I saw a TV program the other day discussing a study on “productive” crazy. They had a pie chart with 5 or 6 “crazy” categories and which one was the best to have. I’ve decided to use their study as a stamp of approval for why some pre-race crazy is AOK and … yes, even productive, even a good thing. Granted, we are all supposed to be tapering for the Carolina Cup and we are supposed to be calming our nerves. No.Can.Do. I need a little bit of methodical OCD pre-race prep to calm me. If you’re new to racing, the following might help. If you’re a veteran, you might see yourself and if you’re willing, add to the list; maybe there’s something out there I need to know.

Here goes, “positive and productive” pre-race behavior:

·       Have a normal pre-race breakfast the day of the race; don’t try anything new, it’s not the time to carbo-load!

·       Wear your “lucky” outfit, one that doesn’t chafe, ride-up, or become transparent when wet, to the point you’re mooning everyone you pass. Has to make you feel like a badass, or a rock star, or even a princess; you just gotta love it.

·       Carry on your board or on your person a special token that motivates you. For the 100/100 challenge people that can be our sticker, visually reminding us how hard we’ve worked this winter.

·       Get your board and your gear to the starting area early, with enough time to claim your own personal space before its crisis time when everyone is jockeying for their 5 inches of sand.

·       Go through the whole gear checklist thing; paddle check, pfd check, leash check, camelback present and filled check, etc.

·       Get on the water, on your board, and get your sea legs. Feel how cold the water is or isn’t, just in case you go in.

·       Do some gentle stretching, don’t go all downward dog and butt up to the spectators just for modesty sake, but stretch.

·       Meet and greet your neighbors, wish them good luck, good mojo thing. This is supposed to be fun, it’s not gladiators.

·       Potty and re-potty plenty of time before the pre-race meeting. No bathrooms on course, at least not the porta-potty kind.

·       Have your Garmin or Speedcoach or heart rate monitor thingee already set up and ready to roll.

·       Make sure you’ve got your race number visible and any other micro chip on your person as required.

·       Go through the finish in your head. Do a Mario Brothers video game in your brain; you coming into the beach finish, you taking off your leash, you leaping like a gazelle off your board with paddle in hand and galloping across the finish mat…all without face planting in front of your adoring fans.

·       Listen to the pre-race briefing. You don’t want to go right when they’ve changed the start to go left, or visa versa. Don’t take it for granted. Listen and listen carefully.

·       Stop, listen, feel the whole vibe of humanity and how exciting it is to be a part of this growing sport. Take that in. Smile.

·       Remember to BREATHE.

Now none of that to me is really crazy, at least not in “my” mind. Knowing that there are things I need to do and approaching them methodically in a “calm” OCD manner (hah, calm OCD!) actually settles this nervous Nellie’s nerves. It’s just my little Angst dance.

AND WHEN THE RACE IS OVER and you’re waking up the next morning with a dull head from too much drink, cupcakes or pie, sore muscles from dancing and limbo, maybe not even sure what your name is or where you are; come to the 8 a.m. Social Paddle benefiting the Ocean of Hope at the Blockade Runner sound side beach. The Ocean of Hope Team consists of paddlers and ocean enthusiasts who dedicate their training and racing to raising awareness and funds for the Sarcoma Alliance.  O2H began with one paddle boarder in 1999 and has grown to include paddling events and athletes who dedicate their own personal challenge or event to help those that are fighting cancer. There is no minimum donation or fundraising requirements. What a great way to loosen our muscles after racing so hard we hurt our pancreas’ … and display true gratitude for the gift of good health.  Share the stoke. Who knows who you’ll be paddling next to? Pro or novice, it’s all for a good cause!  Come dance the non-crazy dance of good karma.

For more info: www.scarcomaalliance.org/ocean-of-hope/

And then do some good

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