Wednesday, October 31, 2018

AP&ES Track and Field Competition Day 2Yesterday was a long day and I didn’t get around to...

AP&ES Track and Field Competition Day 2

Yesterday was a long day and I didn’t get around to posting the update, but here it is, finally!

The day was a busy one, with 5 individual events and 3 relays.

First up was the 110m hurdles. In a way, this was part familiar and part strange. Familiar in that the distance was 110 metres, same as I had run last summer twice. However, the oddities were firstly that the distance spec was wrong for me - I should now only run 100 metres with the hurdles closer together (one of the perks of getting old!). The other odd thing is the height was only 76 cm instead of 91cm, because they were Little Athletics hurdles.

Anyway, I started the race with my ugly but effective technique, but soon I found I could run a smooth 5 stride technique, and covered the rest of the race faster. Finished with silver with a time of 24.73.

Next up was triple jump. Got into a tight competition with another guy, but couldn’t quite beat his best jump. Silver with a 7.47m jump.

Towards the middle of the day came the event I wasn’t looking forward to, because it’s longer than my normal distances - the 800 metres. I made a last minute decision to enter it almost 3 weeks ago after studying past results and figuring that I actually had a chance in it.

Anyway, the race got under way, and a number of guys raced off ahead and then cut into lane 1 hard when we were permitted to, after the first bend. I started more cautiously, and slowly eased myself into lane 1, because that was the shortest distance to the finish, and it gave me time to select a place in the pack.

By the end of the first lap, I had passed a couple of runners, and took on a couple more over the next 200 metres. With 200m to go, I only had two in front of me, and I was feeling good. The heavy tactics of this race kept me mentally occupied, and I didn’t notice fatigue.

At 150n to go, I could see the guy in front of me starting to slow down, so I increased speed a little more, to get close to him on the bend. As soon as we got into the home straight, I took a step to the side and went for the sprint finish, leaving him behind, and now I was starting to feel in the front runner. Finished the heat second in a time around 2:54, but as the other guy was in a younger age group, I got the gold in mine. Second place in my age group was around 34 seconds behind me.

After the 800m, I had a bite to eat, then it was a long wait for discus. However, as we were about to start the discus, we were called to the 200m start, to run that event first. Ran the 200 into a stiff headwind on the bend, getting silver in a time of 29.43.

Meanwhile, back to the discus, I wasn’t able to reproduce the form of last week, and was only able to throw 15 metres, instead of 19. That left the throws the only discipline that I didn’t win a medal in.

The day finished with 3 relays. I teamed up with Police members from Western Australia and New South Wales to form a team.

In the 4x100m relay, we came in third of the over 160 (total age) teams for bronze. I ran a strong third leg here.

In the 4x200m, I again ran the third leg, which was the most technical, with the transition from set lanes to running in Lane 1. This time, we easily won the gold from a Northern Territory team.

The final relay was the Swedish relay, which has legs of 100m, 200m, 300m, and 400m. They were run in a different order - 100, 300, 200, 400m. I suggested rearranging the team order, to put a faster short sprinter (who won the 100m) in the first leg, and have the guy who would have been there run the 400m leg, because that was a stronger distance for him. If the two of us left, the other guy was a longer distance runner, so he got the 300m leg, leaving me with 200 metres to run.

This combination worked well, with the first two legs putting us in a good position. I ran a fairly fast 200m leg, before passing on to the last runner for his 400m. He ran a strong leg, and again, we got the gold.

After the final medal presentations (with a bit of light hearted fun), my tally was 4 gold, 4 silver and 2 bronze, 10 medals from 14 events. All in all, a very successful meet.

- Tony via Tumblr

Monday, October 29, 2018

AP&ES Track and Field Competition Day 1Today was day 1 of competition at the Games. I had 6...

AP&ES Track and Field Competition Day 1

Today was day 1 of competition at the Games. I had 6 events that would take up the whole day, namely high jump, shot put, 400 metres, long jump, 100 metres and javelin.

Arrived at the track at 8:30 to check in and get my race number. With the initial check in out of the way, i had time to settle down and watch the 5000 metre events, which started at 9.

After a quick warmup, it was time for the high jump. As a precaution, I opted to wear my normal runners, rather than spikes to lessen the impact on my injured foot. I hoped that, combined with the softer grass surface would avoid aggravating my foot. As it turned out, this did work well.

Anyway, I elected to start jumping at 1.20 metres, which is my highest “safe” height. As expected, I cleared it first jump, same for 1.25m. at 1.30m, I missed clearing the bar by a mm or two, and narrowly missed equalling my PB. Still, this was enough for bronze.

Next was supposed to be shot put, but this was running behind time, and I ended up running the 400m first. After getting some blocks organised (I was the only one who chose to use them), I was ready. Started well, then settled back into cruising pace. By this time, I had already made up the stagger on half of my competition. In the back straight, the headwind forced me to make a minor speed adjustment, so I could go harder in the final bend and home straight. Finished first in a time of 1:06.80, 17.3 seconds in front of second place! With the tough windy conditions, I was happy with that time.

Back to the shot put, I threw 5.95 on the first throw and a bit shorter on my second, with a no throw third. This was a fair bit short of recent throws with the 6kg shot.

Long jump was next. I got in a 3.87m first jump, then put a good 4.10m jump for my second attempt, before going off to the 100m. I came back for a third jump but the sprint had changed my run up so much that the jump was a foul. Finished with the silver medal

In the 100m, we had a full field of 8. Again, I was the only one to use blocks. But this time, had a bad start, but still ran a season best time of 13.34, narrowly missing out on bronze.

Final event for the day was javelin, where I threw a season best 17.65. not yet sure of placings.

So far, a successful trip. Day 2 is set to be a busy one as well.

- Tony via Tumblr

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Let the Games Begin!As my second evening in Western Australia comes to a close, I feel a mix of...

Let the Games Begin!

As my second evening in Western Australia comes to a close, I feel a mix of emotions, from anticipation and excitement to see and a sense of the scale of the Games.

Given that the Victorian Police and Emergency Services Games are a very low key affair, compared to even our local weekly meets, I wasn’t expecting the level of attention and publicity that the Australasian Police and Emergency Services are getting. The last few hours are a bit of a blur.

A bit after 5 PM, I headed out to the assembly area to find the rest of the Victorian and CFA contingent. This didn’t take long, and we were mixed in with the Victoria Police members. We chatted while we waited for the start time. During the wait, we were directed to back up, which brought comments from a couple of us, who had experience with torchlight processions, where having to move back to make room is normal.

When the clock counted down to zero, the parade started, and we walked down the walkway, giving kids high 5s along the way. We were then directed to an assembly area for the opening ceremony.

The ceremony started with a Welcome to Country, which has to be conducted by local Aboriginal Elders. This time, the welcome included traditional dance, which brought an amazing energy as the crowd took part in the hand clapping part of the rhythm.

Following the welcome was the usual speeches by various dignatories, which were well received, and finally the lighting of the cauldron. The torch used was carried by people from the Special Olympics movement.

An hour after the end of the ceremony, there was the fireworks show, which was spectacular, and included fireworks that exploded to form smiley faces in the sky, which I’d never seen before. This fireworks display has a profound emotional effect on me, because It was for something I’m so directly involved in.

The whole evening was amazing and humbling. It brought home the reality that this is big, and that I’m not only competing for myself, but am carrying the hopes of those who I represent, from the obvious ones like the fire brigade, CFA and Victoria, to the other communities that I belong to.

The stage is set. Now it’s up to me to play my part.

- Tony via Tumblr

Saturday, October 27, 2018

The Quest Has Begun!I’m sitting on the Eastern Foreshore at Mandurah, where the opening...

The Quest Has Begun!

I’m sitting on the Eastern Foreshore at Mandurah, where the opening ceremony for the 2018 Australasian Police and Emergency Services Games will be held in around 8 hours time. Countless hours of training, along with support from the Eaglehawk Fire Brigade got me to the point of traveling.

One of the Brigade members picked me up at 7 AM and dropped me off at Melbourne Airport. From there, it was up to me. Checked in my bags, printed a boarding pass and went through security, then settled down for a snack and a blog post while waiting to board.

The flight was uneventful, and we landed in Perth just before noon. Now the fun started with inadequate information. First, the wrong flight number was on the baggage carousel, but a process of elimination and observing the first few bags confirmed I was in the right place. I retrieved my bags then went looking for the bus.

Then things went a little pear shaped. The signs at the airport were unclear about where the regular city bus stop was, they only referred to the courtesy bus that ran between terminals. Google Maps were no help, directing me to walk 2km for what was a 150m walk! And the official app offers by walking maps or directions other than to go to X street. Luckily, a helpful taxi driver pointed me in the right direction, and I made the bus.

The next hitch was that I missed the next connection. My bus was a minute late and the connection was a minute early. Through a process of searching, studying maps and sheer wits, I found my way via another bus to a train station on the Mandurah line. From here, the rest of the trip proceeded smoothly.

The day’s events reminded me of the struggles many other autistics face when things don’t go to plan. But I am able to remind myself of my strengths and have confidence in my ability to overcome challenges. In this case, I knew my key assets were my excellent navigation ability and logical mind, with the ability to walk long distances the last ditch backup (I didn’t have to use that!).

Anyway, I arrived and checked into the motel, did a little looking around and caught up with a friend. Next little hiccup was the main supermarket closing at 6 PM. This is something that never happens back home, so I got a lift to the smaller supermarket that was open.

Today I woke up a little early. My early bird nature and probably a small amount of jet lag made sure of that! With some spare time, I decided to take a look around while waiting for the official Games centre to open at noon. Turns out the opening ceremony is just around the corner of my motel, and there’s also a triathlon that goes past

So that ends the travel and settling in. In the next couple of hours, I will check in, so I get my security pass and participant package, then head over to the track to suss out the venue and test spikes on the grass, before taking part in the opening ceremony at 6 PM.

I. The meantime, enjoy a few pre - Games photos.

- Tony via Tumblr

Friday, October 26, 2018

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Final Test for Mandurah, Strong Winds and a PB.

This week was round 3 of AV Shield.  It was also my last local meet, before traveling to Western Australia for the Australasian Police and Emergency Services Games.  I had entered 8 events for this week, namely 100 metres, 200 metres, 800 metres, high jump and discus.

First up was the 200 metres.  Conditions were tough with a very strong headwind from a front which has passed through a few hours earlier.  With my major meet now just over a week away, I erred on the side of caution, taking the early part of the race easy.  Once I started facing the wind towards the end of the bend, I pushed hard and found was able to gain a lot of ground into the wind.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to maintain that amount of power into the wind for the entire length of the straight, and finished a close second in my heat in 28.19. 

Next up was the high jump.  I chose a starting height of 1.20m, thich took 2 attempts to clear.  My next height was 1.25m, which I cleared on the first attempt.  Wasn’t able to get my run up right for 1.30m, and missed that height.

Back to the track for the 100 metres.  Unfortunately, the high jump stressed my heel a bit, and the cool conditions required caution again.  Ran a time of 14.13, with most of the race run well below my capabilities.

My final event was the discus.  As the start time was the same as the 100 metres, I didn’t get a chance to do any warmup throws, which lead to the jokes about not wasting my good throws on warmups.  And there seemed to be a bit of truth in that joke, as my first throw was a PB of 19.22.  Second throw was a bit wobbly and short, and the last throw was 19.02, even though I didn’t follow through properly, which probably cost me a metre or more.

Overall, it wasn’t a bad day in tough conditions.

Stay tuned over the next week or two as I travel to Mandurah for the Games.

- Tony via Tumblr

Monday, October 15, 2018

2018 Australasian Police and Emergency Services Games!

Image Text:

Tony Langdon
Prepares for Western Australia

On October 27, I will be departing for Mandurah, Western Australia to compete in the Australasian Police and Emergency Services Games. For the past 3 years, I have competed at the Victorian Police and Emergency Services Games, winning mostly gold medals in the 100, 200 and 400 metre sprints.

As I am the current reigning state champion in my age group over 100 and 200 metres, and only missed the 400 metres due to a conflicting meet. The Eaglehawk Fire Brigade, along with the CFA Sports and Recreation Association are supporting my bid to compete in Mandurah.At the Australasian Police and Emergency Services Games, I will be competing in the sport of Track and Field in the 50-54 age group in the following events:·

100 metres, 200 metres, 400 metres, 800 metres, Sprint Hurdles, Discus, High Jump, Long Jump, Triple Jump. Shot Put, Javelin

I am also competing in the 3 relays, which will require combining forces with other competitors to form a team: 4 x 100m Relay, 4 x 200m Relay, Swedish Relay.

Overall, I believe have a good chance of winning several of those events and am looking forward to the opportunity of representing Victoria, the CFA , my local community of Eaglehawk and my Fire Brigade.

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Saturday, October 13, 2018

Back in the fast lane!

Round 2 of AV Shield was a big one.  I entered 5 events this time around - 100 and 400 metres, shot put, javelin and long jump.  Conditions were mild, with a gusty wind swinging from N to ENE.

While the sprints were my key events, I like to try and diversify, both for variety, as well as maximising points when I compete in decathlons.  This year, the program allows a greater degree of flexibility with the field events, allowing me to compete in all 3 without clashes.

First event was the javelin.  I did the main part of my 100m warmup before heading over to the javelin area to do a few practice throws.  During the event, I also continued my warmup between throws.  Anyway, I ended up with 3 legal throws, the best of which was 15.98 metres.  This is a bit shorter than the 18.70 I threw with the heavier javelin last summer.

Shortly after the javelin was the 100 metres.  With my heel slowly recovering, and a very mild hamstring strain 2 weeks ago, I was a bit cautious.  I took the first half of the race a little easier than normal, before opening up, once I was near top speed, about halfway through.  Finished in 13.76 seconds, which I was happy with for a conservative run, and there were no further issues.

Went straight to the long jump.  First 2 jumps were in the 3.7 - 3.8m range.  Finished with a 3.95m jump.  Getting my form back, while some adjustments made to my run up over winter seem to be working well.

Next up, after a short rest was the shot put.  Second put was the best at 6.31m.  Not quite as good as I’ve done during the winter break, but reasonable, as I regain my form in the field events.

Final event was the 400m.  Having cooled down a bit, my foot had become a bit stiff and sore.  However, a few run throughs fixed that, and I was ready for the 400m.  After another conservative start, I settled into my 400m cruising pace.  Conditions were tough for the first 200 metres but eased after that.  Managed to hold pace pretty well until 60-70m from the finish.  From there it was a push with everything I had left to the finish.  Finished in 64.18 seconds, which was better than all but one of my 400m races last summer, and quite good, considering the downtime I’ve had this year.  Looking forward to pushing the limits in the 400 metres this summer.

All in all, a successful day.

- Tony via Tumblr

Saturday, October 06, 2018

A huge track season starts - with a difference.

It’s hard to believe another winter has gone by.  My cross country season was cut short by injury in July, and by the time I was back running in late August, it was over.  This past few months have been spent trying to get myself back up to top form, in both speed and fitness, so I can be competitive in the months ahead.  With major meets dotted throughout a 6 month period, this is going to be a more difficult year than most to be in top for these competitions.  In the past couple of weeks, I’ve also started pre-season training with the fire brigade competition team, to prepare for another season of competition.

In the last month, I have been able to train at full intensity for the most part, though in a pre-season meet 2 weeks ago, I only managed 14.04 for the 100 metres, admittedly with a strong headwind.  4 days later, I mildly tweaked my left hamstring while attempting starts on the bend, probably the riskiest activity since injuring my heel.  However, it was a very minor issue, and within a couple of days, ther seemed to be no sign of it.  Still, with some major competitions in a few weeks, I decided to err on the side of caution for yesterday’s first round and choose an unusual (for me) combination of throws and the 800 metres.

First up was the hammer throw.  I’ve never even attempted this event before, so it was a pure learning experience.  With some tips from fellow club members, I managed a whole 9.96 metres.  Not the longest hammer throw ever performed, but it was at least legal. :)

I chose the 800 metres for two reasons.  Firstly, the power requirements are far below anything likely to cause injury.  In fact, I have raced 800m at full race pace in the past mere days after previous hamstring injuries.  Secondly, the 800m is a good test of fitness, which would have taken a hit in July-August.  The first half of the race went to plan with a 1:16 first lap, which was right on my target pace.  By this time, I had caught up with another runner who had surged ahead early.  I felt I could have passed him, but decided on the tactical option of sitting just behind him, knowing that in the event of a sprint finish, I would have the upper hand.  Had I gone earlier, there was a risk he might surge too far ahead.  Anyway, I stayed behind him until the start of the home straight, where I made my move with a rapid change of pace.  Finished the race in 2:39.66, which I was happy with, given my general fitness and tactical decisions.

My final event was the discus.  Early in the winter, I was throwing over 20 metres at training, but I had to also put my throws on hold after the injury.  Had 3 good throws, the best of which was 18.57 metres, which is a new PB, and well short of my known capabilities.  I’m hoping for a good season of discus this year.

While the track was finished, it turned out the sporting day wasn’t over.  In the evening, the fire brigade held its annual presentation dinner.  At the dinner, I was presented with the “Runner of the Year” award for the fire brigade running team, which was a high honour.  This was the icing on the cake which capped off a good day overall.

Hopefully next week, I’ll be back among the sprints.

- Tony via Tumblr