Rain, rain, go away -- come again another day, when I don't have an outdoor workout planned.
The skies opened up this afternoon, putting an end to my plans to run some sleds out in the side yard after work. Probably a good thing, as my left knee is pretty damn sore. I think I need a better knee brace than the cheap one I got a while back at the drugstore.
A beautiful day for pole vaulting practice.
The ol' legs felt a little bit dead today as I started warming up, but things turned out OK. I joined in with a small group of young high school kids who seemed mostly to be fairly new to vaulting -- lots of new faces -- and Jack had them doing some platform vaulting, which I had done a couple of times before, but not quite like this.
He asked me if I wanted to try it, and I told him I'd watch a few of them go at it first.
It looked a little intimidating, as the first few youngsters lifted their pole, ran a few steps along an runway elevated to probably 5-feet high, planted the pole down on the ground off the end, jumped, and took off into a soft, squishy pit below.
I wasn't real keen on the idea of having a spectacular crash and burn doing something I wasn't used to doing, but decided what the heck. So I got in line, climbed up there, walked out to the edge of the runway, where Jack gave me a few tips on how to do complete the drill, then backed up, took a deep breath, and went for it.
I splashed down successfully onto the landing pads -- decent form, a successful jump, and uninjured.
Well, all right.
Let's go again.
Everybody went through maybe a dozen rotations, then the kids moved on to some one-step drills over on the secondary pit, and I went over to the main runway and worked my way up to a five-left approach. Sometimes, I'm still pulling on the pole, instead of pushing, and that makes me "helicopter," or sort of turn sideways through the jump -- which is not good.
For the most part, though, I jumped pretty well. We rarely jump using crossbars at Jack's place, so I'm not exactly sure how high I'm actually jumping these days, but I'm fairly confident about going 8-6 at next month's Nationals.
After I hit a nice jump on my biggest pole, straight to the back of the pit, hips fairly high, and no helicoptering, I decided to call it a day.
Adios, y'all ...
Not much to report in the way of workouts today.
Too busy a day, and too damn tired to do much of anything but go home and hit the couch.
At least, that's what I thought was going to happen.
Then, my freelance writing gig threw a bunch of unexpected stuff at me that sent me into an uproar before I figured out how to take care of it, but, still, that took a while. Right now, it's nearly 10 minutes after 10, and I just got everything done.
Tomorrow, I'm going to head down to Austin to watch a kid I've known since 6th grade try to win a gold medal in pole vault at the state high school track meet. Evidently, he's one of the favorites to win, so if he has a good day, apparently he's got a good chance.
I've jumped quite a few times with this kid at the club where we both practice, so that's pretty cool. He's a good young man, and I can only imagine what it would be like to be a state champion at something.
Well, hell, now that you mention it, I am actually a state Masters champion in pole vault, since I won gold in my age group at last year's Oklahoma Senior Games.
How 'bout that?
I'm also planning to become Top 10 in the country in my age group at the National Senior Games next month in Albuquerque. That will really be cool.
Top 10 in the nation ain't too bad.
Wow -- March 23?
Been longer than I thought.
As usual, the NCAA basketball tournament was pretty good -- what I saw of it, anyway. I've been busier than a mosquito at a nudist colony, but I'm going to do my best to get back here and report on the daily comings and goings.
Today was one of those days when I absolutely did not feel like going to the gym after work. About an hour before it was time to call it a day, I started getting really tired -- and sleepy. I told somebody how nice it would be to just head on home and flop on the couch. But I've been giving in to that little voice way too often lately, and not working out like I need to.
Consistency is the key, and I haven't been very consistent.
So I sucked it up, took my butt to the gym, put on my workout clothes, and hopped on the treadmill. A nice little eight-minute warm-up, just to get the ol' blood pumping, and then it was over to the free weights area to do a little back and legs workout.
I started with some lat pull-downs, super-setted with some seated cable rows, then I did some dumbbell rows and some leg presses. Every time I work out, I like to set a new P.R. (personal record) somehow, on something. One extra set, five or 10 extra pounds on the last set -- something extra. This time, it was leg press. My last set, I had five 45-pound plates on each side of the machine -- 450 pounds total. Last time I did leg press, I maxed out at 420.
The 450 was pretty easy for four reps, and I thought about throwing on a pair of 25s for one more set, but decided that might be my 25-year-old brain talking, instead of my 61-year-old body.
I'll save that 500-pound set for next time.
I finished up with some straight-arm cable pullovers, which sort of gives the same movement as driving the pole vault pole down and through, followed by supersets of seated leg extensions and hamstring curls.
A pretty darn good workout, and I felt fine afterward.
Moral of the story?
You know what it is -- even when you're a little tired and your mind says, no, most of the time you can still get in a workout.
Now, I've got to get crackin' on a little more writing, then get my butt to bed. I'm freelancing more for the local paper, including a weekly column on senior fitness, and working on finishing my three Fossil Fit books, which will be out sometime this summer.
Several other irons in the fire, as well, so lots of good things happening. How about you?
You can do it.
It's never too late ...
Oral surgery and the accompanying medication that I probably should not have taken still kicking my butt today.
Be advised -- in my humble opinion, after this ordeal -- when a medical professional advises you to have a certain procedure and/or prescribes medication for something, you don't necessarily have to follow orders blindly.
Take it from me -- ask some questions first.
If I had asked what one of the medications was all about, I'm pretty sure I would not have taken it.
On top of some nasty side effects from some very innocent-looking little round pills, I noticed for the first time this morning some horrendous bruising on the inside of my right elbow, where an apparently marginally competent dental assistant or whatever drew a bunch of blood from my arm at the onset of last Wednesday's appointment.
Drawing blood at the dentist?
It's a part of the procedure they use to mix with bone graft particles or something to aid the healing as part of this dental implant procedure that I underwent.
I found this out when the nice lady asked me which arm I prefer blood drawn from, and started wrapping a rubber tube around my bicep. I asked her what this was for, and THEN she explained things, which I remembered from my last dental implant years ago.
Note to medical personnel -- it's OK to explain what is going on to patients. In my case, this information will not freak me out. Knowing what is going on will make me feel better and more relaxed.
Anyway, so now, I'm sitting watching some NCAA basketball, and waiting for these nasty drugs to leave my system.
Live and learn.
I did somehow manage an excellent vaulting session this morning, in which I made a lot of progress on some technique I've been wanting to improve.
So all is not lost on the training front.
What did you do today?
Still recuperating some from that somewhat brutal bit of oral surgery yesterday, so not much in the way of physical activity today.
In fact, I nearly left work early. I was really tired from being up half the night, unable to fall asleep. My mouth is still a little sore, and I'm pretty much a big baby when it comes to pain and sickness. Give me a simple headache, and I'm ready to go to bed and pull up the covers.
The dentist advised me to take it easy for at least a couple of days, so as not to disturb the bone grafting and stitches that he used to try and make sure this tooth implant doesn't fail, like the last one did. If I got the blood pumping too much, it could cause bleeding, and dislodging of the graft materials, and no telling what all.
But I did manage to get out in the garage this afternoon, and pump out six reps of my low-bar routine, and I must say progress is definitely being made, albeit maybe a little slow.
On my first rep, I was able to completely stop and hold myself in the air before my feet made contact with the ground. Same thing on the second rep, and again on the third -- which has never happened before. Usually, by the time I get to rep no. 3, I'm not able to stop myself from going all the way down. The next three reps were fairly controlled, but no longer was I able to keep myself from dropping all the way down.
So ... success is becoming more and more in focus.
I'm excited about my vaulting lesson coming up Saturday, and two weeks after that comes the Texas Senior Games.
What did you do today?
An exciting hour-and-a-half of dental surgery this afternoon, so no kind of strenuous activity for a couple days, at least.
Kinda sucks, because I was excited about trying a fix tonight for my pole vault take-off position that I think I figured out from looking at some photos of myself at a practice a couple weeks ago.
I have a lesson Saturday with a former national champion decathlete who owns a pole vault facility down in Austin, and I'm pretty excited about that. Along with the fix I think I figured out for my left arm position, I think Ben is going to really help me figure out the timing that is going to improve my swing a lot.
When I jump now, and do it fairly correctly, a little ways past horizontal is as high as I get going over the bar. Sometimes, I get my feet and legs up fairly high -- maybe 30 degrees above horizontal? -- but nowhere near going completely upside down, or even close to upside down. If I can get up to 60 degrees, maybe a little more, that would be terrific.
What it is, is a matter of understanding the timing, along with some incredible core strength, which I do not currently have but am working on. I'll get there.
So, no jumping today, and no working out.
I'll probably go to the gym tomorrow and see what happens. The dentist said just to watch for "oozing," and if the river starts to flow, probably need to back off and give it a rest.
A few years ago, I had the tooth at the same site where I had the surgery today extracted, and I wound up in the emergency room with uncontrollable bleeding -- I was spitting small buckets of blood every minute or so into the front flower bed at home -- so I'll be more careful this time.
Interesting story about that hospital visit ... the first thing they did when they finally got me back to an examination room, or whatever the hell it is, was to draw some blood out of my arm. As they filled one and then two of those big vials, I started to black out and see white spots everywhere.
"Did y'all just give me something," I asked, "because I feel like shit."
Before I passed out, they hooked me up with some saline solution or something, and pumped me back up, but that was one of the dumbest things I'd ever heard of -- somebody comes in due to loss of blood, and they can't stop the bleeding, and the first thing you do is start draining more blood?
Anyway, that's about it for now, folks.
I finally got one of my bluebonnet paintings to actually look a little bit like bluebonnets, so I 'm going to work on that tonight. So far, my bluebonnets have always looked like they've been trampled on by a family out taking spring photographs amongst the wildflowers.
These look OK, I think.
More tomorrow ...
OK, so I didn't get up again this morning at 5 to knock out an early-bird workout session.
Honestly, it's not really about laziness, but has a heckuva lot to do with lack of sleep. I've had sleep issues for 20 years now -- even underwent an overnight sleep study many moons ago, and take medication at night for restless leg syndrome -- and sometimes, like last night, it takes hours to fall asleep. Not only that, sometimes I wake up five or six times during the night.
Not conducive to restful, restorative slumber.
My wife, on the other hand, gets up at 4:30 nearly every morning during the week, but she sleeps like a rock and goes to bed at 7:30, 8 o'clock.
I just can't do that -- go to bed so early.
Even if I did, I'd lay there wide awake for no-telling-how-long. It just wouldn't work at all.
So that's a constant struggle for me.
I'm a writer, and I enjoy painting acrylics, and evenings are prime time to scratch my creative itches. I'd stay up half the night, if I could get away with it. But, eventually, I force myself to hit the rack, tired or not, and it's a coin toss on what kind of quality of sleep I'll get any particular night.
But, anyway ...
Today, I had some things to do after work, and so I didn't make it to the gym, and it was already getting a little late by the time I got home, so the only thing I accomplished workout-wise was my low-bar routine. A couple days ago, I was slightly discouraged with it, since it seemed like I wasn't controlling the movement the way I had been. But this time, I was nearly able to hold my position again as I lowered my hips and legs down toward the garage floor. I was nearly able to completely stop on the first rep, before my feet lightly touched down.
The second rep was about the same, and the third rep unfolded a little bit quicker. The next three reps, it was impossible to lower myself slowly, and my feet plopped down onto the ground -- which was not unexpected.
I could feel definite progress in the first two or three reps, so all in all, things are going well.
Pole vault practice tomorrow night, and a lesson from a pro on Saturday.
Texas Senior Games coming soon.
I expect good things.
What did you do today?
OK, I was going to fib a little about my plans for the first day of two-a-days today, as I hit the home stretch in preparations for this coming June's National Senior Games in Albuquerque.
Instead of getting up at 5 a.m. to hit the first workout of the day, I re-set my alarm and woke up just early enough to have a little coffee, then get ready for work.
I did make it to the gym this afternoon and had a really good workout, and I plan to do some before-bed yoga in a little while, so I was going to report that I did the yoga this morning, so as to successfully fulfill the goal I mentioned in yesterday's blog.
I couldn't do it.
I'm such an honest person, it's ridiculous sometimes.
But since I AM doing the yoga later, and I DID make it to the gym earlier, I suppose we can still count it as a successful two-a-day.
As always, I tried to set a new PR (personal record) of some kind during my gym workout. This time, I definitely set one PR, in the leg press, and I'm pretty sure another one, in the incline dumbbell bench press.
In the leg press, I did five sets with eight reps at 180 pounds, eight reps at 230, six reps at 270, six reps at 360, and four reps at 450. That last set was heavy. If you're moving heavy weights like that, make sure you pay attention to your form, execute the movement smoothly, and don't hold your breath -- it can spike your blood pressure, for one thing, and for me, holding my breath during the concentric portion of the lift (the pushing part) creates a lot of cranial pressure/sinus pressure. It hurts!
I finished with a set of four reps at 55 pounds for the dumbbell inclines. Back in the day, I was maxing out with 65-pound dumbbells for the regular bench press, so that ain't half bad.
I also did some step-ups holding dumbbells (15 and 20 pounders); did some barbell dead-lifts; some dumbbell shoulder presses and small barbell shoulder presses; some machine bench press; some rear delt raises; and a couple sets of side laterals.
A pretty decent workout.
The only thing I didn't get to today was my low-bar hip raises. I was going to do those after I got home from the gym, but I figured my shoulders and arms would be too wasted to try to hold myself upside down on the bars. So I'll save that one for morning.
I will get up this time.
Hold me to it.
I'll report back tomorrow.
What did you do today?
Today was a day off from any kind of training.
Instead, I went and helped out at a junior high and high school pole vault meet down in Austin. I worked one side of the standards, adjusting the position of the arms that hold the crossbar for the various jumpers. Basically, some vaulters want the crossbar standards set closer to the take-off area, and some further away. It's a matter of personal preference, jumping style, and can vary not only from day to day, but jump to jump, depending on a number of different factors.
Tomorrow, though, starts the big push toward the National Senior Games in Albuquerque, in the middle of June.
I'll drag myself out of bed -- no matter what -- at 5 a.m. to ramp up the workout schedule. Mornings, I'll go outside and do the low-bar drill, probably jump some rope, and do some speed drills. Maybe sometimes, stay in the house and do some new yoga for athletes, with this new DVD I got last week.
Afternoons, I'll either hit the gym or go to vault practice.
Combine all that with working on my new book about this whole pole vaulting and fitness journey, getting my personal training business off the ground, recording videos and learning to edit them for an upcoming YouTube channel, and continuing my freelance writing career, and I'm going to be a little busy.
But it's great.
I'm preparing for Career no. 4, and it promises to be the best career yet.
After high school, I enjoyed being an electrical draftsman, but I was young and dumb, and didn't appreciate or take advantage of an opportunity that could have had me retired and financially independent a long time ago. My newspaper career was highly enjoyable, and my teaching career has led me to everything else that is going on right now.
So, all in all, no major complaints.\
I'd better go now and set that alarm clock.
Oh, boy ...