Monday, March 28, 2011

First meet jitters

I'm not sure why I couldn't hit my goals at Sunday's Bay Area Senior Games, but I had a lackluster performance at the Stanford University track. This was the first meet of the season, and I think I was not mentally prepared as I got into the throwing ring. This will be a learning experience for future meets.

The meet, which doubled as the California Seniors State Championships, was held at Stanford's Cobb Track & Angell Field. This is a world-class facility that has hosted numerous NCAA Championships, the U.S. Open and U.S. Nationals. So I can't blame the facilities for my performance.

My goal for the meet in the discus was 90 feet and I hit 76 feet. I was hitting 90 in practice and was looking forward to the competition. But I just couldn't seem to get a good release and 76 feet was my best of four throws.

In the shot put, my goal was 26-6 and I could only toss it 25-4 -- more than a foot off my goal and 18 inches short of my best throw in competition.

I understand the discus marks. You have to do so many things right in the discus so the throws can have varying degrees of success. Technique is crucial. But in the shot put, the margin for error is much smaller. Strength is the key, although your technique is important. But I'm so far off last year that I must be getting weaker as I get a year older. I need more time in the gym with heavier weights.

At age 61, I'm competing in the 60-64 category, so I'm at the younger end of the age group. The one thing I will say is I never picked up a discus or shot put until last year. Most of the competitors have been throwing since high school and there techniques are much better than mine.

I'm a beginner and on Sunday I sure threw like one.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Track season starts anew

I'm starting the 2011 masters track season with the hope that I can compete in several meets and put up marks that show continual improvement in the discus and the shot put. My first competition is Sunday at Stanford for the Bay Area Senior Games. I hoped the meet doesn't get rained out.

There is a possibility that the storms that have been drenching California will break on Sunday. Because you throw in a small concrete circle, the officials will not allow the event if the ring is wet. They almost called off the shot put last year at Stanford because a light rain made the throwing circle dangerous.

I have been training especially hard for this meet, but the weather has slowed me down the past few days. I have not been able to throw since Tuesday, and I had hoped to throw every day through Friday. But I have been at the gym trying to get stronger. I need that in the shot put.

My biggest challenge is working on my throwing technique. That takes practice in the ring. I'm not exact a Tiny Dancer in that small ring as I spin to throw the discus and glide to throw the shot.

My goals for Sunday are 90 feet in the discus and 26 feet, six inches in the shot put. The discus goal would be a PR and the shot put goal is just under my best. For some reason, I've gone backwards from last year in the shot put so the 26-6 goal is a good one for the first meet. If I hit my goals, I'll likely finish in the middle of the pack. I'm not a threat for a medal.

I'll try to throw tomorrow, even if I have to do it off my patio in my backyard. I need to get one more good practice in.