Défi de L'Île de Montréal
128 km on inline skates
You should begin hydrating well before the start of the
event -- 24 to 36 hours before, in fact. On the
morning of the Défi, drink 8-16 oz of fluid two hours before the start, or
as soon as you get up. Drink another 8-20 oz about fifteen minutes before the
start. Fluids should be cool (not warm) for the body to absorb them most quickly.
If instead of plain water you drink a sports drink (such as Gatorade), you'll have
the further benefit of taking in carbohydrates, electrolytes, and salt; this will
help you retain the water once the race begins. What about coffee? If you
regularly drink coffee, go ahead, but not more than 2 cups; studies cited by
Runner's World indicate that drinking 1-2 cups of coffee can increase your
endurance, and the diuretic effect is countered by exercise.
As for food, whether and how much you should eat before the race depends a lot
on your personal preferences: if you simply can't eat anything in the early
morning, or are too nervous to keep it down, why force it.
But -- your body is going to burn a lot of calories
on Race Day, and the sooner you give it fuel the better. Choosing the right food
will make a big difference. Foods that are high in fat and/or protein are
definitely contraindicated. Fat will just sit in your stomach and make you
feel heavy, even bloated. Protein takes extra energy to digest and causes extra
urine production. High-fiber foods are also not a good idea on Race Day, because
this is the one time in your life when you don't need the extra bulk. In short,
the recommended foods are complex carbohydrates, such as white rice or a bagel, and
fruit such as bananas.
The day before the Défi, prepare a checklist of everything you plan to wear
or carry during the event itself: your clothes, skates, tools, food & water,
everything, preferably in the order in which you'll put it on. If you
figure on deciding at the last moment between, say, shorts or tights, put them
both on the list. Then, before you go to bed put this checklist next to your
gear, and make sure everything is where you can put it on conveniently. When you
get up in the morning, follow your checklist! (Make sure your checklist includes
your wallet and keys, and the course guide if you need it. You should always carry
your ID and a small amount of money just in case.)
On the morning of Race Day, turn on the Weather Channel when you get out of bed.
Check out the forecast for the day, including high and low temperatures. This
is when you make your final decision as to what you're going to wear, and possibly
whether to switch to greased bearings in case of rain. Stick your nose out the
door to confirm your decision, but don't be deceived by the pre-dawn chill. Wear
a tear-away warmup suit if necessary, on top of whatever you'll skate in.
If you pre-registered, you'll have your numbers (race bibs) beforehand. You get two
of them, one for the front, one for the back, along with enough pins to attach
them securely. Before you even get the numbers you should be thinking about
where you'll put them. Too many participants never have even one number showing,
let alone both. This makes things difficult for volunteers at the
checkpoints -- and at the finish! Admittedly,
the cloths are rather big, but you can easily fold them here and there to show
only the actual number. The best place to attach the front number is to your
thigh, except if you're wearing loose pants. In that case, go for the
chest, but don't pin it on your jacket if you're wearing one, unless you're
absolutely positive you won't be unzipping it till the end. (It's an easy thing
to unzip when you see a checkpoint coming, to show who you are.) As for the rear
number, this is simpler: attach it to whatever will always be outermost. If
you're carrying a Camelbak or a backpack, attach it to that. Having both
numbers highly visible also lets others know that you are participating in a
If you haven't pre-registered, make sure you're at the Auditorium at least
an hour beforehand (i.e., 5 a.m.). You'll need to sign up and get your course
guide and race numbers, and put the latter on.
Unfortunately there are always a few skaters who start late at the Défi, which is a pity.
Unless you have arranged beforehand to be starting late (so that an official can
record your starting time), your official finishing time will be longer than the
time you actually took. An equally good reason to be on time however is that
it gives you a chance to skate with some company. Even if you plan on skating
solo, you will repeatedly meet other participants along the way, passing them and
being passed by them; these moments of contact are psychologically valuable to
all of us, as we encourage each other to keep pushing on.
|Þ During the race|