Sunday, July 7, 2013

Summer Fitness Smorgashbord: Kayaking

I have recently tried a couple of exciting new fitness fun time activities that are so unique and special I thought "Hey, maybe I could share something nice and friendly and not totally whiny and personal with the internet for once." So here I am, ready to discuss fun time fitness activities with you for the first time in months. Aren't you excited?!?! No? Too bad! You should be used to the fact that I am a fitness freak by now. Sheesh.

We all know I do a lot of exercise on a regular basis already. Pole, silks, hoop, poi, know. Normal people things. But it's nice every now and then to step out of the box and try some new stuff. Since my life is seemingly always teetering on the edges of a complete and total nervous breakdown, I feel like it is good to go out and try to see life from a new point of view by putting myself in a new version of pain (aka exercise). It gives you a lot of perspective, really. By that I mean that it makes all the emotional pain seem less real in comparison and then you feel even MORE crazy, if that was even possible. Still, I like to think it helps.

I WAS going to write about a lot of things at once, but in the effort to scale down on my entry lengths (which so often get very out of hand) and also in laziness to complete finished work, I'm just gonna split it up. More blog posts for everyone! Hooray!


The first new super fun time fitness activity time I tried was kayaking! Wee!

A Kayak-Centuar in his natural habitat
I've always wanted to go kayaking. Not like, insane white water rapid kayaking where you see these bodies spouting out of kayaks like they are these mythical centaur/kayak beasts and they flip around in get submerged in water and have their faces scraped along the bottom of rocks or anything. But like, nice happy relaxing sea kayaking, where you paddle around and look at the ocean and sky and birds and stuff. I was supposed to do it in Hawaii when I visited a few years ago, but it was cloudy, so we didn't go. Sad day. Luckily for me, a super friendly friend of mine bought one of those new-fangled internet deals to go tandem kayaking. She got down on one knee and asked me to be her second. I said yes!

We showed up to the fancy-smancy kayak rental place in Newport Beach and this guy at the place gets us all squared away. Except not really. Because this guy is the weirdest human being I have ever met. It's not that he did anything crazy or whacky or strange really. It's that he showed no emotion whatsoever. You don't realize how much you rely on facial cues and vocal expression to communicate ideas and make people feel comfortable until you meet someone who has no concept of this. He kept making what I think were sarcastic jokes. I couldn't tell. When he told us we'd meet sharks and seals and have to fight them off with our paddles, he was so dead faced I couldn't tell if he was joking or not. It sounded so absurd and yet...he looked so serious! I couldn't figure it out! When I asked him to show me to the bathroom, he brought me back into this office hallway and said it was right there. I thought maybe he was joking or maybe he brought me back there to murder me until he pointed down the hallway to the bathroom sign. That's how uncomfortable he was.

So when that encounter ended, he told us how to get down to the dock: by jumping over the side of the railing. We decided we'd rather use the stairs. I was slightly concerned by the fact that I didn't have to sign anything and they did not seem to be providing lifejackets, but I did not have time to ponder this as we were sat down in--no, on TOP of a kayak, there were none of those little holes or straps or seatbelts or anything-- and given paddles and told to go for it! I looked up at the 13 year old boy who was pushing us out to sea and said "Uh, where...where do we go?" And he stopped for a moment and thought carefully and said, "Probably left," and then pushed us on out to sea.

Ok, left it was. Not that we were just bobbing around in the harbor with no sense of direction, no experience, no lifejackets, no first aid kit, no map, no compass, NOTHING. They sent us out with nothing! Nothing but paddles. Well, and the kayak of course. I can't even remember if they asked for my name or emergency contact or anything. But I guess they had my purse so they could probably figure out how to call my family with the bad news if I never returned. Since we were already out there, what choice did we have but to paddle? We barely even knew how to do that, but we got the hang of it pretty quickly as we "went left." From there it was pretty nice. It was a warm day, not too breezy or cloudy, there were lots of fancy houses and boats to look at and ponder how many rich people can there possibly be in the world. There were even seals! Well, one seal. He was chilling on someone's boat like a baller. I can appreciate that.

Respect for these bruthas
We paddled paddled paddled around the Balboa Peninsula for a couple hours, wondering where the hell we were, and then we saw it! Open sea! We were determined to get to the real ocean where there were cool waves and the possibility of dying and stuff, because that is way more fun. So we paddled for pretty much another hour and made it all the way out to a buoy where two dozen seals were laying all over each other like the truly lazy bums I can only aspire to be. After seeing such a stunning landmark we decided it was probably time to turn around and head back. No big deal, right? Going back is always faster, right?

The answer is NO. Because by this point the wind was against us and we were quite tired. Tired tired tired. But we pushed on, knowing that we were probably way past our time limit and didn't have the funds to pay for an hour of kayak rental at full price. My forearms started to ache and part of my hand went numb as I constricted blood flow by paddling so vigorously. There was no time to rest. There were no other options than to persist onwards. The expensive, colorful houses and fancy boats mocked us as we panted and paddled at a very, very slow speed. No really. There was one guy who actually taunted us. It was not cool. I thought I was going to die. Our conversation ceased. We licked the salt caking on our lips (and hands and arms for that matter), focused completely on the one goal: not paying for extra time.

We were an hour late anyway when we finally got back, but no one seemed to care. Dead-faced soulless-man was no longer there and that is all I really cared about. I stumbled around on my wobbly legs, which had been laying useless in front of me for the past four hours and somehow managed to collapse on a squishy diner booth chair down the street, where I ordered the biggest friggin' milkshake I could get my hands on and inspected my new found sunburn, which swirled around my legs like my calves were candy canes. I had not rubbed in my spray-on sunscreen. It looked like someone had laid me down on an iron grill for a Sunday BBQ. Let's just say pole dancing was not much fun the next day. But at least I got my milkshake.

So! The summary:

Best parts: Seals and waves and sunshine and stuff!

Worst Parts: Ow ow ow my forearms. It took two days for the feeling to come back in the tip of my left thumb.

Who I'd recommend it for: Adventurous, not-frightened-of possibly-dying-at sea-type people.

Would I go back? Maybe if I could bring a sandwich with me next time. Or a map. Or a boat with a motor.

1 comment:

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