Monday, November 23, 2015

parkrun Run Director training

I thought I could stay below the radar for a bit... but it is not to be.

I attended parkrun Run Director training on Saturday morning. The Run Director is responsible for organising the volunteer team for the morning (marshals and people to scan barcodes, hand out tokens, open gates) as well as the run briefing and results.

We're trying to get five RDs so that we only take turns every few weeks.

Our Parys parkrun is quite small with 50-65 runners each week. No congestion, no bottlenecks and quick results. We do get some out-of-town parkrunners coming through and expect more in December when visitors come to Parys for the holidays.

It's a pretty route that starts from town and runs along the river. The route has a double loop, which makes it child friendly. We've got a good number of children taking part regularly. Kyla and Ruben have done about five parkruns now and they've both been out on their own. With the loops, we can keep an eye on them and the other parkrunners always shout words of encouragement to the young runners.

I especially enjoyed the results logging process. It really is a nifty system. What I didn't realise is that the volunteers also get logged on the system - receiving points for volunteering - and, where participants receive their results on email, volunteers receive a thank you email. Very sweet.

What? You don't know what parkrun is? Oh dear. Read this and remember to register on the parkrun website to get your personal barcode. It's all FREE. Print it before you rock up at a parkrun (don't arrive without your barcode!)

My RD first RD role comes up on Sat 12th or 19th Dec. The children have already volunteered to hand out tokens and both Celliers and my mom are sure to be roped in too. An instant volunteer team. Perfect!

See Lisa roll. Roll Lisa, roll.

I'm chuffed. On Saturday afternoon we headed to the Gatsien rapid on the Vaal River for my first river session in my Bazooka white water kayak. We had the kids with us on sit-on-tops plus two visiting German kayakers (Jan and Stephanie). We weren't the only ones out there. With water levels up, there was a fair party happening on the water.

Not where we were paddling... just a view of part of the river on my way out of town on Sunday afternoon.

Celliers started off showing me some paddle strokes and then we went across to an eddy so I could practice my rolls - especially as I only learned last weekend in a swimming pool.

BOOM - up I came. Yee-haa! I did it again. Yay!

Then we messed with some ferrying into the current. We started with a strong one and I had two swims - I came out at a funny angle and didn't even try to roll.

And then Celliers told me something really useful. He said that if I capsize in a rapid I'll be in a lot of turbulence.

"Just wait," he said. "It will get calmer and then roll. Don't even try in the current and turbulence."

A little while later I was playing in the main stream, crossing from one side to the other. I haven't quite got the hang of 'edging' the kayak - tilting the downstream side down (lifting the upstream side up). I flipped over.

I could feel the turbulence and I just waited, paddle in my hand.

Within seconds it was calm and I got my paddle into position but just as I started to roll I hit more turbulence. I waited - upside down in the water and folded over close to the boat.

It calmed again and in one stroke - BOOM - I was up. And there was cheering from the bank behind me.

Super, super cool.

It seems that in messing around at rapids there's a lot of bobbing and sitting on the water that happens. Really not good for my constitution. I felt a bit green. I've only ever raced down rivers so I've never been river-sick. Bobbing on the water isn't my thing. I'll need to take some anti-nausea meds for this - but maybe I'll adapt?

I'm not in town this weekend, unfortunately, but my full-time move happens in a week today. I'm itching to hit the water again.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

I'm rollin'

There's a significant advantage to having the founder of Fluid Kayaks and designer of all Fluid's boats in your life. Your boat ownership ranking goes up and you have access to a fleet of his boats too. Although he's no longer involved in the running of the company, all of the kayaks produced by Fluid are his designs.

For xmas last year I asked Celliers to teach me how to roll. This is a white water kayaking skill where you're able to right yourself (in your kayak) should you capsize. The idea is not to end up upsidedown, but it happens. And if you can roll right-way-up again instead of swimming - all the better.

Finally, on Saturday, we went to a friend's house to use his pool and Celliers taught me how to roll. I've got a lovely, green Fluid Bazooka.

We started with basics, like capsizing and staying underwater to get the feel of being upside down in the kayak. And then popping the spraydeck to swim out. And then lots of hip-rolling drills holding on to the side of the pool. Then capsizing with the paddle in your hand and popping the spraydeck to swim and then starting to learn the paddle motion to provide resistance to use your hips to roll the kayak right-way-up.

There's only one problem.

I get really queasy! I don't have a strong sea constitution and while my tolerance lasted for a considerable time, all the rolling and bobbing on the water started to turn me green!

I had to get out a few times (fast!) to sit on the side of the pool. I couldn't even look at the kayak bobbing on the water!

Fortunately I don't get seasick paddling down a river, but if I am just sitting in the boat and bobbing... and especially if I'm bobbing and have to focus on something - like getting the spraydeck on... goodness. My tummy turns.

By the end of the session I'd done a number of rolls on my own but I wasn't up to getting on the river. So we had a picnic on the bank instead.

I'm keen for another - shorter session - on the pool. My constitution should be good enough to head down to the river to play there a bit. And then I'm in for a session on the river. The water is very low, but there are decent sections.

I'm really excited about improving my river skills and especially to learn a new paddle discipline - white water kayaking. Parys is such a wonderful lifestyle location for river fun.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Old friends

When I last moved home, a few years ago, I left my books in boxes. Three years ago I sorted through them. I got rid of a few, kept some and sectioned off others with the aim of creating an adventure-book library, which I planned to have at a friend's sporty store. The books sat there for a year - in boxes. I collected them and they've been in boxes in a cupboard since.

Last week I moved my books to my new home in Parys and put them on their own bookcase in our new home office. I am so delighted to have all my books together. Handling each one to place it on the shelf brought back memories of the stories and adventures, the people and when I read it.

Of course, I have colour coded my bookcase again.

In addition to books, my bookcase also has some friends collected on travels.
The challenge is always to remember what colour books are - to find them again. But the pleasure too is in searching for a book and finding other gems instead.

A close up of red-orange-yellow
A close-up of green-blue. I could do with more green... Indigo and violet also low. I've got lots of white and black.
Celliers is definitely a lot more sharing than me. He thought our books would mingle. Funny.

When it comes to books, my books are my books; his books are his books. He's welcome to take and read any book at any time; but mine have their own bookcase. I have a very possessive book 'thing'.

Where Celliers organises his book by categories (kayaking, travel - by country, mountaineering, biographies and such), mine are arranged by colour. Now that he has seen this, he's quite pleased that my books are not mingling. And he won't let me colour-code his bookcase.

"I won't be able to find anything!" he says.

Between the two of us, we have the most incredible collection of paddling, mountaineering, climbing and adventure books. It will take us many, many years to read the other's books.

My mission now is to paint the bookcase white to better show off the colours of the books. hahahaha