How will you ever reach your destination or goal if you do not have directions on how to get there? Let’s say you want to climb Mount Everest, what do you need to reach that goal? You will need a plan. The plan would most likely involve training and conditioning, acquiring proper funding, finding a reliable guide and teacher, travel plans, climbing equipment, and learning all you can about the risks of climbing the tallest mountain in the world. Each of these elements can be broken down into smaller steps. Travel plans would include getting a passport, exchanging currencies, determining how to get to the airport, which flights to take and how to connect to other flights in foreign countries. You will also need to know how to get from the airport in Kathmandu to base camp. Each of these elements can be broken down into smaller steps. Every time you create smaller and smaller steps, the goal becomes more attainable. Remember the saying that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. No matter how big your goal is, it can always be broken down into small, doable steps.
This fall marks my 50th trip around the sun. In celebration of this event, I thought I would set out to accomplish one of those items on my bucket list: to paddle across the Monterey Bay. I will be lying prone on a paddleboard (similar to a surfboard but longer and more buoyant) and using only my arms as the source of propulsion. The course is expected to be approximately 28 miles. This might seem daunting or even ridiculous to some. However, when you begin to break it down into smaller steps, it seems entirely possible.
The first thing I did when considering this goal was to make a plan and to fill in the areas between the big steps with smaller and smaller ones. I plotted out where I need to be each month in regards to my paddling volume and distance. I then broke up each month into weeks and then days. I blocked out times in my daily schedule and also looked for alternate times to train if weather or other unforeseen circumstances prevent me from paddling. I have begun paddling several times a week to establish a strong training base and work on technique. Choosing different locations and conditions in which to paddle is helping to prepare for always changing conditions in the bay. I am learning quite a bit about ocean currents and sailing techniques. I am speaking with friends who have attempted or succeeded in the bay crossing to gain their knowledge and experience. My diet is also changing to reflect more of a long distance runner’s meal plan. Ultimately, the more I learn, and the more I improve my body and mind for long distance paddling the closer I get to this goal. In the end, it will still come down to one stroke at a time until enough have been put together that the crossing will have been made.
I will be sure to blog a few more times over the course of the next few months to keep readers abreast of the journey. Meanwhile, what are you going to work on achieving?