adventure

Paddle N Float

Went on a family adventure to kayak the Broad River outside Athens, Georgia. It was a great balance between paddle and float with a few surprises along the way.

The start might be my favorite part. You get your kayak and slide down a hillside covered in a tarp to the bank of the river. Such a fun way to start an adventure. I could do that every day. It’s also fun to watch others come down the hill. The shrieks. The smiles. The giggles. The no hands and so on.

On to the launch of the kayaks. Easier for some than others but a little feeling of relief when you don’t dump out fo the kayak. Off we go. Paddle. Float. Lay back in the saddle and float with your head to the sky. Paddle. Float some more. Four hours of excitement, nature, and peace. Just you to move your kayak at your pace. Unless somebody towed you.

From the fish jumping nearby to the many turtles you see sunbathing, you are immersed in nature. You can stare at the swirls in the water one minute and move past a rock or even a log in the next minute. Shallow water to deep water. Sand banks, small beach like banks, and cool rocks to have a snack on.

Then there are the rapids. Some big. Some small. They are trickier to manage In some areas compared to others. Some big sections have audiences watching to see if you take a spill. And yes my kiddo did. Pure shock for her but hilarious to witness. Nobody was hurt which is also good.

Then you can get stuck on a rock covered in moss. Slick is an understatement. You use all your muscles to unwedge your kayak. It’s exhausting. And normally rapids follow that you just paddle hard through. We had a great experience, but exhausting.

After the four hours you climb out at a marked bank and load your kayak onto a bus with a kayak carrier. You sit for the 6 or so miles back with wet strangers all chatting about their day on the river.

Unplug. Connect in nature. Enjoy the sunshine. Maybe listen to a little music on your float while catching a few rays. Today was a little sunshine and a little cloud cover. A perfect mix for a day outside.

Time to dry off and conquer something else later in the day. What adventure can you tackle within an hour of your home? Go get to adventuring.

fitness and nutrition

Max Mentality, Part 2

I’ve written before about my inability (or unwillingness) to hit my max effort. I instinctively shy away from redlining. Sending it. Whatever you want to call it.

My comfort zone is running along between 60-80 percent most days. It’s my sweet spot. My happy place. I don’t feel out of control there. I’m putting in work but I can keep going. And frankly, I can stay at that place (and that pace) for a long time. Long endurance work is my strength over short sprints at high intensity. I’m much more turtle than rabbit.

I listened to our box’s CrossFit podcast the other day and they were talking about the upcoming CrossFit Open. Our coaches were trying to describe it, to prepare people who haven’t been a part of it before. The Open is CrossFit’s yearly(-ish) community testing event. You can see how you stack up against many others in the sport, and if you’ve been a part of the community for a while, you can see how you are progressing against yourself, year-over-year. For that reason, there’s a special competitive spirit in the Open. You have a judge and more eyes on you than usual. People push themselves to their max. After such punishing workouts, you often see CrossFitters rolling on the floor, struggling to breathe, even throwing up on occasion. If you haven’t witnessed it before, it can be surprising. But to many of us, it’s just another Open workout at the box. Just with extra sweat and a DJ.

The coaches took a minute to talk about this and made a point to say, if you haven’t gone to that max space, that rolling-on-the-floor-unable-to-breathe-uh-oh-I’m-gonna-puke place, you should try it. I’m thinking to myself, why does that feel so vulnerable? Like going there would take a special brand of courage I’m not sure I have?

I have been wrestling with what to expect of myself this year. I’ll write about that in depth in another post. But I have noticed that our new programming is giving me opportunities to dip my toe into maxing out. I haven’t “redlined” or “sent it” or thrown up in a conditioning workout. But in small ways I have hit failure. I’ve attempted some lifts lately that I’ve failed on. (Usually I don’t venture close to this point!) One I attempted again after I failed it and made. Another I didn’t. I recorded these weights in my notes, something I haven’t done in a long time. Perhaps that’s a sign that I am ready to get more systematic about keeping track of my progress.

Maybe the most glaring instance happened the other day, when we were working on jumping in skill progressions. We usually do a few broad jumps in warm ups and they are something I feel weaker at compared to many. On this day, we did a series of broad jumps for max distance, then rotated to other movements, then back to broad jumps. We did this several times. Each time I got back to the jumps, I felt better about them. In warmups they don’t feel natural, but working on them a few times did. On my third series of jumps, I really tried to push myself to jump longer. And of course, on the last jump, I landed on my heels then fell back into a roly poly ball on the floor. Nothing like going tail over tea kettle with 20 sets of onlooking eyes. Was I embarrassed? A little. But I also laughed. I smiled as I got up. I realized that I had actually pushed myself beyond my comfort level. So I couldn’t hold the landing? Ok. I know what to work on. A friend told me to engage my core, which I did the next round and didn’t fall. I’ll get better at it, failing forward. Inch by inch. Progress.

A little snapshot of going bigger. It might feel foolish. I might fail. People might see. All part of the doing and growing that this year holds for me. What will I fail at next?