Thursday, July 31, 2014

Leadup to USATF Masters Outdoor Championships 2014

                Training does not equal Procrastination  

                                Last summer I heard that the 2014 USATF Masters Outdoor Championships were coming to Winston-Salem.  Maybe I’d sign up for something.  Really? Having looked at earlier years’ race results, I shouldn't even be on the same track.  My times -- not even close!. All the training in the world might not do it. Sundays track with Coach Z, Mary S. and Jerry S. was tough.They tended towards middle distance practice (400m and up) and I liked shorter.  But it was the propensity to work the slow twitch muscles rather than the fast twitch ones that was the problem. Running 5ks up to Half Marathon distances – not helpful! In November 2013, I went to an Open (anyone may compete) indoor track meet.  Once inside, I felt like Lemuel Gulliver on landing in Lilliput, not in size but in age. In the two events I ran (can’t say competed!), I was in heats with third graders, who left me behind.  How could I possibly compete with experienced Masters?

  By the New Year, I’d done little toward my goal.  Well, okay, then.  I will do short sprint exercises, and run distances no longer than a mile.  Except that 5Ks and XC fun events kept cropping up.  (With no nearby track events.) First, the Carolina Godiva New Year’s XC race, followed by more Godiva 4 mile or longer XCs, along with Run For Young 5K, the Run for the Roses 5K, and more.  My plan was in the dumpster.

 Okay, build up!  Spend more time at the gym doing Body Pump and practicing street sprints. And add  repeat 10x running up the steps. (Fun when the dog also decides he wants to follow!)  Until one day something did not feel right.  That something became an inflamed patella and, worse, shooting pains down the calf to the foot. Driving one mile was agony. It was the foot on the brake that was the worst.  Waiting at a stoplight or being stuck in traffic, equalled screaming fury. There went training. Forget about competition! In February I found a chiropractor who determined that my right hip was out of whack and I needed to wear orthotics.  (ugh. I now wear orthotics in all except my racing shoes.) A fellow competitor offered a ride to JDL Fast Track for the Southeastern Region Masters Indoor Championships in March, where I competed, with non spectacular times, in the 60m and 200m events. 

Now, I decided to really cut back on distance (except for a 10k, a half marathon, and Run for Our Heroes – a must-do 5k!).  My lack of discipline was evident. What am I?  A road racer or a sprinter? Once more, I decreed no more road races (Monday night nOg Run Club outings or Tuesday Capital RunWalk Downtown Challenges are not races!) I stuck to this – except for the May Rocket Mile and Mother of All Races 10K.   On April 16th, I began Camp Gladiator boot camp training, going 3X a week.  May 20th  I started serious sprint training. Carolina Godiva Track Club's Wednesday evening summer track series started the next day. I could sprint against others.    I jogged in the Social and fun runs leaving much of the actual sprint training to Sundays. 

 Prison Break - The Escape, Fun Run 

The cutoff date for event registration was June 20th.  I for sure wanted to do the 100m and 200m.  I have been saying that I would never do another 400m (except for one last one in Senior Games State Finals.) But the idea of doing the 400m lurked.  I held off registering. This was my once in a lifetime chance to run in big deal (read – above my class) events.  On June 17th I decided to also register for the 400m.  So what if I came in last. It would be while running with the best to come out that day.  When registration deadline had passed, I took a look at the list of competitors.  Sure enough, as expected, Kathy Bergen, world record holder in two of my events (100m and 200m), would be there. This was good, because I’d never seen her race except in videos.  Exciting!  Not to worry about her – she’d be zipping down the lanes before I moved a foot.  But what about the others?  I saw at least two to worry about:  one had beaten me in the past and the other had posted faster times than mine. Two of the remaining four had no posted history. The 400m was loaded, it seemed, with one or two unknown threats, and one known..  

In the less than a month remaining, I ran lots of repeat 400s, 200s, and 100s. Each repetition usually slower than the last.  But sometimes not. Oh, and let's fit in one more race. A special July 4th inaugural Raleigh Downhill Mile.  Barbara L. loaned me her older starting blocks so I could make one more attempt at using blocks.  Out to a nearby grassy field I went. Nada -- awkward and added nothing to my start. Forget it.  Back to experimenting with various 3-point starts.   In the final week I found one that both kept me steady and gave a smoother start.  Also, in the last two weeks, I increased my attendance at Camp Gladiator.

 I was really apprehensive about this whole Masters thing. Scared, actually.  The number of times I have had to drop to a walk during a Godiva 400m, fresh in my mind. The night before my first event, I visualized running to catch my competitors, closing on a few. I could at least hope for that.  When I left for Winston-Salem for the dreaded 400m (oh, please do NOT walk during it), I was anything but relaxed.  I took written directions as well as my Google Maps app and a backup GPS unit. Dare not be late, I’d been warned.  I left early and got to WFU about two hours before my 400m.

No comments: