Monday, October 31, 2011

More Progress

I'm well into my 2nd lift day being in the gym now and not the garage. As a result I'm starting to fairly aggressively move weights up.  Certainly tougher but manageable.  Some things I probably bumped up too much and a few were too little. I will continue to refine as I go.

My lifelong friend and training partner, Don Curry got back from his cruise today and said he would be happy to help make the drive to California. He's one of my only friends who visited out there fairly often.  Looking forward to the trip now and especially glad he will visit often.  Since he is retired he will have no excuse.  ;-).

Have a great day and thanks for your support!  Bubba

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Conservative Plan

I have decided I'm not going to jump at the meet on 11/13.  Instead I will keep cranking away on my fitness, stretching and rehab of my groin injury.  The groin is SO much better but it's just not worth the risk of flaring it up that quickly.  It is very small in terms of limitations and I can't turn that into something big for no reason.  I'll jump at Kris' indoor meet on 12/3 and that will be it until I get to California, where they have no indoor meets because the weather is always/usually nice.

Overall I'm starting to feel like an athlete again which is all the more reason to stay the course.  I think at Kris' I'll start at eight steps on my 14' 1" (4.30m) poles and then move back to 10 steps on my 14' 7" (4.45m) regular meet poles.

I have put in a request for all comer dates in Southern California as they used to have those nearly every weekend after New Years.  It would be nice to get one more meet in after Kris before Reno on January 20.  Right now my plan is to end my season at Reno and get ready for 2013. I can't begin to describe the hell I have in store for the year before Worlds and me turning 60.

Brazil or bust - In 2013 I had hoped to vault at World Masters Athletics (Track & Field) in Brazil, World Masters Games (Olympics) in Italy, and the National Senior Games in Cleveland.  Some how this group of rocket scientists got together and decided that all meets should overlap at some point during their 7-10 run so that you literally can only go to one.  For me that's Brazil.  My best at WMA was 3rd in 1997 in South Africa, while I have won the WMG in Sydney in 2009.

Have a great day and thanks for being here.  Bubba

PS - Workout was good but really tough this morning until Megadeth's "Peace Sells" came on and got me through -

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Running - House

Click to enlarge - Move in - 12/17

Great sprint drills and sled this morning.  I decided not to try and vault but it is progressing very well as I felt powerful and pretty quick and fast.  Fun Halloween Vault too.  Here are a few photos of the place we finally got.  We move in on 12/17.  Have a great day!  Bubba

Friday, October 28, 2011


First, the house deal is done and we move in on December 17.  FINALLY!!

My leg seems to have suddenly taken a turn for the better as I have barely noticed it the past couple of days.  Kind of surprising since it really was sore after my last running on Tuesday.  I might do a few low level take offs tomorrow before the Halloween Vault to see how it feels.

Taking the mystery out of training.  I got an email from a friend, Carl Huff, who has been working his butt off with great success to be a better vaulter.  We are in the same age group so he has been trying some of the stuff I do.  I decided that this morning's conversation might be a good blog topic for today so here we go.  Have a great day!  Bubba
You have to do a program like you could do it for the rest of your life. If you want your body to "trust you", you have to give it a reason to do so. Here is where that comes from. I worked several years ago with a cardiologist and some of the USA’s best cyclists. The “theory” was that if you could keep them just on the edge, or “friendly” side of being out of breath, that their bodies would learn to “trust” them and “let them do more”.
When a cyclist or runner hits oxygen debt, they have to back off briefly and then come back up to speed. The next round back up they get out of breath sooner, and sooner, and sooner, until they “explode” or “bonk” and have little or no useful oxygen capacity. By doing it our way, that wall of pain and oxygen debt started moving our further, and further, thus allowing more work with no failures. Our “goal” was that when you hit the top of a hill you needed to be able to accelerate. If you could not then you went too hard. The result was that cyclists started making more progress over the first 3-4 months than they had in the past 2-3 years.

Me being a dummy pole vaulter, decided to try the same approach to lifting, jumping, training intensity. Go super easy and slowly build it up over time until my body “trusted” me not to hurt it. Worked and works like a charm.

NOW – I’m dinged (not injured) often because my body makes no testosterone, not because I over do it. In fact I’ve had tons of training sessions where I never go over 30-50% yet my body and abilities seem to continue to improve. Hope this helps. Hang in there! You’re doing great!! Bubba

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Gaining Momentum - House Stuff

I got back to the gym today and will return tomorrow.  I feel really good to be back in this routine.  I'm not out of town again until 11/7 so I'm hoping to get up to a full head of steam by then. 

I'm not pushing my groin thing at all.  It started out as something very small and I plan to keep it that way.  For that reason I'm not sure if I will jump in the November 13 meet.  I could probably get away with jumping from 6 steps on 13' 1" (4m) poles like the last one and not get hurt, but to me that is not progress.  If I jump on the 14' 1" (4.30m) poles I may risk getting hurt and starting over.  SO, if I can't sprint full speed by then I won't go. Instead I will wait for Kris' 12/3 meet when indoor marks for 2012 start counting.

Not only did we lose the last house when the owner gave it to someone behind the broker's back, the next one we like came off the market the afternoon before we made the offer.  So much for the reverse jinx.  Last night we were shown another one and we will know today of we get it.  It's a little smaller and closer to the ocean, both good things.  Why do you or I care?  I need to know when I'm moving so I can plan my training and meets.  Right now I can't even buy a plane ticket because I don't know where I will be leaving from.  If we get his one then move in is 12/15.  FINALLY we would have a target date.

Have a fun day and thanks for being here.  Bubba

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Travel Day

I've been enjoying the consistency of my training but today is my scheduled day off.  That is part of the deal.

Yesterday I posted this on Facebook because I forgot to post it here.  Please follow me on Facebook under "Bubba Sparks".

Three Stages of Sports Injury Rehab

As a 58 year old masters pole vaulter, who has also been on the business side of the physical therapy business for 25 years, here are the three levels of progress in injury rehab as I see them;

1 – You can train hard enough to be out of breath

2 – You can perform your event or sport at a low to medium level

3 – You are now well enough to hurt something else

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Injury Report - Dreams

Today I got back to my running where I alternate a sprint drill with ankle weights to running sleds with no ankle weights.  Depending on whether it directly or indirectly stressed my sore leg I would say my setback ranges between 10 - 20% for an average of 15%.  When I took my last jump I thought for sure it was 50 -60% so I'm pretty pleased.

There is a meet outside of Austin on 11/13 so I will enter that and use my 14' 1" (4.30m) poles from eight steps.  In the interim I'll keep cranking on my other training. Feels awesome to get back to a routine.

I've often heard that if you don't have dreams you have nothing to come true.  I think big and work hard and because of that am very comfortable with however it turns out.  I know I did my best and if it's not enough then I'm fine with that. 

Here is Van Halen's Dreams -  Two of my best and favorite athletes have birthdays and this video is relevant.  Today is Borya Celentano's birthday and on Halloween is Pete Kovacs birthday.  This was Pete's (now a VP of a major bank) training song and Borya flys jets for the Navy.  Last night he emailed that he just had a baby girl on the 19th and that he has been assigned to fly the F-18 Super Hornet at airshows, hence the Blue Angels piece.  After many missions in the wars I'm sure he and his family are happy to have him flying in a safer environment.  Pete now has two kids.  Anyway, these two guys were my favorites because nobody could out work them and they always studied hard to get better.  Enjoy and thanks for being here.  Bubba

Monday, October 24, 2011

New Gym Experience - Reaching

Since I gave all of my weights away, my garage lift day is now another gym day.  Today was the first time to go through and figure out everything as far as settings, angles, etc.  It feels different but it feels good.  I work from home so between heavier sets I would come in and check email, stretch between exercises, etc.  Now that I am in the gym it is just lift, bars and stretch.  I feel like there will be less "wasted" time as I will keep moving like I do on the other gym day.  Because this saves time I feel really relaxed as I progress through my stretching.  I've been lifting bench and incline in a Smith machine in my garage to protect my shoulder.  Now I'm on total free weights and that too will take some getting used to again. At the start it felt awkward but by the end it all felt familiar again.

I am a little over 150,000 lbs (68,181kg) from lifting 20 million lbs. (9,090,909 kg) since I came back on January 1, 2005.  The first two years 100% of my lifting was in the garage.  I moved to the gym to have more leg choices and the cardio equipment.  SO, another transition and a new step forward.

I was thinking yesterday that my life is about reaching out for things I think have value.  They may be harder to attain but if they are worth the effort they are worth the reach.  Like the house for example.  It's more than I need and a little more than I want to pay but the step below it is unacceptable to me so I reach.  I'll do whatever extra work or effort is required to make anything in my power happen.  Same with training.  Sure I jumped well the other day but it takes time to raise to another level physically and technically.  My gut feeling is that if I don't step it up a notch NOW, I won't be where I need to be in 2013 when Worlds comes around a couple of weeks before I turn 60 and will be the youngest in my group.  The reach at the gym today reminded me to keep reaching in other areas of my life as well.  Reaching - it's what I do and love.  Have a great day and thank you for being here!  Bubba

Somewhere Over the Rainbow -

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Reverse Jinx?

OK - Of the two houses we really wanted in Southern California I said nothing in advance because I didn't want to jinx it.  One was too small and the other we lost when the owner gave it to someone behind the broker's back.  So I'm going to try the "Reverse Jinx" and show you the one we are after in hopes that we actually will get it.  Think good thoughts; this is getting old and I have nothing to lose by throwing it out there.  Click to enlarge.
View from living room.
View of Dana Point Harbor and Catalina Island from deck.
Back of house, dipping pool view.

GREAT lift this morning.  I think I may have flared my groin 25-30%.  Sore but not injured.  Even my left one is sore.  In other news I decided against the training adjustment I was going to make to my lifting.  Clearly I'm making good progress so it should be good where it is for now.  Have a great day!  Bubba

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Good Day @ Texas vs. Louisiana Meet

We had quite a few vaulters, which is not at all unusual.  I jumped in the first group because they were starting under 11' (3.35m).  I was going to be really careful with my right leg / groin issue.  For the first time in my career I started a meet at four steps or 22' (7m) as my run length.  Lots of funny looks and comments from parents whose kids who were running from 70'+ but only making 8' to 9'.  If you can't do it right from close then you can't do it right from far. That simple.

I made 9' 6" (2.90m), 10' (3.05m) on first attempts from there and then moved back to six steps or 33' (10m).  From six I made 10' 6" (3.20m) and 11' (3.35m) on first attempts.  I was the only one vaulting since 11' and group two was ready to warm up so I passed 11' 6" (3.51m) and went right to 12' (3.66m).  I moved up a pole but stayed at six steps.  I made 12' on my first attempt and stopped with the win - Pole = 13'1"/4m/180.2/82kg/14.3 - grip = 12'4"/3.75m.  On that take off I felt my leg a little so I don't know if it's re-injured or just set back a bit.  It doesn't really matter at this point as I have no real meets of a high level until December 3, so it's back to hard training.

I was very pleased with my control of my technique.  My poles were way too small and that was fine for what I was trying to do.  When I can jump 12' easy from 33' I'm ready for bigger things.  Time to move up my training a notch to hit the bigger poles.  Clearly the effort on the smaller poles paid dividends in improved technique and thrust from the smaller poles.  Getting the win was secondary but I will take it.  Thanks for being here today and every day!!  Bubba

PS - I met a super nice new masters vaulter who told me that this blog played a role in him starting to vault again.  So glad to see new faces on the scene and that my toils here may have an effect on all of our efforts.  We're all in the same boat; trying to get better at a sport we love.  No matter what height we have jumped we are all the same.  Very cool to meet new / old vaulters returning to the scene!! 

Friday, October 21, 2011

General Rules

I got a nice email from a friend and fellow masters vaulter discussing training, perceived exertion, injury prevention and so on.  I told him several general guidelines I follow and thought you might be interested.  I know you have many of your own but here are a few of my staples.
  • Stay 20% below what you think you are capable of that day.
  • Raise intensity or volume every two weeks but never both at the same time.
  • If you feel an injury or ding will heal in three weeks, give it six and blast your strength, conditioning and flexibility.  You will come back a better athlete than when you left.
  • Rather than work up to a full training program, do it ALL from day one but at a very low level, ramping up a little bit every two weeks as described above.
  • If you have a break for travel or a meet, start back at a low level and ramp back up.
  • The number one reason people stop during workouts, or get hurt, is because it is too hard.  Make it easy and make it every day.
  • Remember, you can lift a baby calf every day for only so long before he becomes a cow that you can't budge.  Don't be in a hurry to lift the cow.  Why rush to a place where you will be stuck and risk injury?  Get the most out of every level from day one.
  • If you only lift heavy you will lose endurance, and if you only lift high reps you won't gain strength.  Mix them up but keep both higher and lower reps going at all times.  Big exercises I tend to lift heavier, and smaller muscle groups I tend to lift more reps.
  • If you jump 15' while benching 185 and 15' while benching 245, then redirect that energy to somewhere that will improve your vault.
I have a ton more of these and I'm sure you do too.  Enjoy and keep up the great work.  Bubba

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Stretching Time

With a meet in two days, and having spent three days in the car, today and tomorrow will be relaxed stretching days.  My body feels pretty good and my weight is already dropping back down to striking distance of where it needs to be for Saturday.  HATE business meals but you can't get anything done in people's offices with all of their distractions.

After this meet I have three weeks at home with no travel so I plan to start my new training; which looks a lot like the old training with some additions.  I'll add a set of lifts on Sunday and I will add some exercises on Monday/Friday.  Vaulting will continue starting at four steps to revisit the things I have been improving on. I'll only progress as my body allows; so no forcing myself to bigger poles.

This has been my plan anyway but today I saw visual confirmation that this is the right approach.  A few years ago I saw this bald, 50ishg Middle Eastern looking fellow in the gym who was clearly out of shape.  From time to time I would be passing him and I noticed that he seemed very calm and methodical about his approach.  His weights were low but his technique was very good and he seemed very comfortable with what he was doing.  The first thing I thought was that this guy knows his stuff and he will eventually get where he is trying to go. 

I saw him get a spot for his first time at 135 on bench.  About a year ago I saw him in the post office and we talked briefly about what I am doing swinging upside down on bars with ankle weights, etc.  Everyone always wants to know about that.  Very nice guy who was now starting to look fit.  Today he asked me for a spot on his last of three sets of 10 at 225.  DANG!!  It happened.  Dude stuck with it and here's the results.  Slow progressions with low weights resulted in huge lifts for a guy over 50.

What does this have to do with my plan?  First, I think the same way he does.  But the difference is that I am applying it to a pole.  The late great orthopedist, Glenn Almquist, used to tell me that moving through poles is no different than raising the weights you are lifting.  If you jump on the small ones long enough you will become too strong for them and need the next one.  So I decided that this year I would start at the bottom and take the next two years getting through all of my poles.  The objective is for them to become too small from higher level training and better technique.  The side note is that if you are training really hard you never feel good enough to try bigger poles and therefore reduce the chance of injury.  With my approach, when I get to a bigger pole I would have gotten the most out of the technique mastery of the one before.  SO, if at some point over the next two years I can jump on my regular meet poles in practice, while maintaining a heavy training load, then I will be ready for huge jumps on much bigger poles when I return to the balance of training needed to feel good on jump days.  That's the theory of course.  And today I saw evidence that it works from my friend benching 225 for 30 total reps.

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

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dream Unexpectedly Delayed

When we went to California last week to sign the papers on our new house, we changed our minds because the house was far smaller than we expected, and had next to no storage areas.  Our realtor took us to another home which was spectacular so we set out to make that happen.  Unfortunately the owner made arrangements with someone else without notifying the realtor.  SO, we're looking like mad but at this point I think we will be delayed 1-6 weeks.  Our house is on the market and showing briskly but we were making the move regardless of when our home sold.  More as I know more but at least for now it looks like we are on hold for a few weeks.  Have a great day!  Bubba

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fun & Easy Vault Day

I'm out of town on a regional drive trip so I dropped in to vault at my coach, Kris Allison's place.  Saturday I could take off from four steps but couldn't really take the risk to vault.  Today I wanted to see if vaulting is a possibility for Saturday at the Texas vs. Louisiana meet.

I took it real easy and moved through a bunch of poles and had a few really nice clean low level vaults.  At the end of the day I was running from six steps and the biggest pole I tried was too small.  Most important, I was sore but not hurt.  So I'll give it a go on Saturday on my 13' 1"/4m poles.

Due to a delay in our housing arrangements we are pushed back at least one week and possibly up to a few weeks from getting to California.  The good/bad news is that I'm needed there on business so I'll still "be there" even if I'm not really living there yet.

My goal over the next three weeks is flat out kick butt, uninterrupted training. I need and want this so bad.  I'll feel so much better in every way to be able to stay home for three weeks.  I've got a lot to share about my training and outlook as it has become very clear to me.  Have a great day and thanks for being here.  Bubba

Monday, October 17, 2011

On the Road Again

Bad news - I'm out for the next three days for regional business travel.
Good news - I'll jump with Kris tomorrow morning.

This leg thing feels much better so I figure if I can survive a low level vault session with Kris then I might be able to even get to my 14' 1" (4.30m) poles at the Texas vs. Louisiana meet on Saturday.  But I'll slow my roll there until I see how I fare with Kris.

Have a great week.  More soon.  Bubba

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Hard Day!

I have so much going on right now that the last thing I want to do is go workout.  Of course today is my hardest gym day, I felt sluggish after breakfast with my dad, AND I got to the gym and forgot my music.  VERY easy day to blow off but I took a deep breath, drove home, got my music and went back to the gym, took my time and had a good hard quality workout.  A small but important victory.  Have a great Sunday!  Bubba

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pleasant Surprise

I mentioned last week that I felt a little twinge in my right groin near the back as I took off more explosively than usual.  I stopped on the spot to avoid getting hurt.  This week I tried a few times to jog and it bothered me.  Yesterday I went out to do sleds and felt it getting out of the car.  That said, this morning I was able to vault at a low level.  SURPRISE!!  The game plan now is to go to the Texas vs. Louisiana meet next weekend and go at a low level and hope for the best.  Should be fun.

This week I'm on the road Monday through Wednesday but the good news is I think I will try and get a short jump session with my coach, Kris Allison, on Tuesday morning.  If I could advance on today a little and get my sleds in I will feel more comfortable going into Saturday's meet.  Coincidentally Kris is in Houston today doing a clinic.

That's it today except to say that during my warm up I felt like an athlete.  After a week of very little activity that was a welcome feeling.  Have a great day!  Bubba

Terrible Ted, the Motor City Madman with "Cat Scratch Fever" -

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Chapter is Closing

Don picked up all of my weight equipment from my garage this morning and the movers came over.  Because of this I did not get a workout in as I had hoped.  I will go out and try and play around vaulting in the morning and see how I feel.  Worse case I'll run some sleds easy and go from there.

Next week I am out Monday until Wednesday night and we will start driving to California the following Thursday evening.  Training is hit and miss right now but that was expected and the phase break built into my plans.  I feel fat and I hate that but sometimes the body needs a rest.  Again, I would rather take a series of little breaks that have to try and restart after one long one.  Have a great day and thanks for being here.  Bubba

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Home - For a Few Days

I've been home for 10 minutes and the printer repair guy says he is on his way over. I had hoped to get out and do some easy sleds both today and Saturday to see if I'm going to try and jump at the meet next week or not.  If you remember I stopped the last practice with a mild right groin thing.  Hope to give it a shot but we will see.

Have way too much to cover here so I'll spread it out over a few days.  Apparently Simon Arkell is getting me my own key to where he and his vaulters train AND I can keep my poles there rather than transport each vault day.  They also have bars, sleds, plyo boxes, etc. so I should be set there.  I haven't been to it yet but there is a 24 Hour Fitness a few miles away so I'll switch my membership to there.  I'm giving my garage weights to Don Curry as I'm not sure I will have room or if the sea air is good for the equipment in the garage.  Since January 1, 2005 I'm nearly at 20 million lbs. lifted (9.1 million kg) and a lot was in my garage.

Moving - the plan is to leave by car on Thursday evening 10/29, get past San Antonio and rest.  Get up about 4 AM and drive into New Mexico.  Sleep a few hours and drive to Phoenix, sleep a few hours and drive to the new place.  It's about 26 hours of driving with three dogs.  Should be fun - not so much.  More later.  Have a great day and thanks for being here.  Bubba

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Yep - Weird Week

I'm at a hotel near the Orange County, California airport getting ready to come home at 6 AM tomorrow.  Yesterday I was in Denver and then home in Texas.  As I have told people about my impending move back to Southern California, where I lived at or near the beach for 24 years, I get two responses.  For those who have not been here, "well I guess you have to do what you have to do".  For those that have, "Wow - lucky guy!!".  Here's a little video from near my new place in Monarch Beach.  Enjoy.  Bubba

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Here Comes Another Weird Week

As much as my mind and body fought me this morning I got in and had a very productive gym/lift/bar session.  I'm in Denver tomorrow and Tuesday and LA on Wednesday/Thursday.  Probably better as the break will keep me from screwing with my leg; which is much better today. 

I woke up feeling I'm 50/50 for the Texas vs. Louisiana meet on 10/22 but now I'm more optimistic.  What I'm most excited about is my training process.  I'm trying to get the most out of every level rather than just passing on to the next because I can.  For the past few years I have jumped on the biggest pole possible and now I jump on the biggest one that I feel comfortable with.  I'm getting a lot more out of my vault sessions because of it.

SO, I'm early for 2013, yet already feel behind for Reno 2012.  Reality - I hope to PR again at Reno and I am sure as soon as the move is done I will quickly make up any perceived lost ground.  Have a great Sunday and thanks for your support. Bubba

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Reality - Two Steps Forward & One Step Back

Last year at Belton I saw my buddy Scotty Miller warming up to vault.  He's a coach now and finally old enough to vault with the masters group.  In his prime he vaulted 18' 5" (5.62m) at the University of Texas where he was also a defensive back on the football team.  Scotty is LITTLE but uber powerful and explosive and thought nothing of taking off at 15' 2" (4.65m) when everyone else was around 13' (4m).  As I watched him warm up I thought, "DAMN, I'm running like an old man trying not to get hurt and he's running in with these bounding rhythmical strides looking like he could explode any second he chooses to".  My goal this year is the be more like Scotty.

So far I've upped my explosiveness in small doses but I have to be really careful with it until my body learns how to handle it.  Today was a perfect example. I was warming up on my 14' 1" (4.30m) poles and I felt really quick and explosive.  I was gripping near 12' 1" (3.70m) from only four steps and even bending the pole.  As my legs got quicker I started feeling a little weakness under the back of my right leg like a high posterior groin area.  Since I have never had this and it didn't feel like and injury yet, I stopped.

That's just the way it's going to be for awhile.  Ramp up and be explosive but shut down at the first sign of trouble until my body can adjust. To anyone outside of my body or mind this day would have looked like a dismal failure and yet another setback.  To me it's one step closer to jumping like Scotty.

I finished my sleds and felt fortunate to not be injured.  I'm comfortable with the knowledge that in the long run I'm quite sure this plan will work.  Have a great day and thanks for your support.  Bubba

Here's another small yet explosive guy  - Greg Duplantis -

Friday, October 7, 2011

Work Ethic, Favorites, Underdogs & Other Nonsense

I went to dinner with my dad and my brother Wednesday for dad's 80th birthday.  At the end of dinner I would tell him that I am moving back to California.  I mentioned this to my older sister and her response was surprising yet true, "That's OK.  He lives next door to Bill and he has always been his favorite anyway".  I was a little taken back at first and then kind of laughed and said, "you're right".  In fact, Time magazine just had a big article about parents having favorites.  Bill is dad's and I have always been fine with that?  Why?

I was never treated poorly.  In fact I have always been treated great but Bill was treated better.  He was far more gifted athletically, he liked to work on cars with my dad, etc.  I on the other hand got up at 4 AM when my dad got ready to go to work and lifted weights with my little 20 lb. (10 kg) set.  In high school me and a few friends would go out at 4 AM and run the six mile (10 km) dirt road that was about to become US 290.  Sometimes Bill went but usually not.  When my dad coached little league he told us that we would have to be far better than the other kids in order to get to play so he could not be accused of favoritism.  Therefore Bill always played and I rarely did.

Somehow all of this never bothered me because I knew Bill WAS better.  I worked really hard and still was not that good and I was OK with that.  Bill had a good work ethic himself but not like mine.  At least not then.  Today he celebrates 20 years in the military where he joined at 30 and became an Airborne Ranger and has received two bronze stars for service in the Middle East.  Again, I could never do that either, but I admire him and am very proud of him.

I don't have a real point here because the only three people who matter are very happy and comfortable in our relationships with dad and each other.  I love and respect them both.  I rationalize that it's tough being the favorite because so much is expected.  My junior year of college I shocked the world and won nationals after coming in ranked 10th.  The next year I had the 6th best jump going in and wasn't picked to medal yet I won again.  That said, strangely I don't think underdog has any advantage either.

Most of my life I have done and been very successful at things others said I shouldn't or couldn't do.  I was the underdog.  That lack of faith never drove me to succeed as I pretty much just ignored it and went on about my business.  I've never needed to "show someone" because I could care less if they approved. What drove me is that I commit to things that I think are the best way for me to go.  And usually after a lot of hard work and no shortage of frustrating setbacks, I achieve the goal and then some.

In review, until the truly talented work as hard as their talent levels, underachievers who consistently work harder will continue to pass them.  The thought or motivation of training or competing as a favorite or as an underdog is nonsense.  Practice how you compete and compete how you practice.  Train as if the world is watching every rep.  If this makes you happy you are already successful.  Now go have fun at the competition.  Thanks for being here.  Bubba

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Another Good Lift Day - Move Explained

Lots going on right now as we prepare to move, but I still got a great lift in this morning.  I knew I needed to get it done and promised myself I would take my time and do it the best I could.  Went very well and I felt very good about the effort.

Moving - I'm in, and have been for the past 24 years, the healthcare business specializing in relationships between physicians and physical therapists.  I used to own a chain of PT clinics in Southern California but sold my half in 2001 and moved back to Texas in part to help care for my aging parents.  Ten years later all is good here and opportunities to expand my business in California, where I had a very large physician client base, have exploded due to some changing laws that affect their present business relationships.  I have been very successful in these transitions in other states so it is only a natural that I go back to help here now.  I think that is probably as simple as I can explain the "why NOW" and the sense of urgency to get back to California.  I've already been there three times and another scheduled, so it would be cheaper to live there rather than travel back and forth. 

Hope you have a great day.  Thanks for all of the kind words and support!  Bubba

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Travel Day - Breaking News

Today is my local / regional travel day.  By the end of today I hope to learn when I am returning to Southern California - to live; by November 1, or Spring of 2012.  Having lived in Newport Beach, California for 24 years I always knew at some point that I would return.  My mom has passed and my dad turns 80 today but lives across the street from my brother.  The time to "go home" is near for a number of reasons including the weather and business opportunities.  I have loved my time here and will be back in Texas for business/other one week a month but my base will change to SoCal very soon now.  I will train with Greg Charles at UC Irvine, where I coached vaulters for 14 years, and at Saddleback College with two time Olympian from Australia, Simon Arkell.  I will compete for SoCal Track Club and will live in Dana Point, just south of Laguna Beach (see top photo).  Thanks for your support!  Bubba

California Dreamin -

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Decent Vault Day - Love Me!

Today I decided to start on one pole bigger from my two step run - 15.9 rather than 16.3.  The pole was perfect for two jumps and then I moved on to six steps.  From that point forward all of my poles were just a touch too small.  Nothing worse than "finessing" because you don't want to blow through the pole.  Well it would be worse to move up a pole and struggle on the run and get hurt.  I felt I could have used the bigger poles but it wasn't worth the risk after two really hard lift days. 

I got 11 jumps in which is awesome and was pretty good on my technique.  Unfortunately my jump requires me to have lots of pressure on my hands so when a pole is too little I lose some control.  The good news is that I will be back on my 14' 1" (4.30m) poles on Saturday and by the feel of today, they will be too small also.  THAT is good news.

Looking for a guitar lesson online I found a great artist/teacher, Kris Dahl.  Here is one of his songs, which follows with how to play it - "Love Me".  May not be your cup of tea but power rock is what gets me through the toughest days of training.  Enjoy and thanks for being here.  Bubba

Monday, October 3, 2011

About Time

Today I knew I needed to start early and just take my time and get through my longest lifting and bar session of the week.  Too often I get in a time crunch and rush through stuff near the end.  I really enjoyed this approach and will make sure I start earlier in the future.

Today I heard NXS' "Devil Inside" on my mp3.  I remember in 1987 they came to my neighborhood at the beach in Balboa, California and shot this video at the Balboa Saloon.  They waited until midnight when the place closed down and worked there until near dawn.  Pretty cool having the group roaming around town all night.  Very nice laid back guys.  Anyway, here is that video -

Have a great day!  Bubba

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Back to Lifting - YES!!

It's always funny to me how I have to really get myself ready to go back to the gym after a break.  You would think I'm going to a death match.  Then when I get there I immediately feel how much I missed it and enjoy the process.  GREAT lift and bar day.  Even better, I get to jump on Tuesday!  Yahoooooooooo!!

I've got the Texas vs. Louisiana meet on 10/22 so I'm trying to plan my poles for that.  My gut says to start on my 14' 1"s (4.30m) poles and then move to my 14' 7"s when needed.  Normally I would only take the 14' 7"s.  I'm pleased with the technical progress and control I'm getting on my vault so I'm not going to just rush to big poles to jump high.  I would rather work through and "earn" the bigger poles as I go.

Have a great Sunday and a sincere thank you for your interest and support!  Bubba

Saturday, October 1, 2011

I Don't Get It, But WHATEVER!!

I mentioned that I did some stride/skip stuff over the past few days but nothing else for the week, including no stretching, so I was very careful this morning.  I went out FAT at 175.5 yet made five heights in six total jumps, with only one miss and very good control of my technique.  Go figure. I felt I could have taken several more jumps but decided that would be pushing my luck.  I jumped 10' (3.05m), 10' 6" (3.20m) and 11' (3.35m) all on first jumps from four steps.  I made 11' 6" (3.51m) on my 2nd attempt from six steps (33'/10m) and 12' on my 1st.  M baseline is 12' from 33' so I called it a day and finished my sleds. 

Tomorrow will be my big gym day, and Monday my big garage lift day, but for today I am happy yet mystified that I could jump at that level.  Of course we all know that we feel better after a break and quickly slide backwards if we don't get back to training.  Happily and healthy I will do so.  Thank you for your support and have a great Saturday!!  Bubba

PS - Here is a great video of a dog that you will probably find as cool as I did -