I did a SUP race this weekend. Wasn't crazy conditions, or far. But I haven't done done a paddle race in much too long and it really reminded me of the post paddle soreness and pains I have grown to love and hate. Here is a brief recap of some of my favorite pains over the years that I hope you can all empathize with. Not every race or long practice hurts. But some do. Some paddles are 6 hours on the water. Or non-stop intervals until its dark and you can't see. Some are fighting a headwind, jumping out of a chase boat 10 times or pushing yourself way more than you ever have as you are inspired by your teammates. Loading heavy boats, boards, and gear. Some of the paddles are sneaky-oooph....as in, "wow, I didn't think I would be this sore". Some, you know you are in for a long 24 hours of pain. Allow me this therapeutic walk-through. Make that limp-through!
- Sitting in the car ride home after a race or practice, where your body gets all used to the same position. Then its time to get out of the car and walk again. "ooooph"
- That night, realizing you are sunburned. I swore I put on sunscreen. "ooooph". The shower hurts. How is my scalp sunburned? Wow that water burns back there...don't look in the mirror at the chaffing. Nothing good ever comes from it.
- Bending over to pet the dog, flip over a shoe, open a bottom drawer, or who knows what. Lower back barks at you. "w-ooooph".
- Waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. Stumbling in the dark like your ankles and knees don't work. Stiff. Sore. You picture yourself like a groggy zombie that is just learning to walk. Somehow you manage to get to the bathroom. Now the dilemma...do I dare sit down knowing I may never rise again?
- Getting up off the toilet. Sometimes, admittedly, I contemplate just staying there all night, because getting up ain't happenin.
- Washing hands, realizing your hands hurt and are sore from cramping after gripping a paddle all day before.
- Drying hands, where did these mystery nicks from from? "ooooph"
- You start to walk back to bed, but bump into a wall on the way with our hip...found some bruises there....and some chaffing. Oh look, more bruises!
- You get to bed, all you want to do is collapse, but you know better! Too much risk of falling on something that hurts. So you gingerly get in on your good side, if you have one. You deliberately lift each leg up. You roll onto your back from your side but it almost feels like a fall. You are winded. You are paralyzed from fatigue and unable to shift.This will be your position for the remainder of the slumber. The mileage you paddled sinks into the mattress.
- Next morning, the alarm goes off. You reach for the snooze but your arm doesn't work right and you miss. Instead banging a blister into the corner of the dresser. "ooooph".
- Looking foggily in the direction of the clock, you open one eye. Then you close it! Open the other eye. Both eyes tell the same unwelcome story. Time to get up. "zzzzz-oooph".
- At this point muscle soreness has officially set in. You rise and contemplate what outfit to choose purely based on its ease of putting on, and what drawer or hanger its on....easiest to reach wins.
- You walk to breakfast table. Every step for the next 5 minutes is accompanied with a grunt, "ooooph", or whimper. Your mouth is doing its best to communicate out loud how you feel, and it sings out your creaky movements. You sit/half-fall into a chair. Again, you are stuck.
Eventually, your day gets better. The creaks of the joints and muscles de-stiffen. The chaffing has now stuck to your clothes and you know not to move too much in a direction that might separate the newly joined partners.
The post long-paddle or race pain is softened by checking Facebook for pictures of friends and reviewing the race results. You send a text message to a teammate or paddle buddy and share misery and relive the awesomeness.
You consume well earned 'cheat day meals'. Then you consume it again. Then...eventually, you forget the pain. The hunger for more paddling wells up in the belly. You look at your calendar, the tides and the wind charts and reach out to your friends and teammates to join you.
You head to the door, make sure you have your paddle, change of clothes towel and GU pack. And you go subject yourself to it all again. The "ooooph" is over. Time to paddle! After all...it is the cause, and the cure.
If you paddle, you get it.
p.s. Oh yea, lets not forget about the DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). But we will save that for another paddle article. After all, we are always excited to whine about our "ooooph" in the future.
Team Writer Clarke Graves - If there is water, he will paddle it (regardless of craft). Clarke is a surfer turned paddler who grew up in San Diego but has traveled every corner of California enjoying its beauty and appeal. He has had the privilege of racing SUP, OC6, OC2, OC1, Prone and can't wait to hop into a dragon boat and surf-ski for an extended length of time.
One of Clarke's goals is to paddle as much shoreline in California as he can, with as many paddling friends who are willing to join him. If you have an idea for Clarke to write about or any questions, send it our way and we will pass it along!