Saturday 19 January 2013

Scottish National Indoor Track Championships


Glasgow Emirates Arena
This event covered a number of firsts for me:
  • The first time I've visited the Glasgow Emirates Arena
  • The first time I've run an event as short as 1500 metres (i.e. less than 5 minutes)
  • My first attempt at running in over 3 weeks due to ongoing sinus and chest problems
  • And my first race where 95% of athletes were less than half my age
I've also never seen so many race officials. Quite literally hundreds of them.

The protocol for reaching the startline felt quite gladitorial, with calling rooms, special individual chairs, sticky lane number for your shorts, and somebody measuring your track spike lengths. Although I think I was the only person not wearing track spikes. Anyhow, after much build up, I was on the startline in Lane 1 for heat 4 of 7. I deliberately held back on the sprint to the first bend, to avoid getting trampled, and then held back in last position for the first 3 laps or so.

I was worried that my chest was not at all happy about the sudden exertion after a horrible painful infection, antibiotics, and weeks of inactivity. After about 4 laps, I thought I ought to start making a bit of an effort, so jumped past a couple runners and was closing on another. It was all getting a bit of blur by this stage. The only thing keeping me going was the clock at the finish line indicating how much longer the suffering would last, assuming I'd finish somewhere between 4:30 and 4:45.

The laps were rattling away quickly enough but I had no sense of what pace I could sustain, with my mind a complete fog by this stage. It was a relief to hear the bell, and charge around the final lap. My predicted time was 4:44, although I had hoped to be nearer to 4:30. Given that I wasn't sure whether to turn up at all, I was pleased enough to cross the line in 4:44.62, and contrary to expectations, I didn't finish last in my heat.

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