Friday, May 01, 2009

Race Day Thoughts

A lot of folks (Soda, Amy, Courtenay, Alexis, Jocelyn, Eileen…anybody else??) are racing Wildflower this weekend and my great friend Carmen is racing the Lake Berryessa Half (also similarly difficult and at a lake but in Napa County, not in the middle of the state). Originally I had a post all set to go in my mind titled “Mexico or Bust” but I’ll save that for Monday. Let’s just say I am still planning on going to Mexico in three weeks and the media and their over-hyped B.S. can KISS MY A**!! (FYI did you know that 36,000 people in the U.S. die EVERY YEAR from flu-related illness? And that so far there have been 8 CONFIRMED H1N1 flu-related deaths? That's all for now...)

I also had a post set to go about an article in the New Yorker this past week on the use of ‘neuroenhancers’ and I have to ask, how is it different from steroid use in athletes? But I will also save that for next week. Go read it and help me weigh in on this ridiculousness.

Yes, a lot of editorializing on my part but both are topics that really get me going.

Oh and there’s also a post in the works on a review of SKWEET! (preview: I give it two thumbs up!), too!

BUT in the spirit of all you fabulous people who are racing this weekend, I wanted to share some wise race-day thoughts that I’ve always loved and helped get me into the right frame of mind. With that said, here you go:

Mental Health: Confidence! You didn't train all these weeks just to be a wallflower competitor come race day. It is a RACE. Go out and be competitive and ready to push yourself out of the comfort zone. Make it different from an ordinary training day.

Recognize that 99% of the time, things will not go as planned. Expect to be ready to face whatever surprises come your way, whether it’s nutrition, mechanical or whatever else may crop up. You've trained through all kinds of conditions and situations so use that strength to your advantage and say “BRING IT ON!”

RACE DAY IMAGE: Strong, fluid, smooth, tons of endurance, lean, and willing to suffer!

POSITIVE self-talk. If you are thinking ‘I suck. All these people are passing me.” Or “Oh god these hills are going to suck because I can’t climb” then how do you expect other people to root for you if you can’t root for yourself? In fact, be so positive and confident in yourself that you occasionally cheer others on as they pass you or you pass them.

BE PRESENT IN THE MOMENT. If you had a bad swim, suck it up. It’s done. It won’t do you ANY GOOD to think about how you could’ve swam faster or ‘if only I would’ve…” NO “if-only”s!!! Focus on the HERE and NOW. On the bike, keep those pedals turning over, be SO SO proud of yourself because you are HERE. You SHOWED UP. Now focus on kicking ass – whether your goal is just to kick your own or somebody else’s. Once you hit that run, don’t look back for one moment. What’s done is DONE and you can’t change a damn thing. Not only that, you still don’t know how everybody else’s race is going. There’s no way to know so the only thing you need to do now is focus on YOURSELF and finishing strong! You CAN do this!

Some technical tips:

Swim--only concentrate on navigation and keeping a clean stroke. Decent swim times will come directly from fixating on these two things. Forget these and it won't matter how hard you're pulling.

Bike--think negative split on the second half of the bike, that is ride the 2nd half faster than the first. This means going easy the first half! Overall pace on the bike should not feel exhausting as the goal is to not have to walk any of the run due to exhaustion. A 5 minute faster bike split is killed if you have to walk 20 minutes during the run. Allow 5-10 minutes of riding before consuming fluids or fuel. After that, follow the hydration plan you've been doing for long rides, adjusting for temps and higher intensity of the race.

Run--constantly monitor calories and fluids and try to even split each half of the run as closely as possible.

Okay, that’s all I’ve got. Hope it helps and peps some people up. NOW GO RACE AND HAVE FUN!!!


Kelly said...

yes, i did know over 30k ppl die from regular flu, but 1. that doesn't mean you should actively seek out polio - for example - just bc it kills less people and 2. scientifically, we understand regular flu, we know where it came from and how it spreads and why it kills some people and not others, we don't really understand this new strain nor can you gaurantee that it's not that big a deal.

so. while the "media" is obviously overreacting and spreading terror and bullshit, it's not ALL bullshit because new strains of diseases we don't understand ARE scary and do have larger implications. there is a fine line between warning people about the health danger and fanning their fears, obviously lots of people have crossed the line over into crazy, but that doesn't mean those initial healthy warnings aren't valid. and to actively flaunt valid health advice is foolish.

go to mexico, of course you'll probably be safe, 95% gaurantee you'll be totally fine. but if you actively go to mexico city and seek out people who are sick and coughing and make no effort to stave off the illness and bring it back with you, then is an unfair risk you are projecting onto other people.

Sarah said...

I knew I could count on you for an awesome response. But we're not going to Mexico City - it's Cozumel. And we have prescriptions of Tamiflu already. And we still may not go, to be honest. But it is also 3 weeks away so there's time to wait and see how it all develops. My point is that right now, we don't actually KNOW how severe it is. Yet the media is making it sound like this horrible awful pandemic and we should all go into HIDING and never come out.

So until we know more, we're just taking a wait-and-see approach.

I guess I should say that if my trip were next week, I'd probably cancel it.

Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach said...

Hey there - good post! On the H1N1... I agree with you Sarah, but can see Kelly's point. I DO think the media are going absolutely haywire over something like this ALL WHILE they fail to discuss how many people die annually from the common flu. There are things that we can do to stay healthy...wash hands, sleep enough, eat healthy, stay away from people who are clearly sick... But in a way its GOOD that there's a lot of hype - maybe it will prevent people who would normally NOT take good care of themselves from getting sick because now they'll realize that this IS serious. Who knows...? Only time will tell.

I read two pages of the NY'er article - VERY interesting. I can't believe THAT MANY people - especially college students - are on prescription drugs or are in favor of being on drugs. Interesting how (at least in the first 2 pages of the article) - its not the BEST students who are on it, but students with below a 3.0 gpa who do a lot of extra curricular activities. I hate to be negative or state the obvious...but if they toned down their social lives and went ahead with the task at hand, perhaps they wouldn't need stimulants in the first place.

I just can't believe THAT many people are on drugs/abusing prescription medication. Yikes...makes me wonder about the rest of the country and stuff. Oh - and no one seems to care about side effects. Totally stupid.

Thanks for a thought provoking post Sarah!

YEAH - good luck to all racing this weekend!

GoBigGreen said...

Ok I will skip the H1N1 talk bc likely this will be around for awhile and it will be re-visited. Amen.
BUT...thanks for the check list for the Tri racing. I am doing a small race tommorrow and it really calmed me down to read it.Take care and I love Cozumel; I hope you can go.

rocketpants said...

If Cozemel is not in lock down its probably as safe as any other city...My parents were in Mexico City when it broke out last week as well as my sister lives there and if the city is impacted at all...everything from churches to restaurants will be closed. They 'locked' themselves IN for the weekend til they left and are out of Mexico right now.

The media is totally going nuts about it, but it is the demographic it is hitting that is worrisome. The young and the healthy. Standard flu doesn't hit that demographic as hard. As well as the sneaky word "confirmed". There are 8 'confirmed' swine flu cases yet 150+ suspected deaths as well as 1000s of 'suspected' cases. They can't call it a true 'count' without a lab test and those have been slow to come back.

Be wise and stay healthy!

D said...

It's Piggiegeddon, Sarah. Be scared. VERY SCARED! Oh noooooo... we MIGHT get the flu. AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH! IT'S SO SCARY!

What's your terror threat level these days? Still Orange? LOL

amy said...

Thanks for the shout out! I actually had a great race even though I didn't read your blog post until now. :)

PunkRockRunner said...

Um, I just wish that I had read this BEFORE my super so-so marathon on Sunday....I've been completely out of the loop on the whole flu thing so just shoot me an email if I need to worry.

Great Blog!

motherbrucker said...

Sarah...I stumbled across your blog and wanted to tell you thanks! This entry made all my anxiety and fears disappear. I have a race this weekend (first oly) a little self doubt creeps up, but I am going to remember all you posted! THANKS!