Today went pretty well. I was the #2 M50 400m qualifier with a 55.81, fastest American behind Briscoe from Jamaica. I was surprised to win my heat from lane 7 with the World Silver Medalist, C. Moody, on an inside lane. Obviously, Moody didn't bring his A-game to this race and he was gaining on me at the end. I gave it 100%. With some slight adjustments, I possibly could go faster. Kind of prophetic that I ran my last training run from lane 7.
In lane 7, I could see only Wallack in 8. He has run under 56 this year so he was good to pace off of. I made up the split by the beginning of the final turn, staying really relaxed, and then put the hammer down at about 200m and blew by him easily, I never saw anyone else except for Moody at the end. I ran out of gas in the last 20m or so, but didn't totally rig up. Neumann was more than a second behind in 56.95 in third.
It was hot, 89º ... I've seen worse.
Sizing up the 400m finals
Tomorrow, if they seed this as expected, I will be in lane 5 with Briscoe in 4, Moody in 6, Williams in 3. Not a bad place to be. Moody - the fastest American - will be right in front of me and I can pace off him. I hope he doesn't go out seriously fast, I'd be tempted to go with him. The adjustment I will make tomorrow is patience. Instead of putting the hammer down at 200m, I'm going to wait til 220m.
There are 2 non-medal eligible foreigners in the finals - I. Smith (UK), and Briscoe (Jamaica). So, I could finish 4th in the race and still win a medal, or even 5th if I. Smith beats me. I really only have to beat Granowski and Neumann to win a medal and 2 things are in my favor: 1) they both are running the 100m prelims 90m before the 400m. (not an issue if they are in shape.. just the heat and fatigue are factors). 2) I beat them both soundly today.... and I really think they were trying since they finished 3rd and 4th in their heats. I. Smith was faster than both of them today.
Standing next to Briscoe and Moody was a little intimidating... very tall, muscular African men... their asses seemed to come up near my chest. After today, they don't scare me.
I feel pretty spent but good. I had a good dinner at one of my favorite college-era restaurants - Fudruckers (fish sandwich and potatoes). Then I went back to the track to walk lane 5 and relax... go over my race plan and think. I talked with a few other athletes. Generally, I just need to relax, conserve, be patient, and when it's time to put the hammer down.... keep form, don't get tense, and dig deep.
Here's a stadium photo from my evening walk ... the point near which the race "begins."