Joel was throwing up before the race, I felt like I might have had to after the race! I felt very out of rhythm at the end of the race and I was tired! I know you're probably thinking, "how on earth could he be tired after running a 110 hurdle race?" Anyone out there with any experience knows that the first race outside after racing indoors is a monster! That's why I love outdoors, the 110s are a man's race, everybody who's worth anything can race you well for five hurdles which is indicative of my indoor performances, I won all my races by mere hundredths of a second and on an occasion thousandths of a second.
Anyway, the race went very well, I won with 13.29 seconds (0.0w). I broke Colin Jackson's previous meet record in the process. I felt I should run in this range to open up the season. My previous season openers were 2005: 14.14 (UCF Invite), 2006: 13.62 (Disney Invite), 2007: 13.36 (Disney Relays Prelim, 13.26 final), 2008: 13.42 (Disney Relays Prelim, 13.33 final).
I'm happy with that opener, it definitely sets me up well. I know once I get my race rhythm back that I will be just fine. My breathing was off for the last few hurdles, but that will come with more race modeling as well. I'm excited for the race next Thursday in Melbourne, I think that since I got the first one out of the way, I will have a little more confidence going over the ten and be able to attack it harder and run a little faster.
The fans were great, my left hand and shoulder are pretty sore this morning, must have been all the autographs I signed. I don't mind and I try not to miss one for the kids.
Unfortunately, I have to bid Sydney adieu, off to Melbourne in a couple of hours.
Getting my "Brooks Johnson" on with the hat game Paul Doyle and Joel talking about what Asafa was about to run in that quarter, Paul called at least a personal best by one second for Asafa. Bat and Joel Xavier tapped in an interview after that 400, he ran a good race, just took it out a little too fast.Aussie Olympic Gold Medalist Steven Hooker. He won the competition on this jump
So, I woke up this morning, and X hit me up asking me if I had seen the paper. I told him no, so he brought me the paper, and your boy was in there, headlining with Tiger Woods' story underneath mine. That's the first and probably the last time I'll be headlining over Tiger! LOL. The article was just covering some stuff about Beijing and the Olympics. I told them the story of how I ate all my meals at McDonalds after that bout with the food sickness I encountered before competition and they ran with it.
After we ate, Joel, X, our assistant Coach Gary and me took a boat ride over to the Taronga Zoo. The Sydney skyline from the boat When we got to the zoo, we took a sky lift up to the entrance, that was pretty hot. While up in the sky, I caught a quick picture of the elephants down there doing their thing. We got up close and personal with some kangaroos, they weren't even caged in, they just had free range over their little area, Joel was pretty worried about that. We caught some Kimono Dragon action too I don't think I want any trouble with a baby giraffe, they come out the womb towering over your boy! I don't think I was suppose to be touching the animals, but I couldn't help myself, at least there wasn't an incident. We saw a whole lot of stuff, Tazmanian Devils, Lions, Tigers, Anacondas, Australia's biggest Python etc, but we had to get back for a lunch/press conference with the Australian Athletics Association.
The lunch was great, they honored the Aussie Olympians and Steven Hooker had a pretty inspirational speech about his journey to the Olympic Gold Medal.
Of course we had to hit a workout today too. I've been so tired at this time of the evening, my body hasn't gotten adjusted yet. Last night Joel said he was asking me if I was going to roll with him to grab some dinner and I was responding "In a minute". I don't even remember that at all! He said I even attempted to stand up, but I just laid back down on the edge of the bed with half my body off the bed! Somebody must have slipped something in my protein shake. I was out of it big time!
I better get it together because we race around this time Saturday night, so I don't need to be falling asleep in the blocks. I keep trying to get Maury to push the race up to about 11am, but I don't think that's going to happen.
It was a very long full day of traveling for me in order to get out to Sydney, Australia, but has it been worth it so far!
I flew on Qantas Airline for the journey from London to Sydney on its new A380 jet. This was the first time I've flown on this airline and the first time I've been privileged enough to sit upstairs on the plane lol. It took about 16 hours to get from London to Singapore, we had a quick layover to re fuel, then hit another eight hours from Singapore to Sydney.
The meet organizer Maury Plant picked us up from the airport, he's putting us up in a very nice hotel, right downtown. I showered and was seriously tapped out within a couple of hours, the bad part was, I've been up since 4:30 this morning (+14 hours time difference from Orlando). (Picture from the hotel room)
Joel and I hit the realest breakfast I've ever had outside of the one's that Bren throws down on when I'm out in Denver, then we hit the streets for some sightseeing. Picture with the historic Sydney Bridge.
The legendary Opera House that you probably see in everything involving Sydney, Australia.
After our quick self-guided tour of a couple block radius from the hotel, we hit a few shops and headed back to the hotel, I had an interview to do with the local paper.
Practice was on deck after that, right at the 2000 Olympic Park Yevgeny Lukyanenko, the Russian Silver Medalist from Beijing, joined us for the training session as well. It looks like the pole vault will be one of the hottest competitions at the meet this weekend.Joel, Maury and I It was SUPER hot at practice today, I hadn't felt heat like that in quite a while. Training went well, I hit a massage afterward and was back on the streets of Sydney.
My favorite shops are within minutes from the hotel, Polo, Gucci, Louis Vuitton. I tried to get some shoes, but for some reason my shoe size is too big, what a shock. Not really. They kept hitting me with "We don't have very many Australians your size", 10 1/2 seems to be the biggest size available in the entire city. Oh well. Now it's time for some dinner, I'm pretty surprised I'm still up, hopefully I can sleep until at least 7 or 8.
Well things didn't go very well today in my last indoor race of the season. I got fourth place in 7.57, behind Faulk 7.54, Payne 7.55 and Joel 7.56. I started bad, hit hurdles three, four and five. That a recipe for getting beat and that's what happened. Fourth place is the worst finish I've had since my last indoor race last season, but we all know what happened outdoors (which is the only season that counts anyway).
This indoor was still a success for what we set out to accomplish. I set a new personal best, shaving two-hundredths off my time from last year, I still have the World lead with only a couple more races around the world to go and my start is getting progressively better, not where I want it exactly, but not as uncomfortable as it started out.
I will give my indoor season a grade of A+. We didn't set out and train for indoors in any capacity and to attain what I have this season is great, indoors was a success.
I've already shaken this off, enough with this pre-season running, now off to the big boy season.
First and foremost, my luggage has landed!! I got action earlier this afternoon. I let out a deep sigh of relief.
I had a decent training session this evening, I'm really ready to go out and end this indoor season on a good note.
The field here is probably the best one assembled so far this season. It consists of: Joel Brown (7.48), Shamar Sands (7.49), Dexter Faulk (7.50), David Payne (7.54), Andy Turner (7.57), Ty Akins (7.60), Chris Ballie (7.74) and myself.
All I'm looking to do is get out of the blocks like I have been executing and the rest will take care of its self.
This is a very early start for the meet, we go off at 1:10pm, I don't think I've ever raced that early before, guess I gotta turn it in early tonight. We will see what happens tomorrow.
After nearly 24 hours of travel from point A to point B, a trip that should have taken no more than 12 hours, I finally made it to the UK. Of course without my luggage. Hopefully I will have some action on the bags in the morning. The rest of my day will consist of a massage, eat, put on the Slingbox and tap out hard! I'm exhausted and my ankles are pretty swollen, all you heavy travelers out there know what I mean. I will update with some info on the meet tomorrow.
As I type this, Joel and I are sitting in the airport steaming mad. We are suppose to be on my way to Birmingham U.K. for another race, but instead we have been sitting in the airport on a delay for what seems like forever. Our stop is suppose to be in Newark, probably the worst airport to travel in and out of in America in my opinion and we only had an hour layover. So needless to say, I'm sure we won't make that connection to head to the U.K. Now they are talking about directing us through Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris, the worst airport in the world. I'm sure we won't see any of our luggage anytime soon if that happens. We will see what shakes out........
After much traveling and racing these past two weeks, I have gotten most of the week off from Brooks. I definitely am in the mood for some much needed rest before this next travel and competition phase.
I only have weights this week and one track workout this Friday.
I've had the pleasure of spending some quality time with my car, I spent a few hours after my last lift session detailing it. That's one of my favorite pastimes.
Later on tonight, my Nuggets are in town to play the Magic, I'm going to hit up the game, I have never been able to catch them play down here, I'm always out of town when they come to Orlando. The Magic have one of the worst arena's I've ever been in, I don't understand that, but whatever.
Another major event in USA Track and Field that I'm having trouble completely understanding is the recommendations presented by the Project 30 Task Force.
CEO Doug Logan felt that this was needed due to our "poor" performances at the Olympic Games. Which immediatley hits me as something I don't understand, there was not one Gold medal that Team USA should have won on paper that we didn't, and we got one that nobody predicted, but I guess we will over look that.
A few findings/recommendations that I feel a certain way about are:
* Excessive travel and poor long-term planning on the part of athletes, their coaches and agents appear to be the greatest controllable factors negatively affecting Team USA performance in Beijing.
To me, this is laughable. Excessive travel?, we are professionals and we all knew for years that the 2008 Olympics were going to be hosted in Beijing. This is a poor excuse. What I believe is the underlying thing here is that this task force believed that Olympians on the USA team competed too much in Europe prior to the Games. As a professional, you want to get paid for your services. You go to the Trials and pour out you heart to win a spot on the Olympic Team. I won the Trials, the most competitive competition in the World arguably and received a check for $5000. So you want us to sit at home and train for the Olympics, instead of going overseas where you can see that $5,000 check tripled in an appearance fee? I can't knock somebody who wants to take advantage of their newly acquired title as U.S. Champion and gain the appearance fees from European meets that come with that. So unless they plan on some sort of financial support like the other countries do, how can you say that because somebody wanted to capitalize upon their performance, as poor planning. Come to think about it, a lot of the Gold medal winners in the sprint events competed throughout Europe post-Trials i.e. the Jamaicans, who's trials were just as tough as ours in the sprints.
* Lack of communication between coaches and athletes, poor management of the relay pools and questions over which coaches were responsible for relays resulted in the 4x100m relay failures in Beijing.
Being on the outside of this looking in, as I was not involved in this process directly. I still feel a certain way about this. I am a firm believer that coaching had nothing to do with the 4x100m relay debacles. You can be coached very well, but things happen. If I would have fallen on a hurdle in the first round, can you blame Brooks for that? It's the individual runners responsibility to handle their business. Being present at almost all of the practices the relay had partaken in prior to competition, I saw not one day of "up to speed" practice. Who's fault is that, not the coaches. People were always sore or focusing on their individual events or whatever the excuse of the day was, and couldn't/wouldn't take part in the session. I'm very glad that I don't have to be a part of the whole "relay pool" thing. Hearing people complain about the possibility of not being on the relay because they finished 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th at the Trials was crazy. Let me go to the Trials and finish 7th, 8th place, I might not be able to get races in Europe, let alone make trips as a member of the Olympic or World Championships teams.Bottom line, blame the athletes, not the coaches.
* Inroads have been made into catching and punishing doping cheats, but more must be done to strengthen the anti-doping culture.
I can't feel any stronger about this. Drug cheats not only ruin their own image, they ruin the people that finish behind them careers. Think about the guy that finished fourth at the Trials, behind a drug cheat. He/she will never make up the experience or money they lost. Think of the Silver Medalist, who although they will get the stripped Gold Medal as a post audit, they will never get they joy of standing on the top position of the podium and hear their National Anthem played. At least USADA/WADA etc, don't sweep the drug charges under the rug like other major sporting leagues.
* American athletes as a group do not conduct themselves as true professionals, and USATF does not hold them to professional standards.
I need some more information on how they can just make this blanket statement. I don't know if this is to help us or if this is negative speak.
* Shorten the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Track & Field to five days.
I thought that this whole report was done in order for us to send the best possible team to the major championships. With the trials being shorten to five days, I don't necessarily feel that this will impact me one way or the other, but let's think about two major athletes who are considered the best in their events. I can't imagine Bernard Lagat being able to pull the 5,000/1,500 double. Two rounds of the 5,000 and three rounds of the 1,5000 in five days? You talk about being susceptible to injury. Tyson Gay is the other that immediately comes to mind. He got injured attempting a 100/200 combo, which at this past year's trials were on the opening and closing weekends, now you want him to compete in eight races in five days. These are two of the very best in their event in America, so if the purpose of this is to send the best team, what's the likelihood that these two will be able to represent the USA in the Olympics where they have been ranked #1 in the U.S. in both events during recent times?
* Promote and foster a self-sustaining professional athletes' union.
I really hope to see this come to fruition. Several attemps that they have tried to foster in the past have either failed or not completely developed. Hopefully whomever this professional General Manager they plan on hiring will have some sort of gameplan.
These were just a few notes that I wanted to cover and I felt a certain way about. I haven't had the chance to talk to any other American runners to see what their view or opinion on the whole thing is. To me I believe they needed to find some sort of scape goat for issues that extended far beyond the track at the Birds Nest.
The thing that got me was how they put the stat out there that 3 of 8 women medalists produced season's best performances and 2 of 13 men's medalists produced season's bests. That might be the most jaded fact they found. They are comparing season's bests, which more often then not come from one-off races, to a competition which we had four rounds over the course of four days and the highest amount of stress imaginable. Payne was able to produce one of the two season's best, but his time was WELL off his personal best performance and had he been healthy last year, I know for a fact his season's best would have been faster than 13.17. Walter Dix was the other athlete, who ran sparingly last year.
During my travels these past couple of weeks to Europe, I had a great misfortune of breaking the left earpiece in a pair of Bose headphones I owned. I tried everything to salvage the existing Bose headphones, I practically used up Joel's roll of training tape on the flight over trying to get them in working order. All attempts failed unfortunately.
So I was bound and determined to replace them when I got home. Anyone that really knows me, knows that when I'm bound to get something, I will have it within the day. Needless to say, in the airport at one of those Inmotion stores, I copped a pair. Got them on sale too, so that's a big plus.
I can tell a clear difference in the crispness of the music compared to the Bose. Dr. Dre said they pick up music the way the DJ's intended the music to sound. They both cost relatively the same at full price, but the "Dre Beats" are clearly more fashionable. They just came out so they have a little exclusivity factor that I like.
These definitely get the D.O. Stamp of Approval. Drop your Bose's and pick up some Beats By Dre.
Tonight was clearly one of the toughest races I've ever had to run. At the end of the day, it was my name at the top of the list at 7.45 seconds, beating Borisov from Russian by a few thousands of a second. He also ran 7.45. This establishes a new personal best for me, bettering my 7.47 from last season. Joel came home in third with a new personal best for him as well in 7.48. 4700 Continues to hold it down.
In the prelim race, after three restarts of the race, I won my heat in 7.51. I executed my start very well, although I had a slower reaction time in the prelim compared to the final (.160 to .119), I was efficient in fully extending through my hip flexor on my front leg, maximizing the forces I would put in to the ground in my seven step approach. In the final, although it was a faster time, I basically stepped out of the blocks and didn't maximize the blocks for what they are there for.
That's a lesson to all of you who want to get caught up in the numbers of reaction times. It's basically only a gauge to see who released pressure from the block the fastest, there is no measurable for who actually WAS the most efficient out of the blocks. We have a saying "You try to steal hundreths of a second at the start, you will give back tenths at the finish."
Any way the prelim went according to plan, I had the fastest time and it was also the second fastest time I had ever run to that point. Here's where the fun started. After my prelim, I was hurried back to the dressing room so that I could prepar myself for the "Parade of Stars". Keep in mind I only had 30 minutes between prelim and final. After that finished up, I had to undress, jog underneath the arena, re-check in, throw on my spikes and head to the start line. No time to take another start or get a blowout in, just set the blocks.
I like doing those type of "Parade of the Stars" deals. I remember when I was basically just a lane filler for the meets, now people come to see me and the meeting directors want you to be seen.
Anyway, the final went off, and I saw my usual position at the first hurdle, LAST. I picked up Andy Turner at touch down off of two, but Borisov was ghost. I know he is a great indoor runner, his personal best is 7.44. I picked up everybody else aside from him inbetween hurdles three and four and nipped him in the rundown. Brooks preaches to us that you have to dominate that rundown off of ten (five indoors), that's what I did and I was able to get a hard earned victory, a new personal best and the World Lead again.
I was named Male Athlete of the Meeting, I won a cool trophy (pic above). I'm happy for the win, but even more happy to be heading back to Orlando tomorrow. This was a very successful indoor campiagn. I think I have my start figured out a little more but I have lots of work to do when I get back home.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY BREN!! Couldn't get that WR, but the win and a new PB is fine I know.
Me and the Berlin World Championship 2009 mascot. Hopefully I will be fortunate enough to pick up the win there too.
The woman who made ALL of this possible, my number one fan, Bren, is celebrating a birthday today. I would say how old but you know that's impolite!
I thank God everyday for blessing me with the mother that I have. A lot of people aren't fortunate enough to have a strong influence in their lives while growing up and I had one.
She told me that for her birthday she wanted me to go out and run the World Record and win today. I think that World Record part might be a little too much for me, 7.30 is BLAZING! I think I can get the win for her, we will see.
So, I'm back in Stuttgart, the city where I shut down the Mercedes Benz Stadium last season with the last win ever on that historic track.
This year will be the first time I have ever competed in Stuttgart indoors. But before competition starts tomorrow, I took part in the "Kids Day" the meeting director put on. The kids were great and super excited to see us. I took a small group and had them go through a little bit of my warm-up and some of my hurdle drills. You know it was a massive amount of autographs to sign, but I sign them all for the kids. Most of the time they don't know who you are but they see their friends asking you, so they want one too. I enjoy the kids, they genuinely are happy that you are there.
After passing out awards to the kids, I linked up with Joel for a quick training session that went pretty decent. My pre-meet is never a good indicator of how I'm going to perform for some odd reason. Sometimes on days when it's not so good, I run fast in the meet, days when I'm hitting it well, I don't do too well.
We have two races here as well. This will be a new set of circumstances for me, I'm in the second heat of the hurdles, I will get done running, head over for the "Presentation of the Stars", then get ready for the final which is about 30 minutes after the prelim round.
Robles was suppose to run here, but in his absence, there will still be a high quality field. Yvgeniy Borisov, (Russia) has the fastest PR in the field at 7.44, he is the World Indoor Bronze Medalist. Greg Sedoc, the national record holder from the Netherlands (7.56), Alan Scott and Andy Turner from Great Britian, Joel and myself. Should be a good one.
The lesson for today was you have to find a way to win no matter the script.
I didn't run nearly close to what I wanted to today. I won my prelim heat pretty comfortably in 7.64, but that was not without incident.
I finally got the start that I have been trying to get with this new approach to the start I have been using, but coming off of one going in to two, Andy Turner hit my trail arm pretty hard, knocking me off balance and causing him to fall and take out the guy on the other side of him. Because of that, my hurdles two and three were off, but I was able to finish well. I felt very confident going in to the finals because I finally got that start after three previous attempts under the gun. I was leading Turner who is definitely a great starter.
They were running behind schedule a bit, so we had 15 minutes until the final. The gun went off and I produced one of the worst starts I can remember. I think it's just a matter of me trying to press and that messes everything up. Joel lead the race until we came off of four and I ended up taking the lead and winning in a less than stellar time of 7.60. Joel finished second in 7.66, we almost had another 4700 sweep, but Aub was edged for third by a hundredth of a second.
So the script didn't go as to how I had it written, but at the end of the day, you've got to find a way to win the races you are suppose to win.
I will chill out here in Malmo until the 5th, then fly out to Stuttgart for my last race of this series on the 7th. I have a workout in the morning, then I will go out and see some sights probably.
I go off tonight at 9:05pm (3:05pm eastern) in the first round of the hurdles. We have two rounds here which is what I really like. There's only 40 minutes between the qualifying and final rounds, which is also perfect.
I haven't been up to much out here in Malmo, I had a press conference yesterday with Blanka Vlasic and Christian Cantwell, never had I ever been the smallest person in a setting, whether it's a press conference, medal stand, etc. Blanka is over 6'5'' and Cantwell is 6'5'' and 300 plus pounds.
Hopefully we can pull off another 4700 sweep here too. I'm shooting for a new personal best, we will see what happens.
I've got my Slingbox going in high gear today. So far this morning I've been glued to the computer screen watching Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal going head to head in the Australian Open Final. The matchup between these two men always makes for classic television. I don't even watch tennis all that often, but anytime two greats go head to head, regardless of sport, I have to watch. I believe in order to become great, you have to watch how those who are already great operate. At the Olympic Games, I had the chance to meet Nadal and the way he carries himself it's no surprise that he his at the pinnacle of his sport right now.
I'm calling Nadal in a five set thriller. Of course the biggest sporting event in our culture is taking over the screen later on this evening (12.30am out here). I have never missed watching a Superbowl since the first one I can remember watching, the Broncos-Giants matchup in '87. I am pretty sure I will not make it to the end of this one, thanks for Slingbox again because I will just record it and watch it Monday at some point and time.
I'm hoping for the Steelers to win the game, I have a couple of friends on the team, plus they have a black head coach, so it will be nice to see them win. I don't know personally know anyone on the Cardinals, but Harold coached one of the guys in high school, so I'm sure he's pulling for him.