Saturday, March 15, 2014

Back on Track, again: Pentathlon (3/14/14)

Start of the 1000m
Race: USATF Masters National Pentathlon
Location: Reggie Lewis Center, Roxbury, MA
Goal Points: 1774
Actual Points: 1558 (2nd, 40-44 age group)

Event 1: 60 Meter Hurdles
Hurdles with my own distinct style
Time: 15.86 seconds
Points: 5

Robert wanted to see me do the hurdles.  He found it especially ridiculous that I was going to do it without any training.

I figured I could handle it.  During the warm ups, I tried to clear a couple.  Uh, oh, Not gonna be easy.  One of the officials came up to me, "This doesn't seem like your event, son."  Nope, definitely not.

We lined up, I began to worry about making it over the hurdles.  But, I figured all I can do is go for it.  The gun went off and I hesitated to let everyone go first so I wasn't in their way.  So I ran, stuttered and leapt over the first hurdle, whew. Ran, stuttered and leapt over the second hurdle, whew.  Repeated that three more times and as I came over the last one, I put up my arms in victory.  Of course I still had to sprint another 10 meters to the finish.

Unlikes say World's Strongest Man, which is scored based on place (1st place gets 10 points, second gets 9, etc) Pentathlon is scored based on your performance.  The faster you run, the longer you jump or throw, the more points you get.  

So, while the leader in my age group ran a 10.93 seconds and got 477 points; my 15.86 seconds got me a grand total of 5!

Event 2: Long Jump
Long Jump
Distance: 3.72 meters
Points: 214

Long jump was probably the event I thought the least about.  I knew I wasn't going to be any good at it; but, unlike the hurdles, I knew I could successfully do it.

Everyone was putting tape on the ground to mark their specific spots where to start their run or switch from jog to hop to sprint...  I didn't.  On my turn I just started running down the runway.  Hit the board and landed.  I looked back - and realized it was bad.

After my first jump (which was turned out to be my longest), the guy why was leading my age-group asked: "So, you're just here to have fun?"

"Yeah," I said, "trying it out - and, waiting for the thousand."

"Oh, that's the one you're going to win?"

So, still in last but at least I scored 42 times as many points as I scored in the hurdles.

Event 3: Shot Put

Distance: 8.34 meters
Points: 443 points

I assumed the shot put would be my best field event.  I had done it for years in high school and had spent last summer training for the New England Masters'.  After a couple of warm up throws (puts) I was ready to go.

So while I was about 1 1/2 feet short of my PR from last summer, I still was able to come in second in my age group in the event.

Event 4: High Jump

Height: 1.42 meters
Points: 374 points

The high jump really scared me.  I just wasn't sure I would be able to do it.  I did it serveral times in high school and as high as 5' 4".  But, the last time I did that George Bush was president - the father.

Talking with the guys in my age group, who apparently weren't worried about me beating them, told me to start from the right side with the strong leg next to the mat when I jumped.  So I figured I'd try it.  I ran up, jumped stepped and as I went up, that was off two feet...that's illegal.

Maybe I'll try from the left.  I ran up to the practice height, leapt and without thinking just cleared it.  Somehow a twenty year old memory synapse just fired correctly and BAM, I'm clearing it.

Once the event started, I had started at the lowest possible height I could think of - 3'6".  On the first jump, I cleared it and it felt that I cleared it by what I thought was a lot.  I asked one of the high school students who was assisting the judges by how much.  "Around a foot."

I went to the main official: "I'll pass to four feet."

Once the bar got to four feet, I rejoined the jumping.  Each jump gave me more and more confidence.  The first guy in my age group missed at 1.27 meters.  Then the other guy in my age group joined at 1.36 meters. He missed the first one; I missed the first attempt.  He missed the second attempt; I made the second attempt. Then he made his third.

We moved up to 1.39 meters, he cleared and walked up to me: "No pressure, now."  And for me there was no pressure.  I had guessed 4 feet (1.21 meters) so I was playing with the bank's money at this point.  I cleared 1.39 on the first attempt.  

The height went up 3 more centimeters.  I missed the first two; he missed the first two.  He missed the third. I just reminded myself - don't think.  I ran up and cleared 1.42 (4'8").  Won my age group in the event.  I proceeded to 1.45 and missed all three.

Event 5: 1000 meter run
Running the 1K
Time: 3:24
Points: 522

We sat down awaiting our turn in the 1000.  The guy in second came up.  "Quick math says the only way you can beat me is if you run a 3:30 and I don't score."

Well, I hadn't really been worried about beating him in the pentathlon.  I mean, he was a multi-event athlete. I'm a long distance runner, who was doing the pentathlon just for fun.  But then I thought about it.  Really?  it's close enough and my best event is coming up.

Several times through out the day, I heard Pentathletes complain about the 1000 meter.  So, I figured I'd have a good chance of beating the other two in my age group, but by enough to take second overall?

The gun went off and everyone flew out in front of me.  Run your race, run your race. By half a lap I was in fourth of the section and first in my age group.  The basic goal had been laps of 40-40-40-40-38.  Of course I ran the first two laps too fast and paid for it in the next two.  

But as I turned the first turn, I saw the guy with the quick math ahead - wait, I could lap him!  Now there was nothing to do but pass him.  I caught and passed him on the back turn.  Then all I needed to do was sprint to the finish.  BAM!!!

Five Done
Second place medal
Finished in second place in my age group.  Total Points - 1558 points.  Considering I scored 5 in the hurdles, it was a GREAT result.  Might start training for the pentathlon (or at least the hurdles)...

Shoutouts -

David Ash for winning my age group
Jefferson Souza who broke the 35-39 year old age group record with a 3623.

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