Monday, March 22, 2010

The serious training begins

On Saturday, I began training in the shot put at Fresno State's Warmerdam Field for a meet next month at Stanford. I have been putting off the actual competition because I'm not hitting the marks to be competitive. But decided to just jump in. So I'll be at a seniors meet at Stanford.

I met Tom Marsella for the day's workout. Tom is the guy who last year talked me into competing in seniors track and field. He's done very well in the competition over the past several years. It was a beautiful morning, and the field was mostly empty.

We had the good fortune to run into Bob Fraley, the former head track coach at Fresno State. Bob, always the teacher, began giving us tips on the shot put and discus. Bob even ran home to get some reading material for us.

When he came back, he said every track "thrower" needs a stick of chalk during training. Then he took his chalk and marked a big "L" and "R" in the shot put ring and told us to put our feet on the marks and work on our technique.

When you throw the shot, Bob said, you push it right through a 7-foot-11 guy standing in front of you. I'm starting to get the hang of it, and I'm improving my distance some, although still not in the range I want to be. I'm even thinking about throwing the discus. I bought a beginner's discus and I'm trying to perfect the spin coming off my hand. . . It seems I'm throwing a "wounded duck."

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I'm back and ready to throw the shot put

After the winter layoff, I started again throwing the shot put this evening in my backyard. The change to Daylight Savings Time made this possible after work. I'm into intense training for a Seniors meet at Stanford University on April 11.

That doesn't give me much time to train, but I figure I need to get accustomed to real competition in the 60-64 age group. I'm using this meet as a warmup for a June statewide meet in Pasadena. You don't really have to qualify. You pay your entry fees and you get three tosses in the preliminaries. And then on to the finals if you do well enough. We'll see.

I threw the shot about 24 feet in my makeshift pit in my backyard. Not bad for the first tosses of the year. My best last fall was about 27 feet. I need to hit about 32feet to have any chance of placing in my age group. I'm not sure I can add eight feet in 27 days. Maybe I should call Mark McGwire to see if I can get some artificial help since he's through with the steroids.

The backyard shot put pit was overgrown from all the weeds that sprouted from the heavy winter rains and the nurturing of the now sunny weather. I created a path to throw, and will have the backyard mowed tomorrow.

Funny thing. The 12-pound shot put ball that was silver last fall, is now a reddish brown. Yep. Rusted over the winter. But a few evenings of tossing it should bring back the luster. If not, I'll take some steel wool to it.