The revival of the PATAFA Weekly Relays had infused new energy into my comeback effort. All of sudden, my Han Solo routine didn’t seem pointless anymore. Even if I’m still rusty, in light of my temporary retirement, every training day seems to bring me one step closer to athletic ideal.
Last Tuesday’s track training was one of the best – if not the best – session this season. I was able to hitch a ride with my office mate right up to the Ultra gate. I got to the stadium a little before 6. As I made my way down the driveway, I saw the track bursting with much activity. The Women’s national football team was using the field; hence, the track was (almost) totally bathed in artificial daylight. Since Christmas season means longer nights in my side of the world, this was a blessing for this working athlete!
As soon as I got dressed, I went to my usual spot – the 110m starting line. I saw familiar faces in the likes of former national team decathlete Obet Fresnido and 800m national record holder John Lozada – my former coach, Fidel Gallenero’s contemporaries in the old GTK army of the late 90′s and early oughts.
Read: “Fidel Gallenero”
Read Pinoymiler’s article on Lozada: “King of Pinoy Half Mile”
Coach Obet, Coach John and Co. are now personal coaches to a group of 13 or so runners. Talking to those guys surely got me into the track & field groove. It brought fond memories of how Coach Toto whipped me into shape five years ago.
I took advantage of the hurdles and the Tuesday Night Lights to do some much-needed technical hurdles training. After a few rounds of hurdle walk-overs, side-clearing and 5-step hurdle clearances, I was sweating profusely. Before I knew it, a good 45 minutes had passed and the track became crowded with hordes of running enthusiasts!
Focus was key since I was attempting to three-step over junior hurdles for the first time in almost three years. At first, the noises of the football players and the collective noises of the multitude of joggers were distracting. Moreover, it took quite some time for my eyes to adjust to the glare of the flood lights.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed the moment. During my hiatus, I never thought that I’d end up competing again.
Before each rep, I visualized the movements as I listened to pump-up music. I closed my eyes as I inhaled the crisp nighttime air, blocking myself from the world around me. Strangely, replaying Liu Xiang’s Athens 2004 gold medal win in my head almost always finds it way before each race. As I assumed the crouch start position, I kept saying to myself that “I am Liu Xiang,” only to correct it by saying “I’m Joboy Quintos – the best hurdler in the world. The best damn hurdler in the world.”
And it worked! Despite a momentary break in momentum approaching the 1st hurdle, my clearance was aggressive. The sprint-in-between was even better than last week’s session (when I cleared youth hurdles). After clearing the second and the last hurdle, I gave a monstrous dash to the imaginary finish line, emulating Colin Jackson’s famous dip.
I pumped my right fist (guts pose!) in jubilation as I walked back. What a night. What a night indeed.
5-step hurdle clearance
3×1 hurdle starts (junior height)
1×2 hurdle starts (junior height)
2x150m sprints (all out)