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More from Houston

I’m finally back from most of my summer travels and can give a little more about the Houston trip.

We stayed with some good friends at Northwest Houston and traveled each morning to the Turner Field at Humble.  As I related in the earlier post, I had a breakout day in my event on Monday and got the gold medal in the 60-64 age group.  Chuck felt a pain in his right hamstring/hip area on Monday while we were preparing for my event.  It got much worse and by Tuesday when he ran the 400 meters he really felt it.  The heat was intense, over 98 degrees and he slowed down the last 100 yards, since it wasn’t a strong event for him and he wanted to save the leg for later events.  Later that same day he ran the 100 meters in 18.8 seconds, not a great time for him, but I reminded him that he had been training and running a marathon just two weeks before and hadn’t trained for any of his events except some few practices for the pole vault.  In addition, we began to realize that  the crowd was tougher than at Palo Alto in 2009 and we were just starting our track season in the Northwest while many people had already had their state senior games in the south.  He placed out of the qualifications for the finals in both events. Wednesday was quite rainy, with lightning and thunder.  They postponed the long jump a number of times as we kept getting lightning flashes in the area, causing mandatory 1/2 hour delays in competion.  Finally, about 2 and 1/2 hours late, they started the long jump.  Chuck’s leg was bothering him in practice jumps and warmup, so we were very apprehensive about how he would do and whether he would be able to high jump or pole vault in the remaining days.  However, hurray!, on his first jump the pain went away (probably just some scar tissue?).  He wasn’t jumping at his best, but at least he was able to jump 8-10 inches for 12th.  In Palo Alto he had jumped 10-5 and got a bronze medal there, which would have placed him 11th at Houston.  The competition was fierce and he didn’t place in the ribbons. 

Zero for three and the week was beginning to look depressing for him, which was tough for him because I had done so well.  Thursday came the high jump.  He felt good and, while looking a little rusty to me, jumped 3-9.  He looked like with a little practice he could have jumped higher.  He placed 10th (on misses, same height as 4th).  At Palo Alto a 3-8 jump got him a bronze.

Here’s Chuck high jumping:

The 4×100 relay was very exciting.  Chuck’s team looked good and was clipped in the last leg by .08 second by the record holder of the 100 meters.  While sad not to have gotten the silver, the team looked good and got a bronze medal.  They are excited about the next Senior Games in 2013 in Cleveland.  More on Chuck later.

Friday, my friends Dave Butler and Fred Zapf pole vaulted in the 70-74 age group.  Fred has been fighting injuries for some time and I was quite proud of his vault of 7-9 to get a 7th place ribbon.  Dave vaulted 8-2 and got a bronze — great job!
Here’s Fred vaulting:

Here’s Dave vaulting:

Next, Chuck vaulted in the 75-79 age group.  He had only been vaulting about 6 feet all spring, but we felt pretty confident he could jump 6-6 at National.  He barely squeaked by 5-0 for his opening vault and proceeded to squeak by each height of 5-6, 6-0, 6-6, and 7-0!  He got a bronze medal and looked good doing it.  Finally a medal in an individual event!  At the Palo Alto games he jumped 6-2 and came in first by over a foot of the next competitor, so this shows the level of competition at Houston.
Here’s Chuck vaulting:

So, we have a father son combination of medalists in the pole vault at the Houston Senior Games.  I’ll bet that doesn’t happen too often!  Here’s a link to some of the Houston games’ photographer shots of me and my dad.

This is a picture of Chuck and me holding the same pole: http://www.facebook.com/pages/National-Senior-Games/105379918831?sk=photos#!/photo.php?fbid=10150296146753832&set=a.10150296146158832.381045.105379918831&type=1&theater

Here is a picture of me appearing to go vertical!!! http://www.facebook.com/pages/National-Senior-Games/105379918831?sk=photos#!/photo.php?fbid=10150276726268832&set=a.10150276714568832.378470.105379918831&type=1&theater

Here are still photos of us clearing our respective bars:

In summary, we learned the Southeast crowd is very competitive.  Also, it pays to be the young one in your group (as I was) and not the oldest one in your group (as Chuck was).

On the side Chuck and I went with our friends Don and Carol to the Brazos Bend State Park and saw an amazing variety of birds, turtles, and alligators.

Don’s son is an owner of the Brix wine tasting restaurant in Houston and we were very impressed with the food, the staff, and the experience.

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