Long Distance Nationals – Did it live up to the hype you built for yourself?

COMMITMENT

Training for a long term goal can be hard, I know.  Makes you wonder how our Olympians do it right?

How do you stay focussed for so long?

How do you maintain that physical, mental, emotional and nutritional discipline to reach that end point?

Well, it all comes down to how you prioritise your goal. Is it just the end goal, that outcome of making podium, or top 10, or is it about your personal growth?

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A PERSONAL JOURNEY VS OUTCOME

Some may say that the personal growth and journey stuff is teetz, and too airy fairy but the truth is this is what helps you bounce back when you don’t meet those outcomes the first time around so that you can meet them the next time you try.  It builds resilience and that is something missing in todays society, especially with our younger paddlers.

Too often paddlers will give up thinking they have failed.  They put so much hardwork in and didn’t get the outcome they were hoping for so give up.

I can relate to this because its how I spent my first years in sport, not just paddling (although I did think I was the shiz in paddling ha ha, such a newbie).

An outcome goal is not enough to keep you motivated to get out of bed so early in the morning, or commit to such a huge lifestyle change, because thats what it requires.

When you have thoughts of “oh its sweet, after I finish this I can go back to eating like I did, or not training so much”, these kind of thoughts are what will trip you up in your race because when it gets tough out there its this that creates the negative self talk, the lack of belief in yourself.

TOOLS

Keeping a training journal has helped give me the awareness I needed to deal with these thoughts quickly and easily, giving me the tools to be able to kick it during a race (most of the time).

I say most of the time because the thing is, once we are successful with a challenge, another presents itself.   Its how we grow as human beings.

I used to think, “oh sweet once I get over this hurdle I’ll be sweet,” but yeah nah, they keep coming at you in different ways.  But thats life huh, how boring would it be without a few challenges.  The downs make you appreciate the ups so much more.

FLEXIBILITY

Having a routine is needed, because you do need to be able to measure your improvement somehow.  But be flexible with it.  Just because your programme says each day of the week you have to do this, it doesn’t mean you can’t change it a little.  The weather maybe bad, or you might get sick. Beating yourself up over the programme will only give you more brain damage.

Also, try not to let yourself fall into default with your programme, you know, like groundhog day – where you wake up each day and its the same thing over and over and you end up doing it without thinking.  This is not a good space to be in.

BE INTENTIONAL

Make sure you connect in each day, with why you are doing this in the first place, and be deliberate with your actions, taking conscious action because thats where the gold is.  Its those actions that reset your brain to what works for you and not just being an imitation of someone else.  It sets the pattern for you to be able to react the best way possible for you when you hit challenges out on the water.

There’s nothing worse then coming off the water or in from a training session where you feel like you were just going through the motions.  It feels like a waste of time right? Start backing yourself and honour your time and effort by being intentional.

 

WHAT DID YOU LEARN?

Its never failure when you take away the lessons from it, and there are always lessons. If you don’t see that then you need to start digging a bit deeper, into why you even do what you are doing.

MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

Firstly, I’m pretty damn stoked with myself for what I managed to achieve and the opportunities I had to paddle with some pretty cool paddlers.  But I am going to admit that I did have a moment where I was upset with myself for not trying harder, giving it my best and letting my own self talk get to me.  In all honesty I still have that nasty dialogue go through my mind when it matters most, but, and this is a big one – I no longer let bring me down. Its important to ‘feel’ those feelings, because if you deny it starts a spiral of downward actions and you will end up at the bottom.

I could have sat and wallowed in my pity but I chose to accept it for what it was, I thought I had a shit race, felt bad for a teeny bit then decided, “this ain’t helping me at all” so I let myself move on.  Too often, especially us females, we can hold on to feelings, and let them rule our present and future. This is not healthy for our paddling at all and it starts to subconsciously show up and then we react to it, usually in the wrong way.  This can present itself by not taking up opportunities, or in the waka focussing on someones else role instead of ours, or by nit picking at somebody because they rub you up the wrong way, when in actual fact you are probably seeing your own reflection of what you need to work on yourself.

This is why mindset is so important in your paddling and sport. It’s the stuff that can either make you or break you and is the key to being your best self.

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Open womens 16km Long distance nationals 2017, Dale Thomas Bronze, Hiria Rolleston Silver, Marianna Hodges Gold.

TIPS

When I started writing this blog I thought about doing it as a personal wrap up from my own LDNs, which in a sense it is.  There are definitely elements in this that I need to pay attention to.  Its where my inspiration comes from, lived experience.  But, from conversations I had while there and the themes coming from it this approach felt better to me.

My daily routine consists of the physical aspects of training and connecting in to my surroundings, atua (gods, guardians) which fills me spiritually too, as well as my mental/emotional well-being by checking in with myself to make sure I am being intentional with what I do and making sure my thoughts and feelings are my own and not me getting caught up in someones else stuff.  I do this by journalling, I have a training journal and a business journal which helps me to work through and process my actions.  I also meditate by grabbing a moment to sit still and ask “where am I right now?”  It always brings me right back into the present and gives me clarity.

So, coming back to the title of this, I’m hoping you are still with me here ha ha, yes Long distance Nationals did live up to the hype for me, but I have a whole new bunch of things to work on now, which I’m grateful for because I know its going to help me grow evermore and is another deliberate step toward my dreams and goals.

I am grateful to everyone who came up to me and congratulated me on my medals, thats very humbling.  But even more so thankful to those people who came up to me to share their thoughts and feelings on this mahi (work) I have been doing around mindset. I have always been pretty open about what I do and share from my own experience.  I do have a Sports Science and Sport Psych background too as was a PE teacher once upon a time, so I do have the academic knowledge to back me up (it’s not all made up lol).

I share because my own journey was so difficult that I want to be able to help others.  We have so much talent out there in our communities going unseen because of our current culture around paddling from grassroots to elite.  Not blaming anyone particular person or group, but reminding us all that if we can be more open and not afraid of sharing that you will actually see it helps lift us all.

Would love to know if anything in here as given you a lightbulb moment.  Please share the aroha, share with anyone you think will benefit from this, and then drop me a comment on here or head over to my Facebook page and drop me a comment.

Sharing is caring

Hiria x

#imagine #believe #achieve

Follow me

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INSPIRED SERIES – Josh Walters

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Josh rounding the marker at Takapuna Beach Cup 2017

JOSH WALTERS

My name is Josh Walters and I’m a U23 division paddler.  However I skipped the 23s to move straight to opens from J19s in singles in order to learn and experience racing with New Zealand’s best and international’s best!

I have been paddling for roughly 7 years now and got into the sport through my competitive national swimming.

Through the year I generally participate in both sprint and Long Distance nationals, Takapuna beach cup, all different singles races around the country and generally the world championships.

ROUTINE

My training routine is pretty set in stone depending on my shifts at work.  I wake up and head straight into the gym for around 2 hours.  The exercises I do are both paddle specific and accessory work to have better physical strength and fitness when it comes to paddling.

From there I will go home and eat breakfast or work or study.  I will head out on the water for a decent paddle.  I try to average around 70-90km a week which is about 4-5 days of paddling a week.  This increases when sprints come!

From there I go home again and eat lunch, and rest, and then back to the gym for another hour and a bit to work more on conditioning etc.  This routine is usually 5-6 days a week and I rest on the 6-7th day depending on intensity of the week and races coming up.

The night before I race I try to eat a bit more carbs than usual, pasta bake with a lot of salad to get my energy levels up and usually some sort of vitamins that I normally take.  In the morning of race day I find eating hard and I can’t digest a lot so it’s usually something easy like a berry smoothie and try to drink plenty of water.  I like to have little energy boost before a sprint race but they take a lot of energy away so avoid them for long distance unless its during the race.

I wake up whenever I need to but try get about 8 hours sleep if I can.  I’m really bad with warming up, I generally just do it to the start line but I need to change that!

I do some dynamic stretching and yoga for a few weeks before a big race is coming so I know my muscles are long and there aren’t any issues.  Once I finish I generally eat anything in sight but my main meal would be something like chicken on rice and vegetables, gets the fuel back into the body and some BCAAs for recovery.

Before race day I look at the course and visualise who I’d probably be sitting next to and think about how I can make my boat run more efficient and energy conserving than their’s by riding rivals wake or sticking to my own line just different race strategies really.

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World Sprints Australia 2016 – Maori Kava Tere, Ash Roozendaal, Daniel Kauika,  Marcel Hellesloe,  Josh Walters and Teira Wiari.

BIGGEST MISTAKE

I’d say my biggest mistake leading up to race day pretty much every time is my self doubt as I put myself off and let my nervousness get the better of me affecting my results in races I know I would have won or done better in.

GRATITUDE

Ok so I’ve known Josh for a while now and remember him as this tough little kid that used to paddle hard out along with his mate Ash Roozendaal.  I witnessed them both come up through the ranks and achieve some pretty amazing things.

I asked Josh to share his expereince becasue I believe it takes a lot of focus to be able to achieve what he does balancing his work and study too.  Most of our young paddlers drop off around that J16s mark but as you can see Josh is is committed to progressing as far as he can.  I look forward to his ongoing journey.

Our paddlers have given this information freely so please show some awhi (love, support) and go like their athlete pages if they have one or drop a comment on the blog thread on my Facebook post.

If anything resonates with you head over to the Facebook page and drop a comment.  It may just create some awesome discussion for us all to learn more from.

Much aroha to you for following my journey and mahi.  If you haven’t already please like my Facebook pages and even my instagram page if you are on there.  Don’t be shy, share the love.

Hiria x

#imagine #believe #achieve

Follow me

Hiria Rolleston Mindset Trainer – to help take you to the next level in your paddling, and life

Eastcoast Paddler Aotearoa – for all your paddle gear, canoes and instructional vids

Hiria Rolleston on insta – to follow where my paddle takes me

INSPIRED SERIES – Nyree King

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Nyree after winning the SMW V1 500m at 2016 World Sprints in Australia and setting a new World Record time of 2.35.96

NYREE KING

Senior Master Women

Paddling 14 years.  Started in 2003 – when I was in my 40s

2004 won the Silver medal in the Master Women V1 500m in Hilo Hawaii.  This was my first international event.

Been the Senior Master Women NZ National Champ six times.

World sprint Champion in 2006 in Aotearoa and again in 2016 in Australia.

Currently world record holder in the SMW V1 500m.

EVENTS

Although I have done quite well in sprints, my passion is long distance – and have crossed the Kaiwi channel from Molokai to Oahu in Na Wahine o Ke Kai (the women’s Molokai race) a total of four times now – once in the OC1 relay – and three times in crews winning Masters 40s in 2009 and 2016.

Have done the Pailolo twice and would rate this race as THE best downwind fun.  Would love to do Pailolo in an OC1!

I try to do as many national and international W6 and W1 events as money and leave will allow.  I have amazing friends whom I love to paddle with.  At home I love to do the Bo Herbert and Bhutty races and this year was able to do the Poor Knights Crossing as well.  There are lots of races I love to do here at home – Whaingaroa, Takapuna Cup, LDNs, Kaiteriteri etc.

This year – paddling took me to portland Oregon for two races in ‘The gorge’ (the Columbia river) with over 500 SUP, OC1 and Ski on the start line.  It was epic!

BUCKET LIST (not yet done) Liberty Challenge, Womens V3 race in Tahiti, Hawaikinui womens race, Kauai challenge Relay, Dad’s Centre (we never got to finish that race), Gold Coast Cup, Maui Nui (to do again and again) – Pailolo and Na Wahine.

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2016 winners of Na Wahine o Ke Kai 40s wiht Denise Darval-Chang, Katie Stephens, Mykala Bradley, Margie Kawaiaea and Tee Felgate from Hawaii, Jill Schooler and Jeane Barrett from California.  Ngaire Pehi and myself from NZ.

MANTRA 

I suppose my mantra would be  “be in the moment – each stroke’.  When I first started paddling it used to be “Go hard, then go harder!)  but these days that mantra has more to do with my mental toughness than paddling strategy!

ROUTINE

I have quite a specific mental checklist for V1 sprints to ensure that I am totally prepared as there is not a lot of wriggle room for stuff ups – but mostly I try to stay relaxed.  I use visualisation, bungees for warm up and hydrate well in the lead up to events.  I also make sure that our family eat well and have a good meal the night before.  Usually porridge, berries, yoghurt and coffee the morning of race day – but I also take a bar to nibble if race start is delayed… there is nothing worse than feeling hungry before you get on the water.

I like to have everything ready for race day but sometimes things can get messy when the whole family is trying to use the same resources (i.e.. canoes and water systems).  Sometimes you just have to be adaptable and go with what you got!

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With Tupuria and Rose King at the 2016 World sprints Nyree after winning SMW V1 500m.  Tipu Bronze Open Men, Rose Bronze Open Women V1 finals.

BIGGEST MISTAKE

I’ve had a few but here are two.

I rigged my kit in the wrong way around and had to jump into a bumpy ocean to turn it the right way with my paddling buddy’s (Ngaire and Brennan) unable to assist because of the conditions.  Lucky I did rectify it as the ocean was huge and we had to follow the line of the Tutukaka dive boat to get back into the safety of Tutukaka harbour.  I don’t think we knew how big it was going to be!

Another mistake – not paddle fit for Bhutty’s one year – even wore two pairs of neoprenes so my butt wouldn’t get sore – fell out twice and cracked my canoe.  The thing was – I really wanted to do the race but was underprepared mentally and physically.  Lesson learned.

GRATITUDE

Nyree is one of those paddlers who I have held in awe since I began paddling. She is so strong, focussed and just smashes it out there on the race course.  One year I had to fill in for her team as a steerer at a training and was so starstruck!

I am especially pleased to share Nyree’s korero because I have always and will always look up to her.   She is just as beautiful off the water as she is on the water.  It’s pretty clear to see where Rose and Tupuria get their strength from.  Though the whole family paddles and they all do pretty damn good, including husband Dave King and sisters Riana and Hannah.

Our paddlers have given this information freely so please show some awhi (love, support) and go like their athlete pages if they have one or drop a comment on the blog thread on my Facebook post.

If anything resonates with you head over to the Facebook page and drop a comment.  It may just create some awesome discussion for us all to learn more from.

Much aroha to you for following my journey and mahi.  If you haven’t already please like my Facebook pages and even my instagram page if you are on there.  Don’t be shy, share the love.

Hiria x

#imagine #believe #achieve

Follow me

Hiria Rolleston Mindset Trainer – to help take you to the next level in your paddling, and life

Eastcoast Paddler Aotearoa – for all your paddle gear, canoes and instructional vids

Hiria Rolleston on insta – to follow where my paddle takes me

 

INSPIRED SERIES – Michael Rogerson

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Mike Long distance Nationals 2016 – Gold Medallist 

MICHAEL ROGERSON

Division: Master Men

Club: Turangawaewae

Lives in Hamilton.

Paddling for 10 years.

I paddle all year round and participate in all the main races around the country.

ROUTINE

My routine for races starts about a few days out.  I start to organise my paddling equipment and waka making sure it’s all in good working order (i.e. drink systems, rudder and rudder cables) and to make sure I haven’t misplaced anything.  Nothing worse than running around the morning of a race in a panic doing repairs or trying to find something.

I also try and concentrate on eating well and hydrating leading up to a race.  I have come unstuck during races by not doing these two things in the lead up.

The night before I like to have a big meal with plenty of vegetables some pasta and either Chicken, fish or steak.  For breakfast its porridge with cream, brown sugar and a banana with a cup of tea.  Then it will be a 50/50 mix of electrolytes and water and just snack on scroggin leading up to the race.

The morning of the race I try and stay relaxed not rush around too much.  I’ll stretch throughout the morning.  I’ll usually try and get out on the water at least 15 minutes before race to loosen and warm up.

MANTRA

My mantra is be confident but humble.  You must have the confidence to back yourself if you want to succeed but also be humble in victory or defeat.

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Takapuna Beach Cup 2017 – 24km Relay

BIGGEST MISTAKE

The biggest mistake I ever made leading up to a race was not washing out my hydro pack before racing one year at the Bo Herbert Memorial race.  I became very sick halfway during the race and lost a lot of places.  So hence why I like to make sure I have everything organised days in advance.  Cheers Mike.

GRATITUDE

Mike Rogerson lives his mantra to a tee! He is one of the most humble paddlers I know.  I got to know Mike a bit better on our worlds Campaign for Tahiti Long distance champs this year.  When I approached him to write this little piece he was very taken aback by it not realising how much he has to offer us all.

Its similar with all our paddlers. Most ask “why me, I’m not special”. Actually you are, because it’s the way you do what you do that counts. It’s interesting to see and acknowledge our differences because those differences will really resonate with someone else and give them hope.

I admire Mikes consistency to his training while supporting his whanau, and coaching at his club.  Trying to compete yourself as an athlete and coach is no easy task so I take my hat of to him for that.

Our paddlers have given this information freely so please show some awhi (love, support) and go like their athlete pages if they have one or drop a comment on the blog thread on my Facebook post.

If anything resonates with you head over to the Facebook page and drop a comment.  It may just create some awesome discussion for us all to learn more from.

Much aroha to you for following my journey and mahi.  If you haven’t already please like my Facebook pages and even my instagram page if you are on there.  Don’t be shy, share the love.

Hiria x

#imagine #believe #achieve

Follow me

Hiria Rolleston Mindset Trainer – to help take you to the next level in your paddling, and life

Eastcoast Paddler Aotearoa – for all your paddle gear, canoes and instructional vids

Hiria Rolleston on insta – to follow where my paddle takes me

INSPIRED SERIES – Anne Cairns

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Anne paddling for her club team Manuz and Jemimaz

ANNE CAIRNS

This hearty paddler is from Palmerston North, and is an open womens paddler for Manuz and Jemiman from Haeata Ocean Sports.  She has been racing waka since 2010.

Main sport focus is sprint flatware kayaking but have competed nationally and internationally in a number of paddle sports; surf lifesaving, wildwater kayaking, ocean ski racing, waka ama and whitewater rafting.

I asked her if she has any specific events she does each year and her reply was;

Ha ha I don’t really have a typical amount of events per year, it’s really dependent on what my focus is that year or what is happening long term (i.e olympic cycle campaigns where I cut right back on waka or other disciplines in the two years proceeding doing a few waka races and maybe five or so sprint regattas which are Europe based so take time and funding to commit to.  Or post olympics like this year across my varying disciplines of waterspouts where I’ve done half a dozen waka races, surf lifesaving nationals, a couple of rafting events, and ocean ski worlds plus i like to do as many local races as possible in waka, flatwater, and multisport racing too.

ROUTINE

Depends on what type of race I’m doing (which paddlesport and sprint or long distance). For waka though I make sure all my kit and equipment is ready, usually the night before if possible.  Making sure to be hydrated well in the 2-3 days before but thats kinda just standard all the time.

Dinner night before based on what I’m feeling like, often chicken veggies (kumara or taro if I can get some) and maybe some pasta/rice.  And the routine green tea and chocolate before bed.

In the morning I eat a solid kai 2-2.5 hours before, porridge with berries and seeds and keep sipping on electrolyte, listen to music and stay relaxed but feeling ready… strong black coffee about 30 minutes before (especially for sprint racing).

For kayak racing I’ll do a pre warm up about 60-90 minutes before race time with a 20 minute set warm up before the race…  waka is a bit more relaxed, bit of dynamic land warm up and a paddle warm up with some builds/changing intensity… often have a snack of banana and honey on white bread about 1 hour before the race.

MANTRA

 

I don’t really have a mantra, I more try to just focus on the process of what I need to do, the outcome I want, technique, timing, race plan.

Biggest thing I remind myself is to enjoy it, no matter if it’s an olympic start line or a local race I do all the training and everything because I enjoy it and I can.  Not everyone gets to do what they enjoy and have a passion for so I’m unashamedly opportunity greedy and make no apologies for it.

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Anne representing Samoa at the Olympics

BIGGEST MISTAKE

Ha ha biggest mistake is slippery hands!!!  Apply sunscreen early or ideally get someone else to do it for you!  I always roughen up my hands with sand or mud, it’s a crap situation when you’re hands are slipping on the shaft, you grip tighter and it plays on your mind.

GRATITUDE

Again, I have only really got to know Anne through our recent World’s Campaign but knowing she is an olympic paddler and seeing how she trains and her consistency with her focus and nutrition was pretty cool.

I admired her approach to the team and flexibility coming from a predominantly individual paddle background.  She is one hundy chic and someone I totally admire on and off the water.

Our paddlers have given this information freely so please show some awhi (love, support) and go like their athlete pages if they have one or drop a comment on the blog thread on my Facebook post.

If anything resonates with you head over to the Facebook page and drop a comment.  It may just create some awesome discussion for us all to learn more from.

Much aroha to you for following my journey and mahi.  If you haven’t already please like my Facebook pages and even my instagram page if you are on there.  Don’t be shy, share the love.

Hiria x

#imagine #believe #achieve

Follow me

Hiria Rolleston Mindset Trainer – to help take you to the next level in your paddling, and life

Eastcoast Paddler Aotearoa – for all your paddle gear, canoes and instructional vids

Hiria Rolleston on insta – to follow where my paddle takes me

INSPIRED SERIES – Shon Siemonek

 

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SHON SIEMONEK 

Shon is an open mens division paddler from sunshine Coast, Australia and has been paddling for 4 years.  Typically participates in Queensland OC1 Series, Nationals and Paddles for Pacifica Open Mens Team.  He also paddled for NZ at the 2017 world Long Distance Champs in Tahiti.

ROUTINE

Off/on season I’m doing about 40-60km a week on the water.  Little bit higher/more for in season OC1 or on the race length I might try and push 80-100km a week.  I try and train for the upcoming predicted race conditions.  If it’s a downwind I’ll try do more downwind on the same angle.  If it’s a triangle I’ll try and do some variation training.  If its flat I will work on my speed a bit more.  I gym 3-4 times a week.

I try and stick to a high fat diet avocado, cheese, white meat.  I don’t eat red meat before a race ever.  I don’t carb load but will have a bit of bread the night before and morning of the race to hold water.  If I do feel like carbs I’ll have a small amount of pasta but not rice.

I try and not do anything I don’t do on a normal morning.  I eat all the same things like oats, water but I’ll add some electrolytes in depending on the race length.  I drink coffee.  Maybe right before I hop in the canoe I’ll have a bit of sugar or banana but not too much.

MANTRA

My mindset is if you have done the work the result will take care of itself.

I do everything possible to avoid conversations about the race or hanging out at race venues.  I don’t like talking too much and like to stick to myself and think as less as possible about conditions, race lines who to be concerned about.  I am only concerned about managing myself (OC1).  I don’t like racing the race before its started.

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BIGGEST MISTAKE

I think I miss way too many race briefings ha ha.

GRATITUDE

A big mihi (thanks) to Shon for being so open with his journey.  Although I haven’t known Shon for very long watching the way he carried himself at the World Long distance champs and his commitment to paddling inspired me.  He has a pretty impressive paddling CV for someone who has only been paddling a few years.  That’s why I wanted to share his journey because it shows me that it’s not about how long you have been doing something that counts, its how well you do it and Shon is a testament to the hard work and consistency needed to become a better paddler.

Our paddlers have given this information freely so please show some awhi (love, support) and go like their athlete pages if they have one or drop a comment on the blog thread on my Facebook post.

If anything resonates with you head over to the Facebook page and drop a comment.  It may just create some awesome discussion for us all to learn more from.

Much aroha to you for following my journey and mahi.  If you haven’t already please like my Facebook pages and even my instagram page if you are on there.  Don’t be shy, share the love.

Hiria x

#imagine #believe #achieve

Follow me

Hiria Rolleston Mindset Trainer – to help take you to the next level in your paddling, and life

Eastcoast Paddler Aotearoa – for all your paddle gear, canoes and instructional vids

Hiria Rolleston on insta – to follow where my paddle takes me

Inspired Series – Marama Elkington

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Interview with Va’a News after Marama’s Gold Medal achievement at World Long Distance Champs Tahiti.

MARAMA ELKINGTON

My name is Marama Elkington.  I’m a paddler from Porirua and I paddle for Hawaikinui Tuarua Waka Ama Club.  I paddle in the Open womens division, and have been paddling for 13 years.

I usually compete in the National Sprints, and some long distance races like the NZ Aito, and Tahiti Aito.

ROUTINE

Before I attend an event I educate myself to my competition.  I watch potential threats in a W6 and strategies.  When I get to the competition I familiarise myself with my course and conditions.

The night before I stretch and have my strategy planned, but adjust it the next day depending on different aspects.

On race day I sleep as much as I can, but also head down to observe the race calls, race starts and things like that.

Before a race I warm up by running, skipping, and exercises.  I also stretch and slap down my body, and keep my body moving to keep the nerves from settling.

However I always have to do a nervous pee before every race (some habits die hard aye).

I don’t have a special diet, I usually snack after a race, and eat when I have enough time between races.

MANTRA

My saying is “Go hundy or go home”.

When I race I leave everything on the water.  I like to remember the feelings I had when I lost to previous opponents and channel that when I both train.

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Gold Medal victory in the Junior Long distance race at World Champs Tahiti 2017.

BIGGEST MISTAKE

I have no regrets leading up to race day, as I feel that is half of the work that goes into a race, being prepared.  During my Open Women’s final in Australia, at the World sprints I however learnt a crucial lesson in racing.  I have always had a bad habit of looking to the side at my opponent while racing.  I looked across with 5ms to go, I fumbled with my paddle, and I lost.

This is probably the biggest thing I regret because I think I would have won.  This however taught me the importance of trusting yourself and truly believing in what you can do, and your training.

GRATITUDE

I have had the privilege to know Marama and train with her in the past and all I can say is wow.  Her presence can be quite intimidating because she is so focussed on the mahi. I have always been inspired by her work ethic and commitment to training and paddling, which clearly pays off.

So much gratitude to Marama for having the courage to step up and share her knowledge and how she makes it work for her.

Our paddlers have given this information freely so please show some awhi (love, support) and go like their athlete pages if they have one or drop a comment on the blog thread on my Facebook post.

If anything resonates with you head over to the Facebook page and drop a comment.  It may just create some awesome discussion for us all to learn more from.

Much aroha to you for following my journey and mahi.  If you haven’t already please like my Facebook pages and even my instagram page if you are on there.  Don’t be shy, share the love.

 

Hiria x

#imagine #believe #achieve

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You have to back yourself 100% – a year of recovery and transformation

When you get smacked in the face by adversity, will you become resentful or use it as an opportunity to grow?

I was forced to rethink my approach to training when I tore my achilies while weight training in the gym.  I was being my usual competitive self trying to beat the guy next to me in a WOD.

I’d been conditioned to believe that by pushing harder, you get better results.

But from that moment onwards, I was forced to approach my training with a fresh perspective.  I knew that I could get stuck in a victim mindset and let this injury break me, or I could use it as an opportunity to grow.

I had this sense of knowing that my body would back me.  I chose to let go of other people’s fears and worries, and refused to listen to the outside noise that could drain or deplete me.

I chose to focus on being present in the moment, dealing only with the situation in front of me, trusting my own feelings and thoughts and working with “what is” rather than resisting the situation.

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Within days of my injury, I placed 3rd in the Long distance Nationals, Open women’s rudderless Division 2016, in huge swells with my leg in a cast, wrapped in a black rubbish bag.  That’s when I truly understood the power of mindset – and my paddling was transformed forever.

I had spent so long trying to compartmentalise myself, but I now know that what I do inside impacts everything else around me.  I finally understood that I was not alone, and that there is nothing bigger than myself because I am the universe.  When I make the time to connect within, there is no need to be afraid.

Staying connected is a daily practice, a matter of making time to be still, to recognise where I am in this moment.  Am I here? Am I in the future? Am I in the past?

Anger and frustration puts your dreams at risk.  It’s ok to be uncomfortable because that’s where we grow.  You have to back yourself 100% – to find that fire in your belly and be open to the unexpected path.

You have to create space in your head to hear your intuition.  You have to tune into your environment and stay present in the moment.  and you have to work on discovering who you really are, so you can recognise your own thoughts and fears, and let go of everyone elses.

I became conscious of my language, letting go of negativity, comparison, jealousy and over thinking.  Instead I chose to accept the situation and move forward from there, working with what is and focusing what makes me feel good.

Because I was unable to train my lower half, I had to listen to my body to discover what was right for me.  I had to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, to experiment and figure out how my body responded best.  I began recording my observations of my training, noticing how I felt and studying the patterns to learn what worked and what didn’t work for me.

By consciously studying my trainings I became more present and aware and could make changes on the water.  Over time this has become natural and I don’t have to work so hard to get into that space.  I feel I am now so in sync with who I am and my capabilities, that I know my body will back me and I can push myself further, with a sense of ease.

By choosing a different, more conscious and smarter pathway, with less striving, I felt as if I’d stepped into my flow.  My progress accelerated.  I made the Open women’s team for the world Long Distance Champs in  Tahiti.  I am now consistently in the top grouping and keeping up with people whose speed I once envied (still envy).

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Ironically this only happened since I stopped looking at what they were doing and stayed present with myself.  It’s easy to get psyched out by your competitors, but I’ve learned that I’m far more powerful when I’m focusing on doing my thing and making every stroke count.  If I put my focus on where they are in the race – even for one second – my speed drops.  When I bring my focus back my speed picks up.

And now?

I’m a totally different person at home and on the water.  What you see is what you get – everywhere.  I’m less reactive and more in tune, so I don’t fly off the handle so much.  My kids are happier and our household is more settled – and I know things would have been uglier if I hadn’t followed through for myself and pursued my dream.

I have a heightened sense of awareness and I understand that I have a choice in how I respond.  The depression that I’ve carried for 20 years has lifted.

I’m now more loving because I love myself more, and I’ve learned that we shouldn’t be so afraid to show how we feel because it makes people feel better.

Paddling feeds me as a whole person.  When I’m out there on the water, I feel at one with the paddle and the water, connected to everything.  It’s as if I’m giving back, sharing my energy with nature and the universe.  There’s a lightness about me as I glide with the water rather than against it, and a sense of calm that becomes my competitive advantage.

I work with…

People who have hit a wall in their training, are not performing on race day or who have been thrown off course by injury or personal circumstances, and don’t know how to get back on track.   If you are committed to making change contact me on my Facebook page  and lets have a casual chat.

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NB: It’s almost one year since I tore my achilles and we are 20 days out from the next Long Distance Champs.  Follow my lead up to the Nationals on Facebook or instagram.

As always, I am grateful to all those people who believed in me enough to give me a chance and supported me in my recovery, and who continue to do so. You all have a special place in my heart.

 

Hiria x

#imagine #believe #achieve

 

 

 

 

 

 

So you think you got Glide? Lessons from the Poor Knights Crossing 2017

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Rikoriko – the start of the Poor Knights Crossing, NZ

The water changed, it felt heavy, the waka dropped and it felt like I was getting pushed around, my mind had gone into default.  Then a voice from behind yelled “she’s coming”.  It was all I needed to pick up my game.

I immediately sat up, drew in a deep breath and started surfing my waka.

I realised I had dropped into paddling for the sake of paddling.  Something that many of us do when we are at that point of exhaustion or feeling of failure.  Almost like giving in.

The more you focus on the present moment, the easier paddling becomes.  You work with the water, feel lighter, have more energy and move with your natural strengths, achieving better results.

I’m not the best paddle surfer in the world but I do know a thing or two about it and the Poor Knights gave me enough time and distance to prove my theory to myself.

Here are a couple of tips for the next time you hit the ocean swell, whether its wind chop, swell or any kind of bump, the principles are the same.

  1. Learn how to read the water. Connect to your surroundings. Being able to read ground swell direction, wind swell/chop, and how the land underneath can impact on how the water moves will be a big help to your paddling if you don’t know already. Be able to identify when a wave is going to break, or even to help you see the lines and know when to push and when to rest your canoe.
  2. Don’t be a robot.  Try and avoid getting caught up in the idea that you need to paddle the whole time.  This is what happened to me once I got passed by the lead open woman.  Lost focus and started to just paddle without thinking about what I was doing or taking notice of the conditions.
  3. Lighten up! It’s better to glide across the top of the waves, than sit in the trough and be at the mercy of the bumps.  How? Consciously sit up, draw in a deep breath and avoid digging your blade too deep.  It’s all about timing but often when we dig deep it can hold the canoe back instead of letting it glide.  Look for the lines, the opening.  It’s often better to go for the small stuff and stay on top instead of riding the big waves and using up all your energy trying to get into them.
  4. Use different gears.  Just like in a 4WD truck, you may need to adjust your setting, meaning you may need to go forward more, or longer, or cut it short. I always try to make every stroke count but adjust it to fit the wave or bump and where my canoe sits on it.  Depending on where the canoe is I will either reach more up front and tap for a couple of strokes, or come back to my side and push the canoe down the face of the wave. There is a balance and need to be able to anticipate the flow of the water,  this is where rudderless paddling comes in handy!
  5. Awareness is key.  There will be moments when you lose focus, as I did but as long as you are aware of it, you can quickly adjust yourself.  I had a feeling I was out of my zone and was lucky I had someone to snap me back in.  I had no one around me for ages and that can be a problem, not knowing where you are in a race.  Unless you go into it with a race strategy (which I didn’t, except to survive).  Perhaps if I had things would have been different.  But I choose not to do the what if’s.  What’s done is done and now I know better for next time.  So it’s all on for 2018!

At the end of the day it’s really about having fun.  I was out there yelling and screaming to myself because I was just enjoying each ride (well most of the time).

Paddling feeds me as a whole person.  When I’m out there on the water, I feel at one with the paddle and the water, connected to everything.  It’s as if I’m giving back, sharing my energy with nature and the universe.  There’s a lightness about me as I glide with the water rather than against it, and a serene sense of calm that becomes my competitive advantage.

If you are serious about wanting to improve your paddling performance and don’t know where to start or have tried a bunch of stuff and still not getting results, maybe you need to dig a little deeper and find out whats really holding you back.

I am about to open the doors to my new online outrigger coaching programme and would love to have you join me.  Find me on Facebook and PM me or send an email to outrigger programme.

A big mihi to everyone who follows me and has had the courage to come up and introduce themselves at events or reach out online.  It’s pretty cool meeting people from overseas, it’s humbling actually.  I really do value your time and words of encouragement and support.

Much aroha,

 

Hiria x

#beyourbest

 

Five simple hacks to transform your training

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You’ve tried it all huh? The crazy training regimes, the diets, the latest fad and still not getting the results you are after?
There is so much information out there on how to paddle, how to train, what to eat, how much sleep to have its all a bit overwhelming.
Time is important to us all and we don’t want to get it wrong.   So who do we believe?
This is what I learned through my own experience.
1.  Have an open mind.  Listen to those willing to share knowledge. It doesn’t mean you have to do it. Once you have gathered it all up then decide how to make it fit you.  Not the other way around.
2. Put you first.  If you are really wanting success you need to start putting yourself first. Feed yourself, train yourself, educate yourself first because then it gives you the chance to improve and help others. You can’t lead someone somewhere if you haven’t been there yourself.
3. Learn the basics and do them well.  Leave all the tricky shit. Learn the absolute fundamentals based on how your body is supposed to move.
4. Get to know yourself.  This is the only way you will get it working for you.  Dig a bit deeper below what you say you like or think into what you truly feel, not what you do because someone else does it.
5. WHATS YOUR WHY?  This is probably the most important part.  I left it for last because I’m guessing you would have stopped reading if I put it first.  Most people do physical activity or sports as a means of losing weight or making friends, or to bulk up etc.  When it comes to those hard days where you don’t want to get out of bed or drag yourself to the gym after work, these things don’t motivate you enough.  But, if you were to focus more on the kind of character you would be building and look at being the best version of yourself it opens you up to so much more potential you probably didn’t realise you had.  My goal is to be the best damn paddler I CAN BE, and that doesn’t mean I don’t want to win. I have learned that if I want to be my best that I need to do the hard work on my physical training, my eating, my sleep, my emotional wellbeing, taking care of my whole rather than one area alone.  It gives me more chances of success.  Don’t get me wrong, if that old way works for you that’s awesome, but please do try looking at it in a holistic way.  I used to train my butt off for image and weight because thats what I thought I had to do and in the process it made me a bit crazy, and uptight.  I would always feel deprived, whereas this way I feel like I have won the lottery!  My mind is at peace, and I’m making the physical gains too.
If you really want to transform your performance and are over where you are at now try something different.  Don’t give up until you can say you have really tried.
Remember if something in here has given you an ‘aha’ moment jump onto my facebook page and leave a comment.  Your contribution may just help someone else.  Thanks for all the aroha and following me on my journey.
Hiria x
#beyourbest