Sunday, December 08, 2019

2019 Challenge Plus

Got in another 11 miles towards my 2019 goal yesterday with my friend Ilene. It was a pretty day but a little breezy; I'd originally looked for people to paddle with me to Dead Horse Bay and back, but the northwest wind wasn't quite west enough for the shore to give the protection I'd hoped for, so rather than a long slog back against the wind, we did both arms of Mill Basin. Ordinarily that's around 10 miles, which was what I'd hoped to do, but we ran into a couple of other paddlers, one of whom was trying out a new drysuit. They were going around Canarsie Pol, so we started out paddling with them to the island before heading for Floyd Bennett Field, so that added a little extra distance, and then there's this little bay in between the two arms of Mill Basin, and Ilene suggested we paddle the edge of that, as we were enjoying looking at the of homes (interesting mix, there are some basic bungalows and then mansions in all sorts of styles from modernistic concrete boxes with giant windows to Italianate rococo fantasies).

When I measured it out last night, that came to 11 miles for the day, which leaves me with 33.5 miles to my self-imposed 2019 paddling goal of 300 miles.

That's not really that many miles compared to what some people do (and even compared to what I've done in more active years), but I like round numbers and when I got back from my November 23rd trip and realized that I was approaching 250 miles, I figured that 300 would be a good target for the end of the year, doable but requiring a little extra effort on my part. Good for getting me to pry myself off the couch and away from the Christmas cookies a little more than I might otherwise manage, right?

Theoretically, I could now get to 300 using the 3 remaining weekends in December, but that would require some serious cooperation from the weather gods, who are fickle this time of year (and seriously can't be challenged), so instead I'm taking Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday off this week. All 3 of those days are looking good for some paddling. My plan right now is to paddle 10+ miles each day on 2 of those, probably Wednesday and Thursday and then join a friend to do a Jamaica Bay boat team for the Audubon Society's annual Christmas Bird Count. Not something I've ever participated in before, but it sounds like a pretty neat thing to be a part of. The course my friend described should be another 10 miles, or close to it anyways - and then if there's any left to do I can definitely (knock wood) wrap that up with one more paddle.

So here's an embarrassing admission for somebody who's supposed to be a good paddler -- I've never actually tracked my miles before this year. When I was more involved in the British Canoe Union instruction, the thing I was always the worst about was keeping logbooks. You were supposed to log your paddling and I've just never been good about diaries - when I was a kid, I was occasionally give a diary, and none ever went more than a few days. In fact given my journal-keeping track record, I'm a little astounded that this blog has endured as long as it has - coming up on 14 years old this coming January! I guess actually writing something with the intent of sharing it makes all the difference - lots more fun than writing down your gloomy teenaged thoughts in a book you stick in a drawer and hope your parents never read. Anyways, I did make efforts at keeping a log because that was part of the deal, but even when I was doing that I wasn't keeping a running total.

But I have felt, in the last couple of years, like I haven't been paddling as much as I want to. 2016 was the year after cancer. I started that year out in chemo, so that year I totally gave myself a break. Figured I would get my act back together the next year. In 2017, somebody in the Church of the Double Bladed Paddle Facebook group proposed the "2017 Challenge", suggesting members try to paddle at least 201.7 miles that year. They set up a spreadsheet for participants to track themselves. The racers in the group had no trouble with that at all - I think the first to complete 201.7 miles was this amazing lady who lives in Australia, she'd wrapped it up by early March, and then lots of others came in throughout the rest of the year.

I looked at that, thought "What a good idea, I should do that" and then just didn't. And to this day I don't know if I paddled 201.7 miles in 2017. I thought about it and didn't do it again in 2018.

But this year I got a special treat in kicking off my paddling season in Florida! Usually Sebago welcomes in the New Year with a January 1st Frostbite Paddle, but this year began with a day of high winds, so the paddle was called off and we just gathered for potluck and cameraderie in the clubhouse. So my first paddle of the year was with friends who winter on Anna Maria Island, and my second was with my sister and my dad in the canal behind the VRBO that my folks had rented as part of a fantastic celebration of my mom's 80th birthday. We enjoyed it so much we're doing it again this year, I'm really looking forward to it.

Anyways, neither of those ended up being very long, but they were both so much fun that it occurred to me to actually write them down in a small notebook I had lying around and started adding up my mileage as the year went by, with the idea of doing my own private 2019 challenge and seeing how long it took me to get to 201.9 miles. I hit that mark on September 22nd, and by then I was well into a habit of writing things down in this little book and just kept going.

So I hope I'm not cursing myself by saying this but I'm looking forward to sharing the day I get to 300 miles!

More pix from Saturday - I don't go quite as photo crazy when I'm paddling with a friend who's a strong paddler as I do when I'm by myself or with someone who likes a more relaxed pace, but it was a pretty day and of course I grabbed a few!


Diane Stringam Tolley said...

Gorgeous shots!
I am in awe of people who, when the cold weather hits, just soldier on. I could easily log my paddle mileage (or, as my daughter says, Paddage) on one hand. Even one finger. I am quite jealous of your access to things watery and wavy. we have to travel some. And those water bodies are small enough that one shore is easily glimpsed from the opposite.

Haralee said...

Great goals. Going out in winter should count as double miles! You are an inspiration.

Karen BakingInATornado said...

Hoping you make it.

bonnie said...

Thanks all!

Of course part of posting about this here is that now I'll (hopefully) be less inclined to just roll over and go back to sleep on Wednesday and Thursday. :D