Gauging the Stress of Competition

Even as a spectator, watching loved ones compete is hugely stressful. Here’s an naive attempt to chart my experience.

I’ve known competition to be stressful, but I’m finding that spectating can be even more so. My girlfriend was competing this weekend at that Pan American Championships and I thought it’d be interesting to track just how anxious I got throughout the day. I figured heartrate would make the simplest marker, so I recorded my pulse every so often throughout the day and noted just what was happening at the time.

My pulse charted throughout the day of PanAms.

Since data is beautiful, I plotted the time of day against my pulse. This is far from a controlled study: I was having brunch with friends, hanging out and drinking, and watching my buddy win the North East CrossFit Regionals. The notable spikes, though, unsurprisingly correspond to Allie’s time on the platform. Her session went from roughly 2:30 - 5:00 PM, with her snatch and clean & jerk lining up with the latter two spikes my heartrate. The peak of 93 beats per minute was during the 60 seconds following her finish, which was perhaps the only surprise, as I expected my anxiety to max just before or during her performance. Anyway, the above graph shows how (not) calm I stayed.

Hookgrip photo of Allie at the introductions at Pan Ams, 2014.

It was a great show, congrats to all the lifters in Santo Domingo!

Credit to Hookgrip for the photo of introductions.

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