800- Third Time is the Charm
I started racing the 800 meters three weeks ago. Crazy to say, I love it. It might partially be because I still have not come even close to my full potential.
I knew the 400–600 would be mentally challenging, and hence decided to really focus on it before I raced. I was thinking, “take a risk, speed up!”. It was really trying to maintain my speed. Then came the unexpected pain. I then realized that’s the pain that people have been talking about. I was definitely relying on “my natural talent” aka my sprinting speed, hence mentally relaxed in some ways, but also freaked out because it was a very different kind of pain compared to the end of the 400. If I describe the end of 400 as losing control of your body, because you are getting numb, then the pain of the 800 feel likes no air is coming through your throat, and someone is choking you while you are running. That sounds pretty extreme, but the kind of panic that you will feel when someone chokes you out of the blue is pretty close to how I felt. I did not fight that panic. I let it take over me, and the last 100 meters felt longer than ever.
Meanwhile, there was this petite Asian girl from West Chester, who was in my race the week before, who I fought in the last 100 meters last time and won, sped up and past me on the curve. Girl ran a 2:28. Well, revenge drives people I guess.
Moving on, new strategy is to fight, fight and keep fighting. Now that I know there will be pain, and the easily lost focus at the end, I need to mark my “kick” points, the 300 meter mark of the last lap. The “fight to main speed zone”, the 400–600.
I want to run to reach my potential, to push to be the fastest I can be, and most importantly, enjoy racing, and let go.