All right, boys and girls. Today is the start of somethin' exciting. It's going to be a challenge -- a pretty significant challenge, mostly mental -- but I like challenges, so here we go ...
On April 8, I'll be competing in my first old-person track and field competition at the Texas Senior Games in San Antonio. I've been doing some training for the past few months for my event, but pretty much only once a week. Sometimes more often, but, you know, other things get in the way. Work is stressful and exhausting. Too many other things to do. The weather's terrible. Sun got in my eyes. Blah, blah, blah ...
So, with just a little more than six weeks to go, I've decided to shift things into high gear, and at least get in somewhat decent shape when I pick up that 14-foot fiberglass pole and head down the runway, trying to clear a bar and maybe even finish in the top 5. I don't know how many people will be competing in my age-bracket, but if there are more than five contestants, then a top 5 finish will be OK, sort of, I guess.
Until last summer, I'd never pole-vaulted in my life, and it's only been the past three months, really, that I've made any real progress, after getting off to a slow start marred by various minor but nagging injuries: groin pull, severely strained elbow, calf muscle tear. I've come a long way from that first Sunday afternoon session when I tried six four-step jumps after watching a bunch of high school kids fly through the air with the greatest of ease for two hours.
When they all started packing up and heading home, I finally got out there and gave it a try. It wasn't pretty, but at least I didn't chicken out.
Why pole vaulting, you ask?
Well, I was inspired by an old childhood friend, Bubba Sparks, who was and still is a champion vaulter, at the ripe old age of 64. Bubba has been coaching me, and says I'm doing really well -- especially for an old, slow, overweight guy who is just starting out.
Today, after my dental appointment, I'll stop off at the gym on the way home and do some upper body weight training, maybe some cardio. Starting tomorrow, it's two-a-days for the next six weeks, except for Sundays, when Bubba and I practice vaulting at a friend's professional training facility. Those sessions are fairly intense workouts, and warrant a little extra recovery time.
For what is referred to as Masters vaulters, the primary concern is how to put in significant enough training time to perform well in competition, without doing too much and getting injured. Bubba recently went to jump at a big meet in New Mexico, and I asked him about his goal.
"Have fun and don't get hurt," he said.
Right on ...
Howdy, folks. Time flies, don't it? I mean -- doesn't it?
Quite a bit of water under the bridge since that last blog about Christmas with the Clarks. I've cranked out a few new books (see the My Books tab at the top of the page), taken up painting, and even sold a few of my masterpieces at a couple of art shows!
Before too long, I plan to add a "John's artwork" page to this site, but in the meantime, I'll try and post a few examples of what I've been doing here on the blog.
If you've ever thought about trying your hand at painting, or some other type of artwork, I say go for it. Early results might not be so terrific -- some of mine were awful -- but you'll be surprised at how quickly you improve. There are lots of great lessons and such on YouTube, and it's a mighty satisfying way to scratch that creative itch.
My latest batch of books is all about depression and related issues, a subject with which I am all too familiar. I've suffered from depression, and what I've only recently learned is a lack of self-worth, most all my life.
If you or someone you know and care about is in the same boat, I encourage you to check it out. Just click on the "My Books" tab up above.
Take care, y'all.
More later ...