Four weeks have gone by since my heptathlon. I’ve been meaning to write down my thoughts and observations from the meet, but just haven’t been motivated enough to do so. It’s a rainy Saturday morning so I finally am forcing myself to write this down before I forget it all.
In some of my training reports before the meet I talked about losing the spring in my legs. This didn’t seem to affect my speed, but it showed itself in the jumping events where my performance was sub-par. It hasn’t gotten any better since then; I still don’t have the lift that I had a year ago. Sometimes my strength training routine bothers my knees; they’ve been a little achy-nothing serious-but maybe just enough to be causing the problem.
Shot put went much better in the competition than it did during training…all of my throws were out around 39′, versus mid-30s in practice. I didn’t do a “safe” standing throw this time, I used the glide on all three. But once again I fouled a throw by walking out of the side of the ring. This hasn’t hurt me yet, but I need to break this habit before it does.
My starts out of the blocks were great, especially since I never practice them. I was a poor starter in high school, so this is a big and unexpected turnaround. I think that maybe all of explosive leg stuff I do in the weight room has transferred over to that initial push.
The hurdles were interesting to say the least. I had felt pretty confident in my practices, but the race was something entirely different. I had a very good start, but going over the hurdles I was a mess. I ran almost a half-second slower than last year. I don’t think I got in enough work over multiple hurdles at full speed. It also may have been a product of the schedule. We completed the first day’s events late Saturday night, then came back early the next morning for day two. I probably should have spent more time cooling down and stretching Saturday night.
Pole vault was definitely a highlight. I started out rough…every attempt felt different, and I had two misses at 9′ 8″. But on my third attempt I raised my grip and all of a sudden everything fell into place. I didn’t miss again until 11′ 6″. By then I started to tire and things came unraveled again, but in looking at the video of my better jumps it would appear that 13′ (my high school PR) is still within reach.
The 1000 meter run was also interesting. Last year when I ran it I felt fresh and fast and the laps seemed to fly by rather quickly. I had a great finishing kick and ran it in 3:25…then sprawled on the track for a good five minutes trying to recover. This year the laps did not fly by; the entire race was a struggle and I ran 10 seconds slower. But I needed a strong kick at the end to win the race and the last 80 yards was a full-out sprint. I sat down against a wall for a few moments, but to my surprise I recovered relatively quickly.
I felt pretty well beat up by the next day. I had done something to my heel during the 60 meter dash (I didn’t feel it until I walked over to begin warming up for long jump). I can only guess that maybe it happened while decelerating into the wall at the end of the race. It didn’t bother me during the rest of the competition, but by Monday I was hobbling because it hurt to put pressure on it. That lasted a few days.
My elbow was also very tender, the worst it has been since I got the cortisone shot last fall. Both shoulders were sore as well. Throwing the shot put doesn’t affect my right side, so I’ll have to put a lot of the blame for this on the pole vault. As expected the hamstring was tight and sore, and the knees were achy as well. My calves were sore (they were both cramping during the high jump) but not nearly as bad as after the Club West meet in October.
So what did I learn?
1.) I can put together a decent performance with only a couple of weeks practice
2.) Don’t expect miracles after only two weeks of practice
3.) A hep held over two days is more physically demanding then a one day pentathlon
4) Being ready for a decathlon (400 meter dash & 1500 meter run) will be a huge challenge
5) I’m not sure my body can continue to take this kind of punishment
I went back to training (lightly) a few days after getting back. I’ve had a couple of good sprint workouts on the track since then, but my energy and resolve to run any hard intervals has been lacking. I’ve changed up my workouts in the gym hoping that it would give me some additional rest and cut down on the soreness, but it hasn’t worked. I like the routine and I’m feeling stronger, but I can’t seem to shake the nagging aches and pains. Knees, shoulders, elbow, hamstring, nothing feels very good right now.
I’ve decided to take a little break and do nothing for four days. Then I’m going to shake up my workouts again and see if I can eliminate some of the things that seem to generate problems for me. I’m getting pretty frustrated at not being able to do a lot of things that I would like, but I’ve got to figure out a better way. Being sore all of the time isn’t the answer.