Friday, December 24, 2010

Mini Rant!! My Health Problem

At the awards introduction at my last meet, a masters vaulter asked me something about drug testing. Then he asked me if they drug tested in Sydney. Then he asked if I was drug tested in Sydney. It didn't really bother me at the time because it wasn't like an attack but more of a question about competing in big meets. As the questions went along I understood he was basically accusing me of cheating. You will read below how preposterous that is. I was a little baffled by this but I explained the best I could;
  • As reported on my blog, the World Masters Games in Sydney required your consent to drug test as a condition of entry. All big meets do and everyone knows it. I've been in a ton of big meets and have been drug tested four times. Not a big deal.
  • When you picked up your package in Sydney you signed again saying that you agreed to be drug tested.
  • When you checked in at the venue you signed yet another form saying you agreed to be tested.
  • As you left the field you passed through drug testing where they pulled random athletes who had earned medals. I was not selected but certainly would be happy to be tested.
After I explained this I said that I more consider myself to be "desire tested". When he asked what that meant I told him that starting on January 1, 2005, I had been training 5-7 days, including 4-6 lifting days, each and every week with no off season because I wanted to be a better pole vaulter. This morning I just crossed over 17 million pounds lifted in that time frame, almost six years. I told him that even that was no guarantee I would get better but it certainly would make me look like I work out. So maybe the drug testing question is really a compliment? I doubt it. The funny thing is when I saw him I thought how good he looked; like he had really been working out. Never crossed my mind HE might be on drugs, plus I really don't care, I just take care of me.

Here's the irony and only a very few people (Nancy, Kris, Don & Dean) know this before I'm telling you. I have a low testosterone problem. The acceptable range for a total testosterone reading is 500-800 and the average for a 55 year old is 550. In 2008 I was tested at 175 and today I am at 135. So if I DON'T train they way I do, I can't even stay where I am. If I had a 550 I'd probably look like a bodybuilder and jump 15' (4.60m) but I don't and can't. That's life.

I'm currently seeking a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) to supplement my testosterone to put me on a level playing field with everyone else because right now I am severely handicapped. I doubt it will be approved. A 41 year old on the PGA tour just had a suspension overturned and he was given a TUE for a similar issue. If it is approved we hope to get me to 350, still far below average, but better than where I am now. My physician team says that it is unlikely I could get above 350 and as time goes by it will continue to decrease no matter what we do. My point is that even if I was approved I can't test positive because I can't even get close to normal levels with or without help.

So think about that when you hear that I'm grinding away training. Don't think for a second that in the back of my mind I'm not being told that no matter what I do will eventually do me no good as I will be stopped by the lack of ability to grow or maintain muscle mass. I can't possibly express to you how demoralizing and hard that is to get past as I attempt to put forth my best effort each day.

I thought long and hard about bringing this up but I thought this is a good time to get it out there. The deck is truly stacked against me and getting worse, but I continue to do the best I can. Hey, it's severe male menopause; not death. I have no idea how my mind allows me to train like I do because from time to time it flat out kills my spirit. Have a great day and thanks for being here! Bubba

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