Competing while Sick

While at the Canadian National Archery Championship in Delisle, Saskatchewan this past month I got sick with stomach flu. We drove out to Saskatchewan in just three days and I originally thought it was the car ride, however shortly after arriving at the campsite I started to get worse; Dilemma. What do I do? I pressed onward and shot the Field Championships capturing the Silver medal however, I did not shoot well nor did I feel better. Should I stop? No, I kept shooting the Target Championships and the Canadian Open, placing fourth in both.

Did I make the right decision? I am not sure however, I did learn something.

Participating at any level while you are not feeling well is not an easy thing to accomplish.  Your body is weak and your concentration is not at its best, since your focus is on feeling better. Competing while you are sick with a virus such as influenza presents enormous challenges of exhaustion as your body fights the infection and you are unable to eat and provide your body additional fuel.

“Food is your body’s fuel. Without fuel, your body wants to shut down.” Ken Hill

Deciding to press onward is a personal choice and should not be taken lightly. Ask yourself one question “What is on the line with this competition?”  If the answers are World Championship, Olympics, National team, and perhaps future funding maybe you do need to force yourself to participate.

Medicine can help when you are not feeling well; however, not all medicines are approved for sport. All athletes that compete at an elite level will be subject to anti-doping testing and if you choose to take any medicine do so with great caution and consult the NSF website for those approved for sport.

Therefore, in a tournament, it is important to provide your body with some kind of fuel to maintain your strength for strong shooting; shooting weak results in weak inconsistent shots that translate into lower scores.  . You should also rest as often as you can and maintain a regular pace so to not over extend your body and lead to long term damage.

I drank orange juice and beef broth and I sat down as often as I could to maintain my strength. This allowed me to finish the tournament, even if it was not my best performance.

Returning from Delisle

I just returned from the Canadian National Outdoor Target Championships which took place in Delisle, Saskatchewan. This year I participated in the Target Championship, Field Championship and the Canadian Open, which took place over five days. This year we decided to drive which took three days there and three back, a very long time to spend in the car.

For the first time in my competition history, I shot while I was extremely sick and learned a few things about competing while you are ill. For the field championship, I was not too bad and just felt a little queasy but was able to hold it together enough to win the silver medal.  Unfortunately, for the target championship I was completely sick and nauseated. For the first day of the Target Championships, I was so sick I almost passed out while shooting, however I stuck it out and managed to complete the shooting day in 5th place. Day two of shooting, I was feeling a bit better and shot very well however I was too far back to make it to the podium and end up fourth. Feeling better still on day five, I competed in the Canadian Open and won the B division title.

I have to give some of my little successes to the Canteen run by Leonard and Faye Mooney who also run the cafeteria in Delisle Composite School. Along with Helen (Grandma) and Amanda Radford they made beef soup special just for me on site and even gave me some orange juice from their personal camper to help me gain some of my strength and continue through the competition. This type of hospitality is not easily found and I cannot thank them enough, besides the food was amazing and affordable. The next Championships which are to be held in Victoria, British Colombia and should take note and invite them to provide food for the athletes near the field of play.

This year I learned some valuable lessons about health and shooting, something that every athlete needs to experience; how to maintain you strength and composure while sick during competition, but that will be another blog. I want to give my coach Kathy Millar a special thank you for helping me through and making sure I stomached some beef broth and orange juice to complete the competitions. The value of a great and caring coach cannot be measured.