June 20 I’ll fly to Houston to represent Alabama in the Senior Olympics. I’ll be running the 100 and 200 meter dashes. The qualifications were held in June of 2010 so I’ve been working to keep in shape and improve my times. I’ve been doing weight training twice a week, spinning twice a week, Yoga once a week and wind sprints twice a week. My challenge is to get my 66 year old body comfortable running as fast as it can while avoiding injury.
My training program to date has got me past the “avoid injury” stage and now I have to achieve a level of comfort such that my body is OK with the all out sprint and my times are improving. I qualified with a time of 15 seconds in the 100 meter from a stand up start and having done little pre-race training. To win the event in Houston in my age group, 65 to 69, I’ll have to do the 100 in about 13.4 or better.
I’ve purchased a set of starting blocks, thus far they are scary. It’s been a long time since I crouched down in a tight ball and attempted to launch my body forward, the natural tendency is to land on my face on the track. The starting block are going to take some work but if I master them it could reasonably cut a half second off my time. That being achieved I’ll only need to cut my running time by 2 seconds, not a small order over a 100 meter span. If I could drop 10 to 15 pounds that would help, but that’s not likely.
I’ve been working in spinning class on channeling all my energy into my legs and allowing my upper body to relax as my legs increase in speed. I’ve also recognized that on a bike the natural way to ride a bike is to push down with one foot while the other leg relaxes on the upstroke but if you can attach your feet to the pedals and pull up with that relaxing leg your leg speed improves dramatically. I’m working on transferring this to my running stride; that is consciously activating all the muscles in my legs to push down and forward and pull up and forward to gain faster leg speed. In my first attempts I could see a difference which eventually resulted in a slight groin pull, not a good thing but evidence that I am getting more muscles involved which should result in more speed.
I’ve got about 73 days to put this all together. Although winning would be great my primary motivation is to participate
in the Olympics. It’s on my Bucket List.