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!!!