As frequent readers of this blog know, I’ve pretty much run out of things I can do that are fun and give me exercise. Running, cross country skiing, orienteering, backpacking, canoing, mountain biking – all have fallen to the wayside as my pain levels continued to increase.
Last night, Vicki and I had a kayak lesson. Back in 1979 I worked at a summer camp and we had really cheap “tupperware boat” kayaks. We called them “tupperware” because they looked like they were made out of the same plastic, and even sounded the same when you thumped them. I played around a little bit in them, but never really learned anything except how to get out of one when you roll upside down and can’t quite get your eskimo roll working. Anyway, I haven’t really looked at kayaks since them because I think of them as downriver whitewater boats, and I’m not all that interested in whitewater. Don’t get me wrong, whitewater is fun, but it’s pure strength, not endurance. When canoeing, I’d prefer to think of whitewater as the prize you got as a reward for paddling for hours up rivers and across lakes.
Vicki and I tried a sea kayak on our cruise last month (sheesh, has it been a month already?), and I loved it. One thing I liked was that it seemed like a more fluid motion than canoeing. And being sea kayaks rather than whitewater boats, they’re optimzed for paddling in mostly straight lines on flat water, which I like. The other thing I liked is that if I can get Vicki involved, then maybe I won’t go out and hammer away at it and get overuse injuries immediately.
So first order of business was to get some lessons to make sure I was doing it right. That we did, and we both enjoyed it. Many of my boat handling skills from canoeing transferred over with little modification. Second order of business is to make sure I’m in no more joint pain after doing it than normal. So far, mostly so good. I’ve got lots of muscle soreness, but that’s the good sort of pain. I’ve also got a twinge in my right elbow, but I often get that from using the mouse, so I’m not sure if that’s paddling related. Vicki says she’s got some pain in her shoulder joint too, so I think we should hold off until next week before trying again, even though my first tempation is to go out today.
Time to wait and see. Keep your fingers crossed.
5 thoughts on “That was FUN!”
I’ve only done a little bit of kayaking – the “sit-on-top” variety – but I love it. If you guys ever get out to the Bay Area, we could take you to Elkhorn Slough to kayak past the sea otters.
Did a three-day weekend sea kayak a coupla years ago in the Pelorus Sound (NZ’s South Island). Except for the first evening, it was very calm and incredibly peaceful (except for the swearing as I tried to steer the $%##@#%& thing). On the way back to the ferry and reality, we stopped off at a rock in the middle of nowhere, picked us a few dozen mussels then built a campfire on a nearby island for an awesome lunch (there were even two cans of beer left over. Mmmmmm. Beer. Mmmm. Mussels. Mmmm…) Gotta do that again sometime soon.
My friend Paul, as unlikely a kayaker as I could imagine [short, big build, impatient, retired Special Forces] got dragged into this by his all-knowing spouse. They go out on Piss-That-Away Bay or in the Potomac itself, opposite Mt. Vernon..
He LOVES it. She loves it. Best part is they now bought him a new one so there are three and I can go too. It’s a lot of arm work for a lazy bum like me. But we see ospray’s, bald eagles, Canadian geese and lots of smaller aviators. (We’ve yet to see any snakeheads but will keep looking.) It’s oh-so-quiet on the Bay.
I stumbled across your blog a couple months ago, and come back to it when I’m looking for reassurance that there are others who see the world more or less the same way. Plus in some ways our lives seem oddly parallel (I’m just now struggling with my first pair of bifocals, for example) , and/or you might be an alternate (or future) version of my oldest son. Oh well. On exercise, can I assume you don’t find swimming fun? It’s probably the best for high-quality, low-pain effort. I treadmill, by default; I am NOT a ‘runner’, but want my heart to last and hate getting short of breath. In law school I swam, though I am not a ‘swimmer’ either, but it was readily available and my wife – Vicki – loves to swim. I find that once you invest enough time and effort to get comfortable with a reasonable workout and to want to start increasing it, it becomes its own reward. But most people probably fall off that first step. I also view it as an opportunity for medititative exercises. My brain is always so busy commentating on everything, or making me worry about stuff I can’t do anything about, that sometimes it seems the most precious gift would be a few minutes of no-mind. So right now I try reciting Buddhist mantras in my head while treading. Very limited success, but it’s a process, not a result, right?
Oops, meant to add; you might want to look at http://klepper-usa.com/. I have a klepper I inherited from my Dad, with one replacement skin it’s lasted for maybe 30 years. Pros: easily portable, very comfortable, very safe, good stowage for camping, can move at a real clip; and it gets plenty of attention when you drag the parts out and start assembling it! Cons: heavy, not cheap, and while in some ways more portable than a kayak, longer set-up and take-down time than just putting a kayak on or off a roof carrier.
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