After the Summer Sunset Classic, I wasn’t sure if I’d compete again this season. But I felt like I’d ended on a down note, especially from skipping the 200 in that meet. So I kept training, and I flew down to Lexington this past week to compete in the 100 and 200 at the USATF Masters National Championships.
I felt strong and fast in the weeks leading up to the meet. The only bump in the road was popping my Maxflys right before traveling; I ended up competing in my New Balance SD-X’s instead.
I had had a great time at the 2021 edition of the Masters championships in Ames. These meets have a sense of camaraderie that’s missing from most of the college and open meets I attend. It’s really special, and I can see why athletes compete for many decades.
In Lexington, I saw friends old and new—some I knew from California and Atlanta, some from Ames last year, and some who I had only ever interacted with online. I’m especially grateful to Alessandro and Carey who let me hang out under their canopy all week and cooked an absolutely amazing summer pasta!
We were originally scheduled to run a preliminary and a final round. Unfortunately, only 8 of the 13 declared, so the meet organizers skipped the prelims and moved everyone straight to the final. I think running a prelim would have really helped me—the final definitely included some rust removal. That said, I executed reasonably well and won the final by a fairly wide margin.
It was hot and humid—in the mid-80s and sunny. I’m thankful that the meet organizers had plenty of coolers with ice and water. Surprisingly, I didn’t see any other people grabbing ice to cool off—I think it really helped me stay froggy while waiting to run.
- 10.76 is my second-fastest time ever, my fastest one-off round ever, and my first time under 10.8 since April. It was frankly a huge relief to dip back under 10.8 after a series of disappointing races.
- Leading up to the meet, I worked a lot on keeping my heels a bit lower in my first couple steps. Unfortunately, that mostly went out the window in the race.
- My fourth step landed wide, causing me to slightly lose my balance. It’s hard to say how much the misstep affected me—it’s almost imperceptible on video, but was super noticeable during the race.
- I had a good, extended drive phase—most of the ground I gained on my competitors was in the first half of the race.
- The last time I raced in the SD-X, I pulled my hamstring, and this was on my mind as I entered the back half of the race. I never really opened up my stride, focusing instead on really keeping my feet landing underneath me.
- Had I run a preliminary round, I’m pretty confident that I would have set a PR.
I had just over 24 hours between the 100 and 200. This was the first multi-day meet I’ve run since college, and I wasn’t sure how my body would respond. I had a fairly poor night of sleep in between, but still felt OK going into my warmup. During the warmup, however, my right adductor became more and more sore, to the point where I was concerned about an acute injury during the race. Since it was my final race of the season, though, I decided to push it and see what happened.
My race strategy was to just gun it and see what I could do on the final straight. I knew I’d be flying close to the sun—but I knew that I had the speed to PR if I could close it out. Unfortunately, I couldn’t, and faded over the last 50 meters to 21.96.
The time was still good enough to win the meet—in fact, it was the fastest time of the day across all age groups.
The weather was much drearier than the day before—it rained all morning and the temperature was in the low 70s when I raced. Fortunately, there wasn’t any rain during my race.
- 21.96 is my second-worst 200 of the season, only behind my near-freezing Pittsburgh experience into a -4.3 wind.
- My start was well-executed—I made up the stagger on the two athletes to my outside very quickly.
- The video shows that I was really quite close to the inside line as I came off the curve. It’s not the first time I’ve been close to the inside line and is something I’ll have to be wary about next season.
- I ran out of gas with about 50 meters to go. First my hamstrings, then my quads started to feel crampy.
Overall, this was one of my favorite meets of the year. Although I didn’t set a PR in either race, I did defend my 100m title, running faster than my wind-aided time last year, and won the 200m for the first time. And I had an absolutely great time chatting with other competitors and watching some really impressive athletes.