The thing about track is that it’s objective. Every preseason, we put together a new set of beliefs. My start is finally consistent. My power-to-weight ratio is higher than it’s ever been. I’m doing so much more right than any other year. Just look at these charts! Then, December rolls around, we step into blocks for the first time, and our world views are confirmed or shattered in seven seconds or less.
My season opened with a desultory 6.93 in Bozeman last week, finishing fifth of six in my heat and sixth overall. In a continuation of my struggles at the end of last season, my left calf badly cramped just a few minutes before racing, and my left foot was cramping as I settled into the blocks.
It was a frustrating race: I felt flat and tentative out of the blocks. Looking at the video, my first couple steps had much less hip flexion (and therefore foot height) than normal. I never really got going—I was honestly surprised to see sub-7 next to my name on the results board.
I’m still not sure what went wrong. During warmups I had a 16oz sports drink and a caffeine/electrolyte gummy—maybe I should have had some water on top of the sports drink. Since I have some time before my next race, I’m going to take at least one mock meet to try to figure out my meet-day nutrition—I never cramp up in practice.
The funny thing is that if I’d opened in 6.93 any other year, I’d have been thrilled. This year, though, my ambitions are greater—to get there, it’s clear I have to redouble my efforts.
Looking forward, I have a few weeks of uninterrupted training to re-establish my worldview. Then, in late January, I’ll put that to the test in New York at the Dr. Sander Invitational.