Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Good News, Bad News, Good News

Good News - After doing absolutely nothing between my meet Saturday and this morning, I was surprised to see that I felt pretty good and quick.  My goal was to work on some technical details where I have been lacking some mental discipline.  That part went very well as I had much better feel and control. 

Bad News - On my 10th vault and first take off on my 4m/14.3 from six steps I felt a little hamstring grab right as I left the ground.  I wasn't straining and I had no previous hint of tightness.  BTW - this is not that unusual in the first jump session after a meet so I was already being cautious.  All I can think is that my body needs to get used to jumping a lot.

On a scale of 10 I call it a 3-4 so it's not a big deal.  I should be able to jump again at a low level in a couple of weeks.  I always give myself twice as long as I need to recover so I don;t have a relapse.  That said, I'll skip the meet outside of Austin on September 25.  I'm going on vacation the day after for five days anyway so I might as well get the full rest benefit.

Good News - Because I felt on the edge of plantar fascitis early on, I have not been doing the running I had hoped to do.  The late, great, orthopedic surgeon, Glen Almquist used to tell me if my training is hurting me but my event is not then I need to adjust my training. If my event is hurting me I had better get back to base training.  So I will.  For the next five weeks I will run 10 X 100m grass strides plus 10 X 50m hill/sleds three days a week.  I'm SUPER excited to get back to this.  Why?

I see lots of guys jump a lot but not make significant height improvement.  The reality is that at our age and level of proficiency, we can probably gain 6"+ (15 cm) improvement from better technical skills - that's it.  We can gain another 6 - 12"+ from physical improvement.  I need a continued concentration on both.  So this little baby ding comes at a time when I was questioning myself as to when I could return to serious running.  That time begins tomorrow.

Thank you for being here and have a wonderful day!  Bubba

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Phase Break

After four weeks of solid training I am skipping this three day rotation as planned.  My body feels good but it can use a refresher.  The more I think about yesterday, every single vault that felt wrong was because I was through the pole too fast.  In fact I never hit the bar once on the way down and my standards were all the way back.  Not a bad problem.  Have a great evening.  Bubba

Saturday, August 27, 2011

August All Comers - Mixed Results

The Woodlands PV Club (USATF Club #6101) has meets throughout the year but we always have one the last Saturday of the month from August through December so we can check off season progress.  We had a decent turn out this morning at 7:30 to beat the heat.  We're expecting 106 degrees today.

I started at 12' (3.66m) and made it on my 2nd on my smallest new 14' 1" (4.30m) pole - 165/17.9.  At 12' 4" (3.76m) I blew through the next pole on my first jump and moved on to the biggest 14' 1" - 169/17.0 and made it easy on the 3rd attempt.  At 12' 8" (3.86m) I found myself on my new smallest 14' 7" (4.45m) pole - 167/16.3 (on a 4.30m scale). WOW does that pole have some pop.  Cleared 12' 8" on my 3rd and went on to 13' (3.96m) which I did not make on my next 14' 7" pole.  So 11 meet jumps on five poles. I made 12' from 8 steps and 12' 4" and 12' 8" from 10 steps or about 53'.  At 13' I moved to 12 steps or 63'.

I liked that I could use the bigger poles but I didn't like that my swing timing felt inconsistent.  I haven't figured that out yet.  When I hit it I boomed the bars and when I just missed the timing a little they were ugly jumps.  Obviously I need more practice.  BUT - 12' 8" is a season outdoor high but anything under 13' does not make me happy.  Gotta start somewhere.  Late add - when I missed jumps I blew thru the pole.

At nationals I started at 11' 6" (3.51m) from 12 steps on the pole I ended on today at 13' from 10 steps, so at least I'm starting to move bigger poles from closer.  I'm not thrilled but I am optimistic that I am on the right track.  Thanks for your support and have a great weekend!  Bubba

Friday, August 26, 2011

Time Warp

As I complete week four of training I am still making minor adjustments to my routine.  This is not unusual as you try to find a flow for work/rest.  In these four weeks I've lifted 278,513 and 163 weighted high bar exercises.  Not a bad start.  Tomorrow will be my 8th vault day.  Yahooooooooooo!!

Each year I go through every single component and I decide what is essential.  I don't want any fluff just to be doing something.  If I'm doing it I want it to matter.  That said, I think I'm real close to being settled in to this program. 

Today when I was lifting I heard, "Time Warp" from Rocky Horror -  That was a pretty cool little mental get away. Enjoy!  Speaking of time warp, here is a slow motion pole vault as shown on the Discovery channel -  It came up in the search for this song.

Have a great day and thanks for being here.  Bubba

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Cold Front

At 5:57 AM it POURED rain and the temperatures dove down to 74 degrees.  Of course by the kid's afternoon practice it had risen to a steamy 96.  This breaks our streak of consecutive days over 100 degrees.  Not to worry as tomorrow is supposed to rebound with 106.

I had a good gym work out today and a nice long stretch.  Garage lift tomorrow and then I'll try to jump at a little higher level on Saturday. I'm sure I will start at 8 steps and go to 10 but I seriously doubt I'll go to 12.  I have three 14' 1" (4.30m) poles so I'll stick to them.  Hopefully I can transfer over a few things I've worked on in practice.  We shall see what we shall see.  Thanks for being here and have a great evening!  Bubba

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Travel Day

Not much happens on this day because I'm driving, and meeting, and driving, and meeting.  Tomorrow is a good gym day and a long stretch day.  I'm glad to get back to work after a day off.  Lance Armstrong used to say that about days off in the Tour de France - "you need it so bad but you feel so bad the day after the off day you almost don't want to take it".  I find the stretching revives me faster than anything else.  Plus it's my short rotation lift so the sets are fewer and the weight heavier. Have a great evening. Bubba

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Things Are Looking Up

Today was my easier day where I jump from 4, 6 and 8 steps.  I start on tiny poles and work my way through trying to stay within myself so I can get some good quality technical jumps.  Today out of 12 vaults I turned up and completed 11.  My first day was 50% completion so I'm getting more comfortable.

I got back to my standard training benchmark of clearing 12' (3.66m) from 6 steps (33' / 10m) on my 4m/14.7.  This is the same pole I made 12' on last Tuesday from 8; so being a stride in on the same pole is an improvement.  I also got on my biggest 4m pole, the 13.5 today from 8 for the first time this year.

Next month will be odd because I will be out of town on a few jump days so what I think I'm going to do is stick to the same run configuration but go ahead and start trying to advance through to bigger poles from these same runs.  Timing becomes a little more critical but that's going to happen at some point anyway.

I'm feeling a lot more relaxed and comfortable with my timing.  Still got some stuff to clean up on top but that is even starting to progress.  To that end, today I did not attempt higher than 12', which I cleared four times.  There's such a fine line between changing your vault when the bar goes up and I really didn't want to waste a jump "guessing" at the timing so I left the bar lower.  Normally I'll "man up", move the bar up and just make myself fix it in one jump, but today I wanted to tinker a bit with the technique.  Far from perfection but getting close to acceptable.  Have a great day!  Bubba

Monday, August 22, 2011

Summer Continues

Every day we're breaking some type of heat record whether it be number of days over 100, consecutive days over 100, highest low temperature ever, etc..  What a summer!!  I knew our big three championships would be in the heat so I trained in the heat of the day many times to get that conditioning.  NONE of our meets turned out to be as hot as any of my practices.  All of that said I am sick of it.  Trips to California and Colorado will give us a different point of view and a little relief. 

Lifting this morning was about 30 minutes later because of some business issues.  Amazing how much more hot it became in my garage.  Normally the heat doesn't break here until late September. Dreaming of getting away.  OK - enough bitching.  Have a great day!!  Bubba

"Summertime" by Sublime -

Sunday, August 21, 2011


One thing I appreciate now that the championship season is over is that I am able to train consistently.  But as the saying above implies, what I do is never set in stone.  So that makes me consistently inconsistent.

My body loves the fact it now has a firm base to progress from.  These big meets require ramp up and ramp down and many times only one, or even no training components in a week.  It's very hard to maintain a high level of fitness in that environment.  Don't get me wrong, I did well with it but my body seems to like the consistent activity more, even if what I do can be inconsistent.

I feel like I'm really gaining some momentum in my training.  My vaulting technique is nowhere near where I want it but I feel it coming around as well.  I vault by feel more than anything and there is a lot of mental focus involved during the jump. I don't visualize or anything like that; I just go and I'm looking for a feeling.  Once I find it I can groove it in.  I think I'm most excited about that.  With one low level day I can really work on my technique, and on the higher level day I can test out the results.  Beats the heck out of only jumping in meets like last year.

As much as I bring that up, my physical level is at such a higher level; than it was last year and that is because I chose fitness, speed and power over vaulting. As hard as I train I rarely feel tired or beat during the session.  Even with 100 degree heat I find that I'm not even thirsty for water.  I think this alone bodes well for the amount of technique work I can do.  I remember last year that when I did jump I just hoped I would feel good enough to jump to make twice a week, but usually just once.  Now I could probably jump three days per week along with all of my other training, but I know that's not smart.  So, in my mind it's a fair trade off and I should be able to really refine my jumping.

That's it for tonight.  Thank you so much for hanging in here with me.  I know it's the "offseason" but I can't afford to fall behind and then "hope" to make it up.  Have a great day!  Bubba

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Love is In the Air - 1st Day on New 14' 1" Poles

I said yesterday that I hoped to get on to my three new 14' 1" / 4.30m poles today.  These Essx Power Force carbons look and feel awesome!!  The more I thought about it the more I thought I maybe should start on them today.  My thinking was that since I had not jumped on them, maybe it would be better to try them for the first time alone rather than after my biggest 13' 1" / 4m. 

I got to the track at 6:15 AM (already 89 degrees) and took out my 13' 1" pole bag and pulled out the smallest pole.  Then I went in and got the 14' 1"s thinking maybe I would take a few easy take offs at the end of the practice. As my warm up finished I came over and picked up the smallest 14' 1" and it felt light and small.  Decision made - I'll start on that one.

I push my grip from 2, 4 and 6 steps as part of my warm up to make sure my plant and take off timing feel good.  The pole started bending at 6 steps so I hoped I would be able to jump at a bar from 8 steps.  Since I had jumped 12' / 3.66m on a 13' 1" pole at the last practice I figured I should at least bump it up a little so I started at 12' 1 1/2" / 3.70m and made it by a mile on my 2nd jump.  WOW - that pole has some snap!!  Knowing that I had jumped 12' 5 1/2" / 3.80m at Worlds from 14 steps, why not add insult to injury by trying to jump 12' 7 1/2" / 3.85m from 8 steps?  I made it easy on the first jump but the pole was feeling small now.  I went to 13' / 3.97m and moved up a pole and it felt good but I was missing the timing a little.  Actually I think that pole also will be small pretty soon from that run.  This leaves me one more 14' 1" before I get to my 14' 7 1/2" / 4.45m meet series - and it's August 20.  PROGRESS!!

So, I LOVE the new poles.  Here's a song dedicated to them; 

I found out yesterday that there is a meet in Austin on September 25, so that's a good target.  On October 22, in Houston there will be the Texas vs. Louisiana meet which I'm also excited about.

My training plan now will be to vault one bigger day on Saturdays where I jump from 8, 10 and 12 steps, followed by a smaller pole day on Tuesday (short rest rotation) where I go from 4, 6 and 8 steps.  I think this is a plan I can comfortably settle into.  BTW - all of this in three weeks?  Yep - Nationals in Cleveland was three weeks ago today.  I LOVE it!  Have a great day!  Bubba

Friday, August 19, 2011


I've been consistent on my training for nearly three weeks now so my body is starting to get conditioned and muscles are starting to grow again; hence I've put on a couple of pounds (1kg).  As we age we lose muscle mass really fast and it's hard to get back if you wait too long.  The eight week period of ramp up, ramp down, maintain, etc. of this years championship season really caused me to lose my physical edge.  Fortunately I feel it coming back pretty quickly.

I think I'll jump next Saturday and see how I do at The Woodlands August All Comers.  I'm not going to do anything special for it but I hope to at least get to my new 14' 1" / 4.30m poles.  Actually I think there is a real chance that could possibly happen tomorrow.  I was only one pole away on Tuesday during the short part of my rotation so maybe with the extra day between sessions I can move up to them.  If not it's no big deal - BUT I would very much like to.

I like this song from Sublime, "Badfish" and it came up during my stretching this morning so I thought I would put it out there.  Have a great day and thanks for supporting me!  I can't tell you how much that means when I'm griding away alone. Of course I'm accountable to me but I also want to be to you.  Bubba

Thursday, August 18, 2011

We Lost a Great One

1984 Olympic Champion from France, Pierre Quinon has commited suicide.  Very sad story of depression.  He won the gold with USA's Mike Tully and Earl Bell the silver and bronze.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Off Day

My travel day for work is now my only off day from training for the week.  I may stretch later but we will see.  My body isn't too bad considering I jumped from 8 steps yesterday on my biggest pole this far -4m/14.3.  BTW - I'm only one pole away from my biggest 13' 1" / 4m pole which is the exact equivalent of my first new 14' 1" / 4.30m pole.  Could that happen Saturday?  It would be nice but I will see how my body feels.

Right now I'm planning on jumping in our club's end of the month meet to see if I can at least jump higher than my 3.80m / 12' 5 1/2" I jumped at World Masters.  Before this year that was my LOWEST outdoor mark, not my highest.  Ill timed injuries. Have a great day!!  Bubba

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Learning the Ropes

I had a very good technical session this morning as I had much better control of my jumps. My consistency was also much improved.  I didn't feel wonderful so I kind of jogged in and quickened the last two steps to have a nice rhythm. I made 11' (3.35m) from four steps as usual and then 11' 6" (3.51m) from six steps and then 12' (3.66m) from eight steps.  This was my first time at eight steps but I didn't feel good enough to push my run from six.

The title, "Learning the Ropes" comes from the revelation that all of my poles feel different at the lighter weight.  A pole that used to be too small from six steps is now a challenge from eight.  Whether I remain at the lower weight I can't tell you but I'm not actively going to try and gain weight. M60 and M65 WR holder John Altendorf told me of a time that he and his wife Jodi got the flu and both lost weight.  When they got well they decided they liked being lighter so they embarked on healthy eating.  So I'll try and hang here at this weight but we will see where the training load takes it.  As for right now, I have to learn what poles fit where.

Have a great day and thank you for being here!  Bubba

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Different Type of Beat Up

Because I'm training six days at a week at a pretty low level, I'm not destroyed but I'm not really sharp either.  The objective is to slowly ramp up my overall conditioning with a constant focus on improving my vault technique.  So I'm beat up but not trashed so I feel it's manageable.

I remember the week before outdoor nationals I really just wanted to jump for fun but the first thing that went through my mind was, "I don't feel good enough to jump on the poles I need to jump on".  Today my attitude is that I'm going to jump and I will just match the pole up with how I feel.  If I feel crappy I'll just use smaller poles.  This is not a race but a focused effort to get my technique cleaned up.  I had it so dialed in and now it feels so far away. But to get it back takes LOTS of jumps and I cannot wait to take each one.

Have a great day and thanks for your support!!  Bubba

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Learning From Mistakes

Just because "next year" has started, don't think for a second I'm not still examining last year.  What I did made sense to me and I would do it over again, but to the outside world it probably sounds pretty dumb and risky for a championship year.
  • Early last fall I jumped a PR 13' / 3.97m from 8 steps, yet later in the year could not jump it from 14 steps.  Even though I was a better athlete, I lost my timing by not vaulting.
  • I got 14' 7" / 4.45m poles to pick me up better and they worked great but I lost over a month getting used to them in meets.  I would boom 12' 6" / 3.81m on the 14' 1"s and then move to the 14' 7"s and be lost.  Ultimately I had to cut off 5.5" / 15cm to make them feel right.  Now they are awesome!
  • I decided I would not vault unless I was on these poles so I could get used to the way they feel.  I would start at 11' 6" (3.51m) instead of 12' / 3.66m so I could work my way through the new poles before the bar got high.
  • Vaulting in practice is a risk anyway so I chose only to vault in meets when I felt good since I would only use the 14' 7" poles.
  • I got a PR 13' 5 1/4" / 4.10m from 14 steps in Reno when my goal was to jump on bigger poles from longer runs.  GREAT!!
  • I jumped 13' at indoor nationals and got a hamstring strain.
As the championship season approached I found myself unable to move my poles because I had trained myself into being 7 lbs (3 kg) lighter.  I jump better a little heavier when I can bring more power and momentum.  On top of that I had two small injuries that took me about eight weeks to get back to the speed I had before them.

Logic says that if I would have continued the progression I was on when I jumped 13' from 8 steps that I would have had a far better year.  Probably, but I argue that I needed to get used to using the next pole series and that training to do so would reward me later when I would be in great shape.  I'm happy today with how that turned out.  MY important year is 2013 when I turn 60 right two weeks before Worlds.

My logic also says that I was going to skip the big meets this year because all of the young studs were coming into the age group and I would be outclassed.  I decided instead to challenge myself to compete anyway.  Another reason to focus on my speed and strength for the future.

This next year I will stay in touch with my short run jumping by using small poles and short runs as a warm up.  I will vault two days a week and have the poles for no matter how good or bad I feel.  My 1st 14' 1" / 4.30m pole is the same flex size as my biggest 13' 1" / 4m.  My 14' 7"s will probably only be used in meets or if I feel my three new 14' 1"s are too small in practice.  I'm also running more but have actually cut back a little on my lifting and bar work.

I'm confident that this is a good plan and really enjoy getting to know my vault again.  I'm far from any respectable consistency but I think that will happen by the end of the month.  At that point I can progress.

Have a great Sunday and thanks for being here!  Bubba

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Another Decent Jump Day

When I first turned on my mp3 at 7 AM to warm up to vault, Van Halen's, "Jump" was on -  Of course that is always a good start. 

Speaking of my start, I began on the 4m/16.3 from 4 steps and easily made 10' (3.05m) with a huge perfectly timed jump.  What a rush to finally feel that again.  Unfortunately it was the last time I would feel that for a bit.  Both 10' 6" (3.20m) and 11' (3.35m) were easy makes but sub par technical jumps that felt WAY off.

Even though I felt pretty good I knew I wasn't going to move the 15.9 from 4 steps so I went to 6 steps.  Of course in two jumps I blew through both the 15.9 and 15.5 because I finally hit my hands right.  Moved up to the 15.0 and boomed 11' 6" (3.51m).  Still at 6 steps (33' / 10m) I went to the 14.7 and had a big jump at 12' (3.66m) but came down on the bar.  I felt myself trying to run too hard so I stopped.  The purpose right now is to take lots of relaxed rhythmical jumps, not to force runs or poles.  Maybe next time.

My benchmark for decent jumping is 12' from 6 steps and I was close.  I have made 12' 6" (3.81m) from there and had OK jumps at 13' (3.97m) but I'm not at that point right now.  Overall I'm very happy to already have five vaulting practices under my belt since Nationals two weeks ago.  That is four more practices than I had from November to Nationals.  It feels frustrating to be so inconsistent and missing my jump since I was so dialed in just a year ago.  But it's going to come back to me and it's great to be jumping.

Have a wonderful day and thanks for your support!  Bubba

Friday, August 12, 2011

MORE Changes

It's clear I can't vault on Wednesday afternoons because it's too damn hot.  Should probably move back to Southern California.  ANYWAY, I'll now vault on Tuesday/Saturday, lift gym on Sunday/Thursday and lift in the garage on Friday/Monday.  BTW - tomorrow will be two weeks since nationals and also my 5th vault day since then.  LOVE IT!!  Have a great night!!  Bubba

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Plans Sometimes Work, and Sometimes Not!

I forgot to mention that I did not warm up or run yesterday because I could feel my heel pain a little.  I felt it more important to vault.  I'll do the same on Saturday.  I'm also re-evaluating the Wednesday vault day.  Yesterday was just too hot and it is my business travel day so I would always have to jump in the afternoon. I think I will have to go back to jumping Thursday / Sunday and lifting legs/gym on those days - for sure on Thursday. 

That said, the gym was great today except I got a late start and forgot my ankle weights.  I'm not going to do bars without ankle weights because it's just too easy and I don't want my body adapting to that.  I also do my stretching with ankle weights to help me swing into wider ranges of motion. 

Along the same lines I decided I would not run my short sprints without a sled for the same reason.  The sled makes you run forward and cover ground.  So I start with no weight on the sled and then add 5 lbs (2 kg) as I progress through the three sets.  Most of my other running is longer and does not use a sled so this is a good relative balance.

The other main change I made was to my stretching, switching back over to PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation).  Basically this means that if you put tension on a stretched muscle it incorporates more fibers into the stretch and thus "teaches" the entire muscle how to become more flexible instead of just the necessary thin band.  Static stretches for under 20 seconds don't even allow the "stretch reflex" to "let go", so in PNF you hold the stretch for a count of 20, then contract for 6, let go and reach for more stretch for 6, and repeat three times, always ending on the passive stretch.  You can Google it for more info but somehow I got away from this type of stretching and it is far better.  Sure it takes a bit longer but it's worth it.

Hope YOU have a great day!  Thank you for being here!  Bubba

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

HOT But Good Jump Day

Returned from my business travel and met our junior, Max out to vault at noon.  Miserably hot - 100+!! 
Here is a fun version of the song, "Hot Hot Hot".

Started from four steps (23' / 7m) as planned and made 10' (3.05m), 10' 6" (3.20m) and 11' (3.35m) very easily on first jumps on the 4m/13' 1"/16.3.  I knew it would be too small for 11' 6" (3.51m) so I moved up to the 15.9. Took me a few jumps to get my timing down to roll the pole and still turn up but ended with two great jumps with 6" (15 cm) of height with just a brush on the way down.  VERY pleased at the better control of my technique.  Still have a lot to work on but it feels good to have some command of my jump again.  Max had about the same day so we were both pleased.  Saturday I will try and get a clean make and move on to six steps.

Thank you for your support and have a great evening!  Bubba

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Off Day

Tuesdays are presently my off day because it coincides with my business responsibilities.  We will see how long that lasts.  Have a great day!!  Bubba

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Twice the Run = Twice the Fun? Uh, NO!!

Once I figured out I didn't have plantar facitis I decided to make up yesterday's running today.  The problem was that I decided to do it after lunch, at noon at 100 degrees.  So I ran 3 X 200, 2 X 150, 1 X 100, then 3 X 30 w/25 lb. sled, 2 X 30 + 1 X 40 w/30 lb. sled, and 1 X 20, 1 X 30 and 1 X 40 w/35 lb. sled.  Because I am not in good running shape I came as close to vomiting as I have in years.  Oh, well; part of the process.

I have a lift in the AM then two days of a different type of pounding and grinding with business.  Tuesday is my day off from training and I will vault/run on Wednesday afternoon when I get home.  I'm excited to start the day at four steps on my smallest 4m / 13' 1" pole. Hopefully 2-3 weeks of that and I will be ready for my new 4.30m / 14' 1" poles.  Of course the objective is clean technique so I am in zero hurry to move forward unless I have really good control of my vault.

Mike Soule sent me this video from nationals today.  Pretty cool.  Thanks Mike!  Bubba

Saturday, August 6, 2011

New Poles & Discovery

My three new Essx Power Force Carbon poles.
Here is the special materials one. The entire pole is made of this.

I posted these on Facebook but forgot to here.  These are 4.30m / 14' 1" poles - 17.9/165, 17.6/167 and 17.0/169.  The smallest one is the exact equivalent of my biggest 4m / 13' 1" pole.  I'm guessing I am maybe 3-4 weeks from getting to them.  My game plan is to jump one day on these and one day on my 13' 1"s and then jump meets on my 14' 7"s.  This plan will give me TONS of practice jumps where I can work to refine my technique. 

NOTE - I went out and did some low level vaulting today even though I had planned to skip it.  It occurred to me that maybe the soreness under my take off foot was at least partially due to my inserts, which I only wear when I run and jump - which I have not been doing.  I felt under my heel where you normally feel plantar fascitis.  No unusual pain so I thought, "why not?"  I did a minimum but all poles from Wednesday were WAY too small even from 2 and 4 steps.  That was encouraging to say the least.  I'll go do my pole plant drills tomorrow but won't run; I don't think.

I had a friend ask me if my song selection from yesterday, "Woman" meant that I thought women were bitchy.  Kidding of course but fair question.  Wolfmother is from Sydney and they were breaking out big when I was there for the World Masters Games.  I saw their concert on TV, heard their song, "Woman" playing in the Olympic Stadium and then again as I entered the stadium to jump.  So in my warped mind I associated the baby crawling as the journey and that song in the Olympic Stadium as the goal.  Long journey toward the reward.  So no offense intended.

I was pleased to have gotten a little jumping today and felt even better that I already had more control of my technique, even at a low level on a tiny pole.  This is exactly how I refined my technique in the first place -  on a tiny pole and slowly advance it to bigger poles.  The reality is that no practice vaults and only jumping on big poles let me get away with a lot of flaws I fought hard to dump.  So it's HUGE fun to be back to jumping a lot.  Have a great day and thank you for your support.  Bubba

Friday, August 5, 2011

Mutha, Bitch, etc. - A LONG Way to Go!!

Me - before during and after training.  I'll never get there at this pace.  Patience Grasshoppa, I must crawl before I walk, run and jump!!

When a component of a workout out has thoroughly kicked my ass, I let out a deep sigh and almost yell, MUTHA, BITCH, or some other shocking statement of pain and survival.  After three days I have muttered or yelled this often.  I haven't significantly run (other than hill/sleds), vaulted (at all in practice, much less 15 jumps at a bar), fill in any blank, in a long time and now it is the core of my training.  I feel like I used to after summer two a day football practices - drained and whipped like a kitten.  Considering the level that I am training this is an embarrassment.  I'm NOT going after ANY intensity, I'm just trying to survive and I am barely making it. 

Of course to me, this is awesome because it means I can get much better after I have completed the first 14 weeks of this training. I'm actually SUPER excited at this prospect.  If it didn't have this affect what drastic improvement could I expect?  NONE!!

Being smart?  How tough is this new training?  After day three I have to take tomorrow off to avoid mild heel pain becoming plantar fascitis.  I'd rather miss one session than the two months it takes to recover from PF.  Oh well.  It usually takes about two weeks to ramp up to a full load.  The first rotation went well except for my pain and bitching.  And with that, I offer you Wolfmother's, "Woman".  Have a great evening and thanks for your support.  Bubba

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Insanity + Late Add

Today's topic is insanity.  It's often said that the definition of insanity is to expect a different result by using the same approach.  Hence it would be insane to think I will be better as I age if I don't do some things very different for next year. Example - I went to a meet to help an elite athlete.  The conditions were perfect with a big tailwind and he tied his PR on his biggest pole with the standards on 50 cm (20").  He's DONE because he can't move up a pole because his standards are already too close and he barely made the last height with everything perfect.  He will not improve until he goes away and comes back with better physical and technical skills.  And that is EXACTLY where I am right now - a 13' (3.97m) to 13' 6" (4.12m) vaulter. I will only go down as I age if I don't upgrade other areas.  Fortunately I have a TON of running to do and MANY heavy pole plant and take off drills as well as a HUGE number of vaults to take.  We believe this will take me to the next level for next year.

Speaking of insanity, here's one of my favorite training songs by Megadeath, "Sweating Bullets". Have a great day and thanks for being here.  Bubba

LATE ADD - Speaking of insanity, I ran 3 X 200, 2 X 150 and 1 X 100 this afternoon - 105 degrees.  BTW - was given my first "Seniors Menu" at the Blackeyed Pea.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

We Have Begun!

Motivational speaker and teacher, Tony Robbins says that a plane on the way to Hawaii is off course 99% of the time but still gets there because of thousands of minor adjustments along the way.  Today I've already had to make some adjustments.  I jumped 10' (3.05m) from 2 steps but the pole is too small and the next one was too big so I am done with 2 step vaults.  I made 10' 6" (3.20m) from 4 steps and that pole was too small.  Made 11' (3.35m) from 6 steps and that pole was too small.  Long story short, I will start on the pole I used from 6 steps at 4 steps the next time and move on from there.  I have nine 13' 1" (4m) poles and today used #1, so that is a good baseline starting place.

Speaking of 4m, I asked my long time friend, Ken Stone from for a link to "Single Age Records" to see if I can find some extra motivation while I am in the older part of my group.  Our World and American records are for the entire group of 55-59, but "Single Age Records" are also recognized.  The single age World Record for age 58 is 4m - 13' 1 1/2" and the American Record is 3.99m or 13' 1".  SO that's my goal before the end of the year - the World age 58 record.

Have a great day and thanks for your support!!  Bubba

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Start Here!

I got my first light workout in today and will start vaulting and running tomorrow.  Each year around May Kris and I get together and talk about what we want to do in training for the next year.  Sometimes we find we can incorporate it right away but most times it's a new project so we wait.

This year I will vault at least 15 jumps two days a week (Sunday/Thursday).  For the first month I will complete at least 5 jumps each from 2, 4 and 6 steps.  I will start on whatever pole is most comfortable for how I feel on that day.  Maybe be a 13' 1" (4m), 14' 1" (4.30m) or a 14' 7" (4.45m); I don't care.  Whatever won't get me hurt to get a lot of jumps on.

On that day I will also do short sprints and lift legs.  The objective is to beat my legs up all in one day so they have a chance to recover for the next vault session.  The next day will be active rest and upper lifting.  The active rest includes a full warm up followed by speed endurance training (100, 150, 200, etc).  I don't ever run anything for time but rather for my highest sustainable rhythm.  I have found that timing my running and recording my lifting PRs caused me to force me into injuries.  I HAD to get a PR every day so at some point you get hurt.  On this day I will also do a big series of heavy pole drills.  This puts me running, lifting, bars and having contact with the pole four days a week.

In the beginning I will not run more than 20-50% because I have no experience running without a sled.  The warm up alone will be a challenge - 1/2 mile (2 laps) of striding the straights and jogging the curves, followed by 1/2 mile of striding the straights and walking the curves.  THEN, seven sprint drills and  4 X 50m build ups.

I learned a long time ago that low level rhythmical work translates into high powered and fast running in a fairly short time period.  Similar to lifting, if I go to high intensity for too long I lose my base and my overall fitness begins to slide.  So I will work ramp ups and taper downs between the base and raw speed as I go.  Both running programs at 14 weeks in length and I will repeat it three times with different variations.  Here is the speed piece -  I don't do the rest between reps and very little between sets.  At our age, and because it is far less than maximal effort, I just walk back and go again.  This may be a little more taxing on the breathing but it teaches the body to recover and you feel faster quicker.

There will be more as I go but this is the overview.  As always, thank you for being here!!  Bubba

PS - we have meets all year long so I expect to get a 13'+ (3.97m) outdoors before the end of the year.  Hopefully 4m+ (13' 1 1/2").

Monday, August 1, 2011

A New Beginning

On the awards stand in Cleveland - L-R is Me (2nd), Gary Hunter (1st) & Doug Osland (3rd).  Click to enlarge.
I always kid about me being one of the smallest of the upper level vaulters - Doug Osland is taller than me yet he is standing on a lower podium and of course Gary is bigger too.  Photo courtesy of my buddy Carl Huff.  BTW - most improved masters vaulters in my age group are Carl and David Angel.  Both guys just did a super job this year with their fitness and technique.  VERY impressive!

As one door closes another opens.  Last season ended Saturday and "next season" starts tomorrow with a light stride/skip/stretch.  On Wednesday I will begin my new running and vaulting program at a very low level.  I have a lot of work to do to get the written new program in order but will share it with you as I go.

Got three brand new Essx 14' 1" (4.30m) carbon practice poles coming in tomorrow thanks to Essx founder Bruce Caldwell. One pole is made of a special material never before used in a pole.  I'm the crash test dummy on this one as it may or may not work.  I had the honor of jumping on Bruce's very first FibreSport pole back in the 70's and also the first Essx.  Now I'm jumping on a material never vaulted on.  CAN'T WAIT!!  Bruce says, "hey it may blow up after a few jumps or it may be kryptonite but let's give it a shot."  How fun is this?!  Have a great evening and thanks for being here.  Away we go again.  LOTS of new changes to training so I will explain what and why as I go.  Bubba