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Last Minute Help for Handling Chattajack Stress

It's Crunch Time for everyone headed to the Tennessee River Gorge this week to paddle Chattajack 31.  This is when the Chattajitters take over, when you are most likely to feel the effects of being completely Chattajacked up, especially if this is your first one. It's easy to get...obsessed ...with Chatta-this and Chatta-that and get overwhelmed by all the ChattaChatter.

Might we offer some suggestions on how to deal with the giddiness and obsession, and possibly the lessen the amount of annoyance and irritation you are causing your loved ones and others around you?

First, recognize the signs

You will know if you are truly Chattajacked up if:

  • You start laughing for no reason whatsoever.
  • You start crying for no reason whatsoever.
  • The numbers 31 no 32, no 31, no 32, 10 and 8.5 keep popping up in your head.
  • You spend more time on weather websites than you do on social media.
  • All you talk about in social media sites is the weather in Chattanooga.
  • You spend an inordinate amount of time making the simplest of routine decisions like whether to buy the milk with the due date that's one day earlier or not.
  • You spontaneously start singing about Hammer Nutrition's Tissue Rejuvenator supplement, to the tune of Sade's "Smooth Operator."
  • At least one word in every sentence you speak starts with "Chatta."


You need to focus elsewhere, if at all possible.

We discovered that YouTube can be a big help, as long as you stay away from CJ recap videos.

Bad Lip Reading's "Seagulls! (Stop it Now)" is perfect for getting your mind off of Saturday.  You'll be humming "Run, run, jump, run, I can be a backpack when you run" and laughing at Yoda's dislike for shorebirds for hours if not days. It's catchy, it's fun to sing along with, and the repetition is exactly what the brain needs to disengage from all things Gorge related.

Honorable mention goes to the the Reggae Shark video, as long as you don't mind some good natured fun that may or may not involve mention of a particular "herb." (Might not be suitable for work or the kids - that's up to you.)

"Reggae Shark is Real! Him got a band with the seals...."

Again, a catchy tune, with fun lyrics you'll find yourself singing over and over- distracts the mind. Might just as annoying as talking incessantly about Chattajack.  But that's a risk you'll have to take



If the YT route doesn't appeal, then... 80's Dance Party could do the trick.

Cue up any 80's playlist mix on Spotify or Pandora and let yourself go, get into the groove. We find the British Techno-Pop bands to be most helpful but again, it's up to you. If you use music when you paddle, and you are STILL paddling this close to the race, then you owe it to yourself to stop right in the middle of your session and dance on your board. No, it might not be what Paddle Monster Coach Larry Cain had in mind when he wrote your interval session, but we think he'd understand.   It will get the ChattaYaYas out and you'll feel better for it.  It's harder to do in the surfski, OC or on the prone board, but it can be done.  Car dance parties are also fun and useful.

Video Games

Something mind numbing yet strangely soothing and satisfying like Tetris, or Smash Hit, or Monument Valley can do wonders to focus your attention well away from Chattanooga.

Massage Therapy

Treat yourself to a good massage.  Relaxing, calming, beneficial.  Maybe something with hot stones. Maybe add to that a gentle or restorative yoga class.

Last Resort

If you must, you could go the Netflix/Amazon Prime route and do a little binge-watching. But, if you, like Sarah Muir Westbrook, are fans of Stranger Things, this is a slippery slope.  Season Two launches THE NIGHT BEFORE CHATTAJACK.   Not a good time to full on binge. Likewise, if you get sucked into something this week, you could totally screw up your rest and end up dragging even before the race starts. So, be careful with this tactic. I recommend a good British procedural drama, like Broadchurch, River, or Australia's Janet King. Also worth a look, Happy Valley, Last Tango in Halifax, and A Place to Call Home.  Looking for something lighter?  Doctor Who (But not the "Angels Take Manhattan" episode!!!), or any of  Catherine Tate's comedy shows. Or Monty Python.  But again, use this tactic judiciously or it could backfire.


You might be tempted to get your mind of of the task almost at hand by doing some other activity. Avoid things like mountain biking, climbing, hockey, skydiving, MMA/cage fighting, knife throwing  or anything carrying a high risk of hurting you just days before CJ.  For instance, now is not the time to learn how to base jump.

Avoid stress-response tactics like shopping and eating. It is extremely tempting to load up on extra gear and extra calories at this time.  If you sense an Amazon spree coming on, go get that massage. If you find you MUST buy something, I recommend a six pack of Cheerwine, which you can take to CJ and give to the Geiger Family.

What every you do this week, have fun, relax and enjoy all it, Chattajitters included.  It's all part of the fun and the experience! And it's what makes this race so great!

See you in 'Nooga!


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