Today we leave for Geneva. It’s race weekend and time to dive into another 70.3 race, this time the Musselman triathlon. It will be my third 70.3 distance race as I completed Muskoka last year and in April tackled Texas. I understand the distance. I’ve done hills (Muskoka) and heat (Texas) and will combine them on Sunday. I’m not sure how I’ll fare under the circumstances. But I do know that the weekend will bring more fun, more friends and another chance to challenge myself, to learn and to grow.
1. Fairy dust. Also known as body glitter. Yes. Body glitter. It goes on my face in the morning after I’ve pulled my hair into ponytails. When I went on an adventure retreat with Women’s Quest, we would get anointed with fairy dust before going out on a long ride, run or hike. “Just in case you get lost,” Women’s Quest founder and former pro triathlete Colleen Cannon would tell us. “Then the fairies can guide you back.” Silly? Maybe. Childish? Well, that’s the point. The fairy dust honors the little girl who loved adventure and being outside. I lost her for a few years. I never want to be without her again. And if putting on smear of glitter on my face keeps her around, I’ll sparkle all day long.
2. Body Glide. The stuff helps me wiggle into my wetsuit and keeps me from chaffing from my sports bra. And trust me, chaffing in any sports bra-related area is zero fun when you’re midway through a half marathon. P.S. You know you’re an endurance athlete when you use Body Glide on your feet to ease the pain of high heeled shoes at a wedding.
3. Coffee. My race morning breakfast usually consists of oatmeal, raisins and a mini-bagel. But it always includes coffee. Always. I need at least one cup upon waking. It’s ritual. It’s caffeine. It’s simultaneously a stimulant and a way to relax. To paraphrase a line from the first season of MTV’s Road Rules, “Amy isn’t running this race without her coffee.”
4. Rolaids. Thanks to Swim Master Greg who taught me this tip last year. After I set everything up in transition I pop one or two tablets. The reason? Excitement and anxiety collide in my stomach often producing too much acid. It helps to ease the queasy feeling in my stomach — the one that sometimes does a flip turn when it takes a gander at the orange buoys.
5. Lip balm. See before the start of the swim, I start to get a dry mouth. I’m not really thirsty, just hot and anxious. If I drink water, I’ll have to use the bathroom. Really, I just want the dry mouth sensation to go away. A bit of lip balm in transition usually helps with this. Also good in case anyone wants to give you a good-luck kiss.
Along with my top five list of things I need comes one intangible — a smile. It can come via some silly song (usually a dance tune or some 1980s classic), an exchange with a friend or the sight of family cheering for you in hideous green t-shirts your sister-in-law designed two years ago. Regardless of what provokes it (or enhances it) the smile is critical to race day. Because race day is about joy. It’s about celebrating all the training you’ve done.
Race day isn’t a final exam. It’s the graduation party.
What are your must-haves on race day? What do you need to enjoy the day, to perform well and to celebrate?
See you on Monday with the weekend recap!