For the second competition in 2016, I’d come up with a grandiose plan: I’d run the 200m, rest for about two hours and then give it all in a 400m, a distance I’d never done indoors. Reality would turn out to be different, though.
The week before the competition, I’d done two trainings with the club: a sprint session outdoors with three 300m’s at a fairly aggressive pace on Tuesday, and then on Thursday (just two days before the competition) we’d done just a few jumps and reaction starts inside. Nothing earth-shattering, but apparently it was sufficient for me to still have sore hamstrings on the day of the competition.
After a jog outside in the snow, I returned inside for the rest of the warm-up. Things were fairly quiet, and I pretty much kept to my usual time table (start 1 hour before the race, do skips 30 minutes before the race, then a final hard acceleration 15 minutes before the race just as the first heat is let out onto the track).
I was in lane 4 in heat two, and I’d been told that the athlete in the lane in front of me was good for a time under 23″. I knew I wouldn’t be able to go that fast in my current shape, and was instead hoping to hold on as best as I could. With my limited training, I had been guessing I’d be able to finish anywhere from a low 23″ to somewhere around 23″60.
The gun went off and apparently I had a really bad reaction time. I didn’t even notice, but apparently it was really visible from the stands. The start notwithstanding, I tried to accelerate hard, and to not allow myself to fall into a pace that was comfortable (and below the maximum speed). At the same time, I could feel that my hamstrings were not happy and I was fairly close to the point where I thought that if I sped up any further, they’d seize or cramp.
The leading athlete (lane 5) was well in front of me as we reached the first turn, and I tried to hold it together to at least stay in that position. As we left the second turn, I soon realized that this wouldn’t happen, as another athlete (lane 3) still passed me. I was able to fight back against finishing last (against lane 2), and just barely managed to finish third out of 4. I’d done 23″80, a little slower than I had been hoping for but still an OK time considering my age and amount of training in the past months.
The final results of all the heats combined were a little more positive. I had placed 11th out of 33 runners, and on a purely Luxembourgish ranking, I turned out to be in 4th place out of 22.
With the hamstrings still tight after the race, I opted to skip the 400m. I’d worked quite hard at the 200m, with average results, so if I had tried to sprint twice as long the result would have been underwhelming at best, and might have ended up with yet another injury at worst.