Painting ©2018 John Clark III
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 ...
A few reviews of John's books
The 30-Day Optimism Solution:
“Part memoir, part informative text. You get both when reading 'Depression Blues' by John H. Clark III. Mr. Clark shares his struggles with depression in an honest and real way, and as the book progresses, so does his hope. Woven into the story as jumping off points are bits of information about depression and ways to "conquer" the sadness, loneliness, and despair that comes with it.
Mr. Clark becomes more than an author in this book; he becomes a friend who understands the pain of depression and provides light. I recommend this book to anyone looking for light or to anyone who knows someone with depression and wants to learn more.”
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