This weekend I was at a party with some old friends I’d been house mates with back in the 80s. Some of you readers may not remember the 80s, but those were the days of perms and poodle hairdos, like this one:
My poodle perm didn’t even look that good.
At this party, former house mate Nancy told us about a friend of hers who is in physical therapy for arthritis in her ankle. The therapist told her to do two things:
1) get outside each day to do some activity;
2) learn something new each week.
Nancy’s friend, who must be a conscientious sort, set about to do just that. With respect to 2), she has so far tried a few new things. She rented a bike and decided to relearn how to ride. Apparently there were some hitches in the proceedings, which necessitated walking the bike back to the shop a few times (e.g. chain fell off), but eventually she was rolling down her local bike path. The following week she bought a basketball, went to a local outdoor court, and got some kids to teach her how to shoot hoops. How cool is that? Next week she plans to go kayaking with Nancy.
Is this a great idea or what?
As much as I love my primary sports (cycling, squash, cross-country skiing in winter), it’s possible to get in a sports rut. And lately I’ve been feeling a little restless, not knowing exactly what I’m looking for, but casting about for some novel experiences. Nothing radical like running off to join the circus, mind you, although they do teach trapeze courses in Boston and my friend Steph assures me it’s big fun.
Well, flying through the air with the greatest of ease is probably not my thing, but I am trying a couple of activities that feel new-to-me, as I haven’t done them in a long time.
First up is an ocean kayaking skills course. My friend Janet signed both of us up for a 2-day ocean kayaking course that takes place actually in the ocean. I say this because lots of ocean kayaking courses are done in rivers and lakes, as it’s quieter, easier and less daunting for beginners. I’ve done some ocean kayaking and even blogged about it here. But my skills are rusty and also limited—I’ve never done an assisted rescue at sea, much less a self-rescue in the ocean.
But we’re going to learn these skills and much more. I’ve always wanted to take a sea kayak trip off the coast of British Columbia, paddling near orcas. Doesn’t this look awe-inspiring?
Yeah, it scares me a little, too. But it’s exciting to move outside your comfort zone, develop some new skills, check out a completely different sports subculture. Starting with the summer course seems like a move in the right direction.
The second new-to-me activity is much less thrilling, but nonetheless something I’ve not done in years: running. Well, more like jogging. I’ve never ever been a runner. Even while training for a couple of triathlons about 10 years ago, I swam and biked, but didn’t run much at all. I sort of jogged a little and hoped for a miracle. And it was a minor miracle that I finished the running sections of those triathlons…
But recently I’ve been curious about running: wondering if maybe, if I actually train, maybe I could in fact finish a 5k sometime. It turns out there are apps for precisely this goal. I just started using the Couch-to-5K app, about which I’ve read some positive reviews. I’ve finished the first 3 workouts, and so far so good. The whole program is 9 weeks long, so we’ll see how this goes. If by then I can actually run/jog 5K, I may enter a race in the fall. What an idea—I never thought I would choose or be able to run a 5K race. Just the feeling of wanting this and trying it out is new and different.
Who knows how each of these new activities will go? Who knows what goals I’ll meet or what my skill or interest level will be in a few months? But for now, it’s enough that I’m shaking it up.