Friday, March 4, 2016

USATF Masters Indoor Championships - Day 1 report UPDATE

400M: 55.22  - M55 National Champion 
#1 in World 

It went pretty well.  My PR 400m on a 200m track.  Faster than my outdoor times last season. Most remarkably, the fastest indoor 400m in the world in the M55 age group in eight years.  
Significantly faster than my first Indoor Championship 4 yrs ago (55.90) and faster than my outdoor Championship time 55.29 in 2015.

It wasn't close, with second place 56.89.

There were a lot of poor decisions made by the meet directors... one of which was to divide up heats in the timed 400m final in such a way where the some of the fastest guys were not running in the same heat.  In a timed final, there should be a slow heat and a fast heat.   With scratches we had just 6 competitors and they ran 4 in the first heat and just me and Jim in the second heat.   Jim is a many time world and national champion so it wasn't like I didn't have competition.   But, in the final tally, there was less than 0.1 seconds separating 2nd, 3rd and 4th and I think Jim and I should have been in with the other 2 fast guys.  Running a National Championship race in a heat of 2 is silly, but it probably worked in my favor since I had no traffic.  Jim especially got screwed by this, losing a medal by 0.01 seconds.

The track was very much like the Amory, a red Mondo with nice high banks, a very newish surface with not much wear.  It was a little bouncy since it was suspended on a scoffold frame.    They outlawed xmas tree spikes, which I would have preferred, but the somewhat dull ceramic pyramids worked quite well.   I used my lucky black Pumas that I won outdoor Nationals with.   The Indoor Nationals will be here in Albuquerque next yr as well.  Some say the altitude of 5000' here helps the sprints, but hurts the distance runners due to the thinner air.  I didn't notice much difference except the dryness.

The race
I went out just a tad faster than planned.  My splits turned out to be about 25.7 / 29.5.   Many said that my last lap looked strong but still... the splits were more lopsided than I had hoped.  (If I'm ever going to break 55, I've got to be 29 flat or less on that second 200m).   Over all, I felt I executed well, no serious rigging except for some tightness in the last few strides.   After finishing the race, the officials kept us on the opposite side of the scoreboard so I had NO idea whether I had won, ran a good time or anything... until I walked up into the stands and asked someone what my time was...about 15 minutes after the race.   I was pleased... won the race by about 1.67 sec over Ben in the first heat who ran 56.89.

Presently, my time is the fastest in the world and will likely be tops by the end of indoor season.  2nd fastest is German K.S. Frank at 56.12, and 3rd is World Outdoor Champion B. Zavattero at 56.66.   This was my 400m indoor PR on a 200m track, (previous was 55.68 in Birmingham).  Only once in 2012 did I run faster outdoors (55.14), and once on a 300m track indoors (55.11) Jan. '15.  This 55.22 is my third fastest 400m overall.  Faster than I ran at '15 Outdoor Nationals (55.29) and faster than at the World Championships in France (55.30).  People always seem to inflate their seed times at these meets, and I'm happy to have been quite close to my submitted seed time of 55.11.

Glad to get that race over with ... because Saturday would prove to be a long day.

Home stretch of the 400m M55 National Indoor Championship
Scoreboard showing 3 scratches - guess we scared 'em off

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