Last Saturday, I had my morning coffee, then laced up my sneakers, strapped on a pair of five-pound ankle weights, and headed outside for a little workout.
After five repetitions of a highly difficult low-bar core-strengthening exercise that is pretty much impossible to describe, but is designed to help develop the mid-section muscles required to turn upside down in the pole vault process, I strapped myself to a weighted sled and cranked out a dozen 20-30 meter sprints while dragging 25-30 pounds on the ground behind me (another pole vault drill).
Then, the wife and I got in the car and drove over to South Park, just off the Cove bypass, and took a leisurely stroll along the beautiful walking path there. We ran into a couple of good ol’ boys also out for a walk, and one of them said something about the “Expo Explosion” T-shirt I was wearing, which led to a conversation about pole vaulting.
One guy seemed especially interested, and I told him he ought to come try it with me sometime. He said, no, he was way too old at 65, but thanks. I guess I should have told him he’s not all that much older than I am, but he said he’d go home and do some research on Senior Games, and who knows? Our paths might cross again.
Two laps around the park clocked in at a little less than two miles, and we called it a day, then went and got some breakfast tacos.
If you’ve never been to the walking trail over at South Park, it’s a really nice layout through the trees. Go check it out sometime.
Speaking of Senior Games, my trip to Albuquerque for the National Senior Games pole vaulting competition is right around the corner. My friend, Bubba, is jumping Sunday the 16 th in the 65-69 division, and I’m not up until Wednesday the 19 th in 60-64. I have no idea why the scheduling is this way, but I’ll get there early to see how Bubba does. He’s the reigning world champion in his age group, and has been training seven days a week for the past couple months, so it should be good.
As for me, who knows? I was hoping to get a sense of where I’m at from the Texas Senior Games back in April, but the track and field portion of that event was wiped out by bad weather. My last official meet was the National Pole Vault Summit in Reno back in January, and I’ve been training fairly hard since then, so I’m looking for good things.
There are some strong former collegiate jumpers in my age group who will compete in Albuquerque, so I don’t anticipate being anywhere near the medal stand, but my goal is to at least place somewhere in the top 15. I think that’d be quite an accomplishment – finishing top 15 in the country.
Shoot, I’ll take it.
In a previous column, I talked about how pole vaulting is a great motivator for me to work out. How about you? Did you play any sports when you were younger?
The Texas Senior Games has lots and lots of events, including not only track and field competition, but also things like basketball, archery, cycling, bowling, football throw, free throw contest, golf, horseshoes, pickleball, racquetball, road race, shuffleboard, softball, soccer kick, softball throw, swimming, table tennis, volleyball.
That’s pretty much something for everybody, folks.
There are other popular athletic competitions for seniors, too, like the North Texas Senior Games, and the College Station Senior Games. Last fall, I drove up to the Oklahoma Senior Games in Shawnee, where I not only had a great time, I won a gold medal.
It’s never too late to get back in the game, get active, and have some fun.
You can do it.
John Clark is a longtime Central Texas resident, and a certified National Academy of Sports Medicine personal trainer with a specialty in senior fitness. His column appears each Friday, and readers are invited to send questions to email@example.com. For more information on health and fitness, go to www.fossilfit.net.