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SMOOTH!

Three weeks after the race and I finally got back out on the water today.  I didn’t have my boat until last weekend but I’d decided to rest my wrist until today.  Put in at Redwood City marina; a beautiful day.  Supposed to be pretty hot; Indian summer and it’s almost Oct.  I launched about 10 AM.  No wind; the water was like glass.

This is out in the bay.  I’d planned on 4-5 miles.  I had to force myself to turn around; as it was I did about 6 miles.    It felt so great to be back in my boat.  Now I’m thinking I’ll do some reconnaissance next Sat. at Lake Sonoma.  They have some boat-in campsites I’m really itching to do.  Maybe I’ll go up really early Sat., check things out, do some paddling and return home in the evening.


COLORADO 100

contemplating the race; Fri.

I ended up doing quite a good write up of my race with the Spot Messenger Adventures.  The link is to the right in the sidebar.  I hadn’t really decided to use a Spot until the last minute.  It was a good investment for my Team Captain, Kate, as she could see my exact location and progress along the river.  It was quite funny a 5 hour paddle for me to a checkpoint took her 15-20 minutes to drive.  So she had enough time to find food and water for herself and check up on her new iPad where I was.

my track along the river

breakfast on Fri. at Maxine's

dropping off boats Fri.

preparations before the start

Here’s my account of the race I posted on Spot Adventures.  There’s interesting maps and some pictures there too.

“The Colorado 100 is an ultra-marathon canoe and kayak race held Labor Day Weekend in Texas.  It begins in Bastrop and 100 miles later ends in Columbus.  There is a time limit of 32 hours; people do not stop and sleep, but paddle through the night. In addition, there are deadlines for each of the checkpoints throughout the race course.

waiting for the start

I trained 13 weeks specifically for the CR100.  Training consisted of many miles logged in the Oakland Estuary and SF Bay.  In the last month most of my miles were in the Stanislaus and San Juaquin Rivers.  My longest training day prior to the race was 45 miles (done twice). I am paddling a Current Designs Solstice GTS. This race is open to many types of boats; both solo and tandem canoes and kayaks.

1st checkpoint; Smithville (26 miles)

Kate and I flew to TX on Thurs. before the race.  It rained on Fri. and weather predictions for race day were great; it would be in the low 90’s! Friday afternoon I checked in, completed boat preparation with my Team Captain, and attended the mandatory evening meeting. Race start was 7 AM the next day.

2nd checkpoint; Plum Park (42 miles)

There were 2 divisions, an adventure (that’s me) and competition class, and both had a tandem and solo division.  The solo adventure class started first and 100 boats started getting into the river about 6:40 AM. A bit of a challenge as you were required to either be standing by your boat or holding onto a piece of the shore if you were in your boat. There just wasn’t much real estate for 100 boats!

my Team Captain; Kate

Checkpoints were at 26, 42 and 63 miles.  I was hoping to maintain at least a 5 mph average.  If so, I should reach the first checkpoint in Smithville around 12:15 PM.  It’s amazing how fast 5 hours passes when you’re on a river you’ve never paddled before.  Much of your attention is picking the fastest line of water or maybe avoiding obstructions.  Then there’s making sure you hydrate enough; my cycle was taking in about 5 oz. every 15 min. and sipping liquid food every 20-30 min.  Then at each hour I took electrolyte supplements and hit my “OK” button on the Spot Messenger.

I had no problems with the heat.  They thought there’d even be a tailwind but that never panned out.  In fact, I had some good headwinds a few sections on the river.  Regardless, the first leg of the race went well and I pulled into the first checkpoint at 12:05 PM. My team captain, Kate, was waiting for me.  I got out of the boat turned in my timing tag (a little bar code to registers you and your time) and rested awhile with a very cold drink and an orange.  I didn’t want to stay here long, so we started re-stocking water and food on the kayak, and re-applying chapstick, sunscreen, and Hydropel (keeps hands from blistering).  I was back on the water in 20 min., and hoping to be at the next checkpoint in 3 hrs.

Psychologically, the second checkpoint seemed to be an easy task; only 16 miles, but somewhere on that leg of the river my right wrist began to ache.  Sixteen miles went by pretty fast and I was at Plum Park, the second checkpoint by 3 PM, but with pretty good wrist pain.  I was now worried about it getting worse. If it stayed the way it was, I might be able to complete the race with icing at the checkpoints and taking ibuprofin.  As soon as I got out of the boat I got ice on my wrist, drank and ate, and decided to rest longer to help my wrist.  I was making good time and would rather risk a slower time than not completing the race.  I stayed at Plum Park 45 min. and wrapped my wrist for support and took off.

icing at Plum Park

At 4:30 PM I was allowed more ibuprofin and took 800mg. hoping that would knock out the pain, or at least, help it not to get worse.  The next checkpoint, LaGrange, was 20 miles away (63 total river miles).  I knew I could make it that far and it would be a good test to see how my wrist was going to behave. I should pull into LaGrange somewhere around 8 PM.

3rd checkpoint; LaGrange (63 miles)

I was now over half way into the race, and others racers were really starting to thin out.  I passed a few and a few passed me.  We mostly greeted each other, and usually found out if this was your first CR100 or whether you were a veteran.  Most offered tidbits about what to expect or what to watch out for.  I passed one guy, we were both first-timers and I warned him about rapids at mile 49, granite rocks, and you should pass either to the right or left side.  He said, “thanks,” and I moved on.  Well I paddled too far to the right and got stuck, and then the guy I warned went right passed me!

The river was beautiful. I saw no other boat traffic besides racers. Most of the shore was desolate with the occassional cattle herd, and one Brahman bull who seriously checked me out at the water’s edge. Generally, I was feeling very good; I felt like my fitness was adequate to complete the race.  But, my wrist was getting worse, not better.  It had changed to episodes of sharp pain, and at times I was having to alter my paddling technique to get the left blade in the water.  Now I was really worried.  There was nothing I could do but get into LaGrange, see how my wrist felt at that time, and re-access.

I made incredible time to LaGrange; I pulled in by 7:30 PM.  That was 20 miles in 3-1/2 hrs.  I had completed almost 2/3 of the race; 63 miles!  Unfortunately, I could barely hold my paddle in my right hand.  The last 3 miles had been incredibly painful and though I hadn’t made a decision to abandon at that time, I seriously didn’t think I could make the last 37 miles.  But I received a really warm welcome and decided to delay my decision until I talked to my team captain.

I was helped out of the boat and Kate was waiting for me at the top of the boat ramp with ice, a cold drink and food.  Oh no, Wayne was there too!  He had passed me while I was resting at Plum Park, and he had abandoned because he had already dumped 4 times and wasn’t  optimistic about his chances the last 37 miles in the dark.

After consulting friends and the race director, I sadly announced that I would not be continuing.  I could have paddled longer, but I wasn’t at all sure I’d be able to go the whole way.  Besides the last leg being 37 miles in the dark, it’s also the most desolate section of the river, and the most dangerous.  At mile 80, with a very strong current around an island there’s a few dangerous sweepers, and obstacles in the water.  I did not feel confident about the performance of my stroke when I would most need it.  If I had to abandon in this section, it would be dark (also no moon) and take at least 2 hrs. before rescue.  Rescue is only bodies; they leave your boat!

So, I unwrapped my wrist to apply ice and viewed a very swollen and hot forearm.  I could not bend my wrist and I had no grip strength.  At that point I realized I had already done some damage to my arm, and if I had continued, it could be a lot worse.  Friends pulled my kayak out, unloaded all my stuff, and got it atop the car.  Because I’d planned to paddle through the night (Sat.) we had no place to stay.  We said goodbye to friends and Kate and I attacked the next challenge, where to spend the night.

It’s disappointing not to finish.  I think to most athletes this is the ultimate goal, no matter the event.  Then there’s all the sub-goals; time, splits, evaluating all the parameters of one’s fitness.  Yes, I’m disappointed I didn’t finish.  That was my ultimate goal.  A sub-goal was to finish in 24 hrs., and looking at my splits I know if it had not been for my arm, I would have finished in less than 24 hrs.  I am really happy with my sub-goals.  My body performed well.  I had no issues with the heat; my fueling and hydrating plan worked excellently.  So, mostly I’d have to say it was a great race.  I learned a lot; a lot participating in the race and a lot preparing for the race.  And I couldn’t have done it without my team captain, Kate.  Thanks Kate!”

Anyways, an enlightening and fun experience overall.  I vaguely remember eating some nachos after the container had blown off the roof as we departed LaGrange.  We circled back and there it was in the middle of the road with the top waving in the wind.  We’d only lost 5 or 6 chips!  We slept in Sun. and headed for a fun-filled day in Austin, a smallish city we really liked.  Maybe again next year? (pssst, I’m trying to get my Team Captain in a tandem)!

Austin


BUSY

I’ve been trying to keep up with reading all your blogs but haven’t had the time to sit down and write in my own.  Besides a full work week, one weekend day is working in my daughter’s new house and the other is a very long paddle.  Well the housework is done and there’s only 2 weekends left of long paddles before the CR100.  I can’t believe it; race day is almost here.  One huge change is a friend, who’s also racing, is transporting my boat.  That means I don’t have to drive and can fly.

I haven’t even had time to add up my training mileage but have had a couple really long days since my last post.  Two weeks ago I went back to the San Juaquin River and put in 30 miles solo.  Let me tell you, it’s a long slog upriver!  Here’s a picture of my one and only land break at about 13 miles.

San Juaquin River

All and all it was a good day.  Had some heat training as it was 92º. One kneecap got very sunburned as my shorts had slid up and I didn’t notice it most the day. OUCH!  It just peeled today.  Mostly it was a great confidence booster as I knew I could still do more at the end of the day.  I have to admit though, it was pretty hard carrying my boat up the ramp to the car!

Yesterday Wayne and I ran the Stanislaus River from Oakdale to Two Rivers; 43 miles.  And all down current. Not a whole lot of water left this time of year, but we were able to average 5 mph.  We were mostly slowed by many, many, many logs and trees in the river.  I think I ran into (yes into, not over) about 5, and got stuck on one. The number of logs we paddled over is too many to remember.  We also had 3 sets of rapids; my first in a sea kayak.  Two of them were about a 3 foot drop and Wayne went over in the first one (he was on a surfski).  Here’s a picture of the Stanislaus in the morning a few miles after starting out.

Stanislaus River

The river looked pretty healthy.  Clear enough to see the bottom, though it was only 3-4 feet deep in most places.  Saw lots of wildlife, which is always a good sign……..turtles, river otters, blue herons, egrets, lots of fish, crawdads, and my first golden eagle (actually several).  And because it was the weekend, lots of humans at the riverside parks we passed by.  Personally I think they’ve become overpopulated, and probably should be relocated to a more remote location. (-:

eat well, sleep well………..paddle fast! Training miles: hundreds


RIVERS

I’ve still been paddling, but with my daughter home from school and her birthday it’s been a couple really busy weeks.  As my long, Saturday paddles build in distance I’ve been challenged finding new places to go where I can be on the water longer than 6 hours.  A couple of long river paddles were organized and then fizzled but a very experienced, new kayak  acquaintance showed me some wonderful places this past week in a couple of rivers.  Here’s the San Juaquin River.

Since the CR100 is in a river I’m trying to spend my last month of training; well, training in a river.  It’s also probably going to be 90º plus during the race, so getting to these rivers in central California provides me with hot, river conditions.  So this last week, one day, I did some river reconnaissance and was lucky enough to paddle 22 miles in two rivers, the Stanislaus and the San Juaquin.  The plan was to go up current on the Stanislaus but we met an un-portage-able set of rapids about 2-1/2 miles upstream.  Luckily where we put in, the San Juaquin ended at the Stanislaus.  We turned around and went up the San Juaquin instead.

It wasn’t so different paddling upstream than some of the tides in the bay.  What was different was that the water was so calm and smooth, no boat traffic, and we saw less than 5 people all day.  We hit a little wind on the way back, but nothing like the higher winds we’ve been having in the bay this year. And heading back to the start is all with the current.  Really fun, and psychologically helpful when you’re tired towards the end of the day.

I took this weekend off from paddling, but I’ll be back on the water Mon., and all next week.  I’m going to head out on the San Juaquin next weekend shooting for 30 miles.  I’ll probably be solo again, but it was sure nice spending a lovely day on the water with my new friend. Thanks Wayne!

eat well, sleep well………paddle fast!  Training miles:  238


FLEXIBILITY

I  use to think I was flexible.  In some areas I believe I am.  When it comes to my training, once I make a plan, I’ve discovered it’s difficult for me to make alterations.  I did take the work week off from paddling which is usually 3 days in the water. I was still holding my breath and hoping I would get to paddle the Sacramento River this Sat., but it was not meant to be. So, I returned to the Oakland Estuary with the goal to complete 25 miles (my 3rd attempt).

With 6 days off the water I was ready to return; my body well rested.  I adjusted the Perpetuem formula by increasing to the maximum dosage for my weight, and I doubled my electrolyte capsules. Besides lots of sun and in the boat over 6 hours, it’s also been quite humid here.  I vowed to drink water every 15 min. and sip my liquid food at least every half hour.  I also took some ibuprofin right at the start and made a mental note, that if I needed more, what time a 2nd dose would be allowed.

I planned my route from the beginning and was not going to deviate. This way I didn’t need to expend any energy planning while on the water.  I was going to do all 25 miles in the estuary (with a little jaunt into San Leandro Bay), which required me to pass my starting point 3 times.  I find that psychologically difficult, but I wasn’t going to think about it once I climbed into the cockpit.  I was pushing off from the dock by 6:30 AM.  It was cold and foggy, with hardly a breeze (I was blessed with hardly any wind all day).  I had the water to myself in the early morning hours, except for a few huge container ships being escorted by tugboat out to the bay.

I had the first hour against the tide; 4 miles to the tip of Alameda Island.  I turned around and went with the flow for about 9 miles, and turned around again.  Well, you get the point.  Back and forth and back again; with the flow and then against it.

7/10/10

Here’s my speed over distance.  My average moving speed was 3.9 mph, which I’m pretty happy about as the incoming tide is pretty swift around a couple of areas where the estuary thins by bridges.  My fastest pace was 6.8 mph.  The extreme dips in speed is where I’ve stopped paddling to drink or eat.  The total moving time in my kayak was 6 hrs. and 13 min.

I went through a period this week where I was ready to throw in the towel.  After a few days analyzing the previous two Sat.’s, I realized I had probably “bonked.”  The hardest part is when you’re bonking you don’t know it.  It took a few days of rational thought this week to figure out what I could do to try to make a difference in my performance.  I’m still considering the possibility of training too much, besides just the nutritional adjustments I’ve made. I have some family obligations where it would be very difficult to do a long Sat. paddle.  So, I’m going to continue my weekly regimen and alternate long paddle weekends. Keep your (my) fingers crossed; here comes 35 miles!

eat well, sleep well…………paddle fast.  Training miles: 185


24 HOURS LATER

Today is a multi-topic post.  First off, I disappeared for 24 hours to Half Moon Bay for a wee vacation over a three-day weekend thanks to our national independence.  The three of us headed for a small hotel in Montara for the night and out to a nice dinner on Saturday. Sunday we sat at the beach and watched Chloe exert enough energy for the three of us as she chased sticks, played in the waves and cavorted with every dog that passed by.  Here’s a picture about an hour before sunset from the restaurant on Saturday.

Sunday we had an excellent breakfast at a cafe right next to the local airport, the Three-Zero Cafe.  It took us a really long time to order as everything looked and smelled delicious.  We vowed to come back soon so we could try some of the other dishes.  I settled on a combination of pancakes with some eggs and lots of coffee!  Being next to the airport the cafe was filled with lots of plane memoribilia……….

Three-Zero Cafe

This last week included 42 miles of training.  One day this week, Wednesday, was a 6 mile time trial which I repeat once a month.  It was an exciting week as my 9 mile Monday was relatively easy (and beautiful), and Wed. I beat my previous TT time by 8 min. I was feeling really good about my progress and performance.  I was a little anxious about Saturday’s distance because I was unable to complete 25 miles the Saturday before.

However, I approached Sat.’s distance like that of the first leg of the race where the first checkpoint is about 25 miles. Mentally I was telling myself I just had to complete 25 miles.  The day was looking good as there wasn’t a speck of wind and the water was almost completely flat in the estuary.  I planned to go north 4 miles and then retreat 8 miles covering the eastern side of Alameda Island. Then depending on the tide round the southern tip continue on for awhile and see how far I could get.  I wanted to do about 12 miles before I again turned around and headed in the direction of my starting point.  Well it was dead flat when I got to the northern tip of the island (the first 4 miles) and I figured this would be the time to try to circumnavigate it.  I went for it and I did paddle the entire way.

7/3/10 Circumnavigation of Alameda Island

Unfortuneately at about 13 miles I started to get horrible muscle aches in my torso.  I immediately took some ibuprofin and hoped it would make enough of a difference that it wouldn’t interfere with the distance I’d hoped to accomplish.  I kept my mind focused on passing my starting point and doing as much mileage back up the channel before turning around again.  Mentally, I didn’t think I could pass the starting point yet again for the third time without heading for the dock and finishing my day.  I seemed to lose my focus at about 16 miles.  I was entering a really busy part of the channel and decided to turn back (south again) and head for Coast Guard Island.  I passed my starting point for the third time and as I paddled past the west side of the island (Coast Guard Island) I knew all I had left was getting around that island and heading for home.  I didn’t think it would be more than 20 miles or so, and it was just shy of 21 when I finished.   I was completely spent, and as I sat in my cockpit a bit trying to feel good about what I had accomplished all I had were doubts about ever being able to paddle 25 miles.  I know I’d done a lot.  Twenty-one miles is something to feel good about, right, but all I could think about was if I can’t even complete 25 miles in training how was I really going to be ready for 100!

I continued with my doubts the rest of the day. Should I just give up now? I was supposed to do 30 miles next Sat. with my coach.  Was I going to embarrass myself next weekend?  Maybe I was just too old for this?  Maybe I wasn’t good enough for this?  I felt distressed about the fact I was doing all the training and my body wasn’t cooperating with the plan.  The first friend I talked to suggested maybe I was training too hard.  Maybe I needed a break; some time off.  My first reaction was, “no, I have a scheduled training regimen. I need to stick to it.”  The next friend I talked to said 21 miles wasn’t that far from 25, and I’d gotten around Alameda Island, something I’d been trying to do for a month.  She seemed totally convinced I would find answers to my apparent dilemma.  Well, I didn’t have too much time to sulk as I was leaving for my Half Moon Bay adventure. I’d have to put a hold on my obsessing.

Twenty-four hours later and I was feeling a little better about my Sat. paddle.  I was recognizing that yes, 21 was really close to 25.  Also I was willing to try something different.  I’ve decided to take the whole week off and only paddle the 30 miles this upcoming Sat. on the Sacramento river.  It feels like a risk not to do the mileage planned for the week.  But it feels right about taking a break and seeing what I can do Sat. with more rest.  I’m also wondering if I’d taken in enough calories.  I’ve been using a liquid endurance formula for athletes.  It’s possible I need a higher dosage of calories.  So, next paddle, I’ll increase the calorie content of my drink.  I realized later I didn’t take my supplements regularly (electrolytes) and I also missed some doses.  I think my physical discomfort  interfered with my focus on taking water, supplements, and calories on the planned intervals.

It’s a week off for me.  I’ll keep you posted.

eat well, sleep well…………paddle fast.  Total miles:  160


ONE MONTH

Yesterday completed one month of official training for the Colorado 100 race in early Sept.  In general, I’d rate it a success.  I’ve really learned a lot (and paddled a lot).  I was worried how I’d handle the stress of logistics; getting on the water 4 days a week while being a full-time employee.  I’d have to say, this has been the easiest of challenges.  There have been a couple of days at work which were physically demanding where I’ve thought, “I’d just like to go home.” But I didn’t think twice about it and found myself  at the end of the day in my cockpit where I belonged.  There have been 2 days I didn’t paddle that were scheduled; one due to winds and another where, psychologically, I just needed to go home and do nothing.

What has been more stressful is the wind.  How windy will it be after work?  How windy will it get when a small craft advisory is predicted (almost every day now).  How reliable are the wind predictions?  How will I perform in the wind?Recently a local weatherman said our weather to date has been like early spring.  With regard to the winds, that’s the windiest season here in the Bay Area. I’ve been looking for to the normal decline of wind as the summer progresses. Now it’s almost July, and we’re often getting warnings of winds at 25-30 kt.

I didn’t really have doubts my body would handle the long paddle days as long as I put in the required daily training.  After the first 20 miler I began to feel the stress.  The hours after that first 20-mile paddle and the day after were the first time I felt a little soreness and “systemic tiredness.”  Yesterday a 25 miler was scheduled and from the beginning I knew it was going to be a challenge.  It felt more about “mental wrestling” than physical.  I just couldn’t get my mind around being in the cockpit for 6 hours or more, and I was obsessing about what the route was actually going to be.  I wanted to get around the island, but there were no guarantees the north point would be passable.  And  yesterday as I approached the northern tip three kayakers came towards me and warned how windy and choppy it was.  They had decided to turn back.  A wind advisory was already posted and the tide was racing out (wind/tide in opposite directions), so I wasn’t optimistic.  After taking a look myself, I too retreated; I was solo.

6/26/10

On a more optimistic note the wind was negligible in the channel. Now I was only going against the tide for less than an hour.  This then created the dilemma of the route I would take to cover the required 25 miles.  While I was paddling I began all the mathematical computations and ways I could go to make the mileage.  I paddled all along the east side of the island and around the southern tip but was halted by an extremely low tide.  No getting into the Bay this way for a few hours.  Back I went the way I’d come and figured I’d get back to the starting point with about 20 miles under my belt.  Well, I’d just have to paddle around in circles I guess to get those extra 5 miles in.  Then on the way back I hit the incoming tide which was incredibly strong, and the first time in this channel where I could barely make headway against it.  Maybe I haven’t used enough adjectives as yet to describe to you the horrible day I was having. Oh, that’s right, this rant is public!

After a couple of miles fighting the current those core muscles were really tired (good sign my arms weren’t).  I had a neckache, a headache and I just kept making bargains with myself to get to next selected spot ahead of me to keep me going.  I tried to tell myself this would pass, pretty soon I’d feel OK.  But I just kept feeling worse, physically and mentally.  When I spied my starting point I told myself 20 miles was enough!  I was not having fun.  I was really spent as I exited my kayak and stood (or tried) on the dock.  At that point I was sure I had made the right decision to cut my day short.  I just wanted to get packed up and get home.

So, I felt a little failure with regard to my expectations yesterday, but it was the 2nd weekend in a row I’d completed 20 miles.  And, next Sat. no increase in mileage.  Yes, 25 miles again!  I learned the shoes I was wearing were not going to work (my old kayak shoes disintegrated last Mon.).  My MSR Dromlite is working great.  I’m remembering to eat and drink on time.  The clothing I’m going to wear for the race is being tested and all is well, I just need to get a short sleeve top for all this summer training.  The training miles are adding up.  I think the first month ended with a total of 118.

So begins the SECOND month with 9 miles tomorrow.  Wed. is a 6 mile time trail.  I get to compare it to the 6 miles done a month ago. July 10, calls for 30 miles and my coach is taking me to the lower Sacramento river where we’ll be paddling together.   Now the biggest challenge seems to be completing the super, long Saturdays, and WHERE to paddle the super, long Saturdays!

eat well, sleep well……….paddle fast!  Total training miles: 118


Nemesis

That north point of Alameda Island is really freakin’ me out. Yesterday I purposely started early to beat any wind.  It was predicted to be only 5-7 mph anyway.  I arrived at the dock at 6 AM to cold, cloudy and windy weather.  It was already reading 10 mph with gusts even higher.  My plan was to paddle to the north and “peek around.” I guess the currents and wind make this an unpredictable spot. I didn’t get too far before I decided to just turn around and go south.  The winds were getting worse and I was worried my day might be shortened altogether.  Turning south put me against the current.  Oh well.

Here’s my route.  I did round the south point and get into the Bay. This is near the area where I had to get off the water last week.  Boy did it look different. My schedule called for 20 miles. I did a little backtracking to get all the miles in.

  

6/20/10

eat well, sleep well……….paddle fast! Training miles: 87


OOPS!

Today’s the end of three weeks of training.  This week was pretty successful with regard to getting my miles in and little disruption from winds.  Monday was 8 miles at a moderate pace, and mostly it was a great paddle with sunny skies.  I have to admit, I was somewhat unsettled with any sudden gusts of wind.  Vigilance left over from the previous Saturday experiences.

Wednesday and Thurs. paddles were 4 miles each; one fast and one at an easy pace.  Funny how 4 miles goes by fast when you start to do 12 and 15 mile paddles once a week.  However, Thurs. I just didn’t feel right.  I seemed to be unable to get in a rhythm and didn’t feel comfortable.  It wasn’t physical, more emotional.  And, I wasn’t hungry (you know something’s wrong).  And today I was suppose to do 20 miles, but I’m feeling a little under the weather so I decided to postpone until tomorrow.  So maybe that unsettled feeling I had Thurs. was the beginning of my cold.  Tomorrow I’m going to try the Alameda Island circumnavigation again. Push-off 6 AM, and winds are predicted 5-7 mph. I invited my coach, but he chickened out. (-:

On another note, here’s a pic I borrowed from Mackayak’s blog.  Just had to post to share my horror over events in the Gulf.

eat well, sleep well………paddle fast!  Cumulative miles: 68


AUGINBAUGH & SEA VIEW

Auginbaugh and Sea View streets; the closest residential intersection to where I had to bail during my training session today due to high winds.

rocks, rocks and more rocks

I checked the marine forecast and it was the first day all week nothing was posted.  I was psyched!  It was going to be a wonderful day.  My coach was going with me for the first hour or so and getting me on my way for my first circumnavigation of Alameda Island; slightly further than 15 miles.  Apparantly the northern tip can be pretty rough by the afternoon and we were going to round that area in the early morning hours.

Four of us started together from Jack London Square and we noted how the wind was already up.  As we came to the northern tip it was already choppy and as we rounded the tip and headed south there were already some pretty good gusts.  It was a really unusual day of wind as it was offshore.  My coach was going to turn around at the sea wall where I had a straight shot down the west side of the island. He had shown me on a coastal map exactly where I should go and also where I had to avoid some very shallow waters.  Most of the paddle  along the island beachfront was OK, not great, and not at all relaxing.  I had to really pay attention and be ready to brace at any moment.

Prior to reaching the southern tip of the island I was instructed to cut across the channel to avoid very shallow waters with muddy sand bars.  This meant keeping a small jut of land to my right once I crossed.  Here’s where the fun began.  I left the slightly protected water from the land to my left and entered the open channel.  At first the wind was to my back but as I turned to port, aiming for my destination, I could not make enough headway before I would get blown into the rocks to my right. I tried a few times but it was clear to me almost immediately I would have to pull out.  I looked for the area of smallest rocks I could find and braced myself for getting out as fast as I could.  All went pretty well except for the mossy rocks that but me on my a*# the moment I got out of the cockpit.  The tide was on flow so I slid my boat well out of the water, grabbed some essentials like my phone and fluids, climbed up to a nice sitting rock, and called for a ride.

6/12/10

A disappointing end to my second week of training.  I did get about 10 miles in today but combined with Wed. (5 miles), where I could not paddle due to high winds, I was short about 10 training miles for the week.  I guess I shouldn’t worry.  I definitely learned some things today to put in my “experience” book.  Tomorrow’s a day off with 8 miles scheduled for Mon.

eat well, sleep well…………paddle fast! Cumulative miles: 52


30 MILES

6/5/2010

I was blessed with beautiful weather; neither high winds, fog nor wintery clouds.  Out on the water, solo yesterday, by 7 AM. It was a big day for me.  Twelve miles in an area I hadn’t gone before.  Used my dromedary for water.  Johnny hadn’t finished the fabrication for it’s suspension behind my sit (in the cockpit).  So I put it behind me on deck.  Wasn’t the greatest and the cap somehow unscrewed about midway out.  But I was able to get it back on and had enough water for the rest of the paddle.  Also used Perpeteum, the liquid food for endurance athletes for the first time.  Had the cafe latte flavor.  It was very palatable (actually tasted quite good); I didn’t get hungry and supplemented that with water for a little over 3 hours.

A happy ending to my first, full week of training.  Thirty miles.  At weeks end, I realize I had some anxiety about it all beginning.  First, how would I feel dealing with the logistics of loading and unloading gear four days a week, 3 of them during the work week.  I worried about not only being up to the physical challenge, but also emotionally with the stress of it all.  I worried about the winds a lot.  One day was pretty horrible.  Interestingly enough, that was my “easy” day, which it was NOT because of the wind.  Thank goodness I didn’t have to put in more than 6 miles.  I definitely felt tired after my 12 miles, but I wasn’t wiped out the rest of the day, and this morning felt really good physically and psychologically.  I’m ready for week two: 7 miles at a moderate pace tomorrow.

eat well, sleep well……….paddle fast (training miles: 30)


QUICKIE

Home late today after a 6 mile paddle after work.  I was really worried about the wind as it was reported to be 15-25 kts. in the afternoon. While still at work we were getting some really good gusts and it even crossed my mind, “what if it’s too windy to actually get in the water?”

Well off I went to the public dock, parked and took a gander just outside the car.  It didn’t look too bad at all. Unpacked gear, got the boat in the water, hopped in, and off I went.  It was 6 miles, fast.  I beat my time from Monday, but the paddle today is a baseline, something to compare to in another month.  I won’t bore you with a picture of my route.  It’s the same one I took on Monday.  I forgot to put on my heart rate monitor, but I do have speed over distance.  I’ll have to add that later as I still have to go unload my kayak from my car for the night.  Had to rush in and eat dinner first!

eat well, sleep well……….paddle fast!

Today: 6 miles/1:35:29/Cumulative: 12 miles


FIFTY-THREE

One down and 52 to go! That’s how many more training days I have before the Colorado 100 on Sept. 4.  Today was the “kick-off” of my official training schedule.  I was on the water by 7:10 AM.  It was a negative tide today so I headed for the Oakland estuary instead of putting in at Redwood City.  The dock was empty and I had the place to myself.  There was already a pretty good breeze; a small craft advisory was due for 11 AM.  Here’s a picture I took right before I unloaded gear and the boat.

the Oakland estuary

Once I got going I felt pretty good.  My right shoulder muscles had been a little sore from Fri.’s practice.  Today was the first day I wore the heart rate monitor.  My drinking timer worked, I got speed, distance, and recorded my route.  So the technological challenges were all a success.  I’m really glad I’ve been paddling with the watches and GPS before today.  The wind actually decreased after the first half hour or so.  I hadn’t paddled on flat, smooth water  in weeks. Effort was supposed to be at 60-75% of my MHR.  Here’s a graph of heart rate and speed.

I found it interesting that speed improved as time went by and heart rate decreased.  I suspect that was a “warming up” period. The severe drops in the graph are where I stopped for water.  Soon I won’t have to stop and put my paddle down as I will have a drinking tube attached to my PFD.  I hope Johnny has the fabrication for suspending the Dromlite behind my seat done by next Sat. That’s a 12 mile day and I’d like NOT to have to bring multiple water bottles.  Next Sat. will also be a little more than a 3 hour paddle which means I’ll begin practicing with liquid food.  So I’ll have at least one bottle on deck.

Being Memorial Day here in the States it was a pretty quiet morning as I paddled by multiple sailboats moored all along the estuary. There were a few people getting ready to go out for the day.  One couple was getting their BBQ ready on deck.  A couple powerboats went by, but all in all, I was by myself.

When I returned to the dock a few women were getting ready to go out in their sculls.  Even by 9:30 AM, it was still mostly empty in the parking lot.  I was home by 10:30 with still a full holiday of fun to follow.

5/31/2010 route

eat well, sleep well………..paddle fast

6 miles/9.6 km


COUNTDOWN

Did almost 6 miles yesterday, very early out of Jack London Square. High winds were predicted by the early afternoon, so I was on the water by 7:30 AM.  Wednesday and Thursday was rain, so besides some big white clouds, it was a nice, sunny day.  Paddled with my coach/friend who has lots of kayak marathon racing experience.  He made some helpful suggestions about my forward stroke to  make it as efficient as possible.

Oakland Estuary

Here’s our route.  I’ll be paddling in this area a lot over the next 3 months.  My “official” training starts Monday with 6 miles at a moderate pace.  I’ll be going out near Redwood City Mon., but Wednesday and Thursday I’ll be back in Oakland waters after work.  All week is 6 miles with a 12 mile day on Sat.  I’m excited to have my training schedule finally start. It’s planned out for the next 3 months; I know what days are rest and which ones are on the water , and the exact miles for each and every day.

eat well, sleep well…………paddle fast!


LA LA LAND

Gone and back from southern California.  Had a good visit with my mom.  She lives near a private lake which allows powerboats and kayaks, but guests cannot utilize the lake with their own kayak.  Go figure.  Having a lab who loves to swim I use to exercise my dog by throwing sticks for her off the shore.  Now they have a rule, NO dogs in the water.  I propose the idea that powerboats and people are more polluting than my dog.  So it wasn’t much fun for either of us (me and my dog).  They also have a recreational center with a nice big pool, but they made a new rule, NO people in the pool over 40 yrs. old (just kidding :)) I was going to swim but it was VERY windy and cold with thunderstorms.  So the long and short of it is, I had a very relaxing (vegetative) visit.

Now, back to kayaking………  I have a 4-day weekend, and tonight is a pool session practicing rolling.  Tomorrow’s a very early morning paddle with a friend of mine, and Monday begins my official training for the Colorado 100.  It begins with a 6 mile paddle at moderate pace.  Wednesday is a 6 mile time trial, and Thurs. is 6 miles easy. June 5, is my first long Saturday paddle, 12 miles; a total of 30 miles the first week.

An update on kit and outrigging.  I’ve decided on a small deck bag by North Water, the Turtle Back deck bag at the front of my kayak.  It’s pretty small and will hold only essentials like chapstick, sunscreen, gels, supplements and some snacks. A  4L water bag (MSR Dromlite) will be suspended behind my seat.  A colleague at work is fabricating that set-up as we speak.  The waterbag has a drinking tube just like a CamelBak and will be clipped to my PFD.  I will use both a headlamp and a bow light.  The bow light will be affixed to a StickyPod for the night hours (no full moon this year), and I will use the headlamp only as needed.  I’ve removed the Garmin GPS from the StickyPod and will attach the GPS to the deck bag.  Also on the front deck will be my 4-6 hour feeding bottle (Perpeteum in a 24 oz. insulated water bottle).

With regard to clothing………. It’s supposed to be 100ºF, so first off I’m ditching my spray deck.  I’ll probably wear a wicking, long sleeve shirt (UPF30) and paddling shorts, hat, and sunglasses.  Haven’t decided on the attire for my feet yet.  So as the days and miles accumulate over the summer, and I test trial my equipment, rigging and products, hopefully I’ll also be building up those callouses and perfecting my technique.

eat well, sleep well………. paddle fast!


NEGATIVE TO POSITIVE

Today’s post has no pictures or snapshot of my route.  I did use my GPS but forgot to turn it off for the drive home. Therefore all the stats include my trip in the car.  Oh well.  I did go back and view just the route in my kayak.  Yesterday I paddled a couple miles further than ever before towards San Leandro Bay .  So I wanted to look at the geography and landmarks via a map to compare with the visual impression I had from the water.  This area is new to me, so as I plan future trips with more distance I can know ahead of time where I want to go.

I was very motivated to get a paddle in yesterday as we’ve had high winds and I hadn’t been out since the week before. Ten to 20kt winds were predicted with gusts to 25kt so I was unloaded, on the dock, and ready to put in by 8:30AM.  I’d seen the branches already swaying in the wind on the drive, so I was hoping for the winds to be blocked by Alameda Island.  It was pretty deserted when I got to the docks.  There were a couple of vehicles with empty boat racks; they obviously had beaten me to the water.  It didn’t look too bad from the dock…….I slipped into my cockpit and all of a sudden I just didn’t feel like fighting the elements, paddling in gray weather, or going solo.   I sat there a minute and figured out my “emotional” strategy for the day.  I had originally planned to go at least 8-10 miles, but now I was feeling like I just wanted to crawl back into bed.  OK, I’ll shoot for the route I’m familiar with, 6 miles, and maybe the wind will force me off the water sooner.  I’ll see how I feel if I reach the 6 mile turnaround,  maybe I’ll go further.  Once I got into the rhythm of my stroke I forgot about how I was feeling.  I was concentrating on technique and adjusting for the gusts of wind and watching for traffic bigger than me.  Then the sun came out and I forgot all about the warm, cozy bed.  I was enjoying myself.  The first 3 miles ticked off pretty fast (the wind was behind me), and I decided to keep on going.  I passed under about 4 bridges; this part of the channel narrowed and one side was all residential.  It was very pleasant and before I knew it I had gone all the way into San Leandro Bay.  If I turned around here it would be an 8 mile trip and I would have the wind in my face all the way back to the start.

So, turn around I did and the wind really picked up my last mile into the docks.  But that negative start turned into a really positive paddle!

eat well, sleep well…….paddle fast!


NEGATIVE TIDE

I woke up Saturday morning planning on going for a paddle early but I was just too tired.  Luckily I could go on Sunday, so I delayed my plans.  If you’ve read recent posts, I’ve mentioned the wind.  That meant getting out early on Sunday.  I was in the water by 10 AM (guess it’s not that early) and I only felt a slight, inconsistent breeze on my face before leaving the dock behind me.

It was a negative tide and I didn’t want to be way out near the main boating channel (which ended up happening anyways ), so I went south towards the Dumbarton Bridge.  I was feeling pretty good and was thinking of going further but I decided to turn into the wind and see how it was.  I was going to have to go against the flow and the wind on the way back.  I turned north and was surprised at the whistling of the wind through my ears!  There were a few whitecaps but I guess I hadn’t been watching the elements close enough.  I decided to turn back.

It was looking (and sounding) like the whitecaps were picking up.  I have to say it was blowing pretty hard and I was a bit surprised because high winds weren’t expected until the afternoon.  I went from 4.4 mph pace to about 2.7 mph on the way back.  I got a pretty good workout, but worst of all I got chafed pretty bad around my shoulders.  It was such a nice, sunny day I only wore my farmerjohn and pfd (and sunscreen of course).  It was time to get some sun on those arms and get rid of my “farmer’s” tan.  My pfd ended up rubbing the skin off my left, anterior shoulder.   I paid for my vanity.

Out to the bay.

After loading up for the drive home I checked the marine weather report, and there was already a small boat advisory due to wind for the next 24 hours.  That advisory has continued for most of this past week.  If you look at the satellite image above it looks like I did a pretty strange route, but actually the route was due to the tide being so low.  All that water in the image is actually land or water so shallow I couldn’t paddle without the blade hitting the bottom.

eat well, sleep well………..paddle fast!


WORD OF THE DAY

There’s so many words to learn.  What’s funny (to me anyways) is words pop out during the day and though I know how to use them in a sentence, I’m often left wondering how that word or phrase came about.  Many times these words or phrases are from my childhood. Take “lickety-split,” for example.  I didn’t know how to properly spell it until today.  So, as I was perusing a kayak navigation book,  I realized, what a wealth of knowledge is just in the words of this book. Maybe there are others who would enjoy a “word of the day” page. Now introducing, “Word Of The Day,” found on page two.  I hope you’ll check it out.


A ROLLING DAY

I’ve decided it’s time to learn how to roll.  Well, I’ve committed to trying anyways. (:  I’m still working out some of the details but I’ve located a couple of coaches who teach in a pool only a few miles from me.  I can come home after work, load the kayak, take my lessons and be back home by 8:30 PM.

Generally I paddle on Thurs.’, but they’ve forecast 25k winds in the afternoon tomorrow, so if it all works out, I’ll be in the pool instead. Wind advisories continue in the bay and it doesn’t even look too good for the weekend.  Hopefully it’ll settle enough by Sat. that maybe I can get back on the water if I go EARLY in the morning.

I’ve pretty much decided kayaking is my major sport for life and a lifestyle I want to live.  So, in addition to learning to roll, I think I may go for some kind of certification.  Let me know what you think by voting in the below poll.

eat well, sleep well…………paddle fast!


A WINDY DAY

Well I know the date for springtime has come and gone, but winter weather has not.  We’ve had lots of storms the last couple of weeks and this upcoming month I’m trying to increase my paddling days to 3x per week to get ready for the “real training.”  We’ve had another storm today but what’s even worse, several days of high winds are predicted.  I went out yesterday after work in 15k winds again and got 6+ miles in after work.  I had a headwind all the way back to the marina. Normally I’d paddle again Thurs. but 25k winds are forecast with gusts even higher.  There’s been small craft advisories all week. While reading everyone’s blogs,  I see “winter weather” is visiting lots of people around the world.

Anyways, I paddled out of Estuary Park in Oakland yesterday and south in the harbor along Alameda Island.  I did this same route a couple of weeks ago.  Still shared the water with the sculling teams, in addition to some outrigger canoes, and a couple of tugboats and a barge yesterday.  Also saw a lonely seal who let me get within 10 feet before he dove deep.  The harbor canal continues south to San Leandro Bay and as you round the southern tip of Alameda Island you can turn north and go along the west side of the island (open bay side).  I’ve been told it’s 12 miles all the way around. Soon I hope to paddle to San Leandro Bay and get to the marina about midway on the west side of the island.  We just have to get rid of this wind!

Here’s my route on Monday.

Estuary Park to Fruitvale Bridge

eat well, sleep well…………paddle fast!


PRETTY DAY

It’s almost been 2 weeks since we had a sunny morning.  We’ve also had 3 or 4 spring storms roll through with some pretty large amounts of rain.  Yesterday was a pretty day.  I set out early from Redwood City Marina because I wanted to explore south out of the main channel towards Dumbarton Bridge, and winds were expected at 15k. The tide was on ebb after 10 AM, so I was going to take advantage on my way back.  Sorry no pictures today.  I do have a map of my route though.

Lots of people out.  I saw only one other kayaker putting in as I was getting out.  No one was around me in the bay except for about 15 seals as I rounded Greco Island taking advantage of the sun and bathing in it’s warmth as I passed by.  Saw a few young pups too.  All in all a nice outing of about 13km.  Still trying to get my systems down.  Set my watch to drink at 15 hours instead of minutes today; oh well.  And my Forerunner’s batteries died instantaneously.  Not sure how that happened as I charged it all night long?

eat well, sleep well………….paddle fast!


WEEKDAY PADDLE

My goal this month is to paddle 2-3 times per week.  Took the kayak to work again yesterday and got to the docks and in the water by 4:45PM.  I was out for a couple of hours.  Even though it was sunny it was a little cool with some chop from a slight wind.  I was glad I had my paddle jacket.  It was very busy; lots of sailboats, dragon boats, and sculls.  Kayaks seemed to be in the minority.  Was too tired after a day at work to do more than 6 miles.  That’s my minimum for any paddle for every day I’m out this month.

5th St. to Fruitvale Bridge

eat well, sleep well……..paddle fast


WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU FORGET YOUR CHECKLIST

Went for a little longer paddle yesterday.  I was going to head towards the San Mateo Bridge and measure the distance. Wouldn’t you know it, I forgot my GPS!  The day I forgot my PFD the first thing I did when I got home was make a check-list.  Yesterday I forgot about the checklist. (:  Anyways another storm was due on Sun. so there was very little sun today. Here’s where I put-in.

Lots of sailors out, but the wind wasn’t too bad the first hour or so. The bridge is north of the marina so I went left out the main channel and the longer I was out the windier it got.  I went about an 1-1/2 hours and turned around going with the tide and the wind to my back.  However, there were some pretty good gusts from starboard (almost lost my hat), and a headwind once back in the channel to the marina.

Because I’m going longer I started timing my drinking; about 4 oz. every 15 min.  Today I learned I couldn’t hear my alarm to drink with my watch on my wrist.  So, I hooked it to my PFD near my shoulder. Also I was trying out a new Platypus Soft Bottle.

Soft Bottle

I thought it would be good, not only because it’s so light, but when empty you can roll it up. But, the fact that it was so pliable was a problem on the boat; even the deck lines barely held it.  So, it was a good day.  I learned 2 important things I can apply to my race: have to use solid drinking bottles and placement of my watch.  Oh, any suggestions for my memory, besides ginko?

eat well, sleep well……..paddle fast!


CESAR CHAVEZ PADDLE

Well, where I work we got last Monday off as a holiday; thanks to Cesar Chavez.  I had a really nice 3-day weekend though I was sorry to see my daughter go back to school after her quarter break.  She took her car back to school, a first, as you’re not allowed a vehicle until the last quarter of your sophomore year.  Oh well, another level of freedom. Anyways, the holdiay afforded me 2 days to get out on the water.  This was recorded from my Forerunner 305; Saturday’s route into Westpoint Slough.  Saturday was nice and sunny with very little wind.  This is one possible route which may serve as my monthly time trial.

Westpoint Slough

Rain was expected by Monday evening but it didn’t look too good in the morning and high winds were predicted by the afternoon.  I decided to try to get out before the storm hit.  I launched again at Redwood City Marina and went into the bay.  The wind was definitely up and I went into a headwind so I’d have a tailwind back to the marina when I would be tired.  Unfortunately, I was going against an ebb tide and when I turned off the bay into the main channel to the marina, I again had a head wind.  I was scouting out longer workouts. The put-in at this marina is between two major bridges which cross over the bay.  So it’s a good spot to develop much longer routes when my training gets lengthy.  Here’s Monday’s route.

out to the Bay

eat well, sleep well………paddle fast