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Confronting the fear.

May 9, 2011

The words ‘Sexy’ and ‘Sporty’ have rarely, if ever, been used in the same sentence as my name…..

….well at least ‘Sporty’ hasn’t *grin*

But looking at my sleek yellow Yak on top of my pearl white Mitsubishi Challenger – hmmm hmmmm – brought exactly those two words to mind !!

Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder.

 I reckon I look 20 years younger driving to the water in this – ahhhh… it’s like stumbling upon one of the bubblers from the legendary Fountain of Youth !

So this week I had 3 paddles. One of those was a huge disappointment – while the following two were significant victories.

Wednesday afternoon, I took off from work a little earlier to try and get out on the Parramatta River before the sun sank below the horizon, knowing full well that I would still get caught at dusk on the water and wanting to incorporate this into my paddle experience. The trick is that afternoon paddles always bring significantly more wind and chop than in the early morning. Combine this with the ferry & boat activity, as well the impending inky murkiness of the water, and my discomfort grew at an intense rate. I was determined to suck it up and deal with it – but a man’s mind can be his own worst enemy. I won’t elaborate on the array of gloomy thoughts that seized control of my imagination – but it made for a very uncomfortable, and in some ways disturbing, paddle. Needless to say I cut it short and paddled back to the boat ramp feeling the massive weight of defeat weigh heavily in my chest.

I guess the key words in my description above was “my imagination”. And I realise I am going to have to work on this and develop a mental fortitude to control my imagination if I am going to complete the Hawkesbury Classic. It would be a tremendous shame to succeed in my training regime and develop the stamina to go the distance – only to fail at my inability to paddle alone at night.

Geez – reading over this makes me feel like the little kid that sits in his room afraid of the dark.

Oh well – perhaps this marks the begging of my turning point. I must get out with some fellow paddlers over the coming weeks and begin practising night paddling. I am certain this could be a very beautiful experience – and in the company of others I know this crazy fear will simply cease to exist.

So my other two paddles we sensational. Thursday morning I completed 9.3 km in approx 1hr 15hmins and then on Saturday morning, I paddled a straight 12.17 km in 1hr 35 mins. This last paddle was a milestone in itself for me. I can feel my strength and endurance increase virtually on a daily basis.

The Saturday morning paddle of 12kms is the course that the LCRK (Lane Cove River Kayakers) paddle – but these guys in their sleek racing yaks are completing the course in as little as between  60  & 70 mins. Looking at their time trial results on the web, a very few in the elite class are doing it in around 50 mins (OMG!!!) but there are a few (not many) stretching out to 80 and 90 mins – so it would seem in my ‘plastic fantastic’ – I am doing OK time. Now the challenge is clear – I need to stick with this course for a few weeks and improve my position.

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