Friday, September 05, 2008

Paddling for Fitness
(NOT me)
I was a marathon runner before suffering nerve damage to my left leg. I still miss running and still think it is the ideal sport and exercise. It requires virtually no equipment, other than shoes, and can be done anywhere, anytime and in any weather. Go out the door, and you're off. After a few miles, my mind would slip into a blissful state, and I would put in at least an hour at 8minute/mile pace. I would get in a groove, get exercise, control my weight and feel good. Then it was lost to me as an option, and I eventually found paddling.
Like running, paddling gets me out in all kinds of weather. To be sure, it offers moments of pure joy as I brace into a wave or hit a roll but, when it comes to exercise, it just hasn't done it for me. I used to run "for ever" and I've been known to sit motionless in meditation for a period of time. but I just cannot get into the groove of a really long paddle.

I do know that to do so I need to paddle alone. Nothing upsets my inner Buddha more than having to constantly adjust to the pace of others...which is usually faster than mine (I paddle a 16 foot Romany and am a fragile old fart). Yet, even alone, I just have not been able to find that good place for a long paddle.

A few weeks ago I began trying out other people's paddles. They were, generally, higher angle ones and the blades had larger surface areas. Even though I did not use them in a pure high angle attitude, I did have a different sense of grabbing the water, a sense I do not get with my present blade (Camano). Could it be that using a "heftier" blade might give me that sense of work that is part of the long distance exercise experience? I don't know yet, but it is what I will try next. If you have a solution for me, please don't keep it to yourself.

Paddle safe...


Dawn (aka SandyBottom) said...

Higher angle, bigger blade, and longer distance seem a contradiction to me, watch your shoulders. I switched to a Greenland when I started distance. Solo is the only way to do real distance. It wasn't until I started paddling with music, having my IPOD in one ear, that I come close to feeling that joy and freedom that I felt with running.

Ron said...

A GP paddle gives me distance, and it is easy on my 52 yr old body. It's not fast ... but I can keep a nice steady pace at about 60 strokes per minute.

Silbs said...

I do go to the Greenland "stick" now and then and should really use it more. But, Ron, be careful about using the word stroke around guys my age :)