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As we announced last week avid HMB user/Masters Track & Field athlete Jeff Mack placed 2nd in the Masters 200m Exhibition race that took place at the Olympic Trials at Hayward Field in Eugene, OR! Here is a recap on the event from Jeff.
Q: Once you arrived at Hayward Field what feelings did you have?
JM: Believe it or not when I arrived at Eugene’s airport I had the feeling of okay I’m pumped and a little anxious. There were other spots around U of O’s campus that I had to venture to obtain my credentials for the meet. It didn’t hit me until I walked onto the practice field and heard the roar of the crowd and saw the side of the bleachers that reads, “Hayward Field!” I may sound corny and I’m not a star struck person but on the practice field were Carmelita Jeter, Sanya Richard-Ross, David Oliver, Alyson Felix and many more: all of which are World Champions or past Olympians. Right then… right at that moment, I felt a big sense of what I had watched growing up and was treated as a top athlete on the same surface. Unbelievable, I am finally here, Track Town USA!
Q: What type of warm-up did you do in order to be ready for your event?
JM: My approach was an easy jog of 100 meters and walk 100 meters for about four cycles. Afterwards a nice stretch of arms, shoulders and legs. Following that came about four different mechanical drills i.e. high knee skips, butt kicks etc. Later, four build up runs for about 60 meters. Afterwards there was about three take off’s with quick speed (very short distance).
Q: Did you have a set time you wanted to obtain or a placing you expected to get going into the 200m dash?
JM: Funny you should ask. Yes, first place of course, but I didn’t tell anyone, some odd vision of 21.97 was going through my mind leading up to the meet. I didn’t question it or proclaim it; I simply left it idle in my mind. This helps mental preparedness with me and keeps my nerves calm. A low 22.00 or a high 21-second time is what is expected.
Q: What was going through your head as you got set-up in your blocks waiting for the gun to fire?
JM: Get out, eat up the stagger, be the leader at the end of the turn and maintain your speed. Eating the stagger is a term used to pass the next runner(s) ahead of you in a staggered staged start. This is mostly done on a curve start. In my mind and all athletes ahead of you have targets on their backs. ”Set”, a normal lung filling inhale of air rushes through the nostrils, at the same time I raise up for the set position.
Q: Can you describe how the race went?
JM: POW! Off goes the gun! I explode out of the blocks with a quick reaction to the sound. A forced exhale rushes out immediately. I drove out with quick repetitive forceful steps while swinging my arms in mechanical harmony. Within 40 meters of the race I was passing the next competitor ahead of me one at a time (eating the stagger). As we were about to come out of the curve I focused ahead at least 20-30 meters to blast around the turn. The straight away is here, I am in the lead considerably. Nothing but the glimmer of a wet track and the shadow from Hayward Field’s Stadium is within my sight, I can hear the crowd getting louder but I was staying focused. At the last 30 meters my muscles began to tie (become tight). Nevertheless, I pushed through the pain to maintain the lead. The crowd began to cheer louder as I noticed a pair of legs running next to me. It was the competitor in lane five fighting to take the lead. As the finish line drew closer lane five (Eric Prince) slowly passed me and took the lead right near the finish. The race was over and I was now second.
Q: Was the outcome of the race what you anticipated? Why or why not?
JM: Not quite. I figured that I had trained well and I knew I was the fastest of the field. But competitively I had not competed in the 200 meters for one solid month due to two minor quads injuries. These injuries were healed in the beginning of May, but I decided to save the 200 meter races for Eugene.
Q: Any other thoughts and comments you would like to add about your performance or trip out to Hayward Field in Eugene, OR?
JM: The trip was astounding; the performance was great! After the race Eric Prince (the winner) and I went to the commons area of the meet. Between the two of us we must have signed 15 autographs, gave about 20 hugs and took tons of pictures with the fans. Not sure if they knew who we were but they were so excited to meet any of the athletes participating in the events. Some did watch the race and congratulated us. One younger fan was in a bad car wreck a couple of years ago. He said he had to rehab for about six months to improve his leg strength. He also wanted to get back into track. He asked questions on training and about HMB. This was very rewarding to speak with a person on getting back into shape and sharing info on HMB. It felt really great to help someone that had been through something traumatic. After the meet, recovery was quicker than I thought. With the muscle fatigue in the last 20 meters of the race I for sure thought that I would be really sore the next few days. Guess again, only a slight soreness in my right quad, very minor! I would definitely say HMB has a part in this. Overall the experience/meet was over the top! Never would have thought that at my age I would be at a meet of this magnitude. Hayward Field will be forever burned into my memory.
Thanks Jeff for sharing your experience with us! Congratulations again on your performance in this high caliber event. We wish you the best with the rest of track season.