With March and April being less than optimal as far as training and just my health in general were concerned, I wasn’t too keen on competing this spring because I felt like I was pretty far away from what I’d consider prime shape.
In early May however, my club asked me if I could compete at the first day of the Interclub championships on May 11th. I couldn’t due to photo assignments, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise because the weather that day was particularly bad and I certainly wasn’t in any shape for a 200m sprint. For the second day on May 17th, I had no photo shoots scheduled in advance, so after looking at who else would be competing from my club (I felt that I had a shot at doing just as well, if not better) and taking time off from the newspaper, I was subsequently signed up for the 100m and 4x100m relay.
I arrived at the track in Schifflange to sunshine and temperatures that were pretty much optimal, hovering just above 20°C. I warmed up for the 100m, and was a bit surprised that I ended up being in the first heat. Our club’s number #1 seed had to stay at home ill, so I suddenly found myself in his position.
“Don’t do a false start” was the motto, and memories from my last indoor 60m where I ended up DSQ were still fresh, so when the shot was fired I did… nothing. After a leisurely moment of still doing nothing, I finally got out of the block, trailing the lead pack (Olivier Boussong, 11″08, Lionel Evora Delgado 11″09 and Pol Bidaine 11″22) by a few meters right from the start. By the time 60m came around I had expended my energy and had to force myself over the remaining distance to the finish line… not a pretty sight, I’m sure. I crossed it in 11″72, 4th place out of 8 in heat 1.
On the final tally, the three above-mentioned athletes beat me quite easily, and were joined by Yoann Bebon (10″86) and Tom Hutmacher (11″09) who won their respective series. In total, I was thus the 5th-fastest runner out of 22; although considering that I trailed Pol by half a second that’s not something for the record books. We had a 2.8m/s tailwind, too. But still, I confirmed my club’s #1 position, even if only by 3 hundreds of a second; and I didn’t injure myself, which is always a top priority these days.
I could have rested for an hour and then warmed up for the relay, but since there was an open spot on the shot put I thought “why not”. Last time I tried that was possibly fifteen years ago, and the results weren’t impressive back then.
Turns out results in 2014 are still not impressive. My first attempt was on the line to the left – unlike in other sports that means you’re “out”. The second attempt was 7.20m, I think. Third attempt I touched the wooden board up front according to the judges, so that didn’t count even though I think it would have been my best performance. Attempt 4 was my best for the day, 7.66m. Attempt 5, I had to skip because of the relay, and attempt 6 just after the relay was just a bit over 7m again. So 7.66m, and a disappointing 16th position out of 18. At least I left someone behind me. 10m is still something I think I could do at some point with a little training (or maybe a lot).
Inbetween the shot put attempts I continued warming up for the 4x100m relay. Due to the way lanes are shuffled around between clubs on the various distances, we ended up in heat #2, lane 4.
The first series was run, and I was a bit annoyed because for a while it looked like our second team was not going to run in heat #3 because they were not on the starting list. This would have been less than optimal, because it would have meant that we had to make rock-solid relay changes with no backup team. In the end, the administrative issues were resolved just in time for our heat.
I watched the first two runners (Stefano Giudice and Gavin Dune) do their thing (and they did quite well), and then Claude Godart already approached for the final relay change. We had agreed to slightly reduce our reaction zone (to a distance of 23 feet) but I think I ended up starting just a bit to early. Claude hesitated a bit with the handover and I lowered my speed a little. Finally, I received the relay with a good safe margin still, and was off. In the background, I could hear swearing because apparently the guys from CAD hadn’t been so lucky and had messed up their change. I was in first position at the beginning, but didn’t have it in me to resist against Lionel Evora Delgado (who had beaten me on the 100m by over 6/10 of a second). We therefore ended up second in our heat, and third position overall. FOLA1 won in 44″47, followed by CAS1 in 44″63 and then CSL in 44″79. Not a large margin to #2, or the winning team for that matter.
In the end, my club won the Interclub Championships, and I guess while I did my part there were other athletes who contributed more decisively and scored higher points. Still, it was nice to be back and to be a member of the club’s #1 relay team.