We train to canoe: technical skills and handling the boat. We train our minds: reflecting on the task that lays ahead. And we train our bodies: building muscle for the months of paddling.
After a long day of hard paddling I'm spent. My body groans knowing that tomorrow I will have to do it all again. Pulling back my duvet to crawl into bed I catch my reflection in the window. A new man is reflected, a different man, a man etched with scars and scrapes, war wounds from his voyages down the mighty river Avon. This man has large, dangerously muscular, shoulders, the shoulders of an ox. Having finally climbed into bed I lay there, tingling. My body tingles partly from the touch of stinging-nettles, the second-most lethal predator in the UK after the honey badger, that have attacked my legs through various points in the day. But my body also tingles as it grows. That's right. At night I am kept awake by the constant feeling of my growing biceps. My biceps grow, straining to break out of my skin. The sheer weight of my freshly formed muscles, which develop at a faster pace than my lungs, is crushing me and my breathing is gasped. In the last two days I have had to reinforce my bed frame twice. The first time was a general restructuring, adding steel supports to the four bed corners, but the second adjustments were more specific: adding two more legs to the bed beneath the resting point of my arms and an extra frame to support my shoulders. It seems absurd to say, but tonight I may be forced to make further adjustments. My arms are simply too big for my bed.
The result of such growth is a struggle. It is a small wonder I can continue in my day to day life. Hours of sleep lost to my growing muscles and new body weight, I arise in the morning tired and confused. I make my breakfast but accidentally bend the spoon underestimating the strength in my ginormous forearms. Carefully I pick up another spoon. I snap it clean in half. On my seventh attempt I have finally gauged my strength and have a tough spoon in hand. I demolish an entire pack of cereal (a large pack with "50% extra FREE"), ten slices of toast and four raw eggs. That is merely an entrée. After that, I have my breakfast.