Ok, so that was exhausting. Without a doubt, I haven’t been that tired at a track meet since NESCACs in 2006. And back then I had just finished the Penn Relays turn-around going straight into the NESCAC Championships. This was just your standard 2-day track meet. Well, maybe not “standard” per se, but I didn’t expect to be that wiped afterwards.
But it was one of those exhaustions that you feel after a PR. Where you might not be able to stand, but you’re curled up on the ground with a huge ass smile on your face. I remember, literally, being slumped over a hurdle on the warm-up track after the women’s HJ finished. Luckily, I had a good 30 minutes to gather myself before Peter’s 3k.
Looking back, it should have been easy to foresee the mental rollercoaster ride that it was. Each event is its own slow build where you mutter to yourself “Alright, here we go with [insert event here].” Alright, here we go with the mile. Alright, here we go with the LJ. Alright, here we go with the DMRs. Each of these mutterings vocalizes the slow click, click, click of the rollercoaster as it notches its way to that first plunge.
But then you say something like “Alright, here we go with the SP, hept PV, and TJ simultaneously” and your rollercoaster analogy gets tossed out the window. Or else you’re on one of the nuttiest rides you can imagine. Admittedly, even with the three concurrent events, I was still fine at this point in the meet. (This was actually when I reflected on how lucky I was to have such a great coaching staff.) I was able to turn my focus on the women’s TJ knowing that the PV and SP were under control.
I think it was the high jumpers that did me in. It was the last two heights, when all three were still jumping in the final 11. And Emma, Summer, and Helene were almost back-to-back-to-back in the order. It was a constant little spike in adrenaline each attempt. And it was my job to block it all out and stay steady amidst the storm.
I think I did ok. They crushed it and I kept my composure. But then came the hept 1000. Tobias was a bit down on the day. It was a “nothing to lose” kind of moment where you set yourself up for an epic PR and hope you hold on. In our case, we weren’t even sure if it would be enough.
He took it out hard, about 2-3 seconds harder than we planned. I think this hit him 600m in when he looked like he was fading. The chase pack caught up to him and started to pass him with 400m to go. But then something clicked and he got a second wind. After a gritty final 2 laps, Tobias had PR’d by nearly 9 seconds and grabbed the final All American spot. Funny, I was totally composed when the women went 2-4-6 in the HJ moments before, but I threw my hands up and screamed when Tob grabbed the 8 spot.
10 minutes later I’d be slumped over that hurdle like the sad Energizer Bunny.
And 20 minutes after that, I’d be screaming for Peter Hale as he closed down a national title in the 3k.
It’s almost as if there weren’t any lines at the park and I just kept riding the rides with no wait. And the craziest part of this whole thing…I don’t even like rollercoasters.