We’ve been hearing lots of reports from Chattajackers who either got sick soon after completing the epic Hellwinder down the Tennessee River a week ago, or who are now starting to feeling puny. So, with the caveat that we are not medical professionals here at Mullet Central and that everyone is different, we thought we’d share some common sense ideas, culled from a variety of places, for pampering yourself after that last big competition or as you end your paddle race season.
This means both in the sleep department as well as the workout department. Be sure to get good, healthy sleep and give your body time to recover and repair. Consider a brief hiatus from your training regime. That might be hard, but it will pay off in the long run, especially if you are starting to get a little burnt out or if you are still feeling fatigued from something like Chattajack. Take time to enjoy a slow Saturday morning. Do something you enjoy doing but have put off because of training. Or just take some nice long walks through the neighborhood in the gorgeous Fall weather. Enjoy being in the post-race present.
After you’ve let your body recover, move a bit, but not at that breakneck, full-tilt training intensity. Maybe do something new- go for a mountain bike ride, go climb, take a hike in the woods, tackle that mess in the garage you haven’t had a chance to work on. You get the idea. And leave the Garmins at home.
Boost the Immune System
All of us are probably a bit run down now and are susceptible to the crud. Livestrong has some suggestions for supplements that could help give your body a hand when it comes to fighting off bugs. WebMD has a list of foods that can also help, including elderberry, garlic, sweet potatoes and the good old standby, chicken soup. Ramp up on good, natural anti-inflammatories like ginger or turmeric. Lemon juice/ginger/turmeric shots are a fav.
I am a fan of making a tea with fresh thyme, sage, ginger, and lemon, with a bit of honey when I feel something coming on. Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, M.D. has a great book that explains the healing and antiviral and antiseptic qualities of herbs like sage – it a great resource for anyone interested in good, time tested remedies that don’t involve pharmaceuticals. My tea recipe is based on one of her suggestions. Essential Oils like oregano or Thieves Oil can be beneficial as well. Other folks swear by sipping bone broth. If you don’t have the time or the energy to make your own, check out Epic’s line of Ready to Heat broths. I especially like the turkey sage cranberry.
Fighting the End of Season Blues
One of the worst things for me about Chattajack is having to leave my paddle ohana behind and come home, knowing the long dark tea time of my soul – Winter – is coming. I miss those folks so much it hurts almost more than my muscles do. And there is always that let down – the main event is over. The thing that has been the focus of my life for at least the last 16 weeks if not more has come and gone in what seems like just a few short paddle strokes. Suddenly, there seems to be no purpose. Nothing to look forward to. Next year seems so far away. If you live in a place where the weather is about to turn cold or already has, it’s almost too much to take. It’s easy to slump down on the couch and binge on cookies, ice cream and bad TV.
So, here are some things that can help:
Start planning your 2017 Race Bucket List and start working on those paddle goals for next year. Maybe it’s a race you’ve always wanted to do or a place you have always wanted to paddle.
Start planning your winter workout routine. Look at what worked and what didn’t this year and work on a plan that addresses those things. For me, I am going to go back to both mountain biking and trail running. And I am going to work on getting certain shoulder muscles and my quads stronger.
Maybe treat yourself to something that will help make getting through the winter more fun or interesting or comfortable. Doesn’t have to be extravagant – but it should help you get excited about land based or cross training or braving the elements to paddle. Ideas: Suzie Cooney’s book, some Season Five winter paddle clothes, a balance board or ball. A new pair of neoprene gloves or running shoes. A Surf-fur post paddle changing coat.
Plan a reunion of some sort with you paddle ohana. Again, doesn’t have to be expensive – maybe just meet for coffee or tacos or a weekend. Get it on the calendar. Again, it helps to have an outing to look forward to.
Try something new or re-connect with an activity (or people for that matter) you used to love or spend time with before you went into training obsession overdrive.
Organize your summer paddle gear so it’s ready to go when the weather turns warm again. Go over your paddles, boards, leashes, tie-down straps, etc. and look for damage or things that should be repaired or replaced. Make a plan for getting that done in the off-season.
Immerse yourself in water-related media. Watch some surf and/or sup movies – some of my favorites include Step into Liquid and Chris Aguilar’s Destination 3 Degrees featuring Jenny Kalmbach and Morgan Hoesterey. Better yet, get your paddle ohana together for a movie night.
Read something kind of paddle-related like Susan Casey’s The Wave or Daniel James Brown’s The Boys in the Boat or maybe grab a local guidebook for your home state or a neighbor state and scout out new places to paddle.
Above all else, just take care of and be good to yourself. Have fun. Relax. Recharge. You earned it.
Got any good self-care suggestions? Share them in the comments!