Thursday, June 30, 2011

World Championships Start Lists

Today they posted who jumps on what pit -

I was pleased that they put the higher vaulters, including me, together on Pit #1.  Our hope is that pit will start higher so we wait a shorter time to jump.  The only surprise is that the best jumper in the meet, Gary Hunter, is on Pit #2 because he did not enter a qualifying mark. 

Long story short, you are supposed to put your best mark within six months and that is how they decide who jumps with who.  Gary has the highest vault in the world, but WCs sees him as one of the weakest vaulters because he entered no mark.  If you do not submit a mark they put you in the low group. 

Gary never puts a mark because we all jump in one group at Nationals no matter how large field.  In a meet this big they can't jump 28 guys on one pit so we use two.  I'm sure Gary will do great but the bottom line is that on that pit when he starts he will be jumping alone, and every jump thereafter he will be alone.  In our group, even at the higher heights, we have other people jumping with us providing a bit of additional rest.  Gary will win but this is not optimal for him.  Bubba

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Road Day

Click to Enlarge
On the road on Wednesdays but this morning I got this photo from my friend, Phil Bisson from Southern California.  L to R; Mike Hogan, Charlie Brown, Phil, Kirk Bentz.  Charlie and Kirk should medal at Worlds but Mike has done so in the past.  This photo was taken at the Sacramento track at last year's Nationals.  Looking forward to seeing them all.  Bubba

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Woodchuck Diversion

The Geico Woodchucks
Kris and Robbie had their 2nd day of the clinic today and it went well.  Afterward we had our final all comers meet.  Our best girl, Jillian (11' 6"/3.51m) was out at 8 doing her freshman collegiate conditioning program when I was running my sleds, then she did the PV clinic at 9, and jumped in the all comers meet at 5.  Studette.

I felt good on my 10 X 50m hills/sleds.  I ran for rythym up to 80% with only a walk back as a rest.  Tough on the wind for sure but my body felt good.

I jump at Worlds two weeks from tomorrow so as things slow down I seem to be starting to unwind and find myself being easily amused.  I LOVED the Geico Woodchuck commercial and they have just started running it again -

Musically my attention has been brought to old school rock.  Not only have I heard these two songs on my MP3 for the first time in a long time, I also saw them on VH1 and even saw an article about the "oldest classic rock".  That many mentions seem to be too much of a coincidence to not mention.  The songs?  Alice Cooper's, "School's Out" and Foghat's, "I Just Want to Make Love to You".  Of course both evoke fond memories as I can almost picture what I was doing when I first started hearing them years ago.

I guess you call today a mental vacation but in was mindless fun nonetheless.  Have a great day and thank you for being here.  Bubba

School's Out -
I Wanna Make Love to You -

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Hard Part

Well here we are again; the workouts are still hard but you feel close enough that you think the work is done.  IT IS NOT!!  VERY hard to motivate at this point, especially in 105 degree heat in a Texas garage.  Got it all done and it feels pretty good considering.  Remember that I quit lifting six days out from NSG and started back six days after so that's a BIG 12 days gone.  That makes it even more hard to make yourself do it.  But alas I'm back.

My coach, Kris Allison is here tonight as he is doing a clinic at the high school with our PV coach, Robbie Dueitt.  He's a busy guy so it's always good to have some extended time with him.

Got an email from a friend today who is a big tennis fan.  Apparently there is a 24 year old at Wimbledon for the Ukraine named, Sergey Bubka.

Nothing more tonight as I am feeling a little scatterbrained.  Hill/sleds in the morning.  Have a great night and thanks for being here.  Bubba

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Under Pressure?

This time of year you are close to your goal but not close enough to back off of your training.  That said, you're not going to get stronger and/or faster in two weeks but you can sharpen and refine your skills.  Do too much and risk injury and feeling flat, or do too little and risk losing fitness and feeling flat.  It's a fine balance.
The smartest thing I did this past week was to run 10 X 50m sled/hills easy on Tuesday after NSG on Monday.  SUCKED but it was the best thing to do.  First I wanted to know if I was hurt, and secondarily I didn't want to lose fitness by missing an entire week of workouts while I was out of town on business.  I also did six easy 30m hills on Thursday before my meetings in Denver.  Yesterday I hit my 10 X hill/sleds on schedule.

Since I dropped my cardio I went out today and did all of my sprint drills and pole/plant/take off drills, all with a sled.  I had never done that before and it felt good.  Long story short, previous to this I ran a hill/sled then dropped the sled and put on ankle weights for a sprint drill, then rotated back to the sled and so on.  I felt at NSG that as quick as my legs felt that I should be covering more ground, hence the sled on all drills today.  I can tell you that it feels VERY weird to leave the ground to do a slide box take off drill into a 60 lb. REAL box and suddenly feel the sled puling you back down and back away from where you are trying to drive through.  LOVED it!  Just what I need to create an impulse of speed and power THROUGH the box.

Where yesterday I did all of the running, and today I did all of the sprint drills with the sled, next rotation I will add the heavy pole.  I think this will be a good refinement plan as I move toward the big meet in Sacramento.

The poles leave Friday and we leave two weeks from tomorrow and compete two weeks from Wednesday.  SO, under pressure?  Not today but I'll let you know as I progress. Here is Queen and "Under Pressure".  Have a great day!  Bubba

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I'm Not Hurt!! YEAH!!

I ran 10 X 50m hill sleds today with no limitations other than lack of oxygen from the heat and thick humidity.  I ran as fast as I wanted to/was capable of.  I felt no pain or stiffness/tightness in the left hamstring behind the knee.  I'm sure you remember that this was bothering me going into NSG and I stopped after my easy 12' 4" clearance as not to jeopardize Worlds and then Nationals.  I was absolutely certain that if I took the next jump I would get a ding like I got at Albuquerque and in essence knock myself out of the the big picture meet.  So for now at least, I am safe and will be ready.

Our poles will be shipped on Friday and I vault two weeks from Wednesday.  We are shipping four bags of poles which contain poles for seven vaulters.  We will take the total bill and split it seven ways which is FAR cheaper than trying to do it on our own.  The way is works is that they are picked up from the high school and then delivered to the stadium in Sacramento. After the meet we put the return labels on and then two days later the poles show up at the high school again.  Hassle free and you have confirmation the poles are there before you get on the plane.

That's it for today. Trying to get back in the swing of things so I'll start adding photos and music again as I settle back into my training.  Right now I'm just playing catch up and trying to get back on track.  Have a great day and thanks for being here.  Bubba

Friday, June 24, 2011

I'm 58 Today!

Just got back in town from a short business trip to Denver.  Ran six easy hills yesterday and will be back out at the track to do sleds and big pole plant drills.  Have a great day and thanks for the support!  Bubba

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Live to Fight Another Day

I'm out of town the rest of the week so today I decided to go out and attempt to run some easy hill/sleds today to see if I was hurt yesterday or if I stopped in time to avoid injury.  Apparently it was the latter as I was able to run 40%+ with zero issues.  SO glad I stopped when I felt the tightening.  One more jump and I would have been out for six weeks and my season over.  As it is, I am healthy and have seven more similar running workouts before worlds.  I would have like to have challenged more yesterday, BUT, if Kirk hadn't have cleared the bar on the jump off we both would have gotten gold.  So good for both of us.  He jumped well and I am healthy.  Close call and right decision.  Have a great day!  Bubba

Monday, June 20, 2011

Today was OK as I don't think I got hurt.  I got 2nd to Kirk on a jump off.  We both made 3.75m (12' 3 3/4") on first attempts and did not make the next height.  I missed my first so Kirk passed to (4.05m) 13' 3 1/2" so I did too.  At the end of our three attempts neither had made it so we had a one attempt jump off.  Kirk made it I and I did not. 

Actually I was thrilled to not be hurt as I really felt one jump away from a hammy flare so I'm fine with the result.  Should have some video up later.  Kirk is staying here tonight along with Mike Soule from Minnesota.  HOPEFULLY I still feel good tomorrow and the next day.  Thanks for being here.  Bubba

PS - After my first two take offs from four steps I was going to stop because I could feel some stinging behind my knee. I think I just overstretched it.  It began to loosen up so I took off from six steps and felt my knee.  That loosened up so I gave out a try.  Made 11' 4". 11' 10" and 12' 4" on first jumps so Kirk and I were tied.  You know the rest of the story.  The SHOCK is that I jumped at all and then didn't get hurt.  I was absolutely certain I was making a huge mistake and I THINK I slipped by without it.  Should know for sure when I do some easy hills on Thursday.


1 Bentz, Kirk M57 California 4.05m# 13-03.50 J-O 4.05 O

2.55 2.70 2.85 3.00 3.15 3.30 3.45 3.60 3.75 3.90 4.05


2 Sparks, Douglas M58 Texas 3.75m 12-03.50 J-O 4.05 wd

2.55 2.70 2.85 3.00 3.15 3.30 3.45 3.60 3.75 3.90 4.05


3 Crites, Robert M57 Texas 3.60m 11-09.75

2.55 2.70 2.85 3.00 3.15 3.30 3.45 3.60 3.75


4 Curry, Donald M55 Texas 3.45m 11-03.75

2.55 2.70 2.85 3.00 3.15 3.30 3.45 3.60


5 Bing, Charlie M57 Texas 3.30m 10-10.00

2.55 2.70 2.85 3.00 3.15 3.30 3.45


6 Scheffe, Gary M55 Texas 3.15m 10-04.00

2.55 2.70 2.85 3.00 3.15 3.30


7 Soule, Mike M59 Minnesota 2.55m 8-04.25

2.55 2.70


-- Sayers, Michael M57 New York NH



Sunday, June 19, 2011

No Man's Land

Two days of stretching and today with some light run and skips and I still can't tell whether I really have something going on with my legs or not.  Two days ago I was worried about the inside of my right one and today suddenly I feel something weird in the back of the left one.  NO IDEA.  I can only hope it's from lack of activity and turns out to be nothing as I get on the runway.  It is what it is and I'll know tomorrow.  Thanks for being here!  ACDC's "For Those About to Rock, We Salute You!"  Bubba

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Need My Oil - Active Rest/Stretch

When the body gets a day or two off, all of the "healing" parts tend to "heal short".  Things feel stiff and maybe you get a little muscle or joint pain where you had no idea you had it.  Because of this I'm doing some active rest and stretching every day.  This movement creates lubrication in the joints and keeps from getting sticking points.  Like the tin man, I need my oil.

I bring this up because yesterday I started feeling a little muscular soreness and weakness on the inside of my lower right leg above the knee.  This is roughly the same area I strained on my left leg that cost me a few weeks after my hamstring was healed after Albuquerque. This morning I still felt it so I went to the gym to stretch.  In the gym I stretch over a higher bar and can more easily control other stretches.  I felt nothing.  I really don't think it is anything because I had no "event" nor did I feel it at all on the last day I ran.  Tomorrow I will try a few other things that I would normally do the day before a meet and see how that feels.  Makes me nervous but I expect it to be fine.  We will see.

We had a nice gathering of 10 last night for our BBQ.  A few people vaulted but we were all happy to escape the heat and get into the house.  Lot's of great company, food and talk. Very fun.

I have about three other topics I was going to run down here but I think I will save them and give my brain a break. Thanks so much for being here.  Today's song is by Midnight Oil, "Burning Beds".  Jan Johnson has a vault video where this song is playing and I can picture in my head every single shot of vaults or training in this video.  Have a great day!  Bubba

Friday, June 17, 2011

Progress Report - Right Now!!

Click to enlarge

I always like to do a pre-meet photo because I feel like if I have done my job it will be near the best shape I have been in for awhile.  I could get hit by a car and never train again so it's a good "progress report".  I took some in Sydney but every one of them was blurred by a flash so I took this one this morning without it.

SO, I'm on week 56 of this year's training so far.  This ends after nationals in Cleveland on 7/29.  I turn 58 next Friday and some days I feel it much more than others.  Thus far this year I have lifted 3,815,966 lbs. and done 2,358 weighted bar exercises.  But the only question that matters is CAN I POLE VAULT?!

Today's song is Van Halen's, "Right Now" because that is the abruptness of a big meet performance.  All of the planning and training and visualizing for that day is suddenly and emphatically RIGHT NOW!!  There are no second chances; it's NOW!!

If you followed by blog leading up to Sydney you now that a vaulter's biggest fear is the "no height" (nh).  Kirk and I emailed back and forth a few times last night and he said what all vaulters say before big meets, "I'm second guessing everything I'm doing and thinking. I just want to make a bar and then have some fun."  An "nh" means you did not clear your opening height on your three allotted attempts.  Our biggest fear.  I have done it once.  Let's not start on Monday.  Like me, Kirk has won a world championship yet we still have the same fear; nh.  After that first bar it's a party.

That's it for today. Thanks for being here.  Getting nervous and loving it.  Bubba

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Working Man

Well today was my last training day before NSG.  I went 6 X 50m hill/sleds alternated with five sprint drills with ankle weights and no sled.  I've got stretching every day but no more running, bars, lifting, etc.  "The hay is in the barn" as my coach Kris Allison says.  I just need to rest and get ready mentally.  Let the fun begin.

Don went over to the meet stadium today for a short vault session as it was open for practice.  I guess they do have two pits out so that's helpful. One has a decent wind and one has a swirly wind.  They have a place to store poles so I think I'll take mine over tomorrow when I pick up Kirk's from air freight.  He's got his hands full with his son getting married in San Francisco this weekend.  He would do the same for me in a second so I'm happy to help out.  Less hassle on the morning of the meet anyway.

Tomorrow we're having a little vault meet/session at 4 PM at The Woodlands High School for some out of towners who want to jump. Then we will head over to my house for BBQ and pole vault videos. What else would you expect?

On Saturday Mike Soule gets in from Minnesota so I'll grab him at the airport and we'll go get signed up for the meet since he high jumps early Sunday morning.  Sunday afternoon is Father's Day so my dad will come over with my brother and his wife.  I'm glad all of these things are going on to make the time pass faster and keep me relaxed.

I leave you today with a song I loved in college by Rush, "Working Man".  A Canadian band that first gained popularity when a Cleveland rock station picked them up as an anthem to their blue collar workers. Soon afterwards college radio stations picked them up.  Have a great day and thanks for being here. Bubba

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Last Garage Lift Day - Yahoooo!

My Garage Gym
All of this pushes to the wall so both cars fit in.

The caption says it all.  Hot day but a good day.  I got 4 X 225 on my bench strength test, which is not "Dan West" level but good for me.  Before Sydney I got 2 X 225 and before Reno I got 1 X 225.  So the "back to basics" type of lifting has paid off.  Does it mean I jump higher?  Don't know but I should have a better ability to hit the pole a bit more solid.

I'm picking up Kirk's poles from LA on Friday as he heads off to his son's wedding in San Francisco and flies into Houston on Father's Day.  Since we jump early Monday he won't have time to get them so I'll grab them for him.  The freight office is actually very close to the track.  If he gets in soon enough he may come over on Sunday. Going to be a great week for seeing friends.  On my way to Sydney Kirk came out and hung out with me at LAX for two hours.  I won the World Masters Games and he won World Indoors four months later. I consider him one of my best friends.  I just wish he wasn't in my age group.  ;-)

Right now my body is ready.  I feel good and should be up for Monday.  But you just never know until that day.  Funny how these aging bodies respond.  Today I'm putting up a hard rock song by Godsmack, "I Stand Alone".  Not much into the video but the song has gotten me through some pretty hard grinds.  Have a great day and thanks for being here!  Bubba

Monday, June 13, 2011

Destination Unknown

Had another very good running hill/sled day and promptly canceled my follow up appointment with Dr. Rand for a second cortisone injection.  On day one after my shot it was much better but I could tell a flare was still under the surface.  Ran harder on Friday and it felt better.  Ran less but still harder today and felt next to nothing so I think I'm good now.

My friend Kirk Bentz sent me a message via Facebook and that he's coming to Houston for Monday.  His son gets married in San Francisco on the Saturday before so I was a little surprised he's coming but all the better.  I'm sure it's because he has the meet record (12' 6 3/4" - 3.83m) and doesn't want it to go down uncontested.  We both jumped 13' in Albuquerque on our 1st attempts but he beat me on a miss at a previous height.

I hope to do well and expect to do well but the reality is that I really need to focus on clean technique so I don't have another crappy day like Coppell a few weeks ago.  Bugs me when I can't find my jump so I'll really have to pay attention.  Hence the title of today's post, "Destination Unknown".

Two new poles arrived at my house today for Phil Raschker, the greatest masters athlete of all time.  Bruce Caldwell, who makes my poles, made her some special poles for NSG and Worlds.  She goes to world championships and wins 10 golds and has been doing that forever.  That said, she is the friendliest and most supportive friend you could hope for.  When I was in Sydney for World Masters Games I think she had three events that day yet still came over to hang out and watch me jump.  Great lady. 

Tomorrow is my last garage lift/bars day.  Should be pretty easy and fun.  Lots of stretching too of course.  Wednesday is off as my business travel day and then Thursday I have one more running session and that is it.  I'm excited but nervous as one week from right now NSG will be in the books.  Shockingly I am in week #55 of this master plan.  How it works we will soon learn together.  Destination unknown.

Thanks for being here and supporting me.  Today's music is by an old 80s group, Missing Persons.  They had a hit song, "Destination Unknown", but this is my favorite and is also applicable to my situation.  I leave you with "Mental Hopscotch". Bubba
PS - The lead singer was a Playboy model and her husband, the drummer, was Frank Zappa's drummer.  Terry and Dale Bozzio.  Enjoy!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Alive & Reaching For Goals

A week from tomorrow is the National Senior Games (NSG).  Today was my last hard day in the gym and it went well.  Tomorrow and Thursday I have scaled down running days with hill/sled.  Tuesday I will do my last garage lift and of course I will stretch every day.  I'm ready.  In fact I will probably cancel my Thursday appointment with Dr. Rand after tomorrow's running if I feel as good as I felt Friday.

Going to be a busy week.  Thursday I'm going to the facility with Don as he wants to get a jump session in at the competition venue.  I think they have a few days designated as "practice" where you can try out the place.  I generally don't like to do that, especially that close to the meet.

Friday we're have a little meet/reunion at The Woodlands High School for the vaulters who get to town early.  We will come back to my house for BBQ and pole vault videos - of course.

Saturday my friend, Mike Soule gets in from Minnesota.  I'll grab him from the airport, go to lunch and then get us registered downtown. I know they want you to see all of the sponsor's stuff and their way to accomplish this is to make everyone check in downtown.  SUCKS but you have no choice.

Mike high jumps Sunday morning, so between Don's practice Thursday and Mike going over Sunday morning I'll have a pretty accurate assessment of the conditions around the time we jump.

Sunday afternoon my dad, my brother and his wife come over for Father's Day and after that I'll wind down and get ready for Monday morning.

I'll leave you today with thanks for your support and another great song by POD, "Alive (I think I can fly)".  Have a great evening.  Bubba

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Picking Up the Dog

NO!!  Picking UP the dog, not picking up after the dog!!  I had a close call about 1:30 this morning.  Tuffy, our 20+ lb (10 kg) Yorkie was barking insanely to go out to pee.  I jumped up, grabbed him, twisted to run out the door and felt my lower back go weak.  It wasn't severe but it was real and almost slow motion.  It's there this morning but not nearly as bad as it could have or maybe should have been.  Let that be a lesson. The last thing I need is to train this hard and then 9 days out get a back strain from slinging the dog over my shoulder.  I really thought it would be worse so I am SO relieved.  Have a great day and thanks for being here. Bubba

ACDC's "Dog Eat Dog" -

Friday, June 10, 2011

NSG Schedule Finally Up
Of course they are on glue thinking they can complete 10 women and 12 M60 vaulters between 8:30 and 9:45 but at least it is something.  They have put us with the M50s also which means we have about 17 in our two groups.  Best I can figure we are warming up at 10:30 IF it starts on time.  Going to be a long day but at least we should MAYBE have bit of a tailwind by then.  Have a great night!  Bubba

Walk The Line!!

This is a simple question I ask myself every day.  Since I train almost every day it doesn't have to be a lot, but I need to know I'm making progress.  Today I did.  I could do all of my running and sprint drills at yet another level up with no flare to me knee.  Last time I had a flare and this time I did not, yet the entire exertion level was up.  Good sign.  I have running days of Monday and Thursday left and there is nothing I would like better than to cancel my appointment with Dr. Rand on Thursday.  As of now I fully expect to cancel but I'll let it play out.

I have such a wide variety of music on my MP3 and since it's on "shuffle", I can go from Metallica, to Johnny Cash, to the song from the Wizard of Oz, "If I Only Had a Brain".  I like the simplicity of the guitar line for Johnny Cash's, "I Walk the Line", plus that competely describes my present situation.  I want to continue to make progress yet not overtrain or risk injury.  I think right now I'm exactly where I need to be for NSG.  Now if I can only vault technically correct.  I will walk the line.

At Coppell three weeks ago I was very dissappointed in my ability to refine the timing of my jump.  I'm getting in easy on one jump and not on the next.  My gut feeling says this was mainly because I was trying to be careful with me knee.  I have done enough big pole drills that I don't feel it's a timing issue. I''m also strong enough to quickly overcome almost any missed position to make a low bar.

Our event often comes down to the word , "Just". I used to say, "If I could just get on this pole I can clear 12' (3.66m) on as regular basis.  Then it was, "I just made 12' and Coppell and I'm pissed".  Now it is, "I know I'm going to be healty and will feel good so if I can just hit my positions on the pole."  I like the last one the best.  IF I take 2-3 more jumps from 4 steps and 1-2 from six steps I'll be dialed in for the day.  So that's the plan.

Thanks so much for being here.  I'm ready and excited yet still have 9 days to wait.  HARD training on Sunday and Monday and then it's a quick ramp down.  Of course I'll let you know when we finally get a start itme.  Unbelievable there is no schedule yet.  Have a great day!  Bubba

Johnny Cash's, "Walk the Line" has had over 13 million YouTube views.  Amazing.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Summer Time

Well the temps have backed off to under 100 but summer is here.  I was thinking last night that I have only vaulted six times this year so far and the next three times will be at huge meets.  Of course of the six times I have jumped only two have been low level practices.  This is far from the norm for me but my goal this year was to only jump on big poles and to do that you must be fresh and cautious. 

Can't wait for next year where I vault twice a week as my priority.  But right now it's summertime.  All I think about when I'm grinding away for nine months with next to no meets is that I can't wait for the summer to be able and ready to jump at a high level in the big meets. It's here.  Will I be ready?  Yes!!

Today I had total brain freeze and set my stairs at the wrong speed (one level lower) which had me set my bike at the wrong level, etc.  So it turned out to be a bit easier than I wanted but considering I'm running tomorrow instead of Saturday, and my last gym workout is Sunday, it was probably a subconscious message to me to go easier today. That said all lifting and bars continued to feel really good.  Again, Sunday will be my last lift day (8 days out) and I will push it hard, so a medium day today is acceptable.

Thanks for your support and being here for and with me.  Have a great day.  Bubba

Here is one of my favorite easy cruising songs, Sublime's, "Summertime".

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Cool Sacramento Vault Clip

I've been asked several times what the facility looks like.  I was there for the Olympic Trials, pre Olympic Trials meets, Jr. Olympics, National Jr.s, etc.  They have two pits adjacent but not exactly side by side. So here's American Recordholder Brad Walker vaulting at nearly the exact same time as Olympian Derek Miles.  Enjoy!  Bubba

Profanity Costs California Vaulter

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Could it Be? Don't Think So

Today I added sprint drills back into my running and also bumped the sled weight to 15 lbs. instead of 10.  I felt really powerful and reasonably fast, BUT, about half way through I felt a simmering knee flare rising.  It never actually flared and I was able to finish the workout with no limitations but as a precaution I made a call for an appointment with Dr. Rand a week from Thursday just in case. (They just called back - Thursday at 2:20).  Hopefully I will just need to cancel it.  I could feel it some during stretching afterwards but it didn't have that same ache to it as it did before. Long story short, I think/hope it's just adjusting to the higher level of running as today was by far the hardest I have run in a few months.

OK, we jump at 8 AM in Sacramento at Worlds.  I'm an early riser coming from a time zone two hours ahead so that should be fine.  On my jump days I try to be on the runway at 7 AM anyway so this will be no big deal.  According to a post on, this time last year the high was 97 but it was 63 at 8 AM so I don't think I could ask for a more perfect scenario for our group.

NSG?  No schedule STILL!!  The last two days it has been 105, a record by seven degrees for both days.  It rained yesterday afternoon and dropped to 74 in only 20 minutes.  I really don't care when I jump but I want to know. That mental preparation thing you know.

Today's song that jumped out at me was Foo Fighters, "Learn to Fly", an old pole vault standard. In the video Dave Grohl does his best Eddie Murphy impression by playing many characters. Good song anyway.  have a great day!  Bubba

Monday, June 6, 2011

This Just In - World Championships Schedule Up

I jump at 8 AM on Wednesday, July 13.  Since we have 28 they show us jumping on side by side pits.  Bubba

Striking Distance? Maybe!

I'm always surprised by how far away from prime shape I can drift in only two weeks after a big meet.  I also know that if I am where I'm supposed to be, like right now, two weeks feels like the perfect ramp up time to get ready.  If I'm in "striking distance", where I always try to stay, I can be ready for anything big in 4-6 weeks.  So the challenge is that, though I'm perfectly ready for the National Senior Games two weeks from today, will I be ready again for Worlds three weeks and two days later?

I'll skip a rotation before and after NSG so basically I will have a week off with NSG in the center of that break. I'll come back with 20 days left to Worlds.  Should be enough to get back on track.  I know this sounds dumb, but the objective is to continue to improve up and through Worlds.  To improve means I can't have a real break between the two.  Holding the same level of preparedness is actually a step backward.  So I will be cautious in my plan to assure that I continue to move forward through NSG.  Being ready for outdoor nationals in Cleveland a little over two weeks later is yet another challenge but not nearly as much so as this first one.

In all cases it is about capitalizing on the opportunities as they present themselves.  Today's music is from Eminem who describes that in the song, Lose Yourself".  Have a great day and thanks for your support.  Bubba

Sunday, June 5, 2011

BOOM!! Two Take Offs 30 Years Apart

San Marcos River Vault 2008 - BOOM!!
Southwest Texas State 1978 - BOOM!!
Another good workout today in the gym.  Had breakfast with my dad first so I felt a little sluggish at the start but settled in nicely.  Final two weeks has begun as far as perfecting the lead up game plan to NSG.  BTW - STILL don't know what time we jump but everyone in the world is bugging them daily.  You've got 12,000 athletes in 18 sports coming to town and they don't know when they compete?  NOT happy and they are lighting up message boards, email and phones!  C'MON MAN!!  Entries closed two months ago!!

I entered national outdoors in Cleveland yesterday and thought there was a mistake as the fee was $60 when it is usually $30.  I got an answer back that it was for drug testing.  My response?  We were only charged $6.25 each for drug testing at the world championships so why should nationals cost $30?

Speaking of which, I have not heard back from Italy on my Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).  If you can't get one with testosterone under 20 when the average for my age is 552 then the system is beyond screwed up.  That said I don't expect it to be approved.  WADA hasn't moved past the fact that we are not elite athletes and most of us are on some kind of physician prescribed medication that could trigger a positive test for something; anything.  In my case if I used a drug to get me off the bottom so I'm at least not always hurt, then I could test positive even though my level is below that of an 8 year old. Why?  Because it detects a "foreign" substance.  If they just checked for levels they would tell me to see a doctor because I'm too low.  Again, I'm not optimistic of approval.

My main physician is on the warpath and says we should just go forward and fight it as a PR battle against the system.  Not a bad idea (not a good idea either) as I really don't plan on jumping in anything real big until, 2013 Worlds in Brazil right after I turn 60.  If I lost an appeal my two years would be up before that meet.  If I won it would create a new set of rules for senior athletes based on levels only.  For example, some blood pressure and cholesterol medications will trigger a positve test.  It's just stupid to test fossils like 20 year olds.  But we're getting ahead of ourselves.  Testosterone was meant for the elderly with low levels and I am the lowest he has ever measured by over 200 points.  I guess I'm a special sort of weakling.  Right now I just pretend it's a no and continue on with my business.

Today's driving force song that powered me through the SUCKING part of my work out was "Boom" by POD (Payable on Death), a great hard rocking Christian band.  When I hit the box on my take off the only think I think is BOOM!!  BIG explosion of force in that one split second.  It's also the voice in my head screaming at the workout that is trying to take me down, "Is that all you've got?  I'll take your best shot.  BOOM, here comes the voice from the south".  Gotta be defiant baby!!  Go big or go home!! Note to self - going big starts at home, when you want to quit, BAD, and you don't.  I have no talent compared to the really good vaulters, but I do have that defiance.  Or maybe I'm just stubborn ... or stupid.  Enjoy, and thanks for being here.  Bubba

Saturday, June 4, 2011

SPEECHLESS!! It Will Pass!

For today's plan I wrestled with all types of running scenarios to see how my knee and lower leg did after my injection from my sportsmed superhero, Scott Rand, MD -  Do I do a regular warm up, spint drills/pole drills, 100ms + 50ms or just 50ms?  The only thing given was 50m sled/hills so I decided to stick to simplicity and do that.  I felt nothing on #s1 and 2 but that's normal.  On Monday I felt it on #3 and by #6 I was fighting to keep the flare low enough that I could finish.  Today #s 7-9 were run at 90-95% with absolutely zero pain.  In fact, I was able to run so loose and free that I feared I may injure a groin or a hamstring.  It was by far the best running workout I have had since before I left for Albuquerque at the first of March. I was emotional yet speechless when I realized how dead on Dr. Rand was in his diagnosis and treatment and that I would in fact be healthy for the National Senior Games.

Scott Rand, MD
As a pole vaulter we get the strangest injuries and dings.  I mean WEIRD little things and every single time without fail Dr. Rand has immediately and correctly identified the issue and told me exactly what the process was to get back on the field.  An athlete himself, he understands our need to quickly and safely return to action.  Of course this particular issue is of supreme importance to me because of the timing and how quickly I was debilitated.  But another time he had a hunch and did a blood test and found I was anemic.  Fearing internal bleeding (cancer) I was quickly in for a colonoscopy and upper GI where it was found that acid reflux was in fact causing ongoing light bleeding.  I wasn't in for that but he just had a feeling there was more than meets the eye.  Of course I will thank him in person but I wanted to salute him here today.  More than 70% of our game is staying on the field and without my PCP, Dr. Butch Martin and Dr. Rand, I would be lost.  Thank you sirs!!  Bubba

Right when I was wrapping up today Van Halen's "Dreams" came on my MP3 and reminded me why I was out there in the first place.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Great Divide - Alone Again

I've always told my elite athletes that it's lonely at the top.  You are the first ones to begin to practice, and since you are championship material, your most significant meets come when others are done for the year.  When I was in my garage last October thinking about Sacramento in the summer, it seemed so far away but gave me great purpose.  It feels different now that I'm closer; but I'm still alone.

I prefer to train a lone.  It makes me mentally stronger. The good news is that you are alone in your thoughts.  And the bad news is that you are alone in your thoughts.  The grind in 100+ degrees is very real and your will can vary.  That said, I get more out of making myself do the work then being accountable to someone else just to make sure I show up.

Today BCC's "Great Divide" got me through with some deep and honest thoughts about my training and my life. Enjoy!  Bubba

PS - I like this video because you get a glimpse at the process.  As an athlete most people only see us at competitions.  Especially me since I train alone.  But there is so much more that goes into that performance.  And because you're only as good as your last one, I need more focus.

NSG Entrants
Kirk Michael Bentz CALIFORNIA 55-59 Male Pole Vault
Charlie C Bing TEXAS 55-59 Male Pole Vault
ROBERT W CRITES TEXAS 55-59 Male Pole Vault
DONALD W CURRY TEXAS 55-59 Male Pole Vault
Michael Lewis Sayers NEW YORK 55-59 Male Pole Vault
Gary Lee Scheffe TEXAS 55-59 Male Pole Vault
Gerrod Smith NEW YORK 55-59 Male Pole Vault
Mike E Soule MINNESOTA 55-59 Male Pole Vault
DOUGLAS SPARKS TEXAS 55-59 Male Pole Vault

Thursday, June 2, 2011

More Developments

Yep, another day, another brick in the wall.  Good hard gym and cardio day as I work toward a phase break leading up to the National Senior Games.  Right now I'm in the final really hard sessions so music drives me through the tough spots.  Today it was Metallica's "Fuel" that did the trick to get me over the hump.

Still no schedule for NSG which is just plain STUPID. How do you expect 12,000 athletes in 18 sports to come to town and not know what time of day they compete?  Especially with Worlds only three weeks later?  This happens more often than not, but since entries have been closed for over two months how is it possible?

Cleveland?!  YES!!  Our national outdoor meet is there at the end of July so I've been hoping to make that trip.  All flights have had stops and the cost was nearly $500.  I've always heard that Tuesday is the day to look but I've been having good luck on Thursdays. So after lunch today I about fell over when I saw a nonstop for $207.  I quickly booked that and the meet hotel, which happened to be only $104 per night.

Last night I got a call from Bruce Caldwell of Essx, my pole manufacturer and friend for 35 years.  He says, "I'm working on some new carbon designs and want to get a new pole to you for your big meets coming up".  WOW - that's the kind of call I like to get.  At Reno I jumped 4.10m (13' 6") on m 14.3 but my 14.0 was too big so he is going to try to hit one in between. He also wants to ship me some poles for other athletes coming to NSG.

That's it for today.  Tonight I'll take a good look and my final calender and figure out the details of what sessions are left.  I have kind of played it out in my mind but need to compare for the exact plan. Have a great day and thanks for being here!  Bubba

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Feeling Fat!!

Well two days of no training and I start feeling fat and worthless.  I knew I was getting my knee shot yesterday so I did that workout Sunday giving me a double.  Today is my Off/Travel day so that adds to it.  I know that you make 100% of your progress during rest but it sucks when you WANT to be moving.  I especially need the short break after the injection. That said I'm back to my normal routine tomorrow and glad of it.

"Tubthumping" by Chumbawamba has been running through my head a million times over the past week so I thought I would post it today.  I like the opening chorus because it sounds all too familiar, "I get knocked down, I get up again, they're never going to keep me down".  And they won't, but it ain't that easy getting back up every time either.  Thanks for all of your support and have a great evening. Bubba