavy pole. In August I'll start jumping from only 2 steps. "Beginner to Bubka" author and friend, Alan Launder thinks every year you should push for a 2, 4 and 6 step PR in the early going of each year. Physically I will get better but the idea is to also have a ton of lower level jumps to refine technique for better efficiency.

Let's be clear; if I haven't jumped 14' (4.27m) the World Championships in Sacramento next year are a waste of time. Too many really good guys turn 55 on top of the good ones who are already here. Though our present M55 American Record is 13' 6 1/2" (4.13m), I fully expect that not to be good enough to get a medal at Worlds next year. This means I've got to step my game up, hence my injuries. I WILL find the balance between aggressive training and safety but right now I will keep on pushing because I'm not missing anything anyway since my season is over.

Re-thinking my weight. When I came back in 2005 after two Achilles surgeries I was very concerned about my weight. I wasn't too heavy but I was horribly out of shape. Now that I'm in shape, muscle mass is an issue, or is it? In 2005 I tried to jump between 162-165 and I was weak and lightheaded. A few years later I let my weight come up to a point where I felt strong so that meant I was around 170 for meets. With all of the lifting I do to protect my body and improve my conditioning, I'm thinking I may settle in around 175 this year.

What does this mean? When I was in my prime I jumped between 168-171. In 1997 I jumped 14' 7 1/4" (4.45m) at 178. I have jumped 14' (4.27m) at 186 in 1998. I have to find the balance between feeling powerful yet fast and agile. Too much weight means a sluggish jump and more wear and tear on the body. So I'm guessing 175 but I think it will probably end up about 173. In any case I'll go with what feels best. Most of the time I train 3-4 pounds heavier than I compete so I'm sure I will have to take a look at that too. All I know is right now it is too big of a struggle to be healthy to stay at 170 on an daily basis.

It already feels like and off season and I HATE that. But the good news is that I can go and watch MANY meets over the next few months that remind me why I'm training. As previously stated, I was going to go through a seven month training grind anyway, I've just started it early because of these little injuries.

Have a great Sunday and thanks for your support. I will assure that my effort will be full speed in every session no matter what time of year. BTW - my gut feeling is that weighing 175 will make it easier for me to roll the big 14' 7" poles (4.45m). Bubba

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Small World / Feel Like Crap

Let's start with the fact that I feel like crap. Whenever I rest things heal short so I actually feel much worse than I do when I'm training. Even worse my weight is up from the prep for my procedures and the water they have me retaining. Feeling beat up and FAT is not my idea of a break but tomorrow I will be back to full speed.

I'm not jumping until Gettysburg on June 10 and that may be limited. My forearm feels worse and I have done nothing so that bothers me of course. I need to come back from our Alaska cruise on 8/1 completely healthy and in top shape. It won't bother me not to jump in Gettysburg as I am mainly going as a show of support for my buddy Steve Gorman who lost his brother a couple of years ago. This event is in his honor as a fellow masters vaulter. Two of the top masters vaulters in the world, Gary Hunter and Joe Johnston will join us there.

Small world - the lady hooking up my IV line in my hand said my veins were easy to hit and that I have "runner's veins". I told her I was a pole vaulter and train at The Woodlands High School. She told me her son ran track there and had gotten a scholarship to one of the top US track schools, Arkansas. Turns out her son is Drew Butler who is one of our school's top runners in history - and that is saying A LOT considering our history. Needless to say we talked track whenever she had a break.

It's getting hot so I will try and get out a little earlier. Last night at 8 PM it was 95 and still 80 when we got up this morning. That's OK as I get used to it reasonably fast. Starting early is the key in the beginning. Have a great day! Bubba

PS - tomorrow - rethinking my weight.

Friday, May 28, 2010

I'm Alive

Got out about 9:00 and everything was as expected, some ulcers in the stomach and other related areas. Got a prescription and will get biopsy results when I see the doc in two weeks. The colonoscopy was clear as was expected. So, I'll start the medication and add the new iron supplements and get back to work. Nice peace of mind but not any different from what we expected. Thanks for the support everyone! Time to get back to work!! Bubba

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Smart Decision

I've decided to skip this Thursday/Friday rotation of training and resume on Sunday. I could do it but my forearm needs a rest, as do my feet from all of the extra work they have gotten from doing demonstrations for young vaulters at practice. The forearm has remained sore though not worse or injured and that bothers me. Seems like for it to get well, at some point it will have to feel better. All of this extra activity seems to have stalled it.

My feet are a different story. Nothing major there but when you jump back into running, especially hills/sleds, you can flare up a plantar fascitis (heel pain) or Achilles. I had a very small hint of heel pain last Sunday so I'm going to rest that too. Both are really doing well but since I'm having my procedures at the hospital tomorrow anyway, my training would get broken up. I'd rather go in fresh and recover faster.

If you couldn't get the link to work properly yesterday, here is a CNN link on 87 year old Adolph Hoffman which also includes my coach, Kris Allison. Enjoy!! Bubba

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Video Links

Today is my Wednesday travel day but I have a couple of good video links for you. The first one was sent to me by Steve Gorman in Gettysburg. Matt and I will go there to jump in the Dave Gorman (Steve's brother) Memorial meet on July 10 -

The other is the AMAZING 87 year old Adolf Hoffman, shown in part with my coach, Kris Allison at practice at Kris' place getting ready for the Senior Olympics. This was on the CBS evening news. Pretty cool. Bubba

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Both Ends To Get a Look

I saw the physician that will do my colonoscopy on Friday and he will also put a tube down my throat to check my stomach. He thinks the colon will be clean but that stomach will have some small ulcerations from years of Motrin and Excedrin PM, the later on an empty stomach at night. He says the good news is that people who take these over the counter products rarely have colon issues. He will clean up and test whatever he sees if anything and then put a plan in place where it doesn't happen again.

This morning I did yet another blood test for Friday morning's procedure. But in my follow up with my PCP he noted that iron capacity is very available so that part will be fixed pretty quickly. The strange thing is that my total testosterone is only 287 and normal for my age is 550. He hopes part of this drop off is the iron issue but we will keep an eye on it. He thinks this could explain the rash of little injuries. I can take a non-steroid medication that will trigger me to make more of my own testosterone but he's hesitant to commit to that until after Friday's procedures. I cannot take testosterone without a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) which we don't see the need to seek at this point. It would be nice to at least be at a "normal" level of 550 like everyone else. Until then I'll just keep training my butt off six days a week.

I'm getting ready to got to lunch with Ryan Hodges. He was vaulter at The Woodlands High School who now goes to the University of Texas. He was a 10' 6" jumper the summer of his sophomore year and ended up making our state meet and jumping 15' 7". GREAT guy!

Have a wonderful day and thanks for the support! Bubba

Monday, May 24, 2010

No Glamor Here

It was another day to grind it out in the garage heat. Just when you think you might be getting in shape, that heat will knock you back and take your breath away. Yesterday I had 10 X 50m hill/sled and MAN was I sucking wind. Hang cleans in the garage do almost the same. I can only be thankful I'm not currently doing lunges or lunge jumps. OK, enough complaining/observing because in a month it will be 8-10 degrees hotter. But there is something about the reality of May when the heat hits. There is still a hint of coolness in the wind but that sun is HOT!!

Yesterday I got an email that Joe Summerlin's wife died. Not only is Joe Summerlin considered one of the greatest masters sprinters in history at 75, but his son went to high school and ran track with me, and my dad went to high school with his dad. After 57 years of marriage our thoughts and prayers go out to Joe and his family.

Today I get my crown on my back left molar. Good thing since the temporary fell off during dinner last night. WOW - VERY sensitive to cold as I accidentally found out.

Today I also see the doc who will do the colonoscopy. Looking forward to putting this behind me; pun intended. No really, when two physicians in the same day say, "we just want to make sure you don't have colon cancer based on these hemoglobin levels", you become a little attentive. So today is step one and I will report what I learn. Have a great day and thank you for being here! Bubba

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Hot Weather for an Avalanche

It is hot but not as hot as it will get so today's practice was a little more challenging. I feel like right now I am rebuilding and hope to come out the other side as an improved vaulter in every aspect. The author of "Outliers", Malcom Gladwell, contends that it takes 10,000 focused repetitions to become a master of any subject or activity. I've always said that an avalanche begins with a single snowflake. Any way you look at it I'm rebuilding and today I was the epitome of a wimpy little melting snowflake.

It was hot and I had 10 X 50m sled/hills to do. I decided that since the doctor said I could use my forearm as long as it didn't flare, that I would try to vault on my very smallest pole. So I did seven of my sleds and the warmed up on a cut off Essx 13/4m/162/73 kg and it felt too small from two steps or 12' (3.65m). Still I walked back to 23'/8m and took one jump at 9' 6" (2.90). The pole was so tiny that I was over the bar cycling my legs like a long jumper and hoping I wasn't going to bounce off the back of the pit. Really pretty funny considering my PR on that pole is 10' 6" (3.20m) from the same run. I forget that I have lifted and run nonstop for months since I have used this pole and now it's useless. The next two poles were gone to a meet with Max so I guess next time I will try and go on it from two steps.

The forearm is sore but not further strained nor did the tendon flare. I can do all of my training components without limitation so this too will take care of itself. So maybe next time I can live up to being a single snowflake with integrity; OR maybe even get 2-3 jumps. Whatever - I've started jumping.

I finished my bars and headed for the gym where I had my hard lift day. Other than being a little wrung out from the heat blast it too was a good practice. I could do lateral flys as well as the exercises Dr. Rand gave me to do last week. Sore not injured is the verdict.

With all of this said I could easily do at least what I did at Boston (12' 1 1/2"/3.70m) as the left forearm is of considerably less consideration than the right arm. STILL, I'll follow the plan and come back in much better shape with cleaner technique. Thanks for your support and have a beautiful Sunday! Bubba

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Lazy Day

I had breakfast with Nancy and then went out to watch the three 8th grade girls who will be at the high school next year. I always enjoy going out with the ones who really care.

Saw my masters teammate in the M40 group, Matt Kowalski there too. We're trying to figure out some bigger poles for him since he is through all of mine now. He will join me in Gettysburg on July 10, so we're trying to figure poles to ship, etc.

Beginner to Bubka author from Australia, Alan Launder's wife, Jenny, sent me an email this morning saying he is having some cardiac issues and may not be coming to the states in a few weeks. I have not seen him since he coached me at Sydney in the World Masters Games. We had a nice dinner and went our separate ways expecting to see each other this summer. I guess we will know more after his angiogram on Tuesday.

I first met Alan at the 1996 Olympics when I got him into the practice stadium to see Australia's Simon Arkell get his last practice in. We also saw Sergey Bubka's practice where he attempted 20' 8" several times. He's in our prayers and I hope to see him him over here soon.

It was an off day for training though I considered doing a light workout anyway. Then I got up from my chair and felt beat up from the past two days, remember the next two are my hardest and decided to take a nap, which the dogs did not allow.

Hope you have a great Saturday evening! Bubba

Friday, May 21, 2010

Grinding in the Heat

Today was a garage lift day and the heat and humidity is coming up. I have a 9 AM conference call so I was out there about 6:30 when it was only 75. Not bad until the sun came in the garage. I'm enjoying the training. Yesterday I even got to make a few baby take offs when I was showing Kara a couple of things on her pole. Scary - it's like a 10' 6"/80. Kara is in the 8th grade (9') and to be fair, that's the pole she jumps on from 4-6 steps. Talk about talent; she caps that pole from 4 steps.

Anyway, LOTS of running, lifting and bars. I fully expect to grind this out for the next 6-8 months. Yesterday was a week since I dinged the forearm so I will wait another week before I start plant drills with the big pole. Each week I will do a little more until I'm tiny pole jumping at 4 weeks.

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

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Moving Along

Had a great workout this morning with all components and no forearm, back, and/or glute issues. Felt really good all the way around. Well, my legs felt pretty dead but nothing was injured or hurting. I'm guessing I'm going four weeks like this and then I'll start low level jumping just to be cautious. It's nice that almost one week is already over and I have no pain. I even did light lateral flys and felt nothing. Next week I will start on all of the other little things Dr. Rand gave me to do. So today was a typical day one of my three day rotation;
  • 8 X 50 Hill/Sled
  • High Bar Pullovers w/ankle weights - 2 X 5 + Parallel bar Bubkas w/weights - 7,3 + High Bar Swing Up w/weights 2 X 5
  • Leg Press 1 X 18 @ 235
  • Leg Curl/Leg Extension - 8,4
  • Seated Calf Raise/Standing Heel Raise - 3 X 15 each
  • Supersets - Tricep Pushdowns/Straight Arm Lat Pulldown to Waist - 8,4
  • Supersets - Standing Cable Curl/Upright Row - 8,4
  • Overhead Cable Tricep Press - 1 X 12
  • Machine Preacher Curl/Machine Tricep Pushdown - 8,4
  • Seated Dip Machine - 8,4
  • Lateral Flys - Stretch
Starting to have hope again!! Speaking of which, I have an appointment with my new doctor on Monday and he will schedule the colonoscopy within a week of that. Not really worried about it because it is what it is. They will evaluate and fix anything they find before I wake up. Nothing I can do. If it's bad news they will have a plan and I would imagine we're early enough to be successful.

Have a great day everyone! Bubba

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The "C" Word

I got a blood test the other day when Dr. Rand was seeing me for my forearm strain. He wanted to check my calcium and vitamin D levels but instead he called me last night to tell me my hemoglobin was very low. He called again this morning and asked who my family practice physician was so he could send the blood test results. Coincidentally, Dr. Butch Martin is the first stop on my traveling Wednesday because our company has provided physical therapy services to his group for over four years. He is my main physician and a good friend. So I was a little surprised when he became the second doctor of the day to tell me to go get a colonoscopy right away so we can make sure I don't have colon cancer. Dr. Rand said the same thing but Dr. Martin was even more insistent that this is not something to put off. Nancy had one a few years ago so I guess I will use who she did and we will get this going ASAP.

That said, back to regular training tomorrow. Can't wait. Bubba

BTW - Yesterday's post was short because I'm bummed to be sitting out again. But the reality is that I'm not doing anything stupid. I'm just trying stuff to try and get better. Five years ago at the Texas Senior Games, I vaulted 11' on a small 4m pole that I thought was big. Wow have things changed. Considering I'm five years older, I'm generally very pleased with the progress.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Laying Low

Since I did a double Sunday I was off yesterday. I'm taking a break from today's sled/hill today because I ran five of the previous seven days. Thursday I will pick up on my normal training again. Have a great day! Bubba

Monday, May 17, 2010

No Injection

Dr. Rand, my sports medicine physician, had an X-Ray done at the hospital to make sure the tendon wasn't coming off the elbow and it was not. However, he does not feel the tendon and surrounding muscle strain is sufficient to risk an injection in the area. The tendon is small and if he hits it instead of the sheath he could weaken it further, all for a gain of maybe a week to 10 days. Instead he said my massage therapists need to dig deep into there and I should start some physical therapy modalities. So I went and had Sakina beat it up and then I'll have Sam do some treatment on it tomorrow.

And we did identify that the jump in dumbbell weights for the lateral flys is the cause. This is all good news I suppose. The mystery to me is how come the night after I flared it I couldn't squeeze toothpaste out of the tube and two days later I can't make it hurt. Dr. Rand says it is another one of those all or nothing deals where I can go back to square one easily. He said that had I stopped jumping the other day while it wasn't hurting, that I probably could have gone a little further in each successive practice. But since I flared it I get to start over. Fortunately this time I stopped far short of where I did the first time and it was almost good as new after three weeks.

So beyond the rehab I am free to do all of my training components because the only thing that hurts is vault #6 forward and lateral flys. The game plan is to skip the first meets and ramp up. My plan is to not jump at all for four weeks and focus on running and my fitness - AGAIN.

It will be interesting to see how things turn out. I had such a great year last year winning indoor nationals and then the World Masters Games in Sydney. I also had a great three meets indoors and then got 2nd at indoor nationals. So though it appears to be a lost year, I have gotten an incredible amount of running in and that was a huge part of my preparation plan for 2011 anyway. Sure I would love to jump but all of this insane base work and training will surely pay off once I can. I mean I vaulted very gingerly because of my back yet blew through two poles that used to take a miracle to use from 22' (7m). I'm gripping nearly 12' (3.66m) from that short of a run. I've also been running further so I can get back to my long runs sooner.

Bottom line - be patient. Every injury has a cause and will not be repeated. I strained by bicep from being too under and not pre-tensing my arms. I strained my back doing heavy squats in the Smith machine, something I discontinued two years ago for risk of injury. And I strained my forearm by upping lateral flys too heavy and too fast. The rule with any injury is to come back better than when I left? There are always training items that lose focus when you're jumping and competing. NOW is when you attack those weaknesses and make them strengths.

So I'm EARLY for next year. The huge grind I had planned for the end of the summer/fall has already been well underway. This is VERY tough mentally but it WILL payoff. Thanks for the support. Bubba

Sunday, May 16, 2010


That is the amount of weight I have lifted since I started back to training after my two Achilles surgeries. I started on January 1, 2005. It's always cool to cross a line but I've seemed so close to 15 million for so long - FINALLY. As I have mentioned before, Bubka can tell you what he did on this date when he was 11 years old; what the weather was and what he ate, etc. If it's worth doing it's worth recording.

Baseline lifting felt easy today which is nice. From Sunday to Sunday I have run hill/sled five days and did some type of runway vaulting for two days including one vault day and one drill day. LOTS of bar work also. That said, I'm ready to get a cortisone shot tomorrow in the forearm tendons and then I should be good to go in about a week. So TONS of running and leg lifting this week but no upper or bars. I actually did a double today by doing tomorrow's workout also in order to to get the last hard upper lift in.

Got an email response from Ken Leventhal of the Houston JCC, who runs the local Senior Games. He says we will be at Barnett Stadium (an area high school stadium) for our Texas State Senior Games but that a decision between Rice University and the University of Houston has yet to be made for the National Senior Games next summer. In 2007, the first year I was eligible, the Games were in Louisville and in 2009 they were in California at Stanford University. Next summer it will be here at home in Houston. It's a very big deal with THOUSANDS of athletes from 50+ years old in 18 sports. Here's the link to the National Senior Games site about the event -

Have a great Sunday! Bubba

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Run/Sled, Drill & More Rain

I knew this morning it would be a race against the weather even though it is my day off. Tomorrow is supposed to rain even harder so this is my only opening to get my outdoors work in. Did 5 X Hill/Sled and then grabbed the small UCS 1365 and did "The Drill" about 6-8 times from 23'. Then the rain hit hard so the fun was over.

Never felt the glute/back or forearm but the tennis elbow part of that left arm came up. Afterwards I felt the forearm a little. Nice to be able to get something done on the runway for two of the last three days. I'll finish up with my bars and lifting tomorrow.

Since I'm getting shot Monday, tomorrow will be the last upper lift day for a week. I'll stay after the running, legs and stretching but probably no bars either. We will see what the doc says. Have a great Saturday. Bubba

Friday, May 14, 2010

Rain, Rain!!

I don't have anything outside for a day or so but it's really raining. We need to squeeze a jump session in for the kids tomorrow or Sunday. My next jump/run/bars/lift day is Sunday also.

Today the forearm thing was minimal as I could do all of my lifts and bars with no issues. That definitely means a tendon is flaring the area since I have no muscle pain or strength deficits. I would occasionally feel a little bite but it's not bad. When I first felt this a month ago I couldn't squeeze toothpaste out with that hand.

I saw my partner, Sam (Fontenot, PT) today and he took a look at it and wanted to work on it in his clinic. I told him absolutely not; I want it to be as trashed as possible when I see the doc or he will send me home to "rest" for two weeks. Of course I would respond that I have just "rested" it four weeks because of this glute problem. So Monday I will get it injected with cortisone and a week later it will be good as new. I figured out that I got it from drastically bumping up my weights on lateral flys in an effort to enhance my shoulder stability.

Again this is one of those "protecting me from me" things. I FEEL very good but I have done very little for three weeks because of the glute/back/nerve pain, so that's a guarantee that I would strain a hamstring if I jumped at a high level right now. SO, I got a great week of running (four sessions) and will have another one next week and then I will be healthy and well. So the forearm ding protected me from hurting something else. They should both be ready about the same time.

I have thought many times that most of my dings have been upper body dings so I have been able to continue my lower lifting and running. This is just huge for a vaulter. For example, my four step run is usually 22' but yesterday it was 23' 6" and my 33' was 34' 6" - same steps with a longer distance means more speed, yet I hadn't vaulted in a month. No matter what little hurdle comes up, as long as I can keep running I won't really lose ground in the big picture. Actually I will gain ground. I know how to vault so that doesn't take near as long to get back or improve as gaining speed and power. BTW - tecnically I felt very good yesterday.

These upper body issues are because my runway speed and power are improving enough that I'm hitting some really big poles for me. Combine that with the fact that my new technique requires a lot of hard and constant arm pressure and it's clear that I need to bump my upper body strength and conditioning, not to mention getting a more rigid plant up earlier. I'll work on this with a long/heavy pole in drills.

That's all I really have on my mind today. Lifting and bars were awesome this morning as I could even do hang cleans with no back/glute problem. Life is joyous but will be better when I get the forearm shot and back to vaulting. My guess is I will skip the TWHS All Comers and come out at the San Marcos River Vault; or maybe not. Dr. Rand is a big believer in getting back out there and making sure what we did is working. Of course I will report more later. Have a great evening and thanks for your support! Bubba

Thursday, May 13, 2010

So Far, So Good

I'm getting ready to go to the gym to lift and then come back home for a long stretch, but I was able to vault 11' 6" (3.51m) today from my 33' (10m) run and 11' from my 23' (7m) run - ALL with no glute/back/nerve issues. I stopped before going to 12' (3.66m) because I was having some type of strange little forearm cramp. Maybe I was dehydrated. I felt it a little on the day of my re-strain of my glute but don't expect it to be anything big. Holding positions on small poles is pretty hard since I have a constant contraction of certain muscles. Big poles require a harder hit but they come back quicker so you don't feel that sustained pressure. Today I was on very small 4m/13' 1" poles - 16.3, 15.9 and 15.5. I'll start on the 15.0 Sunday.

Of course I won't know until tomorrow where I am but the last time I left the track I was already having nerve issues and a catch in my back. No sign of any of that and I have been done for over an hour. So far, so good. Off to the gym. Have a great day! Bubba

PS - planning my bar progression for the All Comers meet. The officials and some masters jump early so we can help run off the meet, which usually has 30-40 vaulters each week. The track coaches officiate us while they are setting up. I'm thinking about 3.72 (12' 2 1/2") to 3.87m (12' 8 1/4") to 3.98m (13' 1/2") as a reasonable progression. We will see what happens as I get closer.

As a follow up to the forearm deal, I talked to my partner, Sam Fontenot, a physical therapist for 39 years, and he says this is a tendon issue (though it feels muscular) and they can hang on for a long time. Hence I made an appointment Monday morning at 8 to get it injected by my top sportsmed guy, Scott Rand, MD of Lone Star Sports Medicine. He's the genius that figured out my elbow issue that had bothered be for 8 months. Two weeks later it was well and never bothered me again. I'll report back what he says.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Travel Day

Travel day followed by a light stretch. I will try and jump tomorrow on my smallest 4m/13' 1" poles from 33'/10m. We'll see what happens. Considering tomorrow is only two days short of a month since my re-strain, and I could run well Tuesday, I'm optimistic. I will give a full report tomorrow. Have a great evening. Bubba

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Firing on All Cylinders? Maybe Not

I felt a little beat up today as I drove to the track so I put on my headphones for the 2 mile drive over and put the top down on the car to get some fresh air and loud music. The goal was to complete 6 X 50m hills/sled and try to ramp up to a nice rhythmical tempo. I was able to run three reps at 90%+ with no issues or limitations. I backed down after that as not to be as stupid as I have proven myself capable of.

Considering what I just wrote, should we be surprised that one of our coaches yelled at me when he was running by and I was walking to my car, "do you realize your engine is running and the music is playing?" NO I did not but I have done this one other time. I drive a Mercedes CLK 350 convertible that foolishly lets me start the car without my key, as long as it is on my person. So I put the key in my fanny pack so I can't accidentally lock it in the car. When I got back to my car in the high school parking lot, the top is in fact down and music is playing pretty loud. What makes this stranger is that I get there about 20-30 minutes before school starts when the parking lot is empty and when I leave it is full. I'm lucky the car wasn't stolen or vandalized.

Speaking of music, I had a kid ask me the other day what the first record I ever had was. I was impressed he knew what records are considering his parents are probably too young to have had them. Cream, Disraeli Gears followed by the first Black Sabbath the next day. The first cassette was the Guess Who, American woman, which came on my MP3 on the way over and what prompted this memory. Which reminds me of an exchange I heard about 15 years ago when a teen aged girl asked her friend in amazement, "did you know that Paul McCartney was once in a band called The Beatles?" But I digress. The point is that music gets me through more workouts than you would imagine. Now if I can just remember to turn the car off.

I'm going to jump at a very low level on Thursday and shoot for jumping at our first All Comers two weeks from today. That will give me 11 days until the River Vault and almost four weeks until the Quintana Beach Vault. Today I can jump at least 12' (3.66m) based on how my body feels. The trick will be how my glute and nerve issue holds up. Only time will tell so I will try to be overcautious. But gauging by today, it will take a little more effort than usual to keep me from being stupid. Have a great day! Bubba

Monday, May 10, 2010

Easy Going

I'm just trying to ease back into training and trying to focus on keeping up my stretching. Had a tiny hint of nerve pain this morning but yesterday was a monster training day compared to what I have been doing; so that is no surprise. This morning was another hard training day as I did my bars and garage lift. Over the past two days I have done every component of my training but vaulting. The bottom line is that if I survive this week without set back I should be ready to start jumping.

I may or may not jump in a meet before the San Marcos River Vault on 6/5. Right now it feels like I need training jumps but I may decide I am close enough to high level jumping that I take a meet before 6/5 just to assure I put up a decent mark at the river. We will play that one by ear.

Thanks again for hanging with me. Bubba

Late post - Through talking to fellow masters vaulter and teammate, Gary Scheffe, who has been to the first two potential meets in our series, I have decided to jump first at The Woodlands High School All Comers on May 25. We have six meets on Tuesdays with all track and field events. Beats driving 3-4 hours. Thanks Gary!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My Season is Back ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This will be short because I need to get to my long stretch. I went to the track today and decided I would do 5 X 50m hill/sled at a crawling pace just to get back in touch with it. It took everything in my power to hold under an explosive 50% as I felt fantastic with no hint of back pain. Foolishly I thought I would try to do one pullover on the high bar. Whipped off three before I could stop the momentum and then did two more. What the heck; how about P-Bar Bubkas? Did five like nothing. Off to the gym.

I was going to skip leg press as it forces me really tight with my knees almost to my face with the chair all the way up. What the heck, might as well rack it with 235 lbs. I can always stop after one or two. Cranked off my regular set of 18 like it was nothing with zero pain. High bar front lever with straight body? I did 2 X 5 like it was a joke. I'm now back within striking distance (2 weeks) of jumping at a decent level.

What happened? A lot of great care, REST and caution. Not wanting to risk several set backs I cancelled this season in my mind. Being able to accept the worst case scenario and proceed with the next plan is critical in our sport at our age. So instead of my season ending, my body got a well deserved three week break and is now fresh and on the verge of being 100%. I will see Ashley tomorrow.

I will vault in the Texas Masters Championships outside of Dallas on 5/29, San Marcos River Vault on 6/5, Quintana Beach Vault on 6/19 and the Dave Gorman Memorial Vault in Gettysburg, PA with my buddy Steve Gorman at his backyard pit - The event is in honor of his brother, Dave. We jumped many times together before he tragically died a couple of years ago in a drowning.

Couldn't be more excited!!!!!!!! BUT - that means I MUST get to my 45 minute stretch routine. Have a great Sunday and thanks for the support!! Bubba

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Breakthrough - I Think

Of course I am grateful to Dr. Clouthier, Ashely, Dr. Martin, Sam Fontentot, PT, Bruce Forsyth, PT, Randall Fukuji, PT and Tom Dalonzo Baker, PT. These are my main "go to" pros. But even if I saw one of them every day I still have 23 hours left that I can be doing something for myself. At least now that my day isn't spent laying on ice with my legs up.

I went out today and ran 8 X 100m very easy and 1 X 50 hill before stopping. The hill felt like a little too much impact/power for this stage of where I am, thus only one. Having done ZERO for three weeks I want to stay well within myself. I keep hearing "jammed hip" from that squat rep, and then once on the trip I stepped quickly to the right and felt it "jam back in", so I guess that's part of the issue. It's still there but I felt amazingly good on the flights and with all of the walking around, sitting and standing during the trip.

So today when I'm walking to the car I had a vision of my own traction machine. I went home and attached a dog leash around my ankle and hooked the other to the cable link where I would sit to do seated rows. I stood up, took the slack out and leaned forward over my bench like I was going to lay on a surfboard. This provided a really nice and constant strong tension/traction on my hip. Then I lay on my back and sat back and did the same thing. I did this between all of my stretches. After a few series of these I dropped the weight down to 50 lbs. so it would give. This way I could crawl up to a support position and then let the weight just pull on the ankle. Again, I could feel the muscles fighting the tension and then they just "let go". That was about three hours ago and now I feel brand new. Below is a photo of my new traction setup that I will incorporate in with my stretching.
I had mentioned before that I came up with a little ball system to put direct pressure to the points that are really tight or tender. The pink thing is actually a business card holder I got to use as a runway marker. Obviously because it is pink I have chosen not to use it for that. That little pointed end hurts like crazy so I put 1/2 of a racquetball over it. PERFECT. So I also do these pressure point rotations between stretching. Whatever it takes. At least I feel better and am training again! Bubba

Friday, May 7, 2010

Home Sweet Home ...

Got home about 8 AM this morning after the 8 hour flight. Slept some but not great. Glad to be home and ready to train. I'll start with my easy running tomorrow rather than waiting for Sunday. Have a great day! Bubba

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

One More Day

Photos from our balcony at the Turtle Bay Resort. The top goes on the right and the bottom goes on the left to make a landscape panorama. This blog doesn't allow that but you get the idea. You can click to enlarge. I always enjoy our vacations but I'm also ready to get home when they are over. Not training for three weeks has made it worse so I can't wait for Sunday to get started again. Our flight is tomorrow (Thursday) at 7 PM but that is midnight Houston time so we arrive at 8 AM. Should be a decent sleep.

I don't really care how slow the ramp up is as long as I start. Lots of stretching on this trip. Some things that used to cause nerve pain do not anymore but a few things still do but to a lesser degree. The faster I get back to activity the faster it will get better.

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

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Meeting Day

I have partners here in Hawaii and today is my meeting day. Normally when I come I'm in meetings pretty much nonstop but since I set this up as a vacation then I'm only going today.

Traveling - seems like we travel a lot. It's actually been just the opposite. The reality is that because Nancy's late mother, June, lived with us for six years. During that time we could never both go away unless June was with us; like our Maine vacation to see her brother and June's son. So for six years Nancy has not been able to travel with me at all. When June died, part of the agreement was to get out a little more. I think this helps Nancy past the grief a bit, as well as gives us a chance to do a few things we have wanted to do. We understood when we invited June to live with us that it would sacrifice travel and that was OK. So we're making up for some of it now.

Felt a little flare yesterday during strides but it didn't blow up into anything big. I'll get a big stretch in this afternoon and be VERY slow to ramp up my running next week. That's it for now as I've gotta run. Have a great day. Bubba

Monday, May 3, 2010

Aloha From Hawaii

Shockingly my back gave me no problems on the eight hour flight and feels pretty good this morning too. I must actually be getting well. I'll do some very easy strides and big stretch later today.

The weather is a little overcast and drizzly but the scenery is still beautiful. We will take it easy and check out some of the area's stuff. STOP - FIRE ALARM - Everyone out of the building. Back later. Hope my computer will be.

Some idiot pulled a fire alarm trying to get in the shortcut to breakfast. Here's a photo of the first group out by the pool waiting for the "All Clear".

Yesterday on the flight I listened to my MP3 which of course has all of my training music. I was getting pretty pumped up about this rebirth in training. BIG commitment to running, and technique. I HAVE to get to the next level or I will not be competitive next year at Worlds. This isn't an option. With National Senior Games in Houston and Worlds in Sacramento, I have to get so 4m (13' 1 1/2") is my opening height.

Off to town. Have a great day! Bubba

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Another Fun Video From Mark Stewart

Marks sends these out when his vaulters come up with a new compilation. This is one of his top guys, Joel Pocklington. Enjoy. Bubba

Going Away But Coming Back

Yesterday my nerve part of my back seemed to be easing back in and with it came tiny spasms. Since I had done nothing different I made an assumption that I should do a stretching session since that tends to be the way my treatments with Ashley end. I even did a couple of little 20m jogs in between some of the stretches. It went well but I was stiff and triggered some nerve pain.

For the next two hours I thought maybe I had made a mistake. My reasoning was that I could get in to see Ashley this morning if need be so I might as well try it. As the day went on I felt more mobile and had some relief. This morning I feel by far better than I have in the past three weeks. Not brand new but easily the best I have felt.

SO - I will repeat the process today and hope it feels even better before my eight hour plane flight to Hawaii tomorrow. Again, I'm very optimistic that I'm coming back good. In fact, since it's seven weeks away, I'm not writing off that I may jump in the Quintana Beach Vault. I'll take it slow and play it by ear.

The spasms are in the right side glute so I took a half raquet ball rubber piece and put it over a golf ball and rolled around on it really trying to break up the muscle in that area. BINGO!! Hit the spot and gave me great relief. This s certainly not an Ashley replacement but since I couldn't see her before I go it was worth the experiment. Today I will buy a raquet ball, handball, tennis ball, and golf ball for my rotation or rolling muscles around with various tensions and contact sizes. I'll take those and my stretch rope to Hawaii and use it after I come in from the pool or beach. The plan is to try and get some easy jog/skip drills in the water just to introduce mobility without impact. Should be fun.

Thanks for being here and I'll keep you posted and maybe get up some photos as well. Have a great day! Bubba