Before I finished the Swim Around Key West, I knew I would need my next challenge on the books to avoid those post-race doldrums. I have been tossing around a few ideas of my next adventure, but it was time to commit to one of them for next summer.
I was sick of burying my head under the water for hours on end and wanted to look up at the horizon once in a while. I have tossed around the idea of doing an ultralight running/backpacking trip with just a credit card and some sugars, running a huge distance over several days, stopping at hotels and friends' couches along the way. Kind of like fast backpacking without the backpack.
But I just hate running, so I wasn't sure that was the way to go for this year. A Stand Up Paddle board might be a better vehicle for the trip.
Whenever I am getting into a new adventure that I don't feel like I know enough about, I go to the experts for advice. And I just happen to know one of those experts here in town. Wade Wiliford is a WPA Certified Instructor and is also PaddleFit Certified. He has been racing SUPs and outrigger paddling for 5 years and has quickly become a racing phenom.
Wade and I sat down at Jamba Juice in La Jolla last Saturday morning before he headed out to give a SUP lesson in Mission Bay. I have some experience in SUP'ing, but I am still at the point where I don't even know what I don't know. And Wade is perfect for this. We sat down and he began talking.
The first thing I learned was that I vastly underestimated the speed of an average SUP'er. He said that the average speed of a beginner was 3.5-4 mph. (He can probably also tell you the average airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow, if you wanted to know.)
I had estimated only 2 mph. Like I said, I am on a huge learning curve. So that turns my little 50-mile paddle into a 100-mile paddle over three or four days, which for some reason makes my head spin.
Wade gave me info on boards and paddles and media people and people who have paddle adventured the Carolina's and paddling technique. There was so much info that as I left I began to doubt if I could, in fact, pull this off.
And that is a good thing. If the adventure is too small, and I am 100% sure I can pull it off, it won't be big enough to inspire me to make the sacrifices needed to make it a success.
After a few days of letting the data sink in, I am ready to start planning. And ready for the challenge to spark the diabete fires. I can't wait to see how the new Untethered Regimen stands up to eight-hour days paddling, how my body handles huge training volumes in a new sport, and I can't wait to see who will end up joining me on this journey.