I am using these three photos for throwback Thursday: the first two are from 1974 (my freshman year in high school) and the last is from 1975. This before I left Yokota High School in Japan for Travis High School in Austin, TX; the latter didn’t have a wrestling team.
The story behind the first two photos: I wrestled as a freshman and basically got my butt kicked all year long. I was hazed in practice and got my butt handed to me in meets. It took me 6 tries before I finally won a match; I ended the regular season with a .500 record.
At the end of the season, we had a tournament consisting of all of the U. S. military schools from Japan and Okinawa and the private English language schools in Japan.
I won my opening bout and had to face one of the tournament favorites in the second round; he pinned me easily.
But the favorite got moved to the winners bracket where he faced the guys who were eventually to take first and second; he got a “loss by a pin” and a tie. By the scoring system at the time, that gave him “6 bad points” (4 for the loss by pin, 2 for the tie) which eliminated him.
I went to the elimination round where I faced two “not-so-good” opponents and pinned both of them…within a minute each!
So I was left with “4 bad points” (1 loss, 3 wins by pin) and there were only two other wrestlers left!
That put me into the medal round even though my season record, up to that point, was only 2 wins above .500.
In all honesty, I didn’t belong in the medal round and I ended up getting getting my butt kicked in front of everyone. I suffered two first round losses by pin. The one shown here was the match for second place.
The next year, I had improved; no more getting picked on in practice …and my record was 12-3 prior to the transfer.
My running season is officially over; I donated blood to the Red Cross. Yes, this was whole blood and NOT double red cells! I can expect a 3-4 point drop in my VO2-max due to the donation, and a slow down due to the heat. I’ll probably be back to normal within a month. (note: double red cells would have wiped me out until at least September; after one of these, even a warm up jog gets me out of breath).
This time, I have a plan.
1. One run a week, I’ll do short intervals to get some turnover and follow it with a modest run on the treadmill.
2. I’ll race often. I have 5K races scheduled for 4 July, 12 July and 26 July. These will probably be performance disasters (due to heat and blood donation effects) but they will be “push myself” type workouts.
3. The main focus will be the Wednesday and Sunday walks; the goal remains a powerwalk marathon on 28 September. The blood donation won’t affect this training very much.
The biggest effect blood donation has is on the warm weather, “anything faster than an easy pace” run. Oxygen simply doesn’t get to the muscles very well and it is doubly bad when it is hot outside.
I still remember the day when I learned this lesson. It was 2001; I was running the Quad Cities Half marathon. I took it out at my usual 7:30 mpm pace (normal for me in those days; my best that year was 1:37) and I found myself fading during the SECOND MILE! Oddly enough, my hands began to get cold too.
During this period another runner came up beside me and said that he liked what I said on television. Then I remembered; I gave blood after the Fall Steamboat 15K and gave a statement to the press; it was 9/11 related.
So, I smiled, cut back on my pace and struggled (but no walking!) in with 1:49…of course I’d love to run that time now-a-days. But in those days, that was a slow time for me.
Speaking of sports: this 15 minute TED talk about athletics and the progression of world records is very interesting.
1. Better equipment (high tech swim suits, rubber tracks, wave minimizing gutters in pools).
2. Better training.
3. Athletes drawn from a wider pool.
4. Selection pressures: shot putters are bigger, smaller distance runners…and people who have the ideal body type finding their sports. Example Hicham El Guerrouj held the mile run world record and is only 5′ 9″. Michael Phelps won numerous gold medals in swimming and is 6′ 4″. Yet: both of these athletes wear the same pants length! Short legs are good for swimming; longer legs are good for distance running.
The video is excellent.
Weights plus swimming. I was 180.0 prior to lifting.
Pull ups: 5 sets of 10 with hip hikes and Achilles exercises as rest.
bench press: 10 x 135, 3 x 100, 6 x 170.
incline press: 7 x 140. rotator cuff rest.
military press: 2 sets of 10 x 85 standing (barbell), 10 x 40 dumbbell (standing)
pull downs: one set of 7 x 160 traditional, 7 x 100 low. Then 2 sets of 10 x 160 traditional, 10 x 90 machine low.
rows: 2 sets of alternating arms with the Hammer Machine: 105 each arm, then 10 x 200 both at once.
500 of 25 side, 25 free
4 x 100 hard (on 2; 1:42-44)
2 x 50 hard
200 of 25 fly, 25 back (fins). 2200 yards (2000 meters) total.
Note: I did a few reps where I chased the faster swimmers; they didn’t seem to mind. I even talked to one afterward. Basically, when I catch them, they realize that they are dogging it and pick it up.
That makes it fun.
Hey, that is Julia Mancuso’s tag on Instagram, not mine.
Some of what you’ll find on her photo page (with a paragraph describing the scene…)
And back in 1974, I won my first JV shot put competition with a throw of 33 feet, 10 inches (12 pound shot); but I never got to 40 feet. The better varsity throwers were throwing 55-60 feet (in local meets). :-(
I had no speed across the ring.
But this brings back memories.
And, even as a failed shot putter, I could run a 5:58 mile.
Weights only: I slept late (until 6:20!) and got to the weight room late.
pull ups: 5 sets of 10, with hip hikes and Achilles and rotator cuff as rest
bench press: 10 x 135, 3 x 185, 3 x 185, 7 x 170 (tired on the last set); ab routine
(sit backs, twist, crunch, vertical crunch; 3 sets each) as rest.
incline press: 10 x 140, 6 x 140 (very tired on the last set)
dumbbell military: 3 sets of 12 x 50 lb.
rows: Hammer: 3 sets of 10 x 210
curls: 2 sets of 10 x 57.5 pulley, 1 set of 10 x 70 machine
pull downs: 3 sets of 10 x 160
Note: I super setted most of the stuff after the bench; I was tired during my last sets.
I felt strong on the bench but didn’t push for that extra last rep.
Degradation with age
In the locker room, I talked to a former university basketball player; he is now in his early 80’s.
I asked him when he started to notice the decline in his physical abilities: he replied “mid 30’s”.
My guess: those who know how to push themselves notice the decline earlier than those who are merely active but don’t test limits often.
Here is how it worked for me:
30’s: I noticed my mile time getting slower; that 5:30 became a 5:40. 5K, and even the weights were roughly the same.
40’s: early 40’s, my mile took a big hit (breaking 6 became VERY difficult, then impossible) and the 5K started to slow: the half marathon and marathon stayed ok until 2001 (early 40’s).
Now: everything is slower and weaker (in my early to mid 50’s). Master’s athletes told me to expect it; in fact the former basketball player that I talked to, who still looks good and still works out, told me that now that he is in his 80’s, getting out of a chair is harder than it once was.
Someone who was (is) fit told me that when he got into his 70’s, he had to quit taking the 4 flights of stairs as it took too much out of him (to be able to teach).
Degradation of others
A friend (who racewalks) was on a plane to a race where she encountered someone else going to the race. She was asked “are you going to run half-marathon X”? He reply: no, I am racewalking it with someone.
Travelling on a plane of race people can be either great or suck. A gal just said “oh you running Nike?” Me: “Race walking.” “Oh” she said with a snotty tone. “You slow walkers better stay out of my way! I run!” Her anticipated time – 3:15:00. And yes I do have her face memorized. I promise to smile when I walk damned strong & proud past. Don’t mess with Shep!
No, that is NOT 3:15 for a full marathon….”I run????” OMG.
Yes, my walking friend passed her easily and had a friendly reminder for her.
But seriously folks: unless this 3:15 “runner” was making a joke ….goodness. What is wrong with people?
Yes, I’d say something about “hey you walker, I hope you don’t slow me down” but I’d be sure and say it to my friends who can WALK a half marathon at 7:45 minutes per mile and a marathon at 8-8:30; I’d say it to people who I knew were way faster than I. (note: an Olympic medal contender racewalker could do 6:20-6:30 for the half and 6:50-7:00 for the marathon).
For the record: since 2010, my walking half marathons have ranged between 2:22 and 2:40; my single half marathon run was 2:01. (power walking; I can no longer legally racewalk as my right knee does not straighten 100 percent of the way)
Ok, anyone who reads my blog knows that I work out very regularly and that I continue to participate in endurance sports, weight lifting and yoga.
But look at the above photo.
I find this downright insulting.
Why? Well, I certainly agree that working out regularly can increase one’s odds of being healthy as an older person. But that is all one is doing: increasing one’s odds.
An untimely disease can easily lead one to the left photo; since 2007 I’ve had three 50-60 year old friends die of cancer. ALL were fit for most of their healthy lives; one even ran a sub 3 hour marathon at 50 years of age…all had finished multiple marathons.
All were slender and stayed with it as long as they could. But this idea that someone who ends up on the left is certainly to blame for not doing things right is sheer nonsense…in fact it is insultingly stupid.
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