This year I have accomplished one of my goals, to run at Nike Nationals. I was unsuccessful during indoor season trying to qualify but I worked a lot harder during the outdoor season. I was able to qualify in the 400 hurdles. I am one of the few sophomores running the 400 hurdles this year at Nationals. It feels great to be able to run. Qualifying has shown me that I am making progress and my training is beginning to pay off.
As in preparation for Nike Nationals, I focused on my 400 hurdle training. I watched the film on my last 400 hurdle races (55.73) and (55.13). I realized that I was not attacking the first hurdle like I should be. I told my dad and Coach McGill that I was sprinting out about the first 10 to 15 steps and then I would settle into a rhythm as I approached the first hurdle. Sunday, I worked with my dad on my block start. We were working on trying to be more technical and powerful at the start instead of trying to immediately come out running. We were working on trying to increase the length my drive phase. My dad stressed to me that I need to focus more at the start and become more aggressive.
Last year Coach McGill worked with Johnny Dutch before Nike and Jr. Nationals. Coach McGill got Johnny down to a low 50 in the 400 hurdles, now Johnny is at South Carolina University running a 48 mid in the 400 hurdles. I feel Coach McGill will get my time down to a low 50 before I leave high school. McGill has been emphasizing the same techniques he gave to Johnny, to me. Coach McGill and I talked about my race strategy going into the 400 hurdles Saturday. We determined that my goal is to run a 53 in the 400 hurdles. To achieve this goal, Coach McGill and I thought about my rhythm between the hurdles. My goal is to 15 step between the first eight hurdles. Then on the last two hurdles, take 17 steps. With my 400 meter strength and adrenaline pumping on race day, I know that taking 15 steps through the eighth hurdle will be easy. McGill and I are feeling very confident. Now it is time for me to just go out there to show and prove.