Sunday, May 6, 2012

2011 ICF In Pictures

I thought I should share this link as more than a few friends have cameos and it is an all around great video of some funny moments caught by the ICF throughout 2011.


Post Trials I have done a bit of thinking about what it takes to be great.  I found this blog post on Joe Friel's blog ( ).  I think it sums up what it takes to be great as well as serves as a reminder on days that I am tired or distracted.  I have also copied the parts I found the most relevant below:

Excellence is not for everyone.  It's far too difficult for the great majority of those who participate in sport.  In fact, those who seek excellence are often ridiculed because they are different from their peers.  And so it isn't easy to seek excellence either.  Humans are social animals: we we don't like being outcasts.  It's much easier to go along with the crowd than to stand out in a crowd.  But there are athletes who pull it off, and with great aplomb.  Have you ever noticed how young, pro athletes often try to give the impression that nothing about their training or dedication to the sport is unusual?  They've learned to give the appearance of being "just like everyone else," even though their performance in competition tells us otherwise.  Going out of their way to be laid-back is how they cope with the dilemma and help prevent others from branding them as strange.

Here's a list of some of the best predictors of excellence in sport, in their order of importance:

1. Motivation.  This one is more important than all the others combined.  If the athlete isn't motivated, excellence is highly unlikely.  In fact, the other predictors won't even exist without motivation.  This goes well beyond giving lip service to goals.  The truly motivated athlete is on a mission and has a hard time keeping himself or herself in check.  This person really needs a coach to pull on the reins to prevent overtraining, injury, illness and burnout.  If the coach has to use a whip then it's a losing cause no matter how talented the athlete is.  The coach will never give the athlete motivation.  It must come from within.

2. Discipline.  This is very simple.  The disciplined athlete will make daily sacrifices and make due with hardships in order to excel.  This person doesn't miss workouts short of a disaster.  Weather is an insignificant factor.  The disciplined athlete knows that the small stuff is important.  He or she doesn't get sloppy with diet, recovery, equipment or anything else that has to do with goals.  Discipline is not easy.  Others can accept motivation, but they have a hard time dealing with people who are disciplined.  You've got to make light of or even hide your discipline if you want to be accepted by your peers.  Good luck here.

3. Confidence.  Some people seem to live life completely with an unwavering belief in themselves and their actions.  These folks are indeed rare.  Few athletes don't have some concerns about how well suited they are for whatever the task at hand may be.  There's a sliding scale of confidence.  Most of us are somewhere in the middle.  To move closer to the high-confidence end all we typically need is some success.  Success breeds confidence.  While it's hard to come by you can create your own.  When you go to bed and after the lights are out, go back in your memories and find anything in your day's workout or related activities that was successful at any level.  This could be a very small success such as feeling strong during the workout, or eating fruit instead of a cookie for a snack.  Relive that small success over and over until you fall asleep.  Occasionally there are big successes.  The become "anchors" which you relive often and store away in a vault to be pulled out whenever you feel low confidence coming on, like in the start gate of a race.  Thinking of one's successes breeds success.  Success breeds confidence.

4. Focus.  This could also be called purpose; the athlete knows where he or she wants to go in the sport.  Daily training is a purposeful activity that will lead to excellence.  Each workout (and recovery) is a small building block that eventually results in excellence.  But you have to take it one step at a time, which bring us to the last predictor, patience.

5. Patience.  According to Malcolm Gladwell in his book The Outliers it takes about 10,000 hours for a person to become a master of anything.  Although few have ever quantified how many hours it takes, experience shows that performing at the highest level in sport takes something on the order of 10 years of serious training regardless of when you started in life.  So Gladwell is probably right.  There are certainly exceptions, or at least it appears that way on the surface.  But when an athlete comes along who seems to go to the top right away we often find on closer examination that he or she had been developing outside of the recognized success pathways.  Patience also has another level that goes beyond this long-term approach to success.  This is a more immediate, daily component associated with the ability to pace appropriately early in workouts and races.  Athletes who seem unable to learn this skill are less likely to be successful that those who master it.

Notice that nothing was said about innate talent, physiology, skills, or even experience in the sport.  All of these things can be developed and learned if the other predictors are there.  As mentioned earlier, the challenge for most of us in seeking excellence is learning how to do it without appearing to be doing so.  Watch how most of the pros do it and try to emulate their apparently laissez-faire attitude.  No one achieves their levels of accomplishment without being highly motivated, disciplined, focused and patient.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

USACK Slalom Director Named

Congratulations to Richard Perlmutter! 
Mr. Perlmutter was recently named the new Slalom Director for USA Canoe/Kayak.  He will be a guiding light for the slalom community through his focused efforts on regional clubs, development programs, and focused fundraising.  Having been involved in slalom for over a decade, with experience in every role within the organization, Mr. Perlmutter is a qualified representative of the sport.
Congratulations again Mr. Perlmutter!  We look forward to four years of growth and excellence through sport!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Today I was happy.  Now, I am normally a very happy person.  Don't get me wrong.  But I woke up this morning with a long list of things to do and just smiled.  I was happy and life was light and airy.  Now that is not to say that everything was in order and life made was just a good day.  I started my day right away and then got in my car to run errands all the while singing to myself and smiling.  I paddled...not necessarily like a rock star.  In fact I struggled.  And I had the same internal struggle about my life in flux that I have been having for a bit while pushing to get to the next step.
But for a moment I was content to roll the windows down, crank up the music, sing at the top of my lungs, and smile behind my sunglasses.
Days like this are amazing and rare.  You should always share them.

Monday, April 4, 2011

It's A Beautiful Morning

It is sunny, breezy, and 85 degrees here in Charlotte, NC.  I can't say that I could ask for more of a perfect day to paddle, except that it is my day off and I am thoroughly enjoying it.

Once again, I have been remiss in keeping up with everything that has been going on.  I came back to the east coast mid-February just in time for the NOC Glacier Breaker, the US spring season opener.  Since then has been a blur of training and racing.  So far this spring I have raced at the NOC Glacier Breaker, Charlotte Spring Opener, and US Open.  I will go so far as to say that I raced each day.  I am not overly pleased with my lack of performance, but it is a process that I am learning to embrace, although I am constantly chomping at the bit to jump ahead of myself and be faster (who could ever imagine a competitive athlete wanting that?).

Most recently I hurt my left shoulder.  I'm not sure how.  I raced last weekend at the US Open, came home and woke up on Monday (my day off) with a very sore shoulder.  I let it rest the entire week, which translated to a very high strung, antsy athlete that was sick of the treadmill.  Saturday and Sunday were my first days back on the water.  It felt great.  I could not stop smiling or demanding perfection of myself, per usual.

The US National Team Selection Race is quickly approaching (a week and a half away).  It is interesting mentally to start to realize that the day that you have trained for all spring is actually here.  For me it started when the other girls began to appear on the water a little earlier this spring.  Now it is that they are here to stay until everything is decided.  I cannot say I am not nervous.  In fact I am petrified.  I am so much better in my kayak this year.  Although I have backed off on the speed, I have been much better at executing.  The canoe, however, is a totally different animal.  I am still exploring the course and my own limits.  Being so new to a canoe (as in a few months new!) I am also still learning different pieces of different skills.  The doubt in my mind is whether or not I can put it all together when it counts.  Here's to a hail mary and a great big smile!
These Smiles will do! Buddy, Littlest Lucy, and Me - 2011 US Open

Monday, January 3, 2011


New Year and Merry Christmas!
I am well aware that I am late on all of my holiday wishes for everyone, but I have just been having too much fun.  Very Seriously!
I spent a fabulous Christmas with my family and my mother's family in southern New Mexico where it was constantly in the 50s.
Now that I have once again returned to Colorado to take advantage of the water, I have been snowed in for the first time in several years by feet of snow in a single night, joined heckling efforts with Coach Cathy Hearn, wiped out spread eagle style twice in the middle of the street while trying to get to the river for a practice in said snow storm, been honked at for driving slowly on ice covered roads merely because the license plate on my Dad's car is from Texas, set a new low temperature training record of -4F (a workout which all the boys conveniently decided not to attend), met some pretty awesome people - mostly the infamous little brother Billy Hearn (warning to all: we have discussed pranks and I am trying to convince him to test out several), and tried some new recipes that may have killed a few people along the way.  In summary, the training of a lifetime!

Girls Only Workout Smelter, Durango, Co: -4F
Marci Cary, Catie Vuksich (Me), Cathy Hearn, Mini Hearn

The boats got so covered with ice that after 31 short courses we had to call it quits.
Cathy Hearn, Mini Hearn, Catie Vuksich (Me), Marci Cary

Who knew it would be better to paddle bare-handed in this weather.

All photo credits to Billy Hearn, self entitled Peanut Gallery and Cold Weather Heckling Support Team

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Colorado Bound

A week ago I began the drive from Charlotte to Albuquerque.  Somehow I made it through a massive southeast snow storm that brought snow to every city on my route: Asheville, Nashville, Memphis...

After a couple of wonderful days at home with Mom, I have finally made it up to Durango, CO to get back on the water.  I brought out an old boat that I am planning on leaving so that I can always have one here.  Yesterday was my first day back on moving water since the USNWC shut down for the winter.  It was fabulous!  The water was super low creating just a little bit of current, but has a great green tongue and some wonderful eddies to practice in.  Making everything that much more amazing was the fact that it was snowing.  Not east coast snow, but that big fluffy beautiful snow that only Colorado has.  In addition to getting some moving water time in, every workout is an altitude workout (even a simple 60 minute bike ride after lifting or an easy paddle).  I'm hoping to come home having made some huge gains out of the next couple of weeks.

Oh ya, Thanks Nic for letting me crash both your home and workouts!  And thanks Cathy for letting me jump in as well.