By Jim on Wednesday, November 21, 2012
After 10 years of not racing and training properly the time had come around very quickly. Although I did a quick bit of training for an ocean ski race last year, it was nothing like I had done for this race. I was back training, 13 weeks into it.
I was now thinking and training like I did when I paddled properly. Do I still have it to be the best I can be?
I write this part of my blog 2 days out from the race and fined myself in a funny position because I vowed never to fall into the trap of being so serious about racing again. Just yesterday I was out fixing up my race boat, making sure everything was in place, I had thought about what boat I should use, will it my my loyal and very comfortable training Think Uno Max or the super light Think Uno. I came to the conculsion that I should give myself every oppuntity to best on the best gear possible. So I will race the carbon Think Uno. What is the strangest thing is that I have ben looking at the start list to see who is racing, I am very new to this 16km length races so I have not really got a race plan. So I find myself looking to know who is entering to maybe get an idea of what sort of race plan I should use. I know that I should back all the things I already know, but like everyone else on the start line, I have pride to. To think it dosen't matter would be a lie, I am nervous already, not to any extend that I can't sleep but enough for me to want to get out and race.
The things I will do is warm up right, back my training and more importantly be the best I can be, I will race hard all the way and the people who beat me, will be simply better. So my next part of writing will be the race day and how it all unfolded.
With race morning here I found that I slept a lot better then I thought I would. I have always found eating early in the morning and also race morning difficult. Altough eating is the fuel to help you keep going, it's a real personal thing that you should try. Never do anything with food or drinks on race day that you haven't tried before. So I stuck with my cereal and bananas to give me the energy needed. A quick read of the paper, more skimming through the pages to take my mind of racing, didn't work.
Once I arrived at the race it was a place to feel safe, as everyone else there is nervous too, so you can hide a fake giggle altogether. The best thing about Jimsquad is that we have a big team and we all turned up to race, which is very comforting knowing your team is here to race also.
The one thing that people who train and race usually over look is how they go in training. What I mean is, some people need half the session to get into the session. You need lots of warm up.
Some people are into the session straight away, that's me. We need some fast hard warm up.
The warm up for us at Jimsquad had us doing some 4 minute builds every 1 minute to get us going, we did all three efforts over the same wind conditions we were expecting in the race, head,cross and tail wind. Then we did some 50m explosive sprints to get the fast twich fibres going. Can't miss the start even though it's a16km race, the start sets you up.
After I registared for the race I hopped on the water, I found alot of people playing follow the pack, I had a look at the course and found that if I stick close to the shore then I would have a straight line to the first point, I did that and saved lot's of energy as I didn't have to go out to hard. I found myself in front for the first 1000m.
After that 1000m or so a very fast double came past. So I took the opition that is taken by paddlers, I jumped on it's wash.
After getting a bit of a rest on the wash of the double it was time to paddle with the wind and some small swells that were on offer. Here was where I felt most comfortable, as I was able to catch runners and surf swell but still do it easy. After not really knowing the coarse properly I found myself making a tatical error and going off coarse. This is a rookie error and one that is only a mistake if done twice. I found myself behind the double ( Brett Greenwood & Matt Blundell ) and trying to catch up. The double was to good, and Hayden Allum the eventual winner was to strong staying with the double.
At the end of the 16kms I was able to finish second in a race which had everything, head wind, flat paddle and tail wind I was feeling like I can do no better then I just did, I can improve lots and will be better next race, but for this race, that's my best. You can not go back and change the race, you can only take from it and improve next time.
You find yourself at the end of every race trying to work how you could have done better and where can you improve, this is why you should do races. By doing races you see if your training is working.
For me it was great to reflect on my love for paddling but made me relise that I am now 40, If I want to race again I have to do just that and go in more and more races. That feeling of how hard you have to push yourself in a race can not be matched. So I will continue on this season doing many more races with you, so if you are at a race please let's say hello and tell a story or two on how we went.
One thing is true, the OLDER WE GET, THE BETTER I WAS.