Saturday, December 31, 2011

Great Day!? Seemed That Way?!

I have a question mark because I'm cautiously optimistic yet really know nothing.  Today I jumped 12' (3.66m) easily twice from my 6 step run - 33'/10m on my biggest 13' 1" (4m) pole.  On any other day that would be very good.  I felt my groin a little but not as much as on Monday.  I won't jump again until next Saturday where I will just attempt to repeat what I did today but try 12' 6" (3.81m) a few times.  If I get past next Saturday I think I will be well.  Or will I?

On the surface I couldn't be more pleased but I know I'm on that line of getting better or being set back.  I felt "safer" today and expect to next Saturday as well.  That's why I won't bump the level and go to 14' 1" poles next weekend.

SO, currently the plan for Reno is to take a big 13' 1" pole to warm up on, move through my first 14' 1" pole and get to my big one by 12' ish, then get to my three 14' 7"s (4.45m) for the higher heights.  I'm hoping that will be a gentle enough ramp up not to knock me out after warm up.  If you remember, at Kris' in November I felt good in warm up but my leg started flaring during the break.  Hoping to go easy enough at Reno that I can push it in the meet.  To do that I think I need to start on small poles, at a low height (11' 6" / 3.51m) and work my way through.  I guess if I can get past the warm up and restart without pain, I can open it up some on real poles. 

OF COURSE I will not know any of this until Reno.  Since I jump Friday night, three weeks from now I will be done.  Hence all of the question marks.  It's critical that I don't push my jumping in practice if I want to be good at Reno.  I think I will stay on the 13' 1"s the entire way until I leave.  Have a great day and Happy New Year.  Have fun and be safe!!  Bubba

Today I salute my buddy Dean "The Machine" Gregory with Chickenfoot's, "Turning Left".  Hard to beat this "supergroup led by Sammy Hagar and guitar virtuoso, Joe Satriani.  Michael Anthony is a good bass player but I never realized what a good drummer Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers) is. -

Friday, December 30, 2011

Change of Plans

I was supposed to vault this morning but Bobby wasn't feeling well and I don't have my key from him yet. The girls are jumping tomorrow at 9 AM but my Smith Machine is supposed to be delivered and assembled between 9 - 11.  Somehow I need to get at least one vault day in even if it means waiting until Monday. 

As you can see, as of now I have no idea what the plan is as I am depending on others to fill me in.  Once I get to the next practice and get my key this won't happen.  That said, is this another way to protect me from me?  I felt my groin a little at the very end on Monday so maybe this is a cryptic delay to make sure I'm the next step ahead and nearing the end of rehab.  Whatever!!  I'll go with the flow and keep that train rolling.  Have a great day and thanks for your support.  Bubba

Aerosmith's "Train Kept A Rolling"  -  This is from 1974 with Little Richard making the intro.  Japanese subtitles.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Patience & Luck

I feel a little better today so I hope that means I will be able to jump a little tomorrow.  AND, not to be greedy (well yes - greedy), but if I can jump tomorrow I will try again Monday before I head out of town on business for three days.  Why?  Three weeks from today I am sitting in Reno.  It's kind of important to know IF I can jump and what level that may be at.  My gut feeling is that I will get past these two low level vault days and be able to go fairly aggressive at Reno.  We will see.

Today on a hunch I went to Sports Authority to see if the opening in front of the Smith Machine was wide enough to park my car into.  Right next to the set up I wanted was one with all of the same features but about 4" shorter.  Yes, this means it fits in the original spot I wanted to put the other one.  Bought it and it will be delivered next week.  I will still go to the gym to lift legs and bars but my "Day 2" will now be at home as it was a couple of years ago.  That day in the gym is just too crowded, cramped for space and a constant wait to lift.

Tonight I have my new jump mate Dan Cassidy coming over. Looking forward to it.  Have a great day and thanks for being here.  Bubba

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tough Day!!

And I thought I had a tough day!

We have a joke among us that you know you are progressing well in rehab when a) you can train hard enough to get out of breath, b) you can train hard enough to hurt something else.  The same applies to getting back in shape. The gym SUCKED today because I did.  Last week was OK because I was ramping back up.  Now I'm back to where I'm supposed to be and I'm slammed by just how hard that is.  I felt light headed and sick to my stomach; all classic signs of lack of conditioning.  Don't worry, I'll fix it, but mama told me there would be days like this.  I don't mind feeling this way if I'm knocking on the door to the next level, but HATE it when I'm just getting back to where I was.  C'MON MAN!!  Have a great day and thanks for being here.  Bubba

Got through training today with Bouncing Souls, "Night on Earth" -

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Adaptability - My World

I used to say that no matter where you put me in the world that I could not only survive but that I would find a way to thrive.  In 2001 I got to do just that and it sucked the life out of me.  Yes I accomplished it but it was much harder than I thought it would be and most of the change was senseless just to prove I could.  To who?  I sure don't know.  I was a dumbass!!  I guess that conditioned me to be a little more careful in some areas so I've become a bit of a weakling.

Example - just a week ago I was bitching about the gym.  A few days ago I decided it is my only option because the weight equipment won't clear my garage door and I'm not parking a Mercedes convertible on the driveway so my weights fit in the garage. I lectured myself about being a wuss and reminded me that many places we go to vault have less than optimal facilities or conditions yet we must adapt.  With this mindset I went to the gym and asked a simple question, "What is most important for me to get done here today?"  LEGS!!  So I started there and worked through and had a great workout.

Next I go to the track an Dana Hills High School.  A great artificial turf with no mud and a little padding.  Not only do they have steep bleachers but they have two ramped up walkways with different angles that I can work into a hill run.  There are 60 single steps on the bleachers and 30 double spaced steps.  I'm not strong enough or conditioned to run those doubles well yet.  THAT thrills me because I know when I can I will be ready to jump high.

My point today is that I preach adaptability and being open to change and learning because I truly believe I am.  Yet I whined like a brat that all of my training components were different.  Once I embraced the goodness of my situation I found that everything I will do here will require me to be a better athlete.  I LOVE THAT!

SO, today's song is Ten Years After, "I'd Love to Change the World", even if it's just my world.  I made a big step toward that today.  Thanks for being here!  Bubba

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Ray of Hope?!

Today I went out to Saddleback College to meet my longtime friend Simon Arkell.  Simon was on the Australian Olympic Team in 1992 and 1996 with a best vault of 19' 1/4" (5.80m).  There were about eight kids out including Tory Pena, who went to UCLA and competes for Ireland in Worlds and the next Olympic Games.  Also a high school senior girl who has jumped 12' 10" (3.91m), a guy out of school trying to get to 18' (5.50m), etc. 

I started while they were warming up, just HOPING not to hurt myself.  From 4 steps I made 9', 10' an 11' on first jumps so I'm way ahead of my last day. Went to 6 steps for 12' and blew through three poles including my largest 13' 1" (4m) pole.  Good jumps but the poles were mush.  I felt my leg a tiny bit and stopped.  If I can get through Friday unhurt I will feel like I'm going to be OK.  For now I am cautiously optimistic.

I don't expect anyone to feel sorry for me but I got sunburned today, December 26.  Tough winter that feels like summer.  Even though it was 43 this morning it will be 76 today.  Not bad.  Speaking of summer, here is an idiot defying the power of the waves at The Wedge in Balboa where I used to bodysurf.  Have a great day!  Bubba

Here's what it should look like -

Sunday, December 25, 2011


OK, I haven't even had Christmas dinner yet and I feel as fat as Santa.  I won't fight it today but will be glad to get back to reality training and eating tomorrow.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!  Bubba

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Making Adjustments

I have decided that I will work around what I have at the gym.  This requires me to go back to basics and probably delete many of the secondary or support exercises.  As much as I want the home gym it won't fit in my garage where I have room; on the side but under the garage door.  I'm not parking my car outside, and I don't want it set up outside, so no options are left.  I'm OK with this as it has probably happened for a reason.  Today's lift was a nice step in that direction.  I'll figure it out over the next few sessions.  That said, no lat pull or decline press?!  ONE leg extension and two funky curl machines?  I do secondary exercises for muscular endurance as well to strengthen the weak links.  Could be I get a small gym set for home and do my big lifts at the gym.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that after one week here I feel very fortunate to be living in Southern California.  It will be 75 degrees today and this is the view I have as I drive over the bluff at Dana Point into town each day.  Business (the reason I'm here) is great and I feel that even though my start at training has been slow, I will adapt and love the program I end up with.  Most importantly I feel fortunate to have all of you in my life, whether directly or indirectly.  Merry Christmas and/or happy holidays.  Thanks so much for your support.  Bubba

David Bowie - Changes -

Friday, December 23, 2011

Crossroads Again

I went to the gym earlier today to see if it was any better and it is not.  Too many people standing and sitting on or around the equipment or only one / none piece/s of popular equipment.  I went to buy a great home gym Smith Machine/Power Rack combo and it was too tall for my garage.  May get it any way and put it on the back deck.

Went to Dana Hills high school and ran 6 X 100m on their artificial turf field.  They have nice bleachers and a long ramp I could run up like a hill.  I have a contact for their coach so I'll see what the access will be like when school starts.

I'm meeting Simon Arkell to try and vault on Monday morning at 9.  Hope they have a good running situation.  He said he would get me a key so I could keep my poles there.

SO, optimistic but still some loose ends.  I'm ramping back up to training so it's not like I'm missing anything.  I am lifting and running as I learn my way around my options.  Thanks for being here.  I'll be glad when I get settled into a real routine.  Have a great evening!  Bubba

Thursday, December 22, 2011

From Police to Fire

For 45 years I have trained with my lifelong friend, Don Curry.  Don retired last year as a lieutenant in the Houston Police Department.  Today I met a great guy, Dan Cassidy, a career fireman.  The plan is to juggle schedules and vault together.  He will be 56 on Saturday and has the same passion we all share.

I met Dan today at Tesoro High School near Mission Viejo.  Beautiful place built in 2001, the year I left Southern California.  We had Santa Ana winds so that was a big headwind.  It really didn't matter to me since I brought the pole bag with my bigger poles.  Shows you how long it's been since I've jumped.  Bad wind, wrong pole bag?  Is that a message?  I think so.  I did a few easy swing ups on my smallest pole and called it a day.  I had some flares but nothing different than my first day back last time so I'm not concerned.

Gotta run but here's a song that's been in my head by Rush, "Something for Nothing".  Have a great day and thanks for being here!  Bubba

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sunsets & Rainbows

Just as every sunset and snowflake are different, so is every rainbow.  Driving over Cajon Pass near San Diego, Don shot this rainbow just as we came out of a snowstorm.  He said he hopes this is a sign of good things to come.  Today he asked me how an important business meeting went.  When I told him it went fantastic and that the big deal is 100% go he reminded me of the rainbow photo.  Thanks for the good wishes Don!  Don is the best friend I have ever had.  We have vaulted together for 45 years.  I won't really miss him because I know he will come visit and I still will go to Texas.  I couldn't imagine that any other way.

The truth is that I am happy by nature though I live a somewhat tortured existence.  I'm very upbeat and optimistic but I'm always pushing the pace to get better, do better or be better.  Of course rarely do those things match up but that doesn't stop my desire. Some people tell me I always look too serious.  It's funny because I like this edge.  It drives me.  Every time I have backed off and let things go at their own pace they have failed or been delayed.  Strange huh?

In short I am very happy and feel very blessed.  Thank you all for being here and your interest and support!  Bubba

"What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong -

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Return to the Sky Thursday!!

“When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” Leonardo Di Vinci

Since before I returned back to Southern California, I have been in contact with people and places that I may vault.  Holidays being what they are, the opportunities are limited.  Enter masters vaulter, Dan Cassidy, who has been kind enough to allow me to jump with his kids at a local high school on Thursday.  I will of course take it super easy but I can't wait to get out there and fart around a little.  I'll only jump from 4 steps or maybe 6 and if I make 11' (3.35m) I will be thrilled.  The ONLY goal is not to get hurt yet shake out the cobwebs.

Work is hectic as I knew it would be.  Getting back into training is hard when you're getting into a new routine.  I don't like this transition period but it's needed.  As I have always said, "Impatience means that you have no confidence in your plan.  So take your time and do it right".  Amen!

Next Wednesday I am getting together with former Hungarian National Champ, Pete Kovacs and his wife and child for lunch.  I first met Pete when he came to one of our physical therapy clinics with a hamstring injury.  Since he was 6' 4" in high school and had a hammy ding, I thought WOW!!  Turned out that in a race against a pregnant lady he would come in 3rd - SLOW!!  He spent the next four years with me at UC Irvine and proved that hard work and dedication do in fact trump God given talent.  His mental toughness was also outstanding as he won the Hungarian national meet in the rain as an unranked vaulter.  One of my favorite people in the world.

The weather has been great and each sunset is different.  Today I got my first tank of gas and drove home from my meetings in Beverly Hills.  I have said I won't feel like I live here again until I drive home from work and get gas.  Simple tests of reality.  Vaulting, training and working on a regular schedule will be like heaven.  Can't wait.

Hope you have a great day and thank you for following my journey!  Bubba
Today's selection is "My Kind of Girl" by Chickenfoot -

Monday, December 19, 2011

Lucky Day - Going Home!!

It's hard to believe that I am already settling in to my new life of work and play in Southern California.  I'm here for business and the lifestyle but my training keeps me sane and driven.  I'm excited to get to vault soon, but today my focus is orientation.  Fortunately I'm in a period where I have a little leeway with the holidays.

I see that I now have 777 posts on this blog so this must be my lucky day.  My first Monday back in California found me in the gym figuring out what equipment was were, etc.  Of course even though it is 24 Hour Fitness things aren't identical.  Actually the high P-bar I use to swing up on is better because it is a little higher and sticks out further so I can extend past vertical.  It's more crowded but that may just be because school is out and I was late. Like everything here there is an ocean view which is pretty cool.  It felt weird eating BBQ at a place with a huge view too.  Oh well.

I was born and raised in Texas but I was destined for California as a young kid.  I loved the Beach Boys, surfing, beachwear, the beach scene, etc.  I drew surfboards and surfers on waves on my notebook in 7th grade, etc. All of the the really good and cool vaulters seemed to come from there as well.  After a particularly hot summer in Texas in 1978 I visited on Thursday - Sunday in October, went home Monday and got my stuff and moved out on Wednesday.  I love Texas but returning to California, where I lived for 24 years, seems like I'm going home.  For that I offer Alvin Lee and Ten Years After from Woodstock in 1969 -

1969 was a big year in the world for me as a young vaulter.  Besides sneaking in to see Woodstock I got my first 13' (3.97m) vault.  Little did I know at that time that on January 2, 2010, at 57 years old that I would vault 13' 1" (3.99m) to give me at least one 13' vault in SIX decades.  Yep, got at least one in the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s, and 10's.  I'm grateful and somewhat amazed.  Here is the video of that first 2010 vault in Belton, Texas -

Though I can't be there in person for the next Belton meet, I will be there in spirit.  Founder and meet promoter Jack Chapman sent me my number. Notice at the bottom that it has a quote I gave him that I always tell my kids.  ALL participants will have this on their number.  I can't think of a nicer honor.  Great guy and great event -  Thank you sir!!  Sorry but I don't know how to turn the photo as it looks normal when viewed separately.

I'm extremely excited for this new adventure. Thank you for being here with me!!  Bubba

Sunday, December 18, 2011

And So It Begins!

Don thought it was cool I had a view from the bath and shower.  No neighbors directly below.  Click to enlarge.

I'm pretty settled in now so that means I'm back to training and watching my diet.  So tough on these long drives and moving.  My body feels beat up even though I have rested from training.  I'm heavy because of no exercise for nearly two weeks and not caring about what I eat.  All good and/or bad things must end so here we go.  Tomorrow I will go back to the gym.  It is also a 24 Hour Fitness so I'm thinking it will be very similar to what I'm used to. Vaulting? Simon is out of town until 1/3 and I am out from 1/3 - 1/5, so the first day I could jump is Saturday 1/7.  I'm fine with that. It will probably take that long to feel like an athlete again.  Stay tuned as I am back on track here.  Have a great evening!  Bubba

Friday, December 16, 2011

I'm HERE!!!

Things went pretty well and as expected.  LOTS of driving and very little sleep.  Don kicked butt and the dogs were great.  Could not have gone smoother.  Got out to Sonora after the move out - 7.5 hours.  Yesterday we got to Yuma - 16 hours including two meals and dog stops.  Today wee made the final four hours.  Dropped the car trailer off so we can have the truck unloaded in the AM.  I take Don to the airport at 4:30 AM.  I'm supposed to get Internet tomorrow also.  More soon.  Have a great night!  Bubba

PS - Oh yeah - the truck wasn't big enough so another future trip is needed.  So I guess THAT could have gone smoother.  Oil well

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Stress Free? Partly? Maybe?

This morning I saw my sportsmed surgeon, Dr. Scott Rand, fully expecting a stress fracture on the outside of my right foot.  It just feels like bones are separating in an unnatural way followed by pain.  I tried to pass if off as a tendinitis caused by turning my foot outside to push off when my left knee was flared before the National Senior Games this summer.  He agreed it could be that but wanted a series of X-Rays to rule out a stress fracture.  Of course I told him it doesn't hurt to run and vault so I could rest it after Reno on January 20.  His response, "if you have a stress fracture you will have a new screw in it before then".  Result?  NO STRESS FRACTURE!!  SO, BIG ASS CORTISONE INJECTION that hurt so bad!!  For those of you who have not had these injections, the more it hurts the better the result.  So YEAH!!

Tomorrow I pick up Don at 6 AM and the loaders arrive at 7 to fill the truck.  Hopefully we are on the road by noon or 1 PM and will drive about 8 hours.  The plan / hope for Thursday is to get up at 4 AM and make it to Yuma, Arizona in about 12-13 hours.  That means we wake up Friday and leave at 6 and should be to the new house by 10 AM.  I'm telling you this now because I really doubt we will hit all of these targets.  How far off I don't know but considering I have done this move by myself driving straight through for 25 hours, I think this should be less taxing.

Have a great day and thank you for following this journey.  Bubba
Free - "Alright Now" -

Monday, December 12, 2011

Moving SOON!

Me with Don Curry at the awards ceremony at the National Senior Games in 2007.
Don won the gold and I was 2nd with the silver.

I pick up the truck tomorrow, get the poles from the school, have the movers load the truck on Wednesday morning, attach the car trailer and hit the road by 1 PM.  My lifelong friend and training partner, Don Curry has been kind enough to drive the truck where I can drive the SUV with three dogs.  Who got the better deal?  Always appreciate Don.  We have shared so much in our lives and he is the only one I could count on to visit me when I lived in California before.

Two weeks and two days after my meet at Kris' and I still feel that spot on my leg.  That bugs me but I won't even jog for another week so I'm sure it will be good to go. Hopefully I'll get the tendon on the outside of my foot shot with cortisone tomorrow so that requires a break anyway.  Worse case it is a stress fracture that I will deal with after Reno.  It doesn't hurt to run or lift so how bad can it be?  If I slide my foot to the outside or roll to the outside it hurts; otherwise not?  Seems to be related to a combination of sideways rotation and over pronation.  I'll see what Dr. Rand says.  I'm prepared for anything.  Just get me past Reno healthy.

I'll try to keep posting form the road but have patience.  Thanks for being here!  Bubba

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Feeling Like a Slug

It's not as bad as I thought it would be but it sucks not to train.  Trying to stay busy on packing and work, but it's still not fun.  Hope you are having a great day!  Bubba

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Tough Day

This is how it feels to WANT to train and know you need to adhere to the strict phase break of zero training.  I almost broke it this morning by going up to run just before Don vaults.  But it's cold and Don can't go until a time that I am not available so that huge temptation is gone.  Hate it but need it.  Have a great day!  Bubba

As a reminder of Southern California; Jeff Beck & Jan Hammer - Freeway Jam

Friday, December 9, 2011

Searching for Balance

Life in and of itself is a juggling act.  Training at a high level is a bigger one.  Do too much and you're hurt.  Do too little and you go backward.  The older you get the finer the line and the more important the balance.

Today I had to drive three hours to a lunch meeting and then drive back.  I knew I wouldn't train.  This is exactly why I didn't train yesterday; to get two days of NOTHING!!!  I'll do some running tomorrow, take Sunday off and hit the gym Monday.  Tuesday I get my foot X-Rayed and shot with cortisone.  Wednesday I leave for California, arrive Friday and move in on Saturday.  Not a lot of training going on but I think I need this full break to jump start my overall healing.  So as much as I hate it, this is what I need.  Thanks so much for being here.  Bubba

Johnny Cash classic, "I Walk the Line" -

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Day Off?

My schedule conspired against my ability to choose to take a day off in such a way, I had to book a phone call at a time where I couldn't go to the gym.  That call was to my sportsmed superstar, Scott Rand, MD to see if I need an injection for this hot spot on the outside of my foot or whether it is a stress fracture.  You notice I have never mentioned that here though it has bothered me off and on for a couple of years.  I think when we get older we keep more stuff to ourselves.  At this point I need to know where I stand on this foot - pun intended.  It doesn't hurt to do so many things (like vault) but how it hurts on other things worries me.  Have a great day!  Bubba

Deep Purple's, "Burn" -

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Free Falling - Been in That Jungle Before

One wrong step?
While I was in California things kept stacking up for me to get done before I leave town on our move / drive a week from today.  As those things added up I saw only a few places I could workout.  Strangely, that's OK with me.  Here's the story that says it is OK to do NOTHING for 10 days, if I choose that.

In 2009 at nationals in Oshkosh, I got a light groin strain almost exactly like I have now.  It was a tiny ding so I kept screwing around with it.  The result?  Four weeks later at the National Senior Games at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California I was forced to watch.  HATE THAT!!  I didn't dress, take my poles, NOTHING!!  Forced vacation because I was stupid.  I MADE myself do NOTHING on that 10 trip.  Why?  Eight weeks from my return I would be vaulting in Sydney, Australia in the World Masters Games.  Like Stanford, the trip was paid for and I was going.  Unlike Palo Alto I was not going to risk watching.  I knew that ONE wrong step and I was back to square one or worse.  I learned that lesson and won the biggest meet of my life.

SO, I'll take this time off and let my leg heal.  After Stanford and that 10 rest I made really fast progress.  I need to make myself do the same.  Why?  Besides the obvious, being sick of not jumping because of my own stupidity, in eight weeks I have the National Pole Vault Summit in Reno.  I have no intention of watching there.  Lessons learned.  Have a great evening and thanks for being here.  Bubba

Jungle Boogie -

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

California Dreamin'

Every time it rains there is snow in the local mountains where skiing is 1.5 hours away.

Tonight is my last night in California in a hotel as a visitor as a week from tomorrow I will be living here.  I've really enjoyed my time back in Texas but I am so sick of traveling back and forth to California it will be nice to be in one place.  Not to mention that the weather is more consistent for training. 

One thing many don't know is the diversity of nearby attractions.  From my home in Dana Point I am half way between Los Angeles and San Diego - 1:15 hours away.  I'm 1.5 hours from the desert in Palm Springs, the mountains, Catalina Island, Hollywood, etc.  I'm 30 minutes from a large outdoor amphitheatre with great acts like we get in The Woodlands.  I'm 45 minutes from Disneyland and Anaheim stadium where they actually play major league baseball instead of the minor league team the Astros have.  Of course we don't have a football team but that just means we get to see the best games.  Sure there is the crowds, traffic, cost of living, etc.  But I lived here with it just fine for 24 years.  Something about walking out into your living room and seeing the Pacific Ocean that melts all of that other stuff away.

I will definitely miss my family and friends in Texas but from a work and business opportunity perspective, I need to be back in California.  As always, I plan t make the best of it.  Have a great day and thanks for your support!  California Dreamin' -  Bubba

Monday, December 5, 2011

New Brand of Humor

I was coming back from a lunch meeting today in Beverly Hills and I said to one of the two people I was with, "that guy who just went into your office looks just like Russell Brand".  The wife and office manager said, "that IS Russell Brand".  He does his thing and I do mine so I come out to catch the elevator and Russell is waiting by it alone.  Suspiciously next to him is the mailman's cart full of mail.  I say in my best British accent, "I know you're not the mailman". He says, "oh yes; today I am playing the role of the mailman".  We both laugh and rode the elevator down together, just the two of us.  Kind of cool.  Have a great day!  Bubba

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Can't Win Them All?

Two Winners - American Recordholder Jeff Hartwig & Starstruck Boy

This was going to be a different type of post today and I will get to it after this paragraph.  I went to the gym early this morning so it wouldn't be crowded and I would have plenty of time.  That all worked well but two sets into it I felt so beat up and run down that I went home.  As you know I don't do that often but sometimes the best choice is to quit.  I've had a very solid three weeks on training so to feel horrible today did not need to be met with me being stubborn.  It just felt like the right thing to do.  I know that we make 100% of our progress during rest and my body is clearly stating that it needs rest.  Can't win them all!

My original story was about "what is winning"?  On a hot August day in 2005 I was sitting on a bus riding with other masters athletes to a luau in Honolulu.  We had just finished our national meet.  I had been out for three years with two Achilles surgeries and other life oddities.  I had miraculously gotten 3rd to win the bronze medal and I was THRILLED.  Next to me on the bus was a girl who was a distance runner.  She said she was ready to celebrate because she had a breakthrough performance.  In her six years of going to national meets she had finally won her first ribbon.  Ribbons are given at outdoor nationals to those who finish 4th - 6th places.  So neither of us "won" or did we?  I think we did!

We tend to take somethings for granted.  My first national masters meet was in Boston in 1997 and I won.  I didn't win again until 2009.  Also in 1997 I got my first world championship medal, a bronze, in South Africa.  I did not get another one until 2009 when I won the World Masters Games in Australia.  I didn't think I would win every year but "C'MON MAN"!!!

Recently I have been in touch with a guy returning to vaulting who feel that 12' should be pretty easy.  He has already "won" because he is back with a passion!  For him 12' may very well be easily attained.  For me, starting back in 1989 I felt I would jump 14' within a week.  It finally happened in 1997.

Pole vaulters are a strange bunch of people.  Not only do we help each other in meets and practice and become great friends, we really don't care if anyone watches us, or even if there are meets.  Like surfers, as long as we can jump we're happy.  I think that means we CAN win them all.  Have a great day and thanks for being here.  Bubba

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Lessons Learned

My friend and late great orthopedic surgeon, Glenn Almquist, used to say if your training is hurting you but your event is not, then you need to rethink how valuable that training component might be.  He followed with, "If your event is hurting you then you need to reassess your training.  You need to step it up, attack your weak areas, or both."

My buddy and former Baltimore Colts receiver, Brian DeRoo told me if you're hurt you need to hammer that area so it doesn't happen again.  So when I had recurring back and hamstring problems he put me on straight legged deadlifts, lunges, hang cleans, etc.

Both are great advice and exactly what I am doing right now.  Hitting my weak areas harder than they have ever been hit.  In the case of my leg I feel like I might have actually woke it up and possibly made it a bit worse this week in practice.  But today's running was considerably better so I'm probably dead on with my approach.

Of course there is a limit to any "theory".  A crazy walk on vaulter we had at UC Irvine (Matt) was at the track cautiously kicking the metal bars of the bleachers with his shins.  UCI is a high academic school so I had to know what he was doing. "I'm getting into kickboxing and I'm trying to toughen up my shins".  Uh, NO!!  That won't work.

I'm beat up now from training, which is perfect since I'm out of town early next week for business.  But I really like the adjustments that I have made by adding exercises and cleaning up my running program.  I probably could have done some low level jumping today so that's a great sign.  It's even a better sign that I was smart enough not to do it.  Lessons learned!  In any case, I'll stay after it, Dead or Alive -  Have a great day and thanks for being here!  Bubba

Friday, December 2, 2011

Another Contemplation Day

Suddenly I'm getting stronger and my weights lifted are going up.  No explanation other than consistency of effort.  Pleased to have been home long enough to gain that momentum.  Off to California M-W and then move there the following Wednesday.  I REALLY have to get the most out of my training or lose ground.

I saw that Mike Sherman was fired as the Texas A&M football coach.  That wasn't surprising but the underlying story was this;
  • they lost 6 games this year
  • they were ahead in all 6
  • they were ahead by double digits in 5 of the 6
Total lack of focus, attention to detail and commitment are the only "excuses".  THAT is on the coach.  I have always liked him as a coach but he's too much of a "float down the river with few waves" type of guy as he has aged / matured.  It just reminds me I can never grow up.  I will continue as "The Trooper" - Have a great day!  Bubba

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Stand Tall

I was listening to John Cougar Mellencamp's, "You Have to Stand for Something (or fall for anything)" during training and I realized that in my present limited physical condition (AGAIN) that I had to stand tall to the challenge of self motivation.  Sometimes that can be VERY hard.  I guess it is OK to occasionally feel like a wimp as long as I don't truly believe it or act like it.  The result was a tough but enjoyable kick butt gym session.  I'm thankful and grateful I did this today.  Here's to tomorrow good Lord willing.  All the best!  Bubba

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

More Running - OR ELSE!!!

If you have speed and power on the runway you can vault.  Every time I go to big meets the fastest guys are the best; that simple.  So in my caution with my lingering leg ding, I'm going to just blast the heck out of my running, lifting and bars.  I have 8.5 weeks to Reno.  At four days per week of running and sprint drills over 50m hill / sleds I WILL get faster and stronger on the runway.  I will add big pole plant and take off drills this Saturday on two of the days. 

So here's the plan - Train my butt off until I have a full week of training at 90%+ effort without feeling anything in my leg.  I don't care if that takes 2, 4, 6 weeks before that happens, I won't vault until then.  I just can't keep messing around with this.  If my first day to jump is Reno I'm fine with that.  The only given is that I will go to Reno healthy and on my regular 14' 7" (4.45m) meet poles.

As much as this sucks, it's just another brick in the wall of adding to my training base.  Rule #1 of rehab is to come back a better athlete than when you got hurt.  Eight weeks should be enough to set me up for a great year.  Have a great day and thanks for being here.  Tom Petty's, "Running Down a Dream" -  I WILL be running, and dreaming.  Bubba

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Oh Well?!

I went out to do my running and planned on jumping but I was too tender in the upper area behind my right leg to risk it.  When I originally felt a twinge it was where it is today. When I went out to jump next it felt inside like a traditional groin injury.  Now the groin part is totally gone but the back of the upper leg is back.  WTF?!  I'll try again to jump on Saturday but if I can't do it safely I'm prepared to not touch a pole until Reno on January 20.  I MUST get this well.  It's such a small thing I can easily jump 12' (3.66m) but certainly not 13'' (3.97m)+.

My running system is going better than ever right now so if I add big pole drills to it I think I can actually be better by Reno without jumping.  Of course that isn't optimum but I MUST be well for Reno and I'm running out of time for further setbacks. 

Now I run 10 X hill/sleds on my vault day - 6 before and 4 after. The next day I do hill / sleds between my sprint drills with ankle weights.  I'm getting four very quality running days in which is why I'm blowing through every pole I touch when I can jump.  I'm heavier by about 4-5 lbs (2 kg) but I'm not fat so I guess that is from the extra lifting.

Long story short, I have a minimal ding that I need to get well.  In the interim I will keep blasting my body as I only have seven weeks until Reno.  I can make a ton of progress in seven weeks but it won't matter if I keep irritating something that should already be well. Until then I will just keep Taking Care of Business -   Thanks for your support and have a great day!  Bubba

Monday, November 28, 2011

If You Want ....

The hardest training days to me are those where you get back into the gym after you have backed off for a competition, and you're hit square between the eyes with your two biggest and hardest days.  For me that was yesterday and today.  As much as I HATE that, I LOVE that!  It forces me to re-engage in a process that I know works so well.  It is also what separates the great from the best.  At the highest levels everyone works hard and smart, so it comes down to consistent mental strength and focus. 

Today was one of those days and I thoroughly enjoyed how much it SUCKED!!  I'm a little stronger in body, mind and spirit because of it.  The song that got me through the worst of today's training was appropriately AC/DC's, "If You Want Blood, You've Got It" -  Have a great day!  Bubba

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Odds & Ends

I needed to dump the poles this morning so I was in the SUV rather than the car; hence I arrive at the gym with nothing I needed.  No music, no wrist straps, no gloves, belt, no brain.  That said, I knew the fastest measure of whether I got hurt yesterday, or was it another step forward, would be revealed during squats and lunges.  Did those with no big issues as well as a few bar sets.  I'll do some easy sprint drills / sleds this afternoon to loosen up but Tuesday's vault session will tell me if I am in fact "well".  My guess is that I am very close to being 100%.

Poles - I have three bags of poles so I mix and match which ones I think I need for meets and practices.  For this meet I had a tiny, a medium and my biggest 13' 1" (4m) poles in my bag.  I also had 3 X 14' 1" (4.30m) poles of which I used one.  I also had my smallest 14' 7" (4.45m) just in case.  Today I pulled out the 4m poles and added two 14' 7"s for the next meet.  It was 46 degrees this morning and windy so I have four bags opened including Don's and I am adjusting poles for future practices and meets as well as putting other poles back in the bags they belong in.  I HATE the cold, even though most don't consider 46 to be cold.  ;-)

I hope to jump Tuesday / Saturday this week with regular training around that.  I go to LA a week from Monday and then have my last Texas meet that Saturday.  So today's song is Pantera's, "Cowboys From Hell" -  Another rocking song that keeps me going when my mind and body are trying to make me stop.  Have a great Sunday and thanks for the support!  Bubba

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Success? Kind Of!?

Click to enlarge

Warm up at Kris' meet went good.  I decided to start from 4 steps as planned rather than jack my leg awake and that seemed to work.  My pit started at 4' (1.2m?) with about 20 jumpers and I started at 9' 6" (2.90m) from 22' to avoid having to wait for the next group starting higher.  I felt good during warm up but as I sat around my leg it started getting stiff and sore. 

On my run through I felt it and almost stopped.  Jumped 9' 6" and 10' (3.05m) as planned from 4 steps.  Passed 10' 6" (3.20m) and went back to 6 steps (33') for 11' (3.35m).  I felt my leg a little more but decided to try another jump.  It's hard to explain because I felt it but I didn't think I was in imminent danger of dinging it so I cautiously creeped forward hoping for the best.  So far I have made all jumps on my first attempt. 

At 11' 6" (3.51m) I moved to eight steps (43') and up to my biggest 4m pole and made it easy, though feeling my leg a little more.  At a crossroads I decided to move up to my first 14' 1" (4.30m) pole for 12' (3.66m) and roll the dice on my leg.  Though the pole was way too small I made 12' easy and stopped.  For 12' 6" I would have had to go to spikes and up to a bigger pole and I just didn't think it was worth the risk.  The good news is that ALL poles felt tiny today so my training is paying off.

The meet was "Age Graded" so I won with an age adjusted jump of 17' 2".  I truly think I will be able to lift my legs off tomorrow and jump Tuesday in practice.  If I can then I'm well and what I felt today was merely stretching out a muscle that hasn't been used that way in awhile.  Coincidentally, the pole I ended on today was the one I hurt it on several weeks ago.  Hoping for the best but should have an idea in the gym tomorrow.  Thanks for being here and have a great night!  Bubba

Issac Hayes sings about "Two Cool Guys", Beavis and Butthead -

Tomorrow's defiance of failure song for workout is White Zombie, "More Human Than Human" -

Friday, November 25, 2011

Ho Hum

Nice easy stretch day.  The gym was a zoo again which is fine for what little I had planned.  I feel OK but nothing great. I'll shake my legs out a little later at the track when I go to load the poles.

Tomorrow I will pick up Don around 6 AM and head the 3:15 drive to Kris.  Don't have my total game plan in place but I'm thinking it over.  I MAY take a tiny pole and a couple of mi 4m poles so I don't have to start on the 14' 1" (4.30m) poles after sitting around.  I could do a jump at 10' (3.05) from 4 steps on the 4m/16.3, move to 6 steps and the 14.7 for 11' (3.35m), back to 8 for 11' 6" (3.51m) on my first 4.30m and so on.  That sounds like a fun plan.  Low stress and let's me warm up in the meet. Have a great day!  Bubba

Metallica - No Remorse -  My guitar lesson for the day.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving + False Start

Got to the grocery store for a few final items at 6:45 AM and then to the gym near 8 AM.  The gym was a ZOO!!  Good thing I did today's lift yesterday because today was a total "False Start".  I did my stretching and bars but will do tomorrow's lift tomorrow.

Hope you have a great Thanksgiving.  Thanks so much for tuning in and supporting my mission.  Bubba

I noticed a hurricane off the coast of Baja California. When that happens big bodysurfing waves come to the Wedge in Newport Beach.  Neat videos!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pre-Turkey Day

Had my normal 1 X 10 lift today that I do the last rotation before a meet.  Actually it's not normal because I did Thursday's lift on Wednesday to get an extra day of rest.  I'll do Friday's tomorrow morning.  Today I didn't do the leg lifts as I need to freshen up a bit.  Decent stretch though and tomorrow I will stretch even more.  Somewhat beat up but not run down.

I entered Kris' meet and I'm hoping my body will let me step up a half level to get to 8 steps and the 14' 1" (4.30m) poles.  I'll start on a couple of big 13' 1"s (4m) in warm up so I don't jack myself right at the start.  Four days off of my legs should make a world of difference on my ability to feel sharp as well as heal the final part of the groin ding.  That will be five weeks so that should be sufficient.  I'm really not worried about it.

This meet is called "Age is Just a Number" which means that it is "age graded" or "handicapped" by age.  The formulas are very complicated but basically they take the world and Olympic records and calculate your present performance at your present age and equate it to what you would have jumped in your prime.  For example, if I jumped 4.10m (13' 5 1/4") at 58 like I did last year in Reno, the age graded mark is 5.86m or 19' 3".  Considering that my lifetime best is 18' 1" (5.51m) I'm presently beating age.  That said, if I jumped that Saturday, a young kid would have to jump 19' 4" to beat me.  Last year I won at 12' 6" (3.81m) which was 17' 7" (5.36m).  Different but fun.  Here is a link to a good calculator -

Have a great evening and thanks for being here!!  Bubba

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Here Comes the Sun- Tuesday Post #2

FINALLY the sun peeked out and the breeze got a little cooler producing a nice baby tailwind.  After my business call I went out to meet Don for a mini vault session.  I knew I would feel like dog crap because I have been training so hard but I needed to know if my groin was actually getting better.  The goal was to hope to get at least where I got on Saturday before I stopped with a little pain.

WELL, I actually did get a little further and jumped 12' (3.66m) on two poles from 33' (10m) or 6 steps.  I DID feel like TOTAL crap but I jogged down and jumped easily on one pole bigger than Saturday.  The good news is that I stopped because I was tired and not because I was hurt.  SO, "Here Comes the Sun" for me to be able to get back on track with vault sessions.

I will go to Kris' Sunday, start on a big 4m pole from 8 steps at 11' 6" (3.51m) and then move on to my 14' 1" (4.30m) poles.  Should be fun.  Of course I will be cautious but at least I'm getting to jump.  Have a great evening.  Bubba


It has been raining off and on HARD since about 2 AM so I'm waiting to see about vaulting.  Just after I downloaded the photo above and got a link to the famous, "Singing in the Rain" video - the sun came out - and then promptly went away.

Ideally I want to go out and try to jump after my 1 PM business call.  I don't care that it's wet or that the box is full of water, I just don't want it raining.  If I get out I will post a "Late add" here.  If not, this is it for the day so thanks for watching.  Bubba

Monday, November 21, 2011

Another Muggy Monday

It's November 21, and 84 degrees today.  I would much rather have heat than cold, but "C'MON MAN!!" 

Another good hard day in the gym.  I'll be interested to see how I feel at practice tomorrow.  Can I vault?  No idea.  I hope I can do what I did Saturday or maybe even a little more.  If I can then I'm just about well.  If not ... then I will back off trying to jump and keep blasting away at the training.

Have a great day and thanks for being here.  Bubba

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday - Post #2

I went and did my hill / sled / sprint drills late this afternoon after a very hard lift this morning.  I start with a 50m hill / sled and then alternated for seven different sprint drills for 16 total reps.  I only felt my groin at all on one of them and that was pretty slight.  I think it's more sore from that inside leg stretch you get when you first do squats again.  In any case, I'll try to jump again Tuesday and if I can progress or even duplicate what IO was able to do yesterday I think I will go to Kris' meet on Saturday.  Have a great evening!  Bubba

The Jury is Out on My Leg

Can't tell from this morning's lifting if I flared my groin yesterday or not, but I should know pretty quickly when I go to do my running / hill / sleds / sprint drills this afternoon.

Lifting went good. I've found that I need to substitute types of squats and lunges depending on what equipment or racks are available. I got in early this morning to use the Smith machine and some meathead was loitering there. You know the type - yells with every lift, big weights for a 3" range of motion, constantly drinking energy drinks and takes five minutes between lifts. Totally useless type of training. Fortunately there are very few of these at our gym. Mostly nice and normal people. The point is there better be a Plan B when these idiots are camping on equipment.

Felt really good and strong again. I feel like I’m gaining some momentum finally. Got nine weeks to Reno so it’s important to keep grinding away while minimizing the risk of injury. Starting to feel optimistic that I will be ready.

Got a Facebook message from my friend, Paul Snyder in Maine, asking if I want to do a pole vault clinic with him this summer. Paul is a great guy and does a lot for the kids in his area. I love going to Maine too so I’ll see what I can do.
Have a great Sunday and thanks for being here. Bubba

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Much Better But Not Quite Well

I went out to vault this morning and on my very first two step take off I knew I was going to have to watch myself.  Nothing grabbed or twinged but I felt like I was working against something that was still healing.  At four steps I almost stopped after my first take off but tried again.  Made 10' (3.05m), 10' 6" (3.20m) and 11' (3.35m) all on first jumps from 22' (6.4m).  Took a big risk and moved to six steps - 33' (10m) and made 12' (3.66m) on the first jump and stopped.  I don't think I hurt it again but if not, I got it right to the edge of its weakness.  I will find out when I lift and run sleds again tomorrow but I "think" I'm OK.

So I'm pleased unless the last jump turns out to be a ding again.  I really doubt it but I will remain cautious.  I will not jump at Kris' meet next Saturday for that reason - finally making progress so don't risk it.

Physically I'm in a good place and the type and amount of bars I have been doing has really cleaned up my swing to vertical.  I'm very pleased with everything for where I am right now; as long as I still feel healthy tomorrow.  If not, then I am, AGAIN, the ultimate DUMBASS!!  Have a great day!  Bubba

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thank You

If you don't have dreams then you have nothing to come true!!

After a month I'm settled into my final hard training complete workout plan and I LOVE it.  Since I gave away my garage gym to Don I have switched up a lot of things and I'm really pleased that I am settled in for a long grind.  As much as I bitch about my schedule and sporadic travel, when I get to California that will settle down and my training will feel like a welcome home present.

I hate missing days where I post here but sometimes on the road I have bad connections or just flat and no time or energy.  I'll try and do better as I go.  But to you all, thank you so much for being here for me.  It's a great refuge and comfort to know that you are here.  I love going to meets and seeing friends and meeting new ones who tell me they read this blog.  Couldn't tell it by the 18 followers but I feel you in spirit.  At least once a meet, and once a month by email someone tells me that this blog was their motivation to start vaulting again.  That brings me great joy and makes me want to be better for you.  So thank you!!

A special tribute to you - Joe Cocker in his famous Woodstock performance - "A Little Help From My Friends" -  Bubba

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Good Strong Day at the Gym

Feels good to be engaged in squats, lunges and cleans again.  It hass been a long time since they flared that hip back issue.  I'll remain careful but it's nice to be back to real lifts.  I felt good but I could see I needed that inside groin stretch.  If jumping goes good on any level Saturday I'll be ready for Kris' meet.  If not I will skip it and train through. Two months from Friday is Reno.  Gotta keep grinding.  Have a great day and thanks for following this blog!  Bubba

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hill / Sleds = Megadeth

Hill / Sleds? - Not Quite the Same as I Do!

I had great training on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and then went on the road.  I did better on the eating front but when I went out to run sleds today I felt flat with no range of motion.  I guess that is not so surprising but at least I don't feel hurt.  Back to the gym tomorrow - can't wait.

Saturday I'll jump from six steps like nothing ever happened and I expect it to be fine.  There will be a meet at Kris' on the following Saturday and as of now I plan to jump there from eight steps for fun if nothing else.

I'm starting to feel optimistic that I am catching up with my run stuff.  I think I was skipping some of the stretching because I was running out of time in the gym.  Now I will just go earlier.

Today I got through hill / sleds into a big headwind with Megadeth's, "Skin of my Teeth" -

Have a great day and thanks for your support!  Bubba

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Got back in town about 30 minutes ago.  SO sick of this travel but that ends for the most part when I get to California.  My body feels good and bounced back well from the very hard Saturday and Sunday.  Of curse I still have my local travel tomorrow but can't wait to hit the gym again Thursday.  Have a great night!!  Bubba

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Smacked It Good - Got Over 20 million lbs. Lifted!!

My plan to cautiously attack and smack my weaknesses went better than expected.  Though I was fatigued from yesterday, my groin was a non-factor.  I even forced it by doing deep squats and lunges.  The issue I felt was a lower ab / internal muscles that snap to alert when you haven't sprinted or had quick turnover in awhile.  I felt it some today but easily worked through it.  Possibly it could also be caused by over doing my lower abs on bars.  I have been doing the same exercises four days a week so I think I will split them up to avoid becoming a problem.  I got over 20  illion lbs. lifted since I started on 1/1/2005.  "If it is worth doing it is worth recording" - Sergey Bubka.

Lifting today I went right in and did squats and lunges to assess the groin issue. Felt nothing except that little soreness in the lower abs which goes away in a few days after your first sprinting. I also lifted half of tomorrow's lift since I will be traveling.  Today rather than do sprint drills with ankle weights in between my 50m hill/sleds I just ran 10 X 50m hill/sleds with a walk back.  I'm out of shape and breath.  Good to know.  I'll ONLY do the 10 X 50m hills / sleds every other day until I get into shape.

Today is the meet outside of Austin that I skipped.  Gary went and I'm sure the conditions will be good again.  Right now I'm pretty sure that next Saturday I will be able to have a regular vault day and be able to go to the meets on 11/26 and 12/10.  When I woke up this morning I was pretty sure I would miss both of these meets.  So what has changed?  NOTHING! I will keep going directly after my weaknesses and not allow myself to pamper and rest my way out of shape.  Have a great Sunday and thanks for being here!  Bubba

PS - Our training for progress without injury IS a tightrope.  Tribute to SRV -

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I'm Baaaaack!! Sort Of!

I got a new Android phone yesterday which required a Google account which became my "default" without my choice and therefore I could not get in to post on my own blog yesterday.  Sounds like a bad country song.  Today I was told how to get around this so I'm back!

This morning I was PISSED!!  I did my running and felt pretty good but still had a little weakness and deficit in my groin.  I'm out of town Monday/Tuesday so I figured if I don't jump until next Saturday then that will be four total weeks since Texas vs. Louisiana when I flared my groin again.  Makes perfect sense, right?  Yep!  NO!!

After all of my running and drills, I grabbed a tiny pole and took a few little jumps with no issue.  Grabbed a little bigger one, the one I normally start on, and it was OK but a little stiff because I wasn't trying to run hard.  Moved back to six steps did one take off and felt my groin AGAIN!!  I don't know if I'm hurt again or not but I'm pissed that this could happen after three weeks of great rehab.  The truth is I won't know until I go out next Saturday and try again.  If it is hurt I will know right away.  If it's not, I will be careful and know I have dodged a bullet.

All of my "groin self tests" for pain show negative but I'm still hurting when I make certain moves.  So what do I do now.  I BEAT THE HELL OUT OF IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I friend once told me that if it's important you do it every day and if you have a weak spot you go after it every day.  I will go run 10 X 50m hill/sleds tomorrow.  If I can only make 1% effort then next time I will hope for 2%, but NO MORE DAMN REST!!!!!!!!!!!  There is nothing more worthless or frustrating when you are hurt than rest.  Work that thing until it's better, no matter what the level needs to be.  I will also run Wednesday when I get back, Friday, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday until I am SO SICK of it, and then I will continue to do it.  I WILL get better AND be stronger when I return.  I don't care if I don't vault until Reno, I will be in tip top shape and ready to jump high.  I'm finished coddling my lazy ass!!

Speaking of Reno, I've been waiting to get my plane ticket because I didn't know if I was flying out of Houston or Southern California.  The problem was either place was like $328 or $342 so I kept watching.  I know that rates have been lower on Thursdays so I decided to take a look out of Orange County/John Wayne airport (as close to my new house as IAH) - $118 and I snatched that mutha up in a second. 

Momentum is changing.  I've been knocked down and now I getting back up and I'm pissed at my weak ass self.  This torture will be a defiant blast.  Have a great night and thanks for being here.  Bubba

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Very Important Message Liz Davies

I was approached a few weeks ago by a lady who asked if she could be a guest poster to this blog about the benfits of exercise for cancer.  It took me less than 2 seconds to say yes.  I'm not a hater but I HATE cancer.  It is so prevalent and discriminates against no one.  So thank you Liz for your contribution!!  Also check it our under my profile on Facebook - Bubba Sparks

Benefits of Exercise for Cancer Patients
There are many ways that cancer and its treatment are debilitating. However, scientists are increasingly finding that one simple thing can improve the quality of life for cancer patients: exercise. Doctors are prescribing exercise to their cancer patients, even during the course of treatment. The following is a guide to all the benefits that exercise has to offer cancer patients.

Improved Energy:
Many of the treatments for cancer, such as chemotherapy and radiation, have a tendency to leave patients feeling lethargic, even exhausted. The disease itself can have the same effect. Scientists have found that frequent exercise leads to the same energy boosting benefits in cancer sufferers that it does in healthy individuals. The guidelines suggest that 150 minutes of activity a week improves the energy level of patients in all phases of their treatment process.

Better Body Image and Body Composition:
Cancer and its treatments can have horrible effects on a person’s body. Some people will gain weight and some people can waste away. Chemotherapy leads to hair loss. These effects can leave people feeling horrible about the way they look. All of these people can benefit from the body strengthening effects of exercise. This is especially important for people with wasting cancers, such as gastrointestinal cancer, that have a detrimental impact on lean muscle mass. Strength training exercises will benefit most cancer patients, shaping their body into something they will feel good about.

Emotional Relief:
The stress, both physical and emotional, of cancer and its treatment is a major reason that cancer patients have high levels of depression. One of the best ways to fight both stress and depression is through physical activity. Cancer patients who regularly participate in an exercise program are much more likely to avoid the major depression that often occurs in cancer victims. There are also many support groups for most types of cancer, including mesothelioma support groups.

Prevention of Reoccurrence:
As well as the benefits it offers during the course of cancer treatment, exercise has also been proven to reduce the chances of reoccurrence of cancer in the future. The benefits are found not only when individuals are done with treatment. Exercise during the course of treatment has been shown to lessen the odds that the cancer will come back.

Recommendations for Exercise:
The American Cancer Society recommends that cancer patients should engage in 150 minutes of physical activity a week. This should be a good balance of both strength training and aerobic activity. Swimming, walking and hiking are all great activities for patients to try. The American Cancer Society offers a certification for physical trainers that want to work with cancer patients. Patients can contact them to find a personal trainer in their area who will know exactly how to tailor a workout regime to a cancer patient’s needs.

Liz Davies is a recent college graduate and aspiring writer especially interested in health and wellness. She became particularly interested in ways cancer patients can cope with the side-effects of their treatment after her mother became an oncology nurse for lung cancer.

Helful Links

high levels of depression
mesothelioma support groups
The American Cancer Society

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Nothing to Report

Working and eating too much.  Oh well.  Will resume hard training on Tuesday.  Thanks for the support!  Bubba

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Different Type of Workout

I seem to always leave on business on Monday and that lift cycle is Sunday/Monday so I'm constantly missing 1/2 of my lift rotation.  Today I decided to do 1/2 of Sunday's training and 1/2 of Monday's today.  I was able to lift heavy since there were less sets, so I think this is my future direction for shortened training due to travel.  I'm excited to try and get out and jump a little next Saturday.  Have a great day!  Bubba

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Day of Caution

I went out to run this morning and was met by my lifelong friend and training partner, Don Curry.  Don was going to do some low level jumping for the first time since being sidelined with a foot issue that is now well.  After my sleds and sprint drills I was feeling pretty good and came really close to picking up a pole and taking a few easy jumps myself.  The problem is that I know that even though I probably would not get hurt it was still not a good idea.  I need to be able to jump with rhythm and without a lot of caution.  Ironically, being cautious today will keep me from having to do so as much next Saturday when I start vaulting again.

Even though my groin felt even better than Tuesday, my body overall was a little beaten down as it always is before I go out of town.  I try to ramp up slowly to the point that I don't think my body could tolerate one more training day and THEN leave a few days. 

I'm feeling really good about where I am right now but I have to remain smart and dsiciplined.  Tomorrow will be the easiest day to skip. I have breakfast with my dad at 7:45, hit the gym around 9 and then have a business call at 11.  If I'm 15 minutes late I can talk myself out of training but since I will miss Monday - Wednesday anyway I really MUST make tomorrow count.  Of course I will report back my success or miserable wuss out failure tomorrow.  Enjoy your Saturday and thanks for being here.  Bubba

Today's kick my ass in gear when I wanted to quit song was, "For Whom the Bell Tolls" by Metallica -

Friday, November 4, 2011

New Favorable Meet Schedule

My coach, Kris Allison sent out not only his schedule, but added the other meets he knew about.  His first indoor meet was on 12/3 but now there will one on 11/26 and 12/10!!  These are perfect for me and where I am on my groin rehab, travel and moving.  The meet in Austin on 11/13 was too early but the 26th will be perfect.  Then his next one is now on 12/10 and I leave to move on 12/14.  OUTSTANDING!!

Tomorrow I will get another hard running/sled/sprint drills session in but will make no attempt to jump.  It will be two weeks since I got my little flare at the Texas vs. Louisiana meet.  I feel like I could jump but I'm going to be out of town Monday through Wednesday anyway so why not just train and then rest it and go low level the following Saturday.  I think at that point I should be near 100%.

On one hand I can't wait to get settled in California but on the other I want to get the most out of this training grind while I am here as well.  Hopefully I jump from eight steps at the 11/26 meet on my 14' 1" (4.30m) poles and then from 10 steps on 12/10 on my normal meet poles, the 14' 7"s (4.45m).  Four weeks after I arrive in California is Reno so I had better be beating the heck out of myself now or I will be behind.  As you know, you will hear about it here first.  Thanks for your support!  Bubba

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Moving On

YEP - Many times it feels like this ...
My body is turning the corner so the gym now becomes a challenge rather than merely surviving.  I pick my strategic spots to step up and I can feel the momentum building.  That showing up every day thing really works.  I remember my first strength test when I started back in 2005 I was a quivering mess as I bench pressed 95 lb. (44 kg).  Depending on the day I can do 2-4 X 225 lbs. (102 kg).  I noticed on my spreadsheet this morning that I am at 19,915,997 lbs. lifted since January 1, 2005.  AMAZING that sometime next week or the next I will cross over 20 million pounds lifted.

I keep showing up and don't take an off season because it is too dang hard to start over AND make up what I lost.  It's easier to just drop the weights way down and do the work and let the spirit move you when it's time to raise the weights.  I also need it daily for my stress management.  Whatever gets you out there, get out there.  Have a great day and thanks for being here.  Bubba

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Travel Day - Plans Unfolding

LATE ADD - Stormbringer by Deep Purple.  This was our hardcore workout song where we would say, "Bring on the storm"! -

My body feels pretty decent.  My groin thing is a lot better but probably still too soon to mess with it.  It's not really a groin in the traditional sense as it is more underneath but that is the general area.  I go to LA next Monday - Wednesday so if I wait until the following Saturday to vault.  That will be three full weeks of rest from jumping. That will give me about three weeks of jumping before Kris' meet on 12/3 and six weeks total rehab.  Good enough.
My plans are working out good for California.  I've made contact with the local high school coach through a friend and he was very nice and inviting.  Yes I can have access to their track, bleachers and vault areas.  He will get me a key to the stadium when I get to town.  I'll be vaulting with two time Olympian and long time friend, Simon Arkell and he too has offered me a key. I typically train alone so I can take my time and jump when I'm ready instead of waiting for a long line of kids.  I'm sure there will be a great blend of that in both places.  Maybe I'm on the runway 30 minutes before the kids show up.  By the time they are on the runaway I'm done.

We're leaving on the drive around lunch on 12/14 and will arrive on the afternoon of 12/16, and move in the morning of 12/17.  I will only miss one rotation of training.  AMAZING! 

Have a great day and thanks for your support!  Bubba

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Could I Really Be an Athlete Again?

During today's running I felt like I might actually be becoming an athlete again.  I felt pretty fast, strong, etc.  I try to just crank away as hard as I can for as long as I can so that when I have to go away for a few days on business that I NEED a break.  Next Monday when I go to California, I will NEED a break.  But for today, I feel like I might be an athlete again.

Don't confuse "athlete" with pole vaulter.  I assure you it will take at least another month before I start to feel like a pole vaulter.  I'm hoping to get a decent mark on 12/3 and then come into Reno on 1/20 strong.  Until then I'll just keep cranking along.  In honor of my latest trend in my workouts, here is Deep Purple's "Burn" -  Enjoy and have a great day!  Bubba

Monday, October 31, 2011

More Progress

I'm well into my 2nd lift day being in the gym now and not the garage. As a result I'm starting to fairly aggressively move weights up.  Certainly tougher but manageable.  Some things I probably bumped up too much and a few were too little. I will continue to refine as I go.

My lifelong friend and training partner, Don Curry got back from his cruise today and said he would be happy to help make the drive to California. He's one of my only friends who visited out there fairly often.  Looking forward to the trip now and especially glad he will visit often.  Since he is retired he will have no excuse.  ;-).

Have a great day and thanks for your support!  Bubba

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Conservative Plan

I have decided I'm not going to jump at the meet on 11/13.  Instead I will keep cranking away on my fitness, stretching and rehab of my groin injury.  The groin is SO much better but it's just not worth the risk of flaring it up that quickly.  It is very small in terms of limitations and I can't turn that into something big for no reason.  I'll jump at Kris' indoor meet on 12/3 and that will be it until I get to California, where they have no indoor meets because the weather is always/usually nice.

Overall I'm starting to feel like an athlete again which is all the more reason to stay the course.  I think at Kris' I'll start at eight steps on my 14' 1" (4.30m) poles and then move back to 10 steps on my 14' 7" (4.45m) regular meet poles.

I have put in a request for all comer dates in Southern California as they used to have those nearly every weekend after New Years.  It would be nice to get one more meet in after Kris before Reno on January 20.  Right now my plan is to end my season at Reno and get ready for 2013. I can't begin to describe the hell I have in store for the year before Worlds and me turning 60.

Brazil or bust - In 2013 I had hoped to vault at World Masters Athletics (Track & Field) in Brazil, World Masters Games (Olympics) in Italy, and the National Senior Games in Cleveland.  Some how this group of rocket scientists got together and decided that all meets should overlap at some point during their 7-10 run so that you literally can only go to one.  For me that's Brazil.  My best at WMA was 3rd in 1997 in South Africa, while I have won the WMG in Sydney in 2009.

Have a great day and thanks for being here.  Bubba

PS - Workout was good but really tough this morning until Megadeth's "Peace Sells" came on and got me through -

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Running - House

Click to enlarge - Move in - 12/17

Great sprint drills and sled this morning.  I decided not to try and vault but it is progressing very well as I felt powerful and pretty quick and fast.  Fun Halloween Vault too.  Here are a few photos of the place we finally got.  We move in on 12/17.  Have a great day!  Bubba

Friday, October 28, 2011


First, the house deal is done and we move in on December 17.  FINALLY!!

My leg seems to have suddenly taken a turn for the better as I have barely noticed it the past couple of days.  Kind of surprising since it really was sore after my last running on Tuesday.  I might do a few low level take offs tomorrow before the Halloween Vault to see how it feels.

Taking the mystery out of training.  I got an email from a friend, Carl Huff, who has been working his butt off with great success to be a better vaulter.  We are in the same age group so he has been trying some of the stuff I do.  I decided that this morning's conversation might be a good blog topic for today so here we go.  Have a great day!  Bubba
You have to do a program like you could do it for the rest of your life. If you want your body to "trust you", you have to give it a reason to do so. Here is where that comes from. I worked several years ago with a cardiologist and some of the USA’s best cyclists. The “theory” was that if you could keep them just on the edge, or “friendly” side of being out of breath, that their bodies would learn to “trust” them and “let them do more”.
When a cyclist or runner hits oxygen debt, they have to back off briefly and then come back up to speed. The next round back up they get out of breath sooner, and sooner, and sooner, until they “explode” or “bonk” and have little or no useful oxygen capacity. By doing it our way, that wall of pain and oxygen debt started moving our further, and further, thus allowing more work with no failures. Our “goal” was that when you hit the top of a hill you needed to be able to accelerate. If you could not then you went too hard. The result was that cyclists started making more progress over the first 3-4 months than they had in the past 2-3 years.

Me being a dummy pole vaulter, decided to try the same approach to lifting, jumping, training intensity. Go super easy and slowly build it up over time until my body “trusted” me not to hurt it. Worked and works like a charm.

NOW – I’m dinged (not injured) often because my body makes no testosterone, not because I over do it. In fact I’ve had tons of training sessions where I never go over 30-50% yet my body and abilities seem to continue to improve. Hope this helps. Hang in there! You’re doing great!! Bubba