Sarasota SUP Race Series: Race #3

On October 11th, a big event took place for paddleboarding in Sarasota, FL: The final race of the Sarasota SUP Race Series. The series had a total of 3 races. The first one was in June, the second one was in August and the third one, just last weekend. For many paddlers, the goal is to participate and do well in all three race in order to try and become the Race Series Champion!

Thankfully, I managed to do just that. I placed 2nd in the first and second race and finally, for the first time EVER, got 1st place in the final race! But it wasn’t easy. The final race was a tough course and it was brutally hot.

Here’s a video of the start line of each heat in the race: 

 

I was part of a three person draft train the whole race. And for probably about 4 miles of the 6.5 mile race, I lead the train. It’s difficult leading but I knew if I got in the back of the train for too long, I’d give up with trying to get first place. I wanted to make sure I always had the lead. And on the final turn to the finish, the girl behind me fell! Which allowed me to take first place! But I didn’t win by much. The times were SO CLOSE!!

Check out these times! And for more results CLICK HERE

Race Times

It was such a close race. These women are good. I couldn’t believe that I held on. After the race, we all enjoyed some food and relaxed. Everyone on team HovieSUP did so well too! Check it out here: Team HovieSUP

What makes me feel so good is how when I participated in this race last year, I could barely finish. I was exhausted. And now, I was pushing it the whole time and didn’t feel bad. Improvement makes me happy! All those days practicing and training are actually working!

PICTURES, PICTURES, PICTURES!

Sprinting to the finish line

Sprinting to the finish line

Coming up to the final buoy!

Coming up to the final buoy!

Right at the finish line

Right at the finish line

Waiting for awards

Waiting for awards

Eating and just hanging out with friends

Eating and just hanging out with friends

Getting some tips

Getting some tips

Race buds!

Race buds!

My team :)

Team HovieSUP

Awards ceremony

Awards ceremony

More information:

SUP Sarasota Website                SUP Sarasota Facebook                        Race Information

Connect with Me:

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Sarasota SUP Race Series: Paddleboard Race #2

I’m so GO GO GO all the time that it’s difficult for me to just sit down and write but finally, here I am! This race took place on August 23 in Sarasota, FL at Lake Benderson. It’s this big, HUGE lake that will eventually hold the World Rowing Championships. It’s not an extremely exciting place to paddle because it’s just a big, flat lake and that’s it. However, the alligators keep you on your toes.

The Race Site

So here are some quick details from the race… the course was 6.2 miles (10K) in length, which was equivalent to 2 laps around the lake. However, what made this race a little bit more enticing was the fact that it was a beach start and just after about 40 yards you could choose to go left or right. I decided to go left…

The start!

The start! I had a pretty good start :)

These races are so much fun and so many paddlers come out! There was some good competition in every division, which makes everything more interesting! It was weird paddling and not knowing what place you are in because the women in my division went the opposite way of me so I had no idea. It was definitely unique.

Paddling

You just had to paddle so hard the whole time because you just didn’t know! Overall, the race went way better than I expected. I placed 2nd and was just 90 seconds behind first place, which was an improvement! I’m excited for the the last race that is coming up in the series. It will be on October 11. That is coming up so soon!

My sister always comes to support!

My sister always comes to support!

Check out some links to see pictures, information, and results!

Results                          Facebook                               Pictures

Race Like a Spartan and Cruise to Victory! Enter to WIN a Cruise to the Bahamas with a Spartan Race INCLUDED!

The Spartan Races are becoming well known almost everywhere and are a great race to do with friends or to just challenge yourself. They are filled with obstacles and depending on what one you signed up for, it may contain 15, 20 or even 25 obstacles over miles of terrain.

Painted Warrior

The 2014 Spartan Race World Championship Race takes place in Killington, Vermont on September 20th. If that race doesn’t fit your schedule, check out www.spartan.com to find a race near you. Also, since you are a reader of my blog, here is a 10% coupon code to use on ANY Spartan Race: SPARTANBLOGGER

Not only can you sign up for a race but you can enter to win a CRUISE FOR 2!

Spartan Cruise

The Spartan Race Cruise is this March. It cruises out from Miami (US residents only)  and consists of a 4 day cruise to the Bahamas with a Spartan Sprint on a private island! Airfare is also included! Let me tell you that you want to be on that cruise! Who wouldn’t?To enter, just enter your information here: http://bit.ly/spartancruisegiveaway

More on the 1st EVER Spartan Race Cruise:

–3 DAY CRUISE

–3-½ mile Sprint Race with 15 obstacles – led  by Joe De Sena

–$50,000 prize pool for Elite Racers**

Kids travel FREE** (up to 17 years of age at time of booking)

– Meals Kids Jr. Spartan race (ages 4-13)

–Onboard entertainment

–Book signing by Joe De Sena

–Guest speakers

–Award ceremony, finisher’s medal and professional photo and video

–Gratuities

–Insurance

–Spartan Cruise t-shirt

–Full day at Great Stirrup Cay for lounging and playing with family and friends

It’s that easy! Get out and get healthy and have fun at the same time. The spartan races are perfect for making friends, meeting people who are just as crazy as you are, and making your body push its limits! Don’t miss out on these great offers and exciting events!

If you have any questions, ask me or go to these links below:

Spartan Race                                 Cruise Entry

Sweat A Lot? This Will Help!

I don’t know if I have written about this before but paddle boarding isn’t the only sport that I love. Tennis has been my main sport since I can remember. I played high school tennis and college tennis for 4 years. Now, I teach tennis so I am around it all the time. That’s why I am so happy I had the opportunity to test out Saaka. They make headbands and wristbands, that I will admit are perfect for me. I tested them while running, paddle boarding and on the tennis court.

The technology that Saaka uses in their products is plain and simple: bamboo. Saaka is an earth-friendly company and bamboo is used in the middle layer of their headbands and wristbands. It is highly absorbant and doesn’t require the use of pesticides to grow. Bamboo also kills germs, however, these products can be washed, so don’t worry.

Getting ready to head out for a workout with my Saaka headband

Getting ready to head out for a workout with my Saaka headband

Another thing is I sweat, and I mean it. I SWEAT A LOT! Ask anyone that knows me. When I am on court, I have water coming out of my shoes. While paddling, I can’t see because sweat gets in my eyes and I can’t grip my paddle. Actually in my last race, I fell because my hand slipped all the way down my paddle shaft causing me to tumble over.

Paddling

Sprint training

Saaka headbands are a good mix because they are a headband to keep my hair back and they also absorb sweat like a sweat band. They don’t slip becuase you adjust the tightness with velcro. The headband stays in place while controlling my hair, my sweat and they look great.

The wristband kept my grip free of dripping sweat. I actually could grip my tennis racket. It was amazing! And I didn’t even notice how soaked the wristband got. After an hour of playing in the heat, it still did it’s job. Personally though, my favorite thing about Saaka is how many color options they have and how these bands actually fit me! It is so hard to find a head band that doesn’t slip and Saaka is a two-for-one because it also absorbs my sweat and keeps it dripping off my face and in my eyes.

Saaka helped me keep my grip and focus

Saaka helped me keep my grip and focus

Here's a close-up of the wristband and headband

Here’s a close-up of the wristband and headband

In the above picture you can definitely see that I sweat. A lot. It’s nice to be able to play and not worry about my grip slipping or my headband slipping off. It’s a win-win for sure. Take a look at Saaka and give it a try! Let me know what you think. If you have any questions refer to the links below or just ask me! Now remember, don’t let overactive sweat glands get the best of you, Saaka is here to help.

More on Saaka:

Website                              Facebook

Sarasota SUP Race Series: Paddleboard Race #1

Okay okay… this race took place wayyyyy back in June and I am now just writing about it. However, I already wrote a post about it! WordPress crashed on me right as I went to post it! So since that happened I got pretty angry with WordPress and slightly boycotted it for the past month. Now, I’m over it and finally writing about it, hopefully all goes smoothly.

To begin, this race had crazy choppy and windy conditions. Which is something very unusual. Siesta Key is normally super flat. Rarely do you see waves. Like never. Anyways, the wind was onshore and even the wind didn’t cool down the air temperature. It was extremely hot. Imagine sweat dripping in your eyes and not being able to grip your paddle because your hands are just too soaked in sweat. I fell once on the last lap because I put my hand on the paddle shaft and it just slipped all the way down, which caused me to tumble off the front of my board. Fatigue didn’t help either. I was too tired to realize I was even falling until I was underwater…

Coming in to run the beach

Coming in to run the beach.

The race was 6 miles. The 6 miles consisted of a four laps. Each lap being 1.5 miles. So it was a beach start and after every lap you had to ride a wave in to shore and run a lap. I thought the run would be the easy part… definitely not the case. I was dumb and fell on 2/4 of the waves I rode in. I’d fall in waist to chest deep water while my board would ride the wave in. Running in water IS SO TIRING!! It takes everything out of you.

Beach Start

Beach Start

Also, this race was twice as stressful because money was given out to the top 3 finishers. I COULD WIN MONEY! $$$$ Who doesn’t want to win their entry fee back?!

First place: $150     Second place: $105       Third place: $45

And I ended up placing 2nd and the girl in third was just 20 seconds behind me!! It was a race to the finish. I felt so great and so terrible all at the same time.

The 12'6" Elite Women's top finishers

The 12’6″ Elite Women’s top finishers

My body was toast. I just fell over at the finish and I guess my mom’s first thoughts were to take pictures of me. Forget bringing me water. However, placing 2nd was an amazing feeling!

FINALLY DONE!

FINALLY DONE!

The race was incredible and I can’t wait until the next one in August. It’s going to be in flat water!

Here is more on the race!

Results                     Sarasota SUP Race Series                     Picture Gallery

Special thanks to all my family and friends who came to support! And HovieSUP. They make awesome boards that are so fast!

Shoe Review: The Merida Sandal by AHNU

My days are busy so normally, I don’t really enjoy spending an evening doing anything other then relaxing. However, I decided that I would go to Main Street to hit up the ever so popular “Music On Main.” It’s an event that it seems like the whole city goes to. Parking is horrendous and you stand the whole time, socializing and listening to a band.

Music on Main

So many people. This picture doesn't come close at all to how many people were there

So many people. This picture doesn’t even come close to how many people were actually there.

I’ll just say that this post is dedicated to a pair of shoes, an awesome pair of wedge sandals that I really like: The Merida by AHNU to be exact. I am so amazed by this simple sandal that I wore the other night. Most woman wear heels because they look cute and make their legs look great! However, most likely, those heels aren’t comfortable for standing and walking around in. How would you like it if I told you that I found a really cute sandal that is comfortable and still makes your legs look awesome! And it can be worn for a little bit of a fancier occasion or just a casual night. And did I mention how comfortable they are!

Looking casual and comfortable! And ready for fun!

Looking casual and comfortable! And ready for fun!

Seriously, it’s like I didn’t even have shoes on. They were soft and cushioned. Every time I took a step, they moved with my foot and The Meridaprovided my heel and the ball of my foot with something similar to the feel of a pillow. There’s really no other way to describe it. This shoe has a cork wedge, which makes it really light and easy to walk in. Also, the zipper in the back makes this shoe so simple to put on. One thing I do suggest though is to order a half size smaller then what you normally wear. That will be a better fit!

The Merida by Ahnu

The Merida by Ahnu

I have to raise my hand when asked, “How many of you have worn a sandal or heel that slips on tile and other surfaces?” I have slipped in front of so many people before. It’s terrible. One time it was raining and I ran into a building with tile floor and my next step, put me on the ground. This also happens sometime on my garage floor. Not fun! However, these shoes have a non-slip bottom. The outsole is rubber and you won’t have to worry about making markings on any floors either.

Overall, this shoe may not be a running shoe, but for when I’m not running, it’s perfect. Its got a heel but not too much and it’s comfortable, which makes me comfortable. They come in different colors too. Mine is the Toffee color but you do have other color options!

Don’t forget you can dress up too! :)

Dress up time!

Dress up time!

My favorite dress and my favorite shoes!

My favorite dress and my favorite shoes!

For more on Ahnu…

Facebook                         Website                          Instagram                      Twitter

Disclosure: Ahnu Footwear provided me with the Meridas in advance. I have been testing them in a variety of settings. All you have read are my own opinions. If you have any questions about the shoes, please contact me. Thank you!

The Sunshine State Games First Annual Paddle Boarding Championships Recap

So it’s been awhile since my nerves kept me awake at night. My mind was racing because in the morning that’s exactly what I’d be doing – racing. My last paddle board race was in October and I had not really trained for it so I didn’t feel much pressure. However, the past few weeks, I’ve been addicted to training. My days are planned around when I can get on my board.

Thankfully, I’m surrounded by paddle boarders who live the same lifestyle. We just want to get out on the water. That’s the main goal of everyday. We train in all conditions too… Wind and chop (small waves coming from all directions) is the usual. It’s not always sunny and flat water like everyone pictures.

This is a great place to train because the conditions are always different.

This is a great place to train because the conditions are always different.

Anyways, after 4 weeks of paddle boarding hard and improving, it was time to test my endurance and see where exactly I stand out on the water. It’s race day folks! The day I’m so excited for that I can’t sleep and so nervous for that it’s hard to eat and breathe, I could hardly even talk that night before. My mind was just thinking about all the “what if” scenarios.

I wake up to get to racer check-in at 8 am. The race starts at 9:30 am so I had a lot of time to relax and do everything I needed to do. I was stressed because I was trying to figure out an easy way to drink water while paddling. I have a camelbak that goes around my waist not my back, so I have to bring the water to me, it’s not just sitting right by my mouth. After endless ways of tying twist ties to my bathing suit, I eventually couldn’t think of an easy solution of trying to get the nozzle closer to my mouth. Oh well… the race must go on!

Here is the race course. I had to do the loop twice for a total of 6 miles.

Here is the race course. I had to do the loop twice for a total of 6 miles.

So the race was about to begin, all paddlers were out on the water, ready to battle it out. There was about 50 of us total but all tackling different races. Some people were doing the 3 mile race while others were doing the elite 6 mile race… that’s what I signed up for. A grueling 6 miles on flat water in the summer heat.

Racing

Before I even had time to find location on my gps watch the race was off! It all happened so fast, which now that I think about it was a good thing… less time for me to get nervous. And once you start, there is no turning back.

The beginning is very tough. You want to get a good lead in the beginning because that means confidence and to catch up to people in front of you on a paddle board is a very difficult task. You have to work twice as hard or pray that they fall or stop paddling.

Racing

Mile by Mile:

Mile 1 felt pretty good. I was just trying to stay with the pack, there was not much time to think about anything else. Then mile 2, the pack started to spread. I was being drafted by another paddler and my body was getting really hot. I had to keep reminding myself to breathe and drink water! Mile 3 was tough because it was just straight… and there was nothing to look at because the race was in a lake. It was a longggg stretch. Felt like miles! Then mile 4, I start the loop over. And, my body was feeling it. The lone girl in front of me was still the same distance in front of me and the girl in back of me was slowly gaining ground. I had to step it up. So I started counting my strokes to take my mind off things. AND IT WORKED! I got a spurt of energy and was back at it. Miles 5 and 6 were quick and as soon as I could see the end, I picked up my pace, knowing I was about to be done!

About to finish!

About to finish!

Ahhhh! It feels so good to be done. Everyone’s so excited at the finish and so supportive. It’s an absolutely amazing feeling. I ended up with a time of 1:16:53. However, that time is not completely accurate. The clock started when the 14′ race boards went out and then roughly 2 minutes after, the 12’6″ race boards followed. The start was staggered so there would be less clutter on the course.

DSC01133What amazes me the most is how terrible I feel during the race and then right when I finish, I feel fine. I feel like I could keep going! That just goes to show you that your body is always capable of more than you think and when you think you can’t keep going, your mind may just be playing tricks on you.

DSC01124

It was quite the race! I got to meet a lot of great paddlers and hangout with all my friends! My next race is in less than 2 weeks so hopefully I keep training and improving. I’m excited to see if I keep getting better!

 

For more on the race, check out the links!

Results                      Facebook                       Website

 

Happy National Running Day! Where Will Your Run Take You?

If you haven’t run yet today or need ideas for new places to run, I suggest trying a local state park. I recently visited Caloosahatchee Creeks Preserve (East), which is a Florida State Park in Ft Myers. This park is open all year! I recently had the opportunity to run here and it offered many different types of terrain for an overall great run!

The park includes shell, boardwalk and high grass trails to provide multiple levels of training. It also takes you along the beautiful Caloosahatchee River, so while running you have a great view.

We happened to go on a day that was very hot and muggy, which meant that the gnats were everywhere. They were in my hair, on my stomach, covering my neck, in my armpits… they were EVERYWHERE! We were sweating and running fast so the bugs were just sticking to us. However, it’s fun to make it into a game and see who can collect the most!

Gnats were all over us!

Gnats were all over us!

Overall, I had a great time running and then doing some nature trail walking afterwards for a nice cool down. The park isn’t great for a long run but has short trails that you can connect and weave through to make a nice running loop. We ended up doing 4 miles and after running in the high grass and heat, that was plenty for me!

The park includes benches, picnic tables, a canoe/kayak launch, restrooms, wildlife, and great nature trails. I’m sure you can find a park near you and get your run on!

Fun Run!

Fun Run!

We both run in Skora Shoes and they perform so well on all surfaces. I don’t have to worry about slipping, they can get wet, and their flexibility makes it easy for me to be agile on the trails. Things come up, like holes, big sticks, snakes, etc. that I need to avoid and I’m happy to have a shoe that I’m not scared about rolling my ankle in or falling.

HAPPY NATIONAL RUNNING DAY! Now get out there and enjoy your run!

Shoe Review: Ahnu Lagunitas for Women – A Sport Sandal

If you are anything like me then you love the water, the sunshine, the rain, the trails, and overall just being outdoors. It’s not too often you come across everything at once but sometimes you do. I found the Ahnu Lagunitas to fit my lifestyle perfectly. I can wear them to the beach on sand or in rocks/shells, in the water, on trails, and in my backyard.

I went out and tested the Lagunitas in my every day life so of course I wore them on my way to paddleboard. If you’ve never tried paddle boarding, I suggest you go do it! It was great having the Lagunitas because I could walk over the tough ground to the water without having to worry about them getting wet (since they are water shoes!) or me stepping on something painful.

Paddleboards

They don’t slip and they don’t hold water! There is absolutely no material that absorbs the water to make your feet feeling like heavy weights while walking.They also have a durable toe cap that protects your foot from anything that could potentially puncture your feet. And once again, if you are like me, stubbing your toes could possibly ruin your day so this feature is a big plus! I also like the adjustable buckle because I know I cant tighten the shoe so I don’s slip out and it will keep my heel from moving around.

Ahnu

The only thing that happened was little pebbles and dirt particles would get into my shoes, which makes sense since they are open but it wasn’t anything too bad. In just a few moments, the water would push anything that got into the shoe out. It’s kinda just what happens when you are going on adventures!

Ahnu Lagunitas

You can see in the above picture that not all water is going to be super clear and debris free. I had to deal with rocks, seaweed, shells, sticks, and dirt. However, as soon as I came out of the water the shoes still looked brand new!

Overall, I like the style, comfort and versatility of the Ahnu Lagunitas. I like a shoe that I can use for just about everything. It’s a money saver and this shoe only costs $90.00. It also comes in different colors, so it can match whatever you’d like! I know I like color options. Feel free to ask me any questions about these shoes and to find out more about Ahnu, check out the links below. Also, they run big so order a half size to a full size smaller than what you normally wear.

Facebook                  Website                    Twitter                  Instagram

Disclosure: Ahnu Footwear provided me with the Lagunitas in advance. I have been testing them in a variety of settings. All you have read are my own opinions. If you have any questions about the shoes, please contact me. Thank you!

 

Skora Slackline Session

IT’S FRIDAY! And this is my second post in a series involving my Skora Shoes and just how many activities I can do while wearing them. A challenge? I think NOT! The previous post was about boxing and now… SLACKLINING!

So how many of you know what a slackline is?       Bueller?… Bueller?…

I discovered that some places have never heard of this great sport. A slackline is simple. It’s a line that can be stiff or more elastic depending on what kind of line you have. It also can be 1 inch wide or 2 inches wide and the lengths vary as well.

It is a lot of fun once you get the hang of it! Learn to walk and then you can work on tricks and make up your own. You can slackline in shoes or barefoot. I tried it in my Skora FITs and it worked just fine. I was excited that my feet didn’t have to get all dirty for once! I made a quick video of me performing the few things I can do on a slackline. I’m no pro obviously but maybe one day, I will work up the courage to do a backflip… over a pool, or foam pit. But for now, this is all I got.

Some benefits from slacklining are improved balance, focus, leg, core, and arm toning. Balancing is for sure one of the top benefits. The whole time you are balancing on a little piece of material suspended above the ground. A useful skill when the ground below you is covered in lava! Also, your focus will improve. You must really stay in the zone if you want to walk the line and perform without falling. Falling isn’t what you want to do to impress all the people starring. Overall, my body is just worked. My legs from keeping my body stable and even from jumping up on the line. My core is engaged during the entire session while walking on the line. And I keep my arms up for balance… believe me, your arms will get tired from going above your head, over and over again.

Now let’s all go be slackers!