So this weekend at The Florida Relays in Gainesville, FL, I Jackie Edwards will be running on a 4X100m relay team. Now, I know to most of you, your question is so what? You run track right? Yes, that it is correct. But what I do not do is run or sprint, to be correct....not competitively anyway. I am a long jumper which means I do have speed and to my credit, I have worked on it over the past couple of years and I have significantly improved. That's great news for my long jumping ability.
What I do not do is sprint in races, not anymore anyway. When I was at Stanford, way back in the day, I used to do it all. I ran the 100m, 200m, both the 4X100m and 4X400m relays, the long jump and the triple jump. Trust me when I say that I earned my scholarship!!! However since then, since we realised that my talent truly lied in the sandpit, I have basically left those competitive sprinting days behind. Obviously, I've run once or twice here or there but you can literally probably count it on one hand.
Fast forward to this upcoming weekend and I have VOLUNTARILY agreed to run with some real sprinters on a 4X100m relay and I am running the first leg. So what does this means? This means I have to come out of the blocks. Trust me when I say that it's easier than it looks. I don't even remember which knee I put on the ground. Then I have to react to that gun with some semblance of quickness, then I have to try to run a halfway decent leg so as not to put my team in a hole, and then last but not least, I have to hand off that baton to the 2nd leg runner within a 20m zone while running at full speed.
OK OK...that's what everyone has to do but I'm sure almost everyone else will have done this sometime within oh the last year or two or 5!!! I know...don't blow this out of proportion Jackie...this isn't The Games or anything, but it's just that thing of when you have 3 other people depending on you, you don't want to mess up. If I mess up in the long jump, there's no one else to suffer the consequences but myself. Not so in the relay.
Not to mention, that if I run OK, the Bahamas has been throwing around the idea of having me run this same first leg in the Games themselves. Now we're talking about real trauma and nerves and anxiety. All I can say is if Beijing rolls around and you guys see me standing there getting ready to run the first leg of the Bahamian Olympic team relay, you might as well know now that I will be borderline ready to pass out and I'll be really surprised if my legs don't actually fail me and leave me buckling in the blocks, or worse yet...what if I leave the baton on the track when the gun goes off....LOL!!!! I don't think I could or would ever live that down.
Anyway, this weekend is first. Wish me luck and here's to hoping I get the job done!!