Tuesday, January 31, 2012


I'm still a little beat up but I did my regular training today hoping I will have enough time to feel good by Saturday.  I'm optimistic that things will be fine but worse case I use it as a practice.  Since I'm jumping in a meet the next weekend too with a shorter rotation of rest, I need to be a little more cautious.  So I'm OK for today, but guessing how I will feel in 2-3 days is a crap shoot.  So as always, I will be recalculating.  Have a great day and I will report on whichever body shows up tonight, tomorrow and the next few days.  Bubba

Rage Against the Machine - "Renegades of Funk" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqWP1rsAMrw

Monday, January 30, 2012

Life Goes On

WELL, since I will jump in the meet in San Diego on Saturday because I have no place to jump before then, my workout schedule deals me a day off today. I will start my next rotation tomorrow by doing Tuesday's running and all of Wednesday's marathon training components.  Wednesday AM I will get up and do Friday's workout and then cruise into the weekend.  I'm guessing I will also do some combination of this same thing next week but starting a day later.  I think there is a meet at Marina HS in Huntington Beach that weekend.

To clarify - I will jump in meets but I won't travel or break training. The way it works around here is there are a ton of All Comer meets now and again in the summer.  But once the high school and college meets start we are out of luck.  So lucky me, at least I have some meet opportunities until I can get my regular practice rotation back. 

The good news is that if  only jump once a week I can really trash my body on my training because I only have to feel good one day and I will always have a coupe of rest/stretch days before that.  SO, life goes on.  Have a great evening and thanks for being here.  Bubba

I leave you with Offspring's, "The Kids Aren't Alright", a great training song.  Ironic title because the singer has a PhD in microbiology, so I guess he and his bandmates have done alright.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrZ4sMRYimw

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Lessons From Dean "The Machine"

This is how high an 8' vault looks to me today.  Beat up and trashed from training in a very good way.  "Hopping" into bed will require an effort!

My long time, "up for any psycho activity" training partner, Dean Gregory taught me a lot of stuff.  A certified genius, he read six newspapers each day but he specialized in common sense and determination.  He wasn't a big guy but he didn't back down from anything.  YES, he's still alive and I'm sure reading this having no idea why I'm talking about him or where this is going.  He's been a big supporter and great friend for 30 years so he'll be fine.

Lesson #1 - A bunch of us in the neighborhood decided we were going to go hike a mountain over behind the Rose Bowl.  I had done it once before several years before so I had a rough idea where we were going.  As we started off jogging and scrambling, etc., we noticed that Dean was walking like an old man with a very slow stride length about the length of his foot.  It wasn't long before we were out of sight and occasionally came back to make sure Dean knew the route.  About halfway up we were physically wasted and looking for shade and Dean slowly marches by.  He beat us to the top by an hour and was napping when we arrived.  We were spent, dehydrated, etc.  He calmly started his trek down.

Later we would mountain bike ride across Catalina Island for a few days at a time.  Having learned my lesson, Dean and I WALKED on our pedals with the attitude that any forward progress was good. At the top of a hill we should be fresh enough to accelerate.  Over the long run this is by FAR the best way to go about training too.  BTW - Our bikes were much heavier than everyone elses' because instead of powdered food and plastic utensils, we would freeze steaks, lobster, take bottles of wine, etc. 

Over the years I have learned a lot from Dean about a lot of things, but the go slow and never stop or take a break is the most valuable.  So many of us start and stop with different training blasts that I just have a gut feeling that Dean's way is the only way I can really get where I want to go.  So thanks Dean.  Low level forever until that feels too easy then slowly raise the level.  Never raise more than 10% and never raise both intensity and duration at the same time.  Don't be in a hurry because I have 20 months.  But 20 months goes fast so DON'T MISS!!

Yesterday I was a little bummed about the situation at Saddleback College but Simon will talk to the coach again.  I'm fine at Dana Hills and I won't worry about jumping this Tuesday.  Why?  I think I will drive down to UC San Diego and vault in a cool little meet in memory of a friend's son who died a couple of years ago - https://admin.xosn.com/attachments1/125223.pdf?DB_OEM_ID=5800  I will just make it a practice and stay after my other training earlier this week.

A few days ago "Unknown" made a comment on this blog encouraging me toward my outlandish goals.  He said he was jumping 10' 6" and had a goal of 12'.  The first thing I thought when I read that was, "thank you". The second thing I thought was "GOOD FOR YOU!!"  The truth is that I have seen a lot of 10' 6" jumpers and far better than half of them absolutely CAN jump 12'.  In fact they are more likely to jump 12' then I am to make 14'.  But whatever your goals; GO GET THEM.  Long, slow and steady!  Right Deano?! 

Thanks for being here.  Bubba
The Kinks, "Superman" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzgIl9Qt7Bg  I can see every vault of Jan Johnson's Sky Systems 2 when I hear this song.  It's burned in my memory.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

MORE Changes!!

Great workout this morning.  Took my time and got through everything I needed to and I liked the way it all felt and flowed.  I'm all set for regular training and then STOP ...

Simon Arkell emailed me and said they are running all vaulters off who do not compete for Saddleback College.  Last year Simon was the California Junior College Coach of the Year and now he may be opting out.  If you can't help all vaulters then what's the use? 

Needless to say we are working on our back up plan.  I think between two local high schools we will be set.  Dana Hills High School, near my house now has both pits out.  I should officially be a volunteer for them by the end of next week so that works for me. Hopefully we can also go to Mission Viejo High School.  There are always options but no one is happy when a school shuts you out.  When I left UC Irvine after 14 years to move to Texas they ran all outside vaulters out too. Oh well.  Their loss.  We get insurance through USA Track & Field to protect the schools so there is really no reason.

I'm bummed but not too bad.  Have a great day and thanks for being here.  Bubba

Prong's, "Snap Your Neck" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cl-5TrGakWY

Friday, January 27, 2012

Less Than Zero!! Facing My Demons!

When I start a new program I make the assumption that both physically and technically I am at the bottom and starting over.  So not just at zero, but LESS than zero because I want to start with a clean slate, not just come back with what I have always done.

As your body is thrashed from training you don't have the energy to jump on big poles or long runs.  Because of this you get far more jumps in because you stay at a low level.  The problem there is that because you aren't tired AND can get many jumps, you are faced with many jumps to confront your technical demons.  Now most of those are mental.  You simply have to get used to getting in positions that aren't that comfortable because they are not familiar.  So you have all of these jumps by which to torment yourself.  That was today.

I started on 4 steps on my smallest pole and made 11' (3.35m). At 11' 6" (3.51m) I went up a pole but stayed at 4 steps.  In three attempts I could not find the timing to complete a jump so I stayed on that pole and moved back a stride to 6 steps.  I cleared it 2 out of 3 times.  The KEY is that I was on the 4m/13'1/15.9.  Normally at 6 steps I would go to the 14.7 because that would assure a clearance. That's not the "game" here.  The game is how high can I jump with better technique on small poles?

Next session I should be able to turn up on the 15.9 from 4 steps, and soon after, even bigger poles.  This is the stepping stone method.  A pole you can use from 6 steps you can now use from 4 and so on, just by trying it for three jumps in the previous practice.  So by the end of February, jumping twice a week and getting used to my training, I hope to jump 12'/3.66m (ties my PR) on a big pole from 4 steps. 

Again, this is process.  I can't move up poles just to clear the bar as I have to progress through all of my smaller poles and get the most out of each as I go.  I may move up and not be able to get in so I have to move back a stride if I can't turn up in three attempts. Just like a meet, you have only three attempts before you have to change poles, runs or both.  Repeat 20-30 times and my body will learn that I expect something different from it.  BTW - Bungee?  NEVER!  I'll use one when they allow them in meets.

My rationale is that I just jumped 13' in Reno after not running further that 6 steps in practice and not trying higher than 12'.  So isn't this the BEST way to assure I move up systematically for the long haul?  I think so.  Today I gripped 11' 10" (3.60m) from 4 steps.  If I can get that to 12' 3" (3.74m) then I'm setting myself up to grip higher when my run eventually moves back.

Having not done one single thing since Reno my stride length was short and choppy.  No stretching, running or strength work will do that.  I'm OK with that today but next time I should be able to cover more ground and move the 15.9.  Much more to say but I'll do it another day.  Thanks so much for being here!  Bubba

Here is "Zero" by the Smashing Pumpkins, another great training song - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfLIqMavq3Q

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Trying to Get Out! Dominance / Submission

I'm foolish enough to believe I have a some big jumps trapped inside my body.  I know it's a struggle with my mind and body of dominance and submission.  You know, you feel all powerful and then you bump your knee and drop to the floor feeling like a weakling about to puke?  Build it up and get knocked down - repeat 1,000+ times and you may find success.

You train and gain strength and power at the same time you tear your vault down to nothing and rebuild it.  That's the only answer I have as to why I delude myself and why will this time will be different.  I know that John Altendorf is the only 60+ year old man to ever jump 13' (3.97m - actually 4.04 indoors & 4.05m outdoors) and I plan on being the only 60 year old to jump 14' (4.27m).  YES that's DAMN CRAZY since I haven't jumped that since I was 46.  Yep, 14 years older ought to be about right for that type of a breakthrough.  DUMBASS!!

But I have to believe it with all of my being and break everything down and build it again if I am even to join John's exclusive club at 13'.  There is a reason only he has ever done it in history.  Do I really think I can jump 14'?  Yes - look at my 13' 6" jump in Reno last year.  I cleared it by a foot and I can run further, hold higher and use bigger poles today than I could then.  I just jumped 13' last week in Reno without running further than 6 steps or 33' (10m), or attempting higher than 12' (3.66m) in practice.  Low level technical stuff carries over to bigger success on bigger poles.

All of this said it will require a very special and consistent long term approach.  Hence, I start training tomorrow for October 2013.  Wish me luck.  Oh yeah, you will be here with me.  Thanks so much for that!  Bubba

Dominance / Submission by Blue Oyster Cult

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I'm going to vault on Friday morning because I'm basically tired on waiting for Saturday.  My body feels good so I'll do a little shake out tomorrow and get a light stretch in.  I was disappointed in how bad my technique looked at Reno but that was mainly because I was off balance from being under.  At the same time it gives me lots to work on.  I'm sure I will stay on small poles from 4 and 6 steps for all of February and try some heights I don't think I can make on those smaller poles.  Try to learn how to hit and hold better positions for longer while inching my grip up.  Need to hold 4-6" (10-15 cm) higher next year.  That type of vaulting won't take as much energy in my legs so I can train my body really hard.  I'm pretty sure what I want to do but after I finish this big work project tomorrow I will map it out and post it.  Have a great evening and thanks for being here!  Bubba

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


I just found out the the World Masters Championships in Brazil have been moved from late July/early August to late October.  I jumped in Australia at the World Masters Games on October 13, 2009.  Both southern hemisphere locations means warmer weather.  It also means that my ramp up will be a few months longer.  It also means I can go to Italy for the World Masters Games in August.  Good, good, good. 

LOTS of work to do and more time to do it.  My evolution from a child to a vaulter begins on Saturday when I will have my first vault training session for next year.  Here's to this "Sweet Child of Mine" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1w7OgIMMRc4&ob=av3n  Thanks for being here.  Bubba

Monday, January 23, 2012

Closer to Home!!

My pit at Reno - Lucky #7
I was going to start training today but decided the program can skip a rotation while I make sure that nothing is hurt.  I felt some pain on the outside of my left knee that I got shot before the National Senior Games, but I'm sure it's just from not jumping at a high level.  Even though it flared up it did not run out of control nor was I considering stopping.  That's amazing considering I had 10 meet vaults, three warm up jumps and a run through before my first bar went up - 14 jumps.  Here is how it looked;
Warm Up - 1 2 3
Run Through - 1
11' 6" - X
12' 0" - OX
12' 6" - OOX
13' 0" - X
13' 5" - OOO

Today my theme is "Closer to Home" because I am returning to my training roots, in a new place, that feels like home.  Though I grew up in Texas, I was obsessed as a kid with surfing, surf music and the entire California scene.  I had never been there but felt like I belonged there.  I went for a three day visit in October of 1978, came home on Sunday and moved there the following Wednesday and stayed 24 years.  I left for 10 and now I'm back for life.  People used to say, "I hear people from California are weird".  My response many years later was, "I don't know.  I'll let you know when I meet one".  Of course I know many native Californians but most are from other places and like me, enjoy the weather, scenery and people. 

The message?  I'm home - GET TO BACK TO WORK!!  And I will.  Thanks for your support.  Grand Funk Railroad - Closer to Home Live From Shea Stadium 1971 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyF5J7au1jE

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Video From Last Night in Reno

Of course I see tons of stuff I don't like but they are all things I can work on.  I'm just glad to have performed above my expected level and did not get hurt.  Thanks so much for your support.  On these videos you can click to pause and then use your cursor to move through frame by frame. 

AGAIN - HUGE props to my coach, Kris Allison for his brilliant adjustments.  At two critical points I would have guessed wrong and blown it.  When he told me to skip a pole for my last jump at 12' 6" I thought he was nuts. I mean a .9 flex jump from the same run at the end of a meet?  But I did as I was told and it worked perfectly.  Thanks Kris!!

Have a great evening and thank you sincerely for your support and friendship!!  Bubba

This s the 12' 6" jump

The 13' jump.  Sorry about the lack of trim function.  Don't know why that didn't work.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Much to my surprise I jumped 13' tonight on a first attempt and got 2nd on a miss at 12' 6" to a younger guy.  I had 10 meet jumps on five poles.  I should have taken bigger poles but at least I'm not hurt.  The hero award goes to my awesome coach, Kris Allison for making me skip a pole before my last attempt at 12' 6".  I boomed it and would not have made it on the smaller one.  Had one really good jump at 13' 5".  I've never made 13' on the pole I used for it tonight, much less 13' 5".  Very pleased with the result.  Have a great evening and thanks for your support.  Bubba

Friday, January 20, 2012

Feeling Alright!!

Nice little stride/stretch/skip today. I feel pretty fresh so that is good.  I did have a wild hair a few minutes ago that said, "why don't you just start on your smallest 14' 7" (4.45m) pole and see how it goes".  Tempting, but I doubt I will be that stupid.  Fortunately I jumped in a meet in the Fall where I went from my biggest 14' 1" (4.30m) to my smallest 14' 7" and made 12' 8" (3.76m) on my first jump.  That is a more likely path.  Have a great day and thanks for your support!  Bubba
Thank you Joe Cocker!! - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiTcmahEjiY

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Time Issues

Here in Reno.  BIG fire on the outside of town is the BIG news.  Highway 395 was closed in one area so I texted Bobby Talley and the Saddleback vaulters who are driving up with all of our poles.  Bobby said they were about 180 miles south so rain and/or snow may knock out most of it by then.

So much for the masters jumping Friday night.  My ID says I jump Saturday at 3:15.  Since all pits have a bout 40 vaulters and run late I will most likely be jumping around 7.  THAT SUCKS!!!  Oh well.  I'll go over early to watch some other kids and see how far behind my pit is.  ZERO chance it will be on time.

Today I feel a little rundown and dehydrated from the altitude but I'm better tonight.  I guess the bright side is that I have an extra day of rest.  Some of us may rent a car and drive over the 50 miles to Lake Tahoe tomorrow since we are "Off".  We will see as they have a winter storm warning.  Probably not the best idea if the snow is at lake level.  Going to be a very low key two days.  I'll get a stride/stretch in tomorrow and should be good to go.

Have a great evening.  Bubba

"No Time" by the Guess Who - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqeSUAlI5uI

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Glowing Expectations? NOT!!

I leave very early tomorrow morning to fly to Reno.  My expectations are minimal.  Last year I had been jumping really well early but got stuck every time I moved up to my 14' 7" (4.45m) poles.  A month before Reno me and Kris decided to take 5.5" (13cm) off of my poles.  Since the poles were made on 15' 1" (4.60m) sailpieces I now had a true 14' 7" that I could roll.  So I was jumping good but not high.  Tons of height on 12' 6" (3.81m) but couldn't roll the next pole to make 13' (3.97m).  So I trimmed those poles too and BOOM, 13' 6" in Reno, which held up to be the 3rd highest jump in the world last year for my group.  Then jumped 13' easy at National Indoors.  Those were the days, or were they?  I fully expect more later this year and next year.  FYI - the world record for age 58 is 13' 1 1/2" (4m) and the American Record is 13' 1" (3.99m) so I'm after that later.

This year for Reno I'm not quite as fit, mainly because of the move and groin strain, but I have had a lot of really good technical practices.  In fact, from my shorter runs I am almost on as big of poles as I have ever been from these runs.  The problem is my body may rebel if I go too fast too early.  I'll have to warm up at a very low level, sit around an hour or so waiting to start jumping, and then ease into my first height or two before I start challenging bigger poles and longer runs.  Timing these together without getting hurt is the key.  I feel fairly confident I can manage that, at least until the end.

Bottom line is that I hope to jump 12' (3.66m).  That may sound strange since I make that easily every day but when you are coming off of an injury and have sat around for awhile, there is no telling how the body will respond on round two. Typically I feel better in the meet than in warm up but that means at least for this meet I have to be super careful.  IF I made 12' 6" ish I would be pleased and if I jumped 13' I would be shocked and ecstatic.  Not that I don't think I can but again, it's reading my body.

We will see what we shall see.  Thank you so much for your support.  In the spirit of the magic needed to pull off a decent jump with my current fitness and jumping experience, here is the theme from super illusionist, Criss Angel's Mindfreak - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqilEB6Ojfc  Bubba

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fine Tuning

Another long stretch day in the garage and a chance to work through final exercise combinations and order so I can fine tune my new training life.  It's all becoming very clear now and I'm very excited about that.  So many parts of it are better suited for my goals than I have ever had before.  It's funny how when you allow yourself to get past the initial confusion and disappointment of radical change, that you see a much better solution than you imagined.

Even the smallest details are proving to be a refreshing upgrade.  The gym is crowded and has some limitations but the high P-Bars allow me to swing back further than ever.  Because the grips are a little wider my hips can get through my hands too.  I've noticed a dramatic difference in the range of motion and force of my swing when I vault.

No I don't have my little grass hill and sled, but I always complained that I had to use a sled because the hill wasn't step enough.  Not only do I have a superior hill/ramp at the stadium of Dana Hills High School, but I have some very steep bleachers to mix in between.  These bleachers make me explosively drive off of every step while the hill/ramp allows me to build a quicker and more powerful run rhythm.

DHHS is about to put another box in so their pit can be out year round.  It is 10 minutes from my house.  I'll jump my short run day there and my longer day with Simon.  I will have keys and full access and they also have a ton of poles.  They are due a new pit in three years and they already have the money in the bank.  The head coach, Craig Dunn, was a distance runner at DHHS who tried vaulting his senior year and made 10' 6" his first day and finished at 13' 6". STUD!!  He has a passion for the vault and wants to see his kids have the best chance to succeed.  I'm all for helping out and appreciate that they would allow me out there.

As stupid as it sounds, the smaller Smith Machine has smoother and a more free action that my old Gold's Gym machine which I loved.  Even more surprising is that the bench that came with it has the seat part slightly raised and angled toward the head of the bench so when I stretch it puts more gravity over my body making it easier to get a deep stretch without forcing.

All of this again reinforces that the mind is like a parachute and works best when open.  I HATED the lack of a familiar routine and now I have a brand new one that is better than any one I have ever had.  I just had to quit being stubborn and look for it.  I've dumped some exercises and changed some others and I am recharged to get started.  Sometimes the way it has been done is not the way it should be done and I have learned that lesson again.  It makes me ashamed that I was so closed to what clearly was a great new opportunity. I just had to let it in and I have.  Now let's have some fun.  Reno and then off to "next year".

Thanks so much for being here and your support.  I'll see many of you in Reno but for the rest, stay after it.  Whether you think you will have a good day or not, you are probably right.  Bubba

Bon Jovi, "It's My Life" was playing during my stretching and reminded me that IT IS my life; make the best of every moment - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vx2u5uUu3DE&ob=av2e

Monday, January 16, 2012

Yes - It Rains in Southern California

Me & two time Olympian for Australia, Simon Arkell, watching the kids at Saddleback College.  I've known Simon since the early 90's.  He is tied for the left handed World Record at 19' 1/4" (5.80m).  YES, he rides that bike most of the practice.  Click to enlarge.

Yesterday when I was doing my bleacher/hill/ramps I had some big drops falling so I was concerned about the bleachers getting wet and me slipping.  I ain't that coordinated so I really have to be careful.  Fortunately the "bigger rains" held off but we are entering the rainy season they call "winter".  The high today will only reach 63 after a low of 49.  I mention this because the garage workouts don't need to be heated with a space heater and maybe I won't even need a fan. We will see.  I first moved to Southern California in 1978, and every time it rains I think of this song - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pyC7WnvLT4

The biggest thing different about this week is the time devoted to stretching and just getting and keeping loose.  Though I have kept in touch with these activities I normally spend about 30-40 minutes a day on this.  On lift days I do stretches between sets and on non-lift days it is just a straight 30 minutes or so.  Part of being within "striking distance" is remaining loose so I can cover more ground with less effort.  BTW - that's why I hammered the bleacher hills yesterday; ONE week away from sleds, hills or bleachers and I find myself working too hard to cover ground on the runway even though I feel good.  I felt that way Saturday. That is an invitation to a hamstring ding.

Along those same lines, when we use DJ's "List" (http://www.bubbapv.com/Pages/dj.htm) we put a rubber strip across the runway at the mid mark.  This makes you accelerate to the box.  If you run too fast too early, or run the middle 3rd of the run too fast, you won't be able to get to the box.  When we have a meet we clearly don't use the rubber strip.  Get this - TWO practices without the strip and your run will move back in meaning that you are carrying less speed into the box.  I get this same result by running sleds and hills - COVER GROUND by running forward without excessive or wasted up and down motions.  Food for thought.

Speaking of thinking, surprisingly I'm not over thinking Reno.  I know exactly what pole I will start on, from what run and at what height.  Though I could use a bigger pole in warm up I will not unless my start pole becomes mush - a 70% chance. I just know it's going to be fun.  I dodged the injury devil on my way here.  THAT is cause for a sigh of relief. Now let me try to get out of the meet unhurt.  Have a great day and thanks for your support!  Bubba

Motley Crue again today, with "Shout at the Devil".  Another weird thing I do when I get through a hard prep phase before a big meet without getting hurt, I SHOUT at the (injury) devil and say - "You didn't get me this time!!!"  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7d57WGkhi-M&feature=related

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Blue Water Swimming!!

Pole vaulting is about becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable, and then searching out the next uncomfortable. There is a long series of them waiting for you on the road to success.

I learned and was taught early in my business career that innovative minds look for "blue water" opportunities; those concepts that exist outside of the bloody red water of the carnage of competition.  Nine years ago I came up with such an idea in healthcare that is quickly becoming an industry standard and we still have no imitators.  Why?  We protect our intellectual property with privacy agreements and all money has to flow through us first.

In training I have been bobbing up and down in the red water and spitting out blood as I learn how to train in this new environment.  Today as I was running the light bulb went on and the entire new plan laid itself out for me.  I was at Dana Hills High School at the top of my first bleacher run and I looked over to the left and saw about a 40-50m ramp/hill about three times as steep as the little hill I ran with a sled at The Woodlands.  PERFECT - Run up the 30 steps (15 lefts), walk the rest of the length of the bleachers on top, and down the ramp, then run back up the ramp - 22 lefts or 44 steps. This combination could not be more perfect for my needs.  BY FAR the best ever running combination for my day after vaulting running.  Of course on vault days I do 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s, but now my "speed endurance" day is set.

My lifting pieces came together too.  I now know exactly what I will do on what days between my garage and the gym lift days.  I'm very excited to have these pieces set as I go into Reno.  I can tell you right now that I will spend hours on my computer setting up next years spreadsheet to begin tracking.  If you remember, "Next Year" starts the day after Reno as I begin a long preparation for the 2013 World Championships in Brazil.  I will trun 60 about three weeks before them.  I'm so excited to have this training clear in my mind.  I'm a schedule person and I need structure.  I can take any conditions or curve balls thrown at me on meet day but my training needs to be very regimented and now I have it.

Thank you all for your support.  Today I heard a great Motley Crue song that reminds me so much of what it takes to be a good pole vaulter.  It has a line that says, "If you wanna live large you've gotta be ready to crash and burn".  And with that, I will put one more bigger pole in my bag for Reno - "Wild Side"

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Bright Spot!!

I almost did everything I told myself to do and not do today.  The exception was I moved back to 8 steps for the first time in practice this year because I didn't feel I could get enough pole speed from 6 on my biggest 13' 1" (4m) pole.  Made 12' (3.66m) easy three times and stopped. Not really.

I did make 12' three times easy but I went in and got my first 14' 1" (4.30m) pole and came out and started over with my 2, 4, & 6 step take offs.  Shockingly I could get into the pit on it comfortably from 6 steps only gripping down about 6" (15 cm) from where I would start with a crossbar.  So I used a bigger pole and a longer run because it felt safe.

I didn't want to risk getting hurt but I needed to know what pole and run I would start on in Reno.  The first 14' 1" from 8 steps (43').  It was a bit of a risk but I know that my biggest 13' 1" is a little bit bigger than my first 14' 1" so I took the calculated gamble.  Nice day, I'm not hurt, and I'm as good as I will be for Reno.  Not where I was last year but technically a little more controlled even if the poles are smaller and the runs are shorter.  Time to have some fun.  WHEW!!!  Thanks for being here!  Bubba

In Living Colour - "The Cult of Personality" - lead singer Cory Glover was in "Platoon" with Charlie Sheen - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xxgRUyzgs0&ob=av3e  AND Vernon Reed is an incredible guitar player.

Friday, January 13, 2012


"Just because you are paranoid doesn't mean that they aren't really after you". Who?  Where?  The injury bug! YEP, waiting on you tomorrow.  OK a bit dramatic but then again, I am easily amused.

Message to anyone vaulting in Reno. Tomorrow is my last vault session before Reno.  I will vault next Friday night at 5:30.  We used to jump Saturday but several years ago we made it clear that if they wanted officials at the Saturday pits we need to be finished with our jumping.  Great move!!  We also have kids to coach on Saturday.  But I digress.

The ambitious mind tells us that tomorrow would be the perfect day to try and get on that next pole or run.  A very scary percentage of those who try this will be injured and left to limping around at Reno all weekend.  DON'T DO IT!  This is as much a reminder to me as it is a warning to you.  Been there, done that, as have countless other vaulters.  Ain't so much fun to be in Reno and not able to vault.  You/I have been warned.  That is all!!  Thanks for being here.  Bubba

Reno - 1 Week - Fire it up with Motley Crue's, "Kickstart My Heart" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4aob4zlhIk

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Let There Be Rest!!

I woke up this morning and did not feel like training.  Now if I wouldn't be in Reno a week from right now I would have gone out and pounded it out like I always do.  Upon further review, I'm a little beat up but not majorly so.  I'm not injured, or really flat, I just feel like I'm at that point where I can slip into further beat down mode or my body will be kind and make a positive charge forward. 

As hard as it was to do I did not workout.  I think the main reason is that I would like to have a decent final vault session on Saturday morning as well as let the recovery start.  Dangit I hate being practical but sometimes it's needed.  I'll hit my normal hard Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and then should be good to go.

At this age my body feels like the Tin Man on the Wizard of Oz; old and creaky until I get moving around a little.  Exercise is my oil but today I needed rest.  It's really hard to explain.  Yesterday I was trashed and today, even though I still feel bad, I feel like I'm coming back around.  Odd, but I didn't want to screw up that hint of physical progress.  If you listen to your body when it speaks softly then it won't have to YELL at you.  Have a great night!!  Bubba

Old school AC/DC, "Let There Be Rock" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98I85ceICRM

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

When Below Average is Good Enough

The great athlete Bo Jackson once spoke to a group of elderly people in Alabama and told them that he was no different than them in that their perceived level of exertion puts their body in the same state of trauma.  Yes he may be able to get there sooner and stay there longer but all ages know what this feels like. His message was that some days 100% effort will only produce 70% or your normal or expected results.  Some days are easier than others.

Today I felt like total dog crap but I was able to jump.  I was so afraid I was done for Reno because of this groin issue but as I got going it was totally nonexistent.  In all I took 16 take offs with 7 at a bar.  I couldn't get on the regular poles I have been able to but I have been training harder.  Dead legs will make that happen.  I was smart enough to stop with some decent jumps under my belt.  I knew to hit my "norm" would require me to try and run harder and that's just not smart.  Besides, I'm THRILLED I could jump at all. 

NOTE - I jumped with Dan Cassidy today and he too had a short day because he is recovering from a light calf strain.  DAN, has some real potential because he loves the sport, he is a good student, but mainly because he stops when he FEELS something instead of when he INJURES something.  HUGE difference.  He chooses to stop rather than being forced to.  Hat's off to Dan. 

SO, what next.  I beat the HELL out of myself of course.  This means I will feel bad again when I jump Saturday but I will have a long break and should feel great by Reno.  The things we trick our bodies into letting them to do.  Have a great day and thanks for being here.  Bubba

Megadeth - Peace Sells - A favorite grind away song - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oa_Cz7_bPuI&feature=fvwrel

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Confusion / Peace

Because of my schedule and body I'm trying to figure out my game plan for tomorrow.  My groin is sore from the quick running the other day.  It didn't bother me this morning during stride / skip / stretch but that doesn't mean that it won't flare up when I vault.  It's possible that I am already out for Reno and don't yet know it.  I worry about this.  See my thought process graphic above.  I think the bottom line is that I need to go out tomorrow and try to vault at a low level.  Now it becomes "when"?

In my real life I partner physicians wishing to offer physical therapy services, with a network of private practice PTs that I build for them.  Why?  Most every time a physician opens his own PT it fails, while at the same time kills private practice PTs by removing his business from the market.  It's truly a win/win.  Over the past nine years me and my partner have done over 700 contracts in 49 states.  I'm in California again because of a number of deals but primarily for a group of 265 physicians in Beverly Hills. I have the exclusive contract to provide their PT services.  Tomorrow is their "kickoff" meeting.  I don't yet know if I am to be there tomorrow night or meet with the organizers during the day.  So hopefully soon I will have that answer and know when I can vault.

Why does this matter?  I was hoping to run from 8 steps tomorrow and make that my last hard vault day before Reno.  Now between my leg and this meeting, I don't know if I will / can jump at all.  Again, please refer to graphic above for the gobbledygook going on in my head.

And now, for something totally needed and different, PEACE - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hn_4n7SuKjE  Thanks for being here!  Bubba

Monday, January 9, 2012

More Change!!

I catch myself sometimes being impatient.  Part of this is not being settled in on what I will do in my garage  vs. the gym. The other part is not starting early enough to be able to take my time.  I went out to the garage at 6:30 this morning so I could slowly work through things.  I got in my first long stretch in also and it felt great.  This doesn't mean I'm settled in.  It just means I know why I was impatient.  It also explains why I have lapsed here and there on recording my weights lifted.

My body is somewhat beat up but feels to be recovering so that's a good sign.  Recovering from training time tells me where I am.  When I'm in peak form I can pretty much obliterate my body and still feel pretty good the next day.  That said, I can only take 2-3 weeks of that type of training consistently before I need a one rotation break.  I'll be glad when I get there.  Hope it happens before Reno but we will see.  Thanks so much for being here!  Bubba

Here is my guitar teacher, Rusty Cooley doing a video lesson.  Some great vaulters are not good vault coaches.  Rusty is a fantastic teacher and consistently ranked among the top 10 :Shredders" in the world - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLfw4jp5UhU&feature=g-vrec&context=G29f0177RVAAAAAAAAAw

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Simply Irresistible!! - 12 Days Until Reno!!

Of course I never start with music but today is the day because it played a big factor in my training.  I was torn between using Robert Palmer's, "Simply Irresistible" or Don McLean's, "The Day the Music Died".  The first song was playing when MY "music died" today right before my running workout.  I had charged my mp3 player and when I unplugged it I forgot to turn it off so it has been playing non-stop until the battery was dead.  It held up during the gym but crashed right before my running began.  OUCH!!

I'm in this weird and painful phase that I strangely like.  I vault one day so my legs are trashed.  The the next day I lift HARD legs (borderline puking) and THEN I immediately go do my running.  The dead legs, being asked to run with a natural rhythm, do not respond well DURING the workout, but I feel much quicker in the legs my first day back out to jump.  It's kind of a simple way to jump up my conditioning pace.  Beat them when they are already trashed.  This will sound strange but I also have actually jumped right after lifting hard legs.

The background - I had a decathlete from Germany at UC Irvine who was a dangerous vaulter so I wouldn't let him vault.  Instead, reasoning that he had to warm up every day anyway, I gave him a series of pole and plant / take off drills to do.  After two months I let him vault from 4 steps until he could make 12'.  Starting this process he gripped 16' and made 13' 9".  At the end of his first year with me he gripped 14' 9" and vaulted 16' 9".

Chapter two - with this in mind, I gave my top two collegiate vaulters a 1:45 minute warm up on their vault day.  BEFORE they vaulted they did running, sleds, hurdles, bars, drills, etc.  Needless to say they were dead legged when they got to vault so they were able to focus more on technique since they had no chance to jump on big poles.  The result as the girl went from 12' 7" to 14' 5' in SIX MONTHS and the guy improved by 1' 3".  Works for them, why wouldn't it work for me?  Besides, I'm too tired to use a big enough pole to get hurt.

Back to running.  Clearly I am not used to it.  I ran 6 X 100m with a fairly quick pace and nice stride length.  I was not as out of breath and it felt manageable.  But when I went to do my 6 X 50m, both groins were sore from the quick movements required to run a fast and rhythmical pace.  EXACTLY what I wanted.  Go after the weakness in a controllable environment.

I'm hoping this jump starts my speed endurance and stride length quickness so I don't have to fear longer runs at Reno.  I'll try to run from 8 steps on Wednesday and that will be my start place at Reno.  If I can get to 10 steps and on to my 14' 7" (4.45m) poles then I should be in business.  The only caution is warm up.  If I can get through warm up and the sitting around with no issues, I should be OK to go a little bigger.  But not without this time of running and this training configuration.  Have a great day and thanks for your support!  Bubba

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Time Machine

Another dangerous change of plans.  I noticed it was much cooler out this morning but decided to take my pole bag that I will take to Reno with me = bigger poles.  My first pole in the bag is my 2nd biggest 13' 1" (4m) pole, a 13.8.  Considering that the last two practices I have jumped on my 13.5 from 6 steps, the 13.8 is a push to start on, but I felt I needed to try.  Reno is coming and that can't be the first time I hit a pole that feels stiff.

I felt quick but unstable in the legs from lack of training and stretching this week.  This creates a bigger risk considering my plan and the cool temperatures.  I figure the worst case I could move back to 8 steps.  I did a ton of short little take offs from 2 and 4 steps to be sure my timing was good.  I also took four take offs with no bar from 6 steps to make sure I was on.  When I put the bar up it was apparent to me if I didn't hit my hands well I would not get in enough to turn up to attempt the bar.  Jump #1 that's exactly what happened.  I didn't roll the pole.  Jump #2 I boomed 11' (3.35m) by a lot. Jump #3 I easily cleared 12' (3.66m) and stopped right there.  Mission accomplished.

Sure I would have liked to have taken more jumps but I felt at that point that moving to 8 steps and going to my 14' 1" was too much for how I was feeling and the cool climate.  Dodged a bullet and had a good day.  Many would question that 2 completed jumps is not a good day but they were very good jumps and my technique was dead on.  A few years ago during a rehab period, soon to become Olympic and World Champion, Steve Hooker said that some of his best practices were 2-6 jumps.  He knew he was limited by injuries so his focus was much better as he knew he could not waste jumps.  That's me today; hit the CRAP out of the pole, hit my positions and quit before I'm hurt.  Thank you body!!

I'm not stuck in the past.  I joined and am active on Facebook so I can track up and comers and watch them develop.  My best "find" was Germany's Desiree Singh who I started watching a few years ago.  Last summer she won the World Youth Championships.  I'm also not stuck in the past on my music as you can see from my daily music selections.  I'm sure many of you don't classify some of it is music but when you have three sets, three lifts, three hills, etc. left in your day, my music choices drive me to the finish.  With all of that said, here is Grand Funk Railroad's, "Time Machine".  Enjoy!  Bubba

Friday, January 6, 2012

Whatever It Takes

Well I'm going out for a long but low level vault session in the morning.  Because of business travel I haven't done much this week but at least I didn't come back heavy.  Two weeks from today I jump at Reno.  Totally unaware of what to expect there.  I could jump well but I'm not in vault shape enough to jump real high.  We will see what happens. I'll go as big as I can within the range of not getting hurt.  I'll feel like I will know a little more tomorrow.  Thanks for your support!  Bubba

Sublime's, "Santeria" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEYN5w4T_aM&ob=av2e

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Mom, New Years Resolutions, Tim Tebow, etc.

Olympic Gold Medalist Lindsey Vonn Tebowing.  Rumor has it she wants a date with him.

A friend asked me yesterday about my New Years Resolutions.  I responded that I do them throughout the year.  At a young age I would share my plans and goals with my mom and tell her when I would implement them.  Her response was always the same, "Well that sounds like a good plan.  Why don't you start right now?  Why would you wait?"  And so I don't. 

This is the same mom who chastised me when I was a young and whiny wuss.  For example, I have a great friend, David Shephard, who always jumped higher than me in high school and college.  He was MUCH taller and faster than me.  So one morning my mom reads the paper and she sees that David had vaulted 15' 6" at a big high school meet.  I said, "Well he grips 15' 6"".  To which my mom says, "It doesn't say that in the paper.  It just says he jumped higher than you.  Why don't you grip 15' 6"?"  When I responded that I didn't have the speed or talent she said, "So David should be punished for that?"  Harsh but I needed that lesson at that point.

David was one of my best friends and the nicest guy in the world.  You couldn't NOT love him but why did he have to be so much better?  That's just the way life is.  Like Clint Eastwood said as Dirty Harry, "A man's got to know his limitations."  GREAT mom to take the unpopular yet truthful approach.  May she rest in peace.

I'm not a fan of Herbert Cain at all but, like my mom, he will tell you how it is whether you like it or not.  He once said, "If you want to be, and you aren't educated or rich you only have yourself to blame because people who started with far less than you have accomplished this".  FACT!

So that brings me to Tim Tebow.  A year ago I was very anti Tim Tebow because he thought as a rookie he could march into a professional football team's locker room and change their culture.  When he first asked for a group prayer they told him to "Shut the F up and sit down".  To me at the time that's what he deserved.

But being proud to have an open mind, I have become a big fan of Tim Tebow.  The mind is like a parachute and works best when open.  Not Tim Tebow, the quarterback, person, Christian, etc.  But Tim Tebow the determined spirit and force to be dealt with who has remained humble through all of this criticism.  My two favorite quotes about his constant reference for his love of Jesus was, "You don't just tell your wife you love her the day you get married, or you mom on her birthday".  I'm a Christian and I would never burden someone else with my beliefs but I think his reasoning is well founded.  In his book he says he uses the platform as a way to say thank you to the Lord.  He understands that the size of the platform will shrink over time but he will still use it now and forever.  Again, that's not me but I respect the reasoning. The other thing he said was "I'm quite sure that God could care less about football, me playing football or who wins.  But he does care about how I conduct myself whatever I do."

So what does this have to do with pole vaulting?  To be successful you must have undying spirit and conviction that you can get better, no matter what anyone else thinks.  My mom taught me a great lesson early when I realized that I just wasn't as talented as many of the other vaulters.  If I really wanted it I would have to work longer and harder than the rest.  As we know, at the highest levels of anything in life EVERYONE works hard and smart so you had better be strengthening that muscle between the ears.

For three years my mom fought death and declining health. Three times we were called to her bedside for last rites only for her to come back.  She wouldn't even give up facing death, and neither will I.  Back to the grind baby!  Tomorrow is another brick in the wall!  Thanks for being here!  Bubba

Today's get off your ass and do something message to myself is Drowning Pool's, "Let the Bodies Hit the Floor"  Join me?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Almost Home

I''m in between phone calls and meetings right now.  Can't wait to get home and get back to "work".  Have a great day!!  Bubba

Monday, January 2, 2012

Flying High!! Not So Much Today!

My plans for today pretty much failed by choice.  I went to the gym and did one set of high bar swing ups and one set on the P-Bar Bubkas.  I felt my shoulder a little bit on the high bar and my elbow on the P-Bars so I bailed.  It could be because I vaulted on a big pole relative to my run length on Saturday and did these same bar drills yesterday.  Off to the track to do stadiums. 

Everything is wide open but my body felt like crap from the vaulting Saturday, and hard leg lifts + 8 X 100m yesterday, so I stopped.  I came home and had a business call and then went out the garage to get a feel for my new gym stuff.  It went well but the set up and feel for each exercise took longer than I expected so it was more of an orientation than a workout.  That too is probably for the best since my shoulder was flared a little on my last free weight lift day.  The shoulder rarely flares so that's not such a big deal as long as I watch it.

I feel good about where I am and where I'm going.  That's a good thing since I am off on a business trip for the next three days.  I'll do some strides and stretching on Wednesday and get a good vault session in either Friday or Saturday.

Other stuff - I've noticed that I'm getting tan, in California, in the winter.  In Texas I vault at 7 AM and the rest of the time try to stay out of the heat and sun.  Here it's comfortable and warm.  Love Texas but forgot how the weather is here.  Low 40s in the AM and 50 by 9 AM.  Cools down again in the evening.  Put it this way, few houses near the beach have air conditioning because it's not needed.  Feels strange but I will take it.

Reno is both the beginning and end of my season -  I knew it was a risk coming out here during the Christmas break but in the long and short run for business the timing was urgent.  After Reno I will immediately begin training for the 2013 World Championships in Brazil.  I will turn 60 just a few weeks from that and will be the youngest guy in my group.  I won the World Masters Games (Olympics) in Sydney, Australia in 2009, but I would like to also win the World Athletics Championships. "Athletics" is what the rest of the world calls track and field.

So what's the big deal that I need to stop this year and get going?  At our age, "reversibility" is so great.  That means with rest you lose what you gain very fast.  Even training regularly it's hard to move forward as age tries to take us backward.  To move up a level or two physically will require long term uninterrupted training.  If I keep taking a short break every time I have a meet or need to have a big vault session then I stunt my own progress. 

Right off the bat I will be lifting and doing bars four days, jumping two days, sprinting two days and running speed endurance two days.  All of this will begin at a low level and then progress slowly and with great caution and control.  I'm guessing I won't get off of 13' 1" (4m) poles for 2-3 months easily.  I need to get better technically as I physically inch forward.  Sounds crazy but I'm really pumped about this!!

Have a great evening and thank for your support.  Bubba
Alice Cooper's, "Poison" was my favorite today - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qq4j1LtCdww&ob=av2e

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Overthinking is Sometimes Good!!

When I left the gym to go to the track I started thinking.  Well actually overthinking.  It appeared the gate to let me on the field at Dana Hills High School was locked so that meant I could only do bleachers.  The problem is that I didn't "feel" like doing only bleachers was the best choice for where I am right now.  I couldn't put my finger on it but it just didn't feel right.  But what choice did I have?  The gate was locked to the track.  After my first double step I was out of breath and felt whipped.  I'm just nowhere near running shape from all of this moving, eating and no sled.  That said, because of my previous conditioning I can get it back really fast; like two weeks.  I have 2.75 weeks to Reno.  I think I can get get a lot closer than I was today.  BTW - my weight on Christmas night was 185.5 and this morning and Saturday morning it was back to 169.  LOTS of iced tea, fruits, lean meats, no potatoes, bread, etc.

As I caught my breath and started to walk down the steps I noticed that the far gate was open so I could get down on the football field.  I love their field because it is artificial (no mud), padded and marked by yards.  I ran my first 100 easy at about 25% and immediately had my concerns confirmed.  I seemed to lack a little bit of open stride length as I have only vaulted from 33'.  I ran 8 X 100 and these and they felt increasingly better as I went.  I feel this will help me a lot in a hurry because it has always worked in the past.  The bottom line is that I need to condition my legs to run fast and that also happens pretty quick for me.

Nice conversation here but I also need to maintain my power on the runway.  Because of that tomorrow I will go back to the track and ONLY run bleachers.  I like the way they make me fully extend each step and feel that will also help my groin. 

Now that we have that cleared up, on Tuesday I leave town until Thursday afternoon for business.  I will take my shoes and get some easy strides in as well as hit some big time consistent and extensive stretching in.

Here is my new gym set up.  You can click to enlarge.  I need a Smith Machine to control the path of my squats, bench and incline as the total free weights irritate my shoulder and back.  This is the one that fits my garage whereas the bigger one did not.  I got this one from Sports Authority for $299 - 15% because it was the floor model.  It came with the bench.  AMAZING deal!!  I bought the basic 305 pound Olympic weight set to get the plates and the bar for cleans.  After a week or so of using this and the gym I will have a final program.  More on that and other topics next time.  Have a great evening and thanks for being here!  Bubba

Deep Purple's, "Highway Star" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgZSnAkQc4c