There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live. ― Dalai Lama
Every now and then, it’s good to take a look backwards and reflect on what has been. You can learn from your mistakes, and by realizing what you did manage to achieve, build your confidence and motivate yourself to keep pushing forwards. So before I get too philosophical, here is a look back at my 2012 year in paddling.
2012 started off rather well, my wrist seemed to be healing, the weather was the best I can remember (EVER) for a Plett summer, and I had some fun, international trips planned.
Then my wrist decided to play up again, and finally, after 7 months of resting and waiting, I went for wrist surgery. Yowsers, something I never want to repeat! Besides the after-effects of the anesthetic and morphine, living with one hand in a cast was the pits! (Thanks Mom fo all your help 🙂 )The long road to recovery began, and eventually, in May, I started paddling again. Paddling for a whole 2km in the beginning, I actually never thought I would ever get to 20km or more, and I had to really dig deep into my patience reserves.
In May I was fortunate enough to be accepted onto the ICF Canoe Sprint Expert Coaches Course, in Budapest. I spent an interesting month back in Hungary, my old training grounds (take a look at my blogpost of some of the sights of this amazing city here) I slowly built myself up to an hour of paddling, and did HEAPS of running!
In June, I spent a few weeks in Austria with Bridgitte Hartley, helping her prepare for the London Olympics. Summer was in full swing, and the little town we were based in was baking hot. Bridge was putting in the hard yards, and I was stoked to be a part of her build up. She was flying, and I got home really excited to watch her race!
I got back in time for the Knysna Oyster Festival, and for the first time in 29 years, they had to cancel the Forest Marathon. I was gutted as it was supposed to be my first marathon, and I had really put in the training. The vibe in the town was still great, and I will just have to find another debut!
Next up I zooted back to Europe, caught the opening weekend of the London Olympics, and then flew across to Spain, to do the Sella descent. This is a race I have been itching to do FOREVER, and finally now had the chance. My first race back since the surgery went well. I just missed the race record set in a flood year, so I am definitely keen to go back and ave another crack when there is more water.
I headed back to London, in time to watch Bridgitte claim South Africa’s FIRST EVER CANOEING MEDAL! What an achievement!
Next up was the Nelo Summer Challenge, in Porto. As always, one of the best events on the calender. Stoked with the win, and super amped for the first Official ICF World Surf Ski Champs in July 2013, to be hosted by the Nelo guys!
September saw me taking part in the ICF Canoe Marathon Champs in Rome. A crazy course involving one very hectic portage saw me take 4th place in the Doubles (again, 3rd Chocolate medal now, but who’s counting?) and Top 10 in the Singles.
Back in South Africa, it was my favourite time of year, Fish River Marathon time! I can finally add this race to my list of wins! I had a solid 2 day’s racing, and had enough of a lead to not have to take any risks. The lesson I took from this race, not being at my top fitness or being totally prepared, was that racing smart is leaps ahead in terms of tactics! This was a definite highlight of my year!
After Fish I flew back to Spain for a coaches conference, including a really interesting talk by the Gold Medal 200m paddler, Ed McKeever’s coach, Alex Nikonorov.
Then it was on to Hong Kong for a crack at the Dragon Run. No wind, a very hot and challenging paddle, I ended up 2nd to Australia’s Naomi Flood. Always a fierce competitor and super talented athlete, I am looking forward to racing her at Worlds this year!
And finally, it was off to Cape Town to race the CT Downwind and Cape Point Challenge. I ended up 2nd in the Downwind (singles), and 1st in the Doubles. Cape Point was a really hard race, and I had to dig deep to keep moving into that headwind. Stoked with my 4th win there!
I got home to Plett in time for the annual Sabrina Love Ocean Challenge, and Christmas!
Some other highlights of 2012:
Being on the cover of South Magazine.
My wrist finally healing 🙂
Being on the side of my old school’s bus…
Got tested by the guys at Precision Hydration, and this has changed my training/racing nutritional setup as I now know exactly how much electrolytes I require. I feel like I really am getting on top of this very important part of the plan.
So all-in-all, quite a busy year. With all the adjustments to training I am super happy with how my wrist healed and handled the paddling.Thanks to my folks for all their help this year!
My sponsors were fantastic, especially through the trying times of the injury, and I really am grateful for what you guys do for me. I hope I can do your backing justice in 2013.
Here’s to a fantastic 2013:
“Have Less, Do More”
“Be In The Present”
Keep the stoke and keep reaching for your goals!