By Kim Short, KAB Member

There is no better way to kick off the dragon boat season than participating in a training camp, especially when one gets to paddle at the beautiful, world-class Nathan Benderson Park in sunny Sarasota, Florida. This year’s training camp was held on April 28 to May 4, 2019. Members of Welland’s SNCC Warlocks, Sarasota’s Survivors in Sync, and London’s Rowbust and Pendragons joined thirteen members of the Knot A Breast Breast Cancer Survivor Dragon Boat Team. Our practices were 90 minutes long, twice a day for seven days with expert coaching from Kathy Levy (Knot A Breast), Doug Jones (SNCC Warlocks) and Cheryl McLachlan (Pendragons/Rowbust).

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Training included team warm-ups and cool downs, technique drills, speed work, two video reviews with individual feedback, and endurance paddling. Over time, we learned to make adjustments to our technique and, by the end of the week, any on-looker would think we were one big crew paddling together. Amazing!

While the coaches worked diligently to help us improve our stroke and become better paddlers and teammates, and we did out best to execute their advice, we also had time for many laughs and enjoyment of the warmth and beauty of Sarasota, Florida. Most of us stayed at the Sun ‘N Fun RV Resort where we enjoyed full access to the swimming pools, hot tubs, gym, yoga studio and other amenities. Thanks to Tammy (Pendragons) for leading us in two relaxing yoga sessions to help stretch out our sore muscles and find some time to just breathe! We had fun evenings together, and an afternoon off to enjoy the hot and sunny weather (beach or shopping day!). Some of us also ventured out in the evening to sample the food at the local restaurants. We enjoyed paddling at the world-class, multi-use sports venue while admiring palm trees, native birds, turtles and alligators, yes, alligators!!

We celebrated at the farewell party, where newbies (first-time attendees to the training camp) were awarded with a special lei, and the men also received special recognition. Kudos were given to our awesome steerspersons, Donna and Terry. Great job everyone! Thank you to Steve, Verna, Lindsay and Sue (SNCC Warlocks) for organizing this awesome experience. Huge thanks to Kathy and Doug for your vision in offering this camp in Sarasota and giving so much of your yourselves to make us all better dragon boat paddlers.

As a third time participant in this training camp, I have to say it just gets better and better. It improves my paddling, I make new friendships, and I feel “ready, ready” to begin the dragon boat season. I can’t wait for next year!

It’s finally April and our breast cancer survivor teammates are eager to get outside! There are so many benefits from working out outdoors — from increased Vitamin D levels to mood improvement. However, if we don’t take some precautions, we could quickly get injured.

1. GO SLOW

Every website we visited listed this piece of advice. Even if we have been walking/running on a treadmill, spinning indoors, or doing the elliptical, we cannot expect to take the same level of training outdoors right away. The pavement is harder, the weather adds to the workout, and the incline varies outdoors. Scale back to about 70% of what you were doing inside and gradually work your way back up. And if (gasp) you haven’t been working out inside, START REALLY SLOW!!! There is time — you will get there. Start with a brisk walk.

2. ALTERNATE INDOOR AND OUTDOOR TRAINING

This way you can get in some tough workouts indoors, but still reap the benefits of the outdoors. Try increasing the incline on the treadmill to prepare yourself for elevation changes outside.

3. KEEP UP YOUR RESISTANCE TRAINING

So often we are so happy to get outside and run or bike or swim or walk or hike that we forget to keep up with the weights! But in order to do cardio, our muscles and bones need to be strong! You could even take the weights outside. Dragon boating demands cardio fitness and strength.

4. DRESS APPROPRIATELY

Now is a good time to evaluate your “gear”. Check your shoes. Do you need more cushioning for your feet? Do you have layers that can be taken off when you work up a sweat? Do you have a water bottle to take with you outside?

5. GET OUT THERE

No more excuses! Now is the time to get fit!!! Have fun!

On Monday, February 11, 2019, members from Knot A Breast Dragon Boat Team were joined by members from SNCC Warlocks Dragon Boat Crew to participate in the Threshold Metabolic Challenge. The challenge was created to raise awareness of and help end the stigma around mental illness.

The Threshold Foundation was created in memory of Jared Humenik, who lost his battle to mental illness, to raise money and awareness for mental health and addiction. All proceeds raised through Threshold to a Brighter Tomorrow are donated directly to rehab centres and CAMH.

Bryan Kelly, personal trainer and owner of SMBS Training Studio, conducted the execution of the metabolic group activity, with the assistance of our group fitness leaders, Officer Dana Wood and Officer Therese Irving-Peckham, who provided guidance and demonstration in the high and low impact metabolic programs. Metabolic training involves completing structural and compound exercises with little rest in between exercises in an effort to maximize calorie burn and increase the metabolic rate during and after the workout. Metabolic training is high intensity anaerobic exercise that makes you breathless!

Both the high and low impact groups participated in two full rounds of a wide variety of exercises including frog squats, t-stand push ups, floor pull over, paint cans, ski jumps to name a few! All movements, holds, stretches and rest periods are 30 seconds each to make up a 20 minute round. Knot A Breast breast cancer survivors stepped up to the challenge and completed this twice!! What a great way for team members to improve their cardiovascular capacity and burn some serious calories to prepare for the upcoming dragon boat racing season! Participants that provided a voluntary donation and participated in the group activity were entered into a draw for some great prizes and KAB members took away several!

Congratulations Knot A Breast for stepping up to the fitness challenge to support a great cause!

Now that we’ve enjoyed the holidays, it’s time to get down to serious business.

Dryland/Pool practices are every Monday at 7 p.m. We alternate between group fitness training in the gym and a poolside practice focusing on technique. Training is held at the Hamilton YWCA at 75 McNab St S.

If you are a breast cancer survivor and are interested in coming to check it out, contact us for more details.