I’m all set for race day: Toes coiffed. Good coffee found. Post race beer & burger location chosen. Race gear organized. Random thoughts written.
Someday I will come back to Coeur d’Alene to play on the trails. But for now my knowledge of the place is limited to hanging out. So here is my current slacker’s guide:
Strada Coffee: Very cool coffee shop. Good coffee. Not located downtown, but worth a short trip.
Vault Coffee: Downtown. I can’t actually speak to their coffee, but I popped in as I was walking by and it would definitely be a nice place to hang out. Maybe I will try it Monday morning.
Crafted Tap House + Kitchen: Another untested pick, but it LOOKS awesome. It looks like the perfect place for post race burger & beer. I will report back.
Zi Spa & Salon: It’s all about sparkles on the toes.
The Well-Read Moose: Located in a newer little shopping area outside of downtown – which also boasts very nice kitchen store, The Culinary Stone (in case you need to outfit your kitchen on vacation??), and other cute shops – this bookstore had a nice vibe, a coffee shop, & locally made chocolate truffles. Bingo!
City Park & Beach & McCuen Park: Cd’A has a hip downtown, anchored by two great parks. City Park & Beach, when it is not ground zero for a triathlon, appears to be a happening place: whether you are into swimming, paddle boarding, boating, or just hanging out on the shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene. Right next door is McCuen Park, which has tennis and basketball courts, a nice playground and, most importantly, a dog park!
Wild Turkey(s): Not the bourbon. There are wild turkeys that walk around the area where I am staying (right next to McCuen Park). It is fun to wake up each morning to their gobble gobbling!
Clearly I have mastered the low stress approach to race week…
I think most people stress much more than strictly necessary pre-race. I am sure I did in the past. Where’s the fun in that? Of course we are not here just to vacation and hang out in the sun. Many of us are here to prove something to ourselves, to achieve a PR, to do our best. So I am not advocating spending the night before the race partying at the local brewpub. Save that for after. But that doesn’t mean it is mandatory to be stressed and miserable leading up to race start.
Here are my thoughts on how to manage race week:
- Make lists. Use them. As I was dropping my bike in Denver, I heard a woman say she hoped she didn’t forget what she had packed in the bag she was sending with the bike. And I thought “didn’t you make a list?” There is no mystery to what you will need for a race, whether it is a triathlon or any other type of race. I have a standard list for triathlon travel that I can modify slightly for specific location/weather. It’s saved on my computer. As I pack, I mark an X by what I packed. If everything has an X by it, I’m done. No stress. Not rocket science.
- Know the race schedule and have a plan. I try to minimize the times I have to go to the race venue. I know when I will swim/run/bike, check in, drop off my bike, etc. That way I can be on autopilot. I have found the less thinking I have to do by the time I get here, the better. The more complicated the race (i.e. multiple transition areas), the more important a well thought out plan.
- Don’t wait until the day before the race to have your bike tuned. Issues come up, no question, and that’s what the race mechanics are for. But try to check your bike out before you come so you don’t have to be one of those people standing in line for the mechanic.
- Spend as little time as possible at the race venue. Of course the race organizers want you to be there, but here’s why I think you shouldn’t:
- It’s easy to psyche yourself out. You stand there listening to Joe Bob talk about the 25 hours per week he trained and you think, “OH MY GOD, I only trained 10 hours per week, I am so unprepared”. First, Joe Bob is probably lying. Second, who cares what Joe Bob did, he’s probably over-trained and about to crash and burn anyhow. You have to trust in YOUR training. Giving yourself an inferiority complex before the race does you no good!
- You should limit the time you stand around on your feet in the heat. Get in, get out, and put your feet up. All you really have to do is: check in, go to the race briefing, buy any stuff you have on your LIST to buy, check your bike and gear in as dictated. If you have a plan, that should not take long.
- Have everything organized early the day before the race. Then relax. Get a pedicure. See a movie. Read a book. Go to your favorite coffee shop. Twice. Whatever works for you.
- Try to eat like you normally do. I prefer to rent a house with a kitchen – often it’s even cheaper than a hotel. And it is a heck of a lot more convenient. If you don’t want to cook, just don’t go crazy when eating out. Eat simple. Mexican food might not be the perfect pre race meal, unless that’s what you eat all the time.
- Don’t try anything new on race day. Let’s go back to Joe Bob. He swears by undiluted chicken broth in his water bottle for electrolytes. Must be a good idea. So you buy a can of chicken broth, choke it down on the bike ride and spend the run navigating from porta-potty to porta-potty. That is actually a true story but the person who did that shall remain nameless! NOTHING NEW on race day.
- Be grateful. For the volunteers who have given up their day to have water and Gatorade sloshed all over them. For any family or friends with you. They may say they enjoy standing out in the heat all day cheering, but I suspect they do not. For the opportunity to be here. Smile during the race, you WILL feel better.
Remember most of us do this for fun. Sure, we can be competitive, but [hopefully] there is something about this sport we truly enjoy. Don’t lose sight of that.