This week, I signed up for my new track team, the Garden State Track Club, and this morning was my first training session with them. I’m BRIMMING with excitement!
I hadn’t trained in a competitive group since leaving the UK in January of 2012 so I was definitely rusty, especially getting out at the start of runs, but it was good to be in the mix of like-minded athletes and pulled along by guys that are a lot more on point.
It was a cold morning at Highland Park High School, with the temperature down in the 20s, but it was good to slip straight back into that winter training groove that I know so well. I had missed it! I felt at home, which is something I wasn’t able to find when I tried to establish myself as an Obstacle Course athlete. I speak about this in a previous blog, where I discuss how everything isn’t for everybody.
It was pleasant to hear small jokes and laughter, as we went through some dynamic stretching and mobility, where I quickly discovered that my hip joints and muscles probably demonstrated rustic pulleys on a pirate ship in stormy seas, as opposed to someone wanting to return to the world of track and field, with the intention of doing well in competition! LOL! Then we moved into some strides where my hamstrings and glutes responded with a “Wait… What?!” yawn, stretch and struggle! They woke up, though – eventually!
Today’s session was a time trial over the 300m, 200m and 100m. Yeah. Only I disappear from the track for a few years and turn up to day one for a session like this! But, guess what? The Winter Wizard is back!
There’s something sadistic about the 300m distance. You can pace a 400m and you can push a 200m but there’s something about the 300m that means you can only tackle it by exerting a lot of pressure and experiencing a lot of pain. On top of that, being rusty meant I didn’t get out as quick as the guys I was running with so, heading into the first bend, I lost a lot of ground but I felt strong. I even kicked into the back straight, holding on about 5m behind the two in front. Then we got to the top of the back straight and, with 50m to go, I thought, “Let me kick again.” My hamstrings, however, were screaming and my glutes had retired to the couch of my pelvic bone like Jabba the Hutt. I pretty much marched on the spot to the finish. With a respectful 41 seconds, though. The excitement of the time and the rush I just experienced, at being back at it, kept me bouncing around, waiting the 7 minutes for the 200m.
As a 400m hurdler, the 200m, regardless of the position you finish in, is very much so an “I’ve got this!” distance. It doesn’t require too much strategy. Focus on getting out the blocks and rely on that quarter-miler strength coming into the home straight. Today, I learned that it just doesn’t happen when you haven’t been on a track in so long. In fact, I felt like I was running backwards for the last 20m, as I came through in 25 seconds! If I hadn’t concentrated on keeping the hips high coming off the bend, I’d probably have just run into the ground, literally! I was ready for the 100m, though.
Every athlete knows what it is like to have heavy legs, where it feels like your feet just fall to the floor as you move into the next stride. However, there is a new level of comedy reached when there is zero generation of power behind produced behind the body. You may as well be running on a treadmill, angled at a decline! I felt ridiculous but did what I could to claw back the front-runners (This just doesn’t happen over 100m, though!), after they all got out like hares from traps. Only, they weren’t being chased down by greyhounds. More like Beethoven, the St. Bernard! LOL! This is the beginning, though…
I’m so happy to be back at it and I’m looking forward to spiking up to race again. I’m not sure when that’ll happen but definitely at some point this year, and probably over the 100m and 200m, with one or two outings over the 400m. Starting from scratch but, as I said, I’m BRIMMING with excitement!