It Is Never Too Late To Try Something New: BC Track & Field Championships Race Report

I am super excited!  I just won my first ever major sports competition in my life and have now earned the title of 2014 BC Track & Field Champion.  I can definitely mark last Sunday's race as one of the most exciting days in my life as an athlete. In the week before the race, when I realized that I had a chance at the title if I slightly improved my personal bests, I could barely sleep.  I really did not want to miss on this opportunity of a lifetime. After the first day of competition and finishing 2nd in the 100m dash, I was quite disappointed. All the perfect conditions for me to run my best in the 100 were there: hot and dry weather, good competition, time for me to fuel up and warm up before the race, even a little bit of wind to push me through the finish line faster! Still, I only ran 0.18s faster than my personal best.  In the end, my time was 0.19s too slow (about one big stride behind) to be able to win. Looking at the video after the event, I would analyze everything that I did wrong.  The winner had an amazing acceleration phase for the first half of the race, mine was very mediocre.  My speed endurance was the best it had ever been,  just not enough for me to catch up following a mediocre first half of the race.  I was a little mad at myself and frustrated too.
At the same time, my motivation to win the 200m race on the following day had doubled as it would then be my last chance at the title. In the 200m, speed endurance can win against pure speed and power.  However, some of the people I would race against had even better speed endurance than me: the 400m and middle-distance runners.  So during the warm up, my coach and I worked on my start, drive, and acceleration mechanics.  I had to both start and finish well if I wanted to have a chance at a medal.  If a 400 runner would pass me too early, I would have no chance to be able to catch them after. When I positioned myself at the start line of the 200m final, I was ready to try my hardest or faint trying.  For the first time ever, I had set my sights on a championship gold medal with the true belief that I could win it.
At the starting line, the ground was so hot that we could not put our fingers on it, so a volunteer at the start line sprayed some water on it.  Ready, set, bang!  After 50m of pushing the ground behind me, I stood up and started looking around.  I could hear people cheering for the runner on my right: she had done an amazing start and was still ahead after 80m.  It pushed me to power through the end of the curb, pumping my arms harder, and lengthening my strides with all my power.
Coming out of the turn, I tried to do the breathing technique my coach had taught me: take a deep breath in, then blow it out hard as you move into the straightaway.  Unfortunately, the air was so hot and dry that my lungs would not allow me to take a full breath and my mouth felt like I had blown a hair dryer inside of it and then ate dust.  It threw me off, but then, on my left, I saw another runner starting to catch up with me.  I cannot get passed by her, or I will lose, I thought.
With about 80m left in the race, my arms started pumping even harder as I adjusted my posture to top speed mechanics: standing tall while tightening my core.  I could then hear people cheering from the stands, pushing me as muscle fatigue started settling in. With about 10m left, I glanced on my left, on my right, and when I realized I was winning, I was in disbelief. The euphoria started settling in before I even crossed the finish line, and it probably made for silly looking last steps.
 (Sorry for the low-resolution images there was no official photographer at the event, so these are images taken from a phone). I did not celebrate after crossing the finish line: I got so used to only consider a race with a personal best a success. So we waited to see our times on the screen. After realizing that I had a PB, I shouted of joy and celebrated with other runners who also got personal bests. My coach joined me later: "BC Champion!", he shouted. We exchanged a high five.  It was hard to believe that, just three years ago, I was his most rookie athlete, finishing last at nearly every race I entered... As a kid and teen, I was a non-athlete: I did some dancing, sailing, and horseback riding, but never competitive sports.  My only competition ever was a short cross-country race organized by my high-school. After that, I had chronic knee issues that prevented me from doing any sport: at some point, I even had to take it easy on the dancing at nightclubs... Today, as a personal trainer and as a coach, I want to help others realize their sports and physical fitness goals, the way that teaching myself to do strength training, getting help from physios, and training with the Norwesters Track & Field Club helped me achieve mine.  After my win, the saying "It is never too late to learn something new" was truer than ever for me. I hope my racing achievements this weekend, will help inspire others who have running-related goals in mind they thought it might be too late (or too hard) to achieve. I would also like to thank my sponsors Q Drink Healthy and AQR Sport for believing in me and supporting me with their amazing pre-race and post-race sports drinks and recovery spray.
P.S. To celebrate my gold medal, you can now order some Q Drink Healthy healthy and natural sports drink with a 15% discount using the code "Ready".