For several weeks now, pole vault practice has gone from hobbling through warm-ups for a half-hour, trying to loosen up various weakened and/or damaged body parts enough to be able to make some jumps, to feeling great -- stronger, faster, and most importantly, pain-free.
When I first started this journey about 16 months ago, I was considerably overweight, way out of shape, not to mention 60 years old and drinking too much beer every day. I knew it was going to be rough, and I asked my friend, Bubba, if I should try and get in shape some before I started learning to vault.
He said, no, I could do both at the same time, and eventually the stars would align and my conditioning and newfound skills would converge, and I'd be sure enough pole vaulting.
Well, it looks like that time is almost here.
I've been jumping twice a week, and the additional reps are paying off, I think. I'm getting more confident on the runway. My pole planting is stronger and less hesitant. I'm consistently getting my hands up high at take-off like I'm supposed to, hitting the box hard, and jumping to the back of the pit, keeping my hands moving until they reach my hips -- most of the time.
Sometimes, I still have a tendency to try and pull myself up the pole, instead of extending my arms, driving my hands through and down, and letting my body naturally swing up as the pole moves to vertical and beyond.
But things are coming along nicely.
In about two months, the Texas Senior Games will be in San Antonio again, and I plan on setting another personal record height.
Right now, my best is 7-9, which I cleared in January at the National Pole Vault Summit in Reno, I missed three times after that at 8-1, and should have cleared my third attempt, but I actually moved through the jump too quickly, and kicked the bar off on my way up. That means the take-off was fast and powerful enough that I should have been holding higher on the pole. As it was, the pole moved forward too quickly, and my body didn't have time to get over the bar on the way through.
If that makes any sense ...
So, tomorrow, it's another workout at the gym. Probably some good leg stuff, since the next vault practice will be three days away. That'll allow enough time to recuperate. I'll do some box jumps for plyometrics, maybe some single-leg squats. Some pull-ups, pull-downs, cable rows.
Right now, it's about time for bed.
How are your workouts going?