This past Saturday, May 4th was this year’s Stand Up for the Cure at Newport’s Back Bay.  Their vision is to become SUP’s version of Race for the Cure…They have a ways to go, but put on what was, overall, a great event.  Approximately 650 Paddlers showed up decked out in all shades of pink, some in crazy costumes.  There was a good showing of elite racers, junior pros, average joes and complete beginners.

The only negative about the event was a moderately confusing schedule (done in Microsoft excel) and poorly worded registration.  It wasn’t completely clear based on what I registered for (Adult Fun Event) what time I would start (Elite Race at 9:45, Pink Fleet and Intermediate Races were shown as sometime between 10:00 and 11:00).  Once on-site the event organizer cleared things up, but as someone who likes to know the plan and be prepared for events it made for a bit of a tense morning (especially because we got a late start after a forgotten bag at home).
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I did the 5k paddle.  Audrey and Andy came to watch.  The beach event had a fantastic exhibition area which included free melanoma and breast cancer screening.  Additionally vendors of SUP clothing, products, outdoor gear and health food livened things up while spectators waited for the paddlers.  There was also a super cool silent Auction with opportunities to score sweet gear from the sponsors.
Overall, this is the perfect event if you are new to SUPing or SUP racing.  There was definite competition among the pro and intermediate riders, but there was also a very laid back feel to the event which allowed riders to turn around at any point on the course.  The flat water is perfect for those new to SUP or those who may not be super adventurous. Make sure to keep an eye out for next year’s event, or Check out their Facebook page, Standup for the Cure
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If you have read my previous posts, you most likely already know that I am a mother of a [beautiful] three year-old daughter, Audrey, and my second child is a 100-pound black lab, Turner. If you are just tuning in, welcome, you will be reading about my family and an outdoor lifestyle frequently. I have always been naturally drawn to the outdoors and only hope to instill that same affection in my daughter.

Recently, my husband and I decided that it was time for me to quit the 9-5 and become a stay-at-home mom. This was terrifying to me; don’t get me wrong, I adore my child and am grateful to have the opportunity to spend more time with her, but the “stay- at- home” phrase terrified me. How do you teach, encourage, engage, and entertain a three year-old, all day every day? I have found my answer to be creativity and Mother Nature.

We’re still working on a routine, but our typical day includes a trip to the gym (some social interaction for Audrey at day care, and some mommy time for me!), a long walk with the dog, and playtime at the park.  We check out different flowers, leaves, and bugs on our walks and talk about our surroundings (she actually walks or rides a bike the entire time, she doesn’t even ride in the stroller if it is presented as an option).

I have decided to take a bit further and combine educational activities with movement and exercise. On the weekends, my husband and I love to take Audrey to discover new parks or beaches. We also love to stand up paddleboard (SUP). Currently, our favorite family friendly beach location is Doheny State Park, Baby beach. It’s calm water, easy for the kiddo to play in and we can SUP in the small bay with Audrey on the board (PFD and wet suit always on) OR we trade off staying on the beach with Audrey while the other SUPs the harbor loop. How does this apply to education for Audrey? Well, Audrey loves to sit on the board out in the water and discuss all kinds of life that lives in the water. We talk about how the sand feels between her toes, and count the seashells we find on the beach (or rocks, same objective). How much more fun is it to learn counting by lining up seashells on the beach than sitting inside working on an activity sheet?

I’m not a certified educator, but I am a mom trying to live a healthy lifestyle and raise a healthy, confident child. We love being outside, and if I have said it once, I’ll say it again, SoCal’s temperate climate is perfect for outdoor activities! I plan on taking Audrey out on bike rides, pulling her in the trailer, and stopping to discover new parks; discussing how honeybees are beneficial towards making beautiful flowers and delicious honey or learning her ABC’s and spelling by using street signs as well as the plants, trees, and animals surrounding us.

One of my favorite activities is when the whole family walks to the soccer fields near our house and we run sprints together. I’m sure there is a learning opportunity for counting, spelling, science, or even art, but I absolutely LOVE spending the quality time with my family. We probably look like crazy people; our sprints turn into a game of tag or “AHHH! MONSTERS” and tag turns into passing out on the grass, but I love it.

No, with kiddos tagging along your outdoor time may not always include training for a marathon (mine hates the stroller). Overall, adjust your expectations for excise and focus on the activities outside. Ultimately we’re all trying to live a healthier life, the only way to teach a new generation those values is to lead by example.  Think outside the box and you will find it’s easy to lead a healthy, active lifestyle, while enjoying what matters most: being with those you love.

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About a week ago we posted about Paddle for the Cure.  As we’re only a few weeks out, it is time to start some specific training on and off the water to be ready for the event.  Paddle for the Cure isn’t a race, but if you want to complete the long paddle (4 miles) it is probably a good idea to put in time out on the board as well as in the gym.  Those workouts will focus on overall fitness as well as injury prevention (the most common injury for new paddlers is rotator cuff injury).

 
Pre-habbing for Shoulders
 
Shoulder mobility and stability is essential for paddling efficiency and injury prevention.  As we age, shoulder mobility tends to decrease.  In order to counter act this try the following exercises:
 
1. Lie on your back, clasp your hands behind your head and touch your shoulders to the ground.
2. Lie on your back  and place a lacrosse ball underneath you and roll the ball between the C-5 and T-2 vertebrae.  (Right side for right arm, left side for left arm).  Move your arm in a swimming motion, find the sore spots (this may be painful given your overall flexibility).  As an alternative, place the lacrosse ball between you and the wall and do the same.
3.  PVC bar pass over.  Grab a PVC bar (or broomstick), place your hands in a snatch grip (hold the bar with arms straight, making a “v” shape over-head so the bar is approximately 3 inches overhead).  Move the bar from waist level in front of you, slowly overhead and behind until it touches your lower back.  Keep thumb and fore-finger in the same position on the bar.  This is also known as “shoulder-dislocates” and you have probably seen baseball players do this during batting practice.  The key is to keep your chest puffed up and don’t hunch your shoulders.
 
On-board Fitness

Workout 1

 
Paddle 20 mins, for distance:
Every minute on the minute, perform one of the following in rotation:

  •  20 pushups
  •  20 over head squats (use paddle as bar)
  •  20 “flutterkicks” (lie on your back, hold paddle over head, a few inches above the board)
  •  ”Warrior pose” for 1 minute
 
Workout 2
 
Paddle for 1 hour at a conversational pace.  Every 5 minutes do 30 seconds of short-quick pulls with the paddle or long-hard pulls with the paddle.  On short pulls, the paddle should enter the water approximately 2 feet in front of you and you should remain relatively upright.  On long pulls, the paddle should enter the water 4 feet in front of you and you should bend significantly at e waist to power through.
 
See this video for paddling technique basics http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mHGHEtcJI0A&feature=related
Gym Fitness
Paddling is a full body workout.  It requires the paddler to use strength while maintaining balance. The best strength training for paddling are exercises and groups of exercises which require active stabilization (not curls kneeling on a boss ball) and incorporate compound muscle movements.  Barbell complexes, kettlebells and Olympic lifts are fantastic.  Get ready to get super-fit (don’t worry women, this doesn’t mean bulky).
Workout 1 – Barbell Complex
Do the following exercises grouped together without setting the bar down between exercises:
  • Straight-leg dead lift
  • Hang power clean
  • Overhead press
  • Overhead squat
  • Back squat
  • Barbell good morning
  • (Bring bar back down I front of you)
  • Bent over row
The overhead press will likely be the limiting lift weight wise.  So choose. Weight at you can do 8 repetitions with (for me it is 50 lbs, for my husband it is 135 lbs).  You can do this 3-4 times per week.  I recommend switching between 3 sets of 5 repetitions and 3 sets of 8 repetitions (using lighter weights for the 8 repetition workouts).
Workout 2 – Kettlebells
Do 50 repetitions total of each of the following (you can break up the repetitions anyway that is necessary).
  • 1 arm swing
  • 1 arm snatch
  • 1 arm clean
  • 1 arm press
  • Goblet squat
There are a number of great videos on you tube demonstrating these exercises.  Try googling Pavel or Dan John on kettlebell and barbell complex technique.
See you on the water!
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We have had some gloomy days this past week here in SoCal, which honestly makes me want to curl up with a warm cup of tea and a good book on the couch. Reality check… I have a three-year-old daughter and a 100-pound lab that make that vision nearly impossible. But it’s alright, being a Colorado native, I grew up knowing and loving most of mother nature’s elements (wind would be the exception). I am grateful to live in a temperate climate to enjoy almost year round outdoor activities; rain definitely won’t keep my family inside!

Remember jumping in puddles? Why does that just have to be a memory? My daughter and I grab our rain boots and jackets and take the dog on a puddle hunt. Yes, we all need a warm bath/shower afterwards, but it’s totally worth it when we’re breathless running from puddle to puddle. Trust me, when it comes to running, I need as much motivation and distraction as possible. If there isn’t a margarita on the line this time, at least I enjoyed some quality kid time with a decent running work out!

Grab your mountain bike when there is a break in the light drizzle that fell earlier in the day and enjoy the tackiness of the dirt. When the rain is light, the dirt gets slightly tacky, which helps improve your lines; it’s honestly my favorite way to ride. If the rain picks up into more than a drizzle, stay off the trails though. Once the dirt turns into mud, all your accomplishing is rutting out trail and creating erosion to the surrounding greenery.  That just leaves a headache for following riders once the ground dry’s out and can result in closing access to Mountain Bikers if the trails sustain damage.

Paddle out and enjoy yoga on a SUP board. What’s more relaxing than being on calm water, listening to rain, and performing yoga? Granted you need to acquire SUP skills and yoga skills to actually make this relaxing, but honestly, just being on the water and sitting on the board is relaxing and will help you clear your head!

Go for a hike. You won’t believe how fresh your surroundings smell and your senses will be invigorated. Find a good spot that gives you an amazing view at the top.

So, stay off the couch and get moving, because there is plenty to do outside when it’s raining! Just make sure you have the appropriate clothing to stay [mostly] dry.

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Before my daughter was born, and when she was younger (a little bump on a log) my husband and I enjoyed getting out to paddle board at Baby Beach in Dana Point.  We had one board and took turns paddling or hanging out on a blanket in the grass with our daughter.  Since Audrey turned three we haven’t gone out as often due to the logistics of taking turns and hanging with the kiddo.  I think we have a solution now.  Last week my husband bought me a new paddle board for the 10th Anniversary of our first date!  Now he can put Audrey on his board and we can all paddle together as a family.  We are going to get Audrey a toddler wetsuit and canoe seat pad to sit on (with a PFD on – of course) and head out this weekend for our first paddle.  We are thinking that the back bay will be a perfect first paddle.  It’s isn’t too crowded, has close parking, clean restrooms and plenty of wildlife and boat viewing opportunities to keep Audrey entertained…it’s also close to home so it will be easy to bail out if things don’t go well.  This has me thinking about SUP events for the year.

Standup for the Cure – May 5th

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This is a good event for beginner paddlers as it is all in the protected water of the Back Bay or Newport Harbor (which has a no-wake policy) so there should be few waves to deal with.  The cost is a pretty reasonable $35 and options are for a short paddle to a 6k paddle.

 

Rainbow Sandals Gerry Lopez, Battle of the Paddle- September 28th

 

This event isn’t until September 28th, and that’s a good thing.  It will take months of pretty serious training and open water paddling time to get ready for the amateur races offered here.  The 2012 races made the Guinness Book of World Records as the “largest ever SUP race” with over 400 participants in the Open race.

One option is a quick 4 mile loop at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, the other is an epic down and back to the San Clemente pier!  If you’re not racing, but are still in the mood to soak up some aloha vibes, join in on the annual world record attempt for most SUPs on one wave and enjoy the only time of year you can Stand-up paddle surf north of Thor’s Hammer at Doheny State Beach.  There are board demos, swag and plenty of vendors to enjoy while waiting for the paddlers to come in.

I am very excited to get out on the water more this summer.  While getting into SUP isn’t cheap, the family time on the water for virtually free (after the initial buy-in) is totally worth the investment.

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