Thursday, August 27, 2015

2 Ways to Supercharge Your Fitness This Weekend

Malians at the 2015 Summer Splash in Montreal
Local to Burlington, VT? In a fitness rut? Sick of just [insert activity here] day in day out?

Or maybe you're training hard but without any great purpose... in which case, try these two things:

  1. Come down to the Burlington Waterfront on Saturday, August 29 between the hours of 9am and 12 noon. Put yourself through one of Malia Racing's classic fitness evaluations and see how you stack up! Top men's and women's results will get a free month of training and paddling with the crew!
  2. Join one of the Malia practices Monday and Wednesday nights. We launch at 6:00pm from the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center. If you've never tried dragon boat before, you'll be in for a treat (not to mention a full body workout that will test both your cardio endurance and muscle strength)!
That's it - simple really. Come down and try this dragon boat thing before the season ends and we're forced indoors! (More info:

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

How to make your dreams come true in 10 easy steps

Well.... Ok, maybe not exactly easy, but I will let you be the judge.

Step 1 - Buy an old house and fall head over heels with it

Step 2 - Chuck existing, fairly lucrative and way too safe career, move to VT and enter graduate school in order to learn how to care for said old house properly

Step 3 - Join local fire department dragon boat team on a lark to raise money for charity but mostly for an excuse to have rowdy, splashy fun

Step 4 - Meet your future BFF and long-lost twin (pay no mind that she's darker, shorter and speaks with an accent quite unlike yours, she's definitely kin)

Step 5 - Get told "who are we kidding, you're not an athlete" but join elite dragon boat club with your new BFF anyway, and cross a border 2-3 times a week to do it because you can

Step 6 - Suffer through bikram yoga to train for competition in Hong Kong; make up a new on-your-butt steering style to make sure you don't flip boat in one of busiest harbors in the world; and manage to win world championships with 22 now-sisters-for-life

Step 7 - Ignore naysayers who try to squish your big ideas and start your own dragon boat club with BFF, with huge support from those who truly matter

Step 8 - Earn a spot on Team USA dragon boat team and represent your country (along with BFF no less!!)

Step 9 - Marry your (former) coach and personal trainer

Step 10 - Put in for a shot at coaching a national team - and GET IT. Actually, you get TWO teams. And the best part. WITH YOUR BFF!!

And there you have it. All you have to do is buy an old house.

Ok, so there are a few things I left out but the bottom line is, this week G and I learned that we were selected to coach two USA national teams: the U24 Open (men 18-24) and the U24 Women (women 18-24). We are thrilled, honored, excited, humbled, crazy excited, breathless, happy, super excited and just... WOW. Words cannot express how we are feeling right now. Here we are, as unlikely two friends as ever there could be, who met by chance by a fence in a field by a dilapidated old building (hmm... I'm beginning to sense a theme here), who fell in love with a sport they had never even known existed, who followed their hearts, who learned and watched and soaked up every little thing they could, who paddled and trained and coached and paddled more and trained harder and just went for it. That's the lesson here. You gotta go for it. But if you want to buy and love and care for an old house I highly encourage that too. Because old houses are just as awesome as dragon boats.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A New Era Has Begun

2013 is drawing to a close - and what a year it has been! This was the year we not only realized our ultimate dream - but realized it several years sooner than we had ever expected, or even dared to imagine.

G & L at opening ceremonies in Szeged, Hungary this past summer.

1. We each qualified for the USA National Dragon Boat Team - G in Senior A women's division, L in Premier Women's and Premier Mixed divisions.
2. We wore the Team USA uniform in Hungary and netted four glorious medals. EACH.
3. We started our own competitive dragon boat racing club (
4. We took a ragtag bunch of complete novices (sprinkled with a few dormant and even some not-so-new) paddlers and guided them to glory (first season on the water and we medal in a tough division).

Also - two things that weren't part of the plan but came about in amazing and wonderful ways anyway: 

L got married (to her and G's first Montreal and fellow Malia coach/co-founder - such a reach this sport has on people's lives!) - G now has to share L a little bit ;-)


G discovered a new passion and fierce talent for drumming and leading group exercise.

SO what's next?

1. We're presently working hard working Malia members SUPER hard and recruiting new members to complete our men's (premier), women's (premier) and Grand Dragons (50+) mixed teams. (Know anyone or want to join? Let us know!!)

2. We're also working hard back at the gym ourselves, trying to make sure we're on the roster for Club Crew Championships in Ravenna Italy with our Montreal team (roster will be announced in February).

And the rest of the plan .... we'll leave for another day. This is PLENTY to focus on for now!

Monday, September 30, 2013

A dream come true: representing our country at world championships!

We MADE it. Vermont girls who went off to train in Canada in order to make Team USA. The gamble paid off (if those smiles are any indication at all)... here we are at opening ceremonies at the World Nations Dragon Boat Championships in Szeged, Hungary earlier this summer. 

This has been such an exciting summer... it's been a whirlwind of activity: so much so that I've been unable to keep up! In my last post we'd just made the national team... and here we are in the thick of autumn already - the boats are out of the water, paddles have been put away, and flip-flops have been traded for sneakers as we begin our season of intense indoor training.  Over the next few weeks,  I'll be chipping away at getting caught up! 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

How to render a border guard speechless

So I'm crossing the border, alone for once, and roll up to be greeted by a tall, young, fresh-faced guy. I've only seen him once before, but I'm apparently quite familiar to him.

"Dragon boating again?"
"Yes sir!"
"Are you going to end up in the Olympics or what?"
"Hell yeah! My team won at worlds last year and I just made the US National Team!"
"Get OUUUUUUUTTTT!.... I was just kidding. For real?? Seriously?"
"Yeah! Why else would I do this back and forth shit so much? Oops, sorry..."
"Oh that's fine, I say shit all the time."
"REALLY?" he continues. "National team?"
"Yup. We're competing in Hungary next month."

And thus, suitably impressed and enlightened that this is not just a cute little hobby but a kickass, serious sport, he gave me a big smile and wave and sent me on my way. I should have tried to recruit him for our club. Next time I'll have my poster and "come try dragonboating" flyers ready.. (I wonder if there are any laws against trying to solicit government personnel ... )

Sunday, June 23, 2013

OC Training - Hungry Dragons style!

So, we have this incredible friend who let us use her OC1 to train on. She lives a little off the beaten path, so her crazy-amazing-inventor husband rigged up their golf cart with a hitch, crafted a trailer, and devised the most fun way in the world to move the thing around.

Here are G and I coming back from our first session with this whole getup. Not sure what we enjoyed the most... the paddling or the zipping around with the cart!

Made the cut for TEAM USA!

OMG so much has been happening!! So, we trained like mad, went to Tampa to check out and paddle with members of past USA national teams and other hopefuls like ourselves, then had our own crew's training camp in Myrtle Beach, then trained some more back in Montreal... and then did qualifying time trials on an OC1 (outrigger canoe) to see if any of it had paid off. 


We BOTH made the cut for Team USA.

I was in the garden, doing a bit of weeding and whatnot, when my teenager ran out of the house yelling.

"Mommmm!! Aunty G is on the phone. She's crying. I think something's wrong!"

I bolted out of the bushes and grabbed the phone with my grubby, dirt-caked hands. G was SOBBING uncontrollably.

"Breathe, woman, I can't understand a word you're saying!" I said. "WTF is going on?"

"Did.. you.. sniff.. get.. sniff... an email... hic hic sniff...?"

"No, I'm in the garden.. what happened.."

"OMG L... I made it. I made T-sniff-E-sniff-A-sniff-M USA!" (more wailing and sniffing)

"HOLY SHIT, we just tested yesterday!"

We hung up, I checked my messages, and called her back.

"MEEEE TOOOOO!! And apparently I need to go to freakin' Philly and retest because my time was close to what they're looking for for Premier. Double Holy Shit!"

Blah blah blah, lots of yelling, sniffing, choking, laughing, disbelief, etc. Hard to believe that when we first decided to set out on this journey we were told not to kid ourselves, that we weren't athletes. Just goes to show - if you believe in something, and want it bad enough, you can DO ANYTHING.

But you can't do it alone. Look what a couple of our biggest supporters did for us! Flowers, hair pieces, a paper towel banner, flags to wave and guide us all up their driveway... you'd think we brokered world peace or something. So awesome to have people behind us and to share each accomplishment with us :)