I set a few goals for myself for Q1 2012 and one of them is to get my ass back in an outrigger canoe and start paddling again. I looked around for a club that can accommodate the limited time I can commit to paddling and racing and I found Vancouver Ocean Sports (VOS). They have a “recreational” level for experienced paddlers who do not have much time to train for races and time trials. I want to paddle all the time but realistically, I can go only one night a week and the occasional Saturday or Sunday. So the recreational level that VOS offered sounded perfect.
I signed up and started paddling with the club in early March. I was really nervous before my first practice. First of all, it took me a few attempts to locate all my winter paddling gear. Secondly, I am so out of shape (both fitness and paddling shape) that I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with everybody. Thirdly, I had not paddled for almost two and a half years and I was sure my technique would be really off.
I arrived at the VOS compound early to meet the other paddlers. They were quite friendly and I warned them that I haven’t paddled in a while just to set expectations really low. Once we got started, muscle memory kicked in. I tried not to over-think it and just let my body move how it remembered to. It felt so good to be back on the water! We went out from Burrard Marina toward Jericho, then turned around back to Burrard. The weather was just right and the sun setting to the west while the moon rose over the city skyline was a perfect “welcome back to paddling” moment. We paddled around 8 km that evening and I was very pleased with myself for being able to last the entire practice. I was exhausted and sore after practice but it felt really good.
I have been attending practices once a week since March and the coach has already tried to get me to come out more and even sign up for races. But for now, once a week is all I can do. No pressure, just paddling for fun, and I am okay with that.