Land Paddling Summer Project – A Hard Lesson Learned
You know those “what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail” things? At the beginning of the summer, I was reflecting back on a few regrets. Things that that I think…if I was young and physically fit, I would do.
1. learn to parkour
2. learn to skateboard
3. learn to breakdance.
I was feeling sort of sad when I thought of those things and realized every day I get further and further away from being able to do them. It made me sad, the way that looking at the laundry recently as I was folding it and realizing that every single dish and bath towel we own is ratty. Every one. And then I asked my husband why all his underwear elastic is ripped from the fabric part at the back center seam. He said “they are old.” And surely that is some sort of metaphor for my life.
Why didn’t I ask my friends to teach me during that summer of the skateboards? Why was I content to watch, but never to try myself? Lack of coordination and lack of confidence, I think. Could there still be time to learn? It’s summer! And summer in Michigan brings a feeling of renewed life. My dear friend Bevy said “you can totally still learn to skateboard, look at Tony Hawk!!”
My original goal was fairly simple: to be good enough for someone to video me doing it by Labor Day. And also not to knock out all my teeth. After doing a little research, I thought perhaps I would get more enjoyment out of a longboard. I got myself a cheap board, a paddle for land paddling, a helmet and a good set of elbow, knee and wrist pads. After all, falling and breaking something at my age would suck.
So. It’s harder than it looks. Most things in life are, right? I thought I’d cruise around the parking lot at work in the mornings for a day or two, before I was able to hit the path at Riverside Park. Um…not realistic. First, the balance thing. Try standing on one foot for more than sixty seconds. You might not enjoy it. Your foot might hurt. And your knee. And your shin. And your calf. I started working up more and more time in the parking lot. At first, I could only do ten minutes and it was agony. And the balance and paddle thing was too much, so I just concentrated on skating regular style. After a few days, I could add the paddle.
Day 4 – After a few days of trying to get around the parking lot without the paddle, I decided to add it in again. Made it around three or four times.
Day 5 – Goal today is ten loops around the parking lot. I made it eight times with the paddle and two times without. I can feel the paddling from yesterday in my right shoulder. It’s easier to get around with the paddle. But there are a few seconds here and there without that feels like flying and that’s amazing.
Day 6 – Today I took the board to Mom’s in the morning. Her roads are newly paved and the loop around the big and little circle is not bad. Had to stop and give my legs a break a lot. Making progress.
Yoga – This isn’t really a day on the board, but it’s somewhat related. Centering Yoga here in town has a yoga class on a tippy board. Here’s their description: Enjoy the benefits of Stand-Up Paddle Boarding inside with this area’s only board yoga class. Engage the core, slow down poses and connect with the breath all while balancing on an indoor version of a Stand-Up Paddle Board! Learn to find stillness in body and mind while experiencing instability on the board. Great for firming up the body, focusing the mind and feeling the power of the breath. Verdict? My balance is absolutely improving and I did okay in the class.
Day 11 – It’s been kind of hit or miss with the long boarding. We’ve had a lot of rain and wet roads. I am getting better, though. It’s getting easier. My balance is getting better. I can get going pretty fast with the pole, and I’m having less difficulty pushing with my foot. Even better, I am really loving it. There’s something about the feel of it, once you really get going. I’m spending a ton of time watching longboarding videos. It is AWESOME.
Day 13 – July 1st. The day of the accident. Big storm last night, and the neighborhood was too messy to board in the morning. At lunch I went to Riverside Park. Came off the board with my right leg, heard two pops as it bent the wrong way, and I was on the ground.
July 11 – Knee is still not good. Xray.
July 17 – Doctor’s appointment. MRI scheduled, and a follow-up with the orthopedic doctor scheduled for August. In the meanwhile, no walking distances without a cane and absolutely no boarding.
July 25 – MRI.
July 28 – Got the call from the regular doctor’s office. It is a full thickness ACL tear. Most decidedly not awesome.
August 25 – Second opinion appointment with the surgeon. Surgery is scheduled for September 16. It’s an autograft, using my hamstring. Wikipedia has an article on it here if you’re interested.
In the meanwhile, I’ve been swimming at the Y Center. It’s better that I would have guessed, even enjoyable, and I never would have tried it without the injury. I’m obviously not thrilled with the way this summer project turned out. My portion of the bill is roughly the cost of a luxury vacation in Europe. I’m not sure I’ll ever get on the board again (interested in a slightly used longboard and paddle? let me know…).
Every time I say I’m having an autograft, I think of this song by Autograph. It sounds the same, right?