Stop and talk. Stop and notice.

DCIM108GOPROTwo weeks ago I was on the water north of the Dunedin Causeway paddling  my OC1 (a one-person outrigger canoe). Tucking in close to shore, I was trying to avoid the wind and just grind away at a longer, flat water workout. As I came around a long marina dock, I noticed a thin, older man paddling steadily with a kayak paddle in a recreational canoe .

Typically, while out training, I would keep to myself–keep to my training plan–and zip by–avoiding any chance to be social. On this particular morning, for some reason, I steered close to the canoe and managed a “good morning.” I slowed my pace even more and had a nice conversation with the fellow paddler (I think he said his name was “Meade”) who was starting to train for the 300-mile Watertribe Everglades Challenge. He was going to be racing a self-built sailing canoe. I mentioned competing in the Ultramarathon (a 60+ mile race that is essentially the first leg of the longer Everglades Challenge) in a surfski in the past and that I was contemplating doing it again next March as part of a six-man outrigger canoe.

After a few pleasant minutes, I said my farewell and turned my OC1 in the other direction and picked up the effort level–getting back to my training. The second half of my paddle ended up being stronger than the fist half. Was it the little rest I got while talking or was it the energizing feeling I got from a brief sharing of experience with another water-lover?

img_1566I’m sure it was a combination of both–but, I like to think the conversation was the critical factor. Paddlers are passionate folk and the encounter helped remind my how much I love sharing my own experiences and hearing about those of others. It also reminded me of how energizing it can also be to just stop and notice–not just the dolphins and the manatees, but the cloud reflections on the surface, the sea grass bent in the current or the subtle changes in light and color as the dawn progresses.

~ by kipwkoelsch on November 23, 2016.

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