A few days ago I was following some of Jane McKee’s recent adventures and channel crossings when I noticed Sean Sweet mentioned her as a “Living legend.” I imagine Jane is simply doing what her heart and soul inspires her to – while having a ton of fun. I wondered, and asked Jane, “Who are some other living legends who have influenced or inspired you lately?”
Jane replied with this fascinating summary from an inspiring waterwoman, “I just love being on the water. And I love racing! Racing forces me to be a better version of myself, not just physically, but mentally. There is something about pushing your body beyond its comfort level that helps you better able to deal with difficult situations in other parts of your life.
Racing has a meditative effect. When you are out there for hours, you sort through all kinds of things. Sometimes emotional pain is worse than physical pain so I know if I can go out and be on the water, in any capacity, my worries will sort out. It’s like they say, salt water heals. So paddling has a much deeper meaning for me.
Some people that have inspired me would be my friend Nappy Napolean, who still paddles well into his seventies. He just loves to paddle! And he is such a great ambassador for the sport. I think the fountain of youth is to keep moving, and he is a classic example of what you can do.
Jane seemed to excel in so many disciplines throughout 2018. I wondered why she loves each of them each and asked for a hierarchy of how each might serve to cross train the over age 50 water athlete.
Jane shared this: I had a really good OC1 season this year. I never came in less than third place overall in our winter series, including the M2M, Molokai to Oahu one man relay with partner Alan Goo-Frasier, and Olukai races.
I came in 8th out of 24 in the Molo solo and won two M2M races on the one man this summer. I also participate in the Hawaiian Sailing Canoe Racing series with Team Hui Nalu. We sail the entire main Hawaiian Island chain over the course of the summer. I have been canoe sailing for 18 years and it is just amazing. I raced the Napali one man race and the Napali Challenge 6 man race recently.
I just completed my first M2O SUP race with team mates Jen Fuller and Kristin Thomas. We had a blast and won our division!
I had decided last year to not race with a club anymore for 6 man. I have been paddling 6 man for 26 years and realized that summer offers a whole new world of opportunities for fun racing in all venues that I had been missing out on.
It is interesting, that since I have been paddling SUP, my OC1 paddling has improved. SUP provides the strength training and OC1 my cardio and speed, they really compliment each other. I say padding a SUP is like Crossfit on a board!
I cannot even contemplate such a full schedule of events – especially across one sweet summer. Jane seems to be hopping from event to event, I asked her to describe her in-between training routine. To what does she attribute your success?
This response came easily to Jane: I think my success is attributed to the love of racing and paddling. I love the excitement of racing, getting ready, the nerves at the start line and the knowledge that it ain’t over till it’s over! I won some of my races last year by a hair, literally down to the second, so knowing that will push you to the end.
As far as training, I try to split the workouts between SUP and OC1. I find I can only do SUP about 2-3X a week so have to hop on my OC1 to rotate muscle groups so I don’t get over use injuries. I am a huge proponent of massage therapy, I go on an average of once a week.
Okay, you made it this far in the article and now comes the “STORY!” Enjoy it!
Jand McKee and the 2018 M2O
SO! I had been escorting people for the M2O for a few years, Armie Armstrong from NZ, Annabel Anderson, and a Brazilian Prone paddler last year. I have crossed the Kaiwi channel more than 50 times between OC1, 6man and sailing canoe, but never on a SUP. Kristin Thomas and Jen Fuller from California were my Facebook friends and I knew they were good paddlers, so I threw it out to them to do a team together.
They were keen, so we were all set to race! We decided to call ourselves Team C&H (California and Hawaii, get it?) They came a few days before the race and we did a few downwinders, and that is all the practice the got before the channel. I was really proud of how they did especially because it turned out to be one of the toughest channels in a decade. A dumping tide made it sticky, crazy disorganized swell, everyone said it was hard. I have a lot of respect for the athletes that do M2O solo.
I think the best part of the race was coming away with some wonderful new friends! I had always heard such great things about Jen and Kristin and now I have a whole new group of amazing women athletes as gal pals! We laugh that we will be doing this race together until we are 100.