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60m race, Meeting Régional, Coque

Yesterday was my first competition for 2014. I did a 60m at the Meeting Régional in Luxembourg.

Until the day before, I was undecided whether I should compete or not because my achilles tendon still wasn’t happy. While I’ve tried to do a better job with injury prevention in 2014, especially by reducing inflammation in my left Achilles tendon, there’s still potential for improvement.

I arrived at the Coque indoor track with some time to spare, paid my 4€ for a late signup, then sat in the stands until it was 1 hour to go before the race.

For warming up, there’s even more annoyances than last year: in the downstairs entrance area, part of the surface was taken up by plastic tables and chairs; and in the area around the stands up on top a whole side was closed off because they’ve finally realized that having unrestricted access to a climbing wall might be dangerous. Of course for athletes that means you can’t run a big loop around the stands anymore. The air was stuffy, as usual, and it was entirely too hot (although still better than on the volleyball court next door).

After doing about 15 minutes of running, and then stretching for 15 more, I did various skips (“technique course”) before attempting a few strides and short sprints on the short and narrow track adjacent to the competition area. As the competitions in Luxembourg get more popular, it’s starting to be harder and harder to get a decent warm-up done because there’s no place where you can even do a full sprint, especially not when wearing spikes.

At one point there was around 15 to 20 minutes of delay in the schedule, so I wasn’t quite ready with my warm-up when my name was called to walk out into the competition area and to run in heat 1. Turns out the women’s 60m were not all that popular – only 3 heats compared to 7 for the men – so they made up some time.

I put on my spikes and walked to the starting block. I was in lane 3, so I set up the block and did a test start.

Pretty soon we were in the blocks and the gun went off. I was expecting the 3 guys on my ride side to be faster than me, and they were ahead almost straight away. My start wasn’t great, but didn’t feel horrible either. The rest of the race, I just tried to stay as close as possible to the guys in front of me, but I guess I was just running within the limits of my less than stellar preparation.

I crossed the finish line in fourth place after 7″43. The heat was won in 6″80 by Berenger Bosse from Reims, who later also won the final in 6″76. In the old days, I could have finished second but #2 (7″24) and #3 (7″31) went to athletes from Belgium and again Reims (France) instead.

I wasn’t that disappointed with my performance – I worked until 10pm on Friday on a photography assignment and again for almost 6 hours on Saturday; I had had a headache throughout the entire night before the race; and on top of that I had done almost no specific 60m preparation this winter (a total of two short sprint sessions in December, followed by no track trainings whatsoever over the holiday break). Mostly, I was glad that both the left Achilles tendon and my right-side hip area didn’t give me any signals of major pain after the race.

Overall, there were 50 competitors signed up in 7 heats.  Every heat had one DNS (“did not start”) so that 43 athletes crossed the finish line. Of these 43 (if my counting is correct) I was in 22nd position , or right in the middle.  There was a sizable amount of foreign competitors, I placed #5 among Luxembourgish athletes; behind Festus Geraldo (7″05, 7″06 in the final), Lionel Evora Delgado (7″13, 7″10 in the final), Pol Bidaine (7″14) and Olivier Boussong (7″15, 7″11 in the final).

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