Everything in life is a challenge if you aren't good at it or don’t know what you’re doing. The catch is that in order to master anything at some point you have to take that first step and try it.
New adventures and activities can be very humbling and my latest task proved no different. Inspired by my good friend from Slovenia and the great ladies that are part of Team A.W.E. I decided to try out the sport of Paracanoe. I packed my blazer up and drove 1200 miles to Seattle with my puppy in the passenger seat. I knew when I left that it was very likely to be tough and that there was a real possibility I would not be good at all. Thing is, "You can’t win if you don’t try" so I was going to give it a solid attempt.
I spent a total of 6 days on the water at Green Lake with Robert Picardo and Vadim Kin from the Seattle Canoe and Kayak Club (SCKC). My first day was almost comical as I completely embarrassed myself. I had been traveling for lots of hours with very little sleep and my body was not happy. Vadim and I spent some time setting the boat up so I could try to paddle and no sooner did I get away from the dock, and trying to stay balanced than I was tipped over and taking a swim. The air temp was about 63°F and the water a whopping 55°F. It wouldn’t have been so embarrassing if a former US Canoe/Kayak team member hadn’t been there on the dock to watch the whole thing and then I was so worn out and cold that I couldn’t stop shivering enough to get back in the boat. Not the start I was looking for, but I’ve never been easily deterred, so I showed up the next day to try again.
All but one of the days I was on the water I tipped over and had to swim back to the dock or shore with my boat and paddle in hand. Sometimes it was a long swim and the water didn’t warm up. My drive to improve kept me going and motivated me to get back in the boat cold and wet whether it was sunny or rainy. My boat handling skills progressed and was assured that I have potential to be a good racer. I might not be ready to enter a regatta tomorrow but I got better each and every day.
I was brave enough to try and I might have just found a new sport!