Steve Dullack, an active duty Coast Guard officer in Virginia Beach, competed in the ChattaJack in 2014, and was utterly blown away by the experience. Now, he’s coming back again this year and has his sights set on an even better finish than the 3rd place he snagged in the 14′ SUP Division last year.
Here, we sat down with Steve to discuss why he thinks the ChattaJack is such a special event.
This isn’t your first time in Chattanooga. Can you tell us what makes racing here so appealing?
ChattaJack is a vey special race to me. Racing in the Tennessee River Gorge in the fall is beautiful. And I love Chattanooga; it is a beautiful town with so much to do. I like to go to Lookout Mountain and definitely at least one trip to Aretha Frankensteins for pancakes. This year I’m coming to Chatanooga 4 days before the race to chill out and enjoy the city.
Can you tell us how the weeks leading into the event will be for you in terms of your training?
Preparations for the race start long before the race itself. I just received my October training schedule from my coach, Mick DeBetta of Paddle Power Training. He has my taper starting about 10 days before the race. I still have workouts and the intensity is there, but the durations of the training sessions get shorter and shorter as the race approaches, so my body can fully heal and I can be fresh on race day. I hate tapering, most athletes do…but it is totally necessary.
What do your pre-race rituals look like?
I don’t have too many pre-race rituals except when it comes to my nutrition. I get all my gear ready the night before so I am not spazzing around in the morning. I make my way to the venue and start getting my head into it.
What do you do in the morning before the race?
I eat a lot of carbs in the 36 hours leading up to a race to fully top off my glycogen stores. The morning of the race I get up 3 hours before the race to get my nutrition in. As soon as I wake up I have a cup of coffee. Then I am trying to get at least 1,000 calories of easily digested, carb heavy food into me. Usually that is one or two bowls of oatmeal with chia and honey, an avocado, a banana or two, and maybe a peanut butter cliff bar. Everything I eat is something I tried before a race before. I NEVER do ANYTHING new on race day.
What does your post-race ritual look like?
After the race, I like ice water, lots of it. And I will also have and Interphase recovery shake from CarboPRO. It takes me a few hours before I am ready to eat but it usually hits me all at once. I like to have a good clean post race meal, something with lots of protein, greens, and grains. After a big event like the Chattajack I always get dessert as my own reward, and it is always ice cream…like a bowl the size of my head. Then I’ll walk around some and enjoy the city at night.