Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Pre race day - USATF Masters Nationals

The nine lane track at Benedictine University
Lisle, IL
As I was telling a friend, whatever happens at the Nationals, I'll be fine with it.   It's been a great season, a National Championship, all new PRs.  

Last year, it seemed like so much more pressure and not a lot of confidence.  Riding to the 400m final in Berea last year, I told my parents, "this feels as serious as cancer."  A dark attempt at humor, but I did feel pressure, and I ran a dumb race.  I was devastated by missing a medal in relatively uncompetitive M50 200m final last year by .05 sec.   It haunted me for months.  I ran much slower in the finals than the heats.

This year, it's much more competitive and I recognize my chances for a medal are less, especially in the 200m.  About double the number of competitors this year.

Dan S. emailed me from Lisle and said the track has  long sweeping turns, not tight.  It looks rather old and stained on the satellite image.  At least there seems to be some woods and shade nearby.  (Actually, the local highschool track a mile away looks much better and newer).

The 400m
My best chance for a medal.  C. Moody the World Silver Medalist means business since he is not signed up for any other event.   He ran 52.50 last year and will win even if he has a bad day.   Two other guys have run under 55 sec - T. Williams and R. Briscoe, but Brisco is Jamaican and not medal eligible.*   Wallack, who must have just turned 50, has run 55.90, as has I. Smith but Smith is a Brit and not medal eligible.*  Neumann, Granowski, and J. Smith have all run mid-low 56's.  There may be others I don't know about.

My guess for the M50 400m finals in order of seed will be:
J. Smith
*I. Smith

There is a 9-lane track so I wonder if they'll take 9 to the finals?  With 8 guys capable of 56.5 or better, the prelims will be a serious race.  Scott G. has a habit of really rising to the occasion, like he did at the 200m indoor.  He's new like me but has a good coach and more experience.  And, I haven't run sub-56 in a meet for 3 months, despite what I think I've done in training.  So, no guarantees that I'll make the finals unless I bring my A-game.

The 200m
The 200m field is stacked.  It will take a few scratches to allow me to be competitive, and my ham has not been tested at 100% since the injury.   Barnwell and Tissenbaum are both sub 24 and easily outclass the rest of the field.  Next in line for the bronze will be M. Waller, former many time National Champion.  Briscoe will take a lane in the finals, so there will be 6 of us vying for the remaining 4 lanes in the finals.   There are a number of us capable of running sub 25 or close ... Wallack, Nuemann, Disalvo, J.Smith, Williams ... to name a few.   So even if one of the top seeds scratches, it will be very difficult to medal.   A realistic goal would be to make the finals and not get hurt so I can run a 4x400 relay.

Conditions are calling for temperatures around 90º, humid, chance of showers, and a light southerly breeze providing a headwind on the homestretch.  Today, it's really hot ... 92º at 1 pm at my place, 95º in town.  It'll hit 100º today easy.

My weight is good, 139.2 this morning.  Need to eat a good dinner tonight, and something small tomorrow morning.

As I say, I'm going for fun and to participate in the season's 'last hurrah.'   My main goal is to make the finals and not get injured so I can run in a relay on Sunday.

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