Today I went out to do a long slow paddle following Dan’s advice, and I did it. I went 10 miles in 1:52:56, and my average pulse was 126 bpm. Compare to last week when I did a “race pace” 8 miles in 1:22:20 with an average pulse of 139. I was actually watching my heart rate monitor and every time it showed more than 130 bpm, I slowed down the stroke rate and concentrated on getting more glide. There were a couple of times where the heart rate monitor started giving weird numbers – suddenly going up to over 200 bpm and staying there. So the average was probably actually a bit lower.
There was a fairly strong breeze in my face on the way up, and I was averaging about 4.4 mph. I thought I was doing a great job of keeping my speed down. I decided to turn around at the 4.5 mile point because my elbows were starting to hurt a bit and because I really really had to pee. But when I turned around my speed immediately went up to around 6.8 mph, so I decided it was more a case of the wind and current than my own self discipline.
The brisk pace back (and the lots of glide) meant that I felt fine when I got back (and my bladder was surviving), and so I did a diversion upstream on the canal to increase the total distance. I was just about to turn around when I saw a guy out paddling coming towards me who was obviously a fitness paddler, so I kept paddling until we passed, turned around, and gave him a brief sales pitch for the BayCreek Time Trials. It was probably a good thing I went that little bit further, because the GPS beeped for “Lap 10” just as I passed the dock for GWC.
I think I kept good technique the whole time (although my paddle banged into the boat a few more times as I got tired), and I don’t think my speed (corrected for current and wind) was much worse at the end than it was at the beginning. It was definitely a milestone to be proud of.