Wednesday. I cannot believe how fast this summer is flying by. I look up and it is Wednesday. Last time I checked it was Thursday. Crazy.
Very busy, busy weekend in CT. I spent the day Thursday shopping for new cars. I had already done all of my research and I had pretty much decided on buying a Subaru Forester or Outback before I even got to CT (where somehow I trust the car dealership in my home town a little more than the guys on 12th avenue in NYC….) Of course once you’ve decided on a car and drive anywhere you start seeing the variety of cars on the road. I even rolled my window while on Interstate 95 to ask a couple who had a kayak on the top of their car and bikes on the back how they liked their car. “We love it — Xterra” they shouted back and I made mental note to look at that one too.
Jeeps, Hondas, Hyundais — it was overwhelming. They all look great. I decided to trust my Consumer Reports and Motor Trends magazine and my friends who swear by their Subarus and go with the Subaru. Plus it is less than one mile from my house in CT so I could even walk home if I have to. I test drove the Outback and loved it. Then I test drove the Forester and like the roominess (and the $2,000 cash back deal) so Forester it was. Done. It’s a real bare bones model — but it is what I needed for my lifestyle.
Went to buy a bike rack at Collinsville Kayak and Canoe (’cause that’s where you buy bike racks in Collinsville.) Decided to go kayaking on the Farmington river and went out on the river with Dan — not born in Canton but has lived there 39 years so he’s almost considered a local and not an outsider…. (Collinsville is part of Canton) We had a wonderful time kayaking on the river and he gave me so many tips. I’m going to list them all here so I won’t forget next week when I go out again. It’s not that you can’t just jump in a kayak and paddle but you’ll go faster if you are efficient in your technique (hmmm, sounds like triathlon….) I’ve paddled before but I had no idea what I was doing.
The thing I found so interesting about kayaking is how many similarities there were to biking and swimming. ?!?! Yes, there were many.
First the swimming comparisons. You don’t pull the paddle through the water as much as you HOLD the water and pull the boat past the paddle. I had to laugh out loud when he said that one. “If I could master that my swim coach would be thrilled!!” That’s what they are always trying to get me to do — hold the water and drive your body to pass your hand. Yeah it sounds fine until I get in the water and say, yeah, well I’m still pulling. Dan told me to think of a railroad track — it’s like you are putting your paddle on a railroad track and pulling your canoe up, then you put your paddle in the next railroad track (on the other side) and pull your canoe up to meet it. I think I get it — I’ll go to the pool and practice more. Your hips go forward to meet your hands. Not your hands coming back to meet your hips. Confusing I admit.
To place my hands in the right position on my oar, I balance the oar on my head. Yep, balance it so it is even. Then put your hands up so your arms make a 90 degree angle. That is the starting place for your hands. You may end up adjusting to compensate for paddling power but this is the start position.
Next imagine you have something absolutely disgusting hanging in a bag off the end of the paddle. Now you are going to paddle trying to keep that bag as far away from you as you can. Guess what that ends up translating to? High Elbows!! Another swim technique!
For paddling technique he told me to remember paddle close to the kayak to go straight. Paddle wide to turn. Close/straight. Wide/turn. He showed me all kinds of cool turning techniques that I had never known before. Not sure I can replicate them but he had me doing some pretty cool maneuvers across the river. Learned to stop fast and turn fast. I felt like such a badass kayaker, lol. We did NOT go near the rapids.
Turning the kayak ends up being a lot like turning your bike. My coaches constantly repeat that turning your bike comes from your core not from the handlebars. When I finally realized that I think my biking became a lot more smooth. If you try to control your bike turns with the handlebars that’s when you are a squirelly rider. Initiate turns by your lean and core. Dan was showing me that the proper paddle stroke comes from your core — the twist. I said that’s a lot like riding your bike AND swimming AND tennis. Everything starts from the core. It’s twisting your core that gives you momentum and controls direction. I was learning to use my legs too. I never used my legs when paddling before — you go so much faster!!
Finally Dan kept reminding me to lighten my grip. Since the steering is really coming from you core you don’t need a tight grip. Light fingers. “Aha” I said, “like playing the piano on your handlebars.” He looked at me strangely. “Never mind, just another coaching tip from my triathlon coach for keeping your fingers loose on your handlebars.”
My favorite part of the weekend was taking a nap under the oak tree in the back yard. Best workout of all.
Off to Lake Placid for the weekend. Going to cheer for my friends who are doing this crazy race called the Ironman. I feel kind of sad that I won’t be racing but considering I haven’t trained for anything in a long time, let’s just hope I can get through the spectating!
pics of my new car and bike rack.
AND I installed my new bike rack all by myself. Very proud of me (hope it holds the bikes!)
Was standing next to the barn to take pictures of the car so I snapped one of the barn too. That’s a heavy door. I always joke that I can kick the barn door open with my legs but I can’t pull it open with my arms. Mabye kayaking will give me stronger arms.