Hi, everyone! What a week this has been. I've been working on kayaking and organizing travel adventures, keeping up with typical workload, and have discovered that one of our two dogs has bone cancer. But one day at a time, right? Progress updates:
Fitness Goal 1: No more than 1 non-paleo treat or alcoholic beverage per day, except when travelling, 6 days out of each week
Success! The only day I had more than one non-paleo treat was during our Tuesday AD&D night, when I splurged a little on wine and chocolate. They were certainly calories well spent! And lucky, because my wee little rogue/druid didn't even get to 0 hit points that day, and we killed a dragon and leveled up. Yay! This is a hard challenge because I love my sweeties and drinks, but I'm feeling good about it.
Fitness Goal 2: Grab-bag Exercises: Exercise 3 days a week for a 30 minute block of time (not including walking or chores), doing anything at all
During the first week, I had two kayaking sessions with a light at-home stretching/yoga session in between. So far, so good!
Fitness Goal 3: Complete “Stay Away Until You are Ready” and “Study Your Enemy” quests from the NF Academy.
Working on it.
Level Up Your Life Goal: Go to whitewater kayak class once a week.
This is on track-ish. Next week, my schedule and my instructor's schedule do not mesh up, so I instead had two classes this week: one on Saturday and one on the following Thursday. The Thursday class will have to count for next week's class. I have a lesson scheduled for the week after and will be back on track.
The Bonus Goals have not been accomplished yet; working on those, too, little bits at a time.
So, during my most recent whitewater lesson, I still failed to roll. The more I think about it, study it, and try unsuccessfully to copy it, the more confused I get! It seems like it would be instinctual or at least not that hard once you have the concept down. It looks simple, like: just roll over. I'm not even sure why I can't do it or what exactly my body is doing underwater. I have a suspicion that maybe being underwater with the extra muscle resistance and being upside down is confusing my muscle awareness altogether. I try to do the hip snap upright on the pool side, and it's fine. I try to do it upside down, and I feel my muscles firing but nothing seems to be moving anywhere. It's so confusing. My instructor only allows that we work on this for so much at a stretch so that I don't imprint bad muscle memory but in my frustration I just want to keep doing it until I flip myself back up. The very first flip or two is still a little bit nerve racking, but after that the nerves go away, I get very annoyed at my performance, and find myself asking if I can please try it again? Again? Again!!! Arg. Well, maybe next time.
The GOOD news is that I actually got to go down one of the rapids channels, even though I can't roll yet! He put me in a thing he called a duckie, which is like half raft, half kayak. It is wider (requiring me to reach the paddle farther to the side) and more stable. He told me to follow him closely, I told him I had no idea what to do, and down we went anyway. 4 of the 6 pumps were on; I'm not sure what that means, whether we were on Class II or Class III rapids? Guessing Class II because the course maxes out at Class IV when they're all on.
On the first run I made it almost all the way through the course, and on the very last rapid (one of the largest ones) I went over it, started to go forward, then got sucked backwards against an obstacle and flipped. I could tell the flip was coming but actually swimming in the rapid was very startling! Even more startling was that I was actually totally ok. I had a few nanoseconds of: ack! rapids kill people! Someone will have to save me! What do I do? Will anybody see me? And then this awkward and completely unnecessary, ineffective swim where I kicked with my feet and just reached my arm straight up hoping it would poke above the water so someone could see my hand and help me. But then, ta da, I soon popped back up and the water pushed me and my boat on down the stream. I think I had the biggest grin on my face because I flipped and... it was ok. And fun. And also my arms were getting really tired! Ha. I had to get help to get out and recover my boat and paddle.
We did the channel at least twice more, and I flipped over at least once on each run in different places, usually because I had a difficult time maneuvering the boat into the right angle and spot for a rapid pass - getting stuck behind a barrier was common. After the first flip I was able to recover the boat and reset on my own mid-stream. During the last run, I obviously think that the reason I did not make it all the way through without dumping out was because my arms were tired. I knew exactly what to do and moved to do it, but wasn't quite fast enough, and had lost the fear of falling out so was missing that extra adrenaline pump to make up for fatigue. I don't think I could have done another pass. My little noodle arms were beat.
It was SO MUCH FUN! I felt great! It also requires so much constant focus and speed that it put me pretty instantaneously in the zen flow mode (but only when I was able to tamp down the nervousness), similar to when playing a racing video game, sparring, or in a complex choreography performance. I don't know if I'll acquire the aptitude needed to go down the channel on my own before the end of the season, but it's definitely a someday goal now. I wish I had started learning earlier in the season. I was honestly too scared. Oh. But! BUT!!! My instructor said that I am learning the rapids more quickly than most, and dumping out less often than most. So that makes me feel really good! Kinda makes up some for having such a hard time on the rolls.
I have been thinking that whitewater kayaking is more of a just-for-fun skill rather than a practical skill, like regular kayaking. I mean, from a stable flatwater boat, you could fish or get from point A to point B or carry loads... but whitewater is pretty frivolous. You certainly wouldn't want to fish from a whitewater playboat or try to carry much of anything on it or in it. Generally, I like to feel that my fitness ventures have some sort of practical benefit, but I haven't decided if I care that this one doesn't. Just one of the musings that happen AFTER you dump yourself into a series of rapids.