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Training: My Body is a Temple (of Doom)
"By this time next year, we will have completed our journey. As part of the preparation for this trip, we plan to get in better shape. Not that we're couch potatoes and just sit in front of the TV. I haven't owned a TV in five years for that matter. It's just in our best interest to be more fit before trying to paddle a canoe 2,300 miles."
-John Pugh journal entry, 8/13/04
I’d love to say that I had trained until I was a finely honed paddling machine. I’d really love to say that. My excuse is that I fell victim to some sort plague before the trip that I didn’t take care of it that put me down for about two months. That, and the fact that I’m inherently a slothful individual, conspired to cut my training time down to approximately 27 minutes. They were a very intense 27 minutes though.
My training regime before my Appalachian Trail thru-hike in 2000 consisted of eating 200 frozen pizzas, drinking a bathtub of Guinness beer, and taking an occasional walk. My preparations were similar for this trip. I don’t condone this training regimen to anyone, and fully expected the first few weeks to be my own Hades of aches, pains, and fatigue. And those would be the good days.
Jess and I were careful to not over-do it to begin with. This was a marathon, not a race. I did have chronic pain in my left shoulder, and my right thumb went numb for a few weeks. In the back of my mind I was worried that eventually my shoulder pain would put me off the river. Eventually it cleared up and is holding up fine several months later.
Getting into paddling shape on the river didn’t turn out to be that bad, but next time I'm going to get serious and bump up the training to at least 45 minutes. It's the least I can do.