Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Busy Work Day

I got my lift and stretch in the this morning so it's off to work. Out of town people in today and I'm out all day tomorrow.

I've added lifts for arms and shoulders back in for stability and power at the take off. I remember in 1997, my coach, Dave Johnston, told me I needed to get to my upper body lifting if I wanted to be able to handle the bigger poles when I get to them. He was right then and I keep hearing his voice telling me this; so I have started those lifts again. Considering that I have had two tricep injuries and three biceps injuries over the past few years, I don't know why I got away from it anyway.

Have a great day and thanks for being here. Bubba

Monday, November 29, 2010

More Weather Changes

After 29 on Saturday it was 69 this morning. I had to unplug the space heater and plug in the fan. Another good lift and stretch. Off to the dentist then will figure out tomorrow. I have a lift and sled/hills or just a lift depending when I have to be where for business meetings. Have a great day! Bubba

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Let the Week Begin!

Just to be careful with that little right groin thing, I chose not to attempt to vault today. Since I felt it during warm up on Wednesday, yet it didn't stop me from having a good day, I figured it wasn't much too worry about. BUT, certainly this is not the time of year to guess wrong so I skipped vaulting. That said, I never even felt or noticed it during my 8 X 50m hill/sleds.

As I mentioned earlier in the week, I went back to sled running and away from the raw speed stuff I have been doing for the past six weeks. I used the sled + 10 lbs. (4.5 kg) like I did last year and quickly noticed that I had lost a lot of power and conditioning for this type of running. I was surprised to be getting out of breath, which normally only happens in the summer when it's hot. Sounds dumb but that actually made me feel very optimistic. By about #4 I was starting to step up to the power I needed to keep a powerful and quick stride going. History tells me that will appear on the runway very quickly in the form of more power and covering more ground with less effort. COOL!! I'll do 6 X 50 hills/sleds on Tuesday or Wednesday. Today I also continued to feel very good on my lifting bars and stretching.

It's going to be a strange week for work but it shouldn't change my training. I have a guy coming to town to see me and my partner on Tuesday, but I may also have to go to Dallas on the same day to see another partner. I still have my travel responsibilities on Wednesday and then on Friday Nancy and I will head to Kris for the Saturday morning meet.

Kris has a huge metal building so it can be cold in the morning. So warming up at 8 AM to compete at 9 AM will almost always be cold this time of year. Actually it will probably be 10:30-11 before it's my turn to jump. As luck would have it, the forecast for Saturday is a low of 61 and a high of 74. Not bad considering this meet last year it was 25. Although I have jumped a few times recently this is considered the first meet of the season as indoor rankings begin on 12/1. Hoping for a good start.

Have a great Sunday and thanks for your support. Bubba

Saturday, November 27, 2010

COLD Off Day!!

I went out to watch the kids this morning and the pit had ice all over the cover. Fortunately there was no wind so it warmed up pretty quickly. I decided to wait until my regular scheduled running day for sleds which is tomorrow. It will be warmer and then I will hit the gym for my lifting.

I cut off my biggest 14' 7" (4.45m) today. I wasn't sure it would be long enough after I cut it so I left it out of the eight poles I cut last week. Today I took the time to compare it to the others and it worked out as expected so I cut it too.

I won't vault again until the meet at Kris' this weekend. December 1, begins the indoor rankings season so I'd like to put up a decent mark. His facility can be pretty cold early in the day but the next several meets will all be warm with elevated wood runways with rubber on top - FAST!! So if I can get a good mark at Kris' and then just hope to improve on it as I progress through the new poles.

On Friday Nancy and I will drive up early and I'll spend the afternoon with Kris flex testing my poles. We will flex them on a 14' 1" (4.30m) span so I can get a relative comparison to the poles I have jumped on for the past two years. I really need to know those numbers so we can mark the poles.

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. Thank you for staying tuned with me! Bubba

Friday, November 26, 2010


I've quoted Tony Robbins before when he says that a plane on the way to Hawaii is off course 99% of the time but still gets there safely because of a series of many small adjustments. I'm evaluating my present program and how it may blend into my goals for next year's off season and decided that I will change some lifts and add some cardio two days a week. Nothing major but these are things that always make me feel faster after a hamstring rehab so why not do them now? I'll work on it today and get it in front of Kris. Have a great day! Bubba

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Just finished a nice lift and stretch and will now start to help Nancy get stuff ready for dinner later today. My dad, brother Bill (5.30m/17' 4 1/2" in the late 70s), and his wife, Lauren are coming.

As far as vaulting goes I think I'm done until Kris' meet on 12/4. I'm comfortable with my poles and would like to focus on getting back in the swing with my sled/hills, etc. Have a little right groin soreness but not enough to be worried about. I felt it yesterday during warm up and though it never bothered me jumping, it was in the back of my mind so I'll leave it alone. I want to clean up my tiny hamstring catches with some extended stretches and maybe a visit to Ashley or Sakina next week. Overall everything is a go and I'm really healthy. I'm being overcautious but I think that may be how I stay out of trouble a little bit.

Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Thank you for being here with me on this journey!! Bubba

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A PERFECT 12 Hours!!

Last night I got a call from masters studette, Dinah Anderson, telling me that an assistant coach at the University of Houston was going to open up the indoor facility for a few hours on one weekend day over the winter for masters vaulters. Unbelievably AWESOME!!

Today's Vaulting - This morning I got up and it was 73 degrees and dry so I headed over to jump about 7:45. Warming up I felt like I always do on the first jump session after a meet - CRAPPY. On top of that the wind was in your face one jump, across on the next, etc., so I really needed to take it easy on the runway. Not ideal but let's go.

Still I took out my bag with all of my "new" cut 14' 7" (4.45m) poles and pulled out the smallest one marked, 167.8. It was thin and light with a good pre-bend, but as I expected, STIFF. I was able to start getting some bend from 6 steps but not much. At 8 steps it felt stiff but real quick so I started getting nervous that my experiment would fail. I got Don's tape measure and saw that I was only gripping about 12' (3.66m) so of course it's stiff and quick. At 10 steps I had a real pole in my hands but still felt a little quick so I moved my grip up to about 12' 9" (3.90m) and put a bar up at 12'.

After that jump I looked at Don and asked what just happened. I knew I hit it right and got launched but I kind of bailed out to see where I was. Don looked stunned and said, "you cleared that by 2' (60 cm) and you quit on the jump". WOW!! That is my new start pole from 10 steps and I bet that soon I can use it from 8. Moved to 12' 6" (3.81m) and made that easy. Don said the pole was too small, and though I had a foot (30 cm) of height with my hips, I almost hit it on the way up with my chest. So two BIG clearances on my first new pole. More importantly, it was easy. No struggle to get the pole moving.

I moved up a pole and stayed at 10 steps and cleared 13' (3.97m) quite easily. I decided that I would move back to 12 steps and go up a pole, to the one that had rejected my timing in the last two meets. BOOM, cleared 13' again easily.

At this point I'm starting to feel a little dead and didn't want to risk injury by continuing. BUT, I took the bar down and took that infamous "one more jump" anyway. My reasoning was that without a bar I would run easier and I really needed to know if the next pole would twist in my hands like it did in Austin last month. It did not and it felt great so I stopped right there and finished up my sleds before heading to the gym. FANTASTIC day!! Could not be happier!! The poles feel great and I can easily transition from one to the next.

Before I answer the pole questions I keep getting, I want to say that we changed my running away from the raw sprint stuff and back to the sled. We decided to do this partly because I was getting too many reps after I jumped and my feet were starting to hurt. The other part is the sled helps you cover more ground on the runway with less effort. Glad to be back to that.

POLES - Bruce Caldwell at Essx first told me this summer that he thought I should move up lengths because of my jump style. We've known each other for 35 years so he knows my jump well. He told me that he would make me a 15' 1" (4.60m) pole in a 14' 7" (4.45m) body. I'm not the fastest nor tallest guy. If you look at the photo from Sydney, or any other big meet of me with the other vaulters, I'm almost always the smallest one or two guys. BUT, I jump up really well at the take off, so a longer sailpiece/reinforcement piece, "picks me up" at the take off. So many people move forward at the take off, I am also rising almost immediately and this helps me get on bigger poles.

Caldwell's reasoning was that if I got 14' 7"s and they didn't work and had to be cut down, then I would be where I am right now, on a 14' 1" (4.30m) pole. But with my angle off the ground, IF I could roll a 15' 1" sail, then great; but if not, cutting it would still give me a greater benefit. NOTE - Bruce does not cut my poles but he knows that I'm going to, if needed, until they are perfect for me. Manufacturers HATE it when their poles are cut, but what am I going to do, train real hard and hope I can get on them when I'm 60? NO!!

So me and Kris cut 2" (4 cm) off of all of my poles on day one. Sunday I cut another 3.5" (6 cm) off for a total of 5.5" (13 cm). So right now my poles are on a 14' 7" sail and YES, the pick me up AND roll so I can time up the top. I could not be happier with these poles. Today I used four of the eight in my bag, and had I felt better I could have used maybe two more. PERFECT!

So here's the catch, I felt crappy yet jumped higher with less effort because of the longer sail picking me up at take off. I didn't have to work nearly as hard as I do to hit a bigger shorter pole yet I'm getting much more explosive lift off of the top of the jump.

Pretty awesome if you ask me. I may or may not jump Sunday but I will get to Kris early and have all of the poles re-flexed on his flex machine on a 14' 1" span, so I can make a relative comparison as to where they fit in against my 14' 1"s. This will provide me an invaluable point of reference as I move to still bigger poles. But consider this; today I was four steps closer at 13' than I was at the meet Saturday yet it was too small. Better energy transfer on to a bigger pole that is matched to my jumping style. My guess is that this will allow me to jump on much bigger poles and hence go higher.

For today, I'm thrilled. My start pole can be used in any conditions. Next time I will try to use it from 8 steps. If I can do that, I can probably make 13' on it from there. That means 13' 6" (4.12m) from 10, 14' (4.27m) from 12 steps and so on back to 16 steps. Enough for today. VERY excited with this breakthrough. Thanks for being here and supporting me!! Bubba

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Vault Tomorrow

The monumental experiment day for me is tomorrow as I had hoped. My partner 90 miles from here said to wait until next Wednesday to get in a meeting with him and another guy so I'm free to jump tomorrow. Nervous but excited to see how the poles feel. I'll probably try to get 2-3 on the first one and then move through them two jumps at a time so I can see what's going on. With any luck I will get through 4-5 poles off of 3-4 run lengths. Can't wait. Better go stretch. Bubba

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tomorrow is the Day .. Or Maybe Wednesday

We've got some cold weather moving in on Thanksgiving, plus the gym will be closed, so I will try and jump Wednesday if I can bail on my business travel this week. There is a possibility that I will have a lunch meeting that I can't get out of Wednesday, and if so then I will jump tomorrow.

Leaving the meet, driving home and walking around Saturday night I felt like I had been beaten up badly. Yesterday I felt pretty good and today I felt better. It would be great to wait for Wednesday but I'll be fine if it's tomorrow. Excited to try the and improved cut 14' 7" (4.45m) pole series.

I lift legs, some bars and machines at the gym so I can isolate areas that have been injured or dinged in the past. I always do this on my jump day so Thursday is out because they will be closed. The other lift days I do at home. Last week I had the space heater on and today I had the fan on and was sweating. I'll always take the sweat.

Have a great day and thanks for being here. Bubba

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Rebirth!! GREAT Pole News!!

I cut off six of my 14' 7" (4.45m) poles by 3.5" (8cm) this morning as planned. They felt more balanced to handle and I was very pleased with the result. The grips did not have to be moved because the pole being shorter requires a slightly lower grip anyway. BTW - cutting the poles is done from the bottom. I also cut the tops so they don't hit the bar, but only cutting the bottom changes the bending properties of the pole. For every inch (2.54cm) the pole is cut, it becomes about 1.1 lbs (.5 kg) weaker, or easier to bend. It also lowers the sailpiece/reinforcement piece, thus making it easier to roll. Again, these were 15' 1" (4.60m) sails and not 14' 7"s so it's a real big jump.

So I get the six poles cut off and I'm thrilled, and then I go into the shed to get the biggest pole to cut it. What do I find but TWO EVEN SMALLER POLES that I forgot we ordered. They were thinner because they were originally made for Kris' high school kid. So I cut them off too and all of my pole problems are solved. I can now switch exclusively to my cut 14' 7" series no matter what the conditions or how I feel. AWESOME!!

It is so frustrating to know that I easily make 13' (3.97m) every day in practice but haven't in the past two meets because I can't adjust to the different feel on the 14' 7"s. Now I start on them and there will be no need to switch lengths at critical spots. I intentionally skipped lifting legs today so that I will be fresh enough to vault on Thursday/Sunday. Yep, Thursday is Thanksgiving, but it is also Thursday, my vault, run and lift day.

Had a great time catching up with the other fossils at the meet yesterday. Met a great guy, Bill, who follows this blog, saw Larry McIntrye and got a visit from USA Track & Field Biomechanist, Pete McGinness. He does velocity and physics studies of vaulters from around the world for USATF besides being a university professor. Pete was in San Antoinio for a conference and came by to jump. He showed me the coolest video on his computer where he taped a camera on the end of his pole and it shows the whole vault from an incredible angle. You see his face and upper body at the take off, and then see him ascend toward the sun. Super cool. Pete was Kris' college coach at SUNY, Cortland.

I'm asked fairly often about all of my metric notations. Well, the rest of the world is metric and I have several friends around the world who were emailing me questions about conversions since they don't understand imperial measures. In California everything was metric, even at the high school level, but Texas it is predominately imperial. In any case, I want to provide the info for the metric world.

That's it. The most fun non-training day I have had in years! SO excited about this new pole situation. Have a great Sunday! Bubba

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Let the Cutting Begin + Today's Video

I won the Age Graded (AG) meet today with an AG mark of 17' 7" (5.37) and a real jump of 12' 6" (3.81m). AGAIN I went to my 14' 7" (4.45m) poles, and again I couldn't time them up at 13' (3.97m) after making 12' 6" easily on the 14' 1" pole.

This same thing happened when I first moved to 14' 1" (4.30m) poles so I cut them all off by 3-4" to make them slightly weaker but easier to roll the arc. I'll do this tomorrow so I can start and finish on these poles 14' 7" poles only at meets from now on. Since they are 15' 1" (4.60m) sailpiece/reinforcement piece, they are just a touch too quick for me. In 20+ jumps I have been able to go at the bar three times on the smallest one and that's unacceptable. So let the cutting begin.

You may remember that I have 9 X 14' 7" poles that I did not spend a cent on. Kris allowed me to trade in 2 for 1 of older poles so I could build this series. My point is that I have nothing to lose and everything to gain by doing this. Some of my very best poles in my career have been cut off. I'm really excited about this. Finally a solution!!

Have great evening and thanks for your support. Bubba

This is the 12' 6"/3.81m jump from 12 steps - pole too small from that run.

Don at 10'. He went on to make 11' (3.35m) for the first time in 18 months due to injuries. He's coming back strong!

This just in from Steve Warr - all videos from Steve - me at 12'/3.66m

Friday, November 19, 2010

Age Graded Meets

Tomorrow is and age graded meet and that is a form of handicapping like a golfer has. It takes the mark you make today and compares that to what it would equate to as if you were an open/elite athlete. Very detailed and complicated formulas are used to calculate how much strength, speed and power are lost as you age. Then those factors are measured against world records and other data to give you a mark today, and then tells you what it would be in your prime.

So for me, a 57 year old man to vault 4m (13' 1 1/2") equates to a 5.63m (18' 5 3/4') vault in my prime. Since my lifetime PR was 5.51m (18' 1"), then I am currently winning the aging game. Here is the link to check out your own marks.

So for tomorrow's meet, the winner will have the highest age graded mark. If 70 year old Don Islet vaults 3.20m (10' 6") he will get 5.69m or 18' 8" and his mark would beat my 5.63m at 4m. Fun change of pace. Have a fun day! Bubba

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Beautiful Day Again

Going out to watch the kids jump. Light stretch later. Have a great day! Bubba

Tomorrow - All About Age Grading

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Changes in the Air

Been working on a business adjunct for the company and it may require a change of scenery to Florida. I've know this is a possibility for a month or so but I should know in a few days. On my last visit I checked with the university in this city and was invited to vault there. We'll see if, when, and whether, it is short term or long term in the coming month. Until then, go with my normal routine and plan.

I was thinking in the garage yesterday that I am such a contradiction on this blog. Or am I? Motivational speaker, Tony Robbins, points out that a plane on the way to Hawaii is off course 99% of the time but makes a constant series of small corrections and safely lands there. This blog allows me to lay out ideas and then see how they play out. Many times the result completely changes my mind about what I was certain would work. But, that's fine as long as the results are there. So thank you for your tolerance.

Speaking of my garage, at my guitar lesson yesterday, my teacher told me that he too lifts in his garage. Obviously the main topic then was not the training, but the change in the weather and what fans and space heaters have worked in the past. Pretty funny.

Have a great day and thanks for hanging with me! Bubba

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Coming Around

Nice long stretch day today. Starting to feel refreshed, and for this early the week of a meet that's a decent sign. I'll do some easy sled/hills when I get home tomorrow from the road, as well as another stretch.

Kris' facility is indoors but not much for heat or air. That said, the weather looks like we will get lucky with a fairly warm day. Our December 5, meet last year was 25 degrees outside and tough to jump in. A little nervous but looking forward to getting underway.

Have a great evening and thanks for following this blog! Bubba

Monday, November 15, 2010

Weird Lift Day

The painters finish up today so again the garage is cluttered with their crap so I can't lift there. I went to the gym and WOW, I guess that Monday is the day that everybody goes to the gym. What a zoo. I did my best but mainly focused on stretching. I do bench/incline/overhead press in a Smith Machine at home to protect my shoulders. The gym has only one and of course it was busy. Free bench and machines just feel weird and that's not something I want to push right now.

Every year I say I'm going to switch from the garage to the gym for those two days but I always end up staying. I have some bars in my backyard that I use those days, plus I like the mental discipline of surviving both the heat and the cold. Actually I hate it when I do it but it reminds me that I can succeed no matter what the conditions. Today is cold and rainy but in a month or two this will feel warm.

The gym may feel too cushy but next year I will in fact move everything to the gym because I will do a lot more Gauntlet (StairMaster with actual stairs) and bike as I will also run intervals three days at the track. I'll also lift heavier with fewer lifts. But for this year I will stay where I am.

I know it sounds strange with a championship year coming up but I am already working on my 2012 program. Why? This next year I will be 58 and near the top of my age group. In 2013 I will be 60 and the youngest. This year and next is to set me up for 2013. Our plan is very good for this year/next but it is really only a checkpoint on the way to 2013. I will enjoy it one day at a time. Have a great day! Bubba

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Didn't Jump

I felt OK warming up but it was cold and windy and not worth the risk. I think I may have if things weren't going well but it's more important to stay healthy. My choice was 14' 7" (4.45m) pole only or work through the smaller ones. I wasn't excited about either, and neither one will happen next Saturday, and I feel like I've done enough of both for right now.

Good running, lifting and stretching. Have a great Sunday!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Jury Is Out On Tomorrow

Well, I'm feeling better having done nothing for the past two days so I'll see if I feel like jumping a little after warm up tomorrow. It's now not supposed to rain until later so if I feel good I may get a few jumps in.

Here's what I need over the next two meets at Kris' place - find out what height and what poles I need to be on to get efficiently to my 14' 7" (4.45m) series. The whole reason we got these was so that I would already be on the by 13' (3.97m). If that's the case I'll be on the first one at 12' 6"-7" (3.80-85m) from 64' (12 steps). If that works I'll be set for the indoor season I think. Of course I'll still need to jump on some bigger 14' 7"s but if I can find a consistent place to get started on them that will help.

Historically I don't get on huge poles at Kris' place for whatever reason, but the two meets after that I do, so I really need to open up and be aggressive with that. Move back to 14 steps and start moving up poles and grips if I need to. Should be fun.

More after tomorrow's practice. Have a great Saturday evening and thanks for being here! Bubba

Friday, November 12, 2010

Phase Break?

I'm skipping today's rotation as workers are back at the house and have stuff scattered all over the garage where I lift. These things seem to happen for a reason and I guess it's because if I was that trashed yesterday, what makes me think I'm significantly better today? Beginning next Saturday I have six meets all two weeks apart so it probably makes sense to skip the rotation and start getting fresh. My gut doesn't like that but unfortunately I DO know better so I will see this as a sign to take the break today. Hope you have a great day and thanks for following me on this journey! Bubba

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Trash Day

Jeez my body felt like trash today for the first time in a real long time. I wasn't going to try and jump at all but it looked like rain was on the horizon and it is supposed to also rain Sunday. Not attempting to vault would leave me without jumping until the meet on the 20th.

Today (Thursdays) is my day to start at 10 steps but I felt so bad I went at 8 on my smallest 14' 1" (4.30m)/17.5. Made 12' (3.66m) on my first jump and 12' 6" (3.81m) on my 2nd and then the rain hit. So three jumps total but they felt like good technical jumps considering how bad I felt. As it turned out the rain only lasted five minutes so Don continued jumping and I got on to my running.

Next I got to the gym and did my first lifts and one set of my bars and walked out the door and went home. Sometimes you just have to call it a day rather than further trashing yourself. Best case I'll have decent weather early so I can get a few more jumps in Sunday.

In retrospect I'm really not surprised at how I felt today considering that I took 11 or 12 high level jumps Sunday AND pushed all of my weights up. I guess my point is that it's OK to walk away on a day like this. I may have 2-3 days like this a year. Not worth the risk or beat down.

Thanks for your support and have a great day! Bubba

PS - 25th vault day since I started back on 6/13.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Travel Day

Nothing to report. Hope to vault before the rain tomorrow morning. Almost 90 degrees today and will be 65 in the AM. Not bad for November. If only it could last .....

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Stretch Day

My body seems to be recovering a little more quickly as I adjust to the higher level of jumping. I think the other training stuff is at about the same level but it's the vaulting that really beats you up. We will see how Thursday feels.

Got some great feedback from yesterday's video. Here's a shot of me over 18' 1" in 1978. Nice pit and steel standards. Have a great day. Bubba

My body seems to be recovering a little more quickly as I adjust to the higher level of jumping. I think the other training stuff is at about the same level but it's the vaulting that really beats you up. We will see how Thursday feels.

Got some great feedback from yesterday's video. Here's a shot of me over 18' 1" in 1978. Nice pit and steel standards. Have a great day. Bubba

Monday, November 8, 2010

Good Lift Day / GREAT Video

I keep just checking off the days. That's another way of saying "another brick in the wall". Nothing special, just did the work. Have a great day! Bubba

Got this today from masters vaulter Carlton Huff - US PV Legends from 1927 - 1976. AWESOME!! The first scene alone will blow you away!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Good But Very Hard Training Day

It was 36 degrees when we got up but 56 as I drove to the track at 9 AM. For the past two days I've occasionally felt a weird little left hamstring twinge when bending over in certain ways. After reading my post about taking a chance and getting away with it, plus Allan Williams' booklet warning of the same, I almost didn't bother to take my gym bag so I would not have the option to vault.

I said to myself, "oh well, I'll just take it out and see how I feel after I warm up". After all, after three straight sessions on the 4.45m (14' 7") poles I was planning to go easy starting on my smallest 4.30m (14' 1"). As I warmed up I got looser but was still really on guard. I decided to just jog in and complete some jumps even if I had to run a stride further to avoid pressing on the runway. Turned out to be a good formula for today.

I made 12' (3.66m) on my first jump from 44' and promptly move back to 54' and up one pole and the bar to 12' 6" (3.81m). The pole I started on is really too small for that run and I have never used it from there. Still, I figured it would make me careful on the runway yet still get some jumps in. After three attempts, one very close, I moved up to the 17.0 and cleared it very easily on my first attempt.

I tried 13' (3.97m) twice on the 17.0 but the pole was too small and I started to finesse, and that's never good. Moved back a stride to 64' and up to the 16.5 where I made 13' on my 2nd attempt. IF I jump on the 16.5 in a meet it is only at 12' and from a stride closer at 54', so that tells you how small it really is for me. But jogging in I could time it up and catch a ride to make 13'. Next I moved to the carbon 15.9, my normal start pole for 12', and on my 2nd attempt made 13' very easily. I toyed with the idea of moving to the 14' 7" pole and/or going to 13' 6" (4.12m) but decided to stop. After all, I have just had 11 high level jumps and wasn't hurting.

This will be my normal practice style now, but I'll hit the bigger poles from where I normally do rather than baby my legs like today. Sakina beat me up pretty good the other day so I figure it's not an injury but a carryover from that. Glad I was careful. Kris and I had talked this week about getting to my longer runs sooner so I could get more high level jumps, so that fit in with today's plan. What's funny is the last time I used the 15.9 in practice was in 2008 and I made 13' 6". I really think that will become common place with this progression.

When I jump well I have practice poles and meet poles. I use the smaller glas poles in practice and the lighter yet quicker return carbons in meets. Looks like that is setting up pretty well. Less chance of getting hurt too when I use smaller poles in practice yet try to technically get more out of them.

The gym was a challenge because I felt strong so I pushed all of my weights up. So a very long, hard and good day of training. If I can be instinctive and string together more sessions like this then I'll feel pretty good about my chance to advance. You've gotta figure at some point in the near future that the 14' 7" poles will be worked into the rotation in practice. When that happens I will be starting to get near where I need to be. Until then I'm a pretender rather than a contender.

Thanks for all of your support. Have a beautiful Sunday! Bubba

Saturday, November 6, 2010

GREAT Training Booklet Here

On the awards stand in Sydney, Australia at the World Masters Games with elite athlete/coach, friend and now author from Great Britain, Allan Williams (left). Click to enlarge.

After many years of seeing Allan's name at the top of international results, I had the honor and pleasure to get to meet and compete with him in Sydney. What a super intelligent and really nice guy, not to mention great vaulter!! Meeting and hanging out with Alan was truly one of the highlights of my trip.

Below is the link he sent me about "Are You Training for Purpose?" This is a must read for all athletes, coaches and parents. You're going to love it. Thanks Allan and can't wait to see you at Worlds in Sacramento next year! Bubba


COLD Off Day

It was 36 this morning so I'm glad we changed the kids to a 10 AM start time. It will get up to 70 today and 74 tomorrow so I'm looking forward to trying to jump tomorrow. Light stretch later today. Have a great day. Bubba

Friday, November 5, 2010

Ouch!! Saw Sakina Today

I haven't been worked over by Ashley or Sakina for quite awhile because I haven't been injured. Ashley was working with pro golfer, Roland Thatcher (who Nancy taught in the first grade) so it was Sakina's turn to destroy me. It amazes me these girls hit hot spots where you had zero pain or limitation, AND it frees up areas that have been nagging for a while.

For example I've had this little glute flare again since Leander. I feel the nerve and muscular catch but never feel it when I run or vault. It takes it about three days to go away and then I get it back when I run or vault. Well today I don't have it. All I can think is that hitting the big pole yesterday jerked the jammed hip back out where it's supposed to be. Whatever - nice to be nerve pain free.

So back to my pain. Sakina is just ripping into my back and the back of my and lower leg when she starts attacking the back of my left shoulder. I hadn't mentioned it but I got a little strain in it a few weeks ago doing bar stuff. So how the feeling of my back and lower leg told her I have a shoulder problem is a mystery to me but she found it and addressed it. Then she blasts into my left IT band (outside of my left leg) and tells me it's to get the catch out of my right hamstring. I didn't tell her that I had a recurrence of that catch nor did she even work it today. But it went away after she finished the outside of the left leg. Again, whatever. No reasonable explanation from me.

Their massage treatments are always painful but especially since I vaulted/ran/lifted legs yesterday, and then arrived within 30 minutes of my upper lift and bars this morning. It just reminds me that I need to make the time to get in there rather than wait until I'm hurt.

Hope you all have a great day. Thanks for being here! Bubba

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Took a Chance ...

... and got away with it.

I just got in from the gym and my car says it is 56 degrees at 10 AM, so what do you think it was at 7:30? Not very nice. I was committed to trying to use only my smallest 14' 7" (4.45m) for one more day but today did not like like a smart day to try it. So I did anyway.

I actually had much better timing with my hands and felt better at the 64' (20m) run, and one time moved the pole really nicely; easily better than I have so far. I put the bar up at 12' (3.66m) as a reference point and bailed out because I wasn't quite in enough. Don said my butt was already a foot over the bar when I bailed. Not wishing to risk it by trying to run harder, I stopped.

I have three pole bags; 1 for 4m (13' 1") poles, 1 for 4.30m (14' 1") poles and 1 for 4.45m (14' 7") poles. Today I mixed in three 14' 1" poles in with three 14' 7" poles so I have the choice to short run jump on small poles, and/or use the smaller ones to warm up on to get to the 14' 7"s. I'm really comfortable with this from now on. For the next three months the weather will be too hit and miss to come out and take the chance I got away with today.

The meet on 11/13 will not have the vault so that gives me an extra week of training before I hit the meet at Kris' place on 11/20. From that point forward I will have six consecutive meets all two weeks a part. That's a real nice and consistent training spread. Too hard to have a meet every week at this level/age. Like I always tell people, masters vaulters train for meets like a boxer gets ready for a fight - peak in 8 weeks.

That's it for today so thank you again for hanging around with me. Always great to hear from you. Thanks so much for your support. It really means the world! Bubba

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Travel Day

We had rain Monday night, part of yesterday and this morning but it will be nice tomorrow. Don and I will jump about 8 AM. I'll talk to Kris today to see if the plan is to start on the 14' 7"s (4.45s) or to ramp up to them in a warm up process.

I'm starting to think that is the best way since I have figured out exactly where it fits in my pole series. I like to clear a bar on a pole before putting it in a rotation. That way I know what you expect when I get to it in my series. I made 12' (3.66m) by a lot last time so I think I will move on to my rotation. Safer on my body then just cranking it up right off the bat. As mentioned yesterday, this is how I will use them in meets anyway.

I would love to just start on 14' 7"s and stay on them and maybe at some point I can. But with my average wait time in a meet between warm up to first competition vault being close to two hours, I think it's risky to go 0-80 in one jump. Therefore I'll ramp up as fast as I can during the meet. I'll work that out with Kris today.

Had my first guitar lesson yesterday and it was great. LOVE the guy, Rusty Cooley -http://www.rustycooley.com/main.html. Super teacher and low key guy who really wants to help you understand and learn. He really likes working with athletes because we value the need for practice. He says many of kids think that "practice" is an evil word, but that we love it. It's really going to be a good match and I feel fortunate he's right in my neighborhood.

Have a great day and thanks for being here. Bubba

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

New Distraction

Got a nice long stretch in this morning. Also put a call into Kris about meet pole progressions. My problem is that I warm up and then wait while the bar goes from about 6' 6" (2m) up to my start height of 12' (3.66m). Sometimes this wait is a couple of hours. I don't think it's a great idea to sit around that long and then start on a huge pole. I think the plan is to start down one or two poles for the first height or two and then move to the 14' 7"s (4.45s). That said, I will only jump on 4.45s until a meet since I am already warmed up at practice.

New Distraction
Today is my first guitar lesson from a real pro, Rusty Cooley. What you probably don't know is that I originally got to California as the production manager and concert soundman for a Texas band who got a contract with Capitol Records. We moved there and then got a deal and traveled the US and Canada and fronted for bands like Eddie Money, Eric Clapton, Rush and The Cars. Everyone in the band was a college graduate and it was their/our two year fling before becoming lawyers, professors, businessmen, etc. Sometimes at club dates I would play rhythm guitar on a few songs just for the fun of it. So I'm picking it up in an effort to learn lead rock guitar just for the heck of it. I also think it will improve my focus and my patience. And it will probably be real fun. As I told Nancy I have no aspirations to play in a band, in public, etc. Just for me at home.

Hope you have a great day!! Bubba

Monday, November 1, 2010

Staying Home This Week

This photo of me clearing 12' 6" (3.81m) was up on the meet website from the Leander meet from 10/10. Click to enlarge.

We had planned to go jump with Kris because Don wanted to check out some bigger poles. After Saturday's session he doesn't feel he's quite ready to hit those poles yet so we will stay home. Of course I would like to see Kris but I'll see him on 11/13 and 11/20 so I will jump at home on Thursday.

I've been getting all of my normal training in for awhile now so I'm feeling in decent shape. I just need to hit bigger poles from longer runs with higher grips. I'll give that a try again Thursday.

I intentionality didn't jump in a meet this outdoor season because I didn't want to risk rushing in for a meet just to get a mark. Our rankings end on August 31, each year or so I thought. I looked this morning and saw that my Leander jump on 10/10 is listed. Indoor listings start on 12/1 so Kris on 12/4 will be the first there.

That's it for today. Hope you have a great day and thanks for being here. Bubba