I opened my 2022 season at the UAB Vulcan Invitational in Birmingham, Alabama last weekend, competing in the 60m and 200m. It was my first time at that facility and my first indoor meet since college. Racing indoors is always special for me as a California native—I love how crowd noise is amplified by echoes, slamming into the wall at the end of a 60, running on a bank, just all of it.
The Crossplex in Birmingham is an excellent facility, and UAB did a great job running the meet—big props to them. For the first time indoors, I had access to a separate warmup track with starting blocks. The meet itself was quick and efficient; every event happened exactly according to schedule.
Since this meet was just an opener for me, I treated it more like a workout than competition, and trained through it. I didn’t have a ton of expectations going in to the meet.
60m: 6.97 (slow-motion video)
This beat my previous FAT best of 7.03 from Feb. 2020. I won my heat and was tied for third overall in the meet.
- My focus was on staying low and driving as long as possible—I executed this well, keeping a noticeable forward lean in my torso past 30 meters. I think this was the primary reason I won the race, as my competition was mostly upright by 20 meters.
- The first steps of my start were unspectacular—I still have work to do to tighten those up.
200m: 22.56 (slow-motion video)
I drew lane 2, which, according to this admittedly shady study from 1998, put me at a ~0.2 second disadvantage compared to lane 6—so I lowered my already-low expectations for this race. Happily, I managed to win my heat with a time of 22.56—almost a full second PR over my previous indoor best of 23.25!
That said, I have a lot to improve on for next time:
- I had an awful start—I haven’t done any curved starts yet this year, and barely have any experience at all with banked tracks.
- At least two times, I placed my right foot way too far to the inside, causing me to stumble (and scrape my foot against my left calf).
- My speed endurance, while surprisingly good for January, isn’t where it wil hopefully be by the end of the season. My form broke down in the last 50 meters.
Overall, I ran surprisingly fast for the time of year—I wasn’t expecting any PRs. It’s an encouraging start to the season and I’m excited to see what I can do at my next meet!