Somewhere between mile 26 and 30 I thought I was going to loose it. While I had made the cut offs and was on pace to finish in the allotted time my body just wasn’t going along with the whole run 40 miles through the woods thing. It was a scorching June day in the summer of 2006 and here I was half way through my first Highland Sky, a race I spent nearly a year training to complete. My legs were tired, my mind was warped and I was feeling the affects of too many peanut butter and crackers at the mile 19 aid station. All told I was having a great time, suckered into this position from some not so subtle prodding from my friend Eric. He was a few miles ahead of me somewhere in the North Sods.
I’ve never been one to cave easily. I’d consider myself a pretty stubborn person. Running was something that I was interested in getting back into before a buddy encouraged, err suckered, me into an ultramarathon. If I’m the least bit interested in something that looks cool, then I’m a sucker for a little peer pressure. Now that is not to say that I’d jump off a bridge if my friends did, sometimes I just need someone to go first. I’d like to think it makes me look smarter, more calculating in my actions, as opposed to a chicken. Either way it has worked for me thus far. After 30 something years, countless bike jumps, skateboard tricks, and pitches of southern sandstone I’m still ticking.
Coming from a landlocked state and being way more into climbing trips than beach vacations, you could say I’m not too keen on oceanic livin’. I never learned to be a strong swimmer, I can’t breath under water, and generally took a disinterest in aquatic sports. I totally appreciate water activities, they just weren’t for me. Self imposed stubborness? Maybe. Explaining my stance on H2O based recreation to a kayaker I was met with a rhetorical question, “So you’re not a water puppy?”. I didn’t have to answer. I was fine with being a landlubber.
Then came Gisborne. After you get enough of hiking with sheep you are left with sun and surf.
I always thought surfing looked cool, I just wasn’t into the water thing. That and I was from Kentucky. On land I liked the feeling of riding a board. Same went for snow. So when we arrived in Gisborne our friends Eric (there’s that name again) and Laura were keen to let us try out their surfboards. It looked fun, the beaches were safe, you can sort of surf in the white wash, the boards were right there…why not. Soon Jill and I had wetsuits. Next thing I knew I was standing on a board riding a little wave straight into the beach. Now I own a 9 1/2 foot surfboard of my very own. So big that after catching a few sets on my new boat Eric came in to say, “You could put staterooms on that thing.”
So I caved to the ocean, but I’m having fun. Maybe I should blame Laura for this one. After all it was her board that I learned on.
So by buying a surfboard have I given up all my ‘I don’t like water’ excuses? Jill seems to think so telling me the other day, “You do realize that a canoe or kayak is in our future. No negotiating.” We’ll see, after all I’m not one to cave to peer pressure easily.