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100m race at Meeting International, Dudelange

Weather predictions called for rain most of the weekend, so I wasn’t sure if I wanted to compete this weekend; especially since I’d also had less than stellar training sessions during the week where I still felt the aftermath of last week’s hiking and photography trip and subsequent 1200km drive back home.

After photographing a triathlon event in the late morning and only seeing a little rain on the drive back home I decided to tempt my fate. Dudelange was just a quick drive away, and I signed up for the 100m race on the spot.

I started warming up about one hour before the race. Almost straight away, it became clear that we’d have to face (pun intended) the wind during the race – there was a noticeable headwind, with pretty strong gusts.

I was supposed to be in the first heat, and after the heat was called out there was a bit of a bummer: quite a few athletes had signed up in advance but then failed to show up on race day, so that we were only two athletes remaining in that heat. After consulting with the starters and the other athlete I suggested we integrate with the second heat, where there were three lanes (out of 8) free.

I ended up in lane eight. The start start went OK, but my reaction time and first few steps were not stellar.

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Photo by Gerard Jerry

A few interesting things can be seen on the above photo taken by fellow sports photographer Jerry Gerard. First of all, notice the position of the starting block in lane 5? The athlete in that lane ended up DNF and wasn’t happy – the block had slipped back, presumably due to a warped block or worn spikes. I’m at the very end of the picture, barely visible. I suppose my reaction time wasn’t outrageously bad, but I’m slower out of the block than most other competitors – notice how the black Nike of the German athlete (who ended up winning) and the blue Asics of the second-place guy in front are already on the ground, whereas my black/gold Brooks is still in the air?

The race went OK for me. I quickly came to realize that the two foreign runners (Simon Hechler from Germany and Yann Marsal from France) were faster than me, and they built a noticeable lead. At the same time, I could feel that I was ahead of Stefano Giudice from my club. The challenge for me that day was to remain in third place.

The headwind was quite noticeable during the race, and when the results were announced later on the negative wind kinda explained the performances. We ended up running against a -4.1m/s wind, which explains the slow times of 11″55, 11″58, 11″99 and 12″20.

Under the circumstances, I’m moderately happy with the 11″99, but would very much have preferred to run around 11″60 with no wind.

In the next and final heat, Olivier Boussong won in 11″54, but with a lot less wind (-0.9m/s).

At the end of the day, out of only 10 finishers in the adult categories, I ended up fourth; with a noticeable gap towards the top three. In the junior races with 18 starters, there were four athletes who were faster than me as well, although they had a lot less unfavourable wind.

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Given the prevailing wind and the condition of my left achilles tendon, I decided against running the 200m (which ended up having a -2.0 headwind). After I returned home, the bad weather hit and I still did a 30-minute cool-down on the stationary bike. On Monday morning, my left achilles tendon, predictably enough, wasn’t happy once more.

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