Monday, May 18, 2009
2009 USATF 15k Race Walk Regional Championship - A Personal Validation and Confirmation
Having done my utmost possible physical preparation for the USATF 15K Masters Race Walk Championship and done all logistical and race circuit familiarization, I have surrendered matters to the Lord for the outcome of the race. My main goal was (a) complete the race without being disqualified of race walk technical violation (b) to attain confirmation that my race walking form is in conformity to international judges standards which will be done by USA Track and Field Officials under IAAF Standards.
I slept early the night before but due to jetlag and compounded more of my excitement of the race, I was already awake by 1:30am (which is 4:30pm Sunday Manila) and to think race was only to start at 7:30am. Rather than opting to force myself to sleep, I just passed the time doing odd things in the house until 6:00am when it was time to leave the house and take a 35 minute drive from Moreno Valley to race site at Fairmont Park at Riverside CA.
On our arrival, the race event organizers The INLAND EMPIRE RACEWALKERS of Southern California and race officials from the USA TRACK & FIELD where already into their different tasks in preparation for the race event at the same time participants were starting to arrive for their registration check-in and bib collection.
After collecting my race bib, there was still a good 40 minutes left to warm up and I decided to take a one lap final familiarization of the race circuit. Minutes prior to starting gun, we have to report to our individually assigned LAP COUNTER who was designated to provide my lap count and lap time. And then a final race briefing was done by the USATF Race Director explaining that there were eight (8) judges situated strategically along the circuit whose main task is to ensure that each walker is in conformity to the USATF technical rules of race walking. Each time a participant is deemed to have violated the technical rule of race walking a judge will give him/her a paddle warning which shall then be exhibited on a board located at the finish line
visible to all racers as they pass. A racer who gets three red marks is automatically DQ disqualified to continue the race. These technical judging was my biggest concern of not being able to complete the race as the distance was very much a normal thing for me.
Then the race was on. First lap I was so stiff that all that I could think of was how was I executing my walk and that each time I pass a judge along the circuit all I could think of was my race form to practically forgetting about the speed. On my 4th lap I noticed that a van was slowly following me for about a minute and I knew then that the roving race official was watching me and my heart was beating faster not because I was tired but I was afraid that I be given a warning. To my great relief, the driver of the van commented “nice form keep going”. These words were I think what I needed to fuel my confidence and from then on I concentrated to put more rear kick action to speed into my drive.
01hour 53miunutes and 52seconds after the starting gun was sounded I finished the 15k race walk with NO race walk technical violation being given to me. I did not break my PR for 15k at 01h51m34s (DocFit last 22Feb09) but this race result mean so much to me as it was validation and confirmation that I can execute race walking in conformity to IAAF rules. The best part was that I did not receive a single warning from any of the judges. Praise God.
As an added bonus by the way, I got 2nd place for ages 55-59 years old and to go with it a medal to cherish for the 2009 15k Race Walk USA Track & Field Regional Championship. God is good all the time!
Thank you to all those who have given support to my endeavour. I shall not name names, but, you know who you are. Lastly to the members of INLAND EMPIRE RACEWALKERS of Southern California whom I have had the short opportunity to talk and to Dave Snider thank you for your assistance in my race registration.