Friday, September 30, 2011

Back Home

Well I survived and arrived home at the expected 178.5.  We will see how tomorrow's easy jump session goes.  I did some easy stride/skip stuff and felt OK.  Have a great evening and thanks for being here.  Bubba

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Vacation / Day 3

Just as I thought I was feeling better I drove for the better part of six hours today and again ate too much.  My legs feel stiff and I feel fat.  I did try to run a little and it felt decent.  I'll do a little more.

I don't know why a hotel says they have high speed Internet when they don't.  I have work to do and bet that I have only been able to get and stay online with a decent signal 20% of the time.  Sure I can use my phone but many times a day I need to send attachments.  VERY frustrating.  More of the same tomorrow as there is more driving planned.  Have a great day!  Bubba

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Vacation / Day 2

Yesterday every move felt like tight hamstrings.  Today I feel a lot looser.  Tomorrow I'll probably jog/stride/skip around a little bit to get my body moving.  I plan on having the same type of short jump session this Saturday as I did last Saturday.  Tuesday I'll start the same place but take more jumps, and Saturday after that I will start moving through poles again.  That's the plan anyway.  Hope you have a great evening and thank you for being here.  Bubba

Monday, September 26, 2011

Vacation / Break Time

I've spent a lot of time this month between Colorado and Southern California.  Hard to find a day that isn't beautiful at either.  Other than the fact that I need some sleep, things are going well as expected.  As long as I have my lucky penny and angel with me I will have safe travels.  Have a great night!  Bubba

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Phase Break

Tomorrow I leave on the annual Fall vacation and will miss training Monday - Friday.  I'm surprised and pleased to be healthy, vaulting well and strong considering the sporadic month of training.  I cannot wait to get back to full on bust ass training when I return.

When I first started back this year I made two points;
  1. I take no time off after a season because it is too hard to make up what you lose, so smaller phase breaks give my body the rest and recovery it needs.
  2. When you take no time off you accumulate little dings and annoyances which fix themselves during these little breaks.
I PREFER to train long periods uninterrupted but at a certain point your body rebels.  Because of this I plan my travel around times when my body will probably need a break, or the week of a meet.  September was TOO screwed up as I traveled every week.  That said, I finished strong and healthy and I'm ready to rock when I get back.  Have a great Sunday and thanks for being here!  Bubba

Saturday, September 24, 2011

More Surprises!

My goal today was to jump 10' (3.05m), 10' 6" (3.20m) and 11' (3.35m) from 4 steps, rather than the six steps I used at the last practice.  The goal was also to do it on the same pole from 4 as I used for 6.  The MAIN goal was not to get hurt before I go on vacation Monday and I did not.  The vaulting part again took only three vaults as I made each height on my first attempt and stopped.  Why?

I mentioned that my last practice my hamstring felt a little unstable and not quite 100%. During the week on and off I have felt little twinges in it making me think maybe I dinged it a little last week on my last jump.  Apparently not as today was no problem.  That said, I would have loved to have taken several more jumps but I had accomplished my goal with good technical vaults and was not hurt.  STOP!!!  And I did - quit while I was ahead.

My "rehab" is always predictible but it is also very dependable.  As I ramp back up through poles I'm always technically cleaner and more confident.  Or as Aerosmith would say, Same Old Song and Dance -  To me that is music to my ears. 

I was heavy again today (174/ 73kg) yet got great positions on the pole and had a little more control than when I am lighter.  I haven't quite figured that out yet.  If you're heavy a pole should feel small, not give you more.  Yet the technical control actually gave me more height.  Whatever - I'll take it.  Have a great day!!  Bubba

Friday, September 23, 2011

Strongman - or Boy?

After feeling useless yesterday, and knowing I'm vaulting tomorrow followed by vacation next week, I figured today would be a good time to do a strength test.  Huh?  Funny how when you grind away at training with no real focus toward raising the intensity, you seem to get stronger anyway.  For example, I was excited to bench 4 X 205 on a day a few weeks ago when I felt stronger than usual.  I had struggled to make it twice previous to that.  So why not try a strength test today, the day after I felt like total crap; a day when I only feel like partial crap?  Surprisingly I benched 245 lbs. (102.25kg) very easily.

I hope for the same result in my vaulting.  I'm making ZERO attempt to use big poles or longer runs though my grip is moving up.  I'm trying to fix and refine some technical things that will pay off in the long run.  If you can make a little pole lift you then a big pole can throw you.  I cover up too many problems by using bigger poles that come out before I can fall out of a position I should be able to hold.  Fun process anyway.

So the elephant in the room is that I have dreaded September because I am traveling every week of the month so my training is very hit and miss.  I absolutely HATE that and it will not happen again.  I especially hate the weight gain of the business and vaction meals.  Normally I can control my schedule but lots of new stuff needed follow up. That said, I'm thrilled that my strength test showed me at near record levels at the end of such a bad month.  Next month can only be better.  Have a great day and thanks for being here.  Bubba

BTW - Reno is only four months away.  I should be ready.  I've always told my kids that if you aren't ready to PR at Reno then you are behind for the season.  We will have to see how that goes.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I woke up today and felt heavy and exhausted.  I went to the gym and didn't even make it in the door.  I left my fanny pack and music in the rental car in LA, I had no place to put my keys, felt tight in the hamstring, etc.  Every possible negative thought or situation rationalized my mind.  Of course I don't believe in BS excuses so I just call it what it is - a bad day.  Instead of forcing myself through the motions like I normally would, I just flat out bailed out and skipped training today.  Strangely I felt better calling it what it is.  Maybe because this very rarely happens, but it any case, I think everyone deserves a Mulligan every now and then and today is mine.  But I stop short of saying I'm only human as I don't want today to turn into a weakness.  Have a great day and thanks for being here.  Bubba

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Weighty Matters Again

OK, I'm home and 179.5 after another series of business meals out of town.  When I got back from Colorado it was 178.5 and took five days to get back under 170.  Gotta figure something else out.  Bubba

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Great But Busy Day

Out of town tomorrow through Wednesday so I had a ton of stuff to do today.  HARD but good lift at the gym this morning.  Finally a challenging day where I felt strong rather than weak. Hamstring was a tiny but sore and tight but certainly not close to being injured.  Good call to stop when I did though.  It took me all week to get down from 178.5 to 168 and I'm sure I'll be 175 again when I get back.  HATE multiple business meals a day but it's the only way to get away from office distractions.  The problem isn't what I eat it's that I drink about a gallon of tea.  Oil well as they say in Texas.  Have a great evening and thanks for your support.  Bubba

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Less Is More

The goal today was to jog in from six steps 33' (10m), clear 11' (3.35m), a foot (30 cm) higher than Tuesday, and don't flare the healing hamstring.  Sometimes less is more as it took me three vaults to reach that goal.  Cleared 10' (3.05m), 10' 6" (3.20m) and 11' all on first jumps and stopped.  My leg feels very good but I don't think it's quite stable enough to push it further so I stopped.  I figure I'm not jumping until next Saturday so that would give me the final time of healing needed to be near 100%.

I had eight kids out this morning.  In a conversation with a couple of them I said, "I bet you know what pole you can jump each height on from each run".  They all said they did, of course.  So my next question was, "what pole will you jump a 1' PR on?"  Even though we are on short runs with small poles, NOW is the time to start thinking about what it will take physically and technically to get on a pole big enough to get a huge PR.  I know I'm thinking about it already for me.  Actually, I have already jumped on that pole once but this next time my grip will be up about 4" (10cm) higher.

In Texas we have been suffering hot days with no rain.  On the vault front, there will be LOTS of "storms" to weather as we work our way through training on the way to a successful year.  So I figure today an appropriate song for us is "Riders on the Storm" by the Doors.  Have a great day and thank you for being here!  Bubba

Friday, September 16, 2011

Frontside / Backside Timing - The Humpty Dance

Like everyone I have benchmarks and checkpoints that I use to keep me in striking distance of being able to jump well.  "Striking distance" for me usually means 4-8 weeks out from big jumps.  The benchmark for vaulting is 12' (3.66m) from six steps (33' / 10m) and for lifting it is 4 X 205 (93 kg) in bench.  I can't vault 13' (3.97m) or bench 225 unless I can pass through these mileposts.  It's like a dance up and over humps - The Humpty Dance (video below)

All of this said, there is a frontside and a back side.  Frontside - today was my first time since nationals to try and bench 4 X 205 and though I made it fine I did not command it. When I'm ready for a big meet it will be no big deal; almost easy - that is the backside.  The same for vaulting in that I can make 12' from six steps but I'm not on  big enough pole to BOOM it or make 12' 6" (3.81m).  So like my lifting I'm on the frontside of that benchmark as well.  Hill/sleds are the same as I can usually crank them out with just a walk back (backside) and now I'm making them but they ain't easy (frontside).

SO, I'm within striking distance of jumping well but I'm on the frontside of my benchmarks.  Considering that I am four months out from Reno and my technique is really improving, I think this is acceptable.  The objective is to get on the backside of old PRs.  The single age World Record for age 58 is 4m / 13' 1 1/2" and the American Record is 3.99m / 13' 1".  I did that easily this past season but, "what have you done for me lately?"  I'm working on it!!

Something funny about this blog is that while I'm training something strikes me that MUST be in the blog, but rarely makes it.  I simply forget.  Or as my dad says about age, "I have a good memory but it's just short".  Today a couple of fun songs jumped out at me and that kind of reflected my overall feelings of the day - fun and a little carefree even though I'm still getting in a hard session.  What could be better?  Have a great day! Bubba

The Humpty Dance -
B52s - Love Shack -

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Striking Distance? Not!?

It's ironic that I am vaulting technically very good but don't feel that I am within striking distance of a big jump.  Sure I vaulted 12' 8" (3.86m) a couple of weeks ago but, a) I don't consider that a big jump, and b) I'm not on big enough poles to seriously blow up 13' (3.97m). 

The irony is that last year I only vaulted 34 times ALL YEAR and so far in the first six weeks I have already jumped eight times.  Clearly I am on track to have a much better year because of the physical progress I made last year.  Basically I jumped very little in an effort to jump a level physically and it worked.  BUT, this cost me in crucial vault timing near the end and I'm planning on fixing that. 

SO, I'm probably much closer to jumping high than I feel, but that's only because the emphasis has yet to be on bigger poles.  On October 22, we will have the Texas vs. Louisiana meet in Houston and hopefully that day I will go out on my regular meet poles and see where I am.  Until then I'll just stick with the plan.

Thank you for being here.  These off seasons are long and maybe a bit boring but I still enjoy the process.  Have a great evening.  Bubba

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

No Travel Day

I normally do a little regional drive on Wednesdays but today it was canceled due the schedule conflicts of others.  YEAH!!  Got plenty to do right here.  Of course none of this changes the fact that today is my day off of training.  Have a great day!  Bubba

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I enjoy finding myself at crossroads because it gives me a chance to rethink, refine and/or modify a plan I previously thought was perfect.  Of course it was perfect at the time but things change.  Actually I think this may be the part I enjoy the most; the intellectual challenge to coax an old body into new things. 

During this 13 days of not vaulting due to the minor hamstring ding I decided it is good to vault a little heavier and also made the conscious decision to start pushing my hand grip up when I return to vaulting.  I also made the decision to vault after only 13 days when there is really no good reason to do it other than I want to.  I know I risk re-injury but I figured I'm running slow enough so I can always stop if I start to feel something.  I've feel I have earned the right to have fun and give it a shot.

The result?  Today I completed 11 of 13 vaults from a very slow 4 step jog/run and easily cleared 10' (3.05m) with three very good attempts at 10' 6" (3.20m).   I could have moved up a pole and made it but that wasn't the point today.  The point was to use a tiny pole and have some fun while seeing if I could raise my grip and get some better technical control.  Mission accomplished as I felt nothing in my leg during my vaults or 8 hill/sleds.  I also had a great time playing with some technical issues.

I'll move up a little level on Saturday, miss next Tuesday because I will be out of town, and then resume my normal training.  Thank you for being here.  I truly appreciate the support!  Bubba

"Crossroads" with two of my favorite guitarists, Eric Clapton and John Mayer.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Too Easy?

People fail to stick with programs of any type in part because it is hard to restart once you miss time; and you WILL miss time.  I remember if I missed a class in college it was hard to go back the next time, and if you missed two in a row you felt like you were being sent to prison.  The guilt and failure of missing, even if it was for a meet.

So today's training after six days off was very much a force against nature because I was afraid of how hard it was going to be.  In fact it turned out to be just the opposite as lifting/bars felt extremely easy and I felt very strong.  I need to remember that after a phase break.  It would save me the mental torture.

I said earlier that September will be hard because I have four short trips to screw with my schedule.  I'm half done with two down but at least now I get seven straight days of hardcore training.  Tomorrow I will even try and vault at a very low level; 13 days after my little ding.  We will see how it goes.  Have a great day and thanks for your support.  Here is "Nothing Is Easy" by Jethro Tull.  Bubba

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Another Tough Day!

Vacation for me is sometimes very hard because I like to be doing things where I feel like I am making progress.  Though I enjoy the scenery and the break in the pace of work, I find that by the time I have actually begun to relax, I'm coming home.  Strangely I'm OK with that.  Have a great day and thanks for your support.  Bubba

Friday, September 9, 2011

Love Hurts!

Of course I have a passion for vaulting and the training process to try and get better. But I never hurt more than when I have a few days off with no training.  Feels like every injury I have ever had resurfaces.

My work in Denver is done so today I head to the mountains.  I need to get out and move around a little.  On my way. Have a great day.  BTW - we fly home on 9/11 - the 10th anniversary of that national tragedy.  Probably not great planning.  Have a great day!  Bubba

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Vacation / Break Time

Today is my travel day and then I'm off to Colorado for a short vacation through Sunday.  I'm feeling very good but had a couple of little things kind of flaring up that are now settling down.  Every year when I try new stuff I find new ways to irritate my body and along with that comes little annoyances.  I occasionally get a light case of tennis elbow, and also sometimes get a little inside elbow tendon soreness, outside of my right foot from a previous hairline fracture, etc..  These little training breaks knock all of those things out and then when I come back I avoid what flared them, or at least change the angles or order of lifts to avoid them.

Part of this is because I take no breaks from training.  I'm fine with that because I would rather have a series of 2-4 day breaks here and there at the peak of a training phase rather than a month off and then spend 2-3 months trying to get back to where I was before I took the break.  The "secret" to my motivation is that every time I come back from a "little 2-4 day break", I'm much stronger and my endurance is better. 

I had an anatomy and physiology professor tell me once that 100% of your progress is made during rest.  Gary Hunter's professor told him that whatever it is you want to do it will be easier if you are stronger.  I try to keep both of those things in mind.  Have a great day and thanks for being here!  Bubba

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Full Circle

Of course I always listen to my body, and usually before it yells at me.  Recently I have discussed the deconditioning that takes place when training is curtailed or emphasis is switched to other areas.  Because I have been vaulting more, I had curtailed some of my other training in an effort to "maintain" fitness.  Then I got a little hamstring strain and proceeded to find out just how much I had lost as far as conditioning.

Like it or not, these little dings are great equalizers in that they help bring balance to the program during the ramp up stage.  Something is always hurting or aching so rotating to other areas of emphasis give these a chance to subside.  For example, my training yesterday was so hard for me that I have had to break it into three parts over three days.  To add insult to lack of fitness, it was 58 degrees this morning so I couldn't even blame it on the heat.  I'm just flat out of shape.  I came out of the championship season deconditioned and then chose to vault a lot rather than resume fitness.  So now my hammy ding is making me address this deficit.  The goal is of course balance; training and vaulting and September should put me back in that position.

So you train hard and don't vault and you lose technique and consistency.  Vault and don't train and you slide backwards physically and can't even get in on smaller poles.  Just another challenge in our daily routines.

Today I was able to easily run my 50m hill/sleds at 30-40% with no sign of the hamstring weakness.  I felt it creeping up a little if I exceeded 40% so I brought it back down quickly.  This is amazing progress for only six days out.  The plan is to start jumping low level again a week from today.  I think I'm probably better to jump at a lower level and keep my fitness up than I am to push my vault level and suffer lack of physical improvement.  It is and endless cycle of change.

Have a great day and thanks for being here!  Bubba

"Amazing" from Aerosmith -

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Seeing the World With Eyes Wide Shut

Many times our eyes are wide open to the risks and possibilities of our actions, but the view is shielded by our denial or false sense of invincibility.  This little hamstring ding is by far the mildest strain I have ever had.  After only four days, my range of motion is coming back fast, along with my strength.  My rhythm and run cadence have picked up with minimum flare.  Yesterday I even did a few take offs jogging down the runway.  SO, that is exactly why I will not jump in the meet in Austin three weeks from today.  Sure I will be vaulting but not at a level I would want to risk in a meet.  I won't allow my bright vision to be clouded by progress and optimism.  Things are going to well to create or risk a setback.

I have been looking at some older training logs and noticed that I have jumped very well during my heavier lifting times where my weight was in the 171-173 range.  I even had some good days in the 175 range.  I like feeling more powerful and like I'm hitting my poles with mass.  As a dieted and trained down for the big meets this year I felt increasingly faster but overall didn't have the same SLAM when I hit the pole.  It's got to be a weight/momentum thing because even at the lower weight my bench press and other strength measures were at PR levels.  I'm not that concerned about it but when I lift consistently I tend to be a little more hungry and tend to weigh a few pounds more. With the combination of the very scaled back lifting, and the training in the heat, I think I lost a lot of power along with my weight during the big meet season this year.  Can't do that again.

Another thing about being heavier is that I can start in the lower middle of my pole series and get to the higher end by the end of a meet.  When I'm too light I can barely get on my smallest meet poles.  I'm glad to have the new smaller poles but the objective is to never need them in a meet.

So why all of the talk about weight and mass?  I'm still shocked how much better technically I jumped on Wednesday by being 3-4 lbs. heavier.  You would think the poles would throw me less but I actually felt I had more control because of the power.  The final test - 171 at Reno for 13' 6" (4.10m) and 163 at Sacramento and 12' 6" (3.80m).  At Reno I was fast and powerful and at Worlds I just felt fast.  I'll keep an eye on it.

And now it's time for some football - retro style.  Have a great weekend!  Bubba

Friday, September 2, 2011

Creating & Using Power

I remember in 1997 I had won national indoors in Boston and was getting ready for worlds in South Africa, when my coach, Dave Johnston (DJ) sat me down for a conversation.  I was committed to vaulting so I did ZERO workouts except for strides and vaulting for the whole year.  Though I was making good progress he wanted to tell me that soon I would need bigger poles and would probably not be strong enough in the upper body to use them.  The message was I needed to get back to creating power.

Bob Fraley (founder of USATF PV Development) once said that after you know how to vault that 70% of your improvement is based on how strong and fast you can get.  The message was you had always better be working on technique AND speed/power.  At our age that challenge is even greater as we will continue to lose muscle mass as we age.  So what does this have to do with today?

As I continue my training and am not quite so consistent on my diet, I've managed to put on a few pounds.  Not bad pounds but not too light like during the championship season this year.  The SHOCK was that at 3-4 lbs. (2 kg) heavier I found I had better control of the pole and actually got more lift out of the pole than when I was lighter.  Not quite sure I understand that but Kris and I decided I need physical mass as well as strength in order to be effective.  I'm embracing the strength and power part of my training now and really enjoying feeling explosive again.

Hope you have a great day!  Here is Lenny Kravitz's "Fly Away", which I saw on the Today show this morning.  Bubba

Thursday, September 1, 2011

More Insanity - For Your Love?

Today I made a statement that sounds totally insane - "I'm actually kind of glad I got this hamstring ding because I was really worried how and when I was going to catch up on the quality running I have been missing.  Sure I'm vaulting well but how long until my running suffers?  I'm doing a lot of traveling this month so I would be missing some major training so I would be fresh to vault.  Now I can just train and then slowly ramp my vaulting back up."

OK - sounds crazy but it's true.  If I started running I would have to drop my vault level until my body caught up.  Now I can get ahead on training and add the vaulting back in.  It's almost like me being protected from me again. I get just enough of a ding to knock me out of what might have been a path to stagnation.  In any case I'm happy with where I am.  And exactly where is that?

I went out today and decided I would try and run 10 X 50m hill/sleds at 3-5%.  Turned out I could very easily go 7-10% so I think this thing is going to be well much sooner.  The ding is in the belly of the muscle which has the best blood supply and heals the fastest.  My problem earlier this year was near the tendon behind my knee and that takes quite a bit longer. 

At the 13 day mark I will begin vaulting at a very low level.  That usually progresses pretty fast.  Since I have three days short of four weeks before the 9/25 meet in Austin, I'm seriously considering jumping there on my 14' 1" (4.30m) poles.  In 2009 I did the same hammy ding thing, only worse, at national indoors and then jumped at Drake Relays barely a month later.  We will see but right now it is not off the calender as I declared yesterday.

I'm really enjoying my vaulting so a good hard month of running and training while I slowly ramp that back up should put me in a perfect position to begin to move forward.  I also like the ramp up through tiny poles trying to perfect little technical things.  So though I would rather not have an injury so matter how small, I see this one as a small blessing.  Have a great day.

Today I heard this song on my mp3 and loved it - "For Your Love" by The Yardbirds from 1965.  Enjoy!!  Bubba