In perfect sunshine and temperatures of around 24°C, I drove 50km to Belgium to compete at a 100m in Saint-Mard (near Virton).
I arrived with a bit of time to spare and filled out one of those small cards to sign up that they probably already had in 1999 when I last ran there. The cost was hard to beat: zero.
I did the same warmup distance than for my normal trainings, around 2km. This was easy since there was a 1km lap that snakes around the track and a few other buildings, composed of fairly soft surface (a mixture of wood chips and gravel). I wish more tracks had this.
I felt quite warm, and there was only a bit of wind. After the 2km jogging I did about 15 minutes of the usual stretching and then various skips and strides. My left achilles tendon made it quite clear that it didn’t quite appreciate being asked to perform, but the pain was still quite low (maybe 3-4 on a scale of 10).
Already when I arrived, it was clear that there would be quite a few people in attendance, but I was still able to do three starts out of the starting block before the first heat was called out.
I ended up in lane 6 on the third heat (out of 5). It seems like I was mostly competing with much younger athletes, although other heats had a higher age average.
The starter was doing a good job (I don’t have anything negative to say about the start) and even though I wasn’t the quickest out of the blocks I didn’t lose that much ground. There’s still room for some improvement, though – I still think that the majority of my training starts are better than my race starts.
It took me around 60 meters to catch up and pass my main competitor, who was running in lane 5. By that time I was fighting against myself and my ongoing inability to sprint full out for the entire 100m. I still managed to cross the finish line in first place (in my heat – there were faster runners in some other heats).
The official time was 11″65, with a very negligible wind of +0.1m/s. This translates into a new personal best for the 2014 season, but it’s also a whopping 80 hundreds of a second slower than my 10″85 1998 all-time personal best. But I’m not complaining – I’m glad to still be able to compete at this level at this point in my life.