Yesterday, while making the drive to Rieti, bored in the car, I made one of my frequent stops checking Twitter on my cell phone.
I saw an update by @tandfn Track and Field News' twitter site. The update was about the history of sub 13 second races run in the 110m hurdles. They were highlighting all of the sub13 races I had run in my career.
When I looked at the list and saw the stats, two thoughts instantly came to my mind.
The first thought, I can sum up easily in one word: Wow! They compiled their list counting legal and windy times. Allen Johnson led the list with 11 times (all legal) and then I saw myself in second position with nine (seven legal, two windy), followed by Colin Jackson (four legal, three windy) and Dayron Robles (eight legal) tied with eight performances under the magical barrier.
I can honestly say that when I started getting formal coaching in 2005 and really having an understanding of times, I hoped to be able to do it at least one time. It hasn't really set in the magnitude of things I have accomplished personally this season yet, but when I looked at that list it sort of hit home. I knew all the individuals who had run under 13 and how many times they did it, but it's a lot different when you know it in your head as opposed to seeing it in print.
I am really proud of myself and the perseverance I have displayed. I went down for basically three months of inactivity last year to coming back for three races to suffering the same injury again in Brussels. We see it often, an athlete comes back from a major injury and never reaches the level they were at before hand. I not only reached the same level I was on before, I surpassed it! It is definitely a testament to my coach, physiotherapists and to the mental strength I posses.
My second thought was "This list proves what I've been saying in these interviews beyond a shadow of a doubt". As you can imagine, everyone always asks about breaking the world record. I generally respond with "unless someone can find a way to put it in "Usain Bolt" type territory, it's just being set up to get broken soon." I believe that what we think is so amazing time wise, will become ordinary by the time I reach 60. Track and Field News' compilation of sub 13's proves my theory.
My first year as a professional was in 2005. 28 of the 54 times we have ever seen the clock stop under 13 seconds has been seen since that time. That's over half all time, in a five year span. Tell me that's not making sub 13 seem ordinary. Legal time speaking, we've seen 25 of the legal 46, which is a higher percentage. That percentage would be even higher had Robles and myself not missed the bulk of the '09 season and Robles would have been able to compete this year as well. Between myself and him, we've seen 15 sub 13's since '08 alone.
If I am lucky enough to run 12.86, that would mean the last two world records haven't lasted longer than two years, after it stood unmatched for nearly 13 years, which probably means mine wouldn't last too long either. I would take any time under 12.87 but I would love to go like 12.80. Who knows what could be possible, Bolt showed anything is possible.
Shocking to me, people have come up to me a lot and told me the hurdles record is one of the softest in the books. They site that because Renaldo ran the record of 12.93 in '81, it has only progressed six hundredths of a second since that time. I do believe that if Renaldo would have continued to run, he probably would have run 12.85 already, he was that special when I watch his races. I do not believe that the record is soft by any means. I don't think people understand how hard it is to hurdle when you are running at 12.9 pace. The hurdles are way too close and there isn't that much room to maneuver. Not only that, but to run a record in the hurdles, you have to be perfect 12 times. Your start, ten barriers and the finish. That's way more than any other event. One false movement and you can go from 12.9 to 13.1 easily.
In track events, if I can find an explosive guy who will run 35 steps for 100 meters, he will demolish the record. No matter what your skill set is in the hurdles, you are still dealing with finite space and opportunity. Until someone comes in a revolutionizes the hurdles by taking one or two steps in between as opposed to three, then we can see some off the chart stuff, but until then, I do think the limits of the event are being pushed. Maybe if I coach a kid one day, I'll train him to two-step LOL.
I am looking forward to the possibilities of my future performances. As an American hurdler, over the history, we've tended to have great performances well in to our 30's when we start to mature, so I just am thankful for my health and hope that it continues. Maybe when I am 60 and there are as many sub 13's as we see four minute miles, I will have performed good enough to have my name still somewhere near the top of the Track and Field News sub13 edition in the year 2040!
7 months ago