April Zilg: Race Day Diary

6:00am Wake up to an alarm set for 4 hours before the race. Open only one eye enough to see the “dismiss” button on the alarm. Press “dismiss” and feel around for food on bedside table. Eat as quietly as possible so as to not irritate bed- or room-mates. Easier said than done. Sleep for another hour.

7:00am Wake up to the second alarm. Resist urge to hit “dismiss.” Roll out of bed, pee for the first time, and don race day apparel. Compression gear on, pack additional layers and bikini to account for changes in the weather. Realize clothes are on backwards; the virus “X” does not do anything for my bust. Try again.

7:15am Make and eat second breakfast. Eggs for protein, bagel for carbs, some cream cheese for flavor. Grapefruit juice for additional carbs and calories. Coffee for some caffeine. I also want to eat a mango. Done. Just realized I somehow ate part of the sticker on the outside of the mango. That one is really bothering me… it was on the outside, I was eating the inside…

7:45am Pack everything needed that hasn’t already been packed. Pre-hydration, race-hydration, post-hydration and recovery drinks. Grab bananas for my pre-race snack, some pineapple for my post-race snack. I’m deciding to fold up my long sleeves and stuff food into the cuff. My wrists look like hamster cheeks; I hope this works. A little late to be playing with how to obtain nutrition on the race course. Pee again. Lightly rehydrate.

8:00am Yoga. Do some stretching and deep breathing. Relax and meditate. Visualize the race. Pee again.

8:30am Leave for the race. Wave at EVERYONE with a stand up paddleboard on his or her car. Eat a small snack in the car and lightly rehydrate.

9:00am Arrive at race venue. Battle for parking, lose battle, unload gear as close as humanly possible and find a parking space within a mile. Leave something in the car and walk the mile back to fetch it. Run back because I need to pee.

9:30am Oogle boards, paddles, gear, etc. Catch up with EVERYONE I’ve ever met at any race, any where. Form a group of girls that all go pee. Take ridiculous pictures, maybe have a dance party for Katie. Eat another small snack. Continue light hydration.

9:45am Racer’s meeting. Begin eating pre-race snack and hydration mix. Do the “pee dance” throughout the entire meeting, realize it is just nerves and I don’t really have to pee AGAIN. Stand up front, listen closely to all the rules and tips on the course. Don’t miss anything. Make funny faces when photographers are snapping shots, and photobomb everything within range. Pay attention some more.

9:55am Do final stretching, ensure clothing, hydration, and leash are tight and comfortable. Grab paddle and board and proceed to race start. Line up on the start line. Gawk and awe about the pros I’m lining up next to.

10:00am Pros come line up next to ME!! SO STOKED! I’m local and know the water, maybe this is an honor, or maybe they were just looking for the slowest person…

10:01am The horn blows and the race begins. I glide off the start line right next to some FAST ladies, I’m feeling good. My nerves get the best of me and I falter in the surf. I curse my shaky legs and try to paddle hard. I lose ground quickly to the top competitors, but I don’t give out. Just try to keep them in sight.

10:15am Around the jetty, local PLUS! I hug the rocks tight and make a huge advance on a few ladies and some fellas.

10:20am-12:20pm Wind. Tide. F%*&. S#!*. All four-letter words. ‘Nuff said.

12:30pm I sense some women gaining on me. Too late, they’re here. A friend says, “Why are you paddling out in the current?” I say, “Dunno, here I come back over there.” Girls start drafting me. I draft them for a while.

12:40pm I leave the draft train and cut hard right through a shallow section of shoals, I make it out only to realize the side chop and swell are in a most miserable orientation and the last three miles will be hell. I let myself shed a few tears, realize that makes it hard to breathe, stop my crying, and dig deep.

1:00pm Three hours? Really? Anyway, there is the finish line. I fall in after the buoy turn because I can’t feel anything anymore. My hands are cramped into the paddle holding position. Sprint across finish and vow to not do that again… Until the next race! 😉

What is your next race?

The first rule of race day is NOT TO WAKE UP YOUR ROOMMATES

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