Fitness key for demanding sport
With nearly two weeks off after our last race in Houston, I’m so ready to get back on the track. Our team is doing great so far this season. With wins come expectations, and once you’ve tasted success, that is all you can think of. It’s almost like an addiction of sorts.
Being on the road 24 weekends out of the year can take a toll on your body --especially as a professional athlete who has to be in the best possible shape for the ever demanding Nitro Funny Car. I make every possible effort to eat healthy and work out regularly. I try to buy healthy, organic food whenever I can, but it can sometimes be a challenge depending on where we happen to be racing that week.
My husband and I stay in a tour bus at the track like many race car drivers do. We don't always have the best options at our disposal. This is where discipline comes into play; making sure the refrigerator is filled with healthy proteins, good carbs, vegetables and fruit for a healthy snack. I typically start the day off with steel cut oats and a large cup of coffee. It’s probably not the best combo, but it’s been a staple at my house for as long as I can remember.
Some people may think this is all for naught, bringing up the fact that our runs only last 4 seconds at a time. Well, let me tell you something about what I drive and what goes on outside of the car as well. I pilot a 10,000-horsepower, nitromethane-fueled, sub-4 second, 300-plus mph race car. These are the fastest accelerating cars in the world.
We pull anywhere from 3 to 6 G’s, then an immediate negative 5 G’s at deceleration. All those G-forces are transferred directly through my body, with my neck and back taking the brunt of it. If the car drops a cylinder during a run, they are brutal. More than 1,000 pounds of force is produced from the exhaust gasses escaping the open headers. When cylinder failure occurs, the car pulls to that side due to unequal downforce. This makes it very difficult to keep the car straight. Not to mention these short wheelbase cars don't want to go straight to begin with. They are a handful and this is why I absolutely love my job. No dull moments at “the office.”
Back in the pits, the crew tears down the motor and services the clutch in a matter of 45 minutes, give or take, between rounds. Some drivers pack their own parachutes and perform other various tasks on the car during this time. I am one of those who does and always will.
Between driving, working on the parachutes, filling my fresh air bottles, strategizing with my crew chiefs, meeting with sponsors, friends, fans and doing interviews, my plate is quite full. Circuit training five days a week and having a healthy eating regimen has helped me maintain a consistent level of energy, one that also can be stepped up on race day -- crucial! Oh, and did I mention I’m a mom, too?!
Here’s to your health, ladies and gentleman. See ya at the races!
Here’s a few bands from my workout playlist. I like a wide range of music so I don't get bored.
Alice in Chains
Five Finger Death Punch
Gabriel & Dresden