Blue skies at last! Sunshine! Lovely water and great fun!
As always AIAB members are Winners on land and water. Congratulations to FORT – itude and the Deas Divas for the fastest times in the Scotiabank Breast Cancer Challenge Race! All that training in the currents of the Bedford channel paid off for our Fort Langley crew while our Divas were a close second. Abreast Up the Creek won their last race of the day while Richmond and Barnet were often neck in neck.
The parade of costumes was a wild success which Barnet won for their clever current event theme – pink women seek green men tribute to the Canucks. And we all looked very cool in our new Sundog Shades.
We were honoured to have Lynne Weber of Scotiabank present the certificate for winning the Challenge Race with branch manager Rob Edwardsen also witnessing the race. Both were very impressed and touched by the flower ceremony and the dedication of AIAB. Our boat of survivors and supporters (BOSS) steered by Amanda Chan, Race Director of the Regatta, was a special part of our Flower Ceremony.
Linda Morris, CEO of CBCF and Haifa Staiti were present to thank us for the support we provide for their events and to announce that $52,000 is being granted to breast cancer dragon boat teams in B.C.
Ellen Woodworth, Deputy Mayor of Vancouver cycled in to offer her congratulations to all the breast cancer teams.
Thanks to everyone who helped to make this an exciting and joyful day.
WET, COLD, RAINY, MUDDY, wait a second – was that some SUN??? Seriously, every time we got in the boat it seemed to stop raining! I should have pulled out the sunscreen, because I looked just a tad PINK that night.
Well, Barnet ROCKED! We had the unbelievable time of 2:31 in our first 500 metre race of the season. Just think of where we can go from here! I am so excited about where our team is heading and how we are really coming together in timing, fitness and BREAKING THROUGH to the next phase of this short paddling season. I think I see a 2:20 something in our future!
I mean it – we have those wonderful strokes who set such a good rate for us, we have some very dedicated paddlers and coaches, and we have a lot of untapped strength and desire. Not to mention a few novices who have taken to dragon boating like the proverbial ducks to water! I think we should reign in Diane S. energy and sell it! Careful what you wish for because at the end of our fourth and last race I overheard her say, “Is that it? I want to race again.” Soooo, when Gung Haggis Fat Choy needed two female paddlers to help them out, I reminded her and the two of us ended up in their mixed B final and ended the day with a 2:27!
Five races x 500 metres = 2500 metres – not bad for a novice and a captain who hasn’t paddled since the 2009 season! I think with hard work, consistency and plain desire anything can happen. Let’s visualize the end result at Women’s and see if we can’t pull off a 2:27 of our own! I know we can; I believe we can! Let’s RIP IT!!
Thank you to Manager Diane (on top of everything), Patricia T (for coming out to swell the numbers) and Calvin and family (for extra tents). EVERYONE ON OUR CREW WHO PADDLED TO THEIR LAST BREATH.
Special thanks to Bunny and Sandy (keeping us in time), Orrie (you did a great job drumming and calling), and Debbie and Rosemary (for some good advice).
Wings of Hope was the butterfly theme for Nite of Hope, an annual fundraiser for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. This was held on April 6th in Richmond at the River Rock Casino and twelve of the AIAB Richmond crew attended this fun filled evening. As usual, the speeches were excellent and there were many laughs. The keynote speaker, Dr. Ashley Davidson, spoke of a future of more predictive and individualized treatments for breast cancer patients. He also reiterated that B.C. provides the best care in Canada. Over $2 million has been raised this year and with an extra challenge to the participants at each table there was over $200,000 raised that night in addition to the ticket sales. This was a record for one evening. If you have a chance to attend a Nite of Hope event in the future please take advantage of it. It is fun, educational and rewarding.
Abreast in Barnet arrived in good time for the races. The AIAB tent was set up quickly and Linda and Calvin set up their tent next door so we had lots of room. The weather was mixed but, amazingly, every time we went out to marshall the sun came out.
In our first race at 9:00 am, we were against two other boats and right in it, but our timing was off a little in the middle. Our second race was better, still right in it but something was still a bit off. After changing a few seats around in the back, our third race was superb. The timing was good and everyone mentioned how there was that special “feeling” in the boat. We went with the same line-up in the fourth race, which was the final, and once again we were right in it and only beaten in the last 20 meters.
Coach Rosemary did a great job up front and her calls were well received. Our strokes, Bunny and Sandy kept us right in time and Lynne’s steering was outstanding. Every time we docked, the volunteers commented on our crew and the manoeuvring of the boat to the dock. On our last race Lynne was praised for getting the boat right beside the pier. The volunteers told us we were the best team at it, which made our day.
Thank you to our new manager, Diane F., in her first assignment on a race day. She did an excellent job of “herding the cats” and giving us the “news” and commenting on our “form”. Thank you also to Patricia T. and Francoise for stepping up and joining us for the Dash when we were short of paddlers. Last, but no means least, we have to thank Rosemary’s daughter for providing us with coffee, muffins and scones. Everyone appreciated this kind gesture very much and thoroughly enjoyed the feast.
1. Our new PFDs when tightly fitted work better than our old ones did.
2. You don’t swim with a PFD on, you scull: keep your arms closer to your body.
3. Our emergency kits are good, but the small ones are all we need for on the water.
4. Our flashlights need to be checked for batteries.
5. Our horns are great: 3 blasts, 3 seconds each is the International Code for “I need help.”
6. Our whistles can be heard further away than voices.
7. We don’t need to take a ladder on the boat because without practice in summer waters, we most likely all go over should we try to use it.
8. We NEED to know the number on the boat at EACH practice – some teams don’t.
9. If we did get totally swamped or dumped and are forced to LEAVE the boat, we must GET OUT OF ITS WAY and then RETURN to it and account for all.
10. There will be no time to think or plan in the confusion, shock, darkness at the time, so plan now and you will know what to do. (See our Team Manual under safety for more.)
11. Never try to rescue anyone in the water unless ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.
12. If a single woman falls over, call her to the boat.
13. If need be, throw out a rope with a PFD attached. Ropes are in the safety kits.
14. Get her to scull to the middle of the boat and tow her to shore, a wharf, a dyke, whatever is closest. She can get into the boat more safely there.
15. In the rare event that she is overboard and drifts away from the boat, we move the boat towards her.
16. We practiced approaching a person feet first, keeping two body lengths away, sticking one knee up ready to kick, then backing up: talk to her, try to calm her down. Get her to scull towards you as you back up towards the boat. Stay apart from her so she won’t try to use you as an extra floatation device. THIS SHOULD ONLY BE ATTEMPTED BY ONE OR TWO VERY STRONG SWIMMERS.
17. It is possible that a strong swimmer or two could tow an unconscious woman to the boat or to shore or wharf and get her on her side once there.
Our two non-swimmers attending were brave and were right out there with the rest of us. They even had a little race afterwards. We all had fun and I think everyone learned at least one new thing.
It was another lively social gathering at the Glenbrook Centre with 65 members in attendance. Our novices paraded the famous AIAB pink dragon, spring hats were modelled and the chocolate fountain was certainly a hit.
In addition to the social event our beautiful pink PFD’s were fitted to new and returning paddlers. Marcia Rempel gave out the prizes from the 2010 CIBC Run for the Cure to the AIAB team for raising the most money in their division. As well the AIAB Malaysia crew was selected.
Thank you to Evelyn Smoliak, Social Coordinator and all the members who assisted with this wonderful annual event.
The second Fitness Celebration began much the same as the last for me. My husband kicked me out of bed again as I whined about the early hour. This time it was a beautiful sunny day and the crocuses were popping up everywhere. The caffeine kick started my day again—that was the second kick start of the day wasn’t it? There was also a delicious apple coffee cake that helped immensely.
We were supposed to bring our activity diaries with us, but given that mine wasn’t filled out, I just happened to not bring it and pretend it was all filled out. “ Oops! I am so sorry, I forgot to bring my fully filled out diary! Darn!” I had been working out twice a week and doing some power walks in between so I did not feel too guilty. There were lots of good questions for Silvia. I hope we see her again next year. The repeat BMIs went really well and lots of fat had been shed to cries of joy from the participants.
Carole Dale regaled us with stories of her fitness challenge ten years ago—a climb in the Himalayas to view the peaks of Mount Everest. What an inspiration for our group. My favourite line of hers was that it was so cold at night that she would never do that that trip again without catheterising herself at bedtime. It seems a little frostbite on the butt in the middle of the night in the Himalayas will do that to you. I know that we’re tough women and we endure the odd blister on our butts early in the season, but the catheter idea seems like a good one to me if I ever go trekking.
The real highlight of the day was our workout with Norman Sam. He is a cool dude—a fit and lively dancer much younger than myself which led me to pretend I was taking breaks for water, not because my legs were burning and I couldn’t breathe. His dancing moves and music were contagious and full of fun. He looked like a leprechaun leaping about and I felt like an overweight bullfrog trying to get my body off the ground. There was a bit too much jumping and my workout group with Tracy knows I don’t do jumping. I peed my pants, and then I laughed at myself so hard I peed them again. Would I do it again? Absolutely!
The sight of that sea of fuchsia women joyfully trying their best to keep up to him was a sight for sore eyes. And keep up to him they did! Maybe not quite so gracefully, but certainly with the kind of determination that our AIAB dragon boaters always put on display everywhere they go.
A Day Beyond Fun!
Our AIAB Fitness Celebration, Part I
The day began with whining. As I crawled out of bed on a cold and frosty February morning, I complained and grumbled that I didn’t want to go to the fitness event. My husband did not say a word. He just kicked me in the butt. So I picked myself up off the floor and I went.
No trouble finding the place and it is very pretty there. Good coffee! I am not a morning person. Coffee is important to me. Nice healthy snacks like fresh fruit. Now I’m rolling. I learned something from all of our speakers. As a lifelong learner, this is important to me. Many of us wept when Tracy and Neoma talked about their trip to Toronto for the young breast cancer survivors conference—-and laughed.
My favourite part of the day was the pole walking lessons, led by Judy. I love Judy, but I did get in trouble with her three times for talking too much while she was talking—it was the caffeine. I can’t be trusted when I drink strong coffee. I have no self control. I am not allowed to drink coffee before I get into the dragon boat. Anyway, back to the poles! We were all outside in a very pretty park, putting our new skills to work, walking in circles first, and then up the trail for a little spin.
There was an elderly man sitting in his wheelchair, watching us from the sidelines. All of a sudden he called out, “This is better than TV any day!” We were amusing. Some of us were tripping over our poles. Some of us were tripping over our own feet. OK, it was me! I was tripping over my own feet. Coordination isn’t my strong point. And then there was the caffeine!
We did other types of exercise that were all fun and energizing. We had tons of door prizes and guess who won the first prize—-it was all about luck, not an A for effort. I had too much fun for the effort part. It was me. I chose the hot pink walking poles. I have no idea why. I had not even figured out how to use the poles. I was too busy figuring out how not to tangle my feet up. Anyway, I came home very high on caffeine and exercise, with my hot pink poles with the little black rubber boots on the end of them. They are so cute.
My eight year old granddaughter thinks they are ski poles and that I just got back from downhill skiing in Whistler—what a hoot she is! My four year old grandson thinks they are my new canes, because I often have a sore back. So I have just found two new uses for my walking poles. I say this as my husband kicks me out the door for my pole walk around the block. I am a bit clumsy, but I look hot! My poles are so beautiful!
Sooooooo, if you had half as much fun as I did, getting high on exercise, caffeine, fresh fruit, friends, life and bracing morning air, you will want to be there for Part II.
On January 26, 2011 at approximately 7:35 am on our local City TV station, our media stars: Pat Docking (Sponsorship Vice Chair) and Neoma Quintin, one of our younger members provided the viewers with key AIAB points and personal messages of thriving in spite of breast cancer.
In their eye-catching team shirts the two looked relaxed in front of the cameras and were able to direct viewers to our website and encourage other survivors to join our dragon boat team. The photo images of a crew in action while wearing our hot pink life vests was an excellent finish to the segment.