On Saturday, I ran a 200m and then later on participated in a 4x200m relay.
Unlike the week before, I had signed up for the competition in advance; which was a good thing since they were not accepting any late signups this time around. Even then, there were 47 competitors in 9 heats; which took a considerable time and probably contributed to the 4x200m being later than scheduled.
As soon as I started warming up, I was already feeling dehydrated. Funny how no other indoor track I ever competed in had this problem. I did about 10 to 11 minutes of slow jogging upstairs, and then retreated to the lower entrance area for stretching and running drills.
I was in heat #4, so unlike last week I felt that my warm-up was pretty much spot-on timing-wise. The only thing that was lacking was my motivation – I just couldn’t get in the right mindset of competing or building up aggressiveness for an explosive start and a powerful exit out of the first curve.
In the starting blocks things didn’t go smoothly. One competitor seemingly had his fingers on the line, or something; so instead of a normal start there was a long phase of uncertainty where you don’t know if the start is imminent or if the athlete at fault is still busy correcting his starting position. Unsurprisingly, when the gun went off I was still not in that right mindset.
I had Maxime Allard from my club ahead of me in lane 5. While I didn’t feel like I was losing ground in the first turn, I wasn’t gaining any either. At some point in the second turn I thought I was finally making up ground to the other runners… and then I just ran out of steam entirely. Never mind all those grandiose thoughts of ideal running form that you may harbor while at rest; when you’re sprinting at full speed and losing ground you’re not thinking about arm movement, leg lift or stride frequency. All I could think of at that point was something like “you’re not doing well. this is not working. damn it.”
I finished a disappointing 5th in my heat, in 23″83. I guess that counts as a slice of humble pie. Eleven years ago I was almost two seconds faster (21″93).
I’m not sure if my heart rate monitor can be trusted to be perfectly reliable for short sprints, but it seems that I maxed out on 174 beats per minute on that 200m; which seems quite low.
Overall, my 23″83 finish time meant I finished 27th out of 46 finishers. From a strictly national point of view, I still had 12 runners in front of me.
I retired to the stands for a long wait until the 4x200m races; which were counting as national championships (the individual races will take place next week).
Since my 200m time had been quite bad, I wasn’t chosen for the first team, but instead (like in the past two years) ran in a second team. Our team consisted of Martti Snäll, Gavin Dunne, Stefano Giudice and me (also running in that order). We were in heat #2. Obviously the top teams in heat #1 had already decided the podium; so we were just competing for the sake of competition.
We handily beat the other teams in our heat, and despite getting the relay well ahead of the other teams I still pushed quite hard on my leg; so that we easily won our heat. At the same time, we were well behind the podium, clocking in a 1’38″61 to the 1’31″22, 1’32″35 and 1’32″93 done by CSL1, CAB1 and CAD1 in the first heat. Overall, we finished the 4x200m championship on 5th position (out of 13 teams), since CELTIC3 with Festus Geraldo won the third heat in 1’34″33.
I felt better on the relay than I had done on the individual 200m; despite feeling quite a bit of pain in my left Achilles tendon and right hip area.
The next morning I weighed in at over 2kg less than the morning before the race, which is further evidence that I wasn’t hydrating well enough on Saturday.