Sunday, July 31, 2011

We Will Always Have Reno - Everything is Going to Be Alright

Reno was my best meet of the year. That is where I timed up my vault with my longer runs and bigger poles.  Yesterday my longer runs were dead on but my timing was just enough amiss from not jumping that I couldn't convert - lots of height, no depth.  Rather than last year where I dropped down and started over, this year I will continue on from where I am but add in lots of jumping and a ton more running.  It will be a full volume of training but the new components (running/vaulting) will begin at a low intensity and ramp up slowly.  VERY excited.  All in all, as Bob Marley sings,"Everything is going to be all right".  Thanks for your support.  Bubba

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Band Was Great - My Vault Day Was OK

The crowd last night was almost entirely masters athletes thanks to Ken Stone and Click to enlarge.
I was SHOCKED by how great these guys were as they had never played together before.  Mike Soule on the left is an M55 vaulter, and Bob Banhagel on guitar and John Large on drums are M60 vaulters.

When I saw the results from yesterday the first thing me and Don said was, "WOW - why the low heights?"  At the end of my competition today I had the same question but no answer.  Great group of guys first off.  I really enjoyed meeting and seeing all of the guys in my group.  That is half the fun of these meets.  Surprisingly many read this blog.  Cool!  I try to relate to what we all feel as my daily struggles are not new to anyone who vaults, especially at our age.

To start with I was moving poles better than at Sacramento.  My new smaller one was great in warm up but too small for a meet which is perfect since I will do a TON more practice jumping next year.  Gary Hunter won as expected and I was 2nd.  He jumped 13' 1 1/2" (4.00m) and I jumped 12' 1 1/2" (3.70m) - BOTH 4" (10 cm) lower than Sacramento where the weather was crap.  Huh?  It was HOT and we had a light head wind, but again, for some reason no one could get to their bigger poles.  I was the exact same place I was at Worlds except there my attempt at 12' 6" stayed up and here it ALMOST did.
Obviously I'm not thrilled but why could no one jump high here when the place felt pretty good?  Mystery to me.  My season synopsis is that I made a calculated mistake early this year for which I will be rewarded next year but was punished for this year.  I insisted that I was going to move to the next level physically and that I would only vault on my meet series, 14' 7" (4.45m) poles.  The intensity of my training meant I could only jump in meets.  I got early rewards witha huge PR in Reno and then getting over 13' again at Albuqurque.  But recovering from the ding there, and then the inside leg strain, put me way behind on my sprinting.  NOW I can run but don't have the same timing on the pole so even though I"m better I'm actually jumping lower on smaller poles.  Next year I will jump a TON on any pole that feels comfortable on my two jump days.  I will get 10-15 jumps per day and that vault conditioning and timing will come back.  The good news is that I am starting me new season next Thursday in awesome physical shape as well as uninjured!  YEAH for that one!!!!!!!!!

I can't thank you all enough for going with me on this journey.  Your support has been tremendous.  I love hearing from you and enjoy seeing you.  I am SO excited ti get back to work and of course I will continue to report here.  Thank you again and have a great day!!  Bubba

Friday, July 29, 2011

Welcome to Cleveland

So far so good.  Landed 20+ minutes early, bags came out really fast, 1st off the bus and in line at the car rental, took less than 5 minutes at the car rental, found the meet hotel (Crown Plaza Airport) easily, got early check in, lunch, off to track, found the poles, saw the facility, picked up my package in less than 3 minutes, got a nap since I woke up at 3:30 AM, etc. Not too bad.

The vault area is below a bluff behind the top curve of the track.  Because that berm/bluff is about 25' high, we don't get hit with a crosswind like Sacramento.  On the other side of the runway are trees so today was a light little tailwind.  Looks like a great place to jump.  They had some rain this morning and that delayed the vault, but it's all clearing out for a nice weekend.

I just got an email from USA Track & Field telling us that Sunday at 8:45 the NFL's Cleveland Browns will open their training camp at Baldwin Wallace on the field next to the track.  We should expect delays in driving and thousands of fans there to watch the football practice.  I'm done tomorrow but Don jumps Sunday.  The Browns just cut Jake Delhomme which means that former University of Texas QB Colt McCoy is their starter.

Speaking of Don, today is his 55th birthday which is good news and bad news.  He will vault in the M50 rather than the M55 because the cut off date for age is the day the meet starts, yesterday.  As I mentioned before he drove here from Houston and will take our poles back on his car.

Tonight is the pole vaulter jam session and Tony K's bar and grill.  I'm not a night person nor do I drink but I need to check out a little bit of this.  Have a great day and thanks for your support. I've got to get my lazy butt up and stride/skip/stretch.  Bubba

Thursday, July 28, 2011

LAST Workout!!

Got my last regular workout done today and tomorrow I'm off to Cleveland.  Hardly seems like 427 days of training in this program.  What does that tell you about age.  It took 421 days to go from 13' 1 (3.99m) to 13' 6" (4.10m) with a series of dings and injuries added in.  OUCH!!  Still I'm really excited about next year where I have much bigger plans to try and make a breakthrough.

Today during my last stretch I heard Motley Crue's "Primal Scream" -  Love the line "if you wanna live large while you're on top you've gotta be ready to crash and burn".  To vaulters that means hit the big poles because that's where the big jumps are.  I'll see what I can do about that Saturday. Have a great day and thank you!!  Bubba

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lap of Luxury

This is the image I get when I think of "lapping up luxury".  But my summer is spent at quite the opposite with our biggest meets of the year being in Houston, Sacramento and Cleveland.  It is what it is and you get ready and you go.

Today I had my last running with 5 X 50m hill/sleds.  Everything felt good and then I got a long stretch.  I was a little surprised after sitting in the car so much but I felt reasonably loose and fairly free on my runs.  So that's it for the year.  As the end of week #61 comes to an end, so does this season. 

Of course next season starts a week from tomorrow.  I'm often asked why I don;t take time off.  first, it's WAY too hard to gain back what you lose, and 2, the pole vault is a fun event.  It's like telling a surfer they need some time off.  WHY?

Hope you have a great day and thanks for your support!!  Bubba

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Miles & Miles of Texas

Coincidentally this old song by Asleep at the Wheel came on my MP3 right before I hit the road yesterday. I'm far from a country music fan but there are a few I like -

During the big drive for business I have managed a jacuzzi stretch as well as a stride/skip/stretch session.  In tomorrow afternoon's heat I will run my last workout before nationals, 5-6 X 50m hill/sleds followed by a long stretch.  As always I eat too much on these trips but I'm trying to watch it.  That's all I have for today.  Have a great one!  Bubba

Monday, July 25, 2011

On the Road Again

Going to Dallas (4.5 hours) for today and tomorrow and then to College Station (Texas A & M) on Wednesday for a circle of about 600 miles.  OF COURSE I drive safely but wide open Texas roads always bring to mind the Sammy Hagar song, "I Can't Drive 55" -
Had my last gym lift this morning and in week #61, I finish a little short of 4 million pounds lifted for the year. I'm fine with that.  Strong again this morning at 162 so I won't complain.

Gotta hit the road.  Enjoy your day and thanks for being here!  Bubba

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Long Road Nears End

Today began week #61 of this training plan - the last week.  This morning I had a good short gym lift and tomorrow I have my last garage lift.  Coming up is skip/stride/stretch on Tuesday, 6 X 50m hill/sleds on Wednesday, stretch Thursday and another skip/stretch/stride on Friday.  NONE of these are hard workouts but the quality is essential.

Speaking of essential, my weight has consistently been 162-163 whereas I have been 168-170 all year.  All I can think of besides the heat is that since 9 days out from the National Senior Games on 6/20, I have gone to complete quality and very little grind.  This makes me think that I have dropped down from "training muscle mass" to "essential only mass".  Surprisingly I still feel very strong and quick.  In the past if I dropped weight I felt an immediate loss of power.  Not the case this time so I guess I have accidentally tapered in the correct way.

Thank you for being here as I greatly appreciate it.  Bubba

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Photos From Worlds + Stuff

Photos From Worlds - Click to Enlarge - More Stuff Below
Getting moving before my first jump.
I told Bruce Caldwell I would wear my Essx hat.
This is the most nervous time, just before the first jump.
Getting ready for the first jump - on the clock.
I can feel the relief as I clear my opening height on my 1st attempt.

Last hard run this morning.  I did 8 X 50m hill/sleds; six with 10 lbs. and two with 15.  I'll run six on Wednesday and that's it. That will be 4 @10 and 2 @ 15.

As mentioned many times this type of preparation is like being on a balance beam.  You fall of one side and under train you can't progress.  You fall off the other side and you get hurt and miss 4-8 weeks.  It is definitely a "Tightrope" as described by Stevie Ray Vaughn -

As a follow up to yesterday's announcement about the masters pole vaulter jam session, I saw this link about it on  COOL!!

Have a great weekend and thanks for your support.  Bubba

Friday, July 22, 2011

Jammin' With the "Souleman" @ National Masters

Hi everyone
Mike Soule here. I'm asking a favor from all of you. Would you please forward the following to those on your email list that will be going to Berea, OH for the 2011 USATF Masters Outdoors Track and Field Championships. Simple put, it will be way more fun to play to a full house the an empty one. Thanks!

Mike Soule

Hey Gang

M65 vaulter Bob Banghagel, M55 vaulter Mike Soule, M60vaulter John Large and a couple more masters athlete's to be named later, are going to be "doin' a Gig" at a place called Tony K's in Berea, OH, Friday evening July 29th. We'll all be in Berea for the USATF Masters Outdoors Championships.So let's make this the after Friday's day of competition meeting place. We're planning on being set up and performing at 7 and go till 9 so everyone can get back to the rooms and get the sleep needed for the rest of the weekend's competitions. We'll be playin' a little blues, a little country a little rock n' roll and a little........oh shoot.....we don't know what we're going to play but it's going to be fun and it could be pretty good. So make plans to join us. Tony K's web site is

Hope to see you there for the fun!

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Are people really melting?  It feels like it!  It's not just hot here but all over the country which should prove interesting as we head to Cleveland next week for nationals.  Right now their 10 day Hi/Lo forecast says 87/71 with a 91% chance of rain next Friday.

BTW - Nationals AFTER Worlds?  It doesn't happen often but occasionally it does.  I remember in 1997 we had Worlds in South Africa and then nationals a few weeks later in San Jose. It's hard not to feel let down after a big meet like that but nationals is also a big meet.  For some reason I'm very focused and feel good about my prep for Cleveland.  Another good hard gym lift today.  Maybe it's because I don't think the conditions could be worse than Sacramento.  I hope not any way.

I'll label the poles and drop them off at the loading dock this morning.  Don is driving if he has a good practice Saturday but he can't take poles because he won't get there in time for the girls who ship with us.  Best case we ship there and he brings them home but you never know.

Thanks for being here and have a great day!! Bubba

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Slave to the Grind!!

I got up at 3:45 AM to leave my house at 4:30 to drive 3.5 hours to pick up a smaller 14'7"/4.45m from Kris. I had to go early because I still had my standing lunch meeting at 11 AM with a partner, three hours from Kris.  Got home at 3:30 in the afternoon, changed and headed to the track for 10 X 50m hill/sleds and to measure and tape up my new pole.  The bottom line is 12 hours after I left the house I completed my workout and limped home.

Limp is figurative as my knee did not bother me at all.  Pleasantly surprised as I was thinking after Sunday's run that I may need to get it shot again next Monday.  I would say conservatively it was 95% better.  So good in fact that I thought about vaulting on my new pole after the 6th sled pull.  I decided against it but it was tough as that new pole is thin and light and feels just awesome.  I will start my warm up with it in Cleveland.  Can't wait.  My poles are flexed on a 14'1"/4.30m span so I can compare them to how they would feel compared to my 14'1" pole series.  This one is a 16.3 so it is .5 smaller than my previous smaller one, a 15.8.  PERFECT!!

I often talk about how far away a big meet feels when you're done.  Like two weeks later you feel like a slug.  No time for that with nationals coming up.  Again, I'm pleasantly surprised that all of my workouts are feeling so good.  Must have been the three full days off doing nothing after Worlds.

Weight mystery solved - I left for the track today at 174.5.  Came home and drank a huge amount of fluids because it was so hot.  Even after that I weighed 171.  If you remember I did a two day pole vault clinic right in the major Texas heat before I left, so THAT is responsible for the big weight loss.  Of course the north has been over 100 so maybe Cleveland will do it's Texas imitation.  I will be ready in any case as today was 98 when I did my running.

I took the truck today since I had to transport poles so I listened to satellite radio and heard the perfect song for today; Skid Row's, "Slave to the Grind".

Enjoy and have a great evening.  I need some sleep.  Hard gym workout in the AM.  Thank you for being here!!!!  Bubba

PS - poles are dropped off for a Friday pick up for shipping to Cleveland.  Heck they just got home from Sacramento on Monday!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My Losing Season

I just finished Pat Conroy's, "My Losing Season" about his senior year on the basketball team at The Citadel.  The stated purpose of the exercise was to determine if you learn more from winning or losing.  The book looks at his childhood and tough Marine pilot father, the subject of his book, "The Great Santini".  He lived a very tough life but was truly committed to his passion for basketball.  A small guy at 5' 10" he did not have the skills to be a factor as he aspired to be the best point guard to ever play.  That year he won the most valuable player trophy for a team that won only eight games.  He was an overachiever.  I learned a lot about Pat and he gained my deepest respect with his approach to the game and life.  He truly did learn more from losing but he kept up his optimism and spirit.

By any measure I have had a losing season.  Other than winning my pit in Reno with a PR of 4.10m/13' 5 1/4", I have fought through this season with tiny but nagging injuries.  I got 4th at indoor nationals even though I jumped 13'.  I got 2nd at the National Senior Games, I was 4th at the World Masters Championships and I will not win in Cleveland because Gary Hunter is now in my age group.  So, maybe my season not "losing", but certainly not winning like 2009 when I won national indoors and also set a meet record at the World Masters Games in Sydney, Australia.  The truth is I jumped much better and much higher this year but being older in a group of young studs takes it's toll. 

STILL, I learned a lot from my losing season.  I learned I could only jump at meets and still be at a very high level on my biggest pole series.  I would never do this again but this year it was a requirement to even be in the game at all in my age group.  I learned that no matter what level you are at you basically start over no matter how small the injury.  It took me from March to now to get my speed back but I never jumped on anything less than my 14' 7"/4.45m pole series.  This time last year I had no idea I would even attempt to get a pole that big.  As of tomorrow I will have eight.  So the question is, was my effort worth it or is the year "All Down the Drain" as the Chickenfoot song goes?

I feel really good about what I have accomplished and know it will pay off in higher jumps over the next couple of years.  Tomorrow morning I'm picking up a smaller 14'7" pole from Kris so I never get stuck again like I was in Sacramento where my smallest pole was actually too big.  On a good day I can almost jump on my smallest 14'7" from 44' (8 steps), so with this pole I should be able to easily do that on a consistent basis.  TONS of vaults are scheduled for next year.  Though I still jump well I really lost the refinements I had built up the year before.  The objective is to get those back while continuing to raise my running speed and technical ability.  I'm very excited about the process.

Saving me from me again?  I was going to run again today but it's raining so I will wait until tomorrow afternoon.  Probably better anyway since the outside of my knee was sore on Sunday.  Thanks for all of your support and words of encouragement. It means the world to me.  Bubba

Monday, July 18, 2011

Back to Work

A good lift session this morning in the garage.  Yes it's still very hot but just when I finished I was surprised by a thunderstorm and shower.  Overall I felt pretty good though not all that strong.  You ramp up and then back off for the meet and then have a break after that.  All in all it's almost two weeks of no lifting.  Hard to go back so I always start light and cycle back up.  The bottom line is I got it done and felt good about it.

I've been fielding a lot of calls and emails about Worlds and the varied conditions that different vaulters had.  Apparently ours was quite the bloodbath as far as the draw of the weather and wind.  Four 13' (3.97m) vaulters did not clear a height, the winner jumped a foot lower than he has this year, and four of us have already jumped as high or higher than the winning jump this year.  Charlie Brown told me he was two poles down from his start pole.  In only my third outdoor meet I improved on my two previous meets.  Makes no sense to me.  So in honor of this fiasco, I offer ACDC's, "If You Want Blood, You've Got It" -

I found out that I jump at 10 AM in Cleveland on Saturday, July 30.  Our poles get in from Sacramento today and will go to Cleveland on Friday.  More later as I try to play catch up.  Thanks for being here.  Bubba

Sunday, July 17, 2011


My first day back to full training today and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  Don't get me wrong, it sucked, just not as bad as I was expecting.  My left knee did have a small flare so I'll keep an eye on it when I run on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.  Worse case I'll get it shot again Monday morning of next week.  I almost jumped this morning on small poles just for fun but decided it's more important to get back to work on my run so I can move poles in Cleveland.

My main reflection is that I overachieved and survived at Worlds.  I was 163 and you just don't move poles like you do at 170.  I was shocked to be that light.  That said I asked Kris to get me 1-2 smaller poles in case I remain this low in weight.  I felt strong and fast so I can't justify gaining weight to get on a pole; hence I expect at least one from Kris. 

The key is pole speed and if you can get the pole past vertical and leave the standards on 80 cm/31.5", you can get some blow off the top of the pole.  I was less vertical going up the pole in this meet than I have been in years because I was having to angle my body to make sure I got in deep enough to try and clear the bar.  That is a horrible situation.

Our poles should be back tomorrow from Sacramento and on Friday they need to leave for Cleveland.  Glad this is the last meet but I am very excited to get a chance to jump well. I don't feel a letdown from Worlds but rather feel I'm getting a new opportunity to jump high.  Considering I have only jumped in three outdoor meets, I NEED a good one.

Here is the link to Wednesday's jumps in Apple MOV format.  I like it because you can hit pause and then advance frame by frame using the cursor.  Here is the 12' / 3.65m jump - and here is the 12' 6" / 3.80m jump -  Nothing special about either which represents my struggle of the day.  Both jumps are "Saves" rather than carefully executed planned jumps.  Oh well; I'll take it and learn from it.

I feel good about Cleveland so far.  Of course I have some refining and planning to do but I'm sure it will work out.  What's funny is six months ago I told Kris that worse case the weather in Sacramento will be bad and I can move back a stride, go to spikes, stay on a small pole and bring my standards in a little and be OK.  That's exactly what happened.  It's not the preferred option but I didn't bat an eye in denial that I had to go to plan Z; I just did it.  I guess it does to pay to over analyze way in advance.  Believe me, I'm looking at Cleveland with new eyes.  Thanks so much for being here!  Bubba

Saturday, July 16, 2011

It's a Long Way to the Top

Just two days ago I vaulted in the World Masters Championships, and two weeks from today I will be in Cleveland for outdoor nationals, yet I'm slaving away calculating final prep for Cleveland and the beginning of next year's training.  BTW - "Next year" begins the Thursday after Cleveland.

As you know, in 2013 I turn 60 so the next two years will be a blast into that so I can try and jump 13' / 3.97m at 60.  To date, only one man has ever done that, John Altendorf, who coincidentally may do the same at age 65 when he jumps in Sacramento today. 

In 2013 Cleveland will host the National Senior Games, World Masters Championships will be in Porto Alegro, Brazil, and the World Masters Games, which I won in Sydney, will be in Turin, Italy.  Those are the only targets that matter to me over the next two years.  And as ACDC says, "It's a Long Way to the Top of Your Wanna Rock and Roll" -

ACDC is an Australian band and is also my pick today because the 2016 World Masters Championships have been awarded to Perth, Australia.  Not to mention one of my buddy, Dean "The Machine" Gregory's favorite bands.  Thanks Deano for the hotel selection in Sacramento. Outstanding!!  I'll mail your T-shirt when I get home.

Thanks to everyone of you who reads this silly little venting of frustration, hope and uncertainty.  I love it when you come up and tell me that you read it.  I write it because I know every single masters vaulter goes through exactly what I do.  Thank you so much for your incredible support.  I will do my best not to let you/us down.  Off to the airport - homeward bound.  Bubba

Friday, July 15, 2011

Updates & Video Links

Went back to the stadium today to make sure our four bags of poles left yesterday and they did.  Got a call from Don Islet (M70) telling me the airline broke six of his poles on the way here.  He borrowed poles and still won.  When we ship we don't worry about that stuff.

Here is a video link for the 12' jump -
And here is the one for the 12' 6" jump -
You can see at 12' the pole is too small and at 12' 6" I'm not moving the pole at all. That kind of a struggle all day. I feel very fortunate to have gotten 4th under those circumstances.  Have a great day!!  Bubba

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Day After

I'm not too beat up today but I really won't know until tomorrow or the next day. I walked up some pretty serious hills today in Yosemite and that felt like a good recovery activity. Trying to upload video but this connection sucks so I will do it tomorrow when I get back to Sacramento.  Upon further review I"m quite certain that weighing 163 affected my ability to move my poles.  My run was back almost a foot so I was running well and I felt strong.  I normally weigh about 168 to 170 so I will try and get back to that before Cleveland.  Live and learn.  Have a great day!!  Bubba

PS - Here is the results link. Just scroll down to Wednesday, July 13, Pole Vault - M55 -

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Well it's 12 hours since I last wrote and I am at a hotel in Yosemite.  This morning was COLD with a crosswind.  That combined with me coming in too light (163) caused me to struggle on poles.  I had to start from 12 steps on a pole that is usually too small from 10 steps.  My standards are always all the way back and even with my run back I had to move them into 70cm/28".  I cleared 12' 6" (3.80m) and got 4th in a tough field.  Several high profile no heights and some who jumped well below their potential.  I was seriously hoping to just be in the top six so I'll take it.  The bottom line was that I felt good, jumped well, did not get hurt but I flat couldn't get my poles moving.  Again, I'll take 4th in the world.  BTW - USA was 1-5 in the M55.  Have a great evening.  Bubba

Today is the Day

It's 4:30 AM in Sacramento and I have already eaten, stretched and had a short soak.  I will get dressed and head to the track about 5:30. As far as I can tell everything feels good and I will give it my best.  Thanks for all of your support!  It's taken 58 weeks of training to get to this day.  It's up to me to make the most of it; but obviously I had help. Thank you!. Bubba

Monday, July 11, 2011

Made it to Sacramento

Like my body doesn't need to soak here!
The view from the room
Arrived this morning, got the rental car and headed for the hotel.  Got out of the car and told the valet that I had 25 minutes to get lunch before a business call and then I would check in.  About 20 minutes later I was approached in the dining room and informed that I was checked in, given my keys and told that my bags were already in my room.  Never even went to the front; signed the papers at the dining table. Amazing.  Then later I asked where a grocery store was so I could get some protein drinks and bananas, etc.  He said he would have a car around for me in 5-10 minutes to take me to the store so I wouldn't have to get my car or worry about directions.  Again, amazing.  It's called Le Rivage -

After my call I went over to the track to get checked in. Of course I'm at the machine getting my parking pass and Kirk Bentz comes up to me. Always great to see Kirk but he proceeded to show me where to get my credential, where we will check in on Wednesday morning and where our poles are stored.

Back at the hotel relaxing.  I'll go over tomorrow when the girls jump at 8 to see what the conditions look and feel like.  It's gotten cooler with a low of 51 and a high of 83.

Results - Our friend Helen Croskell won the W35 Saturday.  Today Matt was not happy getting 5th in the M40.  We talked and he said he blew through poles and didn't move up fast enough.  He explained that even though the wind was bad, the speed of the runway and the fact it is somewhat downhill because of the crown on the football field made up for the wind and his poles felt small.  good enough for me.

Have a great day.  More tomorrow. Thanks for being here.  Bubba

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Project Complete - Almost

Of course I'm not done until the competition is complete but I'm totally done with all I can do.  LONG easy stretch today and will do the same tomorrow and Tuesday.  I'm as ready as I can be and cautiously optimistic that my body is up for the challenge.

I sent a message to long time friend Jill Starkey yesterday who won the W40.  She was an Olympic Trials finalist in her prime with a best vault of 14' 1 1/4" (4.30m), and is married to Dean Starkey, 19' 5" (5.92m).  I wanted to know her take on the conditions.  She responded in part, "Hey bubba, the wind was bad. .. big cross/head wind. The sun was in your eyes too. so not ideal".  That's about what I figured but I wanted to hear from her.  They jumped at 9 AM and had the sun in their eyes so I'm sure at 8 AM it will be worse.  Plus it is also supposed to be about 10 degrees cooler.  Sounds like Kris and I came up with the best and safest plan.

Today's song is Van Halen's, "Dreams".  My kid at UC Irvine from Hungary loved this song.  We listened to it a lot as we drove around Atlanta for the five weeks we were there for the 1996 Olympic Games where he went as my assistant.  This version has the Blue Angels flying.  The best kid I ever coached, Borya Celentano, who trained with Pete, is a Navy jet pilot. 

Medal Predictions?  Same as Albuquerque;
Gold - Gary Hunter
Silver  - Charlie Brown
Bronze - Kirk Benz.

Have a great day and thanks for your support.  I look back to the fact that I originally planned to skip this meet because I'm too old in the group to be competitive with the younger guys coming up.  I chose to jump at it only to challenge myself and to set me up for the next two years as I prepare to turn 60 before the next world championships.  So thanks again.  It means the world to me!  Bubba

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Weighty Matters

I had a long talk with Kris today about my final lead up to my jumping Wednesday.  I'm not complaining I don't think but I'm coming in quite a bit lighter than I have been lately.  Of course I have been watching my eating but I've also been out in the heat for the better part of the last two days.  I normally wake up on a meet day at about 168 so I go out to jump at about 170 after I eat.  I woke up yesterday at 161.5 and today at 162.5.  I woke up for NSG at 165.5 and it made me struggle to move a normally easy pole, hence flaring my hamstring.

I'm healthy, my training has gone well, but if I wake up that morning under 167 our plan is to stay one pole down and not move to the big poles so quickly.  I also plan to move back to 12 steps/64' for my 2nd height on the the 2nd pole I normally jump on from 10 steps/54'.  This is partly because of my weight and partly because it is supposed to be 50 degrees as a low that morning.  Finally, international rules do not allow a run through (warm up jump with no bar) at the height you enter.  So start on an easy pole and then move back a stride for the next one so I can relax on the runway.

We finished our pole vault clinic at the high school today and I was able to stay off of my feet. I got there early enough to complete my final sled/hill running and stretching. So that's it; nothing left but stretching and travel and no further workouts. I feel well prepared and ready.

Today's music is Bachman Turner Overdrive's, "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet".  I heard it on the radio today and I immediately applied it to my pole/run length/weight/weather juggle.  Because I have NO idea how this will play out, I've got about three different scenarios to choose from.  I'm totally comfortable with any of these options.  Have a great day!  Bubba

PS - Medal predictions tomorrow!!

Friday, July 8, 2011

I'm Still Standing - Need To Stop

Today was the first day of our pole vault clinic.  We only went from 8AM to noon but DANG am I tired of standing.  I think it was near 100 degrees when we were done but we had fun.  I did a pretty good job of staying off of my feet but there was some light demonstration.  Tomorrow they will vault a lot more so I will be able to sit the entire time.

The good news was that I did get up at 6 AM and got my last garage workout done before the clinic.  Tomorrow I'll go over early and do my final sled/hill session and then that's it except for stretching each day.

I'm going real retro today with Elton John's, "I'm Still Standing".  I annoyingly kept chastising myself with that exact statement to try and remind me to SIT DOWN.  Tomorrow I'll do better.  Have a great day and thank you for your support!  Bubba

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Back to School!!

Had a decent last gym workout today.  I was careful of course.  Can't say I felt real strong since I missed the last gym lift with my body aches.  I was strong as I needed to be to wake up my body without risk of injury.

School #1 - for the next two days I am conducting a half day vault clinic (8-noon both days) for a group of kids to benefit the high school's vault program.  I haven't done this particular teaching since I left California in 2001.  Of course I do the components myself but today's kids have such a short time available when they get out of class.  I know that some of our kids have taken this upon themselves to do. It's one of those things that isn't hard so you have no excuse not to do it.  But because it's not hard they make every excuse not to.  If it's too hard they do the same so you're always looking for this balance.  Should be fun; except for the starting my own workout at 6 AM to be done in time on both days.

School #2 - On August 1, I will completely switch up all of my training for the next two years.  Legendary vault coach and author, Alan Launder says if you're going to change your vault you need to expect a two year project.  So I'm going to school for two years.  I'll probably jump indoors at Reno, Colorado and maybe Minnesota but I will skip both indoor and outdoor nationals.  I'm sure I will jump in the fun summer meets but won't travel I don't think, unless there is a cool beach or street vault.  I say this because I need to view this schooling as a two year class and not two one year classes.  I will become a runner again and I will jump two days and do pole drills two days a week. I'll still lift but with a different emphasis.  Bars will remain the same.  Very excited about it.

Of course I have some business at hand.  I was thrilled to hear that Casey Anthony will be released from jail and on her way to Houston to live with a relative - on the day I jump at worlds in Sacramento.  Don't want to be around that zoo.  Anyway, thanks so much for your support.  Bubba

Here is "School" by Supertramp; one of the all time very cool songs.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Zoot Suit Riot

At the world championships you are "required" to wear a USA uniform.  Of course we read this as we "get to wear a team USA uniform".  As a kid you dream of that chance.  The unique thing about these big meets is that our USA team is fielded by USA Track & Field, just like our Olympic team is.  We have the choice of uniforms worn at previous Olympic Games.  I wore the 2004 uniform the Olympians wore in Athens when I won at the World Masters Games in Sydney so I'm sticking with that.  It's our version of the "Zoot Suit"; the finest it gets.

The poles arrived at the track today and were signed for at 11:35.  Our first athlete who needs them vaults on Saturday so we are in good shape.  I arrive on Monday and will grab lunch, and then head over to pick up my packet and find the poles.  Since W35 athlete/friend, Helen Croskell jumps Saturday, she will find them first and let me know where they are.  We all will put on our return labels for the trip home and they will get back to the high school before I get back from Yosemite after the meet.

Today is my driving business travel day so I went to do my running and stretching at 6:15 AM.  I figure I jump at 8 AM or 6 AM my time so why not.  Everything felt easy and good like I'm regaining my strength.  Very surprising considering how horrible I felt with those body aches.  I've got three very easy days left. As I hoped I'm feeling much better than I did at the National Senior Games. Looking forward to the chance to jump with a great group of guys!!

That's it for today. Thanks for being here!  Here is a great old fashioned swing song, "Zoot Suit Riot". Bubba

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Feeling Better!!

I spent most of the 3rd and 4th of July in an out of bed as I was having flu like symptoms and horrible body aches.  Some chills, but no vomiting or fever.  Today I'm MUCH better.  I'll get a nice long stretch in today and try to do my running tomorrow.  Have a great day!  Bubba

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Holding On

Another hot running day 10 X 50m hill/sleds.  My body aches and is sore but not rundown.  It feels more like a neccessary step to sharpen where I need to be in just 10 days.  It always amazes me how far away I feel from being in top shape at this point.  Almost as far away as I feel a week after a meet.  These big meets are really like catching lightening in a bottle as far as having your body and mind healthy and ready.  I feel like I will because I have no real pain or injury, but today I feel beat up like I do in the offseason.

So in the words of the 70's band, 38 Special, I will "Hold on Loosely" and hope for the best.  When I think back to stopping at the National Senior Games, I was alarmed that I was either hurt or about to be hurt.  I was not. I have two more running sessions left and I expect to survive those.  I'm cautiosly optimistic and hoping for the best.  Thanks for your support!  Bubba

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Roller Coaster Ride is Almost Over - For THIS Year!

Click to enlarge
I'm not saying I'm going down or crashing but I loved the photo of this roller coaster in Japan.

Today was a hot garage lift.  I went over and watched Don and Matt jump at 7 and then came home to beat the heat.  Tough but good.  I expect as much.  Time to raise the intensity, increase the rest and make sure I get in plenty of bars and stretching.  My last workout will be a running workout a week from today. Until then there will be no days off but also there will be nothing that can hurt me or make me flat.

I heard a song I really liked from my college days on my MP3 today; "Roller" by April Wine.  I think I will make that my guitar lesson today. Have a great day and thank you for being here!  Bubba

Friday, July 1, 2011

New Developments

Had a good strong lift in the gym today.  It was supposed to be yesterday after I ran but on three attempts to go lift, something came up where I had to return home.  Turns out when I looked at my remaining days on the calender, that waiting until today was optimal anyway for my last rotations of training.  Me being protected from me I guess.

I see on the website that the pits in my age group will start at 2.60m/8 ' 6 1/4"., and go 15cm/6" until there are five vaulters left, then 10cm/4" until three vaulters are left and then 5cm/2" until complete.  I'm guessing that since the lowest vaulter on my pit has vaulted 3.35m/11' that no one will jump at the opening height or maybe even the first two heights.  Pit B will probably have several jumping at the first two heights.

SO, we're probably looking at the metric equivalents of 8' 6", 9', 9' 6", 10', 10' 6", 11', 11' 6", 12', 12' 6", 12' 10" 13' 2", 13' 4", 13' 6", etc..  The question becomes, what happens to Gary Hunter on Pit 2?  He may not jump at the same heights we do since he will be alone by 13' where he starts.  He will be going 2" per height.  Should be interesting.

POLES - I got the poles packaged and labeled yesterday and I'm sure they have been picked up this morning already.  I'll check a little later and provide a link for you to track them if you are so inclined.  Well, how about now?  The tracking number is 880773213 and you can track it here -  My buddy Kirk Bentz works for this company at LAX so he shepherds all poles through there and sometimes writes notes on them to the vaulters.

Me on TV? - I went to the bank this morning and the teller asked me if I was on TV last night.  A neighbor and a girl at the vet's office both told Nancy they saw me.  No I wasn't arrested.  When I flew in from Denver last Friday our local NBC affiliate was doing a story on finding the best flight deals.  In the segment where she briefly speaks to me (about halfway/2 minute mark) she asks what I paid for my flight and then asks another lady on the same flight what she paid.  Nothing special but it also doesn't happen every day.  It was my birthday that day so maybe that's it.  Anyway, here you go -

Hope you all have a fun and safe holiday weekend.  Thank you so much for being here with me.  I had a friend ask me last week how it feels to be so near the end of this year and my goal event.  Good question.  My response was that I have USA Nationals two weeks later and two days after that I start training for next year.  That said, nothing matters but Wednesday the 13th at the World Championships.  As one of the older guys in the group, I would be thrilled to be on the top 6, but nothing is ever assured. Bubba

PS - I forgot to mention that today I went over 19 million pounds lifted since I started training again on 1/1/205.  I should get to 4,000 pounds lifted for this year by Cleveland.