Yea, I run 5Ks but, I'll never be in an elite class of competitors at that distance. Most good athletes with discipline can train for a distance race, but sprint speed is in the genes, either you have it or you don't. We're talkin' about % of fast-twitch muscle fiber.
Grant it, there are not a helluva lot of competitors for this event in my age group (45-49). The All-American standard for my age group in the 55m dash is 7.2. As a NYS Sectional Champion, I ran 6.5 (hand timed) in high school - (that converts to a 6.74 electronic time). Last year in my age group (M45), the national rankings of 1st to 5th in the 55m dash ranged from 7.27 to 7.47. Not terribly fast. I really have no idea how fast I am now. I feel fast, am in great shape from training for 5Ks, and I'm light - around 144 lbs, exactly my high school weight. But ... I've NOT trained to run sprint races and just found about about the Alabama USATF Masters Championship indoor track meet in Decatur, AL on 1/26. ("Masters" - btw means us old guys). So . . . I am entered in the 55 meter dash in this meet.
Well, I've gone whole hog. I bought a pair of Adidas Demolisher 2 sprint shoes, borrowed a set of starting blocks from MTSU track (thanks Coach Hayes!), and have increased my stretching a lot.
I've just become aware of new tech advances in sprint spikes - the ceramic 'christmas tree' spikes (see below). These are what the elite world record holders are using now. (Michael Johnson used them in his world record setting 200m). I'd never heard of them.
After one day of working with the blocks, my upper quads were too sore to run for a day. Sprinting I know is high risk of injury but I feel I can do it. Coming out of the blocks felt great, like I was spring loaded. If only I had been practicing gun starts for a month, I would be so ready ... but this first race will just be a benchmark for further improvement.
I feel fast, but we'll see what the clock says next weekend. A lot of trouble for a 7 second race, but I am as excited as a kid in a toy store. I'm gonna fly.