I can't believe that I haven't posted anything about the Virginia Tech incident. As someone who has frequented their lovely campus on several times in the past for indoor meets while I was in college and being a human being, I would be remissed if I didn't say that the faculty and students of the university have been in my personal prayers for the past week. I would like to congratulate the athletic teams who have had some inspiring performances, topped off with the women's track team winning the ACC Championship by a considerable margin. I wish I could go back and say something earlier. But I feel how everyone else feels: We Are Virginia Tech!
Had a good time up in Greensboro, North Carolina this weekend, on and off the track. Got in town Thursday afternoon, it was great seeing a lot of the other hurdlers, some of whom I haven't seen since indoor championships.
As far as the competition went, we had a very early start to the action, with our first round being at 9:45am!! I have never had a race that early in my entire career. Warm-ups went well for the opener, I ended up dropping a 13.26 (+0.0w) in heat 3 of 4 to win the heat, I didn't feel that comfortable during the race at all, but when the time came up on the board, I felt that I could muster something in the 13.1 range in the final. The prelim was the worst race I ran all season I felt.
The final was held at 12:30, I'm a big fan of having a couple of rounds a day, I didn't do too much for warm-up part II, but was feeling pretty good before hand, although my shins were hurting a little bit, I've been fighting an uphill battle with my shins for about the last couple of weeks. During the race I got out pretty slow, but just stayed with my form and focus through the middle hurdles. I came off hurdles #8 and #9 a little off balance, I didn't feel it during the race, but after watching the replay of the meet on the scoreboard I could really see it. I regained everything and brought it through the finish line strong and ended up running 13.22(+0.1w), which is a new season best and world lead! I missed my person best by .02 seconds. The competition was great, Payne almost hit his person best with the 13.33 he ran, also .02 off a new record. Rounding out the top three was Ron Bramlett with a 13.45 a seasons best as well.
This outdoor campaign is already shaping up to be a fast one, with a lot of people opening up their respective season faster than they have previously. North Carolina A&T and the city of Greensboro were great hosts for the weekend, I look forward to running in competitions they will host in the future. RESULTShttp://durhamstriders.com/07FFG/
After taking last weekend off from competition, I will be back on the track this weekend. I'll be racing at the International Friendship and Freedom Games, hosted by North Carolina A&T in Greensboro, North Carolina. It's a meet that my coach is involved in putting on, and the competition is in honor of four NCA&T freshmen, Ezell Blair, Franklin McCain, Joseph McNiel and David Richmond, who started lunch-counter sit-ins in Greensboro, February 1, 1960. The purpose of the meet is to bring attention to what is known as the "A&T Four" and the contribution they made to the civil rights movement in America. As someone who went to a Historically Black College/University, I feel honored to compete in this inaugural event and I hope it grows in to becoming one of the finest track meets in the world.
The competition in my event is shaping up to be great. The likes of Aubrey Herring (13.31), David Payne (13.31), Robby Hughes (13.26), Ron Bramlett (13.26), Eric Mitchum (13.39), Josh Walker (13.36), Joel Brown (13.22) as well as my training partners and myself are on the preliminary line-up. This is looking like a early season summit meeting with most of the best young 110 hurdlers in the U.S. I will most definitely have to be on my A game this weekend.
Ran 13.26 (0.9w) down in Gainesville this past weekend, which improves on my current World Lead and Seasons Best. I won this cool plaque (see pic) which was given to the winner of the 110m hurdles at the Relays, given in honor of legendary University of Florida coach Percy Beard. I thought I ran a good race, but my coach Brooks Johnson though otherwise. He said after I got clear of the field I went in to relax mode and didn't run worth two pinches of s**t. After the meet organizers had us wait around until the very last section, I kind of lost my adrenaline rush, but other than that, I felt great, didn't hit any hurdles and most importantly came out without an injury, which is more than I can say for my fellow training partner Jacoby Dubose, who now is going to have to rehab his hamstring before he races again. I also saw fellow hurdler/arch rival Joel Brown at the meet, but didn't get a chance to rub in that Ohio State loss to Florida in the Final Four Championship, but we will meet again! RESULTS: http://www.gatorzone.com/trackfield/floridarelays/?year=2007&click=upload/results_1.html
My fourth race of the season is coming up this weekend in Gainesville, Florida at the Pepsi Florida Relays. My first meet of the season was a few weeks ago, where I ran 13.62. That race was the fastest season opener I had ever run. I competed a week later at Disney where I ran 13.27 in the prelims, which as of right now is the world leading time and then ran a wind-aided 13.28 (4.5w) in the finals. Before that meet the fastest time I had ever run in the United States was 13.45! I credit that and the successful 2007 indoor campaign to the very competitive practices I have been going through with my training partners. Now it's time for the Florida Relays, the competition will be greater and so are my expectations for the meet. I'm hoping to run a technically sound race, stay healthy and produce a fast time as well. This time of our seasons as professionals, we like to use the races as competitive practices to try to put together everything we have gone over in practice. You can run as fast as you want between March and June, but as I like to say, "You can't win anything of importance between March and June but some ohhh's and ahhh's and a front row seat to the action at USA Championships." Prayerfully everything will go well.
Great Britian's superstar 110 hurdler, Andy Turner, is down in Orlando training for the upcoming 2007 outdoor season. Today was the first time we trained together, and it was a great, competitive practice. I wasn't trying to get scraped up by him and he wasn't trying to get scraped up by me. We hurdled today and both had an equally good day out there on the sticks. I forgot that Andy was very quick out of the blocks, so that made me really put some emphasis on my start. I think I got him more than he got me BUT we had a 200 meter tag at the end of the workout and he REALLY killed me! He came through in about 21.5 and I came through in around 23.1. We have about another month of his group down here training at Disney, so it should be some good practices. Throw him in there with my full-time training partners, Jacoby Dubose and Linnie Yarbrough, we will be having some nice workouts. I am very excited for this season, this is the first time I have had someone to really train with since I started running professional in 2005, and I have TWO very capable athletes.
I don't have much riding on the game tonight, mainly because I had Georgetown winning the Championship in my bracket. I really hope that Florida takes the basketball title in the same fashion that the football team did. ESPN, in a virtually simulated game had Ohio State taking the title 80-76 (shown above), but for our sake on the circuit this season, I really need Florida to take this because then we won't have to hear our friend Joel Brown consistantly talking about this game (he was a '04 grad from OSU), mainly because I see him at practically every competition. I actullay like Oden and Conley Jr. but the simple fact I will have to listen to Joel far outweights any feelings towards the Buckeyes. Let's go Gators 80-62! (Sorry Joel and Dan Taylor).
Finally had some down time, between doing something track related 15 of the last 19 days and going in to The Home Depot for work, so I decided to go and check out Shooter and Pride today. Shooter was a great movie, second best movie I've seen in 2007 behind 300. If you haven't seen it you should, especially if you are in to movies like Enemy of the State. I won't give any of it away but it was a good two hours spent. After checking out Shooter, I hit Pride, the movie about the all Black swim team. I really didn't have any intentions on seeing this movie when I saw the previews a while back, it had that Coach Carter, Remember the Titans kind of feel. I only stopped by because it was playing right next to the theater I was coming out of from watchin Shooter. Pride was also a good movie. It was a rollercoaster ride for me, from the swim race scenes to the emotional element of the movie being a Black male. I recommend catching both these movies.
After spending the last couple of seasons visiting friend and fellow hurdler Ron Bramlett's blog, I decided that I would try it out for this season because it seemed like a pretty cool idea. Now I can try to post my own pictures, videos and other random stuff. We will see how long this will last!