Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Confession Tuesday & 9 Lessons I Learned from Paddleboarding 7 miles #SUP

My Board, My Typewriter

Dear Reader,

It has been a week (I hope) since my last confession.

To be honest, I don't remember. I don't remember what or where I was last Tuesday as the last 5 days have been a wild ride and a mindnumbing stumble.

Let me explain...
To the confessional--

I confess I signed up to do an extreme relay race last January --10K SUP (stand-up paddle on my board), a 12 K beach/trail run, and a 12K mt bike ride-- and I confess it's was one of the hardest things I've done, but I did it.

The calm after the storm-- Here's me coming in after the longest paddle of my life - I did 7 miles in 1 hour & 23 minutes.  That's Seattle over the hill behind me.  I felt over-the-hill after I did this.

I was the paddleboarder for our 3 woman relay time and before the event, I was incredibly nervous.  So nervous, I could only do timewasting things--like watch The Big Bang Theory and hang out on Facebook.  The day after the event I was so sore, I did it again.

If you need to waste time, Facebook is the place to do it.  It's procrastination central for writers. It's immediate gratification, let's eat a lot of sugar and play with strangers instead of doing our homework.

It's a big MindNumbing Escape that honestly, I've appreciated having for the last few days because it allowed me not to have to think that I was getting on a surfboard and paddling 7 miles down Puget Sound.

I must love paddleboarding because I didn't even get a medal, and those who know me know I do hard things for medals.  Our team finished in 6th and our gifts were shirts, socks, and a bag of chips.  It was 10x harder than the half-marathon I did in June.  In the half-marathon, there were not boats, and waves washing over my board, and winds pushing me into shore.  Also, I didn't run the whole half-marathon, had I, I'm sure I'd be feeling differently.

At one point about 3 miles into the relay competition I started talking to myself-- "Don't fall off, don't fall off."  Then I realized by focusing on negative, I was actually focusing on falling off.  So I started saying, "Sturdy and fast, sturdy and fast."  This is when these huge rollers were knocking me sideways.

I made my many mistakes.

I didn't think the wind would be as strong as it was so I chose a smaller board  which was faster instead of more stable. I should have chosen a 12' boat.  Mistake #1

I used a camelback (which is a way to get water, a sort of water backpack) without trying it out first.  I should have known my equipment and not been so fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants on race day. Mistake #2

But there were a couple things I did right--

A good breakfast, cutting people off by taking shorter distances in the water, and not falling in.

The last time I was on my board in the rough part of Puget Sound, I thought about my manuscript and almost fell in.  I didn't think about anything else except paddling.

I'm the one in the blue lifejacket -not what you'd call poetry in motion.

And I made it.  The photo above makes me laugh.  In my mind, we were graceful birds in our tag-off looking at this photo I see the plastic monkeys from A Barrel of Monkeys--

Tagging my runner here was the best feeling because I was done. And I did it.  And while I complained left and right about signing up, doing it and then being mad at myself for not doing better, I will say, I'm actually glad I gave it a try.

And I learned a few things to.

So here they are, the 9 lessons I learned from paddling 7 miles down Puget Sound, maybe they'll be helpful to you--

1) I can do hard things then after they are over, the pain is forgotten and goes away

2)  Focus is important

3)  I can live outside my comfort zone (a tough one for me as I *love* my comfort zone)

4)  You don't have to be the best or even qualified to sign up, you just have to sign up

5)  Sometimes waves hit you, but you stay standing

6)  It's okay to push yourself, to try harder and it's good to do that (this goes back to #3)

7)  You will make mistakes, have poor judgment and many errors, but you will still get through it

8)  Sometimes it's more important to be stable, than fast.

9)  Sometimes it's good to do things just to do them, not because you're going to get a prize at the end




  1. That barrel of monkeys image will be difficult to forget.

  2. Sadly, I know. For a brief moment, I was a barrel of monkeys... and it hurts me. ;-)


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