The Inland Paddler: Essential Chatta-crap – the stuff I can’t live without right now

Kit that's Getting me to Chattajack

Kit that’s Getting me to Chattajack

We’re in the final countdown to the premiere event on the East Coast – the Chattajack 31 (yes, we all know it’s really 32 miles, not 31) in Chattanooga. It’s easy to become obsessed about the race right about now…there’s even a word for that: Chattabrain.

Yesterday, as I filled up my everyday carry bag with the stuff I needed for the day, I realized I’ve been toting around some pretty Chatta-centric things the last month of so.  So, as we say here in the South, it got me to thinking about how my training rituals and accoutrements have morphed over the season.

So, I made a list of the things that are not that far away from me at any given moment this close to Chattajack:

Race planner:  I learned last year the value of having a race plan and putting it to use.  It happened after I had a really crappy race in Virginia Beach and DNF’d. The next race was the Colonial in New Bern and I made sure I scouted the course and had a strategy in place for dealing with some of the unique obstacles that made my OC1 start problematic.  I actually spent a few moments in the hotel that night writing out exactly what I would do the next morning.  Having that plan, knowing how I would handle the situation on race morning calmed my nerves and helped me focus. I put the plan into effect and had a great event.  Through the suggestion of Paddle Monster Coach Larry Cain and learning that Zane Schweitzer keeps a notebook with plans and outcomes of all of his races, I’ve made it a routine part of my training and racing regime.

Weekly Training Plan: This would be my Paddle Monster plan for the week.  It’s in my race planner, it’s on my phone in the Paddle Monster App, and it’s programmed into my watch.  My life revolves around this plan. I make no appointments or RSVPS without consulting this plan first.

Chapter Seven of Suzie Cooney’s Book:  Chapter Seven is all about the mental part of paddle racing.  Before big events and even smaller ones, I re-read this chapter and take her advice to heart all over again.  Sometimes the same nuggets jump out at me, sometimes others grab me.  Just depends on what it is my subconscious needs to hear.

Flash Cards: Stemming from Suzie’s advice in Chapter Seven, I carry around a stack of index cards with affirmations written on me. They are the things I want to remember, things I want to convince myself of before the race, or just words of encouragement to myself.  Whenever I get worries or am doubtful, I pull these out and flip through them.  I read them when I have a few minutes of down time, before I go to bed at night, and before workouts.

Chattajack Playlist: Usually on Spotify, it’s the songs that have kept me going over the season or that perennially inspire me.  Built by Titan’s “Heart & Soul,” the sound track to the 2014 Chattajack highlight video is always on that list.

Maliko Run T-shirts and Bluesmiths Hoodie: You might call these my security blankets. Soft, comfy and they remind me of Maui. Comfort clothes.

HR Monitor: I might well just keep this on because I cannot train without it. And if it goes missing now, as HR monitors are wont to do, I will go apoplectic.

Hot and Cold Packs: I have rice filled tube that I heat up in the microwave to ease sore muscles and this awesome shoulder pad thing with an ice pack and a blow up bulb to add compression for the “situations’ requiring ice. I keep them close at all times.

Hammer Balm: This is simply one of the best sore muscle rubs out there. It’s nice to use right before bedtime.

Wellness Formula Supplements and Thieves Oil: The last thing I want right now is to get sick with a cold or the flu…so this stuff seems to help ward off the crud.

Sleep Tracker: Being well-rested and well-recovered it key, especially right now, so I am relying heavily on my sleep apps to help me keep tabs on the shut-eye.  The Garmin sleep tracker (in many of its device like the Fenix or VivoActive) is good but I really like the Whoop tracker – not only does it it tell me how long and how good my sleep is in terms of how much time I was in each sleep cycle, but it gives me resting heart rate data and heart rate variability as well.  Then it tells me how that data has affected my recovery. And it has a great Sleep Coach function which can tell me when I need to go to bed to get enough sleep to either get by, perform or peak during the next day’s work out. Pricey but extremely helpful if you tend to overtrain.

Bandages: and more bandages.  I’m still having to keep dressings on my fin injury so Tegaderm film is essential to keeping in waterproof and me on the water.  That, and cohesive bandage wrap and my PICC line cover  – a latex vacuum sealed sleeve that keeps water out. I’ve bought so much wound care stuff in the last two months that Amazon has changed what kind of ads I get to see when I log on to Facebook — clearly all the algorithms now think I am a health care professional.

What are the things you find you can’t live without this close to your big race?


Paddle Monster Newsletter Signup