of pains and inspiration

I posted on Facebook over the holiday that I had tried stand up paddle boarding. All summer we've been watching people paddle by, looking casual and ripped. I say outloud each and every time, "that just looks like fun and it must be such a workout!" I heard about a local surf shop that rented boards by the day, so I booked one for the holiday. I picked it up on the 3rd on my way back to the beach, took only right turns because I had declined the roof rack tie down (dumb!), and triumphantly headed down the steps to try this thing out. Each time I attempted to stand I fell in, it was like log rolling only worse, and when my father in law wonderfully came over to steady it for me, it made no difference. Splash, splash, splash. We watched an experienced windsurfer neighbor attempt it and when he had some difficulty, I was feeling a little better. I vowed to try again in the morning.

Morning came and brought with it showers. The forecast looked pretty rough, so I pulled on my suit and headed down again into the waves, alone, this time wearing a life jacket. The current took me out far, way beyond my comfort zone. I paddled around on my knees, steadying myself and my nerves, willing my body to STAND UP, but I couldn't. I was paralyzed out there, surrounded by deep water, in the rain and I worried as only someone my age could about the possibilities of falling, hitting my head, being out so far, not having a buddy with me. I was out there for about an hour, but I never worked up my nerve, not even once, to try to stand up on my stand up paddle board.

Wrapped in a towel back at the house, we surveyed the beach opening up the way and saw that the planned beach races for kids were being set up. The rain had stopped, the sun was coming out. The kids got dressed in two minutes flat and we were dashing off to the starting line, taking a few practice runs across the course. The five and under girls were first and Caroline lined up. Each year since she learned to walk we have brought her down for the races and each year she has either refused to run or run with tears streaming down her face. We weren't expecting anything different this year, but when the man holding the bull horn yelled "GO!" that girl took off. I could barely believe it, running right at me, SMILING. No one was more astonished than her when the judge came over and handed her 75 cents for WINNING. The girl who refused to run had won the race. Could two weeks at camp really change a girl this much? Caroline could not wait to tell everyone at the house about her win and show them her prize. "What should I do with it Mommy?" "What do you think? Buy real estate? Make a gutsy investment?"

She had overcome and I was now inspired and even more determined.

I walked that paddle board back down the beach, zipped up my life vest, paddled out, and stood up all in the same breath, or at least it felt that way. I didn't fall once the rest of the day, not once. It was just as much fun as I had imagined and the work out, yeah, I cannot walk down steps or sit down in a chair without wincing. Balancing on moving water in a half squat for over an hour will do that to you. You want a ripped body? Get yourself on a stand up paddle board. Don't think you can do it? Just think of Caroline, the fastest girl five and under.


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