One man's rush to jump on the kayaking bandwagon

Just another day at the beach

When I've previously taught myself how to do something, I wondered if my ah-ha! moments were blatantly obvious to anyone with experience. I had one of those moments today when I realized that my PFD provides great back support.
During the week, I spend between 12 and 15 hours a day sitting in meetings, sitting front of a computer, or sitting in my car. On weekends, I jump in my kayak and expect my body to do something useful. Sometimes, if I've been able to keep up with my nightly stretching, my body is up for it. Other times, it just won't cooperate.
I drove down to Wrightsville Beach last night after spending most of the day in the car. I didn't sleep well and woke up fairly sore. I took a long, hot shower and did what I could to stretch everything. It must not have been enough. While setting my boat down in the water, my back let me know I missed something.
I tried stretching it out and even got in the boat to see if I could paddle it out, but each breath hurt. After a hour or so laying on the floor, a few Advil, and another hot shower, it wasn't any better and I was ready to give up on kayaking at all this weekend.
After a few hours, I was bored and decided to take another shot at adjusting all the straps on my PFD. I put on my PFD and it came as a bit of a surprise when my back finally relaxed. After a few minutes, it actually felt good enough to give paddling another shot. I was able to stay out for a little over an hour.
In hindsight, it's obvious. PFD's make pretty good back braces.

October 13, 2007

I had no idea it was training for something better

While reading this post over at about someone's first experiences with a wet exit, it struck me that my parent's plans may have panned out after all.
My parents wanted me to take sailing lessons, but I didn't know how to swim. We joined a neighborhood pool and they signed me up for lessons. I took to it quite well and wound up joining the swim team. By the end of the summer, I wound up winning an event at the championship meet. I started swimming competitively year round the following year and didn't stop until I got to college.
I never got around to those sailing lessons.
I swam in the days of David Berkoff's rule changing dolphin kick world records where the entire race is swum underwater on your back. I've also done well over a million flip turns. After all of that, getting water up my nose is not something I worry about. I also played quite a bit of no-rules water polo. That prepares you for all kinds of things that result in you being unexpectedly underwater.
My first wet exit was actually quite fun. I had my sprayskirt on, paddle in hand, and just went right on over with no hesitation. I wasn't wearing my PFD, so when I hit the water, I was upside down seemingly instantly. There was no panic. Just a feeling like I'd been there before. I tried a couple of futile attempts at rolling back up, then popped the skirt and floated to the surface.
Even though kayaking isn't exactly sailing, it's close enough. And it's good to know that those swim lessons are finally paying off.
tags: training

June 14, 2007