Friday, July 11, 2014

Youth is wasted on the young.

What I wouldn't give to be 17 years old for just one 200 meter dash. . . or maybe two.
It is unfair that your body and your brain don't match up at the right times. There is a certain age when your potential is so great, but your mind hasn't figured it out yet. Or your mind is so keen on how awesome you could be, but your physiology has other ideas.

This thought occurred to me as I was reviewing the pace intervals prior to a Tuesday evening track workout.

Ok, so my VDot is 44, which means I should be running a 200 meter at Interval pace in about 48 seconds. Got it. 200's are pretty fun. I used to run them in high school...  

With a few Google search words I was able to find my 100 and 200 meter dash results from 1996 and 1997 Iowa Girls State Track. This made me feel slightly younger, knowing that the internet was invented while I was still in school. Thank you Al Gore! *wink*

High school, high school, high school...(fading, fading, fading)...

As a junior, I placed 5th overall in the 100 meter dash final, and wanted to go back as a senior even stronger. I did very well at the district meet, and qualified for the state track meet in both the 100 meter and 200 meter dashes. I even beat out my nemesis, Pam, who only made it to state in the 200 meter race and into a slower heat. Take that, Pam! I may have been more focused on beating Pam than actually doing well at the meet.

District Finals 100 meter dash. (Pam is to the right of the girl in purple shorts, not pictured.)
State track organizes multiple heats of each race based on the runner's qualifying times at the district meet. For the 100 meter preliminary, I was placed in the third heat, and in the outermost lane - lane 8 - the worst lane. I ran that 100 meters in 13.61, which was pretty slow, and I didn't qualify for the final. Similar story for the 200 meter dash. It just didn't have it that year, or maybe the competition was more stiff.
That's me, all the way to the right. Next to the girl in the purple shorts. The winner of that heat went to win the 100 meter and 200 meter overall. She was DQed from the 100 meter the previous year for a false start.
Looking back on the results, the winner of the 100 meter and 200 meter in 1997 was disqualified from the 100 meter dash the previous year because of a false start. She probably would have had a repeat win in both events. But, one little misstep, and she was out. One false move or breath can make or break an entire sprint. I didn't realize it then, as much as I do now. Yeah, you have to be fast, but your mindset has to be deadpan to really be competitive.

Endurance sports are much more mental sometimes that shorter races because you are dragging ass to the finish line after exerting your energy for hours. When you have more time, there is more room for error; even if a part of the race feels wicked hard, there are other parts that can feel amazing. In contrast, a shorter race leaves no room for error. If everything from tying your shoe laces to coming cleanly out of the blocks isn't perfect, it can have a .01 effect on your performance which can mean winning, or losing.

High school years were far from my glory days, but I still have dreams about high school track. (And totally unrelated - college Algebra.) If I had to pick a day to go back to high school with my 35-year old brain, it would definitely be that day of State Track in 1997, when I could have perfected just a little more, or pushed just a little harder. I was worthy of the challenge, and I totally could have done better with my current mindset. What I wouldn't give to have one day back on that blue rubber track in a 115 pound, 17 year old body. As they say, "Youth is wasted on the young." So true.

Who's to say that we shouldn't start perfecting things, or pushing just a little bit harder right now. In the scheme of things, our lifetime really is only a blip. Maybe more like a 200 meter dash than a marathon.