My first dragon boat race is Saturday--only two days away. I'm tingling with anticipation at the opportunity to test the skills I've been honing all these months.
In January, when I emailed the Portland Dragonsports organization I said something like: I am a writer, and for several years have wanted to paddle on a dragon boat team. I think I'd like to write about it in my blog, Paddling Her Own Canoe.
How thankful I am that coach Jeanie Zinn of the Mighty Women team was the recipient of my email! She responded simply, "Why don't you come try it out and see if you like it?"
I did like it. In fact, I loved it. I'm in my element around water. I've paddled kayaks, canoes, rafts, innertubes, but never a dragon boat. I'd never even seen a dragon boat race.
Paddling a dragon boat makes me smile. One night during practice, Jeanie laughed and called out, "Susan, you're smiling too much! You must not be paddling hard enough."
"I can't help it. I'm having so much fun!" I called back up toward the front of the boat.
Dragon boating has enriched my life in so many ways. I now have this whole team of 20 other women who like to paddle and have adventures. I haven't been on a sports team since high school, when I really sucked at both track and basketball. I like hanging with women who aren't afraid of pushing themselves physically. Being a Mighty Woman has opened doors to new friendships with some amazing women. I plan to tell many of their stories in this blog in the coming months.
Dragon boating has changed my physique. Through mindful eating and paddling a dragon boat two to three times a week since January, I have lost 36 pounds--and many inches. I still have some weight to lose, but I am so close to my goal that I know I will reach it. I am determined.
I am more confident than ever. My biceps are something to behold. I can wear sleeveless shirts--and none of that embarrassing lower arm wiggle occurs. I am in the best shape I've been in for decades, probably since I was a 21-year-old college student who regularly ran, played tennis and handball.
Dragon boating has improved my balance, my breathing, my focus. My life!
Our first race is Saturday. I can't wait!