Kayak FAIL


I’ll admit. I love pushing myself to do things I think I won’t be able to do but today, I went a bit too far.

Our company had us all down to South Carolina for a team building kayak trip. A three hour several mile trek through creeks that are part of the Congaree River system.

I’ll be the first to tell you that I love kayaking, whitewater rafting and basically anything to do with water. I’ll also admit that most of my kayaking experience has been on deep water lakes and rivers, usually with a cooler full of beer.

Nothing like floating on a nice day drinking a cold one and getting a little tipsy with your friends!

Unfortunately, coolers of beer are not synonymous with corporate outings.

My first issue is what the heck do I wear! With my friends, I wear a swimsuit and shorts. Professionally, I can’t put myself in situations where I may flash coworkers so that was out. I finally decided on gym shorts and an dry fit shirt. Thank you Santa Claus for all that REI gear. I hope you are just as vigilant with your REI points as my dad is!

I’m used to putting in directly on the water. IE I wade in, climb in, and go. We put in on a bank with water up to the guides chest so I had to carefully navigate roots, aim my butt into the seat and then swing my legs in. That’s a whole lotta coordination for this gal with RA!

I should also mention that I elected for a single rather than tandem boat. Why? Because I have a bad temper and if I went into the water, I wanted to make damn well sure that there was nobody I could yell at besides me. Unfortunately, it also meant that when I got tired, there was nobody who could pick up the slack. More on that later.

The difference between deep water and creeks are the presence of close to the surface trees and logs you can get stuck in as well as creepy snake habitat brush. Ick.

I got caught in the middle of the group and kept having to paddle twice as hard to not get into snake land and I almost fell in because I was completely stuck on a log and got rammed.

An hour and a half in, my wrists started hurting and I slowed down. About this time, I had to aim to paddle into a certain spot to go underneath a low hanging tree so not to clothesline myself. I paddled left hard several times and started to slide underneath perfectly. One more hard left dig and WHAM. The other part of my paddle hit the tree and rebounded into my face. I hit my right eye and lip HARD and almost fell off.

At that point, things changed. I had focused very hard on saying EEK rather than my usual favorite expletive. You know, trying to keep it professional even though at that point, I had half a tree in my boat, leaves in my hair and dirt all over my face. But at that time, my eeks disappeared and I fear our HR Manager may have even heard me utter something along the lines of ‘F$&! you Mother F$)()$&’ to said tree.

Then I decided it was time for me to simply stop talking.

I kept trying to give my wrists breaks which slowed me down. Then I got mad. I hated trees. I hated logs. I hated that damn snake environment. And even though the guide was hilarious and very knowledgeable, I needed him to stop for the love of God trying to pump me up.

I knew where we were on the course and I knew I could make it if I just focused on getting there. Talking to me only pulled me out of that and made me remember the wrist situation.

Finally we reached the end.

I very gracefully climbed out onto the bank. And by very gracefully picture Chunk from Goonies when he…well, when he did anything. Hey you guyssss!

I then had to drive 4 hours home. Smelly, swampy and achey.

I’m not saying it wasn’t a good time. It was. It was also beautiful! But it was exhausting and crazy hard and I admit that I did too much.

Being able to let other people help you is something I’ve never been good at. A tandem boat would’ve taken half of the energy and half of the stress off my wrists. And accepting a partner here wouldn’t have been admitting defeat. But I’ve simply got to learn to loosen up that control.

3 responses »

  1. We’ve all been there, haven’t we? We don’t want to admit that we can’t do what we use to do before RA came along. However, that fighting spirit is important or we might just give up. So keep fighting the good fight just don’t over do it. We’ll all support one another until we find the cure which I hope happens in our lifetime. Hang in there!!!!

  2. I hear ya. I like kayaking, too. My last trip was on the ocean and I did well for the first half, but on the way back, ended up having to have my kayak tied to the back of one of the guides’ crafts. He was cute, so I didn’t mind watching him from behind, but it was embarrassing, given how well I’d done earlier. RA bodies simply have no concept of embarrassing situations (and lack stamina, gosh darn it). I paid in spades the next day, but it was still fun. That’s one one the biggest “sucks” about RA: having to weigh whether the cost in pain of doing something fun is worth it.

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