Jindabyne FLowing Fesitval

As the annual Jinabyne Flowing Festival rolled around, an excited bunch of Komodo troops made their way down the windey roads and through the mountains to arrive at a pristine lake, ready to paddle their hearts out. We were greeted by absolutely breathtaking water – algae free and so clear that you could drink it on the start line alongside stellar weather to boot.

Once settled into Banjo Pattersons, the troops had some non alcoholic beverages and some good old fashioned team bonding, before making their way across the road for the first afternoon of racing – the twilight 2000m races. Were they really 2000m, we asked? The simple answer was no. But what we do know, is that the Komodo spirit ran high in all crews across the 1800m turn races.

And what an 1800 meters it was!

The womens, Mixed and opens crew set off towards the back of fleet, ready to chase down all the boats ahead of them in the “2km” races. We were pumped, we were committed and we were HUNGRY.

Sandi took control of the Womens and mixed race with excellent results, with both crews dominating their races. Both crews had strong starts and were hungry from the get go. The corners were tight, the big tens were massive and the bow waves were bigger and both crews powering home like no tomorrow. Sandi drove both crews hard, and she pulled some stellar moves on the back while going around some tricky turns in the bathtub boats. The Mixed and womens crew looked strong and they held their composition throughout both races.

Silky took the opens out for a sneaky 2km race. Silky, best knows for his ability to steer in a straight line in questionable conditions, was slightly put off by the perfect weather,  but we thought we’d test his skills by throwing in some cheeky turns for him anyway. The result? A+++. Silky guided the opens crew around those turns and held excellent lines. He kept the crew focused and discipled throughout the race and the crew finished strong. Silky just earned himself more time at the back of the boat sweeping because he did so well! What can’t he do?!

The Komodo group looked strong from the shore. I have it on good authority from a supporter on the sideline that other teams were intimidated by our power. They were amazed by our composition! The term “those bloody Komodos….” may have been thrown around a couple of times too, but you know what … That was nothing compared to what we had in the tank for day two.

But I digress. If there is one thing Komodo know how to do other than race, it was to party, and little did I know that those who train hard, party harder. We started off with a lovely team dinner followed by a few drinks in the bar. A few?! Oh boy, whatever we drank that night surely caught up with us the morning after.

7NIOr+McQc6OiZ6Ow8HO4Q

The next day was the 200m splash and dash. But where was Hammer?!  We had many sore heads, and gurgling stomachs at the tent but  …. Hammer was nowhere to be found. Man down, we cried! But alas, the show must go on. A few phone calls, and a few sharpie scribbles over configs later, and we had a startled Hammer on his way to the racecourse. Komodo, however, seem to perform well under pressure and were completely unphased by the last minute change. We clapped ceremoniously as Hammer strided past the tent and straight into marshalling. Crisis averted.

Our first 200m turned out to be a little bit more than that … Old mate at the finishing line decided that the perfect time to go and grab a coffee was at beginning of the regatta, leaving our Komodo crew racing a rather discipled 300m race. We sailed well past the finish line while the people at tent on the shore realised in horror that there was no one to sound the finishing line horn. “STOP!!!!” People were screaming from the sideline. Did we listen? Of course not. We’re disciplined.  We listen only to our sweep. And we raced a solid 300m race before calling it a day while the other crews followed on in confusion. At least we didn’t have to paddle that far back to the loading dock …

The windy picked up in typical Jindabybe fashion making conditions out on the water absolutely crazy. There were waves, and boats struggling to get out of the loading dock, and all sorts of shenanigans happening during the races. Did We care? Hell no.  We ran every race exactly as we planned. We had experienced sweeps on the back of the bathtub boats who guided us beautifully through the water, despite the wind trying to take the boats in a completely different direction. They say the 2km races are a sweeps race, but these conditions definitely kept our sweeps on their toes and they performed marvellously.

In between races, we relaxed to tunes on the bluetooth speaker. Kiera decided that it was hard work being stretched out on the ground, and enlisted the help of the team to put on her additional layers of clothing without leaving the comfort of the ground. And Hammer? Well, he redeemed himself but bring a hammer and nailing our tent firmly to the ground so it didn’t end up on the lake.

Kiera and Acaia chased around virtually every puppy they saw for pats, and they were not disappointed by the calibre of dogs that Jindabyne had on offer. Did they boop the snoot of the fluffiest doggo there? Yeah they did. And then they smashed out a stellar race straight after in the ladies race.

The womens crew was serenaded by Sandi singing “Summer Holiday” through the Cox Box as she guided the boat through the waves and back into the loading dock, which hardly proved to be a challenge.  If there’s one thing we love as Komodos, it’s a challenge.

We had brilliant results across the board, and were rewarded with some beautiful bling to add to our collection. After that, a weary group of Komodo made their way back to Canberra. What an adventure!

The main takeaways fro Jindabyne were simple. As a crew, we were getting stronger by the minute. We perform well under pressure and there’s not a challenge that we will ever shy away from. It was a great weekend with an even better bunch of people with a million stories to tell. Now …. Who is excited for Nationals?!

Advertisements

Thats a wrap for 2018!

So the end of the year has rapidly drawn to a close, as so with it the first half of the regatta season. It’s been a little while since I updated this page on regattas and paddling, but now it’s Christmas/New Year holidays, I finally find myself with some time on my hands! Hooray!

Our last regatta was just before Christmas and was 10’s boat racing in 500m distance, in scorching hot weather. I’ll tell you one thing, I forgot how brutal the summer regattas were in Canberra. In Melbourne we were always blessed to have fancy race courses with plenty of shade, or plenty of tents to share between the team. Here in Canberra, he race course doesn’t have a lot of shade and our team is too big for one tent! It was about 33oC the day of the regatta and I usually deal with heat quite well but I forgot how dry Canberra heat was!

But I digress. Let me tell you about the regatta first.

As the sun rose, and the wind fluttered across the water, we were an excited bunch of Komodo’s who were ready to take on a days worth of 500m racing. 10’s crews in 20’s boats is always a hard slog, but we came well equipped with strength, energy and determination. The conditions were simply glorious too – completely flat water that was a great temperature which made for a relaxed day of racing. In this regatta I only paddled one crew (Womens) and the drummed in the Mixed Green crew – My first time drumming with Komodo!

Broken up into Masters and Prems crews for a bit of fun and inner-club rivalry, we took to the water with force and gave the other crews a mere taste of what they can expect of us come Nationals in April 2019.

Flying off the start, the Komodo mixed, women’s and opens crews dominated the field and were boat lengths ahead of the other crews in many of their races. We reached out, drove deep and sat up hard, giving the boats plenty of speed and power. From the sidelines, each boat simply glided across the water with ease, with everyone thumping their paddles into the water in unison. There were smiles all round, plenty of fist bumps and cheers from the crews as they came off the water after smashing each of our races.

And then came the finals ….

Two women’s crews battled it out side by side for first and second place, finishing with a mere breath between the two crews at the finish line. The two dragonheads played leapfrog with each other throughout the race with the Prems crew coming in first by 0.307 of a second a head of Komodo White. The ladies were absolutely elated with the results and the footage from the last 100m of the race was nail biting – it could have been anyone’s race!

The opens crew battled it out to take first place in the A and B final, edging out Southern Warratahs and Navmat respectively.  The opens crew showed incredible strength and determination throughout each of their races and never gave up without putting up a hell of a fight. They’re going to be a force to be reckoned with come Nationals in April.

In the mixed final there were three Komodo boats battling it out for glory, all sider by side. Mixed Blue, White and Green (the crew I was drumming) all shimmied up to the start line, ready to battle it out within the club. All crews nailed the start, but it was my crew, Green, who simply flew down the race course, completely in sync  with one another and we took out first place. Mixed Blue came in second, and Mixed white in third respectively giving Komodo the mixed final trifecta! Apparently, my coach said she could hear me from her boat during the final, so I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing a lot more drumming within the club now they know that’s where my strength lie.

Admittedly, I was disheartened to be on the drum again after paddling for so long, but once I was perched on the drummers seat it was like my second home and I remembered why I love drumming.

Truthfully, I’d be happy to drum at Nationals. I would love to paddle a couple of races just to say that I’ve paddled one Nationals in my life, but we all know I’m very competitive so I like to be in charge of the fierce crews!

After racing wrapped up we had our team Christmas party – there were hot chicken rolls, salads, dips, chips and drinks ready to feed a bunch of hungry paddlers. The sun was scorching hot and the beers were ice cold as we all sat down and reflected on the first half of the season.  You can’t beat a visit from Santa and some chilled out beach tunes playing the background.  I totally got sunburnt and got a headache from dehydration (my own fault) but it was totally worth it. Bless Aloe Vera gel ….

Now we’re on a break for another week before we ramp up the training into the critical part of the season. I feel terrible that I can really only get to training two times a week but with a sick animal at home I just can’t make morning sessions. I think I’ll try and talk to my coach about how best to tackle the second half of the season as I don’t want to be left out.

We have our next solo dragonboat paddle (UGH!) and ERG Bench testing coming up in February. That means I essentially have 4 weeks of solid gym work to build up some muscles so I get better result than what I had last time. My ERG was OK based on my body weight, but I’m sure my solo paddle was terrible – I’m dreading having to do that again because I barely made it through the first time.

So that’s it for 2018. In 2019 we have the Jindabyne Flowing Festival to look forward to which is always my favourite regatta of the season so I’m really excited to have that to look forward to. There’s another regatta in a few weeks as well so starting to get prepared for that as well.

Fingers crossed everything goes well for us in the second half of the season!

Open day: a stroke of genius

Last Sunday Komodo held its annual open day, where we invite a whole bunch of super fun and enthusiastic rookies to come out for a paddle and see what dragonboating is all about.

The weather probably could have been better – it was windy, grey and cold and I …. well, let’s just say I was under the weather and it was self inflicted.

Still! I turned up and I figured that i would just chill out in the back of the boat so I could be there and participate but go at my own pace.

And then it happened. I was nominated to stroke. Awwww yiss. Dream come true to stroke a full boat! So I thought I’d give it a crack and honestly I had a blast!

For starters it is a different feeling paddling in seat 1 LOOKING at the drum and hearing it bang, as opposed to being perched at the front banging the drum. I realised how much I really need that support from the drummer and the feedback and the role that the drummer plays in the grand scheme of things.

So I jumped in seat one with my amazing bench buddy, Kerrie, and she was absolutely amazing. She was our lead stroke and she was so amazing to follow – I did my best to mimic her stroke and to execute the technique points she was giving me as feedback.

When we stopped for a break, Thea asked me if I’d ever stroked before. “Never” I replied and she yelled across to the other boat to tell chicki that I was a good stroke. I was getting  the length for sure. But I still have a lot to work on…. such as not flailing in high speed scenarios and drenching the person behind me (I am SO sorry Deb!).

323ED5CC-79F5-4463-855C-AB68C3AB7C9F

That’s me on the front left hand side of the boat on the right. Dying. Casually.

01769E8C-3F2E-471C-B738-97A114F43E19

Pics or it didn’t happen right?! There I am again!

we did some drills and some long paddles to demonstrate what the paddling life and training sessions were all about. Chicki with her megaphone yelled at me “get the sit up Rach!” So I sit up … then through the megaphone “fuck yes that’s it’s!” – so that’s something else to work on clearly hehe!

Such an amazing experience! We finished off with a couple of races once we got across the choppy bay – that was an adventure too! The boat was rocking around and we were getting drenched from the waves coming over the nose of the boat. My first instinct was to stop paddling and panic but that’s not really something you can do when you’re seat one – you’re like the captain….if anything happens you go down with the ship! (But you save your drummer!). So that happened … but we survived!

68ECCCAD-99FA-4B04-B707-F76638613C0D

What a fun day! I hope we get some people to come back and join us on the water.

Coming up next is our 500m regatta being held this Saturday, followed by a double training session on the Sunday. I did my first session on the erg on Tuesday night which killed me, but I’m keen to see where I’ll end up in the boat during the regatta on Saturday. I would be stoked to end up in seat 2/3 again but we will have to see what happens.

I don’t expect to stroke at regattas because we have 2 auroras paddlers who are absolute diamonds in seat 1. I was watching them paddle yesterday morning and was like “I have so much to learn…”

my goal is to have my old coach from Melbourne see me paddle at nationals next year … hopefully towards the front of the boat!

anyway, until next time … paddles up!

 

Regatta one: fellowship of the lizard

Last weekend was regatta 1 of the Canberra regatta season and also my first time racing with my new club, Komodo. As if that wasn’t a big enough deal, it was also my first regatta as an actual paddler.

I know what you’re thinking … how, in 7 years, does someone avoid paddling? I suppose my other clubs kept me drumming because I was light enough and I enjoyed it. But in this new club everyone does everything so maybe I’ll even learn to sweep soon!

I rocked up to the regatta with my paddle, my yoga mat, and I bag full of clothes … what does a paddler wear? What do they eat? How often to they change out of wet clothes? It’s all completely new for me.

We set up the tent and the configs were released – I was in 7 races! I was in one 2km race (women’s, seat 10) and in 6 x 200m races (Mixed – seat 2/3 and women’s seat 10).

I was so nervous before the 2km race but it flew past! The water was choppy and we started last chasing 2 boats. We managed to overtake one boat and close the gap close enough to push the other boat back into second place! I have never been so exhausted in my life – that 2km race took it out of me completely and I felt so sick after I got off the water but I was elated that I’d done my first race!

15160DCC-0A21-4027-8E6C-7F490A7948BA.jpeg

Look at me! Seat 10 on the left! Woohoo!

the 200m races were an absolute blur. They were back to back races so I spent most of my time in marshalling and waiting to jump back in the boat. As soon as they started they were over again! The 200m races were over in under 2 minutes and I felt completely wrecked afterwards but honestly I was on such a high by the time I got back to the shore.

986B6046-2D54-4308-BBCA-A38EF30A6F8B.jpeg

Look at that grin. I love this photo so much! It really emphasises how much fun I had on the day and that was pretty much the goal of the day. I’m so glad there was someone documenting the day because it actually captures my first time as a paddler really well!

can you believe it? I’m a paddler now. I will have to do bench marking and training and it’s going to be a very long and hard road leading up to nationals next year but my goal is to paddle my first nationals next year and I have my work cut out for me. Lots of bench testing and erg tests and gym work.

The next regatta is next weekend so be prepared for another update after I hopefully paddle again!

Bring it on!

China recap!

GUYS … I know you’re wondering what the hell happened to me because I haven’t posted for months but honestly, the whole China trip was so full on that by the time I got home and moved interstate I completely forgot to update you all! But I’m going to take some time and do it now, so get a cup of tea or a glass of wine because this will be a super long post. Also, apologies for any typos. I’m doing this update from my phone and we all know how iPhones love a good autocorrect ….

So, let’s cast our minds back to October last year … almost a year ago to the day! Wow, where did the time go right? I flew out of Melbourne with quite a number of fellow Auroras and after a quick stop over in Thailand (and a cheeky airport massage) we arrived in China. I honestly have no idea what I was expecting but my first thoughts when I arrived were that it was super smoggy, super busy and the traffic was 100% insane! But I was so excited to be in China and on our way to Kunming!

After a bus ride from the airport we arrived at our little hotel and let me tell you this – Kunming is gorgeous. It’s this quaint little city with gorgeous and traditional shop fronts, little stalls that sell bao and dumplings, botanical gardens and is filled with people on bicycles and local legends. It was so picturesque! Our hotel was so sweet too – not super flash by any means but it was delightfully traditional. It had this cute little zig zag bridge across a pond that we had to trek across every morning for breakfast which also had traditional Chinese music playing from speakers, making it a super tranquil environment. Just what an athlete needs!

E55314CD-83C8-47E4-A235-9C9F0E48E375.jpeg

Isn’t Kunming beautiful? That photo was taken on our walk from the hotel to the cute little shops as we trekked to get food before we visited the race course on the first day. And look! No smog!

The race course looked amazing, and by the time we all got to China they had figured out the problem with the water quality. Well, mostly. Our coach still insisted that we paddle with clear glasses on to protect our eyes which we did but overall it looked much better than the neon green patch of water we saw photos of 10 weeks before we left!

We had so much fun at the opening ceremony too – there were traditional dancers, performers, musicians, a parade and … TV cameras everywhere! Yep, you read that right – the entire thing was broadcast on national Chinese television so you can imagine that we had to get used to having tv cameras around us pretty quick smart!

54AE4D99-BA48-4EDB-A224-1D87885E831C.jpeg

I don’t really remember too much of the racing, because it was all a blur of competition. I was on the Opens and the Mixed B crew. Unfortunately we didn’t win any medals but our women’s crew absolutely smashed it and came home with 2 bronze. Our opens crew came between 4th and 6th which was an absolutely stellar result considering we were up against teams like China, Thailand, USA and Canada. The racing was truly intense. The whole atmosphere was intense!

I have two truly vivid memories from China. The first was sitting out on the start line with the opens 10s crew in the pouring rain for 10 minutes. I was wet, I was freezing and the boys were trying hard to stay warm before the race. I remember water literally streaming down my face and seeing a collection on ponchos and umbrellas amongst all the locals who came out to watch the races.

My second vivid memory was after racing wrapped up and my coach pulled me aside and presented me with a spare medal to recognise all the hard work that I had put into the campaign. Although o didn’t win the medal racing I won it by applying myself to the campaign and I was absolutely honoured to receive it. It’s a beautiful memory and a wonderful addition to my collection of medals that adorn my living room!

The closing ceremony was all broadcast too and it was extremely different to the closing ceremony and after party in Canada. Again it was all televised so they spared no expense with the performers and musicians to close off competition. I also tried my first Chinese beer at the after party which was surprisingly sweet. I’m not a beer drinker but I’m partial to local alcohol. Except rice wine. Haha!

I wished I had more to tell you about racing but since I’m posting this a year after the event, I confess I barely remember anything. I remember spending a lot of time in marshalling and I remember the drums on the boats being really small and quiet. I remember the cameras zooming around the athlete tents and spending my time on the sidelines singing “how far I’ll go” from Moana which seemed to always be playing on the speakers in the morning. I remember sitting opposite the Japanese team in the village and spending all my money on Merch. I remember wearing palmy’s massive rain jacket and sweating up a storm.  I remember silly little things that probably don’t mean anything to anyone other than my team mates. Perhaps that is the beauty of it though … it was literally like being in a different world for 10 or so days and once racing wrapped up it all seemed very surreal.

D428EEFC-4033-49F3-94A6-D0443EDBA7CF.jpeg

You might be wondering what we did after racing wrapped up. About 8 of us from Melbourne flew across to Beijing and went and saw the Great Wall of China and the terracotta warriors. We crammed a lot into 5 days and it was absolutely amazing. Climbing the Great Wall was a massive challenge. I’ve never experienced anything like it. We started off in the unrestored section before making our way to part of the restored section. Silly me, I forgot to pack my sneakers so I was attempting to climb the Great Wall in bloody paddling shoes which was one of the first of many mistakes climbing that wall! My second mistake was not wearing proper attire and my third mistake was how much bloody water I was carrying around. Still. I did it! I can tick that off my bucket list now. After we finished we went and had the most amazing food I have ever eaten at a banquet of traditional Chinese dishes with jasmine tea. We sat around with our tour guide swapping stories and I got him to also translate the ring I’ve had on my finger since about year 10. It means Fu which translates to blessings. Very cool right! It was a such a hard day physically and mentally but it all worked out.

1693F8ED-5EC2-4B44-9BBE-77520B3B2D64.jpeg

After that we boarded a plane and went to see the terracotta warriors which was a massive highlight for me! I’ve waited my whole life to go and see them and honestly they were nothing short of amazing. It was fascinating to see the pieces of the warriors in various states and how each warrior was completely unique – same with the horses too. I learned that every hairstyle had a certain meaning and you could tell the rank of a warrior based off what they were wearing and how their hair was styled. I was a little bit unwell that day but I’m grateful I was well enough to still go on the trip and see the amazing wonder of the world.

0D7D1C68-2513-44D5-994C-7C4A1F23DFD4

So there you have it! That was China! Pretty amazing adventure right?

Now I’m back home and I’ve moved from Melbourne to Canberra. I’ve left my beautiful melbourne Flames family behind and I’ve joined the Komodo paddle club here in the ACT. You can expect more updates on this blog because Komodo are letting me paddle which I’ve not really done much of in the 7 years of doing this sport! So expect plenty more updates and new stories as I prepare myself for nationals which are being held in April 2019 in Canberra.

Let’s do this!

 

 

The countdown

Reality is officially starting to sink in. We’re a mere 10 days out from departure.

In my room in front of the wardrobe is a line of bags and suitcases ready for travel. One bag is packed for the camp in Sydney this weekend. One bag is full of snacks for the plane and competition and the last is my suitcase 90% packed for China.

I’m nervous. Not about the competition, strangely enough, even though that’s the reason I’m going. I’m nervous about traveling to a country that doesn’t speak English and where simple things like food and water can make me sick.

My mother has told me things about traveling in China that has just instilled this fear within me that I can’t seem to shake … She’s told me things like, “Don’t drink the tap water, but be careful buying bottled water because they fill it up with tap water and reseal it” for example, which has just freaked me right out. It’s bad enough that I will be doing a water sport where I get flicked in the face and mouth with dirty Chinese water, let alone stressing too about the “safe” bottled water I’ll be drinking. I feel like nothing is safe over there and I’m going to get incredibly sick incredibly soon after landing which is going to be awful during competition.

My suitcase, at this stage, is 50% clothing, and 50% safety. What is safety? It’s basically food and medicine. Apparently where we are competing there are a lack of resources in terms of supermarkets and pharmacies, so I’m literally taking everything with me. Clothing wise, I’ll deal. I’ll make do with what I have for the regatta and traveling otherwise and be happy with it. But the one thing I can’t afford to leave behind is what will keep me alive for 2 weeks. I’ve got everything I can think of … GastroStop, Buscopan, TravelCalm, charcoal tablets, electrolyte powder, antibiotics, as well as basic first aid equipment. I’ve got snacks and meal replacement shakes which won’t last for 2 weeks but it’ll reduce the number of meals I have to consume over there.

Somehow, back in 2012, I managed to survive 4 days in Cambodia without falling terribly ill. This was taking absolute extreme caution, to the point where I wasn’t even putting my face in shower water. I’m repeating this process for China, but what’s out of my control is how much water I ingest whilst racing. It’s fine for all the paddlers – they’ll be wearing altitude masks so that will block out the water they ingest. But for the sweeps and drummers, we are exposed and I’ve heard that the quality of the water we are meant to be paddling on was so bad they had to drain the lake.

DRAIN THE MOTHERFLIPPING LAKE. How do you even drain a LAKE?!

I am literally so stressed. I don’t do well when I have gastro … I’m not a big person so when I’m sick, I dehydrate really quickly and lose a lot of weight. The last time I had terrible gastro here at home I ended up at home in the emergency department getting re-hydrated via 4 IV bags of fluid, and needles to stop me from being sick. I lost a truckload of weight and was weak for days. How exactly am I meant to deal with this on my own when I’m abroad and everything will make me sick? What am I meant to eat? We’re in Kunming which lacks Western food – rather they have the traditional foods like chicken feet noodle soup etc. which I will not be caught dead consuming.  We’ve also been told that vegetarian options are limited over there, which is what I was going to eat, but then I’ve been told not to consume anything that’s been cooked or washed in water. Which I’m going to hazard a guess will be …. vegetables. So am I living off rice for 2 weeks? (Rice is cooked in water though soooooo …..) I am literally stressing about basic standards of living over there.

I’ll have zero communication with family and friends over there because all social media is banned, so I can’t check in on Facebook, or Instagram and let people know I’m OK. Besides which, I’ve been told that even though we’ve got internet, chances are it’s not going to work so not to rely on it for anything.

I absolutely do NOT want to go anymore. I’m terrified. I just want it to be November already where I’ll be home hopefully safe and sound and this whole experience will be behind me. I don’t know how I ever thought I’d be able to survive this …. I think that I had hoped I’d grown up since traveling to Cambodia, but truthfully I’m just as anxious and scared as I was in 2012.

The competition itself doesn’t phase me. As far as I’m concerned, we’ve all put in the hard yards training and the results will be what they’ll be. Personally, I’m not expecting to come home with any medals, given that our competition is intense. The caliber of racing is going to be in a completely different league to anything I’ve ever experienced before, which will be great to experience I guess. It’s just everything around it that’s going to be HARD.

I can’t afford to get sick over there, I really can’t. I’ve lost track of how much money I’ve spent on my portable pharmacy and vaccinations and “normal” food.  But there’s only so much I can take with me and sooner or later my supplies will run out and I’m going to have to rely on the local food and beverages to survive. I’m going to have to risk the re-sealed bottled water because I’m not touching a tap over there except to shower.  I think Beijing will be slightly better than Kunming, and we’re staying at a high class hotel over there so I have a feeling we’ll be looked after a little bit better than in Kunming. But the fact is that I still have to survive 9 days in Kunming, and I honestly have no idea how hard that is going to be. I’m contemplating more meal replacement shakes, but then I run into the issue of finding water to make them because there are no supermarkets when I use all the ones I’ll buy at the airport.

God help me. It’s all too stressful.

You’re probably thinking I’m over reacting …. Everyone I talk to tells me I’ll be fine and it’ll be so much fun but I’m just not convinced. I want to be, and I wish I could be the “roll with the punches” kind of traveler, but the fact is I can’t stand it when I can’t control my health. Like, if I get a cold, that’s OK. I can roll with that because I know it’ll last 2-3 days and I’ll be feeling crap but then I’ll come good, no harm done. But when you have food poisoning or gastro, you have no control over your stomach, your bowels, or how long it’ll go for and that’s what I can’t deal with. I’m freaking out because it’s something I know I can’t avoid and it’s something I can’t control.

SEND HELP.

Ok, let’s focus on something else …. This Friday morning I fly to Sydney for our second last camp. The camp runs all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday and then I’ll fly home on Sunday night. We’re expected to do plenty of on water training as a team, as well as the standard dinner together while we have a look at video footage taken throughout the day.

I’ll be getting up around 4am on Friday morning (or possibly pulling an all nighter like tonight and simply not sleeping since I dont get sleepy these days. YAY INSOMNIA. I’ll need to be at the airport around 5am then my flight leaves at 6am. So it’ll be an early morning and a late finish that day.

I’m staying in Sydney with my coach and head coach as well as Darren, so that’s kind of stressing me out too because I’m just not a people person when I’m stressed. And I have external things in my life which are adding to my stress as well so I think I’m going to find it really hard to stop for 3 days and concentrate purely on dragonboating. But I have to. For the next 4 weeks essentially I need to be living and breathing dragonboating, and optimism and positivity and I bet that you can tell from the start of this post already that I have ZERO zen right now.

Anyway, after flying home Sunday night, it’s another week of work until my last camp starts on Friday morning. I then fly out with some of my team mates, departing at 12:30am on the 15th October.

12:30am. UGH. I’m a particularly bad sleeper as I mentioned before. Terrible insomnia …. Takes me forever to fall asleep and when I DO sleep, I have to be in complete darkness and silence and stillness  …. All of which does NOT happen for 10 hours on an aircraft. So, I guess I’m pulling one of many all nighters of my trip. At least it won’t be too hard to adapt to the Chinese time zone? I don’t know. I don’t sleep these days so goodness knows what time zone my body clock runs on.

Speaking of sleep … This has been a 1am sleepless stressed update.  I’m off to doze on the couch next to the guinea pig until my alarm goes off in 4 hours.

10 days to go …

 

 

 

Training Updates

Training in Melbourne during winter might not be as unpleasant as training in Canberra, but it’s still cold, miserable, grey and wet.

Here’s a picture of me freezing my ass off on the front of the boat training last weekend!

IMG_0526

Hope the weather is better in your neck of the woods!

43 Days to go!