Senior sprinter/hurdler Aaron Roberts will be keeping a daily blog in anticipation of this Saturday’s Dual meet with rival Michigan.
Dual Meet Blog Day 4: 16 hours
Less than 24 hours until the meet. All the work has been completed, nothing left to do but compete.
The day before a meet (AKA pre-meet day) is short and simple. Practice is a quick warm-up and a few sprints just to loosen up, followed by a cool down and a short stretch. Coach Beathea leaves us with the thought, “Come tomorrow ready to run, or Michigan will be taking a victory lap.” Enough said.
Later in the evening we have our Dual Meet dinner, which takes place every Friday night before the Dual Meet. We were fortunate to have Buckeye great Butler By’not’e speak to us about the rivalry. Maybe the most influential thing he said was, “When you participate in the Ohio State – Michigan rivalry, whether on the track or on the football field, you are creating history.” We may not be affecting world history, but for the family that is Buckeye nation we are making history; and that is exactly what we are going to do tomorrow.
Hope to see you there. Go Bucks!
Dual Meet Blog Day 3: 1 day 16 hours
With two days until the meet, Thursday’s practice was a speed day which consisted of four 200s at a 24-second pace – a fairly easy workout meant to get us running near race pace. A cool down and stretch concludes practice for the day.
Two days before a meet are when specific meet preparations begin to really take place. Practice was easier to help get our legs ready to compete. Most runners (at least I think most runners) will carbo-load to ensure maximum performance. Maybe most importantly, each runner will take whatever action is necessary to be ready to race.
Here are the things that I do two days before a meet so ensure that I am ready to run:
7:20am: Wake up, watch ESPN’s Top Ten plays and eat a bowl of Wheaties Fuel.
8:30-10:30am: Class, either water resources or fundamentals of civil engineering analysis; both twice as boring as they sound. It’s somewhat disheartening to attend class for it further proves my theory that class is for people who don’t know things. And yes, that was my attempt at comic relief.
2:30-3:30pm: Class again
4-11pm: There are only three things I will be doing during this 7-hour span: Homework, preparing/eating dinner, or playing video games. 48 hours before a meet means I will be eating a massive pasta dinner; usually spaghetti with marinara sauce. This is where my second theory comes into play, which is the more pasta you eat two days before a race, the better you will run. I am yet to prove this theory wrong. Video games are played only after all homework is complete (honestly). All joking aside, I do find that anything that gets my mind off racing is beneficial. I tend to get extremely anxious/excited before a race and I find that the longer I can hold off the adrenaline, the better I will run.
11:00pm: Bed. Ever since I began running track, I always play out my race over and over again in my head before I fall asleep. I think having a plan and understanding how you want to execute your race is vital to every runner’s performance. I also use this time to think of what quote should be placed under this article on OhioStateBuckeyes.com. This is the best I could come up with for today (this is also what I will tell the team after practice tomorrow): “At some point on Saturday we will each be challenged mentally, physically and emotionally; and my question to you is: how will you respond?”
… Maybe the quote is a little over the top. But hey, it’s true.
Dual Meet Blog Day 2: 2 days 16 hours
After two difficult practices on Monday and Tuesday, Wednesday was a recovery day. Practice begins with a 20-minute warm-up, which is followed by a 25-minute run and a short lift. A cool down and stretch concludes practice for the day.
With roughly 70 hours remaining until race day, I sat down/texted a few of my fellow sprinters to discuss the upcoming meet. Here are a few segments of our conversations:
Q: Will you do whatever it takes to win Saturday?
A: Yeah, as long as I don’t have to run the 600.
Q: Will you beat your brother this weekend?
A: Yeah, I’m going after my brother.
Q: Will you beat your brother this weekend?
A: I don’t know because this is my first time running the 600 (In the two years I’ve known him, this is the first time Marvel has been modest).
Q: Are you nervous for your race?
A: No, not really.
Q: How are you feeling coming up on your first Dual Meet?
A: I feel good. I have run in dual meets before, but this one has a tradition feeling I can’t even explain. I am appreciative to be a part of something as big as this meet.
Ok, so we don’t have a team full of literature majors, but it’s encouraging that no one is too nervous. Running scared or nervous can be detrimental to an athlete’s performance and staying calm and confident will be the main focus for the next few days.
Dual Meet Blog Day 1: 3 days 13 hours
Without referring to the countdown clock in our locker room, it took me roughly 3 minutes to calculate how many days and hours remained until the dual meet begins.
Every athlete on our team looks forward to the Dual Meet all summer and fall. For most guys it is the first real meet of the season and is also an opportunity to take part in the greatest rivalry in sports. I think Coach Gary said it best: “Any coach or athlete who says it’s not important just got their butt kicked.” The Dual Meet is important and an opportunity to compete in this meet is a memory each athlete should cherish for the rest of our lives.
The week begins with practice on Monday. When we compete on a Friday or Saturday, Mondays and Tuesdays are our only difficult practice days. We (the sprint group) got in a solid endurance workout, running some repeat 200s and 300s. Once the workout was complete we hit up the weight room for an hour and a half workout. On my final set of bench press I repped out 250lbs four times, which was more than Blake Callahan and Steve MacDonald combined. A 20-minute cool down and stretch concludes the day.
After a volume day on Monday, we knew Tuesdays practice would be the most difficult of the week. We began practice with our usual 20-minute warm-up. The workout consisted of repeat 350s followed by repeat 200s, a fairly difficult speed endurance day. The group got through the workout better than I anticipated and a 30-minute cool down followed by a 30-minute deep tissue massage concludes the practice.
The fact that it’s dual week doesn’t really set in until our Tuesday team meeting. Coach Gary spends about 30 minutes discussing strategy, traditions and goals for the weekend. We walk out of the meeting with three goals:
1. Win. Time doesn’t matter; do whatever it takes to win (within the rules of course).
2. Take the building over with energy. A dual meet is all about momentum. A great performance in the beginning of the meet can ignite the crowd and really demoralize the opponent.
3. Find out what kind of team we have. We lost a lot of seniors last year and are running a lot of unproven young guys this weekend. How the younger runners perform will show us what kind of team we are going to be this season.
Coach Gary concludes the meeting with this final thought: “First team to 82 points wins. What will you do to help us get to 82?”