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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
What 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.
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!