October 15th, 2012
Last weekend I competed in the Chattajack 31, a 31-mile race on the Tennessee River through the Tennessee River Gorge. I really want to write an awesome, detailed account of this race, but I can’t. I’m still speechless.
It’s been two years since my last distance event – an event that I didn’t get to finish. I “hit the wall” with 4 miles left in the event, and got dragged out of the water by the fire department. I was so embarrassed. I’m not a quitter. But that time it wasn’t my mind that quit, it was my body. Earlier that year, I paddled much longer, but I had Rob with me the whole time, and he made sure I was doing the right thing. For Chattajack, I was extremely nervous that the same thing was going to happen. That I’d bonk so hard that I would be disoriented, then get lost or something. Thank goodness that didn’t happen!!
I paddled my brains out at Chattajack. I was really surprised that I was able to keep the pace and intensity that I was holding up for so long. I would love to give you an hour by hour breakdown of the beast of the race I just competed in, but my brain doesn’t work that way. I wasn’t really keeping track. The first 3 hours went by crazy fast. I kept to my schedule of drinking every 20 minutes and eating every hour. That helped pass the time. I also had a totally bad-ass playlist in my ipod. I’m sure paddlers nearby heard me singing. I usually never paddle with music, but this time I did, and it totally helped. ¬†I did keep track of my mileage on my GPS, and noticed at times I was going upwards close to 6 mph, which is a great speed to hold for such a long time.
I would have to say that the scenery of the race was just as breathtaking. The leaves were starting to change, so the color contrasts were gorgeous. When we caught a side wind, leaves would gently blow off the trees and across the river. Despite how hard I was working, it was a peaceful point in the race that allowed me to take a deep breath. ¬†It was one of those moments that I’ve captured in my memory and will hold in my heart forever. I guess you had to be there.
Of course, like every race, I had my challenges. I tried to minimize them by learning the river the week before, and finding some landmarks that would help me along the way. My most important one was the boat ramp by the convenience store that marked the “10-miles to go” stage. I also remembered the spots of the old rapids that used to be on the river. I knew at that point that I was paddling in water that was 150 feet deep. Kinda cool to know. ¬†There was a significant amount of headwind during the race. The river bent around so much that it was hard to tell when you were going to get it. But I totally knew that the last few miles were going to be killer because the wind would be right in my face (which it was) and the river was really wide and open there (which gave it plenty of room to blow hard). We came around that last turn and I could see the Hales Bar dam¬†remnants¬† and knew the end was in site. But I swear it took an hour to get there since the wind was blowing so hard. ¬†In shorter races, I would let that challenge get to me. For some reason, in this race, I just put my head down, started singing, picked up my cadence and kept digging.
I finished 2nd in the ladies’ sup category, timing in at 6 hours and 24 minutes. I am very happy with that finish and very proud of myself. I was hoping for under 6 hours, but we didn’t have much flow to help us on the river that day, so what I finished was just fine. I did crash pretty hard after the race, and there’s some video out there of a post race interview that I did where I don’t think I made a lot of sense, then I backed out of the interview when I told the guy (Brandon) that I was going to puke. ¬†Yep, that one should be really funny. Once Rob got to me (which Mr Rockstar got the race done 2 hours in front of me on his surfski – holy flying cows batman!), he got me a coke ¬†and some donuts, and I came back to planet earth.
I always learn something at these long distance races. I learned a lot about myself and about my abilities, and that I am capable of doing more that I ever will believe. I learned that those cliff shot jelly square things are supposed to be taken all at once and not in bits like I did. I also learned that donuts are great post race sugar blast
Thanks so much to Ben for holding such and awesome event, and for the SUP Paddleboard boys for supporting the race. I am lucky to be part of such a great team.
July 30th, 2012
The SUP Splash Tampa was held on July 21st at the Hula Bay Club in Tampa, FL. The restaurant/bar/marina was the perfect location for an urban SUP race, featuring a covered staging area, great spectator seating, large launching docks, and a great pool bar for post-race fun. In addition, the event supported Feeding America, the country’s largest network of food banks.
The race featured a 3-mile and 7-mile race. The 3-mile looped around some nearby islands, making it a pleasure for spectators to watch. The 7-mile left the marina, and traveled south to Picnic Island and back. The winds blew 10-15 mph out of the east, creating a little off-shore chop
that challenged the paddlers a bit. Besides that, conditions were perfect, and 115 paddlers came out to the event. ¬†We were thrilled to see paddlers of all kinds, from surfski’s, OC’s and SUP’s, as well as to see athletes of all abilities, from novice to world class.
After the race, Hula Bay provided the best post-race after party at the pool with free beer supplied from Landshark Lager. It was a great day! Can’t wait for more events in the SUP Splash Series.
June 19th, 2012
We are seeing race participation grow in leaps and bounds this year. It’s amazing and awesome to see all of the interest and growth in the sport. However, with the growth, we see a lot of novice racers who may not yet be versed in the rules of SUP racing.
Of course, the race director will go over the written rules, most often dictated by the WPA, concerning drafting, course concerns, and race categories, but there are some unwritten rules that new racers may want to be aware of. ¬†Well, maybe they aren’t really”rules” but “guidelines” to follow.
So I went around and asked some of the racing regulars about some of the “unwritten rules” of racing. Basically, what are some of the common courtesies that people need to know about on the race course. ¬†These guys and gals are pretty well known in¬†the southern racing scene, and have experience racing in a variety of different race styles, from flat to rough, to big to small. ¬†I value their opinion, and hope that all of us can learn from their experience.
“Don’t jump the start.” ¬†Line up at the line or on the beach with everyone else. Don’t go until you hear the gun or horn. If a false start is called, and if a re-start is done, it really messes up everyone on the line. Sometimes you can’t hear the horn, but as long as you all go off at the same time in a fair start, it’s all cool.Here’s a list that I came up with with the help of those guys:
- “Make all of your turns, try not to cut buoys.” In most races, buoys or markers are used to mark the course. If the race di
- rector states that you must go around the buoy, then go around the buoy. Cutting courses will not only get you disqualified, it will also not make you any friends out there.
- “The first person into the turn has the turn.” If you are going into a turn, and someone is into it before you, give them the turn. Try not to bust into them or force them out of the turn.
- “Be a good example, and practice good sportsmanship.” Try to resolve your issues with respect and dignity.
- “Keep your issues off of the beach.” If you see someone doing something against the written rules during
- the race, don’t be afraid to say something to them during the race when you see it. ¬†It’s much easier (and much more appreciated) to deal with them on the water than it is to get into a dispute on the beach after the fact.
- “Be nice to the race director”. Race directors work hard to make your events great. Most times, they volunteer the hundreds of hours to organize the event. On race day, they are stressed out. If you have an issue, it’s ok to say something, but be nice about it. Nice will get you far. Mean will get you told off.
- “Don’t sit in Jim Higgins’ bean bag”. He doesn’t want your sweaty butt in there.
- “Sometimes the old guys are grumpy.” Just poke fun, hand them a cider and laugh, and then you might be able to see a smile.
June 19th, 2012
For you runners out there….
Stand Up Paddleboarding is currently the world‚Äôs fastest growing water sport. Legend has it the the sport was invented by ancient Polynesians in the Hawaiian Islands, but the recent popularity can be credited to big wave surfers Laird Hamilton and Dave Kalama who started stand up paddling when waves were too small to surf.¬† Now stand up paddleboards can be found on most beaches, and even on lakes and rivers in the middle of the country. ¬†
What makes the sport so great? First of all, ease of use. If you can stand up, you can paddle. Most entry-level boards a wide and stable, and, with just a little instruction, you can be on the water and on your way to adventure in minutes. Secondly, Stand Up Paddleboarding provides a unique muscular challenge that you won‚Äôt find with any other sport, making a great cross-training tool.
If you are used to doing something repetitively, or if you are an athlete training for a specific goal, it‚Äôs essential to vary your workouts to help avoid hurting yourself or causing overuse issues. Cross training defined refers to using other workout modalities other than the one that an athlete may compete in to help improve overall athletic performance. Cross training takes advantage of the particular effectiveness of each training method, while at the same time addressing shortcomings as well.¬† Stand Up Paddleboarding (also known as SUP) provides the perfect solution to the search for fun ways to cross train, especially if you are competitive runner, cyclist, or similar. Why should you cross train with SUP?
Challenge Balance and Core Strength
Stand Up Paddling is like dynamic core training. Core Training is any workout that targets the muscle groups in the mid-section of the body, essentially joining our lower bodies to our upper bodies. The body‚Äôs core is the center for all movement ‚Äď it is where any movement begins. When the body decides to move, it first fires the core muscles to stabilize the spine and pelvis before producing any other movement. Training on unbalanced surfaces, like Stand Up Paddleboards, is very effective for building the core muscle groups (which include the muscles of the abdomen and lower back), and for training muscles to fire in coordinated ways so that the benefits are immediately transferable to other dynamic sports and activities, as opposed to traditional resistance training where muscles are trained to work in isolated groups in a stable environment.¬† Because balance is required when paddling SUP‚Äôs, the core is in a state of constant work in order to maintain an upright position on the board.
Use Muscle Groups in Different Ways
Varying your workout and doing something different from your normal routine will help you avoid over training and injury.¬† Of course, stand up paddleboarding requires the recruitment of your core for balance, and it also needs you to recruit muscles to propel the board forward. In addition to your core working, proper paddling technique will force the body to recruit the muscles of the shoulders, upper back (latissimus dorsi and rhomboids), the chest (pectorals), arms and the obliques. The legs also work to help, as most paddlers will add a slight bending of the knees to the stroke.¬† Though you will use these muscles as you run, cycle, swim or workout, you most likely do not use them in the way that is required to paddle. Again, this variety of usage of these muscle groups will help you avoid overuse injuries that happen from doing the same thing over and over again.
Change of Pace (for active recovery and rejuvenation)
Athletes never want to hear that four-letter word: REST. However, when your body is feeling tired or broken, it‚Äôs important to listen.¬† If you keep going at the normal training pace, you are likely to injure yourself.¬† Soreness and/or pain are definite signals that your body sends to let you know that it‚Äôs time to take a break for a bit. Those specific signals are signs that there is inflammation and/or injury, and the only way to heal that is through rest. However, going for a fun paddle on a board will help change the pace for you a bit, and help you recover in an active way. You will be able to keep your body moving, yet give it a break from the norm at the same time. Paddleboarding will still be able to get your heart rate up and challenge you cardiovascularly, yet it is still different enough from your normal routine to provide recovery. Remember, you don‚Äôt always have to ‚Äúkill it‚ÄĚ to see benefits. ¬†In fact, your body will appreciate the break from the usual and soak up the opportunity to heal while moving.
Paddleboarding also provides some active recovery for your mind (a.k.a. stress relief). Breaking the routine by doing something different can help prevent boredom, and allow you to be more present in your workouts.¬† A change of scenery or a change of challenge may just be enough to get your brain back in the game.
June 15th, 2012
Join us for the SUP Splash Tampa! This is the third stop in the SUP Splash Series where we all “paddle the south”. Formerly the SUP Splash St. Pete, we’re featuring a new location on Tampa Bay – The Hula Bay Club. This event features a WPA Sanctioned 3-mile and 7-mile race, as well as a kid’s sprint race. A portion of the proceeds of the SUP Splash Tampa will benefit Feeding America Tampa Bay.
Race starts at 10 a.m. on July 14th, with registration opening at 8 a.m. Pre-race meeting at 9:45. Lunch and awards will follow immediately after the race poolside at Hula Bay.
A board drop off and staging area will be provided. Parking is free and nearby.
Join us Friday, July 13th at 5:30 p.m. for a Poolside Welcome Party at Hula Bay.
Registration is available at:
Online registration closes on July 12th.
For more information, please vist¬†www.supsplashrace.com
Sponsorship opportunities are available.
May 21st, 2012
SUP isn’t always about racing. This time, I decided to give back to the town that has provided me my hometown and the best places to paddle around! ¬†Last weekend, I was asked to provide “safety” for the Dunedin Duck Derby. This rubber ducky regatta was a fundraiser for the Dunedin Historical Society. It was a typical small-town event with the attendance of the mayor and city commissioners, and the rest of the town, all of which cheered “QUACK!” from the docks during the race. Though there was a big local SUP race going on at the other side of the county, I was thrilled to give back to my community and have a lot of fun chasing ducks!
April 27th, 2012
Click here to read a recent article about training in the heat.
March 16th, 2012
Stretching is probably the one component of fitness that most often gets neglected from an exercise routine. Most times, you are probably focused on the training, the workout, not the post-workout stretch. Though some new research shows mixed reviews about stretching, we do know that stretching after your workout can help you in numerous ways.
The two main benefits for stretching are that it can help your athletic performance and it can help decrease the chances of sport/activity-related injury. ¬† Stretching can improve your flexibility. Flexibility is defined as the ability to move a join through it’s range of motion. When a joint is inflexible, it can’t move properly through it’s full range of motion. This causes muscle imbalances and funky posture or movement patters which can result in injuries. A healthy, flexible joint, can move smoothly, and allow you to work in proper form. Also, over-shortened muscles, tendons, or fascia can become very inflamed and start tearing when they are repeatedly stretched over and over again. A program of gradual¬†flexibility training can help lengthen out the muscle and help prevent these kinds of injuries.
Stretching can also help improve blood flow to the muscles. Generally, when muscles are chronically tight, they tend to press blood vessels and nerves against bones, which can help cause chronic problems like Sciatica or Thoracic Outlet Syndrome*, and constricts flow causing pain. ¬†Stretching helps relieve the tightness from muscles, fascia, and other connective tissues, thus allowing blood to flow freely.
So how do you stretch? The BEST time to stretch is AFTER ¬†your workout. Yes, after. By that point, your muscles are warm, and probably tired, and they won’t fight against you so much. Stretching will also help you flush out chemical by products of your workout and help prevent soreness.
Stretching is easy and relaxing, and there’s really no excuse for not adding it and keeping it in your training program. Physical Fitness is made of 4 components: Strength, Endurance, Body Composition, and FLEXIBILITY. If you are missing one of those components, guess what? You may not be “fit”.
Here are some tips for stretching:
- Focus on major muscle groups when you stretch, and stretch the ones you use the most.
- DON’T BOUNCE. We know better than that now. Why do you ask? Well, here’s a good example: if you take a rubber band, and stretch it repeatedly and quickly over and over and over again, what will happen to the band? It will break, right? So now think of that rubber band stretching at it’s full, releasing, then stretching it again. What will happen the next time you stretch it? It will probably stretch more because you stretched it out the first time. Hmm. Interesting. The body kind of works the same way.
- Pain is not your friend. When you stretch, go for a little bit of “uncomfortable” not pain. Pain is a sign that something is wrong.
- Make it routine. Only regular stretching will help you see results.
- Hold your stretches for at least 20-30 seconds. This is the time it takes for your body to give-way to the stretch reflex.
Sample stretches for paddlers:
Lower Back Stretch
February 17th, 2012
Racing season is just a couple of months away! You are probably busy training and starting to get your body ready for a few months of some killer paddling in the spring. Here are a few tips to keep your training moving in the right direction and help you keep from getting over trained.
Pick a Specific “Goal” Race
Instead of training for a general ballooned season, it’s a good idea to train for one specific race later in the season. This will help keep your eyes on the prize and your workout program more streamlined. You will be able to perform well in the races leading up to the “big race”, and you should have your best performance at the race you peak for.
Periodize Your Training Routine
“Periodization¬†is an organized approach to¬†training¬†that involves progressive cycling of various aspects of a training program during a specific period. It is a way of alternating training to its peak during season. The aim of periodization is to introduce new movements as you progress through the macrocycle to specify your training right up until you start the season.” Periodizing your routine means that you will separate your plan into sections, even as simply as pre-season, season, and post season. Pre season would consist more of conditioning work, the season would consist of sport-specific skills, and the post season would be resting. Periodizing helps you get fully prepared for a season without forcing you into over training, which could¬†ruin¬†your season. There are several theories of periodization models out there. ¬†A great book to find periodization concepts and models is called “Designing Resistance Trainng Programs” by¬†¬†Steven Fleck and William Kraemer.
Get to the Gym
SUP’s are not the most efficient craft on the water. It does take a lot of strength to pull it, and more strength to make it go faster.
Your body won’t get stronger on it’s own. You will need to make it that way. There are a lot of theories out there about strength training. If you don’t lift weights very much, start off slow. A non-agressive approach is always safe when you are just starting out. ¬†Start with using the machines, then work your way into free weights, then into more functional exercises. BE CAREFUL. Jumping too high too soon can really set you up for injury. But, making yourself strong gradually can help you avoid injury and go faster.
Cross training is essential when you are on a strict training program. If you did nothing but SUP 7 days a week, your body would eventually get burned out. ¬†Cross training allows you to work the same body parts and energy systems you would work when you are paddling, but you aren’t paddling. Some examples of good cross training for SUP are outrigger paddling, swimming, rowing machine, running, elliptical machine, and pretty much anything that gets your heart rate up.
It’s a four letter word that no one wants to hear, but it’s ESSENTIAL. Rest allows your body to heal after all of the work you’ve been doing. When you train hard, you tear your muscles on a microscopic level (which causes soreness). This tearing is normal, but your body does need to heal. If you don’t give it the time, your body will eventually quit working properly. When the repeated weeks of training with no rest add up to be too much, your body will start to show signs of over training. Symptoms of over training are depression, poor sleeping patterns, decreased appetite, poor sports performance, a feeling of chronic fatigue, lowered immune system, and increased rate of injury. Giving your body at least one day of rest per week will really help your body feel and work better.
Keep these tips in mind when designing your training program this year. Hopefully, you’ll reach your desired goal, stay healthy, and uninjured this season. See you on the water!
December 26th, 2011
Keep yours going all year long!
I am sure at some point in our lives, all of us have made New Year’s Resolutions. If we never called them resolutions, we probably have said, “Next year, I’ll..” or “After the holidays are over, I plan to..” ¬†Whether we admit it or not, we’ve made goals for when the new year comes. However, we can probably also say by each February, we’ve given up on those goals for any number of reasons. This year, let’s plan on keeping your goals. Here’s an easy way on how to set goals, and achieve them…
All you have to remember is that your goals need to be SMART. That’s
¬†S-M-A-R-T. SMART¬†goal setting will help you accomplish your goal, and allow you to make those changes part of your lifestyle.
S = Specific¬†- The goals you set need to be specific. You need to specify exactly what you want to do. For example, the goal of “losing some weight” is not very specific. The goal of “losing 5 pounds” is very specific.
M = Measurable -¬†The goals you set need to be measurable. They need to have a way that you can see a change in numbers, and thus accomplish your goal by tracking the changes. With our example of “losing some weight”, we’re not defining any measurable change. “Some” is not a measurement. However, 5 (the number of pounds the person wants to lose) is measurable and can be tracked.
A = Attainable -¬†The goals you set need to be attainable.
R = Realistic¬†- The goals you set need to be realistic. I group both of these together because you can’t have one without the other. A realistic goal will be an attainable one and vise versa. It’ important to keep in mind that you are human, and things take time. Generally, you won’t be able to make GIGANTIC changes to result in HUGE goals in a short period of time. Small changes will result in great goals, given time to accomplish it. In our weight loss example, “losing 5 lbs in a month” would be both attainable and realistic. “Losing 50 lbs in a month” is not attainable or realistic (or healthy).
T = Timeline¬†- Every goal you set needs to have a timeline. If you give yourself a date or a specified time to complete your goal, you will be more likely to stay motivated to make changes to your life. For example, “losing 5 pounds” with by no desired date won’t be as successful as “losing 5 pounds by February 1st” is more definite.
Simply said, If you can align your goals to be SMART, you’ll find it more possible to stick to your resolutions and actually see them through to your goal. Heck, you might even end up making them a part of your current lifestyle.