I had a rough season last year, so didn’t qualify for Div 1, which was a big disappointment. It’s been a rough last two years – I was training a lot less in grad school, and I’ve been getting used to my new routine at work and getting back the technique that had degraded this year. But I’m really happy with my fencing at SNs this year!
The most important thing that I got right was my preparation. I feel like I did this tournament right from start to finish.
I checked all my equipment at home two days before my flight. There was no work to do besides replacing a missing tip screw, but I had some added confidence knowing that I had been professional about it and checked all five of my blades and body cords.
I’ve been experimenting with keto over the last year to lose the weight I put on in grad school, but at my last local tournament I did a side-by-side comparison and found that keto is absolutely, positively, definitively the wrong way to approach a fencing tournament. So I went to Trader Joe’s before I left, bought a bag of sweet potatoes, and took them to St Louis in my carry-on. I roasted them at my Airbnb and had some for breakfast and some for snacks between bouts. I didn’t feel tired or too heavy or hungry at all, all day.
I have been doing research on the effects of caffeine on athletic performance, and it turns out that for my body weight a bottle of Dr. Pepper provides almost exactly 1mg/kg, which is on the low side of a good amount (but I almost never have caffeine, so I am pretty sensitive to it).
I took 1.5mg of melatonin and got 8.5 hours of sleep, waking up ten minutes before my alarm was set. With lots of sleep, my bag packed the night before, and breakfast ready to go, my morning was completely stress-free.
And then I went to fence and swept my pool for the first time in a national tournament since I left division 2 in 2012. In my third DE the first period and a half were very low-scoring and then I made a mistake on one touch that put me in a bad tactical position and I struggled to execute the actions I needed to do to fix it and ended up losing. But I scored so many touches that were “just like the lesson” and I remained in a totally calm mental state even when my second DE was at 14-all. I haven’t felt that good about my fencing at a tournament in 2 years. I’m really proud of myself and I’m already making plans to up my S&C game to see the results I want in Div 1 next year.