Blog from Nationals and Japan:
Well the 2011 season has been one of both amazing high’s and crushing low’s. And this season recently came to an end in Kawasaki, Japan as it marked the end of what was ultimately a successful season if it didn’t end quite the way I wanted to.
Some may feel as though it is an early end to the season, and the decision to end it after Japan was not an easy one to make given the temptation to strive for World Champs after such a successful domestic season. However despite the successes of this past domestic season my decision was based on coming to the reality that my form was starting to dwindle, and the chances on attaining the A standard for Daegu was perhaps biting off more than I could chew at this stage. The more sensible move in the opinion of both myself and my coach, Penny Gillies, was to shut it down if Japan didn’t quite work out and instead concentrate on the upcoming Olympic season and address the weaknesses that still exist.
The conclusion of the national season was not a satisfying one for me as I had a rather disappointing national titles after what had promised so much in the prior meets. After running a PB of 1:46.52 at the Melbourne Track Classic and backing it up with a 3rd place at the Sydney Track Classic running 1:46.62 in wet conditions (and in the process beating Asbel Kiprop, albeit a far from peak form version of Kiprop), my confidence was sky high coming back to Melbourne for nationals, especially since I had run 1:46 there two years straight. I had been rather sick in the week following the Perth Track Classic but felt I had shaken it off by nationals, though it did effect my first week back, but nonetheless felt good. The prelim went exactly to plan and I felt very easy and it only added to my confidence. The final went pretty much to plan…until 150m to go. I moved with 200 to go and took the lead and was in the position to win. Then I felt James Kaan move up to challenge. In the prior races (Melbourne and Sydney) my finish had been quite strong, yet when Kaan and then Renshaw moved to me, I had nothing in the tank. I just tried to hang on in the last 100m and had the
unfortunate privilege of seeing Johnny Rayner come storming past me. 4th place. After a season that promised so much I ended up finishing one spot down from last year. I was gutted. I could barely even acknowledge anyone around me, I just lay on the track in disbelief of what had happened. My conduct post race was not the best, as Kaan had run brilliantly, but I was in utter shock. I simply put it down to having a bad day, unfortunately it just happened to occur at nationals.
After a few days of coming to terms with what happened, I had to get my head back in gear as I was to compete in Japan in two weeks. Before that though I was to compete at the Prestigious Stawell Gift. Going to Stawell was not planned but since I was privileged enough to be invited to compete in Japan, I felt it would be in bad taste to refuse the invitation to compete in Stawell. Nonetheless, Stawell was a great experience and I really enjoyed my time down there (even if the marks I was given gave me almost no hope).
At this stage, it was hard to fit in much training in between, as I was treading the fine line between sacrificing quality work with flattening myself for any upcoming races. I still went to Japan with high hopes and was keen to redeem myself for my poor performance at nationals. Japan the previous year had been great, and I was glad to see that some members from last year were going once again (Brendan Cole, Melissa Breen, Lauren Boden and Matt Beckenham). There were many others who I hadn’t met yet, but the whole group was an absolute pleasure to travel with and I was grateful of the time spent with them.
First up was Shizuoka, a track I had been to the previous year. I had the pleasure of entering my hotel room and seeing a rather large box loaded up to the gills with Mizuno gear, courtesy of Kenji Ootake, Mizuno’s head of International Sports Promotion. I had met Kenji the year before and was flattered he remembered me. I have always been a bit of a Mizuno fanatic so I felt it was Christmas come early. The race in Shizuoka was decent finishing 2nd to Masato Yokota, the Japanese record holder (1:46.16), who has a blistering finish. My time was 1:47.38 (compared to Yokota’s 1:46.86). I felt rather flat though and still didn’t have the spring in my step. I thought this may have been due to cobwebs from the trip over. I was wrong.
Throughout the week leading to Kawasaki, I was bothered by a niggling right hamstring which had been bothering me since just after nationals. While I was able to do my race pace work without too much of a problem, it made me tentative to do my speed work, which being a 400m guy moving up, is very crucial. Still I felt ready. Once again I would be lining up against Yokota, as well as newly crowned national champ James Kaan, my domestic rival. As with Shizuoka, I ran tactically very well, but once again in the last 150m my body shut down, it was nationals all over again, but worse. I experienced a side effect from the Bi- Carbonate I was taking, and my hands had been tingling prior to the race (never a good sign). In the last 100m my hands totally cramped up, and my legs would not turnover. I faded to 4th in a very slow 1:48.54. That was the sign telling me I had lost fitness and form and to call it a season (and stop taking Bi-Carb haha). I was disappointed that I ran so poorly in what was an amazing opportunity being such a prestigious meeting, but at the very least I had a decent run in Shizuoka and gained more international experience, as well as travelling with a great group of aussie athletes and having enough Mizuno gear to last me until the apocalypse!
It’s been a good year, and in the end came away with another PB. So after the upcoming Balmoral Burn, I look forward to a good break, then back to work for Olympic season. Bring it on!!