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SUP: Cramp-Free Paddle Boarding

At age 57, Leslie Maclin thrives on the nickname “Sno & Go!” With over 500 endurance events under her belt, the longtime athlete enjoys being competitive, often choosing herself as her biggest rival. Most of her time is spent on the clear waters of Lake Michigan, cross country skiing, running trails and stand-up paddleboarding. When asked what she is training for next, Leslie’s typical response is “…for LIFE!” When her ability to SUP was potentially compromised due to painful cramping, she turned to HOTSHOT and now she’s able to continue to go.

I started stand-up paddleboarding in 2010 and began racing in 2012. I average about 12 SUP events every season, usually racing every weekend during summer months. I started out in the short-course division, and my second year racing, I won that division for the Midwest Series. I then moved up to the long-course division, and my second year of that and podiumed with third in the division for the Midwest Series in 2015.

Training for SUP racing is similar to training for distance running events, in that you build up your mileage (i.e. “long paddles”), and you also practice race starts (some are water starts, some are beach starts), as well as buoy turns, etc.

A couple of years after falling in love with SUP, I had to give up another longtime love, Masters Swimming. I’d had foot and toe cramps for years, but began to get major muscle cramps in my calves, hamstrings and would try everything — drinking pickle juice to excessive consumption of electrolyte drinks, water, stretching, massage, and mustard to alleviate them.

As I increased my distances in training and racing for SUP, the muscle cramps began to resurface. I would carry water, energy drinks and gels while on the board, and move my feet around on the board. Not only did these methods not work, but also I would rather not have to focus on cramping while racing. I want to be able to pay attention to the race.

I’d heard about HOTSHOT and tested it out at the Brown’s Lake 6-mile SUP race in mid-July, and used several in the Wisconsin 15-mile river race on hot day in July, and wow! No cramps.  Now HOTSHOT is a part of my SUP routine. If I’m doing a long race or training session, I consume one shortly before I start to proactively prevent cramps, and always carry one with me for in-race/training use to treat at even a hint of cramps during multi-hour sessions. I also drink one shortly after events to help with recovery.

 

MORE ON THE HOTSHOT BLOG

5 Best Stretches for Swimmers:  Add these to your regimen. 

Carbs and Protein: 7 tips for proper intake for optimal fuel. 

HOTSHOT at SwimRun: Event director and triathlete Lars Finanger shares his personal experience with muscle cramping, and why he’s encouraging all athletes to carry HOTSHOT.