This Race taught me a valuable lesson!

31 weeks Koroneihana

31 weeks Koroneihana

Kia ora everyone! Well I did it, I completed the race.  The race was on a river, with loads of current. The 14km paddle was broken down into a 3.5km course that we had to loop around so we had two turns around an island at the bottom of the river and one at the top of the river. There were a mix of stand up paddlers, single man canoes and six man canoes so a lot of traffic on the river to negotiate.

In the lead up to this race I had so many thoughts going through my mind about the race and my ability. It kind of hit me that yes, I am pregnant so don’t expect too much. So many people I come across now expect that I will be ‘taking it easy’ and ‘slowing down’ but I say why? It has been pretty difficult for me to not pay attention to that but I am determined. I have always thought that paddling as with most sports it’s the top 20% that counts. If an athlete doesn’t have their head screwed on you can kiss or your success goodbye.

This race taught me a valuable lesson! Right before my race I had to register and have a safety check, as always.  and the person doing my check made an innocent comment to me. She said ‘your keen’ to be racing. I just replied ‘I don’t know unless I try’.  I know it was harmless and I could have let that drag me down but I didn’t. I kept my focus and got ready for my race.

My start wasn’t to flash. The current was so strong I thought I would paddle up river a bit and hold water up there so I didn’t have to struggle on the start line. However, by the time I got ready to head to the start line there were so many canoes everywhere it was hard to navigate to where I wanted to place myself at the start.

I ended up starting about a boat length behind, so it wasn’t that great.  For the first 1km of the race I was breathing heavy, muscling it and basically my canoe didn’t feel like it had that much glide at all.  I looked around and so many people were just cruising by me.  So I looked inside myself, relaxed my shoulders and dropped into my breath and rhythm.

I ended up overtaking a few people and when I got to the Island turn took over another two.  It was a perfect turn and I came out with a sprint start and then changed my stroke to suit the up river portion of the race.  This is where my glide really kicked in and I noticed huge gains in here. It was pretty hard but I pulled in a few more canoes and once we got to the bridge, wow, that current hit us all so bad. I knew I had to make it up to the buoy turn with the pack or I would be left behind on the downward paddle with that current.

Unfortunately I didn’t get in as close As I had hoped and the front pack started to breakaway again. The second leg down river was very difficult, mentally. I just couldn’t catch up once everyone else had hit that current and cruised down river. As i neared the Island again the men were starting to catch up from their ten minute delayed start after the woman. I found myself chatting away to one of the men as they passed. and then another, and another. It was at this point I noticed I had lost a couple of spots.

Race Start Koroneihana

Race Start Koroneihana

On the first run I hung in pretty close to the river bank to stay out of the main current and hopefully catch any eddies along the side. This time though the men were so pushy and I got hit a couple of times so decided to go out wider and paddle the current as I did not want to flip. I would not have been a very happy mama if that happened!

The woman in front of me also got taken out and I took that opportunity to make some gains. But we ended up chatting too.  But then something switched on in my head and I told her I’d see her at the finish line. We ended up battling it out for 2km and had a sprint to the finish line.

The things I learned in that race is that it is very important to catch a wondering mind. It is important to stay in the game, in the now and focus on what you are doing at that minute.

I also learned that the mind is pretty powerful and that if you truly do believe then yes you will achieve! My goal wasn’t to place, it was to finish but within the time of 1 hour 45 minutes.  I ended up finishing at 1.30min and came in second place! I did have a split second thought of wow, what if I pushed harder, but by then its too late.  I decided to think about what I had learnt and I have written down a debrief from that race so that when I am truly back into training (without being pregnant) I can achieve more.

It took me two days to recover from the race (14km paddle), not physically but mentally and emotionally. I was on a such a high after the race that by the next day I hit a pretty big low.  I wasn’t prepared for that at all and it showed me that I need to really consider my emotions and mental training too. I had two sick babies at home too which didn’t help but I didn’t feel right, myself. I felt a big hole, hollow and I am guessing I may need to look at the outcomes I attach to my goals.

During my sport science and sport psych studies in my earlier years I learnt that at times elites athletes get so used to achieving their goal that once they have hit that they go into a type of depression soon after. This happened to Kelly Slater a while back and he has spoken openly about it. It’s the adrenalin rush and then pressure of working toward the goal that once you get there, it’s over so quick and we are left feeling a little empty. This is where we need to be mindful of looking at the whole journey and the outcome not just the goal and obtaining it. This applies to anyone working toward anything, not just elite athletes and it is a work in progress for me.

I am so thankful to my friends and family who do continue to support me in my journey right now and encourage me. It makes it that little bit easier.  I am super excited for my road ahead.

H 🙂

#preggiemama #soulwaternz #imagine #believe #achieve


Pregnancy: 30 weeks

Waka Ama LDN

Waka Ama LDN

OMG where has the time gone? 29 weeks has been and gone and I missed posting about it. Not to worry.  From weeks 29-30 I’ve been a bit all over the place with my eating, training and emotions.

I noticed during week 29 of being preggie that I was feeling more tired than usual and just blah. by the time I hit 30 weeks that feeling just sky rocketed! Last week we took off for a couple of days and then home again to have my baby girls birthday party (she turned five!)  So i had to be creative with my training, if I got to do any. Basically my routine was way out of whack all over. There is so much ‘junk food’ in the house left over from the birthday too so I have been trying to get rid of it ha ha. One week off my routine and I’m all over the place. I feel sluggish, feel like i have a bit of nausea, and also have heartburn. Those are all things I have been able to control really well with eating and exercising right.

So I got up this morning and decided to get back on the wagon. No coffee, no bread, no ice cream or chocolate 🙂  Feeling better already and its only been half a day.  It’s amazing how our bodies work.  much of it mental I am sure.

Anyway, this weekend I have a paddle race I am ‘competing’ in. A 14km paddle down river then back up again in my rudderless canoe. I know I can complete it as I do  about 40-50km a week paddling anyway but it’s the competitive side of me that has me a little concerned. I need to make the decision to enter to participate and finish or to come somewhere. I’m in two minds because I am pregnant but I know I need to remember not to limit myself. so I will let you know how I go next week after the race.Watch this space! Thanks so much for checking in on my journey.

Much aroha,

H 🙂

#imagine #believe #achieve

Where is your path leading you?

Mauao Stairs

As a busy mama, wife, business owner, and athlete I often have to ask my self the above question to make sure I am on track.  I am one of those people who have all these awesome ideas and want to do everything right now. It’s not always a bad thing but it can mean that I end up doing well in many things but not mastering them.   I also try to please everybody and that can really wear you down too. I read a great book by Oprah Winfrey, (What I know for sure) and came across a passage that really struck home. It read,  ‘I will not do anything for anyone that I do not feel directly from my heart. I will act with the INTENT to be true to myself’.  It has been about 4 months since I read that and it has really helped me. I feel a huge weight off my shoulders and more settled.

Over the weekend I had to ask myself this question again. I was asked if I would like to fill a seat in a W6 (6-man outrigger canoe) for some ladies who were in town on a training camp.  They are off overseas to do some pretty epic races and need a couple of extra people to help out. So being the addicted paddler I am I said yes. Now, my goal is to do Regional Waka ama Sprints and Nationals in the single-man canoe this year and not the W6.  So initially I thought it didn’t fit at all because I should be focussing on myself.

But, I did do it and really enjoyed it and learnt a few things too. Sometimes we need to expand our vision a little wider. When training it tends to be more physical focussed and we forget the mental stuff too.

It was a pretty ugly weekend for weather with 18+knot winds and gusting in the 20-30s as well as rain and freezing cold temperatures. But those ladies didn’t complain once.  They just got on with the job. And in the waka, they pushed so hard and never gave up. It ended up being a great couple of sessions for the day catching bumps.  Our final day of training was rewarded with some ocean swell out off Main Beach, a perfect way to finish the weekend camp.

I was reminded of how awesome it is when you come across committed people and the cool things that can be achieved. I also noticed a few little technique things that you only notice with experienced paddlers or paddlers who have been coached from the start. It was awesome! I came away from it pretty stoked and in a happy place mentally. They are all very experienced paddlers and are some of our top NZ Champions, so I was just in awe really.  So grateful to be able to spend time with them and observe how they train and mentally process training.

How does this relate to my question? If what you are doing is going to lead you to where you want to go then it has to be good.  As long as it doesn’t take away from your main goal then go hard!

#imagine #believe #achieve

H 🙂

Pregnancy: 28 weeks

Well, I’m here at 28 weeks. What a roller coaster ride its been this week! I have started back my normal training (outrigger training for sprints) and its been a doozy.

Just like when you start anything out its hard but I especially hate the starting out in sprints training.  So taxing on the body.

I missed my day one session, did day two (2 water sessions in one day) and then missed my day 3 session because I ate something that didn’t agree with me. Now, if I miss a training session I usually get pretty cranky but being pregnant has almost tripled that response! I have learned very quickly that I need to get my training in and done early or else the madness comes out!

Everyone is different and that is just me. So listening to my body and getting it done.

I had learned so much on my journey thus far about myself, my body and people around me. I get really upset when someone suggest I should take it easy. And yes, I know they are only looking out for me and bugs but honestly I have never felt better! I wish I had been this active through all my pregnancies.

The first 3 months were pretty tough with the morning sickness and I lost a lot of my strength and fitness. But since then I have been training consistently and I have even gone up in my weights. I have noticed a progression in my strength.

I am very careful and make sure I stop or modify exercises when I get an ache or tightness. Loving the fact I can still do burpees and even full push ups! Feeling strong is such a beautiful thing to me right now especially when many of those people around me are expecting me to slow down and take it easy. If only people could see the actual benefits of starting active and strong as being the best thing mum’s and bubs. It’s a no brainer really. In saying that, I know my body and my limits and have been training consistently for some time.  I wouldn’t recommend the level of what I am doing to a first time mum who doesn’t train. You need to be active beforehand.

preggie mama shopping

preggie mama shopping

Back to me, decided to treat myself this week and go wetsuit shopping as the hubby and I are going to go for a bit of a surf weekend away. I’m due a new wet tie as the last two pregnancies have worn it out. I ended up walking out of the shop with some nice training gear and toasty UGG boots for winter yay!

So, if you are a mama wanting to get fit and healthy then take it one step at a time. But don’t let other people’s perceptions of what is right put you off. Only you know.  Be happy, and be strong.

H 🙂