Trials and Thoughts

I’m back!

Trials have now officially been and gone and now the super long wait until November begins. What’s in November, you might ask? Another selection camp. A week before my birthday too.

For me, as I mentioned, the trials were basically non-existent. I watched on as the paddlers performed their bench marking that consisted of a weigh in, kettle bells, sit ups, chin ups, bench press, and a beep test. Was I impressed? Absolutely. These guys are doing tests that there’s simply no way I could do and I am insanely grateful that all of my tests are performed on water. I don’t think I could bench press a certain percentage of my body weight (Sorry guys, confidential information as to what the percentage is), even though I’m light as a feather. Could you imagine me trying to bench press something with my grass hopper arms? I doubt I’d be able to lift the bar alone without weights on it! These guys were bench pressing a whole Rach. A whole Rach. WHAT EVEN.

Did I dodge the weigh in this time? Betcha bottom dollar I did! Though I jumped on the two sets of scales any way (to get a an average of my weight) and I can happily report that I’m right where I need to be. I just need to maintain this weight for another 3 months (eeeek!) for the selection camp and the Australian Coach should be happy.

But therein lies the challenge. You see, just down the road from where I live is a pub that does fabulous vegan nachos and jugs of mojitos and I’m a sucker for a Mexican feast, and nachos in general. Which means I eat the whole plate and sweet baby Jesus are they amazing …   #NoSelfRestraint

But the next three months health wise are critical, and I confess I’ve been dropping the ball lately. It’s going to take about three months for me to really get things back on track – that’s getting everything back into shape; my diet, eliminating 95% of alcohol from day-to-day life, figuring out how to get my sleep schedule back in order, getting back into a regular training regime, and working out my own off water training to make myself more appealing at the selection camp, and getting my mental health in check too (a great mind set is important!). I might throw in a massage every 3 weeks to keep my body in check, and I’ve implemented “Self-Care Sunday” where I sit down and do one to two things to really pay attention to myself.

Keeping healthy is key for any paddler, drummer or sweep. It’s important that we don’t burn ourselves out, so listening to our body is critical. Often we get so caught up in our training schedules that we don’t do this and this is where things start to get dangerous. It can lead to injury and sickness and time off from the sport and indeed from work respectively.

So how do we do this? How do we listen to our bodies? Before and after training sessions, looking after ourselves is a must. Nourishing our bodies with the right food is where is all begins. My Mum, or Mama K as she’s known as, always used to tell me that my body is like a car and food is fuel. The better the fuel, the better the performance of the car. Or in this case, the paddler. As much as I love my vegan nachos, I’m not going to get far on them when I’m in the boat because it’s just empty energy. Nuts, lean meat, plenty of fruit and veg, and hydration is key. Sounds simple, right? You’d be surprised how often I forget the hydration part. There’s still room for the occasional treat, but it’s all about moderation.
Stretching is just as important, but stretching correctly. Stretching before and after racing/training is a must to obviously avoid injury and warm up the body accordingly. Listening to your body in the boat is key too – if your body is hurting in a way that is hasn’t before, easing off is a good thing. And afterwards, the right recovery is important too. Baths, massages, physiotherapy if needed, compression gear … These are all useful things. I alone could pretty much keep Lush in business with the amount of bath bombs I buy fortnightly.

Three months might seem like a long time to stay focused, and in the back of my mind it feels like it’ll be an eternity. But the new dragonboat season is just kicking off next week, which means we’re back to on water training three times a week, with the first regatta coming up on the 11th September and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s my first season down here in Melbourne and I’m eager to see how different it is compared to Canberra. The first difference already is that you get to go away for regattas – The first one isn’t in Docklands, it’s in Geelong I think, so I’m packing my stuff and some mates into a car and road tripping it to Geelong for the day! Kind of excited 🙂
I’ll definitely keep you guys posted about the regattas and provide some pictures.

Ok, I think I’ve rambled enough for this morning!

Until next time,

Rach x

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