Masters State Outdoor Meet
It was a long time coming, but the wait is finally over. Yesterday was my first outdoor meet in almost two years. And I haven’t raced since the indoor meet held three months ago. Three months is a long time to try to train and stay focused.
There were two possible college meets I was looking at, but was unable to do because of scheduling conflicts. And after the indoor season, I was questioning whether I could even really compete at that level anymore. My indoor season was riddled with several fluke injuries. Nothing major, but enough to cause me to miss a week of training here and there throughout the season.
Here is a recap of how the indoor season went for me. My 60m time was the slowest it has been as a maters athlete. Disappointing, but I really hadn’t done much pure speed work since I was focusing on training for the 400m, so I could deal with it. The 200m, which I consider my best event, was slightly better than my first year competing as an old guy, but not even close to where I was two years ago. In 2010, I was under :25 in the 200m in every meet except the first one, indoors and out. This year, I couldn’t even break :26. Very disappointing. And then comes the 400m. While not completely ready to give up yet, I’m close to calling it a failed experiment. I did break :60 one time, but just barely. The other times I ran it were just plain bad – really bad.
Time to re-focus. After the indoor state meet, I made the decision not to do the 400 again this year. Concentrating on the sprints seemed like the best option right now. Training for the 400 sucks, and racing it is even worse. If you are a quarter miler, you know what I mean.
My body weight was also not helping me. Over Christmas break, I had topped out at 200. Losing weight became my new year’s resolution (like everyone else’s). By the state meet in March I was down to about 185, and felt better. My strength though, was lacking, so after the indoor season, I needed to get re-focused in the weight room. About that time I came across a crazy squat program (squat heavy for 21 days straight) and that was intriguing enough to get me started, and the results get be going (see my post on April 20).
Which brings me to now . I am stronger than I have been in years. I have dropped another 15 pounds, and am lighter that I have been in almost 20 years. Therefore I should be faster right? Well, as it turns out, yes and no.
I ran the 100 and 200 yesterday. It was very hot – over 90 degrees by the finish, and very windy. It was a swirling cross-wind, so it was tough or really tough. Even tough I didn’t notice it much, it was a factor in both races. The 100m was first, but started almost an hour after what I was anticipating. This made warming up, and staying warmed up and focused very hard. I had (for me) a pretty good start. I was out with everyone else. An older guy and younger guy started to pull away part way through. I finished the heat in third, but won my age group. I did not feel very smooth or fast in the race. I felt kind of tight and ended up with a 12.82. The only race I’ve had that was slower than that was the one five years ago when I pulled my hamstring. And it was still only a tenth slower. At least I was under :13. I thought I was capable of being in the low 12′s, but considering the wind, and lack of races, I’m not giving up hope yet.
The 200m was next, and I had a great first half of the race. I was out hard from lane 4, and had the stagger made up on everyone halfway around the curve. I re-accelerated coming into the straight and knew I had a good lead, but I could hear a friend of mind in lane 1. With 50 meters to go, I started to run out of gas, and new my buddy was coming. It was going to be a struggle to the finish and I was hoping I could hang on. Just before the finish I could see him out of the corner of my eye, but I was able to hang on to win the heat. If the race was another five meters, it could have been a different story. Jim, my friend, was still happy, because he broke :26 for the first time ever. This means that I finally was sub-:26 also. I finished at :25.85. However, it was still almost a second and a half from two years ago when I set an age-group record in the 200. I’m happy though with the first 150. Racing more will help get my times down.
So that’s where I am at now. I still have several summer meets left to go. Since this was my last year in the 40-44 age group, I was hoping to be able to break a few more records before aging up. It doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. But that’s fine. I feel really good. Much better that what I was dealing with last year at this time. And next year I get to be the youngster again as I start over. Maybe new age group records for the 45-49 year olds? We’ll see.