The past month has flown by, packed with training, the NSW state championships, the NSWIS Awards Dinner and a new job.
Since September I have been in a block of largely fitness and strength training. My training program is quite varied and includes fitness and technique sessions on whitewater, aerobic sessions on flat water (sometimes in a sprint boat which is a new challenge), paddling in the surf (I managed to give myself a cut and swollen nose and two black eyes on one occasion), gym (I’m working on being able to do chin ups with an extra 30kg strapped around my waist), running, swimming, and sometimes some yoga and indoor climbing. I’m really enjoying the variety, the challenges and the improvements I am making.
We still do some racing through this block, and the NSW state championships were held on November 5-6 at the Nymboida Canoe Centre, a stronghold of canoe slalom in NSW prior to the Penrith Whitewater Stadium being built, and a place of many great memories for me. As a teenager I spent many weekends at Nymboida, it’s a three and a half hour drive from my home town of Old Bonalbo, training, competing and developing my whitewater and racing skills, as well as body boarding and swimming down the rapids and making friends that will last a lifetime. Unfortunately over the last decade this great facility has become less suitable for high level training and racing due to problems with the power station upstream. Burst pipes and turbine problems have meant that the power station cannot operate at its former capacity, which means shallow rapids less than ideal for slalom paddlers. We are hopeful that repairs will continue and the Nymboida Canoe Centre will return to its former glory (and more renewable energy could then be generated into the bargain – I mean, the power station already exists, it makes sense to use it right?).
But back to the state champs. Despite shallow water, NSWIS coach Yann Le Pennec set an interesting and challenging course, and a race is a race, no matter where you are or what the conditions. Day one saw me in the lead ahead of my sister Ros by 0.8 seconds. Unfortunately that was just a lead-in race for the state champs the following day, where Ros pipped me at the post by just 0.56 seconds. But close racing is good racing. It pushes you to look for where you can gain every fraction of a second. And it may be fractions of a second that decides who goes to the Olympics.
I then took the opportunity to spend a couple of days at home in Old Bonalbo visiting my parents. I generally only get home a couple of times a year, but I always find it very peaceful and refreshing when I do.
November 17 was the annual NSWIS Awards Dinner. As we spend most of our time in wet paddling gear or smelly gym gear, it’s always a nice opportunity to dress up and enjoy good food and the inspiring achievements of our fellow NSWIS athletes. Canoe slalom had a few finalists for awards (Sydney Olympic Park Program of the Year; Jess Fox for the Australian College of Physical Education Academic Excellence – General and Out & About Marketing and Media Junior Athlete of the Year; and Ros for Samsung Electronics Australia Female Athlete of the Year) so we had a good crew attending the event to support them.
Finally for this month, my new job. I am now being employed by Flourish Arts in Birchgrove on a very flexible basis to design and make beaded jewellery to be sold in the gallery. While this is a very different path from my longer term career plan of working in the ecology field, it is a great combination of a hobby that I enjoy, a bit of extra income and the flexibility I need to work around my training schedule. It’s a fantastic workplace and a lovely little gallery. Come and check it out!
Until next time,
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