Monday, April 30, 2007

Not Much To Say

I haven't really had much to blog about lately. Life just keeps getting in the way. I never did get out paddling this weekend, but it was quite an active weekend none the less, including a minor crash during a 10 mile mountain bike ride (scraped up knee). It's MTB-ing that really gets my heart rate up the highest (more then running, road biking, or paddling), as reported on my new forerunner.

I started painting our house. It's a big house (3 stories) and a big job, too expensive to contract out, and I know how to paint. I'm planning to slowly work on it though the summer.

My good friend Dan got out of the hospital Sunday, I'd been trying to visit and spend time with him daily while he was in town. He will now begin chemo and radiation as he fights against this horrible cancer. I hate that he lives 3 hours away, it's difficult to visit as often as I'd like. His illness has been a bit of a wake-up call for a more overall healthy life. I went to a Weight Watchers class early Saturday morning. I will lose these 20 pounds.

Susanita's posting "Is that a "princess" in a canoe" on her Purple Mirage Blog, has me so jealous. I spent an hour googling trying to find an outrigger or OC1 club that is within a couple hours of me. I've looked before with no results. I would love to get involved in a large club with these options. I so enjoy paddling with a single blade these days, outrigger and OC1 paddling seems a perfect sport/fit for me. And I especially like the tie in to my family home in Hawaii. (I'm also a quilter, and make Hawaiian quilts for the same reason). There is a NC club registered with the East Coast Outrigger Racing Association (ECORA) named Outer Banks Outrigger Club. This was started by a couple on the coast (4 hrs away), who I had email communication with last year, currently they are the only members paddling and racing OC1 canoes.

Have you heard about Margo Pellegrino. She plans to paddle a 20-foot outrigger canoe in the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) and along the Atlantic coast from Miami to Maine. Her challenge will span 11 weeks and nearly 2,000 miles, She is a 39-year-old environmentally conscious mother and paddling enthusiast. She hopes to show her children how to make a difference in the world and inspire others to take an active role in the stewardship of our oceans. Her blog is Miami 2 Maine, and her paddle begins in May. I received an email from Margo over a year ago after my WaterTribe Ultimate Florida Challenge, she was planning her challenge. She too loves the canoe stroke, and explains her choice of OC1 here. I hope to meet her when she paddles through NC.

Hmmm, maybe the money I save painting the house can go towards a used OC1, I can just hear my husband now, "NOT ANOTHER BOAT".

Monday, April 23, 2007

New Toy

I love new toys, I'm a definite gear head. Yesterday afternoon I finally found time to go to REI and buy that GPS and heart rate monitor I've had my eyes on, the Garmin Forerunner. I had originally thought I'd spring for the 205 model, but I had a pretty nice REI member's check, and then a real nice surprise when a check from Sea Kayaker Magazine arrived on Saturday. So I sprung for the 305.

Like my Garmin GPSmap 76CSx, the Forerunner 305 has more features than I'll ever use, or even want to learn how to use, but it's going to be so much fun to play with.

This morning I strapped it all on and went out for a 4 mile trail run, then downloaded the data before I even ate breakfast. The statistician in me just loved the tables and graphs of my data (picture at right is just an example). I can't wait to check it out after my bike ride tomorrow morning, then after my fitness paddle Wednesday evening.

Will this keep me on track with my workout routine? I don't think so, only self discipline will do that, but it will let me keep track of them, and maybe even make it all more fun. That works for me.

Why did Sea Kayaker Magazine send me a check you ask? Well, I'm not exactly sure. I signed a release they sent me a couple weeks ago, something related to Warren Richey's (Sharkchow) article on last years WaterTribe Ultimate Florida Challenge (UFC), that is scheduled for publication in thier June issue. Warren warned us during the Everglades Challenge in March that the article was about his race, so not to expect much about any of us other challengers. Though he did say the last proofs he'd seen still had our names in it. That would be exciting.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Life can be Cruel

I sometimes find it a cruel joke that as a scientist much of my work over the years has involved health studies in the fields of obesity and physical activity. Like many of us, these are demons I fight daily. And as I age (the AARP wants to classify me as a senior), it sometimes feels and looks like a losing battle.

Paddling is so much more than physical activity to me, so I can usually make time for this (my twice weekly paddling workouts) , but general and regular physical activity for basic health and fitness is a constant struggle to prioritize and keep in my life (I'm not even going to comment on the diet struggle). I'm often just a weekend warrior, but I continue to work on it. For me, races, challenges, and events, set up as goals in my life help to provide the incentive I need. And the occasional paddling expedition the real reward.

Life constantly gets in the way. Responsibilities to family, work, and friends always seem to compete with my personal interests and desires, even my personal needs. Sometimes life just sucks. Sometimes it seems so unfair that my life is not only about me, and my passions.

But I am one of many in this world (some whom I've brought into this world), and I have no delusions as to the responsibilities and priorities one has in a life surrounded by many. I just try and work with it all, always working towards a balance. And in the end, I'm thankful to have a life. A life full of my family, work, friends, and passions.

So off I go on a 30 mile training ride for the upcoming Tour De Cure (diabetes). Hoping to do my small share for humanity while trying to stay in shape for a longer and healthier personal life. And hoping my blog offers some inspiration. Just do it!

Each mile I ride, each dollar I raise will be used in the fight to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. If you'd like to help (any amount), please submit a donation here.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Good Luck

with your audition Tana.

And good luck to Brian and Mark in their 55 miler this weekend in the Hugh Heward Challenge on the Grand River in Michigan.

Single Blade in a Sea Kayak

You've all heard me shouting praises for the single blade paddle, ever since I started paddling my Kruger Dreamcatcher.

On his Fit2Paddle blog, Merek Uliasz posted a piece titled "Double or Single Blade? Steve Landick on Paddles during a Long Expedition Voyage". Steve, a well known distance canoe and kayak racer, (I've seen his name often associated with the Yukon River Quest), is also well known for paddling the 28,000 mile Ultimate Canoe Challenge with Verlen Kruger. He has certainly put in the miles.

In the article, Steve is quoted as saying "The canoe paddle was so much more comfortable and efficient in the long haul that I inevitably found myself using it most of the time. And that's coming from someone who has done a fair amount of kayaking (on my first trip in 1971 I paddled a kayak 1600 miles)."

Then I noticed on the P&H Paddlers blog, a post by seakayaker Brian Day, that he has written an article on what he has recently learned paddling fast canoes, and how marathon-style canoe technique can transfer over to sea kayaking. His single blade article will be published this summer in Sea Kayaker Magazine. I can't wait.

Photo of Michael Lynskey (RubberDucky) paddling in the 2005 WaterTribe Everglades Challenge. It's not unusual to see kayakers paddling with single blade paddles in the WaterTribe distance races. 300 miles in less than 7 days, they must know something.

What have I been trying to tell you all!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Nothing Went as Planned

this weekend, with all this crazy weather. Over the last 5 days I've managed a 6 mile paddle and a 1,000 mile car drive. What's with that.

Friday night I drove to Edenton, NC, to meet up with my good friends Dan and Ellen. Dan is my paddling partner with whom I did the 2003 Newfoundland paddling trip (among others), and whom I credit for my skills and interests in distance paddling and expedition. We've had quite a few adventures together, including the time that ended with his little red Romany making it's own way to the coast of France (but that's another story, written a couple years ago in Paddler Magazine). I blogged about Dan over a year ago in my post Friends in Need, Friends Indeed .

Dan's had some pretty tough breaks since that incredible trip, a major hurricane in his back yard (and then chain saw accident), and has for the past couple years been dealing with a very long recovery from a serious shoulder injury and subsequent surgery. Unfortunately it's going to be a very long recovery. Now, much to all our disappointment, Dan is also facing another big hurdle and challenge "C".

He has recently started to paddle a little (regardless of his shoulder). Though I continue to encourage him to use a single blade in his sea kayak, convinced it's a lot easier on his shoulder (and I think still lots of fun). Anyway, this weekend we were planning a paddling and camping trip to Durant Island on the Albemarle Sound at the Alligator River. This is a special island for us, one that we often paddled in training for our big trip. It's a great 20 mile circumnavigation that often put you in some very windy and choppy conditions on the North side of the island with it's very large Sound fetch. We'd often talked of camping on the island, but had never gotten around to doing it. This weekend, with Dan paddling a bit, was finally going to be the camping weekend. Dan and Ellen planned to paddle their double canoe (a special treat, Ellen rarely takes a day off from her plant nursery), and I was bringing my Kruger Dreamcatcher.

Then of course we had this weekends weather, the huge cold front (and nor'easter further North). Rain most of Saturday morning, and predicted thunderstorms with 30kt winds for Sunday changed our plans. Instead, on Saturday afternoon we had a more relaxed 6 miler between rain storms on the river that Dan and Ellen live that opens into the Sound. Sundays weather did not allow any paddling. But it was a great time none the less, lots of catching up, visiting, and planning future trips.

So what about the 1,000 mile drive. Well after returning from Edenton, I had a quick business trip to DC planned on Monday. By then, we were under serious wind advisories, with gusts up to 50 mph. My flight was cancelled and I ended up driving the 5 1/2 hrs, and driving back Tuesday afternoon.

We'll try again, and have better luck next time.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Need a way to get an instant weather report on wind and wave measurements taken at a certain location your planning to be paddling, and you have no Internet access. Just call the buoy, 888-701-8992. All you need is the buoy number. If you've done your trip research you probably already have this.

Buoy reports include wind direction, speed, gust, significant wave height, swell and wind-wave heights and periods, air temperature, water temperature, and sea level pressure. Some buoys report wave directions. Coastal weather stations report the winds, air temperature, and pressure; some also report wave information, water temperature, visibility, and dew point.

See NOAA's National Buoy Data Center for more info.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Planning vs Training

It turned out to be more a family weekend, than one full of physical activity. But that's okay, we don't see our daughter that much since she left for college, so these become special weekends. Saturday we visited with Paul's parents, then out to diner and home for a nice quiet evening, decorating Easter eggs, renting movies, and playing scrabble.

Alan (SOS) and Velocity Sailing, along with many of his friends from the NC State Sailing Club are spending the long weekend at Lake Hartwell in Georgia at the "Spring Fever Regatta" one of the premier catamaran regattas in the country. They were in 1st place against the Nacra 20 fleet, after the first day of racing.

A little more on my training plans (since I'm obviously still in the planning phase :) I'm a pro at training long and slow, very slow, and easily excused by saying "but I can go forever", and I've proven that I pretty much can.

This year, having gotten that long slow part down, I've been reading more about improving fitness and performance, and have decided to train a bit more scientifically, based on heart rate. I've ordered a Garmin Forerunner 301. This promises to be my "new training partner, continuously monitoring my heart rate, speed, distance, pace and calories burned so I can train smarter, more effectively". And maybe a new toy will make it more fun.

Of course my family says "I'd be in better shape if I'd stop getting so tired just planning and thinking about it, and more time just doing it :)

Thursday, April 05, 2007


Lumpy Paddle owners showing off thier sticks made by Bill Bremer.

There was a pretty good group who showed up last night for the season start of the weekly Wednesday night paddles on the lake. This is a 6 mile paddle that paddlers from my local Yahoo Groups paddling club get together for. It's a varied group of boats, paddles, skills, speeds, all are welcome, something for everyone. We had about 10 paddlers including Alan in my Kruger Dreamcatcher and Paul with the PAS sail. Weather was predicting 10-15 mph winds with gusts 30 mph. It was definitely windy and choppy, but lots of good fun.

This paddle will start my next round of training (I should say begin some training), now that I'm well rested from this years EC Challenge. I had trained so diligently for the 2006 WaterTribe UFC, that this past year no matter how many times I tried to start training , or be creative about it, I just couldn't get a regular program going.

I knew I had the mental stamina, and I had managed to maintain a level of fitness that would just barely allow me to "cruise" the race. I never did lose that extra 20 lbs I'd put on over the year, and I really was "just barely" fit. Luckily this years EC weather was in my favor for Class3, and in the end it wasn't as painful as I had feared and expected.

Now, my head is in a different place. I'd really like to work on getting as fit as I can, and even work for some speed (I say this every year :). The down side for me is that this probably means less paddling. Sit time in the boat has never been a problem, I love to paddle, single or double blade, it's the shorter interval work, gym work and other aerobic cross training that will be important for me and always the real challenge.

I'll never be a "real" racer, I expect I'll always just race for the challenge. But, I would like to get a bit faster. Stan and I, paddling under the moniker "Kruger Cruisers", will, as the name implies cruise the MR340 in his double Kruger Cruiser Canoe. No sense trying to kill ourselves against that fast tandem huki surfski, our current competition in the race. But, I wouldn't mind a good showing. Even though I'm a cruiser, I am incredibly competitive.

So it's back to the gym. For the aerobic part, I've registered for the Tour de Cure 150 mile bike ride for Diabetes in June , and I annually ride in the MS150 in September. If you interested in donating or sponsoring my diabetes ride, no amount is too small, $5, $10, $25 ..., online sponsor here.

So my basic training plan right now will include working up to 3 bike rides per week (including a spin class and longer weekend ride), 3 paddles per week (2 shorter paddles with intervals, and my regular 15-20 miler on the weekends), then weight training and yoga/stretching 3 times a week. Some of this will be mixed up with swimming, mountain biking, and hiking and walking as suits me.

I love to plan and keep a log, so in my attempt stay on track I'll start back maintaining my daily exercise journal, should have it up by the weekend. Hoping this will keep me motivated, and maybe I can motivate you too.

Sunday, April 01, 2007


Last night Kristen (KiwiBird) and I celebrated our WaterTribe EC finish with family and friends at a pizza and beer party complete with an ongoing slide show of the many EC photos. Alan (SOS) and Mike (Kotzebue), two other 2007 EC finishers from Team RAF, also stopped by for the celebration.

Then this morning, Alan stopped by, registered for the Missouri River 340 canoe and kayak race, and borrowed my Kruger Dreamcatcher to start his training. Alan plans to paddle the "Misery 340" as my husband calls it, in either a borrowed Kruger SeaWind or my Dreamcatcher. Alan says "I am a sailor at heart but have found that Kruger Canoes bring out the adventure paddler in me." Anyone who has ever paddled a Kruger Canoe would understand.

In addition to finishing this years EC in the team's home built Wa'apa Pacific Island Sailing Canoes, Alan is also co-skipper on a semi-pro sailing team Velocity Sailing, and, Alan is my son.

There are a number of WaterTribe alumni and Kruger paddlers registered for the MR340, including Mark Przedwojewski (ManitouCruiser, owner of Kruger Canoes) who is teaming up with Brian Weber (daBiscuit), Merek Uliasz (Wayfarer), and Stan Hanson (Etchemin) whom I have teamed up with. Another registered Kruger paddler is John Letecki Jr, known for his 1800 mile Ohio and Mississippi River trip for Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

Let the training begin.