This is Part 4 of a multi-part series.
- The Journey & Realistic Goal setting
- The 10 changes I needed to do to avoid injury as in the past
- Race Report, part 1 (including the superspikes)
- EMAC in Pescara (part 2) this article
- Some changes for 2024 to prep for WMA in Gothenburg
Getting there & getting sick!
The only direct flight to Pescara was a train to London Stanstead. Else, it was fly direct to Ancona, then take (an Italian) train to Pescara. Given the track record, I simply didn’t trust UK trains and their strikes.
I got there eventually, with the usual EasyJet delays, only to be greeted with 31°C weather and humidity!
Unfortunately, I chose a fine time to get sick the night before my 200s! (but i’m not making excuses… show up, dress up, and never give up, is my motto)
The 200m(s) & the Re-run
Yes, a RE-RUN! What an emotional roller coaster day!
You hear about re-runs from protests, but rarely from a failed photo finish timing equipment failure. And it never happens to you. Here is how it panned out:
2:00pm – M60 – 7 heats – top 2 Q & next 10 fastest losers, 24 would advance. 66 > 51 > 24 > 8. (Registered > Declared > SF > Finals). I didn’t come top 2 and I ran terrible to be honest, given my sickness & Achilles acting up from the VAC Championship meet, so I had no idea of the time. Probably 28 high?
4:00pm – I make my way back to the hotel to get a call from UK team manager Nick Groocock, saying the photo finish malfunctioned, and they need a RE-RUN at 7:30pm (5 hours later). No time, no advance, so I had to accept. This was a chance for redemption.
6:00pm – I make my way back to the stadium, after a nice shower & lunch, we all used the same lane draw as earlier (minus the 2 automatic Q’s), and ran better this time, a SB/PB of 28.16. (so, 28.26, 28,20, 28.18 and now 28.16) Initially I was ranked 24th (the last ‘q’), so I would make the Semi-Finals at 10:15am tomorrow! Which means to wake up at least 6:15am (the 4 hour rule to wake up the CNS)! So I started rushing back to the hotel, but…
8:00pm – On the bus back to the hotel, my teammate told me they forgot to add the 2 automatic Q from the malfunctioned race, so they re-seeded the semi-finals. I was ranked 26th and not advancing. No semis tomorrow . Time to rest up and get ready for the 400s. Up & down, up & down…
In life, you have to deal the cards that are dealt to you.
With a rest day after running the 200s, it was time for the 400s.
I don’t really remember much of this race, other that just trying to get through to the finish line. By now, I definitely wasn’t 100%. I got to 200m, and knew I was in trouble. By 250m, it got worse. Only when I came off the bend, I saw the finish line, but it was so far away. Usually, this would be my strong part of the race, but without the preparation & training, the last 100m of a 400m is like a death march.
I was ready to go home. But on the bus ride back to the hotel, I checked the online results from my phone, and saw that red (q) next to my time, which was a PB/SB ironically. This was my 4th 400m of the season. They say 3-5 runs of 400m is the sweet spot, where 5-7 runs of 100m is the sweet spot. You simply have to race. Nothing can replace that.
I LIVE ANOTHER DAY.
The warm up area was like Ground Hog day, the movie. The 4th time with the same spot to park my bag. Waiting for 55 minutes before the Call Room check-in to start warming up. Checking my watch constantly. Hydrate with electrolyte tablets. Same routine. 10 min jog. Gerard Mach Drills of A’s. B’s. PowerSpeed’s. Stiff Legged Bound’s. Running Hop’s. Derek Hansen’s 10x10m protocol, on grass. (I did get a few strange looks) A few easy 60s but that warm up track was slick from moisture & leaves, so I skipped it, as the 10x10s were enough stimulus. Then the long, lonely walk to the Call Room.
SemiFinals went ok, in Lane 1. I didn’t advance, came 8th but ran a PB/SB again by over 1 sec (64.35) from yesterday’s Heats. Can’t ask for more.
As painful the 400 is, this was my 5th 400 of the season. You really need to run enough to get the 4 zones right. And you may never get it right.
4 races in 3 days took a pounding , but others had the same or even more, such as those who made the finals. Some guys ran 6 races in 4 days! And that’s not counting relays. The M50-55-60 age groups are the most competitive with the most entries.
The Call Room Experience
You absolutely must follow the rules of accreditation, declaration and the call room times.
I have seen 2 people get a ‘yellow card’ (a warning, equivalent to a False start!) for being late. Don’t show up late. Wear a watch, if you must. There is no excuse.
In Derby & Pescara, the wait was 20 minutes (plus delays, if any), but it can be as high as 30 min as experienced in Tampere WMA or even Eugene World Championships. I’m sure Budapest was longer with the ‘cart buggy ride’ to the main stadium.
Get used to that delay. Need to incorporate that into training, somehow. Of course, I have ideas.
Unfortunately there was no live streaming, unlike Derby.
But fellow TeamGB sprinter/hurdler Darren Towart posted several videos on his YouTube channel, which can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/@darrentowart6459/videos. Thank you Darren for your support.
Lots of great head-to-head races, but it was more fun to enjoy from the stadium, and cheer on your fellow athletes. Weather permitting, of course.
Party, and enjoy Italy
No International track meet would be complete without the traditional shirt swap.
But once the meet was over, it was time to hop in a car, and explore the little towns of Abruzzo.
Eventually, we landed in a nice quaint town of Teramo, found a nice Trattoria (Da Mauro’s), and settled on 300g of pasta in Ragu sauce. That’s 3 times the normal portion of 100g. And yes, I ate it all.