Even though I had been plagued by problematic muscles in the groin area during my first (and last) training of the week, I still decided to run the 100m and 200m races at the National Championships. I figured that with the last training being on Tuesday, I’d get plenty of rest and be fit to run again on Saturday. My goal – if one can still have goals sixteen years past the prime of their career – would have been to reach the finals in both races.
On the 100m, the warm-up went OK, even though my left Achilles tendon was also letting me know that it wasn’t happy. Almost fifteen minutes before the start the line-up was announced. I was in the first series, which is always a good thing because it allows you a longer time to set up your blocks and do a few test starts. On the second such test start, I could feel a sharp pain on both sides of my lower abdomen in my groin area. While I’m not able to pinpoint an exact location or muscle name, a quick Google search seems to indicate that this is referred to as a “sports hernia”.
With ten minutes left until the start I hoped to just wait it out and not do any more explosive starts. The start was given not by a traditional gun with bullets, but an electric gun that sends a sound over a speaker. This produced a fairly atypical start sound. I’m not sure if that’s to blame for my poor reaction time, or if my body was trying to save what little remained of my athletic form by not doing a start that was too explosive; but right from the starting line I was already faced with a solid gap towards Festus Geraldo and Pol Bidaine. The 10m to 80m went OK, but it became clear that I wouldn’t be able to finish third. In the end, I figured that with a final qualification entirely out of the picture, it made no sense to push over the finish line and risk further injury, so I eased off on the final 10 to 20 meters, crossing the finish line in a disappointing 11″98 with -0.8m/s of wind. I ended up fifth in my series, and 12th overall; with 18 people present.
I was quite disappointed after the race, not just with the performance but also with setback of dealing with another set of injuries. A half-lap of warm-up confirmed that there was no way I could run the 200m an hour later, so I canceled my sign-up for that. What’s annoying is that even just an average performance in both races could have ensured a final qualification; but that was just not be be. Of course now it’s back to the drawing board – do I just give up on sprints altogether, or should I change my approach and do a more serious effort for the next set of challenges (the indoor season)?