Saturday, January 31, 2015

Race Day Competition 101: Preparing for Your Beast Moment. How to Do It

I almost called this blog post Lung Burning 101 but realized that sounds discouraging. I opted to row the shortest distance in the competition, 500 meters. As a spectator, this is a quick race just around 2 minutes. As a racer, it's two minutes or less of anaerobic (NO OXYGEN) work that burns from the inside out. Race day had the following fears dancing in the back of my mind:What if I finish then puke and fall on my face, or worse, what if I crap my pants during the race? Well, good news is, I didn't do any of those; though it would have made a fabulous read if I had.

You can't see it but I'm standing on top of the #1, finished first in my age group (and also ONLY person in my age group)
Prep Time Basics: Because the prep is usually the most fun!
There were things I did right and wrong today during preparation. I realized I have never prepared for a sprinting event, all my prior races were endurance (half marathons or long races) so this was new territory for me. But I think these are basic rules that work for me in most races:

1. Lesson #1: race time was 3pm:  so I had all day to obsess over it. ShItey.

2. Dork move #1: drank coffee this morning. I am not a coffee drinker, never add new things to your diet on race day. Duh. I knew this but I fell victim to the warm deliciousness in the wee morning hours. My punishment was massive race day jitters + caffeine which made me edgy (NOT in a good way).

Pre-Race Bliss
3. Did It Well: Water intake was increased 3 days before the race, I was chugging over a gallon a day so I would be fully lubed. Stopped chugging water 3-hours before race time to avoid having a full bladder. Your body has already absorbed its water intake by this point, no need to chug more. Small water sips are OK 3 hours before races, but chugging is not. Learned this in Paleo Diet for Athletes and it's a system that has always worked for me. Anyone ever seen the lines for the porta pottys at running races? Don't do that to yourself.

4. Got this! Fully digested my food. You want NO food in your belly, nothing to detour your blood. You want all your blood going to your muscles, not your digestion. So I kept 4 hours between lunch and gun time. Also, with no food in my gut the risk of puking was minuscule

6. Meditation/relaxation. I took time to chill and listen to the Art of Manifesting audio while I visualized myself rowing. Would have loved to have taken a nap but I was too amped up (coffee.)

Post Race. Captured Exactly How I Felt
What I couldn't figure out was at the end, I wasn't able to push off the foot pedals enough, my technique was off but it was go-time so there was no time to try to figure it out. I felt like I couldn't fully drive with as much power as I wanted to. Also, Post race left me with burning lungs for about 10-15minutes. I have NEVER experienced it that long before in my life. Rowing puts other cardio equipment to shame. 

Also, I noticed I was the only one breathing loudly during the race. Upon further review of pictures I saw all the guys making this face. It's puffed cheeks, and they all did it at some point. Am I missing something or did I just discover why women are slower than men in rowing. You decide. 

Puffed cheeks! Might be something to this