A paddle marathon & other endeavors to push the limits of your comfort zone

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” Neale Donald Walsch

If you think of all of the great things you have done in your life, you will probably find this quote applies to many of them.

It’s official…we are registered for the Cape Cod Bay Challenge (CCBC)!  In August we will be stand up paddeboarding 34 miles across the Cape Cod Bay from Wellfleet to Plymouth.  So the training needs to start-NOW.  We have just under 4 months to get ready for the paddle, and the Riding Bumps program is based on 16 weeks.  Did I mention that we need to get going right away?  In the past few years, I have recognized the importance of venturing outside of my comfort zone. Pushing the limits of your comfort zone allows you to go new places and see things from a different perspective.

paddle marathon

As a natural born worrier/planner, I used to get very uncomfortable when I could not plan out events within an inch of their lives.  With an undertaking like this, there are so many variables that we have no control over that it’s absolutely paralyzing if you let yourself get caught up in the details.  Here are just some of the things I have worried about while contemplating the CCBC.

  • It starts at 4:30 in the morning.  I don’t sleep well under the best circumstances, nevermind in hotels, and knowing what is in store for me the next day?!   Will I have the energy to get through the paddle if I don’t sleep?
  • What do I bring with me?  How much food do you need for 10-12 hours on a paddleboard?  How much sunscreen will I need?  What else will I need?
  • What if I can’t keep up and end up on the support boat #epicfail?  If you have to be picked up by the boat and brought back to the pack 3 times, you are required to stay on the boat.  No one wants that.

And on and on and on…these things probably seem very small to you (and they are), but to a worrier, they can be enough to talk yourself out of most new adventurers.


Then I think of it from a different perspective, wow…this is a great opportunity! 

  • We get to support a great charity! Christopher’s Haven offers a supportive community with housing for families while their children are undergoing outpatient cancer treatments at Mass General Hospital.  Few things can be harder than watching your child go through cancer treatments…we are very lucky to be able to raise money for a charity that makes these times a little bit easier.
  • How many people paddle 34 miles?  It’s not something I would ever have thought to do, and that’s pretty cool. We will get to meet new people, see some old friends, be part of a community, see new places, and push ourselves in a way we haven’t before.  A 10-12 hour paddle marathon promises to be even more of a mental challenge than a physical one.
  • As long as we train it should be ok…that is as long as we get started-NOW!

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Worriers/planners tend to shy away from new things, especially if they are kind of scary.  Thankfully Mark is the complete opposite of me and his mind doesn’t go to those places…he just does things.  And I go along.  So that means that I just do things now.  Of course my “things” are often much tamer (especially on a snowboard) but I’m still out there doing things.  So how do you get over all of your worries and get going?

It helps if you have support!  If you have someone cheering you on and making the journey with you it helps.  If you don’t have a loved one or close friend who is into the same things as you, there are people in the same boat and you need to seek them out.  Meetup groups, local shops, event coordinators, etc. are all resources for you to find like minded people who may be facing the same concerns. Or they can connect you with people who have already completed what you are trying to do, so you can get answers to some of the most nagging questions and hopefully, with those, you will get some comfort.  Just realizing you are not alone in your concerns can provide a lot of comfort, so find those people…you don’t need to go it alone.

Just do it!  Sorry Nike…but it’s true.  If you just get out there and try things, you start to realize just how wonderful all of these opportunities are, and you can spend more time being excited and taking it all in and less time envisioning everything that could be a stumbling block.  Last year I went to Kalama Kamp, a day long training program with one of the premiere paddleboarders in the world.  I didn’t know anyone in the group and was concerned that everyone would be a much better paddler than I am and I would hold up the group.  Most of the people in the group were better paddlers than I, but it didn’t matter.  Dave Kalama is used to teaching people of varying abilities and did well to cater to each of us at our own level.  And everyone in the group was very nice and supportive.  It was an incredible day to improve my paddling, meet new people, try new boards, and learn a whole lot.  It was also a great opportunity to venture outside of my safe, little comfort zone and try something new.

paddle marathon

ACA Instructor Certification Training is another example…people I didn’t know, an environment I wasn’t familiar with, many techniques that were new to me, and uncertainty about exactly what was expected of me.  I found out early on, that I was going to be able to complete the Level 1 certification, but that I would need to return for Level 2 at a later date.  That’s ok.  I am part way to my goal and know better what is necessary to achieve Level 2.

The more you venture from your comfort zone, the more you realize the awesome opportunities out there for you.  Baby steps are fine.  I tend to celebrate every little accomplishment (especially snowboarding…EVERY LITTLE accomplishment).  As long as you are moving forward, it matters little how quickly you are going.  Just keep going in the right direction

paddle marathon

There’s a lot on tap on the paddleboard this year…ACA Level 2 certification, the CCBC, Paddlefit training (and hopefully certification), surfing, and offering new, fun classes to our friends/customers.  Time to get started redefining those limits!  For anyone who wants to join us on our journey, tune in here or join us on the water.  We’ll be there!




Tags: paddleboard instructor, distance paddling, endurance paddling, paddle marathon, distance paddling on standup paddleboard, cape cod bay challenge, long distance paddles, kalama camp, paddlefit, certified paddle board instructor

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