Saturday, May 29, 2010

California Invitational Relays

My week in Sacramento has come to an end.

I had a good time out here, starting with a few media ops earlier in the week as well as getting together with Sacramento High School track team and doing some light training with their hurdler, Tori Mason, before competing at the State meet. She ended up finishing fifth in the 100m hurdles and this is her first year competing in the event. She is a real talent.

The weather had been so off and on while I was out here, but on competition day, it was a very beautiful California spring day. Temperature was in the high 70s/low 80s and there wasn't a cloud in the sky, unfortunately for us runners, the winds were blowing in our faces at a strong clip.

I wasn't going to concern myself with what the wind was doing, I went and approached this race the same way I always do. Objective number one is always to win. I knew that running a fast time such as 13.0 was pretty impossible given the conditions, but winning is never impossible. This is why I am never in the business of chasing a time because depending on the conditions, you will be severely disappointed with what comes up on that scoreboard.

We had a pretty good field out there, Dexter Faulk and Aires Merritt, both of whom were ranked in the top 10 in the World in '09 as well, were in the race as well as former UCLA All-American Kevin Craddock.

I was crunk because when I check in, my bib number was 303, the area code for Denver, so I was reppin'! Those of you whole really know me, knows it doesn't take too much to get me fired up!

The gun went off and I ended up winning the race in 13.52 into a -3.6 headwind. Faulk was second and Craddock third, running 13.89 and 13.98.

That was the toughest race that I can remember running. The effort I had to put into that race is probably the equivalent to a race when I run 13.1. There is no such thing as coasting in a hurdle race, no matter how far in front of the competition you are because whether it is a -3.6 or +3.6 wind, the hurdle distance still stays the same. If you relent for a split second or lose focus, you may be watching the rest of the race from your back and up under a hurdle after you fall.

Personally, I'd rather run into a 3.6 than have it turned around and be a tail wind of 3.6. It is much more difficult for me in a race with that much tail wind. I feel that at the Olympic Trails when I ran 12.89 with a 3.2 tailwind, that was the most impressive race that I've run in my career. Given the fact that I was being pushed so close up on the hurdles, if I would have made the slightest mistake, I may not have finished that race. Being a bigger hurdler, I had to be so quick and technically sound and could not have afforded floating a hurdle or sliding my clip step in. Given that wind, 13.2 guys were still running 13.2 and 13.3 guys were still running 13.3 in that race.

If you look at my 13.52 performance in a vacuum, it's not very impressive, but given all the circumstances, I could not be disappointed with what came up on the results. After watching the race video, I am even more impressed with how I kept my technique tight because when we are running into headwinds, more often than not, people are getting splayed out over the hurdles and all wide because we have to work so much harder than normal.

After the race, I got to see my step brother Tre (Harold's son), who lives out in Sacramento, he just finished up college out in Philly, so I finally got to congratulate him on that. I hung out in the stands and took pictures, signed autographs and did interviews for TV and Track and Field News.

I would like to personally thank Greg Miller for all of his hospitality while I was out here, he took very good care of me and made sure that anything I needed, I had. I really had fun out here and I can't wait to be in attendance next season!


California Invitational Relays Race Video


Aunt Celest said...

It's so nice of you to take time with our youth, and future star's. I know it ment so such to her that you took the time to train and talk to her. Sounds like you had a nice time with your step-brother, and I know he was glad to see you. How's Aub and Lee doing? Haven't heard anything about them lately. Once again, Thanks for the updates, and keep them coming.

vivian said...

Hi, i am your fan from china~~but i go to the university here in the United states. i really like you. and i saw your match in shanghai which is 12.99. thats awesome...hope to see you again.

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/ a swedish fan!

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