Saturday, August 4, 2018

CG Games Prelims July 14 & 21 2018

Trainer making sure camper touches toe
Having participated in CG Games Prelims two years ago, I had no intention of doing so again. Once and done! Two years ago there were four events to get through, this year five. I am also two years older and slower. With far less endurance. I had surprised myself in 2015 by actually finishing the events. The Games also were after USATF Masters Outdoor Nationals. Not so this year. What was the chance I would get injured? (Achilles?) Plus, it would take away from time to train for track. So I was not interested in doing them again.

Yet, I did. Justification being, well, I could go to the Saturday training sessions (which did impinge upon my track training) but that did not mean I would actually do the Games. I squeezed in track and field practice on Sunday or, once schools ended for the summer, during the week, even after a morning CG session. I just reduced the number of iterations or focused on only one thing while at the track.

I missed one training session while in South Carolina at a Masters Meet, so at Game time there was one event I had not done except for portions during CG Camp sessions. I knew that the Endurance event would be horrid. This one entailed four approximate 400m runs, two with a 15 pound sandbag, the other two without the bag. One performed three exercises , the first with 10 iterations, the second 20 iterations and the third 30, followed by a weighted then unweighted run then repeat mat work and runs. I could not do either weighted or unweighted run without many walks. The first, or maybe it was the second, time I did it, it had rained and we had a light drizzle pop up whilst at the Saturday session. The training took place at a local park and the run portion was partially along a paved area, a short dirt path and two wooden bridges. This time I was wearing softball cleats as had been suggested previously since much of our other run related events were on grass. Rubber cleats on this day was a bad move! When I hit the second bridge, I had gone no more than two steps when my feet were flying forward horizontally, head headed for bridge I hit banging my head a little then got up. Asked if I was okay by a few ahead of me, of course I said yeah. But I gingerly proceeded to the end of the bridge and the next times passing over it, I walked slowly and held the railing. It was still slippery. Rubber cleats and slippery wet bridge do not go well together.

So there was that. One other event, the Agility entailed the icky shuffle (along a ground ladder, repeating two steps in, one out) and a six inch yellow hurdle to jump over ten times. I was a disaster at the icky shuffle when I first encountered it. Want to talk about crone meeting agility? Coordination not my strength. The brain would not coordinate the feet. Eventually, I got it (after my trainer patiently went over it with me and with subsequent practice, initially along with help from some hard cider and a CG trainer at a CG party, and the rest in my driveway.) The hurdle petrified me. Several years ago during a pre-Christmas indoor session, five or six were placed for us to jump over as we ran forward. Terrible. I hit them, missed, and had a mental collapse over not being able to pick my feet up enough. So, I dreaded this portion of the Agility.

The Strength event required initially a prone position lifting a 15 pound weight alternating arms, twenty times. The elbows had to go above waist. That was followed by ten, then eight, then six iterations of pushups followed by raising a 15 pound sand bell from below chin to above eyebrows. It ended with a repeat of the alternating arm lifts of weights. I could manage that,

When the Prelims arrived, there was still one event I had not done and that was the Peak. Those of us doing the Prelims arrived July 14th at Durham County Stadium before 06:30. Many were nervous, pacing, worrying, chatting. We were checked in, our contestant number written on our arms, and off to participate in a rah rah group warmup exercises. Some were a bit too exuberant during this, almost knocking one of us off balance. Then, it was off to queue up for the event one wanted to do first. I had two that I knew I would not do well in and wanted to get them over with. I am like that – get the most dreaded thing out of the way first. I chose as my first, the Endurance. There was a very long queue because the event was short a few trainers and some trainers were timing two competitors at once. These folks are so brain adapted, they easily handled tracking two at once with a stop watch in each hand. Actually, quite impressive. For this event, Amy was the trainer with the mis or good fortune to get me.. All trainers were equipped with a thin rod, used to indicate if ones body or appendage (knee for instance) was not high enough (In Strength, the knee had to rise to the level of a cone when doing pushups.) I watched those ahead of me. Some struggled a bit with the second round of mat exercises, some got wiped by the track runs and some had no problem at all.

Endurance Event section.  Note the sticks.

I got through the ten sand bell thrusters, twenty squat jacks, and thirty high plank toe touches okay, though the thrusters just about wiped me of breath.

trainer timig while camper does thrusters
Trainer intent on another trainer's toe taps. Loved watching this!

 Now came the part I dreaded. I picked up the fifteen pound sand bell and began my trot. One had to trot from the starting point in any lane all the way back to the start, drop the sand bell, and trot around again without the weight. The Endurance event was being held on the far curve of the track. I barely got a third of the way in front of the stands before I had to walk. My pals in the stands yelled for me to move to lane one. So I did. I trotted and walked the rest of the way. I carried the sand bell behind my neck. When I went to shift it forward so I could drop it by the start, it slipped from my hands and hit the ground. Tick tock. But I was not going for time, just completion. Picking it up, I dragged self back to the start, dropped it and went out again. The unweighted lap was not as hard but I still lacked energy. I was using this lap to catch my breath. Back at the mat I repeated those exercises, willing myself to get through the thrusters without stop. Finally, the dreaded laps again. They did not get easier. I finished in 15:40.29.

Next, the Peak event. A fellow Camper, planning only to do a few events after having had to miss about a month of Camps, decided she would do it with me. More than she'd intended. Of course, with our other pal watching, egging us on, this sort of made it a pseudo challenge. I managed to get Trainer Dea, the trainer who had herded me two years ago in a similar event. Though the day was warm, I did not need gloves to keep from burning my hands. I had to bear crawl, dragging a fifty pound speed sack (a sack loaded with sand bells) weight to the fifty yard line. I was beginning to feel my quads go at about thirty yards but got the bag across the fifty yard line. The return trip consisted of tossing a 15lb sand bell forward then broad (frog) jumping to it, hands touching ground, followed by dropping chest to bag before progressing forward. Sort of sucks the air out of one. I had gotten a tip from a fellow Camper during our Saturday practice times to take short hops rather than long (like I could broad jump far! NOT!) We had practiced some but not all the parts of this event.(I could see my fellow Camper in my periphery vision, ahead) Back at the start it was turn around and just throw the sand bell to the fifty yard line and back to the start. So far so good. Still breathing. Now pick the sand bell up and run to the speed sack at the fifty yard line, turn around and drag the sack backwards to the thirty-five yard line then run forward to the start line to finish. (The other Camper and I finished close to each other. Terrific for her since she was working her way back to full strength) Amazingly, I was not as winded with the Peak as I had been with the Endurance event. It took me 8:02 (eight min 2 secs)

The third event I did was the Strength event, I had done this several times during the Saturday practices, but I found it tougher this time around. This is where a stick might be used if one's limb is not high enough. Twenty high plank dumbbell rows, followed by ten, then eight, then six repeats of hand release pushups each followed with the same number of sand bell overhead presses, The last set of overhead presses were tough. The final plank dumbbell rows were almost a relief! This one took me 2:53.

Three down, two to go. I took some time to sit and chat with pals before attempting the next event which I had decided would be the one with the yellow hurdle, the Agility event. It was a time to watch and cheer on those I knew who were doing the nearby Endurance, running the track. That was a nice thing about the Games – so many one knows, in all shapes and conditions, giving their all to the events they chose to do. One whole group, from Dea's CG Camp, was there all dressed in blue-purple shirts touting being from Da Block (Dea's Camp) encouraging each other in each event; running along with a runner on the track.

Time for Agility. I had been practicing the icky shuffle in my driveway so thought I could do that and the running and shuffling okay. I drank some fluid (I accidentally left the can of BANG! at home. It had BCAA (Branch chain amino acid) which someone had posted helped recovery. Having looked it up in the USADA and 411 list, I thought it would be okay. Yep, sure was – sitting on the counter at home!)

Earlier there had been a hurdle out on the field to practice with. I had decided to try since I had never jumped sideways over one and dreaded it. I had the option of stepping one foot at a time over, which would entail a 30 second time penalty. That would be okay. Time was not a factor. Coming in last would be fine – as long as I could do all five events. When my turn came I decided to try the hopping over the hurdle. What was there to lose? If I knocked it over, I would just pick it up and do one step at a time. Agility starts off with a sprint box drill – forward, side shuffle, run backward, and side shuffle again. Not a problem. Now, the hurdles! I got all ten hops done. Yippee, Next the icky shuffle followed by the in and out of the small yellow circle. Run to a corner cone then back diagonally to repeat the sprint box drill and done. My time in this one was 1:19.

CG Games Agility Event

The last event, Interval, was another one I dreaded. The 70 second time during practice had always found me way behind the eight ball and walking the last sprints, totally wiped. In other words – an ugh. One sprints out 15 yards to pick up a cone, run it back and toss over the start line and, importantly, touch the start line with your hand before sprinting out to the next cone (except for the last cone of a set, when one just runs across the line) . At the 15 yard line there were two rows of four cones. The object was to grab all four before 70 seconds was up so one had some rest time because once the time was up, you had to go get the next set. Each participant had a trainer timing them. Once a set of cones was completely back, their timer stopped their clock (meanwhile the master 70 second count kept going. At the end of the 70 seconds there were three tones then a whistle which started the next 70 seconds. One false start was penalized – two and one was out.) The next set of cones was at 25 yards out, consisting of two rows of three cones each. The last set was 35 yards out, two rows of two cones each. 

 One really had to conserve energy because that clock seemed to start up again real fast. By the time the 35 yard sprints began, not much was left in terms of energy. Somehow, I got through this without walking once. I was not fast and there was oxygen deprivation but I got through it. I was very happy that I did not walk. One factor could be that for two weeks, ending a week and a half prior, I had been on medication to reduce any lung inflammation since I had been having trouble running even a block. I also may have managed my speed better (slower) in the real event than I had in the practices. My time was 4:36.

I got all five events done in one day. This I considered the highlight of my year. I had not initially thought I would get through these, but with the help and support of others, I did.

I returned the next weekend, July 21. I was going to take photos and cheer but ended up re-doing three of the events. Why not? I was there. The weather was cooler (overcast actually) and sometimes I just like to challenge (punish myself). This time on the Endurance event, I screwed up some of the mat work – missing a hand touch on the squat jacks, having to redo, and I messed up one thruster needing to redo. The horrid runs were a little better – fewer walks but still slow. This time my time was 15:10. The repeat of the Strength event was only a little better 2:49 with the Interval being the best at 4:15. I was not alone in seeing better times. Many others said their times had substantially improved. Two years ago, the results were similar for those who came back the next weekend and repeated. Part of it may be that the fear is gone. One is familiar with the event and already has a time, so what if they do worse? They might, however. improve. Which many did.

I mentioned watching folks encourage each other. I again saw that this second weekend. Matt running and encouraging Jolene, a mom of a seven month old baby, around the track. Jolene is typical of a CG Camper. She is dedicated, went to camp almost up to child birth (crazy folk) and has stuck with it. Dea's folks chanting and getting their person to the end of their event. So many of the Campers are happy people. Smiling even after the worst and always trying to do their best, while supporting those of us in a lesser category.

Many of our RDU Trainers and Campers qualified for the Finals in Austin in November. Nationwide, their percentage of qualifiers in relation to relative size is impressive. Last year, they came in first in several of the team categories and quite a few competing individually were in the top twenty. As they had the year before. Such drive and enthusiasm shows. I loved watching the trainers compete!  They are such a close group and competitive.  Serious stuff.  They put so much into it that they are wiped when done. This shot typiffies (at the end of her Endurance event.) I had the luxury of being in the Recovery Boots watching from outside of the field.

In Women Super Masters category, age 50 and above, 434 women nationwide had registered. Of those 434, 245 did some but not all events and 190 did all five events. (what happened to the rest? Injury, other commitments, weather, or not enough confidence?) I ranked 105 of the total 245. Shocking, actually. I was hoping to be next to last and would have been happy to be last. Really happy that I did better than I expected. Event and ranking within

                                Endurance     Interval        Peak                 Strength       Agility
Louise Guardino 105 15:10.88 92  04:15.32 93  08:02.40 117   02:49.25 154  01:19.78 169

I strongly doubt I will do CG Games again, however. Even one year can bring degradation. Besides, I don't want to be the oldest who ever did them. And, why push one's luck?

American Masters T&F and South Carolina Open & Masters Meets

American Masters Track and Field Championships

Having been distracted by life, I did not get to these reports as soon as I should have so memory fades and bits and pieces disappear.

I certainly should have written about the first ever American Masters Classic T&F, held at Durham County Stadium on April 14th, since it was hosted by Piedmont Pacers Track Club. Kevin Gobble and other Pacers put the event together and worked it as well as competing. This was quite an endeavor. Most of the usual track events except hurdles, pole vault, and I think hammer were available to compete in. Race events ran the gamut from 100m to 10,000m. About 250 folks registered, many local to NC but some from Maryland, W. Va.,  Canada,  and the Atlanta Track Club.

Willis, Jacobs, Wilton,Szymkoski, Staab

The field events were held in the area above and to the side of the track. There seemed to be a lot of men competing in those field events. Every time I went up there from the track (not a good idea to try to fit in both field and track in a one day event), folks were still sitting around waiting their turn. It was a warm day. This was the first outdoor track event of the season for me and perhaps for many others as well. (Turned out to be my best outdoor 400m of the year at 1:41.20, sigh)

Rick Pack, a Piedmont Pacer in his 30s ran the 100 (12.82) through the 800 {2:28.83) in his usual fast times. I often wonder how people run this range since they differ so much in training. But I guess if you have it, you have it! Some love track dust. Becky Bowman was just starting back from an injury (not quite recovered) but did her usual 100 (14.6), 200, and 400 (1:25.47). We even had Barbara Knight Warren from WVa., the legend, competing. I am surprised at the traveling track folks are willing to do just to compete.

Rick Pack

Barbara Knight Warren

This was a successful meet with no major glitches. Hopefully, it will become an annual event I liked that it was early in the season because there are so few Outdoor Meets in the area.

South Carolina Open and Masters Track Classic June 9

I debated between doing the South Carolina event at Furman U. Greenville SC, a 5 hour drive, or the SouthEast Region Masters Championships in Birmingham, AL. I was not sure what the participation might be at SEM, so I chose the South Carolina event. Good choice.

The drive was not too bad. I met Ann Carter there and we had dinner (and wine) the night before. She had transported hurdles, which it turned out they did not need after all. My biggest problem with the Meet was finding it! Ann had told me which way to go, but WAZE sent me a different way so I had a hell (yes, hell) of a time finding the entrance to Furman (WAZE kept sending me on odd ball roads which bordered Furman but no entrance. ) So, anyway, I get there and now I cannot find the track. No signs at all. I stopped at this one building which was an athletic something, open, but no one inside. Outside, another car pulled up looking for the baseball field, just as baffled as I was. They had a tournament to play (I encountered other baseball players searching as well) Furman needs more signage! I finally got pointed the right way by a fellow jogging wearing a Furman sweatshirt. Else, I would still be roaming, cursing up a storm. The track was nice, once I found it. (The baseball fields were right behind the track.)

Many of the NC track folk I know were there: Rick Pack, Becky Bowman, Jane Barnes, Lane Wilton, Anne Sluder, Melanie Walker, Nicole Kelly. Atlanta Track Club folks, Jeanne Daprano and Terry Ozell took the trek to SC., It was a hot day. The track distances went from 50m up to 800m then the mile and 3000m. In the beginning, there was a delay for the start of the track events. I recall putting the spikes on then taking them off, going to get water and having to run back to put the spikes on because they were going to start. I like the 50m except that it is not enough of a distance for me to build enough speed. Becky Bowman did it in 7.71 and Jane Barnes (next AG up) in 8.2. I slogged in in 9.89.

Terry Ozell

30 and up men 100m start

I watched Rick Pack run a very fast 400 (56.57) while waiting to do discus. 

Rick Pack -- beautiful form!

I caught a glimpse of Anne Sluder doing 80 short hurdles (13.09), and Lane Wilton running the 800 (2:47.63). I missed all of Ann Carter's jumping events etc because I was either on the track or waiting for discus. There was a huge delay getting to discus. I think it was the weight throws that preceded discus. Lots of men throwing. I believe they put a Hold on the throwing in one of the cages while a track event was ongoing since it was adjacent to the track. Discus got started quite late so any conflict I had been worried about was non existent. The event officials had said not to worry any way since they would fit me in. By the time I got to discus my throws were short, though I got some tips from Patricia Clemmons I could not put them adequately in practice.

It was a long day by the time I got home (fortunately missing the rain.)

Daprano and crone at end of day

Crone and Rick Pack

Monday, April 16, 2018

Subdued in Landover -USATF Masters Indoor Championships 2018

March 16-18, 2018

Prior to USATF Masters Indoor Championships in Landover, MD, I went to two indoor meets in Winston-Salem, NC at JDL Fast Track. The first was a Youth, Open, and Masters Meet, Jan 14, in which Angela Staab and I went to see how we would do. For Angela, this was her first meet with her new bionic hip. We were of course the oldest and stood out among the younger folk. One problem with going to this combined event was the lack of area in which to practice. Loaded with high school teams, JDL was packed to the max. It was a bit chilly outside so my outside practice did not last long. Neither Angela nor I really warmed up before any of our events. I saw some swift high schoolers, one being 14 year old, Kendall Harris, who ran the 800m in 2:31.37 in his first ever track meet! In the 400m there was a 40 year old, an 18 year old (who had turned 19, ending up being listed as Open) and Angela and I. I ran the 60m and 200m with the 18 year old. I left knowing much work needed to be done. Angela was happy with her 400m and weight throw but felt some discomfort from the outing.

The second pre-Landover Meet was the SouthEast Masters Indoor Regionals on Jan 21 at JDL. I did the usual three events (400, 60, and 200) and shot. I stunk at shot. Among others that were there were Barbara Warren, William Rhoad, Lesley Hinz, Lane Wilton and some of her other Carolina Track Club members as well as our Piedmont Pacer teammates. Atlanta Track Club as always was well represented. So a week after the initial meet, I did a little better in the 60m and the 200m but, oh, boy! That 400m! Based on the prior week's attempt, I had decided to hang back a bit on the first 200m. I began my speedup just prior to entering the last curve and felt really strong running the straight away 60m or so. I felt fast and not out of breath. It felt good. Until I looked up and saw my time. Almost FOUR seconds slower than the prior week. I was stunned. It had felt so good coming down the home stretch, feeling better than I ever had before in a 400m. Yeah, no wonder! I apparently slogged too much on the initial 200+ meters. Aaargh.

Between then and the Landover Meet, I practiced on greenways and bridle paths three times and the track twice. Mostly, I tried some 300s (no 400 for me!) and then 3 or 4 200s and similarly 100s. I also ran a social five-miler and, the week before Landover, Pie Day Pi K (1.96 miles) in the rain (the reward small apple pie was the incentive.)

Leading up to the Landover event, I lacked enthusiasm. (and still do.) Basically, I was going through the motions in Camp Gladiator and life in general.

Thursday, March 15, I started off for Largo, MD for the Landover Meet. I took two 8.5 oz. bottles of Coca Cola© along, in case I began to feel drowsy. (At most, I drank about half of a bottle during the entire time away.) On my way out of town, I got a Starbucks Quattro (4 shots of espresso) which I did not start drinking until an hour into the trip. It took me to Fredericksburg, Va, without generating a need to make a stop, though I did, also picking up a Milky Way Midnight Dark bar. In Fredericsburg , at WaWa (really?) I got a regular coffee for the rest of my trip. I was grateful for the decent driving weather up to Landover and even more grateful for the WAZE app which gave plenty of forewarning as to when one would be moving to the right lanes or left lanes in the mess that is I-495 around D.C. It did take me off I-95 once to avoid, I imagine, a tie-up and put me back on later.

I arrived at the hotel about the time Angela was landing at Dulles. We decided that I would go to the event site and see if I could pick up both of our packets while checking out the drive from hotel to venue – Wayne K Curry Prince George's Sports and learning Complex. It was a short trip. Upon first seeing the track, I was impressed. Viewing it from above, it seemed immense, with the stands and track below. 
 I was too early for pickup, so took a walk around the track. I encountered Lesley Hinz also checking out the track. I was standing in one of the finish line lanes, 2 or 3, talking for a minute or two, when I got brushed (bumped) by a fellow sprinting the lane who said something like “move!” I had not seen him prior to stopping and talking. This was a younger guy, maybe 40, who was obviously fast, and IMO, full of himself. When I am practicing at a track at home and others are out there (Gaelic football players or others) who stand in my lane as I come around from a 200m or 100m, I veer around them. This fellow though he had the right to be perhaps annoyed, was plain rude. There is a NY term, rhyming with muck (no, not the one starting with “f”!), that applies nicely to him, at that moment in his life.

In the packet pickup area there were oodles of free goodies, including some sweets and lots of Gatorade©, plus towels to pick up and stuff into the commemorative bag. George Melichar, USATF Inclusion Committee, was there providing good vibes in the crowded area. I had a photo of Angela's license on my phone but did not need it to pick up her packet. That was good as then she would not have to rush to get it before pickup shut down for the evening. We both had the 400m at 10 a.m. so had to be there prior to 9, to declare. We were concerned about a long early morning queue to pick up the packet before 9.a.m. It was just as well I got Angela's stuff because it took her TWO hours by Uber to go from Dulles to Largo. Yes, it was during peak traffic but it seems she also got the D.C. Scenic tour (WH, probably Supreme Court and whatever else was on her route.) It seems they avoided the D.C. Beltline and took the circuitous way.

It was near to 6:30 p.m. when Angela arrived. By the time she got settled, we were both starving. The last I had eaten was my Milky Way and an apple. Before Angela even got there, she was texting me to find a good place to eat. Me – who knows from nothing! She wanted me to ask at the desk. We did that once in Baton Rouge, I think, and ended up with a so-so meal. Instead, I did a google search and came up with Old Towne Inn in Largo.

It was a simple drive to Old Towne Inn, mostly along Lottsford Rd. Along the way, we saw someone being ticketed on the other side of the road. (and again upon our return later, another one being ticketed.) Parking was at a premium when we arrived at Old Towne. When we entered, there were about three steps up into the restaurant proper. It was crowded. One of the two cops standing there told us it would be at least a 45 minute wait. Ugh. We thanked them for the info and decided to go to Outback, which we had noticed on our way there. It took us awhile to find it because we did not go far enough down Lottsford. We did find it and once seated, anxiously awaited our food. I ordered a garlic roasted filet with potato and broccoli and Angela also ordered some scrumptious meat. I devoured my meal but ¾ of the way through, began having piggy pains of an over stuffed goose. Real pains. It also pained me to have to leave some of my food, but I did. The discomfort lasted most of the rest of the evening. Not what one should be feeling the night before the dreaded 400m.

The Meet packet contained a pretty nifty, high class, booklet, detailing event schedule, including number of heats an event might have based on number of participants in that age group. (This was a six lane track, except for the 60m which had an additional two. ) It also listed every official! (A nice feature for the officials who work tirelessly during such a meet as this.) The Meet organizers (hosted and planned by Potomac Valley Track Club) had also been good about pre-Meet informational emails. All in all, I thought the organizers did a bang up job. (There was one hiccup, if it could be called that, described later.)

Friday, March 16. The dreaded 400m.

It was dang freezing! 36 degrees with wind gusting to 34 during our outings outside. Angela and I got there in plenty of time to check in (actually, too early so we had to wait until later.) 
Angela removing cold weather wrappings
A note about the spike check: they chose to wrap a yellow (or was it blue?) tape on the end of a shoelace. Several times during the event, this wrap thing came off. I had it replaced a few times then just forgot about it. No one ever looked any way!

I spent the time slowly warming up. Walking, with some leg kicks and butt kicks interspersed. I was not about to do lunges until my knees warmed up, else they would bark. I trotted the track with Coreen Steinbach and then transferred to the warmup area, eventually jogging slowly then picking up my pace as knees felt okay. Eventually Rose Green and Mary Robinson showed up to also warm up for the 400m. I did not yet see Marie-Louise Michelsohn, who was supposed to be running the 400m. Mary was being careful not to stress her knees which were criss-crossed with KT Tape. Not being capable of running 100% this outing, the race would therefore be between Marie-Louise and Rose. While warming up, I saw a lady who resembled Marie-Louise but it was not. Come time to check in and no Marie-Louise. She did not show. Well, okay. Too bad. I am not nervous. Well, maybe. I worry that I will not get beyond 300m without having to drastically slow up or walk. There are four of us since Marie-Louise did not show: Mary Robinson, Rose Green, me, and Angela Staab.

We watched the 80 year olds run their 400m. Jeannie Daprano led from the start and retained the lead as expected. We were led onto the track. I was in lane 6, Rose in 5, Mary in 3 and Angela in 4. I may have started with a few fast steps but then just tried to keep a steady pace as Rose passed me while we rounded the curve into the backstretch. I sensed that Mary was near but I tried to keep up with Rose. We rounded the curve towards the break line (cones) that would allow the runners to move into lane 1 once we passed beyond them. Remembering well my hesitation 4 years earlier in an Indoor 400, I sped up to cut into lane one before Mary got there and then I stayed on Rose's heels – in fact too close so I backed off when we turned back into the backstretch again. I stayed near Rose as we traversed the length of the back area. About half way around the last curve I pulled out into lane two to try to pass Rose. Now we were both heading down towards the finish line. I still had enough energy to keep pushing and as we closed on the Finish, Rose pulled ahead enough to take it by 2/10 of a second. What I did not realize until looking at the video yesterday, is that several times Mary was right on my heels and almost on me – once when we headed towards the cones, she had the edge until I sped up to cut in and then at the last turn, once again she was right there. I was only aware of Rose while on the final backstretch and heading to the Finish. Had Mary's knees been better she would have probably passed me somewhere in that run.  
Rose, after win.

I felt good at the end because I had managed to finish without walking and had felt as if I was running as fast as I could without my legs giving out and my breathing hanging in there. Probably the best I have felt in a 400m except for the Jan 21 JDL outing when I thought I had done well only to discover I was slower. This time, I was faster than at JDL so I was happy. After returning home, I wondered if I had cut into lane two too soon thereby using up energy I could have used in the last 60m or so. However, had I waited, I might not have had enough distance left to even get close to Rose. Those split second decisions based on partial prior experience are not always correct and each race is different from the last. One is a different person physically in one way or another. Rose was off that particular day, allowing me to get close.
and so it goes

We still had to figure out who would be the fourth in our 4x200 relay. Mary Robinson had found that there was no NON CLUB 4x200 record in our age group. So, we needed someone no younger, which left out a few potentials. We were going to try for Kathy Bergen if she was not running the relay with her SoCal Striders group. Turns out they had asked her to run with their younger group but Kathy had opted not to run any relay since the relays were at night and the prelims for the 200m was early Sunday morning. (IF all showed up. Two of those registered had not shown up for other races, so there was a possibility that if they did not show, we would not have a prelim.) But we had to be there at check in nonetheless before 7 a.m. So, here we were, Mary, Angela, and I with no fourth. Barbara Hensley was too young, Jeanne Daprano, though older, was fast, but was running with her Atlanta Track Club. Someone discovered that Carolyn Langenwalter, , the next age group up from us, barely, was not running with anyone, so we enlisted her and she was delighted to be able to run a relay.

Angela and I and Kevin Gobble our Piedmont Pacer leader, there for one day to compete in the 3000m, sat and watched the afternoon events.
Angela greeting Kevin Gobble, in from the cold!
We watched the men's 400m races. Several men had to pull up with what seemed to be hamstring issues. One, just after first turn into the finish side straightaway, and another at the far end, just as entering that curve. Angela said the most dangerous time for pulling muscles in that event is while in an inner lane and accelerating while in the turn. She indicated that most came out of the curve before accelerating unless in an outer lane. She had broken a leg in CA. during a National Senior Games event when speeding up in a turn. We watched younger Piedmont Pacer Matt Holtry attempt the 1500m race walk. He had not had a great experience in his prior attempt, so had been practicing and was hopeful. Prior to his event we had watched the women compete, several of whom were yellow carded then DQed. Despite the strict rules for this event, there still were different styles evident. This is not an event I would try for even 100m! Matt finished his race walk without a hitch, winning his age group. I bet his shins were barking when done.

Because of the number of race walkers etc., Kevin's 3000m event would start too late for him to make his flight back home from BWI. He had been in town for work and had hoped to compete but it was not to be. Sigh.

Sitting for that length of time had made bionic Angela feel uncomfortable. She was ready to get back to the hotel.

That evening, Friday, Angela and I decided to try to get to Old Towne Inn early so as to beat the crowd. We managed even to get a decent parking spot. I ordered
Sauteed shrimp tossed in a spicy alfredo ajun sauce with julienne red pepper and green onions, served on top of penne pasta. I usually do not order shrimp but this sounded SO good! And again, I was hungry. It took quite awhile for our meals to arrive so I dug in. It was good. But after the preceding evening, I knew when to stop, so unfortunately had to leave some food still on the plate. But at least I left not in pain!

Saturday March 17, 2018

Weather still very cold but not as windy. Today, because there was a competing gymnastics event, the track folk were banished to the far outer limits parking area. From there, we could see the FEDEX stadium, home of the Washington Redskins. Huge. The walk back up to the venue was delightful in the chill. Saturday I had the 60m and Angela and I both had afternoon shot put and the evening 4x200 relay. Today, I had more than Rose and Mary to contend with. It was a forgone conclusion to me that Kathy Bergen would be out there way in front. Two of the registered competitors did not show up, so there were five of us. We watched the older group (hah! Most not much older than me, except for 102 year old Julia Hawkins!) Julia was there with her red outfit and flower in her hair. She was running with the 80-84s and one 85 year old. The 80s consisted of a competitive group - Christel Donley, Flo Meiler, Carolyn Langenwalter, and two other ladies. It was a very competitive race between the first three finishers with only hundreths of a second separating them. Julia trotted down the track in her steady no nonsense way, to a battery of photogs and reporters.

Our group lined up. Kathy, Mary and Rose were to my right and Jane Simpson to my left. They got us ready but then called a halt twice. It seems the reporters at the far end interviewing Julia were blocking the finish area. I do wonder why they were not moved off the track, out of the way. I expect there was a psychological impact of priming for a start and then not going. In my case, I had decided to try to use one block to push off from (versus a 3-point start). When the gun went off, I was the last to get going and watched the others, except for Jane, rush down the straight away. I managed to catch up to Mary though I don't recall much of that event other than my cruddy start. It was not my worst start but the usual last to get going start. Kathy (9.88)and Rose(10.78) had long since finished by the time I came across the line. No news there!

I watched some of the subsequent groups run the 60m: The battle between Joy Upshaw and Sandy Triolo with Joy winning by just over 2/10 of a second; and in another AG the clear win of Jane Barnes, my NC compatriot.

When it came time for the shot put, it was in a side room. We competed in a combined group of 75-84. One lady seemed to be a stickler for rules and was questioning this or that before we started. I have little tolerance for nit picking, but I guess for the Pros, it is critical. Julia Hawkins was doing shot for the first time and Christel Donley was explaining and showing her what to do and to be aware of how to exit the circle. Christel is always helpful that way. Fortunately, the nit picking and semi complaining ended once we began throwing. Every one was courteous and supportive. The competitors exhibited multiple styles of throwing. I think one did a modified spin, most did some kind of windup, and some just threw. All of the 80s threw farther than us younger ones! I managed not to foul but after my first throw, everything was shorter. I tried to recall how I had done the one good throw at Outdoors in Baton Rouge but apparently, I never found it. Needs work.  
Barbara Warren

Since we had the relay scheduled for 7:10 p.m. this meant we had to all be there before 6:10 p.m., Angela and I decided we were going to eat light somewhere before getting back to the hotel. We ended up at a Chipotle not far from the hotel, where we both had salads.

We were back at the track before check in time. The check in area was swamped. It was truly chaos. People were looking for their teammates, the check in crew was calling out for club age groups (was that club or non club he called?) Really pandemonium from this person's perspective though it may have all just been organized chaos. As it got closer to 6:15, we were all there except for Mary. We were beginning to panic. None of us had Mary's cell number. Eventually Angela decided to go upstairs and use the rest room. Carolyn was beginning to feel the pangs of disappointment; I was immersed in a mental cocoon – no feeling at all, withdrawing into nothingness. However, eventually, I got worried when Angela had not yet returned. We were falling apart. The clerk was still calling Clubs. Angela returned then Mary strolled up, not the least bit worried, having been through this mess numerous times before. The USATF Masters Indoor Championships article by Castro, Seto, and photog Rob Jerome in
National Masters News stated that there were 160 relay teams registered. 640 folks crowded in the check in area of the venue! No wonder it was crowded!

I watched some of the men's longer relays. One in particular was dramatic. The Men's 40 to 49 Club relay. 4 laps each runner. The anchor of the Garmin Runners, Mark Williams took the baton and sped off, increasing the lead substantially even before rounding the far bend. His lead kept increasing through two and a half laps. By the third lap he began losing speed (or the pack increased theirs.) The pack was closing in on the last bend. There was about a 20m gap between Williams and the lead runner of the following pack as they came down the finish stretch. Williams just made it across the Finish before being over taken. The effort so exhausted him that he fell across the Finish covering his and part of the adjacent lane and stayed there, as the other runners veered around to finish. The man gave more than his all to bring the win home to his team.

The club teams, men before women, ran before the non club and in the order of longest distance to shortest (800m relays to 200m relays). Rose Green was going to run the 4x200 with the Potomac Valley Track Club with three other ladies who were either new to track and relay or used to a more leisurely distance outing. Having the 200m early morning prelim ahead, she was fine with not killing herself on this relay. I couldn't wait to watch! They had to run against the Atlanta Track club big guns in the 70-74 AG. Atlanta had 81 year old Daprano and Potomac had 79 year old Rose. Just looking at the ages is SO deceptive. These ladies dispel any thoughts of great grandma in her rocking chair. So when Rose's team came out, I was surprised to see some of her folks jogging at a decent pace around the track. No one walked . (More than could be said for myself at times.)

When the non club women were led to the infield about an hour beyond original pre-Meet scheduled time, some had already bagged it. Of the 4 teams listed, one did not start. While waiting, I watched the last of the women's club teams compete in the 4x200. Charlotte Track Club won their 4x200 45-49 AG with Anne Sluder, Kris Kazebee, Lane Wilton, and Melanie Walker. Joy Upshaw's Jackrabbits (love this name) won their 50-54 AG.

Non Clubs do not have fancy names. We are assigned non club A, B, etc. When the time came, our three non club teams lined up. The lead on the track and the rest of us off to the side in the order in which we would follow. Mary Robinson was our lead off, she would hand off to Angela Staab who in turn would hand off to Carolyn Langenwalter, who then would pass to me. As was expected, the younger 35-39 team came roaring around to hand off followed by the 60-69 team with Susan Loyd, Amanda Scotti, Jane Barnes, and Leanda Funk. This team set a new American (USA) non club record finishing in 2:24.05. The thirty year olds (McAllister, Edwards, and two others) finished first in 1:56.53. We did not look too shabby in our runs around the track. Mary handed off expertly to Angela who took her bionic hip around the track in a nice clip then handed to Carolyn who was darn speedy. She was so speedy, I miscalculated and stood too long before moving because she came up on me faster than I anticipated so, once again, I glitched up a handoff. Meanwhile, Angela on the infield is yelling at me that we were going to set a record. I just want to focus on getting the baton and not dropping it. (I am a b.... when focusing during an event) any way, I took off and maybe halfway down the back stretch knew that my legs were not up to par. They were not moving as I had hoped. Oh, well. I managed to get to the finish. Our time 3:21.53.

I am still gasping off the track when Mary says look at our teammate and she is looking back to the infield area. I turn around and there is Angela, sitting in a chair by the edge with some men attending to her. Excitable Angela finished her evening in a grand way, which I am bound neither to relate nor show the photo I later took. Another hallmark that adds to our relay sagas. (Along with the baton that travels to and from Meets never to be used.)

Sunday March 18

Angela has the 800m and a weight and super weight throw and we both have the 200m on the agenda for Sunday. The 200m is scheduled for 8 a.m., a conflict with Angela's weight throw. We made sure to get to the venue (again having to park in the outer limits) well before 200m check in time of 7a.m. As we enter the building, Kathy Bergen is leaving dragging her stuff behind her. She said the 200m was a rollover. Aha! The two who had not shown for earlier events still had not appeared. We headed to check in any way so they would see that we had met the requirement. Mary and Rose also checked in, so now we were set for a 12:23 200m Final.

Legends Mary Hartzler and Barbara Warren

Angela went off to do her weight throws and I watched the ladies throw that hunk of metal. Not something I am likely to try. One wrong move and sciatica might return. Barbara Warren was there for that, squeezing it in among her many events. Hurdles were now ruled out as something happened during Friday's pentathlon events such that her inner knee was not happy. (later determined to be a torn MCL and possible meniscus injury.) She did win her weight (5.45kg) and super weight (9.08kg) throw AG as did Mary Hartzler (also not quite 100%) in her younger AG. Mary Robinson and Roslyn Katz swapped victories in the weight (4kg) and super weight (7.26kg) throws, with Mary taking the super weight. Angela and Jane Simpson also did a swap of third and fourth, with Angela getting third in super weight. 
Mary Robinson throwing weight

Angela Staab throwing weight

Angela won her 800m event. She only walked a little bit once but mostly kept up her steady pace, increasing her lead. National Masters Champion to add to her relay results Then came the 60-64 AG 800m. I knew Lesley Hinz had her sights set on that (as well as the mile the following Tuesday in NC's JDL Fasttrack). Four times around. She led from the start and by the time she was on the last lap had a good lead . Good enough to give her the win and a new World Record with a time of 2:36.57 (Debbie Lee, second, finished in 2:58.77) And, indeed, the next week she set a new Indoor World record in the Mile (5:43.75) Coreen Steinbach handily won her 800m (2:59.49).

There were five of us in the 200m. Kathy Bergen, Rose Green, Mary Robinson, Angela Staab, and me. I have a slip of paper tacked to a kitchen door which has the 100m and 200m times of Kathy and Rose – it's been there for a number of years. Inspirational and a motivator? These days, I ought to just salute and say good going, ladies! I enjoy the 200m and below events. Just to get out there to see how fast I can run – to get that feeling of going all out. I think I skipped the block this time and just did my three point start. Kathy blasted off with Rose chasing her. The rest of us chased them. Kathy (35.90), Rose (37.92). In the end, I did run a little faster than I had in January, but not that much faster.

Angela Staab and Rose Green 

Jane Barnes won her 200m (34.58) with a very close race for second and third between Hannah Phillips (35.07)and Coreen Steinbach (35.28).

All in all, it was a well run Meet, from my perspective. Peter Taylor and Lisa Rosborough did a seamless job of announcing throughout the Meet. The officials were flawless.

My times were also a bit better than at my prior Meet. This was the last Indoor for me. Three. Next year, probably two since I will skip the Youth and Open Meet. Folks like William “barefoot” Rhoad go to as many Meets as they can that are within a driving distance and do as many events as they can in a Meet. He keeps improving or holding his own as a result he just loves to compete as does his cohort Barbara Warren.

WAZE had me go off the road at Lorton (after a very long crawl to the exit while the none exiting lanes zipped by). We seemed to wind here and there. I did notice a very interesting community on a river or large waterway that had a nice mix of townhomes and homes. WAZE also died (went into limbo – directing me somewhere I was not headed) not too far from home.

Next up is the first Outdoor Meet tomorrow American Masters track & Field Championships in Durham, NC. Barbara Warren and William Rhoad and Angela will be there as will some others from Landover. I am three plus pounds heavier. Supposedly it will be in the 80s during the day.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

USATF Masters Outdoor Championships 2017

       Baton Rouge Championships between lightning strikes


Thursday, July13

After five weeks of graston on my Achilles, I was off to Baton Rouge for Outdoor Masters Championships. I still had issues but I was functional. My big worry ahead of time had to do with both the allowed carry-on and the discus. Would Delta allow both the large track bag and a back pack or would I have to check one of them? Angela, my experienced hotel mate said not to worry, I could carry both on. I had never taken a discus on a plane and feared that its shape alone would cause havoc. Angela said to take it out and put it in the Security bin and it would be okay. She was correct on both counts.

When we flew over Baton Rouge, I noticed the Mississippi snaking along the landscape with many barges, big and small. I wondered how the tugs pushing them (tugs with special pushing bars on front) were able to see over the barge load to navigate. Apparently the cabin is high enough and most of them also have electronic river maps.

Angela had already run the 800m before I arrived. When I got on the Belle of Baton Rouge hotel shuttle bus, I immediately saw Mary Smith, the 400m Champ. She told me she had missed her original flight for reasons beyond her control and then had to take three or four other flights to get to Baton Rouge. I know she must have been a wreck about that!

My first impression of Baton Rouge was that their highways were in need of repair. Either that or the shuttle needed new shocks. It was clunk clunk clunk all the way into Baton Rouge. Many of the residential homes we passed seemed to be in need of upkeep. I later realized that much of the area had suffered prior storm damage from which that they had not yet recovered.

I met up with Angela and we went out to the track so I could pick up my bib number etc. When we arrived, the LSU Bernie Moore Stadium track was wet and no events were being run on it. 

Upon entry to the Field House, we had to stop at a Security table where our bags were checked. They had what to me was an odd way of doing this: poking a wooden dowel inside the bag. I suppose if a hard object (water bottle?) had been encountered one might be asked to remove it for inspection.

When one entered the main area of the Field House, to the left were the check-in tables with a staging area for athletes right behind it; in front was the indoor track; and to the right outside the perimeter of the track were vendor tables and way down at the end, the Implement check-in table. We saw folks we knew sitting in the staging area. Ann Carter was sitting on a bench

and Barbara Warren was sitting on the floor.

Turns out these pentathlon athletes were waiting to run their 800m which had been delayed due to weather conditions. They were tired and hungry. I took photos of Barbara Warren's famous ankles (usually wrapped and looking quite odd when she stood).

She was all smiles as she usually is. These folks eventually ran the 800m on the inside track (after sitting around forever!).

Before we left the track we had our spikes checked for adherence to the 1/4” pyramid compliance. Turns out Angela's Adidas shoes had Christmas tree spikes. They had to be removed and replaced with Pyramids. Much to the delight of the LSU folk, Angela had the wrench that came with the shoes. These folks were overjoyed because they did not have a Christmas tree spike removal tool and had struggled in the past with H.S. athletes showing up with these spikes. Angela told them they could keep the tool, making their day. They put the pyramids in for her; then put on the day-specific tie indicating that the spikes had been checked. LSU requires that each day one have their spikes rechecked and a different color certification tie is used. This Meet was so well organized that when one went into the Field House towards the track, a lady checked to make sure your spikes (whether on or off) had been checked. Mary Robinson later said that anyone who wanted to switch to something else (like the Christmas Tree spikes which supposedly yield more traction) could do so after receiving the color coded tie for that day. Once she said that, I thought, why yes, I could see some H.S.-- and other folk doing that.

Angela and I got on the shuttle bus to return to the Belle. We did not go far. The driver had not eaten and so, prior to the scheduled LSU pickup time, we took a very short trip to Wienerschnitzel on Highland Dr for a hot dog. Some of the shuttle passengers also decided to get a dog to go.

We met up with Mary Smith at the hotel and decided on a place to eat: Newt's. 

It was not what I had expected. One looked at a wall menu then ordered and the food would be delivered to your table. I ordered Newt's favorite salad (I think): Sliced flame-grilled chicken breast, Arcadian mixed greens, crumbled gorgonzola cheese, sliced grapes, artichoke hearts, pecans, dried cranberries, house-made croutons and made-from-scratch sherry vinaigrette. Angela ordered soup and salad and Mary had a sandwich. I finished what I ordered, Mary did not and Angela was not expecting her salad to be what arrived.

Earlier, when I first got to the room, Angela showed me the small, dead, roach she had found on the curtain. This was an added benefit she was not pleased with.

The view from the hotel window, however, was a plus.

USS Kidd docked

Friday, July 14

I had already decided that I was not going to partake of the Belle morning buffet (at 12 bucks) as all I wanted was coffee and toast. My first event was not until the afternoon but I did not want to eat much beforehand. Angela had a morning field event so she was going to have a breakfast and then go to the field. I texted Mary that I was going to try to find McDonald's. I asked in the lobby the way to MCD's and they pointed out the door to the right. I had not gone more than a few steps outside when Mary called me. She had decided to go to McD's with me. This turned out to be a half mile walk according to the map but it seemed much longer. We walked along Europe St. passing both commercial and residential. Part of it was uphill and in areas the sidewalk narrowed or consisted of lots of tree root upheavals. After we had walked awhile and no MickeyD's I asked some Telco repair folks on a corner if they knew where it might be. They did and we had to go over one block and up about two more. There, I had coffee and also decided on a biscuit. The biscuit was huge. Mary just had water. We were there about a half hour. As we were leaving a fellow came over and asked if we were there for some other event and we responded no. When we told him why we were in Baton Rouge he wanted to know about USATF Masters and said he used to do field events. We encouraged him to check the USATF website.

On our return trip, we passed the Stun Graphics building on Government St . The whole side of the building was taken up with a Budweiser Clydesdale painting. Nice! We also passed the Democratic Party HQ housed in what looked like a store front. I would have expected something much larger for the Dems.

Mary Smith & USS Kidd

When we got back to the Belle we still had time so we walked over to the river front where the USS Kidd was docked as well as the Belle of Baton Rouge riverboat casino. On the levee walkway were metal humanoid statues: some sitting on a bench, others standing here and there. They got my attention! 

Across the river were port of Baton Rouge docks, and farther along the levee in the distance we saw other riverboats. Mary noticed what seemed to be an uprooted tree dumped on the levee during a prior storm. Other tree debris was lodged against the bow of the casino riverboat.

My first event was the javelin. Scheduled for 12:30, followed by the 400m which was to be an hour later. I was already concerned that I would have no time to warm up for the 400m. Mary and I headed over to the javelin area at the far end of the track. I tripped over the rail and fell, rolled, and got back up. Clumsy but not hurt. At the jav area, I found Barbara Warren and Mary Hartzler

They told me jav was running late, but not to worry. But I was worried. For sure now the two events were collapsing into a very small time differential. I decided to try a little warm up outside in the infield area since track events were being run, quickly discovering that my right knee had a glitch. I went over to Medical to see if there was something I could do. The PT lady there (an NCSU grad) told me it was a tight quad and showed me what to do. She was right – her stretch got rid of the knee issue.

I watched two of the Piedmont Pacer men (Kevin Gobble and Matthew Holtry) run the 3000m steeplechase. The water pit was quite deep.

We still had plenty of time so Mary and I did some vendor shopping. I bought far more than I intended and certainly did not need. But there is something about USA on a jacket that just sucks one in! We practiced some short sprints for fun before we both got serious and did our individual warm ups. Jav for my age group had still not been called when all of the women 400m runners had to go out to the track. Our heat consisted of three age groups (AG), mine being the youngest. I was in lane six, Rose Green in five, Mary Smith in four, and Mary Robinson was to be in seven. But she wasn't there! I was worried, thinking she might be over in the jav area throwing and would miss the 400m. Nope. As I got to my lane six offset, out strolls Mary Robinson from the jav area. Phew!

When the race started it was not long before Mary Smith made up the stagger from my left and passed me, followed by Rose Green. I was trying to chase down Mary Robinson, just wanting to diminish the distance between us by the Finish.

Jeanne Daprano (80) then passed me on the left in lane two! The call for my AG to come to the javelin came over the loud speakers. Great!
Final curve to last 100m

The announcer began saying Your leader in lane 3 that Jeanne Daprano  ... when clearly Mary Smith was way ahead. I was not getting any closer to Mary Robinson when we rounded the last curve. I was beginning to fade.

me walking! The rest racing.

It was not long before I had to drop to a walk. Energy and oxygen depleted. I watched the others pull away (Mary Smith just about to the Finish line). By this time, the announcer finally told the crowd that Mary Smith was the winner in lane 4. Mary S., Rose, Jeanne and Mary R. had all finished before I got there, being the last in my AG.

Mary Norckauer (92) came in after me – and she did not walk! Norckauer, a Baton Rouge resident, had told me that she had a shooting record. Subsequent research indicated that she had been on a US shooting team in International competition in the 1970s and prior to that had also been a professional baseball player (during WWII?) Quite a lady! And she was doing eleven events. I was doing only four!

Mary Norckauer

My jav outing was not so hot. There were nine of us, in four age groups. I watched Kathy Bergen and Mary Robinson throw. Perfect form. There were different approaches used, some long with the cross foot pattern, others shorter. Most of mine stuck but fell quite short.

Angela was supposed to do the weight throw at five p.m. We were also to be at a team dinner around 6 or 6:30. Lightning delays arrived again. I found Angela and the two Marys (Robinson and Hartzler) sitting out on the small wall outside of the Field House. Stories about TSA experiences and other Meets entertained us as the clock ticked.
Angela Staab  & Mary Robinson

A famous Warren hoof

About 6:10 the officials decided the weather would not cooperate and so they would reschedule the weight throwing event for the next morning at 8:00. (The officials did herculean duty rescheduling events during this Meet and making use of the track and areas within the Field House.)

So Angela and I and others were at the shuttle stop waiting for the 6:30 shuttle. While there, one of the weight throwers, Suzi Wojcik, from Oregon, disappointed, was trying to decide if she could do the rescheduled event and still make an 11 a.m. Flight. (She had taken about four to get to BR from Oregon) Most told her not to risk it. Even if she got first shot at the throw, after checking in folks the throws might not start exactly at 8 a.m. She could not change her flight plans, it seems. Some said that since BR has a small airport, going through Security and check-in might not take that long. The shuttle never arrived. We were fortunate that a fellow competitor seeing us waiting asked if anyone was going to the Belle. He gave us a lift.

When we got to Capital City Grill, the others had not yet been served food so we were able to order and share dinner talk with them. Other than the two of us, it was just Kevin Gobbles and Jay Smith and their spouses, as well as a non Pacer couple. I had Catfish Orleans: fried catfish topped with crawfish etoufee over rice. Delicious! And, not driving ,red wine.

Saturday, July 15

Discus was my first event at 8 a.m. with a 1 p.m. 100M to follow. There were nine of us again in the four AGs. The only difference was that Jane Simpson was there and Ann Carter was not. Prior to any field event in which folks bring their own implements, they have to be checked at the Implements area by officials who determine that the implement meets the USATF standard for the specific age group. The implements are then wheeled out to the event prior to event start. Well, the discus cart arrives, missing one. It seems that Josiah, the implements official, had determined that Joanne Marriott's discus was “too plump.” (Surely, there must be a discus diet to be found.) Along with the personal discuses, the USATF Meet provides the proper weighted ones. It seems in this case that almost everyone had brought their own. So we start. Gloria Krug is the first to throw one that apparently broke the record. The officials then confiscate that discus, making it unavailable for further use. (An implement used when a record is broken has to be again validated before the record is certified.) Gloria meanwhile is grumbling that she had thrown farther than that in the past – how could it be a record? (and it would be her prior record, of course.) Next, Joan Berman throws what could be a record breaking throw for her AG. Zing, another discus removed. The rest of us are hoping that no one throws another record breaking toss using our discus!

The officials confer and are looking online. Gloria was correct. The documentation the officials had was incorrect. So both Joan and Gloria get their discus back. Joan later does throw a record breaking toss (19.29m, 63 ft 3 inches.) In my AG, Kathy Bergen was in the lead until Joanne Marriott's last toss (using, of course, a non-plump discus) landed .35m farther than Kathy's. (Joanne 19.67m, 64 ft, 6 inches.) So it was Joanne, Kathy, and Mary Robinson in my AG. Joan Berman, Gloria Krug, and Mary Norckauer were alone in their AGs.

Facing toward entrance of Field house

Facing far end

During the prior evening I had thought about my cruddy starts. I decided that I had nothing to lose since my competitors were faster than me and I was likely to come in last, so why not try something different. I tried to find Angela's weight throwing event but it was not where I expected and when I did see it, she was already finished. There was plenty of time before my 100m race, so I headed to the Field House to get some patches put on the shirt I'd gotten the day before. I found Mary Smith in there, browsing again before her 11 something flight back to CO. Angela joined the browsing crew and we all got a little something more (as well as picked up our USATF Masters 50th anniversary acrylic block.)

Eventually, I got over to the Field House track practice area and grabbed some starting blocks. I had decided to try to use just one block (using both would require an acute bend in one knee. My right was not comfortable bending and using my left knee would cause me to flex the right, recovering, Achilles too much.) I practiced using my right foot to push off a block while partially crouched and then tried it with the left. After many starting attempts, I decided the left was far better. Then I trotted around the track and also did the quad stretches.

I still had time, so decided to try to watch Ann Carter and Barbara Warren in the 200m 27” hurdles. To get to the spectator area, one had to walk on the perimeter towards the 400m start area. Again there was the bag check with the dowel. Meanwhile, I hear the race start. Ugh! I got up to the viewing area just after they crossed the Finish. Barbara and Ann are in different age groups and finished within a second of each other, both getting the Gold. Sometime after that, I went over to Medical to see if they had a roller. They didn't, but I found Barbara there. She had hurt one of her famed ankles when landing after the first hurdle. She began to describe her prior ankle injuries to the Medical guy. The expression on his face was a memorable moment! Turned out nothing was broken but she did have a sprain.

This did not keep her from competing in other event. Of course not!

A weather delay was called as we were about to go over to the athlete staging area. It would be at least a twenty minute delay since that is how long the officials wait after the last strike. I sat with the two Marys on a bench towards one end of the track. Since outdoor activity was stopped, the male pole vaulters were moved indoors to use the pole vault equipment inside. Since we were sitting at the start of the lead up runway, we relocated to the far end of the field house, closer to the entrance, to sit on top of retracted stands. 
Robinson & Hartzler - waiting!

The delay went beyond twenty minutes since, as one of us said “bowling balls were still landing on the roof.”

At some point, the officials announced that all the women athletes competing in the 100m were to move to the staging area asap because they were going to run quickly through the AG heats. By this time none of were warmed up, but out we went. This time there were seven in my AG so we competed as a single group. I had Kathy Bergen, the Champ on my right, and Mary Robinson, my racing nemesis, on the other side. Beside Kathy was Rose Green, another speed demon, the oldest of us, who I knew would be streaking out there with Kathy.
Watching Julia Hawkins (101), Christel Donley (82) & Mary Norckauer (92) 100m start

The three of them all used both starting blocks. I prepared to use my one and the others did a standing start. 

The Set command and then the gun. Kathy, Rose and Mary shoot out. I don't know about the other three other than they were not in my field of vision. I managed to start without mishap but still not speedy. Kathy and Rose were beyond reach. I had to try to catch Mary so we could race each other to the Finish. I gave it my all as did Mary. We were side by side though she was a little ahead of me then I would catch up and she would edge ahead again. It was a great fun race between us. I always enjoy it because, if I can get near her (unlike in the 400m), we push each other. It is a truly joyful feeling to feel as if you have gone as fast as one can with no physical excuses. Love it.

Kathy Bergen set another American AG record with a time of 15.84 with Rose Green coming in at 18.06. Mary and I almost simultaneously crossed the Finish in 19.2x seconds. For perspective, the 2016 Rio Olympic 100m winner, 24 year old Jamaican Elaine Thompson, did it in 10.71 seconds. Fifty year difference but only five seconds between the Olympian and Kathy Bergen. Lana Kane, Joanne Marriott (she of the “plump discus”), and Jane Simpson all finished well.

We were walking back to the Field House area on the infield while the younger AGs contested the 100m. NC's Jane Barnes (65) won her race in 14.95. The next younger group ran down the track. About 20m from the Finish, the runner on the inside (Lane 2, I think) went down. It looked as if she had tripped over her foot or a leg gave out. Nonetheless, it turned out she stiff armed it on the landing and broke her arm. She was in agony. The other runners in the heat came to help (one of whom is an EMT) but were chased away by the Meet authorized medical folk. Unfortunately, this did not turn out too well for Paula Dickson Taylor who, I have heard, was given a med that she was allergic to. She went from bad to worse. Eventually she was transported to a hospital where, I've heard, she had surgery. She is with the Atlanta Track Club – a long way from home.

Angela had left much earlier, suffering hip discomfort after her weight throwing outing. I decided to get ice for my Achilles after the 100m and visited Medical for the wrapping. I then hobbled down the infield area so I could return to the 100m start area and pick up my stuff then walk back to the stand entrance to watch the men compete. (And have the backpack checked again.)

The women's hurdle events, having been delayed by weather, occurred after the 100m so I was able to watch the 400M 30 inch hurdles. Ugh. Hard to imagine the energy reserve to both run a 400m and hurdle as well. The oldest group of women running these this day was the 45-49 AG and the winner, LaDonna Gooden who did it in 1:13.90., actually came in faster than the next younger AG (35-39) winner Lisa Edwards (1:14.57), but the 40-44 winner, Latrica Dendy (flower in hair) beat them all in 1:06.00. She is one of the ladies I like to watch ever since I saw her run in years ago during South East Masters Championship in Raleigh when she was still in her early 30s.

W35 100m

They got in the men's 100m Finals before another weather delay forced them back into the Field House for the men's 200m prelims. In the 100m Bill Collins, 66, set a new American record running 12.34 and in the always competitive younger group Damien Leake and Oscar Peyton battled it out, with Damien coming in first this time (12.23 to 12.32)

possibly M50

The last men's 100m was the 30-34 group, featuring former Olympian Walter Dix. He was chased by Lawrence Trice Jr who gave a good go at it. Dix finished in 10.28 and Trice in 10.68. (4/10th of a second difference.) Once again, for perspective, Usain Bolt's 2016 Rio Olympic 100m time was 9.81.

Dix and Trice

When the events were moved back inside, I went inside to give my Achilles a little more time with the ice before returning to the hotel. The women pole vaulters had also been moved inside. I noticed Barbara Warren limping to the vault approach and thought, Oh no! She's not going to vault is she? She did a few approaches slowly then went over to an official. I figured she was withdrawing. But, no! She competed. Just incredible. During the men's 200m prelims, I sat on the floor near the final turn so I had a great view of the competitors approaching and running that turn. It sure gives one an appreciation of their speed when viewing from the floor. My camera shutter was not fast enough to capture it without blur.

I got to the shuttle area at about 4:10. Plenty of time.  So, the shuttle did not show up again. However, earlier, while standing between the Field House and the track, I completed the Uber credit card signup, with trepidation, after turning off WiFi so it would use the carrier's 3G network. I took off the ice pack and tried to use Uber. But it kept saying that my location was the Voodoo Lounge. No, it isn't I kept telling it. 

So, I walked down Nicholson to see if there was a Voodoo place. Nope. So frustrating. While struggling, a fellow competitor came along who was going to the Belle. He gave me a lift. (Turns out Voodoo BBQ was ½ mile from the Bernie Moore stadium, at another end of Nicholson.) Being at car passenger level, I noticed that many of the homes on the return from LSU had vegetation growth on the roofs. Most were single story, with brush growing up to and over the home. Some were quite run down.. Perhaps a result of the economy and desertion after storm damage.

Angela and I went back to Capital City Grill for dinner because we liked it. I think I had the Southwest pasta this time with grilled chicken, red and yellow peppers, and garlic in a spicy sauce. (If I didn't – I should have, but whatever I had, I had no complaints!)  When we got back to the Belle, we took a side escalator to the walkway that led to the levee and Riverboat Casino. We did not go in but walked a little way down the levee.

Belle of Baton Rouge casino; bridge to Port Allen

Sunday, July 16

Another early field event. Along the walkway to the morning shuttle, I saw a large roundish roach like bug, deceased. I really should have taken a photo of it for Angela. My field event was the shot put which I tried for the first time in ABQ at the Indoors Championships. I competed in shot twice since then (local county senior games and then the NC Powerade Games in June.) I had practiced all three field events in the two weeks prior to this Meet, trying to find what worked best (and would not torque the Achilles.) It was a little overcast in the morning. It had evidently rained. The shot was to be contested on the infield of the track (so I was able to watch Coreen Steinbach run away with it in her 1500m (despite an ankle problem) and then Lesley Hinz, also recuperating from injury come in third in her 1500m. ) I suspect that there are few competing in these meets who are 100% healthy!

There were the nine of us again, in four AGs . Gloria Krug and Christel Donley, sure to do well. Mary Norckauer, and Joan Berman in the other AGs, with five in mine. Joanne Marriott who had won the shot in ABQ as I recall, Mary Robinson (who did not do ABQ), Jane Simpson and Lana Kane completed my group. It was a little damp so the shots had to be wiped before each throw. Some may have brought their own shot, I used the shot supplied by the Meet.  Again, the throwing styles tend to differ between competitors. Some use the classic modified spin, some what Mary Robinson calls the slide (or is that for the discus?). I did not spin, just sort of revolved back and forth then tried to shoot out the shot, being careful to keep it against my neck until ready to throw and then I just sort of pushed it out. Right from the get-go Joanne was the leader. I was not really paying attention to the measured distances, just noticed how far the shots would go when heaved. I watched the others, trying to glean a technique that I could adopt or adapt to. I don't recall it now (6 weeks after the event) but I know I got a tip from either Joanne or Christel. I don't even remember what it was now (which sucks because I will be back to square one!). Nonetheless, whatever was said led me to change my approach such that instead of revolving, I sort of trotted forward and heaved in my fifth throw. It turned out to be my best. The sixth did not do as well but still better than one through four. Joanne Marriott won with a throw of 7.57m (24 ft 10 inches), Mary Robinson came in second with 6.66m (um, I just noticed that number! Hey, it, for me is actually a lucky number – since I used it in a short story for which I got paid!) In US units, Mary's throw was 21 feet 10 and ¼ inches. I got third with 5.27m (20 ft 7 inches.)

After the shot event, I went into the Field House to think about warming up for the 200m which would be in about an hour. I was achy, as I had been the day before. Having skipped Camp Gladiator during the five weeks between Birmingham and Baton Rouge while Achilles recovering, I was not used to a lot of muscular exertion. Not that I had really done much the past few days, but it was obviously enough. I practiced my modified start again. I did not feel an excess of energy. I had not run a good 200m during my two week training leading up to Baton Rouge. I knew I had difficulty getting it done (as was obvious in the prior 400m!) I was beginning to think that perhaps I needed to drop down to the 100m exclusively. Ah, well, I trotted around the track with other folks.

The 200m was contested just about on time. Angela was also going to do it, despite feeling cruddy with that hip of hers. (surgery in two weeks hence.) There were six of us competing in my AG this time. The three speedsters, Kathy Bergen, Rose Green, and Mary Robinson, then Lana Kane and Ann Carter (done with her field events.) Again, Mary Robinson was immediately to my right and Kathy to my left in lane four. Rose Green lane five, Ann Carter lane six, and Lana Kane lane 7. With the lane stagger, I could see everyone except Mary. That did not last long. Once the gun went off Kathy and Rose began their streak to the Finish and before I could blink, Mary passed me on my left. After rounding the curve, I knew I was running low and closing in on empty, which I barely contained to the Finish, well after Mary had crossed the line. Yep, 200m is straining the budget.

Kathy Bergen set another AG American record (probably breaking her own record) with her finish of 34.26secs; Rose Green crossed in 37.29, and Mary Robinson in 40.93. I straggled in in 42.46.

Jane Barnes won her AG in 33.98 secs. For perspective, Jamaican Elaine Thompson won Rio Olympics 200m in 21.78 (doing a double – 100m and 200m.)

While I was taking off my shoes, I was talking to Jeanne Daprano.  She asked me to take off her back bib. She then threw it away.  The front with her name was already trashed.  Whoa, says I.  May I have it?  She graciously gave it to me. (This is like having a Bolt bib)

My next and last event was the 4x100m relay. It was to be Ann Carter, Lana Kane, myself, and Mary Robinson, in that order Angela was on a team with the kiddies: Sarada "Ingrid" Sarnaik, Barbara Warren, and the coup of all time: Rose Green!(not a kiddie) However, three of the four were running at less than 100% i.e. injured (though for Barbara Warren that's a normal condition.) Sometime after the 200m when I was inside the Field house, I was talking to Lana Kane. She told me she had to drop out of our relay because her younger teammates (Philadelphia Masters) needed her on the, get this, 45-49 AG Club relay! What?! 45-49? Yeow! I freaked and went out and found Ann Carter, who was in the infield doing high jumps! (wind her up and she goes!) Not to worry says Ann, we have Joanne Marriott as an alternate. Well, okay. Eventually, Joanne and I practiced handoffs. I was to hand to Mary and I kept missing her hand. My pass would be too high or too low. Joanne's to me was always perfect. Ann finally came in and we did a few – wow – she is fast! I never see that because she is not always in my field of vision. (Though she has beaten me in the 100m in the past.)

As non-club, we ran with six other non club teams, one each in AG ranging in age from from 30-34 up to our group. Natch, the swifty younger folks were all gone when Angela's team and I got into contention. When Joanne passed me the baton, I tried to run as fast as I could because I knew Barbara Warren (just like in Birmingham) was coming up real fast. I managed to pass inelegantly to Mary as Barbara passed to Rose Green. Yikes! This was going to be tight. Rose ran up on Mary and in the end passed. So the younger team beat the older team by 1:26.46 to 1:27.15. We will be hearing about that for a bit, I suspect. Jane Barnes SC Striders Club team running in the 60-64 AG set a new American record, finishing in 1:03.32. Not the first time the SC Striders have set a relay record. (I recall one in Jacksonville FL 2015.)

Barbara Warren won her AG pentathlon (2806) as did Ann Carter (1690 pts)

Sonja Friend-Uhl (46) -ATC - set a new American record in the 1500 with a time of 4:38.14 . She keeps on making them.

Before leaving the Field House for the last time, I chatted for a short while with Venus Jewett and her unattached cronies who had run the 4x100 as non-club (45-49).  Always ebullient, Venus and pals were thinking of their next outing.  Perhaps they will form their own "club" as did Joy Upton.

Angela and I waited for the non arriving shuttle. She used her Uber, I think also getting the Voodoo place but somehow the Uber arrived to pick us up. Angela asked for a recommendation of a place to eat. The young lady suggested a Lone Star Steakhouse. We met up with Ingrid Sarnaik and Mary Trotto in the hotel lobby. After chatting for awhile, we agreed we would go together. We called Ann Carter to tell her where we would be going. She said if it was not raining heavily, she would meet us there later. Angela was still hurting from the weight throw the prior day and the events today so she went to rest. I went out walking.

I wanted to see the Old State Capital which had intrigued me when we passed it on our way to Capital City Grill. I walked along River Rd until I came to it (passing River Center Performing Arts building which still had a Bobby Bones poster up from his appearance earlier in the month. ) I also passed more of the metal figures pondering the world. I took my photos and headed back, stopping by the LA Art and Science Museum, flying flags of several time periods and areas (LA state flag fleur de le, UK Union Jack, U.S. ,flag, Bonnie Blue Flag -- (not to be mistaken as associated with CSA) for in LA it appeared first in the West Florida (LA) Republic fight for independence from Spanish rule, -- and the Spanish flag of Castille and Leon. It was beginning to rain by the time I returned.

Angela and I soon discovered that the Lone Star Steakhouse chain had gone bankrupt and was closed. One of us tried to call Ann while the other contacted the others. Ann's hotel tried her room several times but she did not answer. We tried her cell. Again no answer. We were worried that we would not catch her. We never caught her though we left messages on her cell. (and I later found out she had driven to the closed Lone Star!) In the meantime, we found another place to go to – Parrain's on Perkins Rd. When we left there were five of us: Ingrid Sarnaik, Mary Trotto, Daphne Scott. Angela Staab. And we all fit into one vehicle!

When the Uber driver pulled into what looked like a side street, rundown it seemed, I thought, huh? But then he pulled in front of the restaurant, which looked weather beaten, reminding me of a self built island home amongst the palm fronds. 

Inside, it was a comforting place – a side bar area on one end and a multi-sectioned dining area on the other. Having finished with all of my events with no need to worry what kind of residual hormones I might find in my food, I ordered an 8-ounce filet. It came with mashed potatoes and green beans. I also had wine. Best of all was the company. We had a good time chatting. I had not spent time with the other three outside of brief chats at the track, so this was a new side. Oh, yeah, I had for the first time in maybe 20-40 years (or longer) a pre-dinner whiskey sour. For some reason, it had been on my mind for days. It was good, but I may wait another 20 years before the next one.

Ingrid, Mary T, Daphne, Angela

On return to the Belle, we encountered an exotically dressed and made up young woman having coffee at one of the small tables in the lobby. There was a black fashion show – competition going on towards the back - which she was part of. We walked to the Atrium to observe. Fascinating. These young women were costumed up the gazoo. Beautiful, in costumes one is not likely to see elsewhere. There were some young boys as well. The contestants were young teens to late teens, mostly. Angela was still hurting so the rest of us went for a walk on the levee. We saw a crowd of people riding their bikes along the levee, music blaring. We ran into Christel and Jerry Donley (all dressed up – i.e. not in track clothes!) also walking on the levee. Some of these folks would be going to the subsequent NCCWMA Championships in Toronto.

Wouldn't we like to know what he said to Mary Trotto!

Ingrid Sarnaik

Ingrid, Mary T., Jerry Donley, Daphne  Scott, Christel Donley,

The next day, everything went well at TSA (I had removed all tissues from pockets) except that I was pulled to the side for a back pack check (no Meet medals or discus in there.) It turned out my plastic bag of coins was the culprit.

This is the SECOND time I wrote it. During the first effort, online, when I was in Sunday's events, I hit something that erased all text. I spent hours trying to recoup to no avail (blogger apparently saves every minute so what I had pulled up to edit was gone from the prior saved draft almost immediately.) CTRL+Z might have helped, but maybe not. I was not going to re-do it. Some of you, exhausted after reading this, probably wish I had not.

Some of the stars from the Meet

Ann Carter

Joanne Marriott, Mary Robinson, Ann Carter

If Warren wore all her medals, she'd be bent over like an old lady!

Sandy Triolo, Athlete & Social Media Rep 

Sandy, "Speedy" Triolo National Champ

Angela Staab, trying to arrange her many medals