Thursday, December 21, 2006

What a difference a day makes
with thanks to GaryLearning, at least skill learning for me, comes step-wise rather than gradually. I will work on a skill by visualizing it, doing it slowly and practicing it over and over. I often am frustrated when it doesn't work. Then, one day, it comes together and seems easy and obvious.
The day before yesterday, I was at Gary Simon's house discussing (as we usually do) the forward stroke. When I began kayaking I was told (and I tell my students...but I digress) that one learns the forward stroke in one day and then spends forever perfecting it. There is no greater devotee to the study of the forward stroke that I know than Gary. In any event, he was excited about having reached one of his Holy-Grail-steps by burying the blade quicly enough to meet his standards. He described what he was doing, showed me one of his DVDs (The Kayak Forward Stroke from and took me to his work out room in the basement where he has a Concept II rowing machine with the kayak paddling adaptor.
The next day (yesterday), I went onto Lake Michigan and (having reviewed the dvd at home) applied, one by one, the points I deemed essential to improving my stroke. That was when it came together and the magic happened. I began with being sure my arm was straight before planting the blade. I shortened my stroke and did not let my pulling arm bend past 90 degrees. I made sure that the top arm remained bent until it was time to lift the blade out. My body rotation, as always, was excellent. My little Romany took off and would not slow down. Even when I went to a relaxed cadence with a lower angle suitable for touring, the boat stayed at hull speed. For the first time I really felt myself pulling the boat through the water. Best of all, I felt, for the first time since starting kayaking, that I was in the same aerobic groove I knew as a long distance runner. Joy.
My next goal is to paddle in Carnigie Hall, so I must practice, practice, practice.
Paddle safe...


derrick said...

Very Cool!!! Congrats!

JohnB said...

You go you silver stallion you--Stallone has nothing over on you!!!