After such a great paddle season last year I am getting ready to start this years race season soon. Within the next week I will start getting back in the water putting miles on my boards. The first race of the season will be the end of April like last year but I have set some goals to race by. I am going to have a stronger season and focus on all my weaknesses from last year. After some physical therapy over the winter to straighten some things out I had the opportunity to view some video footage of my paddling technique with my therapist. We were able to critique what we saw so that I will be able to get a more effective paddle stoke.
If you combine what I learned about my technique with a structured training plan, recovery exercises and a healthy diet 2014 should be a good season. Hopefully we will see some time disappear off the race clocks and some speed on the water. Mix that with my love of the ocean and you have one great year to look forward to
I have had this tab open in my browser for the past couple of days. It seems only fitting that I should share it here today along with three other videos all showcasing the National Parks.
As the government is on a forced "vacation" the national parks are closed. With people having their well planned vacations shot down, weekly hikes cancelled and general outdoor activities cancelled within the lands saved for people to enjoy. Why? They are staffed by government people. Park Rangers are national, just like Congress, the main difference is that the politicians will still be fine with their hefty paychecks while the Rangers, who make alot less than their suit wearing counterparts, are left to hang. They took those jobs to allow people to enjoy the wild lands saved for future generations and protect the land and the people from danger.
So while the United States government throws a temper-tantrum it is everyone else who suffers. So let us look at four films that will make you want to hope that barrier and enjoy the wild. Am I saying to break the law, no, am I saying that Mother Nature does not make gates? Your decision.
I was scrolling through the good ol' Book of Face when I came across a post that had me chuckle to myself.
Of course I was alone in the house, but both dogs gave me a look of "Keep it down." I don't know what made me laugh, the thought of being sad after finishing a big race seemed weird to me. Shouldn't you be happy that you accomplished something, that you finished, etc.
I made a decision in February to prone paddle the Blackburn Challenge. I started the sport in February, and trained hard for 5 months. I changed my life to make this race happen. I finished the 22 miles in 5 hours and 23 minutes. More importantly I raised of three grand for the John Wayne Cancer Foundation.
After the race I got back to work, flew out to Salt Lake City. While there I met up with the John Wayne Crew and left a gift to them. It was a shirt from the race. Every set of initials that were on my board written on it. There were over seventy sets. We talked about what was next and what the foundation was doing going forward.
When I left the booth I was done for the season. Not bad for a first race season. Not bad at all. After the meeting though I was back at work.
When this article appeared on my News Feed I shrugged it at first. Then as I was waiting for flight to New Orleans I had the time to read it. It sunk in. What do I do until next year besides plan. Final decision...Spoiler Alert... Something else. I will still paddle, I love it! I will also paint, climb, spend more time with the dogs in the back yard! I will rest until next season's training starts. Then I will train hard, I will paddle fast and as always enjoy my time.
When I started paddling I used Molokai winner Jordan Mercer as inspiration. (She won again this year!) Then as I was preparing for the Blackburn I was watching some race footage from previous Molokai 2 Oahu races, and who graces the screen but none other that Ms. Mercer. And she mentioned something that stuck with me until race day.
"Controlling yourself mentally because staying positive is such a crucial element of this race, that's what's going to get you across the finish line. Of course hard work and the physical is a massive component but I'm telling you, you have to be positive in the head there."
I kept a positive outlook on the race and it worked in my favor. I always had another quote that my paddleboard shaper Patrick from Banh Pho said " Just don't get on the boat." He told me that a couple days before hopping a plane and heading out to complete the Molokai race himself. That stuck too.
I never understood the mental game until now having never raced. Now I see that it can greatly affect your outcome. And some ways to control that graced my New Feed just moment ago from Outside Magazine. I won't be laying on any couch anytime soon, mostly because the dogs have taken it over. But I think I am good in the head.
Now let's enjoy some down time. . . Until next race season!!!
The past couple of months has been a huge journey getting to this point. From deciding to start prone paddleboarding, registering to do the Blackburn Challenge and doing it as a fundraiser for the John Wayne Cancer Foundation these past months have been intense to day the least. With less than 48 hours until the race starts I wanted to thank everyone who has made this journey possible. Your support and encouragement means more than you may realize. I took a leap of faith and you have all made sure that I landed softly.
To start off I would like to thank Patrick Broemmel of Banh Pho Surfboards and Crispy Noodle, without him this race would not be possible. He took a chance with me by designing and donating a paddleboard for me to race on. He knew that I was extremely new to the sport, that I had never raced or done long distances. He believed from the start that this was possible and has been supportive and encouraging from day one.
Next I would like to shout out to the local surf community, the surfers, SUP'ers and other paddleboarders. They have answered emails about boards and fins. The staff at Cinnamon Rainbows for helping me get the right gear for that spring season that was not quite warm yet not cold enough for a full wetsuit, and all the other bits needed. From the early stages contemplating building an old 30's style board to race, and having my friend Mike say, "You might want to buy something a little more modern, and worry about building something later."
To my good friend Will who nudged me in the right direction when race season started.
To my co-worker and friend Angela who introduced me to the JWCC, that first idea of what to come.
Jenny from Onshore Designs for the warm hoodie and comfy t's for after long paddles with ice on the river.
Brian and Caroline, the greatest support boat a guy could ask for. Fast switches and great photos! Thanks guys you were the best.
Next I would like to thank my family for not thinking I had lost my mind when I came up with this idea. My parents who were confident that I could do this from the start. To my wife Amy, who made sure that I ate right, got out on the water and stayed to my training schedule, knowing how important this was to me. And of course I would like to remember my Nana and Pops, whose visor I will wear for the race since he never got to. As my mom said, "They will be the wind at my back."
And last but not least I would like to thank everyone who donated to this fundraiser. Knowing that you believed in my enough to donate means alot to me.
It has been over a month since I have written a post. Life in New England and other parts of the country have been real busy. Work has sent me to two of the other corners of the country and the time spent there was great! And not all good things have to come to an end.
Over the next three weeks all of my free time will be spent on my upcoming endeavor. Training, eating right, hydration, understanding the course and of course rest. As I have read from multiple sources that over training is bad and extra rest is good. So I have spent the time to create the optimum schedule for the Blackburn. And I have been sticking to it like glue.
As far as the fundraising goes extra help is going to be key. Pass this on to everyone you know. Spread the word. Everyone who makes a donation can put initials on the board I will be paddling on race day, which is on its way up here as we speak.
Check back to see some cool things before race day!
See you on the water.
Run of the Charles Photo: Igor Belakovskiy
There is a strange look that runs across a person's face when you tell them you paddleboard and then explain that you prone paddleboard. When I showed up at the start line of the Run of the Charles. Everyone is grabbing their canoes, PFDs and kayaks hoping to get in the water and get started. SUP racers are getting their race boards and carbon paddles set up. When I paddled over to the start line prone people started to wonder if I would finish. If I was an idiot, crazy or whatever.
Then the race started, I pushed hard to get ahead of the main group, the idea of getting a canoe or kayak paddle to the head or arm. This let the group spread out, I wasn't expecting to lead the pack. I just wanted to finish. The day went great.
After a little while my buddy, Will Rich, who was paddling the 19-mile course, caught up to me. After a quick chat he powered on into the distance. Right before the first portage I met former prone paddler turned SUP, Mike. Then I was back on my own. All I was thinking was that me being tired was not an option. I remember why I started the quest of prone paddling. Two hours and twelve minutes later I finished the 9 miles. I was exhausted but ecstatic that I finished. Double that and I have the Blackburn. I was one step closer.
Essex River Race Photo: Abby Rydbeck
As I said before people look at you weird when you paddle prone, except for other prone paddlers. Eric, the guy on the yellow board, is another prone paddler. A fast one at that. I met him just before the Essex River Race. He is the first prone paddler I have met, especially when he hasn't switched the SUP. I great guy and hopefully a future training partner, as he pulled ahead of me, and came in 10-minutes ahead of me. This race although only 5 miles was a different game than the Run of the Charles. This race kicked my ass, 5 miles 1:39;44. Not the best time. I was not prepared. I have worked a long week, I was under trained and not ready. My own fault and it will never happen again. Wind, current and my own weakness. I was over confident, I have done 5 miles in an hour training, not with that current and that wind.
This race was a great reality check. I will paddle the course again, I will try and beat my time. I will paddle smarter and be ready. I wish I could say that learning something new you are going to have your set-backs, but that is not an excuse.
I will paddle the 20+ miles of the Blackburn Challenge. I have to paddle the Blackburn Challenge. It is no longer an option...
I have raised over 1400$ already for the JWCF. I still have more to go.
It is what I have to do.
As the weather warms up it is getting easier to hit the water. The floating ice has melted leaving glassy surfaces until the wind blows. The birds are back in the trees singing a natural soundtrack to paddle to.
When asking about what I am doing the general reaction is "Wow that is great!" So it is pretty easy to stay motivated to accomplish my goal. There are things out of the ordinary that always seem to catch me by surprise. Inspiration comes in many forms and when caught off guard by it the payout is huge.
One huge surprise came in the form of a friend cutting her hair. I have known Katie for only a couple years and always make sure to connect when we are out traveling as we work in the same industry.
I was sitting at my computer and came across the photos below. What!? Katie who had beautiful long hair cut it all off? She did, 20 inches, gone... And she donated it all to Locks for Love! Yeah! She helped out someone whose life will be more comfortable with her help. Yes she rocks the short hair. Was caught off guard and my inspiration level has risen to 15... Turned it up!
As if that wasn't enough I had a crazy idea one Thursday morning to email paddleboard world champion Jordan Mercer. Jordan is an IronWoman, Australian Life Saver and world paddleboard racing champion. I came across her recently in a Surfer Magazine article. Seeing her accomplishments motivated me to up my game. She has won the Molokai race a couple of times, current reigning champ of the ISA, etc.
Why would a 30 year old super- rookie paddler take her as a motivating person? I mean I am over 10 years older than here. The reason is because she is the best and she is a real person. The other reason is because she actually responded to my email with encouraging words. It is not every day you write to a big name and get a response. I'll take it.
And with the sun shining I will use it on the water this weekend and turn it into miles.
And for even more inspiration watch the video from the John Wayne Cancer Foundation.
Double the juice double the miles.
Last week was a busy week on the training front. With a new workout underway and snow it got a little crazy. Had the great opportunity to get a weekend of paddling in. Always fun disturbing Canadian geese, swans on the other hand, they are mean. Just saying. With the mindset to push on a paddle even when the rivers freeze over is rewarding enough.
While taking a water break paddling Saturday I heard an awful crunching coming from the train bridge next to me. Expecting to see either the train come and blow by or the bridge come falling down into the river, I then saw a piece of snow/ice push through the supports under the bridge. Had to at least be the size of a small car!
And that is just a small part of last week. I also had a meeting with Patrick Broemmel from Banh Pho Surfboards and Crispy Noodle. He has volunteered his time and energy to shape a board for me to use during the race!
Patrick has been at the forefront of the Stand Up Paddle scene on the East Coast for years. Check out an article on him here. To have him on board for this project is amazing. While we were talking we came up with a great "paint scheme" for this board...
To everyone who donates to the project we will write the names of those they lost to cancer, are fighting it now or have survived cancer.
Those people are the reason I am paddling this challenge. They are my inspiration. I want them to be with me the entire way.
If you would like to donate you can do so here.
Thanks for reading.
The surface is like glass gliding inches above the water. Osprey fly overhead as geese migrate north. Stroking through the marsh the only obstacle seen are floating pieces of ice. Some small enough to fill a glass, some larger than a refrigerator.
The air and water are the same temperature with the sun poking through the clouds. No boats are out, no stand up paddlers just me.
This is the perfect time to be training. It is an awkward thing to say training. I have not competed for over a decade. All activities I do are done out of the desire to do that activity.
This paddle is not out of the desire to paddle twenty miles. This paddle is about the desire to help make someone's life better.
With each stroke I take, every dip of the fingers I think of those I know that have been affected by cancer.
I paddle faster.
Then I think of those who I do not know.
I paddle harder.
I also think of those who will be affected in the years to come.
I dig deeper and push harder.
This paddle isn't about what I am doing, it is about who I can support as they show their grit against cancer.
For more info check out here. Or make a donation at: