Friday, November 27, 2015

Pre/Post Half-Marathon Rituals

As any athlete (though I don't exactly consider myself one), I have pre and post half-marathon rituals. There aren't many, but I give them a lot of importance. It's how I prepare myself mentally and physically for the race, which is extremely important. 13.1 miles isn't anything you can do on a whim (at least not if you want to survive it) so we prepare ourselves the best we can.

Pre Half-Marathon Rituals:
First, I start with going over the course and any little detail of the race; where to park, who will be driving me or meeting me at the finish line, what is the course closing time, what the finish area will look like, where I can drop off my gear before the race, etc. I'll most likely forget all of it in the morning, but it's good to go over. It makes me feel like I have everything under control, like I know exactly what will happen.

Next, I make myself a big giant bowl of tortellini. It's basically the only time I eat then, since they're pretty expensive pasta. After I'm stuffed to the brim with carbs, I take a long, hot bath with a lot of Epsom Salts and a good book. I managed to find some that are seated with Eucalyptus, which makes it even more relaxing. I did this for the first time in Berlin, as my legs were so damn sore from all the walking around and visiting. I always feel brand new right after I get out. Not only does it give me time to myself to relax, I also get time to catch up on some reading.

After my bath, I slowly prepare my gear for the race: I pin my bib to my shirt, lay out my clothes (I double-check what the weather will be like first), and get my bag ready with the gels, my ID, keys, shoes and whatever else I need to bring with me. When I think I have everything put together, I try to sleep. The thing is, every night before a big race will always be like the night before Christmas: it's impossible to sleep! Maybe that will go away eventually, but I am always way too excited the night before to get a full 8 hours of sleep. I'm lucky if I get 5! Eventually, I manage to drift off.

Post Half-Marathon Rituals:
The minute the race is over, it's time for pictures. I take a few pictures with my brand-new medal, then I go collect my bag at the drop-off. Then it's off to the recovery area!

The first thing I look for is chocolate milk. It's probably one of my favourite things ever, and it's believed to be the best recovery drink/food, so I usually grab 2-3 of them in my bag for later. I also grab a bagel for the ride home. Some smaller runs offer a pancake breakfast, which sounds amazing, but during the WPS race this year, it gave me such a stomach ache, that I haven't had the courage to try it again.

Lastly, I order pizza. This is the most important ritual of them all, of course. This actually started during my first half-marathon, where I struggled to finish and the entire time, my mother and I joked about my boyfriend Pete Za and the thought of victory pizza was the only thing that kept me going. I was hungry, sick, injured and just plain exhausted, but in the end, I finished and ate my weight in pizza afterwards. I didn't actually think this would become a tradition or ritual, but in Berlin, we ended up going to this little Italian place after the race, where I had this amazing, gigantic pizza. So I decided that I needed to keep this going! After every race from then on, pizza was to be had!

Do you have any rituals after a race/competition?

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