BU Season Opener: Starting the Season Off Right

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This past weekend was the start of the indoor season for me.  Boston University hosted the BU Season Opener, an early meet started last year, and so far I've enjoyed it.  Since it's so early in the season and because it's a newer meet, there aren't tons of teams that show up compared to our bigger meets. The fact that the meet is so close to the end of the semester for many colleges and universities probably doesn't help much either.  There were about 500ish competitors total, I think (compared to our bigger meets of 2000+ competitors). 

I think having a smaller meet early on is great.  It's a nice way to end pre-season training that seems like it might drag on forever.  You can see what progress you've made and what you need to work on before you go home for Christmas.  If you do well at the meet you're motivated to keep the momentum going while you're home for break, and if you don't do so well you're equally as motivated to stay on top off things so you can get a fresh start for when the season truly gets going.  Plus, this meet is just the right size to experience that track meet atmosphere of nerves and anxiousness.

I treated this meet just like I would any other.  Preparation starts at the beginning of the week - making sure to get enough sleep, eating well, trying (and sometimes failing) not to get too stressed...basically just trying to get my body to feel good, or at least get it into a neutral mode.  The day before, I follow the same routine - I try not stray from my normal diet, which usually means lots of pasta and fruit, I visualize my events, study the schedule to figure out when I'll head to the track and warm-up, and I go to sleep pretty early. 

I try to keep my actual meet days pretty systematic to try to keep my state of mind focused and stress-free.  I eat breakfast 3 hours before I'm scheduled to run (at the latest) so that I have more than enough time to digest it and go to the bathroom. Going to the bathroom is an extremely important step, especially when I'm feeling anxious.  Half the time I head there I don't even have to go, but it helps a lot with nerves.  Also, sprinting with a full bladder is just a horrible idea, as I'm sure you can imagine.

Anyway, I got there about 2 hours before the 60m dash trials.  I prefer to get to meets earlier than most because I like to get acclimated to the track atmosphere.  Since this was a small meet, there wasn't much to get used to, but I wanted to treat this meet as a practice run.   About 75 min. before the 60, I started my warm-up with my teammate, Maya.  It was nice warming up with her because we both have a lot of similar philosophies towards it - we don't like to rush through anything, we like having time after the warm-up to relax and get less anxious, etc.  Everyone has their own little rituals that help them, and I'm a full believer in doing what works best for you.

Maya and I relaxing on the high jump mats after our races

I felt great throughout my warm-up, and ended up finishing first in my heat.   I didn't get a time due to technical difficulties, but I still made it to finals.  I didn't feel as great warming up for the finals as I did for the trials, but I just ignored that and tried to stay focused on getting my mind in the right place.  I ended up finishing first again, getting a PR (personal record), and breaking the school record with a time of 7.49 sec.  I felt that my first run was faster, but I was still happy to get the record so early on.  I really didn't want the focus of my indoor season to be about breaking the record.  I felt last year's outdoor season I spent too much time psyching myself out and putting too much pressure on myself to break the 100m record, instead of just focusing on running, and I didn't want to make the same mistake again.  Now I feel I can just focus on my starts, my form, and on just running my race. 

After the 60 I just had the 300m dash to focus on.  I had no real-time expectations for this since I haven't run a 300 in a meet since high school (4 years ago), so I just wanted to go all out for as long as possible, and try to focus on my form for the rest of it.  I ran a PR of 39.50 and I'm pretty happy with it.

All in all, I think my team and I all had a great first meet.  Another school record was broken in the men's 200m by my teammate, Cameron Williams, there were a few more PR's, and we all had a great time cheering each other on.  I can't wait to get back at it during these next few weeks, and seeing more results from all the hard work we put in.

Have a great week guys, and for those who have finals - Good luck!

❤ Gemma

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