By Jim on Monday, January 23, 2012
A few weekends ago I went in my first kayak race in 16yrs, then on next the weekend my first surf ski race in 10yrs. The thought of racing scares everyone. I was hoping for the perfect race, to be up the front, be close to winning, and not make any mistakes.
Who am I kidding, I am 40yrs old racing guys who are at the prime of their racing and training careers, my perfect race was never going to exist if this was my true judgement of a perfect race for me.
My first race in the kayak was one I had given alot of thought to. This is the sport I love so much, chased dreams, sweat,tears and heartache, now I am going to race in the K2 200m, one of the fastest races in the world of kayaking. To top it off my partner was Beijing Olympian and super fast man Tony Schumacher,on his quest for London Olympic glory. Combine all this together and pressure can mount very quickly.
I was wanting the perfect race. To me that was to make the final, this is Olympic selection year and all the best in Australia were racing. We made it through the heat to the final in good position, 3 rd from 9. In the final, although not near the medals, we were very close to the feild.To me this was still the perfect race. So why was it the perfect race?
I had set myself a goal to be the best I can be, race and achieve a position that is realistic to the training I had been doing, never changed my preparation at any stage. I was also in a team event and had 100% belief in my partner. So with all those things in mind, it gave me the perfect race, I drove home a very happy man, the result looked after it's self. At the end of the races it was me who had to be happy with the out come.
My Race K2 200M
My next race was in one of Australia's more famous races, a surf ski race. This race was held at Manly Beach in Sydney's north. It is always a carnival that is held in high regard, so I was setting myself up for a big challendge. The thing with surf ski racing oppose to kayaking is mother nature, she can dish up a whole different set of conditions. On this day she was not too bad, there was a surf running on the way out and waves to catch on the way in. So sometimes the best laid plans and goals can get messed up by our good friend mother nature. The Australian Championships is the ultimate goal in surf ski paddling, so these carnivals are where you have to stamp your authority if you want to make teams at the championships. I want to be in the ski relay team. With a family, two business, three kids and 1000 other things on my plate I don't have many oppptunity's to make an impression on selectors to make teams. So my goals had to be a little higher then I wanted, to show others that I am worthy to be in the teams later in the year. My goal was to be in the final of the single ski, this would take 3 rounds and the 4th being the final. All up I was paddling in a ski relay team with two rounds, a double ski which had another 2 rounds and 4 rounds of the single ski, all to be completed in 3 hours. Remember I'm 40!
So with some smart racing and remembering my goals I did race very well and made the final.
Why was this day the perfect day of racing?
When racing in so many rounds I made sure I stayed in control the whole time, I raced smart, meaning where I could manage to sneak a postion or two around the turning bouys I did. I also never got uptight about what happened in the race before, as this is over. I made sure I learn't from it and didn't make that mistake again.
I believe it's only a mistake if you repeat it, it's learning if it happens once. I also made sure that I didn't think that it was the end of the world if I didn't come the position I set out for, as I have learn't that sport is personal and it's only you who cares,family still loves you, friends still talk to you and you get to do it all again.
My Ski Race.
So what overall makes the perfect race?
Never getting so nervous that you don't enjoy it.
Never been unrealistic.
Never get caught up in the hype that makes you see things and make exuces for things that were brought on by you.
Most of all know that next time you will be better by working harder.