Back in Action / Harvard and BU 2019

Gemma Acheampong post-race in Boston
Gemma Acheampong post-race in Boston

I raced last weekend. You heard that right. A race. Me. Running. In a competition. I feel like it’s been ages since I last competed. I barely had an outdoor season (I ran maybe 4 or 5 races total), I took an actual vacation with my family this summer, and I started pre-season training a lot later than usual. Thinking about it now this has probably been my longest stretch between races since college.

I opened my season in Boston, or what I like to refer to as “my almost-hometown”. I’ve run at the Harvard Crimson Elite Meet for the past 7 years, and it’s always been a great place to compete. I don’t always perform well, but the people are nice, they stick to the schedule as closely as possible, and the straightaway never disappoints. I was happy to find this year that they even resurfaced their facilities and the feel of it underfoot did not disappoint.

My preliminary race went fine. It’s always feel so shaky in the first race of the season and this was no different. It was a slow start out of the blocks because of this as I basically just did my best to stay centered and not false start. I ended up pushing through the bad start and finishing with a decent time - 7.41. (For reference my PR is 7.35). The good thing about having qualifying rounds to run is that you have another chance to work on things and run well. I was fortunate enough to have some great women in the finals with me, which resulted in an exciting final. With the cobwebs dusted off in the prelims, I was able to execute the push I needed to finish with a time I could be happy with. I ended the night .02 away from my PR, sore shins, and excitement for my upcoming 200.

Image by  Kevin Morris

Image by Kevin Morris

The next day I ran another almost-PR in the 200 at the BU Bruce Lehane Scarlet and White Invitational. It’s always so nostalgic to return to my alma mater and run on the track that I matured so much on. It’s always a good day when you don’t run shitty and you can see friends that are still in the area. I ran a solid 24.16, which is .01 off my indoor 200 PR.

My takeaways from both races: I’ve got the pushing and accelerating part of the race down. So far this year I’ve been focusing on my starts and being aggressive. When watching the races, I can see the improvements I’ve made in those departments, but now I know I need to shift some of my focus on transitioning. I need to learn to stop pushing the whole way and actually run the rest of my races.

I’m not sure if I’ll compete again this indoor season (the chances are super slim at the moment), but I’m not too stressed about it. I’m happy I was able to get a good gauge of how my training is progressing and I’m looking forward to working on things and attacking outdoor with all I’ve got.

I’m excited for what’s to come this year!


If you enjoy reading about my races, please support my Olympic journey!