Friday, May 29, 2009

old fashioned okole whuppin'

Last night was the second paddling practice I've attended, and this time it got good. We were out for nearly 2 hours (in gorgeous weather on Lake Union and Lake Washington) and by the end of the time all I was thinking about was making it back to the beach. M asked me later how far we'd paddled. I have no idea. 50 miles? 75? Probably something like 2 is more realistic.

The experience made me realize that last week's paddle was more akin to the Waikiki paddles that the beachboys (used to -- do they still?) take tourists out on. It's all about having a little fun, dipping the paddles in some water, and not huli-ing the boat (turning it over). I felt last week's paddle a bit, but it felt good -- tired in a good way.

I feel last night's paddle a lot more, in my back and shoulders and arms and neck, and yet it still felt good. Except for the lower back, the aching is good. And some ice later today should help the lower back.

Like last week, I was in a canoe with 4 others (one empty seat). Unlike last week, where we did a minimum of focus on technique, yesterday was primarily about technique. And the technique was taught by a woman (last week the steers person was a man). She focused on helping us get more efficient and on learning the basics of paddling -- it's primarily done with the back and legs rather than with the arms. As she pointed out, the arm muscles are small, the back and abdomen and leg muscles are big. Makes sense to use the big muscles, yeah?

I liked the focus. It makes sense to me to learn proper technique and let the conditioning and the strength aspects come as I work at technique. As she said last night, different paddlers have slightly different techniques, but good paddlers are able to adjust to the techniques of others when they sit in a boat with people using those other techniques.

I'd like to be flexible, to be able to adjust to the style of whatever boat I'm in. I'd also like to get to the point where I have my own technique, fit for my body and my limitations, but it seems like a good goal to be able to jump into another boat and make a contribution rather than a negative impact, and because coordination and synchronization are key to success in paddling an OC-6, being able to contribute rests in large part on being able to blend in with the rest of the crew.

I also got the go-ahead to start coming on Tues and Sat. "As long as you don't mind sore muscles," they said. Well, that's largely what I'm going for, to get the good workouts, so I'm excited to get out on the water more frequently.

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