Friday was the 3 km race. The warm-up area was the top field on the grass - not ideal but I preferred that to the road and carpark which was pretty busy. I have never understood the call-room procedure that has athletes sitting for 20 mins after warming up. It has to be the worst preparation for a race. I completed the first 200 m in 1:02, 10 sec too fast and the first km in 5:53 which I thought was okay. Warnings appeared on the 2nd lap and by the time I passed the board for the third time there were three penalties by my number. I hadn't even got to halfway. I got to continue to the 2 km mark but that was no consultation. I figured my mistake was a lack of concentration - too much concern about pace and little focus on technique.
In approaching today's 20 km it seemed a big ask to convince the judges for over 2 hours when I couldn't even make 10 mins in the 3 km race. Nevertheless I was determined to give it my best shot. I arrived early and had a good warm up and was well organised for the race. I made sure I stood as tall as I could and tucked my bum under. I started at the back of the field, letting myself settle in to a good rhythm. Despite that I received two warnings on the return leg of the first lap and two cards by the end of the third lap. I was resigned to an early exit but actually felt I was walking as well as ever. Over the fourth lap I decided it was time to put my hands up and surrender. The judges clearly don't think I should be out there so I won't be in the future. Sure enough the third card had arrived by the end of that lap and I was pretty emotional about not just the end of my race but also my time in this sport. I have had a lot of benefit from my 5 - 6 years of racewalking and no regrets. I will still continue walking but in unjudged events.
20 km National Champs or not
20 min easy plus strides
5 km Training Walk
6 x 500 m with 2 min rest intervals