Tuesday 24 September 2013

Racing like a lady

Readers, runners, friends; you've trained and trained and sweated and trained, and now it's time to race.

However, just because it's race day, doesn't mean that it's an excuse for all social graces and manners to fall by the wayside. Quite the opposite! Today is your day to shine....

Here are my tips on how to execute a put-together, relaxed, ladylike performance. (Guys, you can take some of these tips too - race day is not an excuse for your personal hygiene standards to slip either!)

1. Smell nice.
Sure, when you are going to training at 5.30am, you don't have time to shower beforehand. But I bet after training, you usually go directly home and don't hang around for hours, like a (literal) bad smell.
In comparison, after your race, you will probably have to wait around for awhile. In this situation, a pre-race shower certainly can't hurt.  And, an early shower  will help to wake you up and can be the time when you go through your mind everything that's about to unfold. (Also a good chance to shave your legs if you forgot to earlier - it will make you both more aerodynamic and also, more sexy.)
Further, wear deodorant. As Kara Goucher, (one of my running idols) says, "run like a man, don't smell like a man".
And always, always, brush your teeth before racing and training. There is nothing worse than meeting someone for a run or ride whose breath stinks.

2. It's ok to look pretty.
Wear (waterproof) mascara, brush your hair, wear lipgloss - whatever makes you feel good! In my first ironman, I (unnecessarily) included lipgloss in my special needs bag. It was, I admit, an idiot thing to do. As if you are going to stop mid-marathon and apply lipgloss! However, just knowing that it was there made me feel better.
I'm also a big fan of colour coordinating your manicure to you race kit. (And your race kit to your bike if you are a triathlete / cyclist.) For example, I have been known to paint my fingers and toenails in patriotic colours (green and yellow) for races. Not only did I represent, but it looked fab. Strangers even commented on the ingenuity of it!
And it goes without saying; wax where appropriate.

3. The importance of cute race gear;
Do you have special race gear? Get some.
Do you remember that feeling as a kid when you wore new clothes the first time, and the world seems slightly brighter and better. That excitement, and feeling good about yourself is just as important on race day.
Also think about your race photos; even if you look like you are in pain, at least you will have a cute outfit.
You may not be able to come first in the race, but you can at least look the cutest while racing.

4. Take off your sunnies, slow down and smile for your finisher's photo;
I have had a number of finisher's photos taken where I look more than a little special - and not in a good way. These are buried in a draw somewhere.
It is for this reason, that I'd recommend practicing your finishing pose - when you are absolutely exhausted, that "air punch" or little hop you imagined would make you look hard-core, may just make you look silly.  And it's all been captured on camera - your moment of "glory" remembered forever.
Also try to smile; a grimace, tears, or gritted teeth often looks instead like you are busting for the bathroom. The reality is, you are not going to be looking your best - don't make it any worse.
* This rule only applies if you are coming down the finishing shute on your own; if it's a sprint finish for your spot in Kona / sub 3 hour marathon, GO! Do whatever it takes, even if you vomit / collapse / etc, that's totally ok. All ladylike niceties should go out the window (temporarily) in order to win / get a fast time / achieve your goal.

5. Beat the boys, and have a massive smile on your face when you do it;There is nothing more ladylike!