I am lucky to have a job at British Canoeing which is directly related to sport. Working for a National Governing Body means I am surrounded by people enthused about fitness every day; some of them are world class athletes. My job is office based but in the last couple of weeks I have managed to get away from the desk a little.
Last weekend I worked with colleagues to run the waterside area at the massive Countryfile Live festival at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire. Over the weekend we worked with partners to get almost 3000 people out on the water, giving kayaking, canoeing and stand up paddle boarding a try. Long days and hard work were made easier with lots of laughter in the sunshine.
It’s always hard to squeeze in your own exercise when you are working in that sort of situation. My solution was to run the 9 miles from our accommodation into the show ground each day. My colleagues thought I was crazy but the exercise made me feel awesome for the rest of the day. It was great to discover a new run along the peaceful towpath of the Oxford Canal.
August Paddle Challenge
Back from Countryfile Live I had a few days to recover before my next adventure. We are currently running an August Paddle Challenge, encouraging people to paddle 30 or 60 miles throughout the month of August to bag themselves a free boat sticker. My colleague Craig asked if I was going to take on the challenge. I don’t really paddle very often but it seemed wrong to ask others to challenge themselves and not do it myself. ‘Ok’ I agreed. ‘In one day!?’ he asked. As usual the word ‘yes’ left my lips before my brain really had time to process what I was agreeing to.
And so on Thursday this week I found myself rising early to paddle 30 miles with Craig. The River Trent runs past our workplace at the National Water Sports Centre. I had calculated that if we started at Willington it would be almost exactly 30 miles to get to work. We would be at our desks in time for work in the afternoon!
Steph, who I ran with in Iceland provided us with support; housing and feeding us the night before the challenge, dropping us off at the start and greeting us at the finish.
The furthest I had ever paddled before was just under 14 miles in a previous challenge with Craig. That was well over a year ago and I had barely been in a boat since. I was fairly confident that my endurance would be alright due to all the running and cycling I do. But would my arms be able to keep going for the predicted 6 hours we would be paddling for?!
The answer was, luckily, yes! Wow, what a beautiful 6 hours they were. Lush green scenery and hardly a soul in sight. Our main companions were the cows, wading up to their stomachs to cool off and swans rushing at us to protect their nests. You can read the full story of how we got on here.
Six hours of paddling meant we were fairly quiet at our desks that afternoon but we had earned our challenge stickers and were happy. Luckily typing doesn’t require you to lift your arms very high; even drinking my cup of tea was a bit of a strain! It really did bring home to me how wonderful paddlesport is for mental and physical health. I had felt so relaxed out there on the water.
Any one else up for the August Paddle Challenge?!
Love what you do
We spend so much of our lives at work, it is so important to be happy in what you do. Not everyone at my work is sporty but there are definitely a high proportion who are. This week we also had our annual staff bell boat racing evening, organised by one of our lovely coaches, Steve. A fun couple of hours of racing, followed by a barbecue. Bell boat racing is a team sport and such good fun with your friends and colleagues. Teams were a mixture of staff, coaches and athletes. I may not be the most powerful paddler but found the power in my voice…turns out I get pretty loud when I want to encourage the team to win! Sadly, I clearly didn’t shout loudly enough from the back of the boat as our team were beaten into second place.
What a fun week of work…bring on the weekend!
Never Miss An Adventure!