Friday, March 4, 2011

The Pre Race Ritual

"Everyone has his superstitions.  One of mine has always been when I started to go anywhere, or to do anything, never to turn back or to stop until the thing intended was accomplished." ~Ulysses S. Grant

We runners can be a little superstitious can't we?  It's an athletic thing in general I think.  A baseball player might have a lucky pair of socks.  A basketball player always has to dribble the ball three times before going for the free throw.  And runners must have their pre race pasta!  Going through the same actions every time you reach for success just gives you a certain sense of security, it just feels more comfortable that way.

I am a new runner and racer so I haven't fully developed a pre race ritual but there a few things I just have to do tonight in preperation for my race tomorrow.

  • Pasta dinner- For a half marathon carb loading is probably a little bit of overkill and it is questionable if it really even makes a difference in performance for longer distances, but it's what runners do!  Spaghetti is always a good choice but tonight I am thinking lasagna.  Yummy!
  • Lay everything out- I am going to the race expo tonight to pick up my packet, and then I will be laying out everything I need tomorrow morning tonight.  The shirt I intend to wear with my race number attached, my socks and shoes, my watch, a hair tie, my visor, sunblock... everything I will need.  Having it all ready helps me feel confident that I am fully prepared in every way!
  • A motivational or feel good movie- The night before my marathon my sister, my mom and I all watched Chariots of Fire and it was a good relaxing way to spend the evening.  I didn't rent anything special for tonight, but maybe I will find something to stream or maybe I will just pick one of my old feel good favorites.
I am sure the more I race the more my rituals will develop.  We all create ritual around important events.  It helps give the event weight and separates it from the everyday.  It makes things special and helps us feel secure and 'get in the groove'.  I am going to try to add Ulysses's superstition to my list as well, I like that one. 

What kind of rituals/superstitions do you have around big events in your life? 

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