National Senior Games Track - high expectations - but oh, boy!
June 4 Powerade State Games NC
I had been training for the forthcoming track meets for a few Thursday nights when I saw a post on another track runner’s Facebook page recommending that he try dry needing. This reminded me that I had had that and cupping done about eight months prior. Well, why not, I thought. It can’t harm and might help so I made the appointment and off I went. On May 28th I had dry needling (not bad) and then the cupping. Oh, my! The cupping! Scraping that cup down my calves hurt like helll. Yes, Hell. Can I say Yeow! When I left, my calves were bruised (not unexpected) so I iced when I got home. Perhaps my mistake was going to the track the next morning to try a few 300s and some 100s. A few steps into a slow 300 and my right Achilles balked. I slowed even more and finished it. I did two more 300s slowly, the main object was to see if I could get that far without gasping (even at a slow speed.) The Achilles ached but I still tried two 100s before leaving.
Monday night I did a slow jog but more walking in the weekly nOg Run Club outing (we are on a 13 week mission. I had to get nine Mondays in before some time in August.) Thursday night I did not go to train at track. I did nothing. In the meantime, oh, yes, I did Camp Gladiator Monday and Wednesday mornings gingerly, though Wednesday morning after about a half hour I was able to do very short sprints between two parking lot lines (after being tentative for all the preceding workout.) I had planned to just do two CG camps this week since the next week I would be going to Birmingham.
However, before Birmingham, there was Sunday June 4th’s Powerade State Games of NC in Greensboro. Initially I had no intention of signing up for this since it was too close to the following week's events, but I followed the lead of another and did so. Besides, I was curious how I would do in the 400m, which I had not signed up for in the Birmingham Games. My Achilles was stiff upon arrival at American Hebrew Academy in Greensboro, where I met some other Piedmont Pacers. Besides me, two of the others were injured or in a recuperative stage. The track was lightly covered with a softer surface. Perhaps better than the surface of Martin Middle school where I usually practice, but showing wear. I had signed up for two field events, shot and discus, besides the standard 100m, 200m and 400m. In one day events with field intermixed, I stress out. I don’t know how those I know who do both field and track handle it. Trying to fit in the field event, warming up for the track, and the track competition is torture for me. The field officials (actually, mostly one overworked young lady) were great about letting the few track folk squeeze in where we could. The field events were down a hill behind the curve of the track so I was trudging up and down this hill checking to see when the event might start or when I could squeeze in, while also walking around up top trying to ease the Achilles. In the end, I took two shot throws and two discus throws. Nothing great about either but I did not feel badly about them.
I must mention the starting blocks made available for us. 1970s vintage, for sure! Fixed angle and instead of a spike bottom, a hole to stick a ground pin through. People were recruited to stand on the back of the blocks for those who used them. My first event was the 100m. We had been discussing these blocks when Carol Stein, (60) lined up next to me using her own blocks, and, gosh, they looked as old as the ones supplied by the school! In seeing a video of the event (taken of another younger runner in the heat) I look like Tim Conway’s The Oldest Man (Carol Burnett show) shuffling down the track. (Stein was pretty fast. 16.05) Becky Bowman won the event in 14.35. I was last, of course. (20.30) Well, okay. Next up was the 400m. My aim was to finish without walking. I somewhat jogged around the back stretch just thinking about breathing easy. After rounding into the last 100, I ran a bit faster and did finish (1:44). I was happy. Not hurt and breathing okay. My 200m time was like a slow training session (43.43). So, done. My injured pals did their events (one having run seven miles the day before. bet his doc would not be pleased) then doing an unplanned 1500m just because! The Achilles hurt that evening.
NSGA Birmingham June 6 - June 11A note all ages I list are the NSGA age as of December 31 2017.
Monday June 5th was the drive to Birmingham (two of us splitting the driving.) I discovered when in SC that my suitcase with non-track clothes and prescription etc., was still at home, hiding from the dog (who was now ensconced in his luxury quarters.)
I-65 in Alabama was backed up for a good half hour or more outside of Birmingham. This turned out to be an every day occurrence on that road. (We eventually took to back roads from Hoover to the track at Samford University in Homewood.) Monday night, we ate at a nearby place, On Tap Sports Café that had poor service, and, apparently, too spicy chicken in Becky’s salad, as she later found out. Then, it was off to the Walmart Superstore so I could purchase off-track clothes to get me through the rest of the week. I bet I was in Walmart every day thereafter. That and CVS. Hoover, AL is proliferated with “Gallerias”. Galleria this and Galleria that. Walmart’s was just down about two miles from the hotel (however, finding the Supercenter versus a Walmart grocery store, well, it took a few tries.)
I did not have good nights in Birmingham. I also used the ice bucket and my boot most of the nights. Ibuprofen became a staple.
On Tuesday, the 6th, we picked up our credentials at the Birmingham Convention Center, where I talked for awhile with the Ohio contingent of the two Marys (Robinson and Hartzler). It was good to see them. Becky wanted to go try out or survey the track so we managed to find our way there. The track looked nice.
Certainly better than the one we’d run on Sunday. However, surprise surprise. Though the blocks folks were practicing starts from were at least from this decade, they, too, were at a fixed angle. A steep angle. Very awkward. Some folks made an adjustment of having the front of their foot on the track to reduce the tilt of their body.
Wednesday morning was spent sequestered in the bathroom with ice for an hour from 4a.m. to 5 a.m. in preparation for the 50m preliminaries.
Later that morning I had the 50m preliminaries. I talked to Ann Carter (SC) who was also running it as well as doing some field events. In the 50m, there would be 2 heats in our age group. Jeanne Daprano (GA) was there, also planning to do the 50m. She and Flo Meiler (VT) were in separate heats. However, since there were just nine in that age group, they got a roll over (no prelim - move on to the final the next day) There were two heats scheduled for my AG. While waiting for our stroll to the Start line, I spoke with a lady, Sharon Excel, who was apprehensive about the event. This was her first National Senior Game track meet. Joann Sampson (FL) was in Heat 1, which she won in 10.15.
Mary Robinson and I were in the same heat. I used my three point start in which I push off on the bad Achilles foot, but a standing start does not work for me. Mary took the lead. I followed. I was near but not upon her about 4/5th of way down the track when Achilles barked enough to almost stop me such that I slowed and just got across the finish before the next person. Not good. I had to hobble around and get ice from the Medical tent. Mary Robinson won our heat in 9.89, Ann Carter and Hannah Ashworth (AR) followed me to the Finish. I spent the rest of the day watching others run while iced up.
Jane Barnes (NC) 65-69 AG (hard to believe!) dazzled with her 8:04 prelim. In the 55-59 AG there were three heats with Speedy Lee Triolo (MD) running 7.68 and the next three in her heat all running under 8.00, including Becky Bowman (NC). I later watched the 400m preliminaries. (I had wisely chosen not to enter the 400m event.) My pal Angela Staab (NC) was running it despite an inhibiting injury. She managed to get at least 3/4 of the way around the track in her unique trot, before one leg balked. But she managed to finish.
I went back to the Convention Center to check for shorts (none for sale) and ended up buying a supposed balm to help me heal. SuperStar ointment. (At home, I would not have spent those bucks, but desperation leads to impulsive behavior.) While there I also took a photo of Alabama's legends.
|Legend of Alabama, Bear Bryant|
Wednesday night brought a great steak at Outback with Becky and Jane Barnes.
|Jane Barnes & Becky Bowman after great 50m|
Thursday was the race of the 90 to 101 year olds, in a combined group. Julia Hawkins (LA), wearing all blue, jogged, not walked, down Lane 1 to finish first! (18.31) They were all marvelous but she was exceptional. I went to the Medical tent to have them tape my Achilles with the KT Tape Pro Extreme I had purchased in CVS.
Getting taped turned out not to be such a good idea. The first time I was taped - Achilles and calf - the tension was too tight, hurting to walk a few steps. So, he redid it with guidance from another. However, instead of having my foot in a dorsiflex mode, he did it in plantar flex - toes curled towards sole. I thought at the time this was strange, but I could walk. So, now comes the 50m Final. Oh, boy! I had trouble running, feeling a burning and resistance. However, this was nothing compared to the lady next to me in lane 1 , Betty Frydrychowitz (FL). I saw her suddenly veer to the side and fall across the white metal strip separating the track from the field. Her arms flew out to break her fall. I didn’t know she actually got up and finished (in 53 seconds) until much later. While I was in Medical getting a bag of ice, she was there in a chair, her leg abrased. The fellow asked where on her arm she hurt and she pointed to just above the wrist bone. Eventually, she was taken off in an ambulance, holding up both of her arms. Except for her falling, I would have been last. Mary Robinson won it in 9.70, Joann Sampson next in 9.88, then Ann Carter in 10.29 and Hannah Ashworrth in 10.64. I was 10.70. Oh, yes, the battle of the 80s. I was most curious to see how that would go. They were up ahead of us so I was able to watch. Jeanne and Flo were next to each other. I know Flo used the blocks but can’t recall if both or just one (in the 100m, Flo used just one block.) They went out together. By about midway, Flo took the lead but Madelaine Cazel won it in 9.59, followed by Flo (10.06) and Jeanne (10.08).
|Guess which one hurt!|
|Shannon, Trio;o, Wilson, Bowman, B|
|Yearwood, Jane Barnes, Cohn 50m|
That evening, we went to Vecchia, pizzeria and mercato set within the 300 plus acre natural area of The Preserve, a high octane community in Hoover. (homes just under or well over a $Million) The drive to and from was gorgeous. Rolling hills that presented spectacular views. It reminded me somewhat of New England. Not what I had expected in Alabama. We had the Giardino pizza : san marzano tomato, cherry tomato, broccoli rabe, mushroom, castelvetrano olives, fresh garlic. Excellent.
More icing. On Friday morning, I removed the tape and re-taped as I usually did at home. Bottom of foot, up calf, with a strip across Achilles. I still could not really warm up because I could not run (yet, here I was at a track meet thinking about doing the 100m prelim.) I was not sure if I would scratch. I tried stretching on and off and walking with maybe a few jogging steps. Joann Sampson said to follow my heart. Good advice. Leaving it up to my sensibility or lack thereof as many would say. In the end, I decided to try it. The worst is I could be last but if I did not try, I would not know. I stretched more and forced a partial jog then decided to do the preliminary. There were five of us in the first heat. I did my three point start and was maybe a third of the way down the track when I heard someone yell then an air horn go off. I hesitated, thinking something had happened but then realized a gun would have signaled that so continued running. The lady next to me had stopped but picked up running when she saw that I kept running. When we were standing around after, wondering what had happened, one of the ladies said that we should protest. She thought that the second heat had to have run faster than us since they did not stop, and we would all miss qualifying for the Final. She did file a protest with the main track official who agreed, saying he too had heard the air horn. So, we would re-run the race at 13:45. I wasn’t sure my Achilles would last but okay. We re-ran and I had to push hard to finish first to ensure I would qualify. I just beat Hannah. As it turned out, I saw the original heat results and Hannah and I had both qualified (neither of us, of course, having completely stopped.) Once more, I went for the ice. Ice does not penetrate well through KT tape.
So, all I really wanted to do Friday night was rest with ice on my Achilles. But no, that was not to happen. At six o’clock I was at the Celebration of Athletes at the BJCC in downtown Birmingham, having eaten only a few apricots my pal Angela had
We congregated by state, with some intermingling. Having left my suitcase home, I was not in the NC “uniform”. Oh, well. We were all standing in an outside courtyard. I wanted to get off my foot but only the really elderly were sitting on a stone wall or conveyance. I saw Mary Sharon Excel
|Mary Sharon Excel, ND|
|Ashworth, Robinson, & Carter|
|I was not the only one with ice!|
|Mary Robinson racing on to victory|
|Barbara Knight Warren (on left)|
|Carter relay team.|
|Ashworth, Robinson, Carter, me|
|The Doctor is In!|
|Me and Angela Staab -- ready to go home.|