Sunday, June 29, 2014

Great Event!!

Please click to enlarge.
Most of the crowd has cleared out but we had a great 1st Ever Pole Vault Symposium/Meet.  We had 25 vaulters.  The first National Pole Vault Summit had 28.  Amazing people and a ton of fun.  Friend me on Facebook under "Bubba Sparks" for more photos.

I did not vault.  Three days of prep work and standing left my legs too dead to feel I could safely jump.  My run was at 41' when it's supposed to be 43' so I stopped after about eight warm up jumps.  I have the Grand Haven Beach Vault in two weeks, which is already paid for, so I couldn't risk getting hurt yesterday.  Still a fun time was had by all.  Thanks for being here!  Bubba

A Salute to Dean "The Machine" Gregory - Winery Dogs - "Elevate".  What a great show on Thursday night!! -

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Announcement From Facebook

THANKS to our sponsors for the Masters Pole Vault Symposium & Competition - The Vaulter Magazine and Essx Vaulting Poles!! Schedule - Friday evening social 6-8 - Bubba's house - 32611 Sea Island Drive - Dana Point, California 92629. Resume at Bubba's at 8:30 AM Saturday for symposium presentations. MEET - Warm ups at 11:30, competition at 12:30. Two pits - A starts at 6' and B starts at 10'. Dana Hills High School - 33333 Golden Lantern, Dana Point. HUGE thanks to my friend and DHHS Coach Craig Dunn!! Saturday evening BBQ @ Bubba's is 6 PM until ?. BYOB - all food provided. Looking forward to seeing you all!!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Masters PV Symposium in One Week!!

If you're coming please submit your starting height.  We will have two pits so we're trying to see where the break is.  Have a great day!!  Bubba

PS - Ran sleds and stretched today.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

School's Out?

They are putting the pits away for graduation today so we had our "School's Out" meet.  I was going to lift and run but decided, what the heck, go ahead and try to jump.  At the end of each year, athletes, staff and coaches participate in a fun decathlon so we added an open vault to the festivities.  It's the last chance for some kids to get a school record or personal best.  Of course the pits come back out for the symposium late next week but today they go in.

I decided to follow my words and compete like I practice and practice like I compete.  I started at 9'7" from 33' and made that height, 10'1" and 10'7" on my smallest pole, all on first jumps.  At 11'1" I moved back to 43' and followed my rule of moving up a pole one height before you need it so you have a margin for error.  Made 11'1" on my first attempt an 11'7" on my 2nd.  At 12' I moved back again to 53' and my biggest 12'4" pole.  It was just way too small and that's a good thing as it should be.  I'm not hurt and I should be ready to go to my 13'1" poles as hoped for the symposium.  Thanks for being here!  Bubba

Alice Cooper - "School's Out" -

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Smells Like Progress!!

For the first time in probably two years I have just completed a full cycle of jumping and training together.  That means vaulting, sleds, bars, lift lower on Thursday and Sunday, and lift my other two components on Friday and Saturday.  This four day block is optimal for me to increase speed and strength, while at the same time improving my vaulting technique.

Every ding I have had since January ached a little bit so I was very cautious, but in the end nothing remotely approached getting injured.  This means my body is starting to trust me.  I even got on the 2nd pole because the first was too small. 

As good as this seems it is now over until after our Masters Symposium because the pits will be put away Wednesday until after graduation on the 24th.  So full training but no jumping.  All in all I'm pleased and optimistic.  Thanks for hanging with me!  Bubba

Nirvana - "Smells Like Teen Spirit" -

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Dead Man's Party!!

Dead Man's Party is Two Weeks From Today!!  Why a Masters Pole Vault Symposium & Competition?  As masters athletes we face the same challenges of physics as all vaulters, but we are also handicapped by declining power, speed and elasticity of aging.  As my orthopedic surgeon, the late Glen Almquist used to say, "As an elite athlete you walk on a balance beam.  Fall off of one side and you're not progressing, and fall off the other you are hurt.  The older you become the more narrow the beam becomes, AND the further the climb back up on to it.  In short, we have additional issues such as strength/conditioning to prevent and rehab injuries, as well as the need to learn to be more technically efficient to get more out of smaller poles.  I've chosen to call it a "Symposium" because all attendees will be active participants in the discussion. We have over 10 world champions, record holders or medalists attending and we want you to hear from them, and be able to ask your questions.  Our only goal is to answer or give suggestions to YOUR questions.  Of course there will be a meet.  Why would we get together and not do that!!  ;-)  It will be a fun time of vaulter fellowship, learning and vaulting. A salute to us all by
Oingo Boingo - "Dead Man's Party" -

Friday, June 13, 2014

Up the Intensity!!

It may sound contrary considering I am on a slow build up through all of my poles and runs, but the rest of my training is ready to return to intensity. I've paid plenty of dues with lighter to medium reps and rhythmical running.  It's time to start ramping up my speed on sleds and weight lifted.  Don't get me wrong; I'm not going to step up to the edge of my ability and risk getting hurt.  But there will be a challenge to raise the intensity in all aspects except for jumping.  Have a wonderful day!  Bubba

Black Eyed Peas - "Pump It" -

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Temporary Relief!!

Fleeting as this feeling is, I will enjoy it while I can!
When I felt that little stretch and sting on my last jump at Pasadena last week, I was really worried that I was probably soon headed for surgery.  What am I supposed to think when I strain my low hamstring behind my knee on January 18, and again on March 2, and now over three months later it's flaring up on a jog in run and vault?  Because I have been feeling it when I make certain moves around the house, I was positive that I would be limping home this morning and setting up and appointment for an MRI with my orthopedic surgeon.  In fact I decided to go out early today rather than wait until this afternoon because I just felt like I needed to know sooner rather than later.

Well, I warmed up with my sleds, started with a very low grip on my smallest pole and jogged in from 33' and made 9'6, 10', 10'6" and 11' with zero issues and stopped.  GRATEFUL!!  Not only was I not hurt but for the first time in many months, I was able to control my vault entirely with hand pressure.  Though I have been vaulting technically well, I've just been swinging as hard as I can.  To jump really high you have to place and keep tension on the pole the entire jump.  Because my grip has been low I haven't been able to find this magic timing.  Today it was there like it had never left.  YAHOOOOO!!!

So concerned was I about this lack of precision timing from hand pressure, I ordered one more smaller 12'4"/3.75m pole from Bruce Caldwell at Essx so I could have a pole I could easily jump on from 2 lefts/4 steps/22'.  This progression is the key to me jumping high and today was a spectacular day for my health and my technique.

At the gym I have been lifting hard every day, alternating lower and upper for 10 days.  Once I do this and take a break, then when I come back and start lifting the same area every 3rd day, I'm immediately stronger.  As expected I felt super strong on all of my lifts today. 

This can all change when I try and repeat this on Sunday, but for right now, I'm going to bask in the glow of a few things finally going right.  Thanks for your support.  PRICELESS!!  Bubba

Chumbawamba - "Tubthumping" -

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Success ... I Think?!

Clearing 11' at the Pasadena Senior Games
Yesterday I couldn't quite move the poles from the planned runs I wanted to I was back a stride.  That's not unusual since I've only been able to use them in a stride on one day.  That said, I jumped metric equivalents of about 10', 10'6" and 11' all on first jumps and stopped.  The 10' was on the smallest pole, 12'4"/160/11.9.  The next two were on the 12'4"/165/10.7.

I caught a little bit of a headwind on the 11' jump and probably ran a little hard.  At the top of my extension at take off I felt a kind of slight stretching/mild sting behind my left knee.  Thinking this was probably adhesions breaking free, I stopped.  Probably didn't have to but I had accomplished what I wanted, 11', qualify for National Senior Games next year, and to walk away healthy.

Today is the first time since December 29th that I have come home from a meet to put my poles away and was not hurt.  I have been hurt before but never back to back meets six weeks apart.  Today I felt good; like I could actually jump again.  And for that I'm grateful.  Have a wonderful day!  Bubba

Megedeth - "Holy Wars" -

Friday, June 6, 2014


Last stretch and stride today.  I'm as ready as I'm going to get.  Though this will be a really low level effort just to assure my left shoulder muscle is OK, I still would like to do well. 

I plan to start on a 12'4"-160 from 2 lefts/4 steps/22' for maybe 9'6" and 10'.  To put that in perspective, my pole tip is halfway to the box before I run one of my four total steps.  BUT, if I'm not doing it right from there I'm not ready to move back anyway.

If the body holds up I hope to move to the 12'4"-165 for 10'6" and maybe 11' from 3L/6S/33'.  If that all goes as planned I'll try to go to the 12'4"-170 for 11'6" and with any luck 12'. 

All of this said I have no idea if I can jump on any of these poles at any of these heights from these runs.  If I can't move the first pole from 22' then I will have to move back to 33' and expect to jump 6" lower on that pole before moving on. 

So tomorrow is really a formal practice.  If it goes well and I'm not hurt then I'll move to my 13' series for the Masters PV Symposium/Meet.  After that to the 13'7"s (Grand Haven Beach Vault?) where I started in Belton, and then to the 14'1"s where my hammy dinged me in Reno.

It's not that it is such a long climb back up.  It's more that I want to get the maximum technical benefit from each level before moving on.  Have a great day and thank you for being here!  Bubba

Rare Earth - "Get Ready" -

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Slow Lane!!

I haven't posted much because I'm mainly doing stretch and stride type workouts.  I also wanted to keep the info regarding the Masters PV Symposium near the top. Have a great day!!  Bubba

Foghat - "Slow Ride" -

Monday, June 2, 2014

Good Final Lift!!

Before a big meet I back off way early in the week and stretch and make sure I get plenty of rest.  Again, Saturday is not a big meet, nor will I even take big poles.  What it is, is an opportunity to make sure I am totally healthy to start the summer.  I haven't vaulted in three weeks since I got that weird little arm strain.  Good and hard last lift today so I'm confident I will feel well.  I need to go in and come out 100% healthy so I know I can safely start ramping things up.  Have a great day!  Bubba

Bananarama - "Cruel Summer" -

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Masters Pole Vault Symposium - UPDATE

Masters Pole Vault Symposium - UPDATE - Please - I need a final number for those who will be staying for dinner/BBQ Saturday evening, how many will actually be vaulting, and how many will be at the Saturday morning session at my house.  Because of limited sitting room vaulters/coaches only for Saturday morning unless you want to hang around and help Nancy.  EVEN if you have told me before, please tell me again.  Thanks and see you on June 28, 8:30 at my home - 32611 Sea Island Drive - Dana Point, California 92629.  If you are not coming in the morning, and going directly to the track, we will be at Dana Hills High School by 11:30 with the first division of the meet starting at 12:30.  That address is 33333 Golden Lantern (Turn on Acapulco), Dana Point, California 92629.

Almost Ready!!

Nice final run this morning with no leg lifts.  This is my typical big meet prep, which is odd considering that I'm taking only three tiny poles next Saturday, with the goal to clear bars from 2 lefts/4 steps, 3/6 and 4/8.  But it's important to know where I am in order understand where I go from here.  I'm totally healthy and totally ready ... I think.  Have a great afternoon!  Bubba

Megadeth - "Train of Consequences" -