The preparation paid off.
M55 400m National Champion: 55.29
Hodges Stadium in Jacksonville at race time was 91º with a heat index of 104º, very humid. The blue Mondo track was very nice, but too hot to walk on with bare feet. So, glad the infield was natural grass. It was the kind of day where I didn't feel like warming up too much, very easy to get tired in the heat. So I warmed up an hour before race time and chilled out for 15 min in my car with the A/C on.
I definitely executed better this race. No serious rigging and my splits were as planned, about 26.2/29. I won the race on the home stretch.
There were 3 guys in this race that had beaten me previously. Tyrone was in lane 7, me in 5, Ben in 4, and Rudy in 3. I got a decent start and accelerated to cruising speed and remained undaunted as Ben passed me on the back stretch. I stuck to my race plan. I stayed with Ben around the turn and noticed he began suffering about the 250m mark. I came off the turn strong, even with Ben... and with Rudy and Tyronne close behind, I surged ahead. I looked to my left twice expected Rudy to be comin'. No one there. I won by several meters, almost a second.
It was my second fastest 400, and a good time to produce it. It ranks me #2 in the world right now and it's the first time I've officially "run my age" in the 400m. More significantly, it is faster than I ran at Nationals 3 yrs ago in '12. If the conditions weren't so brutally hot and humid, I might have been able to PR today. Was the kind of day where I'd ask myself, 'how did I get myself into this?'
Now, to have some fun in the 200m prelims tomorrow. Feelin' good, healthy. Glad my parents were here.