After a number of travel disasters, including losing my new iPhone, only one hour of sleep 2 nights in a row, I hit the track at Balmont Stadium for the 200m prelims. The weather was great, cloudy, low 70's. After pinning my bibs to my USA speed suit, I went to the warmup area and was stunned at how small it was. Just a 40 meter kids soccer field. It was pretty crazy with people of every nation trying to get in striders. With 83 competitors in my age group alone, the 200m is a huge event - hundreds. I warmed up ahead of time and then went out on the area surrounding the stadium to run a few 80m striders.
It was nice to see my teammates Jim, Tony, David, Alan, and others... and meet a whole bunch of people, many of whom I couldn't communicate with. The call room and pre-race marshaling seemed very regimented - a specific place to sit in the call room for each heat, one guy to take us to the track, one guy to wait for us and check our names, one guy to lead us to the start, etc...
I got lane 4. In my heat were sprinters from England, Ireland, Italy, Brazil, Germany, and the US. I knew my competition would come from Ireland and US (Ken T). After being 'green carded' (all told to 'stand up') for my jittery left leg, (as Randall had once warned me about), we got off on the second try and, I got a good start. The three of us emerged ridiculously ahead of the the other 3 by the end of the turn. I would say it was pretty relaxed but close to a maximum effort.
It turned out to be one of the faster heats. (I saw some that were won in over 26). Shane from Ireland told me he broke the M55 200m Ireland National record with his second place finish in the heat, 25.26 ... or something I think. Ken finished a close third.
There is a lot of competition. Watching the heats ... I thought "this is no Senior Games" ... a 'we're not in Kansas anymore' moment. Several of us all within 0.2 sec. Wish it were a timed final but, I have to run semis and finals tomorrow. Haven't seen the complete list but I think team USA did ok, James won his heat, Ken and Tony qualified. I could have run a second slower and still qualified, but the instinct to win pushed me, plus a guaranteed spot in the semis. Plus, it was cool to hear the female announcer with the sexy French accent say over the stadium PA: "William Yelverton from the United States - wins in a time of 25.04." In masters events like this, it is an exercise in attrition... as the finals are sometimes slower than the semis. Most give full effort to make the world finals and with the finals in the same day, it's hard to bring it twice. With 3 semi heats, it's heat winners + next 5 fastest.
I'll post the data on the prelims when they make it available.
I'm good to go, no strains or issues, just need food and sleep.
|separating the qualifiers from the participators|
|after the race, all systems go|