*Disclaimer: Alex Mortimer is a senior at Tates Creek High School. This was his first national championships meet experience. He reached out to to KYTrackXC to document his time in NYC. Any athlete that would like to do this in the future, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. There is nothing better than hearing about your experiences competing in our sport from your perspective.
My First and Last Indoor New Balance Nationals
By: Alex Mortimer
This post will outline my week up to and during my experience with my first true National Championship at the 2017 New Balance Nationals Indoors. The goal of this is to hopefully to create a trend amongst Kentucky Trackletes to report on their experiences at big time meets, and get them to strive for the top of their game.
Monday, March 6, 2017
Today was my last major workout before this Sunday's upcoming race. It was an alteration of a 1000m workout I did throughout XC. Less reps but higher intensity. Pace was around 3k effort.
Thursday, March 9, 2017
The entire week has compromised of recovery runs (45-50 minutes duration) except Monday and today. It was a very easy (for me) 8x200 workout to get the neuromuscular system firing. Splits were 30-31.x.
I leave tomorrow morning at 4:15am, so I am waking up at 3am. I will try to be in bed by 9pm.
Friday, March 10, 2017
Today was a very long day. I couldn't sleep on the ride up to New York so I will admit I feel exhausted. Yesterday it was pushing 70 degrees, and the drastic temperature change has left my sinuses screaming.
I got in a solid 45 minute run on the treadmill, and got to meet a 4*800 team from Massachusetts hoping for a sub 7:55 this weekend. I will be hanging low tonight at the hotel- tomorrow will be a long day. I hope to stay light on the feet if possible throughout tomorrow.
Saturday, March 11, 2017
My parents, coach (Eric Henry), and friend/teammate (Adam) made the journey to NYC with me. Today we all toured the World Trade Center Memorial. Afterwards, Adam and I got a recovery run in Central Park for 40 minutes with a few 150m strides after. Unfortunately, much more walking was done than hoped for just to get to Central Park (2-3 miles of it...). I am greatly appreciative of Adam running through the Big Apple with me or I would have been nervous. Throwing him another shout out so give him a follow-on IG under adam_castleberry ;)
The evening consisted of dinner at the hotel and I will be going to bed shortly to beat the Daylight Savings Time spring forward. I will wake up at 5am tomorrow for a 10 minute shakeout before I leave to the Armory for my 10am race (2 Mile).
Sunday, March 12, 2017
I woke up early this morning and got my jog in which allowed some of my nerves to be put to ease. I left to the New Balance Track and Field Center (otherwise known as The Armory) at 6:45 am and was all settled by 8:15am.
My race did not turn out as expected. My plan going into this meet was to get out through the mile in 4:33-35 to be on pace for a solid time. Ironically, the race went out slower than any other race of the season. To put it in perspective, I was running 5k pace periodically when the field was bunching up. The flow of pace was agitating me, so I tried to take control of the race and get the chance to have a potential fast time run today. We came through in 4:40-41. We dropped a 67 400m, then a 70 400m, and this is the point where my legs unfortunately stopped responding. I ended up running 9:21, which was from basically even mile splits, but slower than had hoped.
My biggest takeaway is that there are many ways to run a race, so make sure to control your own plan. I was not intending to run a tactical race. It is also important to realize our bodies aren't always going to be 100% where you want them to be every race. I personally thought I would have felt much better than I did, but for whatever reason, today wasn't my day. This race has made my love for racing grow many folds. I see how many factors truly play into racing performance.
Some side notes:
- I advocate small shakeout jogs a few hours before any race above 800m. This "pre warmup" not only allows the body to get blood flowing through the legs, but during the early morning hours, these runs get the core body temperature to rise. You will feel more awake and the perception of pace is easier in the morning races.
- Walking does take a toll on the legs, so take it easy.
- The atmosphere within the Armory is of legend. The crowd is there to carry you through your race as much as possible. It could only be described as electrifying.
- I am truly grateful to have even qualified, it has taken me 5 years of difficulties to get to this point.
No matter how good you are, there is someone whose "bad day" is better than your "good day" will ever be. Therefore, focusing on yourself and your personal goals is the key to longevity and happiness from this sport. It was a pleasure to be at a meet and witness so many world junior and national records fall. On to outdoor season!