Saturday, April 01, 2017

2017 Police and Emergency Services Games - Finishing with a bang!

Today (April 2) is Autism Acceptance day, a time to embrace the Autism in your life, whether in yourself, or someone close to you.  For me, as well as the launch of a new messaging platform for Autistic adults, that has been waiting in the wings for a few months, it is also the day after my successful summer track season came to a close.

Yesterday the track and field events of the 2017 Police and Emergency Services Games were held.  I entered the 100, 200 and 400 metre sprints, as well as the long jump.  With good form over the past few weeks, I was cautiously optimistic about how I would perform, but also had concerns as to whether the long (~ 6 ½ months) season would finally catch up with me.  As it turned out, I had nothing to worry about.

First up was the 100 metres.  Conditions were cool, so I allowed plenty of time for a full warmup, with a few extra run-throughs.  On the start, I lined up beside last year’s fastest runner, a good spot for a challenge.  Got off to an excellent start and immediately left him behind, however.  Had my smoothest acceleration and transition for the whole season, and finished first in my heat, leaving at least two much younger sprinters behind.  The time recorded was 12.44 seconds.  Being hand timed, that equated to around 12.7 seconds, which was still significantly faster than my 12.99 PB.

Next was the long jump.  Here, I wasn’t able to get my run up quite right and finished with silver with a jump of 3.99 metres.

Last event before lunch was the 200m.  Like the 100, I had a great start, acceleration and transition, and was also able to hold speed in the home straight a bit better than last week.  Time recorded was 26.18 (hand timing), which equated to 26.4 seconds, another PB, beating my previous mark of 26.71, and scoring another gold in my age group.

After lunch was the 400m.  By now, conditions has changed from ideal (little wind) to a stiff headwind in the back straight, which made the race tough.  Finished in a time of 1:05, slightly faster than last year in similar conditions and slightly slower than most of my 400m runs for the season.  However, it was good enough to get the gold.

The day finished with a 4x100m relay with teams put together on the day.  As I was easily the fastest in our team, I ran the 4th leg to finish the race.  As it turns out, the first 3 runners had already put us clearly in second place, so all I could do was increase our hold on that position.

So, the day finished with 3 gold (100, 200, 400m), 2 silver (long jump and relay) medals, and 2 PBs.  Additionally I got to not only run against those clearly faster than me, but also those around my speed, where I could rise to the challenge.

I also reflected on a variation of my visualisation techniques that I call “virtual training” that allows me to visualise and practice movements like starting, acceleration and transition, without moving a muscle or having to deal with consciously handling my motor issues.  This technique seems to help the unconscious mind and muscle memory look after these things, leaving me free to focus on strategy in the race.  This definitely has helped my starts in recent weeks, and possibly my transition out of acceleration in the 100 and 200m events.

Now, it’s time to take a break from sprints and work on my base fitness, especially strength and stamina (for the 400m!).  Cross country starts in a few weeks, and I am looking forward to getting in to the gym and working on other forms of training to start the preparation for next summer.

- Tony via Tumblr