Head First at the Loon Mountain ‘Cross Race

Race report by Crystal Anthony

Recently I have been reading.  This is unusual for me and was precipitated by my car’s battery dying and tires’ wearing out, which forced me to go to Sears and hence to pass time waiting for the repairs across the street at Borders.  Typically I will mooch off of my friends’ verbal CliffsNotes of interesting material, letting them do the work of reading and picking out the useful stuff.  However, being at the bookstore I figured I’d at least poke around.  “Change Your Brain, Change Your Body” piqued my interest and I quickly soaked up the first chapters.

Essentially (and here is my novice attempt at CliffsNotes) the book is about the way your brain determines how your body looks, feels, and performs, and stresses the importance of caring for it, training it, and nurturing it.  Nutrition, sleep, hormone balance, thought patterns all contribute to a healthy brain—and yes, I suppose reading does too!  Headfirst is not usually a good thing in a race, but in this case it pays to attend to the head first if you want to improve the body’s performance.

Today, my head was definitely not in the game as I took off in the car to meet up with Larry and Christina to drive up to NH.  Preoccupied and worried about other things, I had no mental stamina to focus on the upcoming race.  There are times that this happens on race day, and the worst thing to do is to panic about it or to think that it will ruin the race.  Unfortunately, I checked, but there was nothing I could solve in my car on Route 128, yet I needed to care for my brain.  Strategy 1: I called two friends who I knew would be up by 7:30, but they didn’t answer.  Strategy 2: I just let it out, and let myself cry.   There it was, it really stunk!  And then the moment passed.

Then, on the ride up to Loon, the three of us had some stimulating conversations about cross-cultural interactions, personality types, and such.   Point: there really is more than one way to go about things and it helps to learn about people and other ways of approaching life.  This related to how stuck I was feeling before, because I was convinced that I knew the way things should happen.

A bit later, a friend of mine called and said, “It’s not always a bad thing to be distracted before a race,” reiterating, as if on cue, that there are many ways to achieve things.  And another friend called and helped me think through what had been bothering me before. “Now before your race, pick three 30-minute times you can journal about it this coming week,” she said, “and then just go let out all that energy.”

Funny, I only pre-rode the course once, almost missed warming up on time, found my ipod out of battery, and just didn’t have the physical warm-up that I usually do pre-race.  I was so out of touch with my body I don’t remember if my legs felt good or not!  However, it was more important to get my head out of its funk, working properly and on board with racing, since it  holds the key to my body’s performance.  Having taken care of my head, I was able to pull off a good race.  Ann and I were on Laura Van Gilder’s wheel for a couple laps, then I settled into second, and Ann into third.  Christina worked her way up to fifth.  It was another solid day for LadiesFirst, with Nancy Labbé-Giguère winning the women’s 3/4 race as well!

We all know some “head cases.”  Someone mistakenly sips from the wrong water bottle, freaks and bombs the race, even though those power tap numbers were right on all week.   Should be good motivation to put in the time to take care of our brains on a daily basis, and to be prepared to go headfirst if necessary should something come up on race day.

Results

Cat 3/4

Nancy Labbé-Giguère            1st

Cat 1/2/3

Crystal Anthony                         2nd

Ann D’Ambruoso                        3rd

Christina Tamilio                        5th

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