The competition in Beijing was almost the opposite of the competition in Shanghai. In Shanghai the 400m hurdles was one of the first events, but in Beijing we were almost the last event. I thought about taking a nap, but instead I watched some TV shows to relax. Because we were running so late, eating properly was an issue. I could not have dinner before the race, because I was already at the track when dinner started. But I already had lunch at 13:30 and there was no snack moment in between. Luckily Wenda had brought peanut butter and I had brought bread so our dinner was peanut butter sandwiches. Because I wasn’t alone the whole day and had some distraction I wasn’t nervous at all. Even during warm-up I felt relaxed and ready to race.
The call room was terrible, the people working there were so stressed and shouting at all the athletes, telling them to be quick, which was annoying everybody. When we were walking out of the call room, I tightened my ponytail and my elastic broke… Ohh no, I felt so stressed out because of the women shouting and now I had to deal with this. I always have at least millions of spare elastics hairbands in my bag just in case, so that wasn’t really the problem, but the woman was really rushing us so, I felt I had no time left. Walking out I tried to find a spare elastic and make a new ponytail while almost running. It turned out there was also a second call room where we had all the time in the world. So I was stressed out for nothing!
Walking out on the track all of a sudden fatigue and hunger caught up with me. Waiting for the race to start I started to feel dizzy and hoped for the best. I was running in lane 9 and the women in lane 7 and 8 were unbelievable fast starters so they passed me at hurdle two already. Fortunately I could keep my 15 steps pace until hurdle 5 but then I did something wrong and I ended up with my bad leg first for the last couple of hurdles. Because of my hamstring injury I could not control this leg as well as I needed to so I decided to switch legs which meant me losing time. When I crossed the finish line, I was happy it was over. Waiting for my time to appear I realized that again I wasn’t last, and that was atleast something. When my time appeared I could not believe it! Sixth place and I ran a 57, 97. Just a little bit slower than in Shanghai despite feeling so terrible. Definitely a very good sign, telling me a lot about my current fitness levels.
Running these two races was an amazing experience. I am so grateful that I got the chance to run next to the best in the world and do so well. It is definitely a big motivational boost and I am ready to run even faster this season!
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