Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Seventh Day

I don't believe in the oft-repeated adage about training that “just showing up” is good enough. That might work for novice exercisers who need to build a habit of regular exercise, but, if you are serious about getting better at your sport, whether it is running, weight lifting, climbing, kayaking, or skiing, you gotta do more than “just show up.” Showing up is a good start, but once you are there, get after it – whatever it is - with focus and determination. Don't slack off, don't make excuses, don't waste time, focus on your best efforts and go all out until you are done, physically and mentally. Then, chill out and rest. Rest is as important as training. 

This is what I follow for five or six days out of the week. Three of those days I thrash myself in the gym lifting heavy, the other two or three days, I thrash myself on the bouldering wall (providing it's not wet). On the seventh day, like God, I rest. Usually by going for a longer hike or an easy kayak. 

Today was my “seventh” day. I hadn't walked up the Whitfield trail to Mount Lumley for almost two months (I had no idea it had been that long until I checked our handy trip database), so I cycled down to the trail head first thing and hiked up to the lookout on top. I doused myself liberally with repellent before hand as I thought the leeches might be bad after all the rain, but the guy who (voluntarily) maintains the trail had obviously been busy and the trail had apparently been manicured with nail scissors (at least it looked that way). 

Scouts Cap from Double Island

After breakfast (bacon and eggs for the 2,000th time in a row), Doug and I took the kayaks up to Palm Cove for an easy paddle out to Double and Haystack Islands. The winds were light from the north and it was hot in our dark coloured stinger suits so we dunked ourselves in the ocean before we began to paddle. With light winds, it was a good day to work on paddling without a rudder which means steering by tilting the kayak up on edge. I find this a very frustrating way to paddle when it is windy as our Prijon Marlin kayaks do not track well at all and it is hard to have a really efficient forward stroke with your boat tilted way over on its side – plus you get a horrible cramp in one side and a sore butt cheek on the other side. But, rudder cables do break so being able to paddle without a rudder is an essential skill.

We ambled out and around Scouts Cap (aka Haystack). The water was a bit murky after all the rain and wind recently, but we still saw a half dozen turtles and the water close into the shore-line was teeming with schools of small fish. It was calm enough to paddle just a metre off the rocky shoreline and to weave in and out among the boulder gardens. 

Doug, caught mid-roll

From Scouts Cap we wandered over to Double Island and paddled around to the beach on the western end where we did some eskimo roll practise. I was pretty happy to get seven out of ten rolls on the first shot. As usual, when done properly, the rolls were physically easy. In hindsight, the whole long process of (re)learning to eskimo roll has been really good as I now understand exactly how to roll the boat up and can identify where I am going wrong when I don't make it. I'm certainly not at the “bomb-proof” stage, but I have improved dramatically in the last month, and, I am glad that I persevered when I often felt like quitting. 

Finally, a wonderful friend gave us half of her kefir grains and these are now sitting on the kitchen counter growing into some fermented goodness.

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