Lisa Daley and I were fortunate to attend the Master’s World Athletics Championships in Malaga, Spain earlier this month. For those that are not familiar, WMA (World Masters Athletics) organizes this track and field, cross country and road championships every two years. The location changes and is announced a couple of years prior. There is also an indoor championship that is on the alternate year of the outdoor event. It draws the most elite and experienced masters (35 years and older) from around the world. And it’s not just track…there are road 10k, half marathon, cross country and race walking events as well. In my opinion, the medals won at these events, are one of the most coveted medal a masters’ runner could ever attain. Athletes competing are world record holders, prior Olympians, and are hungry for this hardware. I remember Tony talking about this, and he had made it the final rounds in both the 800 and 1500 in 2011…now I truly understand how hard that was to make! But, it takes not only prime fitness to advance…it takes tactics and experience running heats and rounds. Athletes will ‘sit and kick’ or take out fast and hold, or try to block you in so you can’t pass. All kinds of tactics I learned about.
I decided 18 months ago to focus on the 800m. Three cycles: base building endurance, hills, cross country in the fall. Strength and speed for an extended outdoor season that started in January (I was in LA until May). Hard strength weight training. Counting protein grams. Consuming recovery concoctions 20 minutes post hard workouts. Cooking more, eating out less. Getting at least 8 hours of sleep every night. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. And being OK with sub-par racing leading up the final day. “Part of the Process” was in my head every day.
One of my mini-peak races was going after the 4x800m club record for 50+ in June. That was my best 800m all year with a 2:29 split and a new American Record. I needed to extend the fitness without burning out. Devon helped me formulate a plan, and I felt fit going to Malaga. But, then, the tactics…the race started out the slowest I ever had run. I was with the world record holder, Eva Trost of Germany, and thought “this can’t be slow, I’m right with her”. 80 seconds was the first lap…that is my 1500m pacing! Literally, the race started at 401m…my last quarter was 73. Fast, but not fast enough to be in the top two to advance to the finals. I finished 3rd in my heat. You can see the anguish on my face at the finish (not flattering, but real!). The next 3 heats had to be slow, but they weren’t slow enough. I missed the finals by less than a second. 14thoverall out of 42 athletes. Expensive lesson learned, but I’m happy to know now. And, so many friends I made! I’m now friends with Eva and messaging her nearly every day!
Lisa is a pro at these events! Cutting and pasting from some social media posts…she had an amazing experience and brought home some hardware:
4x100m Bronze Medal finish: In a very close race, the great Lisa Daley anchored the Bronze Medal-winning W45 4×100 Relay Team that included Darmesha Watkins, LaTrica Dendy and Ruthlyn Greenfield-Webster. The team turned in a time of 53.55, just .23 of a second behind the Silver Medalists.
I showed up today, ran the best I could, but did not make the finals of the women’s 45-49 400m. I could blame it on many things such as my career change and the big adjustments that presented, not having my coach of 13 years to guide me, injuries and so on, but I will not. As masters athletes WE ARE ALL dealing with issues because that is adulthood. Instead, with a joyful heart I wish my competitors good luck in the finals on Friday. I will be cheering you all on to victory. It was my honor and pleasure to compete with you at these 2018 World Masters championships.
Thank you to everyone for their kind words of support and encouragement while I participated in my 10th World Masters Athletics Championship in Malaga, Spain over the last two weeks. The results were not as spectacular as some of my previous performances, but I am ecstatic, and grateful that I can still participate. I ended the championship with a bronze medal in the women’s 45-49 4×100m relay. Time to rest, relax and heal from this trip.
Link to this year’s events, along with full results are below:
Here is my plug! THINK ABOUT GOING to a World Champs. There are no qualification times. You get a USA kit…full uniform, warm up suit, and 2 base layer tops. You’ll meet the a ton of wonderful friends you will have for life. You’ll travel to some exotic and exciting places! Experience camaraderie, eat wonderful food and you’ll run, throw or jump like hell.
Here’s the next key championships (USA and World) coming up: