Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | October 3, 2014

Training Is An Adventure

Preparing for the 2015 Texas Water Safari

With the start of the Texas Water Safari only 8 months and 10 days from today, it’s time to ramp up our training. Preparing for the world’s toughest canoe race is not easy, especially if you are paddling on a tandem team — or on three to six man teams. Coordinating calendars, driving to the river and staging vehicles at drop in and take out points are just a few of the challenges. But, it has to be done whether it’s convenient or not and regardless of whether you feel like paddling another 30-mile section of the race course.

Ottine Dam Portage
Doyle and I have logged our first training run for next year’s 260-mile Texas Water Safari. I am hungry for a third finish and Doyle for his second. We both enjoyed getting back on the water and navigating one of the upper sections of the course on the San Marcos River. My son Jonathan, a three-time finisher, will paddle the 2015 TWS with our good friend Ben Duckett. Ben, a multi-year finisher, is the guy who inspired Jonathan to do his first safari. Ben will also be the best man at Jonathan’s wedding on November 7. They are both strong paddlers. We all feel the call of the river to train, train, train.

SM River Trees
I am often asked how one prepares for an ultramarathon canoe race like the safari. Preparing for the safari is not a go-to-the-gym-and-do-paddling-related-exercises kind of thing. The best way to prepare for the safari is to actually get on the river with your paddling partner or partners. Being on the water puts you squarely in the context of the race. Because the river is dynamic and always changing, being on the river allows you to respond to fluctuating water levels, currents, fallen trees obstructing the way, and much more. And, you get to practice the various paddle strokes that get you down the river in a dynamic context while becoming more familiar with the race course.

Jonathan on Trinity
I am hooked on the safari because it gives me an opportunity to share an adventure with my son and our family and friends. Jonathan and I talk often about the safari, specific concerns and challenges about the course, and how each of us are preparing for the grueling experience. I am also hooked on the safari because it is tough, has a high risk of failure, stretches me, and challenges me to go beyond. There is something really good about having something really hard to look forward to, something that will push you to the point of utter exhaustion. In the meantime, Jonathan and Ben and Doyle and I have lots of training to do. Every training run is an adventure that builds anticipation for the big day.

PS | My daughter Niki will continue to maintain and update the Lone Star Pastors Facebook page. I invite you to check it out.


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