Thursday, 15 January 2015


What is vulnerability?  Vulnerability is being open to the possibility that you can be hurt.  Letting your guard down and opening yourself up to the chance of failing. Or in this case, falling.

Yesterday was hurdle day. To our surprise, we had decided to move up to the 200m hurdles, instead of doing the 100m hurdle repeats. This meant that we were starting 400m race portions. Exciting and progressional, yet slightly intimidating. Intimidating because there is so much that can go so wrong, and you NEED to be focused and have everything pretty technically sound. 

One thing before I move on, most people say you do not need to be technically sound to run the 400m hurdles. They say that as long as you are fast and can power off the hurdle effectively, you'll do just fine. I don't agree with this. Why do something haphazardly if you can do it perfectly? There's no room for error in a race. "Acceptable" and "satisfactory" hurdling are words that I will never accept.

The 200m hurdles were set up. The first 200m in the race with 5 hurdles set up. Warm up went okay, but something was off. My left hip was tight. It's always tight, I don't have a full time masseuse yet, and once a week isn't cutting it. I need DEEP work done weekly. The hip was more tight than usual, which was putting me off kilter every time I used it as a trail leg. Not the best, but acceptable when running higher speeds, as the momentum will help carry you.  I started the first rep with my usual start position, left leg on the start line. This is what I'm used to, but I know running full speed I'm going to hit that first hurdle with my left leg being the lead on the turn. For those of you who don't hurdle, this gets your body landing not towards the turn. Knowing this, I wanted to run the first one out of comfort, and make adjustments later. Probably not the best idea. So It went almost full speed. As the body starts to come up out of drive phase you see hurdle one approaching you at a very fast pace on the turn. That feeling is so intimidating, and I was trying to tell the younger girl that this is what it's going to be like. You're scared. You don't know what's going to happen, but you have to face it, and you have to just go for it. You can't slow down, you need to attack it, and you need to know that no matter what, it will work out.
I made it over the first hurdle with some inconsistant stride patterns. The rest of the hurdling was sub par on this rep! I was so focused on attacking and running hard that I was over striding coming up to the hurdles. One of them was a stutter. It felt so good to run over these fast, yet scary seeing these things come up to you so fast, regardless of only being 30 inches high.

2nd rep. I was told to be lighter on my feet, more up tall. I switched start legs and I was slightly mind blown on how to get the power out of my legs starting like this. I think from now on I need to only practice running starts and speed work this way. I stuttered to the first hurdle, I was all over the place! I hit the 4th hurdle with my tight hipped trail leg. Of course it was acompanied with a loud yell. I'm quite the vocal hurdler, and I express pushing myself hard with noise, ha. Hitting that hurdle with my trail leg wasn't really a good choice, but it was very evident that my striding was all worng, because the more I tried, the more everything didn't work. I was over thinking the whole process.

3rd rep. Start line, GO. It seemed to be working. OH, maybe not... Stuttered to the first hurdle. Try to make up the striding coming off the first hurdle and notice I'm not going to make it to the next hurdle. I proceed to over stride approaching the next hurdle. It was very slow motion in my head. I leaped and new immediately that I was taking off far too soon, but there was nothing I could do to escape what was bound to happen. My lead leg extended and I started coming down ON the hurdle. so instead of cutting down just after the hurdle, my leg was coming down right on the hurdle, scraping my achilles and lower calf. As this was happening, my back started to flip backwards as my center of gravity was off. My lead leg landed on the support bar on the bottom of the hurdle and I twisted my trail leg as it landed. OKAY, I stopped, not as bad as it could've been, but it was a wake up call. Everything I was doing was wrong, and this over striding habit has got to stop, otherwise something bad was going to happen, IE a detrimental injury or broken bones. 

My concerned coach talked to me, and what she was saying started to click in my brain. I can't be over striding. In fact, I need to be taking a whole other step. The hurdle will come up fast, but that's where your quick hurdling skills and cut down skills come in to play. I decided that from this moment on I'm going to realize that it's likely not going to be "if" but "when" I bail on a hurdle, and I need to realize this and run my season accordingly. This was a point of vulnerability. I had to trust that what my coach was saying made sense, and that I needed to forget evereything I had learned in my past, and take another step. It was scary thinking about this. What if I don't make it? What if I hit the hurdle coming up to it? Doesn't another step mean that I'm going to be so close to the hurdle that I'll just run through it?! I couldn't think like this, I turned off my brain and realized I needed to trust what my coach was saying, and realized that what I was doing was not working, so I had to trust a whole new process.

I approached the start line and cleared my brain with my quick focus work that I do. It works so well, I can clear everything and just turn it off. I decided instead of running "bat sh*t crazy," that I just slow down a touch and focus harder. What happened was a succesion of hurdles being ran with perfect striding and perfect hurdling.The bets hurdling I've done in years. It made me happy. Every hurdle that came up to me just made sense. I took that extra step, I trusted what was going to happen and although it was slightly harder to do, it worked. It didn't ruin my momentum and each leg hit the hurdle at the appropriate striding. When something like this happens, I can't even tell you how good it feels. It makes the last 3 months of hurdling obsolete. This practice has set the standard and I now know what I need to do next time. It only gets better from here. 

This little act of vulnerability let me know that this is going to be a fantastic season, and I can't wait to get in to competition time.



No comments:

Post a Comment