I competed in Osaka, Japan yesterday and came out on top in the Long Jump. It was a good start to my outdoor campaign in that event even though I wished the jump would have been about 7 cm further. (more on that later). But a win is a win, and in a meet where they pay you cold hard cash based on how you finish, I am happy and grateful to have been able to finish first amongst a great field of jumpers.
In case you weren’t aware, the 100 meters was also part of the program for me yesterday. I know plenty of family and friends, track fans, and competitors, will rely on the good ol’ World Wide Web to uncover that result as well. And it’s not pretty. The thing about track and field is that the numbers don’t lie. Your time is what it is and the place you finish is nobody’s subjective opinion. Numbers don’t lie…they just don’t always tell the whole story. Understandably so, the rest of the story really doesn’t matter at the end of the day. There are no brownie points awarded for unnecessary hardship or unfortunate circumstances. I understand that completely. But I have a blog and I get the chance to paint a more complete picture for those who care to hear about it. So lucky me and lucky you!
If there are any folks out there that remember watching me compete in high school or college, you will vividly recall that you saw me everywhere. I would run from event to event, without proper time to catch my breath or change my shoes. I’ve competed at an Indoor meet and broke 3 school records in a time span of 20 minutes. I ran a 200 at Pac-10 Championships in my long jump spikes…no time to change them. I’ve left the final of the Long Jump at NCAA’s to run a preliminary round, then came back and finished jumping my way to NCAA champion. This is the life I led as a spry 21-year-old athlete. I am not that athlete anymore and the energy it takes to compete at this level, against this level of competition, is a little different.
I knew the two events would be close together, but I was hoping to have a little time. By the time I landed in the sand for my last jump, the official raced over to walk me over to the start line where my competitors were already waiting and told me I had two minutes. TWO. I asked for five but was denied. The Japanese stay on time no matter what. So I set my blocks and continued to take deep breaths, hoping I could find the energy to make it down the track. I made it down the track but it wasn’t pretty…nor was it easy. That has got to be the hardest 100 meters I have ever run! My time was pedestrian, I got beat by two local athletes (no disrespect), and I was on the ground panting as if I just ran the 400 meters.
But I had my priorities and I stuck to them. Hindsight is 20/20 and had I known my first jump was going to be my furthest, I could have sat back and relaxed and been prepared to run. But seeing into the future is not one of my gifts so I simply did the best I could. After it’s all said and done, I’m happy with my meet overall and I know that if I stay on course my season will be a successful one.