Saturday, April 30, 2011

Turning the Corner

Had a very good day running this morning and feel like I've turned the corner on the little dings.  Like I said once before, when you protect areas during healing they grow tight and you begin to feel pains that really aren't there (you hope), which I call phantom pains.  The other part is that you feel like the Tin Man above, EVERYTHING hurts until you start moving around a little. 

Today I made the executive decision to do my first day back with sprint drills in my ankle weights.  I was going to wait a week but figured that the resistance might actually help me rehab faster as long as I was careful.  Not only did it work out great, I felt like a week or so from now when I can really start to open up with speed and power that I will have another faster gear. 

This is the best I have felt since Albuquerque. ALL of the cardio and low level 100ms and 50ms are really paying off and I still have just over seven weeks before National Senior Games. Next week I'll add the big pole drills and then the following week maybe do some 2, 4,and 6 step take offs.  OPTIMISM with reason is a nice change of feeling.  Have a wonderful day and thanks for being here.  Bubba

Friday, April 29, 2011

COW!!! Simply Irresistible!!

My good friend, Dean "The Machine" sent me an email this week saying he would like to see less farm animals and more vaulting on my blog.  Of course he's kidding but here's the deal.  I'm easily amused so it cracked me up when I read that the Chik-Fil-A cow came into one of their restaurants and this one little girl started pointing and screaming at the top of her lungs "COW!!!!!!".  So I've been looking for funny cow photos since then. Since I can't really top this one I may stop for a bit here.  In honor of the late Robert Palmer, I found it "Simply Irresistible".

Another great workout as my body continues to respond to the higher intensity.  I'm a long way from where I'm trying to get to but I'm certainly in striking distance.  Tomorrow I will add sprint drills and maybe ankle weights and some pole drills to my routine.  I'll play it by ear but it feels like my body is ready and wants to do some more. Of course I will be careful.  have a great day!  Bubba

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Phantom Pains

An interesting phenomenon is going on with me right now - phantom pains.  I feel a little stinging behind my left knee where I got the ding at Nationals, yet when I put my hand back there, run, do stairs with ankle weights, or even do hamstring curls, I feel nothing.  I also noticed this after my Achilles surgeries - dull pain or aches that were really no longer there.  My gut response is GIVE ME A BREAK - I get enough dings without having fake ones.  That said, I'll take the phantom ones over the real ones any day.

Felt pretty spectacular at points in the gym today.  The cardio component is really coming around as I am able to push myself harder as it gets harder rather than back off to recover.  I feel very good about where I am and where I'm going.  As strange as this sounds, I'm in no rush to return to the runway.  It's more important that my body and fitness are very high before I do.  Sure I will mess around a little and start my big pole drills again Saturday but I don't have the need to actually vault right now.  Patience Grasshoppa.

Have a great day and thanks for your support!  Bubba

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

On the Road Again

It's Wednesday so I must be on the road again.  My body feels pretty good after yesterday's running but I have to make sure I leave time to stretch afterwards.  My only off day of the week, I'll try and enjoy it.  Have a great day!  Bubba

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Grass running day went well with 10 X 100m and 10 X 50m hill/sled.  I'm almost well enough to get out of breath and not quite well enough that I had to reel in my efforts here and there.  No pain or issues but I'm watching it very closely.  Will try to add some sprint drills on Saturday.  If that works I'll add the heavy pole back in the following Saturday.

My plan to vault right now is very loose.  Simply stated, I won't attempt to vault until I can do my full drill and running series without protecting myself.  If that is 2,4,7 or evn 8 weeks that's fine.  I'll wait.  Impatience is a sign of no confidence in your plan.  I LOVE my plan, but only when my body is ready.  Have a great day and thanks for being here.  Bubba

Monday, April 25, 2011

Back to Basics

At the beginning of a long ramp up phase I really try to go back to basics as far as form, breathing, attention to detail etc.  There are few things harder that what these people above are doing.  I'm not going that far back to basics right now but I will when the season ends.  If their weight was 45 lbs (20 kg) like an Olympic bar it would be much easier than the PVC bar as the weight helps them balance.

Loved my session today.  My body felt great and my shoulder thing was nearly nonexistent.  I feel fit and ready to gain momentum a little at a time. 

Entries closed last night to the World Masters Championships and we ended up with 28 vaulters, with seven over 13' (3.95m).  It's going to be a tough one.  I'll just focus on me and my plan so I can really enjoy the event when I arrive.  That said, it's not quite May 1, and I'm already thinking details about July 13.  That's how it's done and I enjoy that process. 

All the best and have a great day.  Thank you for being here!  Bubba

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Day Off - Happy Easter!!

I'm taking the day off as my final eight weeks of training to the National Senior Games starts tomorrow.  I feel really good but I have a minor shoulder issue from a bar exercise I discontinued and want to give it an extra few days. I do different bar exercises each day but I don't do anything that makes me feel this area until Thursday if I miss today.  Good call.

Tonight at midnight Pacific time the entries will close to the World Masters Championships in Sacramento in July.  I think as of yesterday there were 23 or 24 in my group and I expect maybe we will end up with 27-28 ish?  So far all of the usual suspects are in except my buddy Kirk Bentz, who I know will get entered. We emailed yesterday about him coming to Houston for the NSG.  Kirk - as a friend, don't do it! Your son is getting married in San Francisco on the 18th and we jump on the 20th.  With only 10 guys in the field and Worlds just three weeks after, don't risk getting hurt.  If it wasn't here I wouldn't jump.  You have a great chance at a medal at the BIG meet.

Have a great Easter everyone!!  Bubba

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Crawl, Walk, Run, Fly - Big Meet Entries

As far as my running progress, today was a good day though I still consider myself in the crawl phase. I ran 10 X 100m plus 10 X 50m hill/sleds at a very low level.  I stayed well below what I thought I could do yet felt no pain.  I had a lot of pent up speed and power that I did not try to use.  The bottom line is I am out of time for mistakes so I will be super careful.  I think after this week I will have turned the corner and can run pretty freely.  Now is not the time to be impatient.  Have a great weekend!  Bubba

Entries for the National Senior Games in my age group.

Kirk Michael Bentz CALIFORNIA
Charlie C Bing TEXAS
Gary Lee Scheffe TEXAS
Gerrod Smith NEW YORK
Michael Lewis Sayers NEW YORK


David Angel United States of America 3.20
Henry Barela United States of America pending
Charlie Bing United States of America 3.20 verified
Charles Brown United States of America 4.21m
Bob Crites United States of America 12-9.00 verified
Reiner Falk-Nagel Germany 3.20 verified
Carlo Andrea Giorgetti Denmark 3.20 verified
Eirikur Kristjan Gissurarson Iceland 4.00
Mark Herman United States of America 11-6.00
Michael Hochderffer United States of America 3.05 verified
Sid Hoff United States of America 11-0.00
Gary Hunter United States of America verified
Russell Jacquet-Acea United States of America 3.10
Sergey Klimov Kazakhstan 3.00m
Ernő Makó Hungary 3.75 verified
Kelly Meares United States of America 3.20
Philip Milliman United States of America 10-4.00 verified
Bob Olsen United States of America NM
Randal Putnam United States of America
Tony Salmon Canada 3.20 verified
Douglas Sparks United States of America 4.10 verified
Michael Spratt France 3.30

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Road Begins Here

With the National Senior Games only eight weeks from Monday, the final stretch all comes down to what I do for this time period.  Pretty harsh considering I have been training all year for this but that IS the reality of the final phases of big meet preparation.  I will do well or fall below expectations depending upon how well I follow the details of my plan.  The hard part is that the stretching is the most time consuming but also the easiest so the tendency is to cut it short.  I can't do that.  I need to start 30-60 minutes earlier than usual so I have no time constraints.  The first day on this road is tomorrow where I will attempt to complete my full running for the first time since my little inside leg ding.  Of course I will go slow and take it easy but I feel good about it.  Have a great day and thanks for being here.  Bubba

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

On the Road Again

Wednesday is my road trip day and my day off of training.  My body feels good and will feel better by Saturday since I will be out of town on business on Thursday and Friday.  Have a great day!  Bubba

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

More Sleds

Day two of 10 X 50m hill/sleds and I was able to run a little faster and still felt no pain.  I think part of the rehab is the walk back as it requires a kind of pulling of the legs that engages the spot that was dinged.  Still - it felt good so I will continue to slowly progress the tension.

Kris and I decided that I would hit the hill/sleds three times a week and keep up the two days of cardio, and only break for one training rotation in prepeartion to vault. I will first try to vault on Saturday, May 7.  If that doesn't feel right then I'll wait until the May 28 meet three weeks later.  Three weeks after that is National Senior Games and three weeks after that are Worlds.  So equal three week rotations before vaulitng gives me a chance to continue to improve physicially. 

Unfortunately to vault at a high level with the smallest chance of injury, you need to be fresh so that means you have to skip or scale back some training.  I don't want to stay where I am for the next 12 weeks, I want to continue to improve so that's why this plan will work.

Other changes are going 8,8,6,6 on day one and 6,6,4,4, on my lifting instead of 8,6,4 and 6,4,2.  This will allow me to continue to improve instead of just maintaining.  IF I were vaulting a lot I would seek to maintain but since I will not vault I need to keep getting stronger and faster.

Two of my next three meets have massive tailwinds so that should get me some big pole experience without having to push my run on the runway.  The good thing about that is that if I get in the situation in Sacramento where I need a particular pole I will alrewady know how that feels.  Wait a minute - I jumped on every pole I have in Reno.  That's my point - I need more experience on them since Reno was my first time ever to be on three of those poles.

Thank you for you support and encouragment.  It means the world to me.  Bubba

Monday, April 18, 2011

Great Coach = Priceless

My coach, Kris Allison

The very best coaches have an endless thirst for knowledge, an enthusiastic and tireless spirit, and a personality that can straddle the encouraging counselor to a Vince Lombardi type of taskmaster.  My coach, Kris Allison is not only a great coach, he is the perfect one for me.  He doesn't get near enough attention or credit for what he has done with me since I returned to vaulting as a frail 52 year old in 2005.

I met Kris in Reno in 1999 after we had been corresponding via email for a few months.  When I moved to San Marcos, Texas in 2001 he was a high school math teacher who hated the administrative crap and longed to coach kids.  He had a nice vault set up in his back yard and a following of kids so inadvertently I convinced him if he really wanted to be a coach he would just have to take that step off of the high dive and go for it.  He did and and has been nothing but a grand success ever since.

I volunteered to not only help coach his club kids so that he could see more at the same time but I also became his coach. Having coached many world class vaulters and Olympians myself, this was enlightening for him and I'm quite sure he hated me at first.  Very shortly he began to find personal vaulting success and advanced to a level far surpassing his lifetime goals.  He took that base knowledge and began to study, and talk to elite vaulters/coaches, study, read, study, watch video, study, etc.  In my opinion he is one of the best and most knowledgeable coaches in the world.

Because of our history together we speak the same language.  So last night when I sent him a Facebook message that I desperately needed 20 minutes of his time to discuss some details of options within my scattered plan, he responded by calling me at 8:30 this morning and kindly took about 30 minutes to walk with me through this maze of strategies.  I 100% trust his judgement and respect his opinion and no one knows me as a vaulter better than him. 

So tonight I am at peace.  We always say that impatience means you have no confidence in your plan, so you had better make sure your plan is right for you.  And we did and it is!  Thanks Kris!!  I owe a lot to you and wanted to make sure everyone else knew it!  Bubba

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Great First Strength Workout - Penny Revisited

My first gym workout, and the beginning of my 2nd strength phase this year felt outstanding.  In fact everything feels great which of course makes me cautious.  Still a little stiff from lack of stretching and activity but overall I feel refreshed and ready.  Even my cardio was at recent PR levels.

I had a friend who reads this blog email me that I was missing out on the half of the luck by not picking up ALL pennies, not just the heads up ones.  I was informed that these are "Pennies From Heaven" and are thrown by Angels for protection and good luck.  Should I really be only picking up the heads up ones?  NO!!  Lesson learned.  Thank you!  Have a great Sunday to all of you and thanks for your support.  Bubba

PS - My weight was back in striking distance at 171.5 this monring, down from 180.5 on Friday night. Should be back around or just under 170 by Monday morning as planned.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Theory Proven - Water Retention

Now I don't want to say that I retain water as bad as these girls but apparently I do.  Last night I was 180.5 and this morning I was 174.  Most of this is because I drink about eight glasses of iced tea with meals and the other part is I ate a lot of bread and other complex carbohydrates on the trip.  For every gram of carbohydrate your body retains four grams of water.  Anyway, hoping to be back in the 170-171 range by Monday morning.

If you remember I said that I felt that my running posture with a sled is closer to my running posture on the runway with a pole. The theory was sprinting straight up hurt my leg because it wasn't familiar with that posture.  I suggested that running with sled would not injure me.  In fact, today I was able to run 5 X 50m hill/sleds with no issue at all.  It's not like I opened up but I ran faster than I did last week when it flared on my 6th grass 100m at 10%.  That just sucks.  So I'm excited and relived for this progress.  I'll repeat the same on Monday and Wednesday morning and then by Saturday I should be able to up the speed and add some pole drills.

Hope you have a great weekend and thank you for being here.  Bubba

Friday, April 15, 2011

Udderly Disgusted!! More Pennies!

Udderly like the COW I feel like.  The morning I left for the cruise I weighed 167.  Today after lunch I weigh 180.5 and that makes me sick.  Since turning 55 I have vaulted 13'+ (3.97m) twice at 181 but STILL!!!  Nuff said.  Lots of work to do.  Bubba

PS - I don't know what the deal is with pennies but today I picked up a bright and shiny heads up penny next to where Nancy was sitting at the airport.  A few minutes later she noticed one but it was tails up so we left it.  About an hour later another passenger noticed yet another shiny heads up penny over by Nancy's seat.  Is my life now ruled by the penny?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Last Day Here

Today is the last day of the cruise and I'm sick of eating, which I think is normal for these things.  I also managed to completely avoid the gym or any exercise, though I did inquire what floor it was on - the one right below me. I did catch myself walking pretty fast a few times and my leg didn't feel anything. I avoided stairs whenever possible and slept as much as I feel like.  I did a fair amount of work but other than that I have been a complete slug; a role I'm not comfortable with.  BUT, it's easier knowing that when I come home I am out of conditioning mode and back to real training.  Have a great day and thanks for being here.  Bubba

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Plan Rationale

The Captain pulls us out of Miami. Photo taken from my balcony, two suites down from the wheelhouse.
And here is a picture of me from the wheelhouse taken by Nancy from our private tour this morning.
After much review I have determined that my little sensitive inner leg ding is because I was using a running posture and power that I don't use when I vault.  My guess is that Saturday I will be able to complete 10 sled/hill pulls with medium intensity without incident, whereas 6 grass strides at 20% was too much.  It would take me about two pages to explain why I know this is going to be the case so I won't bore you.  It's mainly based on the run mechanics of me on the runway vs. the run mechanics of me on flat ground with no pole.

All of this said, I'm back to my regular training as of Saturday and will plan on vaulting once on Saturday, May 7 and then I'm ready to go.  I have a meet on May 28, and then National Senior Games on Monday, June 20, followed by Worlds on Wednesday June 13.  I really think the plan is perfect and I will be ready.

BUT - if I'm wrong then I'll know Saturday and major adjustments will be needed.  Have a great day and thanks for being here.  Bubba

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I'm Here

Self Portrait - Took the photo with my left hand = easily amused!

I'll have many photos later but we flew into Miami yesterday for a short Caribbean cruise.  In the Keys right now and go to the Bahamas tomorrow.  Email is set and running as is my phone service since I do tend to catch up on work on vacation. 

My body HURTS from lack of activity so I'll probably find the gym and do a few easy things today just to knock off the rust.  Later I'll post my game plan for training.  I even had a dream about "my penny" last night as I do see this next phase as the lead up to the big event.  I'm real sure that is will work but have to figure out some of the timing.

Have a great day and more later.  Bubba

PS - Thanks to my good friend Ken Stone of for helping me with this spacing problem.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Phase Break

First, if anyone can tell me how I lost my paragraph spacing in "Blogger" please let me know so I don't have to use bullet points to separate paragraphs or thoughts. Thanks!

Heading out of town tomorrow and will be back Friday so this has always been a planned phase break where I have no intention of doing even a single workout. This will give all little dings and annoyances a chance to go away. When I get back I will be ready to roll on my ramp up to National Senior Games and the World Masters Championships.

I've reviewed and revamped my workouts and feel very confident in the path. I will continue to update the blog while I'm gone and fill you in on some of my reasoning and why my past history says it will work. Until then, have a great Sunday and thanks for your support! Bubba

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Another Odd Day

I have felt nothing in my leg all week. I decided to run 10X100 and 10X50 at 20-30% and on #8 of the 100m that inside leg thing started to come up on me so I stopped. Last week I was running 50-60% and it flared on #6 and this week starts to flare at 20-30% on #8. I quit and never let it get anywhere close to last week's flare. I have a gym lift tomorrow and then I'm off for five days. Next Saturday I will again attempt what I did today and at some point my body will let me do it. I just have to be careful and patient until I start gaining healthy momentum. This said, I'm cranking aways on all other cardio, bars and lifting so I am gaining excellent fitness during this rehab. Have a Great day! Bubba

Friday, April 8, 2011

Plan Update - More or Less

  • OK, I have three workouts left and I go on a little vacation for five days. When I come back I'll start moving out of the conditioning phase and straddle into the strength power phase again - one rotation of each.

  • I'm about to go check out the track and see if they have finished that press box project so I can get my sled, plant box and big pole out. I need to get back to training at the track that I am more familiar with so I can monitor my body better.

  • Speaking of my body, I feel about as good and about as strong as is possible for right now. I don't feel my ding at all and my other little annoyances are clearing out as well.

  • My vacation is Monday - Friday so that should be just about enough time to clean up any residual issues. Very excited to get back and get training. All the best and have a great day! Bubba

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Back to "Work"

Felt good to get back to the gym this morning. As mentioned, I skipped my running as planned but everything else stayed on schedule. Really starting to feel like the program is working. Time will tell but I'm feeling the difference. It would be nice to SEE it on my body though!! The top comment I get from masters vaulters who follow this blog, "I'm so relieved that I'm not the only one always dinged or hurt". That's awesome because I don't write this because I think I'm special because I am not. I write it because I am exactly like you and we can both relate to it. SO, I LOVE hearing this because it reminds me that we're all in this tightrope walk together. Thanks for following me and have a great day! Bubba

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

On the Road Again

Dropping by New Braunfels to see if my coach Kris Allsion has kids jumping, then grab a hotel and get some rest. BEAT UP!! Have a great night! Bubba

Monday, April 4, 2011

Different Kind of Grind

Last hard lift session today so it's time to bury myself in some work for a few days. I'm skipping my running on Wednesday to let this ding get a jump start on good strong healing. I will hit my Thursday through Sunday hard then I've got a few days off. Looking forward to all of it. Have a great day and thanks for being here with me! Bubba

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Upon Further Review

Looking back at my original plan after nationals, I see I was planning on vaulting the first time on Saturday April 23, whereas now it is April 30. In other words, I was planning on carrying this super conditioning phase another month anyway. Long story short, my little ding yesterday cost me only a one week delay in my original plan. I'll take that. The leg feels better today and my entire gym workout was outstanding. I felt stronger and my endurance on the cardio stuff was better. All in all I still think I got dinged to keep me from getting hurt yesterday, but now I'm OK with the delay. After all, it was carefully planned anyway. This week I'm really busy drilling deep for new action. Though my business life can be hectic it is typically planned around in such a way I can still train regularly. Training is what keeps me sane. All the best and have a great Sunday!! Bubba

Saturday, April 2, 2011

SICK of This!!

The following is posted on my website; Words of Wisdom - I got an email from a friend recently who said something so simple and profound, "pole vaulting is about having a good place to jump, feeling good when you jump, and working hard and continuous enough without getting hurt, that you can continue to experience periodic breakthroughs". Along those same lines, my orthopedic surgeon told me that training at the elite level is like walking on a balance beam - if you fall off one side you get hurt, and if you fall off the other you're not progressing. The older you get, the more narrow that beam becomes. At dinner after Drake Toby Stevenson said, "Yeah, and it's a longer fall and climb back up too!" On the 5th easy 100m stride today my leg flared up. Not the hamstring but the weird little inside muscle thing I spoke of after my last session. I barely finished #6 and stopped, well short of halfway through my workout. DAMMIT!!! I'm so sick of this crap!!! I don't get injured I get dinged. Injuries are 6-8 weeks and dings are 2-4 weeks. The hamstring is perfect and now I have this little annoyance. I've had it before and it's a really small inconsequential thing but it means four more weeks of conditioning type training. I'm OK with that as it will only make me better but consider this; I took out my 13' 1"/4m poles this morning to jump for fun and I couldn't even finish my warm up. As I also mentioned in my "things happen for a reason" post after my last running session, my body is not used to this new speed I have. This will give me another month to make sure it gets used to it. But for today I am furious beyond words. I know that it happened to keep me from hurting myself vaulting, and I know it's a super minor ding, but &*$@#^@*%*%!!!!!!!!!!!! I had knee surgeries at 12, 14 and 17 from football. During that time I met a great physical therapist, now deceased, Logan Wood. This guy worked my butt off and told me that my goal was to come back super conditioned and to be a much better athlete than when I went in to him. He never failed me and I have to remember that message as I get back to work. But DAMMIT!!!!! Tanks for being here. Bubba

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Year of Weird

So many things have been strange this year;

  • I've only vaulted on my cut 4.45/14' 7" poles

  • Though I've had tons of height I couldn't find a way to leave up 13'/3.97m in a meet

  • The day I did I won my pit in Reno, got indoor PRs of 13' 1 1/2"/4m and 13' 5 1/4"/4.10m

  • Got 4th at nationals at 13' - historic competition

  • Trained through the winter and have not jumped in practice since October

  • Doing off-season type training NOW, in the middle of what should be my outdoor season

  • I'll jump maybe 5-6 more times this year, ALL in meets

  • As soon as the season is over I start jumping 2-3 days a week working up from my very smallest poles

  • I'll run four days a week and lift six and do bars on six to get ready for 2013 when I turn 60
I have no idea if and when I will compete in 2012. Weird for me. Thanks for your support! Bubba