Sunday, August 06, 2006

I feel more like I do now
than I did before!

Thursday saw 90+ degree temperatures, and it was the day I spent working on my forward stroke. Gary Simon was good enough to come down to the river and coach me. I spent a total of an hour out there and a good part of that pushing hard in the heat. That night, I could tell I had over done it.


Friday, I spent 4 hours working with Nydia on rescues and sculling. A good part of that was spent with me in waist-deep water lifting her into position. There was, also, the pleasant paddle out and back to Lake Lulu from the DNR launch site. I was tired that night, and my muscles (upper body) told me I was over doing it again.

Yesteday, Saturday, I had the opportunity to assist JB in an open water class on Lake Michigan. I woke feeling a bit tired and sore from the previous week's doings I had been on the water every day for a week), but I wasn't about to miss the chance to learn more from my mentor.
The first part of the day was on shore going over all the aspects of navigation. John was in top form...considering he was a navy man. Then, around 11 am. we launched and headed south along the shore for a 3-4 mile paddle. We were headed to a beach where we would have lunch.
It wasn't long before one of the paddlers, a young gal, was lagging far behind. Being in the sweep position, I just glided along behind her to be sure she was okay. I gave her a few suggestions on her forward stroke, but it became evident that she wasn't all in the game. I asked, and she told me she had just gotten over the flu and was feeling weak.

Understandable, she had post-viral syndrome, a feeling of fatigue and weakness that can last weeks. I hooked on a short tow, took her to within a few hundred yards of the others and let her paddle into the beach. No one had noticed she had taken a tow.

After lunch, we headed for an off shore buoy, and she began falling behind. Shortly afterward, her husband paddled over to me and said they were going to go back to our launch site and that she couldn't do any more. I told JB I was escorting them back (we never let students go off alone. We are responsible for them until they leave the water. Besides, it is what any kayaker would do for another. I am now on the verge of digressing). So, we paddled away from the others before I hooked up again and began a 2-3 mile tow.

I was already tired and a bit sore and knew I had to hold good form (Do I not always?). Gary's words ran across my mind like a ticker tape over Times Square, and I went into the rhythmn. I paddled from my core with excellent rotation, pushing from the shoulder, lifting the paddle while continuing to rotate, burying the blade fully and, then, rotating and pulling the blade. We achieved amazing speed as we made it to shore.

She offered thanks and began to apologize for having to beg off early. I told her that she had demonstrated something for the (mostly men) paddlers by knowing her limits and, most of all, taking care of herself.
With the couple safely ashore, I headed back to the class not really feeling any the worse for the tow and delighted that, at my age, I was able to do what I was doing. The Big Guy then reminded me of my limitations by having me blow His hand over rescue. I did, however, get another great learning piece from Sue who did demonstrate it with skill.

It is sunday AM, and I was afraid I would go out paddling...against my better judgment. I would like to brag that I know how to take care of myself, and I do. However, a bolt of lightening just struck within a fraction of a mile of where I am sitting, making the decision for me.

Paddling safe...


Greg Fojtik said...

A 2-3 mile tow? There seems to be a bit of that going around. Maybe we could form a club. And of course the mantra -- "Shut up and keep paddling." Good thing you don't smoke cigarettes. You are as trustworthy and reliable a paddling partner as I've met.

derrick said...

Yeah, I just heard a long tow story myself. Lots of people getting practice!!

Silbs said...

So, we're all in (wait for it) the same boat

JohnB said...

How can I not chime in???

It (yesterday) was a great day on a Great Lake!!! Great class! The first open water class that we've done (Rutabaga) that actually was full.

Without your assistance Silbs, the class would have not gotten to paddle on open water and deal with some of the hazards of tugs and barges, and speeeding motor boats that don't (won't/pretend to not) see sea kayakers.

More about the day forth coming in my weekly (not weakly) blog posting.