While I hope to share some of my learnings with you, for now we'll focus on the present. I've now been training for three months at the California Rowing Club and it's time to make my racing debut. I'm currently en route to a new country, Canada, to compete at Canadian Henley, one of the major summer races.
|At JFK waiting for my 2nd flight.|
While I've competed previously as a lightweight, this experience will be totally new for me. In collegiate racing, weigh ins are completed the afternoon before racing, giving you 15-20 hours to recover.
Much like wrestling, a lot of lightweight rowers sweat out some water weight in order to make the 130 pound weight limit. Generally, this amount is restricted to a few pounds because of the adverse affects on performance. Still, losing even a pound of water can affect your racing performance.
At Canadian Henley, as with most international racing, weigh ins are completed the day of the race. While this is a fairer approach, and perhaps safer (it discourages significant water loss), it can also be more stressful. If your weight fluctuates unexpectedly, e.g. due to travel, you no longer have the safety margin of a night's sleep.
In addition to day of weigh ins, I will also be weighing in multiple days. In college, our races were all single day affairs and only required one weigh in. Provided I progress from the heats to the semifinals and then finals, this race will span three consecutive days. This forces me to recover from weigh ins with strong awareness of the following days.
To help, I've taken some steps to ensure smooth weigh in the first day, so the second and third (*fingers crossed*) days go well:
- Hydrated like crazy on the plane, as well as before and after departure. I brought two water bottles and filled them both before getting on the plane. While it might seem counterintuitive to drink water when you might have to sweat it out two days later, it really helps keep your body functioning normally.
- Kept my weight below the 130 pound mark. Although my weight fluctuates some on a weekly and much on a monthly basis, I paid special attention in the weeks leading up to my departure. By hitting the 129 marker, my concern is on keeping my body functioning normally, not trying to lose weight while traveling.
- Brought normal food. I tend to eat really poorly when I travel, especially since JetBlue has free snacks. This time, I brought roasted sweet potato, grape tomatoes, apples, nectarines, almonds, rice cakes, and a protein bar. These are all foods I eat regularly, and they are helping my body feel more normal. I'm limiting my indulgences to one package of cookies and some orange juice on the flight.
I've also heard that compression socks can help with swelling and fluid retention in long flights. When I find the $60 to drop for a pair, I might experiment. In the meantime, I will stick with the recommendation to get up and walk around--easy to remember when you've had two liters of water and some orange juice!!!
What do you do to feel normal when you're traveling? Any recommendations?
Let me know what you think by leaving a comment or emailing me at piquantprose [at] gmail [dot] com.
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