Team USA

Team USA
Sloan's Lake

28 February 2015

Don’t quit

Another week of working hard completed. This week with Kenmore-Cascade Canoe and Kayak club we went to the VA hospital and in conjunction with Team River Runner got some guys in sprint boats. That was a new experience for me and I had a good time.

Unfortunately I ended up catching a really bad cold. The benefit was that I got to enjoy a pleasant workout with the master’s ladies on Monday but ended up taking Wednesday off of training to let my body rest. When I returned to the water we mostly worked on technique. Later in the week I was happy that another Paracanoe paddler, Josh, came out for training with me and kept me working hard and pushing forward. The water conditions weren't the easiest but we got a beneficial workout in and it felt good.

Today did not feel so wonderful. Coach Dan has decided that Saturdays until Trials are sprint days and we are doing time trials in the early morning on the Green Lake race course to prepare ourselves better. When we arrived at Green Lake it was sunny and windy. The water had significant waves and occasional white caps. I watched as my able-bodied teammate navigated his way off the dock and I just gulped. My nerves were high. The water was rough and swimming seemed pretty much inevitable for me. I was uncertain if it was worth it. Dan gave me the option as I sat at the dock in my boat.  He wanted me to at least sit there and feel the boat move underneath me for a bit.

After a while the wind seemed to die down and I decided to give it a shot. Another Paracanoe athlete Vadim was there and I didn't want to let him or Dan down by not making an attempt. I pushed off, put the paddle in the water and headed down the side of the race course. I got turned around and lined up with Vadim and away we went, except I was going right, and further right, and more right… not straight and not fast. It was not a good effort at getting an accurate time.  

I circled around and headed out again, I wanted to have at least a semi straight line down the course. I worked on sitting up and relaxing thinking about the timing of my stroke as I paddled out. I paused to make the turn to go back to line up. Just as I was ALMOST fully turned around and back into the course, I tipped over. UGH! I righted my boated and waited for my motor boat rescue. My day was over. I was cold and wet but glad I didn't quit.  

19 February 2015

What Doesn't Kill You, Makes You Stronger

A long time ago while on the road at a ski race, a teammate had purple toes from very tight ski boots mixed with cold temperatures and I was appalled! He just looked at me and said, “Eh, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.” At the time, I thought it didn't exactly apply to the situation but reflected on his words. I have since repeated them, to myself and others, many times in many different situations because often times part of growing stronger does come with some pain.

The past couple weeks paddling at Kenmore-Cascade Canoe and Kayak club I have been getting stronger. I am getting better in the new boat and I have had some absolutely sensational days on the water! We were even fortunate enough for the sun to bless us with its presence for several days in a row!

Not so fortunately, I have also continued to fall out of the boat. Just when I think I’m figuring things out and doing better, SPLASH, back in the water I go. I get hauled out of the lake, climb back in the boat and continue with the workout. During this process I keep being reminded that everything that makes you go faster also makes you more unstable.

It seems just when I start to worry that I’m never going to figure it out, Mother Nature smiles at me and then the next workout goes better than any prior day. The other morning was no exception. After a true test of perseverance the previous day, I didn't even want to train. I made myself go anyway, and when I showed up the air temperature was whopping 38 degrees. I was so tentative because I just didn't think I had it in me to go swimming. That’s not a good way to train. Finally, I let go of my apprehension and relaxed, started putting more weight through the paddle, and worked on my reach. I am glad to report that I thankfully kept my boat upright and my body out of the water for the WHOLE workout! I needed that! Hard work really is rewarded! I will keep pushing, and I will get faster and stronger!

U.S. Team Trials race in Oklahoma City is just over 9 weeks away, and I plan to be fast enough to qualify for World Cup! 

02 February 2015

"Just keep swimming"

A friend of mine told me this recently because my training with Kenmore-Cascade Canoe and Kayak club has been challenging to say the least.  The Nelo ML has not been an easy transition for me. I've been in the water more times than I care to admit to. Plus, tipping over and swimming is not productive or good for confidence, but it is part of the learning curve. Rather than tell you what to do to stay upright, I can tell you what not to do: 1) Don’t get back in the boat after getting dragged out of the water and try to hurry too much, take your time and get in the boat properly 2) Whatever you do, don’t stop paddling!! The paddle is your best friend to keeping upright.   

Each day I have been going out with the goal of getting more comfortable in the boat. The positive is that I have improved in how far I’ve made it before swimming. The 47 degree water is mighty chilly, and a strong motivator to stay relaxed and do everything to avoid going in the drink. The past 3 workouts I thankfully haven’t swam at all! The negative is that my swimming fun times wore my body down and I got very sick and had to take several days off. It’s hard to sit around and try to feel better when my brain is constantly thinking about paddling, and the nice days on the water I was missing.  

Thankfully I was able to return to training today and I made it over 10km, without swimming! Hopefully confidence breeds confidence as I move on to interval workouts this week. If not, I’ll “just keep swimming” until I get it.