Catia Gubelmann: My sweet spot

Catia Gubelmann (Quelle: DeinSportmoment.ch)

Catia Gubelmann ist eine talentierte Mehrkämpferin und Sprinterin. Die junge Leichtathletin startet für den Leichtathletik-Club Unterstrass Zürich. Bei den U-18 Frauen gewann sie die Ostschweizer Meisterschaften über 200m und schaffte es an den Schweizer Meisterschaften in den B-Final. Nach überstandener Kreuzbandverletzung wird sie 2019 versuchen, ihre Bestleistungen über 100m (12.62sec) und 200m (25.65sec) zu verbessern. Im Rahmen des Englischunterrichtes an der Kantonsschule Zürich Oberland bekam sie die Aufgabe, über einen „Ort“ – der Ort ihrer Wahl – einen Essay zu schreiben. Die Tochter des Profilinhabers Dr. Hanspeter Gubelmann verfasste daraufhin diesen Text:

Nerves. Pressure. Excitement. A race to win. I’m sitting in lane four, right in the middle of the pack of 8 competitors. This is my story of how a 100 meters sprint is won. It’s all about the race within, inside my body.

The task seems easy to accomplish. Running 100m as fast as you can again! The stadium where the 100 meter dash takes place might vary in shape and architecture, the athletic challenge remains unchanged. The place to excel lays exactly 100 meters ahead of me. I want to cross that finishing line first. That’s where my sweet spot is waiting.

On competition day, there are several hours until the gun goes for my race. How do I fill the anxious hours? I try to keep calm and easy. I get in touch with my friend and family, talk to somebody I feel good around – because sometimes when I think about the race to much I tend to start getting upset. By the time I get to the stadium, the tension is building up. First, I prefer to take myself off to a corner, put my headphones on and get into my world. I feel myself pumped up and ready to go.

It takes me about an hour to warm up. Usually I want to block out all the noise and distraction around the event. After completing my warming up ritual, I get really focused. I find visualisation really works for me. I go through my race plan in my mind. That helps me to reduce my nervousness. I primarily focus on my technique of starting and upright sprinting. In the second part of my run, I am trying to switch into what I call „autopilot mode of sprinting“. I then start listening to my body and feeling the speed of movement. As the start comes closer I have to accept the nervous part of what I do. In the call room, where we wait to be taken to the blocks, I’m completely in my own world. I feel tense. A first rush of adrenaline kicks in when the official announces: «Let’s go folks!»

I can feel my heartbeat. It’s a the wellknown signal of my body indicating that I’m ready to race. I’m focusing on my needs, adjusting the blocks properly and then starting my final pre-competition routine: inhale, exhale! After a little pause, the referee whistles and puts out the call: «On your marks!» I’m well prepared, focused, energized! I’m in lane 4 – perfect! I can do it!

Now it’s my turn… I walk with full anticipation to my starting block. I am placed between the two lines, which are limiting my track, but I don’t feel cramped. First, I am jumping up with drawn up knees. Shortly after, I get into the starting block, then settle down. It’s all quiet now. The starting line is glowing brightly. In a moment of excitement it triggers a mental flashlight: What a feeling! «Get set!» – sounds the voice of the referee echoing throughout the arena.  I slowly move my body into my starting position with my right foot in the front block and my fingers pressed against the starting line. With my eyes open I feel every aspect of anxiousness transforming into positive energy! Again adrenaline is running through my veins. «Set!». I take a deep breath and hold it while feeling my heart pumping: bum-bum-bum… Now, nothing can hold me back. Everything around me seems to disappear… I’m ready and instinctly listening for the gun!

“Peng!” Like an explosion and with all my power built up during my starting ritual, I’m pushing out of the starting blocks. I know from my own experience, that in this moment the whole audience begins to shout, to yell. But as the starting signal sounds, there is nothing else than I’m aware of. It’s completely mute, I probably would hear a pin fall to the ground. It feels like sprinting in my own world. Total silence. The only thing I am experiencing in this moment, are my muscle fibres pushing me forward. I’m accelerating with powerful strides, getting faster and faster on the first 30 meters. For me, the only thing that matters, is to feel my body pushing me forward. During the race, I’m energized the way I could go forever. The headwind is blowing into my face the way it feels like flying. Roughly 60 strides, then I’m done! Sprinting towards the finishing in this extraordinary state of mind is the most vivid and passionate experience I can think of in sports. All this happens in about twelve seconds. With my sweet spot at the end of the sprint – leading the race at the finish line!

Crossing the finish line has something to do with what I call self-affirmation. Normally, I have a much longer braking distance than the other athletes. I don’t exactly know why… maybe I just want to run farther and farther and just don’t want to stop enjoying myself. After the race, when I came to a stand, I’m back to the normal or “real” world. The audience is shouting enthusiastically, cheering for all the competitors. It’s now that I can hear them for the first time. My colleagues are hugging each other and also me. “Congratulations” says one of my allies adding: „Wow, you were going so fast, no way to beat you this time!“. I respond: “Thanks a lot”.  It take me some moments to really calm down, also to mentally replay the 100 meter dash I ran only a few minutes ago. I’m not tired but I feel exhausted. How was my start? Did I accelerate properly? What could I do better next time? “Are you satisfied with your performance?”, a media reporter once asked me after a last season’s race. I’m not familiar with the situation giving an interview. „Well, I enjoyed the sprint but I cannot say more about my performance“, I replied to the interviewer. It’s better for me to keep my „sweet spot“ as a secret!

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