Many of you have read my posts about the value of coaching, clinics and on-going training for technique and fitness. mental attitude is another aspect of training that is invaluable. (Click TRAINING in Categories) Over the years I have been fortunate to become acquainted with the dedication and expertise – and a huge dose of fun – that KIALOA ‘Elele Evelyn O’Doherty brings to her clients.
You’ll enjoy this story of training and transformation by her client, Roxane Robinson who tackeld the daunting Chattajack this year. In Roxane’s words, “I’ve known Evelyn O’Doherty (Mind Body Excursions) for about 5 years or so. We both began paddling about the same time, but she came to the sport after surfing. I’ve never surfed. I paddle with Evelyn, and will be working up a plan with her for my upcoming race season (2016). She is one of the most amazing women in my world. A great coach, amazing motivator, and she has this incredible ability to make sure you know how great you can be and are.”
We asked Roxane, “What was your favorite part of the training?”
Roxane was quick to reply, “Well, I loved the comraderie of the women that I train with. They have become my friends. We all seem to have this same obsession. I really enjoy pushing myself to be better and get stronger at a sport that I truly love.”
Elder SUP: What was the biggest change you saw in yourself from the beginning to just before Chattajack?
Roxane explained, “The biggest change was being nervous about the undertaking of such a race (the distance). There were two time cutoffs, the first 10 miles had to be done in 2 hours and 30 minutes and race had to be completed in 8 hours and 30 minutes. I wasn’t worried about race cutoff, just the first 10 miles. I had never paddled that distance in ven close to that time. Only closer to 3 hours. But there was the hope that the dam had been opened and we would have a helping current. In reality, the dam was not opened and there was really no current. I paddled the first 10 miles in 2 hours. Yea!!! After that, I was fine.
But, the Tuesday before Chattajack, while everyone else was nervous, panicky, and freaking out, I had this sense of calm lay over me like a blanket. Comforting. Warm. Calm. I was serene. Not nervous anymore. Not worried about the 10 miles. Knowing, that I was strong, and there was nothing I could do that would change how I did in the race. I was going to be fine.
My feeling before the start of the event was that I was ready. I was going to paddle 31 (32.48) miles down the Tennessee Valley Gorge. I was going to paddle my own race. Look at the scenery. Breathe it in. Have fun. And finish. I was ready.”
That is all powerful stuff from Roxane. She also shared a bit of back-story.
“I had my 59th birthday 14 days after this race. I have been paddling for about 6 years. I am afraid of open water. I don’t surf. (But I did swim competitively for about 8 years.) I was bored. So deathly bored. I saw an article in the local paper about paddling geared toward women. I made the call, had a private lesson, fell in (ick), paddled again the next day, fell in, and started dreaming about owning my own board. It consumed me. One of my best friends is 65. She races and has been paddling about the same length of time as I have. Then I met a woman in Tennessee that was doing the Chattajack 31. She started paddling in June, no lessons, no knowledge, just thought it looked like fun so she gave it a try. She did great in the race. She was 65.”
We absolutely agree with Roxane on this next comment, “Age is only a number in your head. I’m proud of my age and that I’m trying new things. A few years ago I got a tattoo on my wrist. ‘Be Fearless.’ My son said to me recently, I love that you’re not afraid to be bad. I asked him for a little clarification on this statement. He said that you aren’t afraid to put yourself out there and try something new. And you might be bad at it, but you don’t care because you’re having fun. And he’s right. I love to have fun.
I have finished last in more than one race. Dead last. And those races are some that I am most proud of. Because quitting is easy. Finishing is AWESOME!!!”
We celebrate SUP athletes like Roxane. When you think you don’t have the skills – you can get them. Roxane is a busy career woman, wife and mother. She had many duties over 2015, caring for her husband with serious health issues – and we all know how draining such a responsibility can be. We can all say, “too busy,” or we can find the support, training and way to paddle toward our passion. Way to go Roxane and Evelyn.
And Roxane continues to compete – her last race was Hamptons Paddle for the Pink! There were brutal conditions out on the bay but Roxane placed 2nd in the women’s 14′ 6 mile race. It’s YOUR life – go for it.