Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Very early lift this morning.  In some areas I didn't feel quite as strong as I have been, and in others I seemed much stronger.  Whatever - just keep showing up.

My right quad thing is very minimal this morning and I also got a long stretch in for my back.  A week from Monday I will see Dr. Rand in Houston who will probably shoot my back and elbow with cortisone to finish off the healing.  They don't keep me from vaulting but they are there.

Because I jumped yesterday I could jump again Saturday but I think I'm going to leave that alone. I tend to feel better if I skip a jump rotation before a meet.  That said, for the first time since 2009 I'm going to have three meets on consecutive weekends this indoor season.  I'll see how my body feels Saturday. 

Have a great Thanks giving and thanks for your support! Bubba

Sammy Hagar - "There's Only One Way to Rock" -

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Baby Steps!!

A couple of the kids wanted to jump early, at 7:30 this morning so I decided I would jump with them.  It's warm so no headwind.  Little did I know that seven kids would show up instead of the two I was expecting.  That's great but I needed to limit my jumps because I didn't want to wait in line.

Good news - I could have probably jumped on the 4m/167/16.3 from 2 lefts/23' today but I felt it was best to move to three.  I made 10'6" and 11' on first jumps, moved back to 43' (4 lefts) and up to the 15.0 since the 15.5 was too small last time.  Biggest pole I've tried from that run in awhile.  Two out of three jumps at 12' were really good.  Decent height but couldn't leave it up. I think I've made 12' on that small of a pole only once before so I was pleased.

Bad news - short rest made my right groin a touch sore so I stopped as a precaution after the 5th vault.  In the gym I felt a little pain and light strain in my upper right quad (outside) when doing hack squats.  Both should be a non-factor when I jump at San Diego State in 10 days. I will be in Houston the following week so they will get a 17 day rest.

I'm happy I'm starting to feel like I can vault again.  Of course I will end up on much bigger poles and 12' will become my starting height again, but it's a long climb back up from being too light and making lost power.  Baby steps!  Have a great day and thanks for checking in on me.  Bubba

Motley Crue - "Wild Side" -

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Winds of Change!!

Whether I like it or not I think I have to be finished jumping really early on colder days.  I went out to 45 degrees, which wasn't horrible because the sun was out.  But the increasing headwind cut short what started off to be a very good vault day.  By the time I finished it was 55 but the headwind was too much.

I was moving my 4m/167/16.3 to the point that on a normal day I may have been able to turn up from 2 strides/4 steps, which is a baseline for me.  But the problem is that a light headwind as the sun comes up grows in strength until you just can't fight it anymore.  I was hitting my positions and my 15.5 was too small at 12' from 4/8 before I had to stop because the wind became unbearable.

I'm good at jumping in bad conditions but EVERY DAY is this way so I need to start jumping later.  The reason I haven't is because I have running, bars and lifting also, and it's hard for me to get that done, eat and then get back for the kids.  SO, I will move the kid's jump day from Thursday to Wednesday and I should be fine.  Sunday is a non-issue as I can just go out later.

ANYWAY, very please that I'm moving bigger poles and found consistency in my positions.  Just need more jumps.  Have a great day!  Bubba

REO Speedwagon - "Roll With The Changes" -

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Yes, Another Workout Done!!

I'm starting to gain some strength momentum which is nice.  Far from where I'm going  but nice.  When I train really hard and get momentum going my body kind of blows up.  I look more like a bodybuilder than a pole vaulter.  Then the next day I'm kind of back to normal.  I NEED to feel this power as I am a power vaulter, rather than a finesse vaulter.

It's  beautiful day but I've decided to wait until tomorrow to vault.  I want the extra day rest on my legs and I also have decided to stay in my regular training schedule. What this means is that Thursday/Sunday are my big days so this next week it's on Thanksgiving.  Life goes on.  Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!  Bubba

Bad Religion - "Punk Rock Song" -

Friday, November 22, 2013

Come Out & Play!!

Had a good garage lift and stretch and about to head of to the chiropractor to keep my back loosening up.  I've added some stretches plus I'm just getting stronger.  My weight was 163 this morning which feels fit yet still strong when I was lifting.  So that's about 5 lbs. more than I was this summer.  I will let it rise as it needs as long as it's trim weight.

The sun is out so I'm hoping to jump tomorrow or Sunday.  Haven't decided which but since I didn't lift legs too hard yesterday, and I want to jump on Wednesday next week instead of on Thanksgiving, I may go for it tomorrow.  Have a great day!  Bubba

Offspring - "Come Out & Play" -

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Back to Reality - RAIN!!

YES, it DOES rain in Southern California and I HATE it when it rains on my jump day. Because of this I did a light gym lift as not to trash my legs too much before Sunday's next vault day.  I felt rested and strong so I really hate to lose the jump day.  That said, I can't de-condition while I wait around on weather.  Have a great day out there today and thanks for stopping by!  Bubba

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Another Tenuous Step!!

No rain this morning after all, but I did have to unload all of my poles to see what was where, while watching and waiting for the kids finish their practice.  Since I just vaulted the day before yesterday I didn't expect to feel great and I didn't.  Even though I was slow to warm up I felt decent.  That nice feeling of course was countered by the crappy head and head cross wind.  I found myself waiting on a pure crosswind to go.

The good news was that I was able to start and clear a couple of bars on my smallest 13'7/4.15m Essx Carbon Recoil from four lefts or 42'. As I inched my grip up I moved back to five lefts or 52' to keep from having to push my run in the wind.  Though I can't say my technique was dialed in particularly, I was able to control a few jumps with a few styles.  I held hand pressure forever to get in from 42' and I have not been able to do that and still swing.  From 52' I was able to accelerate and swing in one motion with hand pressure.  I was a little all over the place with my run because of the wind and my fatigued body but I'm happy with what I could do to control the pole.  I made 11'/3.35m a few times and did not try higher.  My max grip was 12'/3.66m which shoes how bad the wind was and how I felt. 

I think it's a sign of good things to come.  SO, my take is it was a good survival day. Hope you have a great weekend and thanks for your support,  Bubba
Megadeth - "Trust" -

Friday, November 15, 2013

Uncertain Plans!!

I did not run or lift legs yesterday just in case I could vault again tomorrow.  I'm out of town on business Sunday through Wednesday so this would be a shot at jumping twice this week.  Besides, ALL of my poles got back from Italy and Brazil today, plus three new ones.  That said, the chance of light rain may put a damper on this plan. 

I would love to go out and jump at 7 AM before the kids get there at 8:30 but we had to move the pit off the field for a football game tonight.  I'm going to say it's 50/50 whether I jump tomorrow but I'm hoping for the best.  Afterwards I need to run, lift and do bars.  More soon.  Have a great evening!  Bubba

The Cult - "Fire Woman" -

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Signs of Improvement!!

Skipped my two cut off 13'1"/4m rehab poles and started at three lefts (33'/10m) on my smallest 13'1 pole, 167/16.3.  Made 10'6"/3.20m and 11'/3.35m on first jumps.  Pole was too small at 11'6"/3.51m so I moved to the 171.3/15.9 and back a stride and made it easy but that pole was too small.  Moved up to 12'/3.66m and had two really nice jumps but got a little sideways on one and brushed the bar on the way down on the other.  Easy height on 12' though so I'm pleased with that considering I'm on a pole smaller than my 1st easy meet pole.  I felt good but I could sense fatigue starting in my legs so I stopped as a precaution.  PROGRESS!!  Maybe there is hope!  Have a great day!  Bubba

Metallica - "No Remorse" -

Monday, November 11, 2013

Flying Plans!!

On the plane to Denver on business. I come here 2-3 times a month. I get here on Monday and I'm home by 9:30 AM on Wednesday. This has really turned out to be perfect as far as getting in rest days. If I travel every other week like this one, I have a solid 11 straight days of training. If I get stuck going somewhere on consecutive weeks, I get a four day rotation in. On the four day I will vault, run and lift legs on Sunday Thursday so I'm certain to always get two of these days per week. 
After the past 11 days the soreness is gone and I'm not quite so beat up. On top of that I got 5 run and lift leg days and vaulted twice. I think now I'm settled in to a position where I can start putting together quality weeks. With 9 weeks until Reno I could very well be in the ballpark for a decent jump by then. 
It's important to me to be in the first few to ever jump 13' as a 60 year old, but there is more to it than that. I want the double six decades mark for 13'. What does this mean? On January 2, 2010 I jumped 13'1" in Belton, Texas. That gave me a 13' vault in six decades - 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s, and 10s. If I can get it at 60 I will have six age decades - teens, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s. As I have always said, if you don't have dreams you have nothing to come true. Enjoy your day and thanks for being here. Bubba

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Complete 180!!

For as bad as my last practice was with 2 jumps out of 12 being remotely good, today was a 180.  I only took 7 vaults and cleared 6 bars with great control of my technique.  And I completely threw out my vaulting plan for today within the first 3 minutes.  Why?

To follow DJ's chart and start at an 8' bar, I need a 9'10" grip and a 33' six step start mark.  I was gripping 10'6" from TWO steps or a 12' run.  OK - so how was this going to be better than the last practice?  Pole speed.

I have always told vaulters that with enough pole speed we can always find a consistent jump.  The last practice I tried to force everything with minimal pole speed.  This makes the timing to critical, especially when your legs are trash.  So today I just jogged in from a stride further back and really had a great and fun day.

I ENDED on a pole that is BELOW my normal short run start pole yet still had some great jumps. Height wise I cleared 9'6", 10', 10'6" X 2 all on first jumps before having a miss.  The 2nd clearance was on pole #2.  I was too far out on my first at 11' and then made it twice.  Perspective - 10' would have gotten me the silver medal in Brazil!!  Lessons learned. 

I feel like I'm in a real good place to move forward.  Thanks for being here.  Off to Denver for business until Wednesday. Have a great Sunday!  Bubba

Going real old school with Accept playing "Balls to the Wall",  Their singer gives his best Bon Scott/ACDC imitation -

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Bentley - 2000 - 2013 - R.I.P.

Lost my big black dog Bentley yesterday to a growth that had taken occupancy and quickly grew to over 1/2 of his stomach.  Best and most loving rescue dog you would ever want to meet. 

Great lift this morning.  Fun jump day tomorrow!  Peace!  Bubba

Because I need it - Motley Crue - "Kickstart My Heart" -

Friday, November 8, 2013

Little Things = Big Things!!

As I go through my training I have revelations from time to time.  The first thing I noticed was that near the end of this last season that I wasn't doing all of my stretches and I wasn't holding them as long.  I had also dropped out the PNF segment, ALL trying to protect the nagging ding under my leg between my hamstring and butt.  I've added them all back in and feel better already.

When I vault and feel lost, like yesterday, I go back and start at 8" using DJ's chart, here - It's based on physics and you really can't do anything wrong or you won't clear the bar.  It's also a fun way to get a lot of jumps in.

Finally, if you're on Facebook friend me at "Bubba Sparks".  I have nearly 2,000 "friends" from the vault world.  Because of this I "Share" and "Like" videos and stills that you may not otherwise get to see.  Very cool way to follow the vault community.  Thanks for being here!  Bubba

A very young Ted Nugent with the Amboy Dukes - "Journey to the Center of the Mind" -

Thursday, November 7, 2013

As Expected!!

A couple of days ago I semi decided that I would try and vault today.  I know the first vault day during hard training is usually horrible because you feel like crap, but I figured since I'm starting on my smallest pole why not.  YES it was all that I expected as I remotely hit TWO decent jumps out of 12.  Then I went to the gym and current PRd in everything.  That's just how it goes early on.  Rapid speed and strength gains yet no vault timing because your legs are trash.  Oil well as they say in Texas.  Onward.  Thanks for being here!  Bubba

System of a Down - "Toxicity" -

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

It's a Long Way From Here!!

My weight was 165 this morning and I had another great lift and stretch.  As much as I want to be at the next level, I need to earn that again.  Sure I started in good shape and uninjured but it's quite another thing to regain the explosive power I let slip during my "maintenance" lifting and weight lean down that back fired. 

I may be starting to look the part but it's a long way from here to there.  Hopefully I'll be good or decent by Reno in mid January, but the reality is, by mid summer I should be kicking ass physically at least. 

The good news is at the end of August there is an indoor meet in Ft. Collins, Colorado that gives me one more shot to jump 13' indoors this year if I miss it during the traditional indoor season.  Have a great day and thanks for your support!  Bubba

Offspring - "I Want You Bad" -

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Embrace the Grind!!

I'm at the point in my training that the newness is over and I'm settling into the grind.  Or, "another brick in the wall".  Actually today was a heavy lift day as my reps were 6,4,2 instead of 8,6,4.  Still, I enjoy the process. The focus it takes is therapeutic and a great escape.  I always feel better when it's over but I also enjoy the challenge of focused effort on every rep of every component.

My weight has become a bit more of a mystery.  After stating that I'm waking up under 165, which is a bit heavier, and on my way to getting back to the 168-171 optimal range, I woke up today at 166.  Tonight before my bath I was 169 after dinner.  Because I drink a lot of iced tea with my meals,  may wake up at 167 ish tomorrow.  Why?

I did not lift legs for six months and was only in maintenance mode on my other lifting. My NORMAL weight is waking up between 168-171.  They waking up under 160 for nine months was not normal as I have not weighed that little since my freshman year of college.  I think that once I became less restrictive of my diet, and jumped up all of my lifting, that my body has leapt to get back to it's normal place.  Once my strength catches up then I should be ready for some bigger jumps.  Until then the focus must remain on strength, conditioning, bars and flexibility.  Thanks for being here!  Bubba

Pink Floyd - "Another Brick in the Wall" -

Monday, November 4, 2013

Well THAT Sucked!!

Today was day 2 of legs.  I do this following day 1 but only once every 14 days.  Today I did 8,6,4 deep squat, bench squat, lunge and bench step up.  Yesterday was hack squat sled, lying leg press, leg extension, seated leg curl, lying leg curl, seated calf and standing calf.  Of course this was after running and bars.  On most days I would have also jumped yesterday.  This plan works best because you beat your body/legs up all at once and therefore recover faster for the next rotation.  So today's legs were actually considered "active rest".  I think they were mainly hard because  have not done them for awhile.

As mentioned I need to gain some muscle mass but my weight needs to come up slowly and the right way.  Before my big meets this year I woke up every day just under 160 lbs./72.72kg.  Now I'm trying to be under 165/75kg.  At first I was like, "yeah right" when I saw 161.7 as my wake up weight.  But yesterday I was 164 and today I was 164.7 so I'm getting closer.  I think I can be leaner so I will stick with this weight goal for November.  Ideally I think I will be at just under 170/77.27kg.  I need mass to be a power jumper.

I've got lots of other things swirling around my head but the goal was to get through today first.  Yahoo!!  Have a great da and thanks for being here!  Bubba

AC/DC - "You Shook Me All Night Long" -

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Strong Fast!?

Day one of my middle rotation of four days, which sits between two three day rotations before a three day break.  I probably could have jumped a little today but the plan was to get through the first 11 days first.  I was surprised at how little soreness I had today compared to yesterday.  Of course I lifted legs today and tomorrow I have Legs2 which I only do once every two weeks.  Have a feeling that won't be fun the day of or a few days after.

I'm working on my speed in a bit different way this year.  I'm doing the Jim Hiserman 14 week rotation X 3 -  On set #1 I'm running with sled and 5lb. ankle weights, #2 with just ankle weights and no sled, and #3 just me without ankle weights or sled.  I have previously run sleds exclusively because I needed power on the runway and the ability to cover ground.  But what I noticed was that I had no control of my running when not attached to a sled.  Sure I was faster but was a bit lost.  Today I felt like I was flying.  I think this is by far the fastest I have run in practice in a few years.  Great progression and I can't wait to see where I am in 14 weeks. Have a great Sunday!  Bubba

Great bass and lead guitar play by Mr. Big - "Addicted to That Rush" -

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Avalanche Coming!!

I often tell athletes that an avalanche began as a snowflake.  Consistent effort and momentum allows that to grow into a snowball, and then at some point an unstoppable for of nature.  If you're not trying to bring this type of physical and technical wrath you will never reach your goal as a pole vaulter,  As Scott Henning used to say, "You've gotta be a big bad ass ninja!".  That's what I'm after - BEAST MODE!

There are power vaulters and finesse vaulters.  I am a power vaulter.  This year I found out that power vaulters can't perform in finesse bodies.  SO, 6:30 AM in my garage before the sun comes up, I'm lifting my ass off so I can be to our high school PV kids 8:30 AM practice on time.  Momentum chip gained.

I've mentioned that I don't listen to music when I train for a message, but rather for a beat that won't let me stop.  Today I thank an ultimate rock survivor, Dave Mustaine of Megadeth.  He had 11 rehabs and found God before learning he could truly rock.  Thanks for kicking my butt today when I wanted to quit MANY times!  Bubba

Megadeth - "In My Darkest Hour" -

Friday, November 1, 2013

Paying Dues - AGAIN!?

As mentioned, last year was the most challenging as my business expansion had me traveling nearly every week from January through early summer.  I kept my training intensity high with the goal that if I could maintain my physical strength, work on my speed and technique, I could still improve.  Really I had no choice and it worked for the most part.  The problem was the missing six months of leg lifting while protecting a ding at my hamstring / glute attachment, on top of strict dieting, which both together dropped me 10 lbs. (4.5kg) and some strength and deep muscle conditioning.  So today was hard but GREAT!!  I'm "engaged" in the process again.

I need to get back up about 6-8 lbs. but it has to be done the right way.  I understand my body and I'm typically in the weight range anyway, but paying my dues in the weight room is not exactly that fun.  Its not that it's so hard it's that I hate feeling like a wimp.  But in reality that's the humility I need.  Thanks so much for your support!  Bubba

Paying again in the words of Metallica - "Sad But True" -  Thanks for grinding me through the grunt part today boys!