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August 15, 2005

I haven’t had to take a month off from an injury
since 1996 when I was out for four months. I am very lucky on my timing
for getting hurt this year. I was on my last event, the Potomac Festival,
before a one month break from competition. I would have liked to made
it across the finish line still in first place in the finals of the extreme
boatercross, but that was not in the cards. Other than that, I won’t
miss an event! I tried some easy flatwater, strokes and concepts drills,
and then some easy flatwater cartwheels and it all went well last week.
Outdoor Retailer trade show was this week, and now I am doing Jessie Stone’s
Inner City Kids Camp for this week. I must say that there are two ways
to break a body. When the side of my body was slammed by a kayak at the
bottom drop of Great Falls, I broke instantly. For the past month of healing
that injury, I have turned to workaholic ways, breaking my body down one
little step at a time. No exercise for the first two weeks at all because
it hard enough to hobble around the house, followed by some easy swimming
the past two weeks, meant that my peak condition that I was at, 155 pounds,
strong, fast, and fit, turned into 165 pounds, much weaker and who knows
where it is right now. Gatorade was replaced with beer, exercise with
office work, and muscle with fat. There is one funny story from my friend
and AT team manager, Dan Gavere. After Dan found out that I was hurt,
he called his boss, Kelley Woolsey at Confluence (Wavesport) and said,
“you know what this means right?” “It means that EJ
can’t paddle, which means he is working his butt off, so make sure
you have your act together!” That was so on the spot that it is
scary Dan! I certainly did replace my kayaking energy with work energy
(not that I suffer from lack of that anyhow, but I went into overdrive)

The tide starts turning back this week! I don’t
regret a single minute that I spent in down time, since I did accomplish
quite a bit that may have not been accomplished had I been more focused
on kayaking. However, my time in the boat will increase each day this
week, until I am on the Housatonic and Farmington Rivers in CT on Thursday
and Friday this week for about 4 hours each day, then… up north
to Watertown, NY, and then the Ottawa! My weight will drop from 165 to
155-158 where it belongs, my body will get back to full strength and detoxify
from too much coffee and alcohol and, hopefully, my skills won’t
take too long to get back since I am competing in one week!!! If I am
going to lose my undefeated freestyle kayaking streak (all of 2005 so
far), that time is coming either next week or the week after! I will try
to pull it off, but, it will be tough. Jay Kincaid and Stephen Wright
are quite hard to beat when I am at the top of my game, so it will be
interesting competing against them after a month on the bench.

I was quite lucky to have hurt myself when I did. I
am only assuming that I am not going to have any physical problems left
over from the injury at this point. I think I am not only healed but will
be a full week more healed than I needed. This margin for error should
be enough to not have any problems coming back.

My bruise is completely gone, my swelling is 99% gone,
but it still looks like I have a love handle there, who knows, perhaps
I replaced swelling with fat? I expect this to be a chapter in my life
that goes under the “if that was to happen, that was about as good
as it could have been” category of mishaps. In 2001, I was competing
in the “Big Water Invitational” in Canada with Head to head
events, extreme races, etc. the week before the world championships in
Spain. If I got hurt in that event, like at Great Falls, I wouldn’t
have been world champion in 2001. Not having to miss a single kayak event
after getting hurt in the middle of the summer is pure dumb luck, and
I’ll take it.

EJ 🙂




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