Sunday, September 4, 2011

Strong at Fifty (Storytelling Sunday)

Here's the story behind my page for August in my 2011 Intentions Journal. It's part of Sian's Storytelling Sunday. Click on this link to read more stories.
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We left Stewart Island early for our 11 mile kayak paddle back to Friday Harbor and civilization. We had spent the last three days camping and exploring the Island, one of many in the San Juan Islands, off the coast of Washington state. While we hadn't seen any orca whales, we did see bald eagles and seals. More importantly, we had spent three days together as a family - playing hearts, shooting baskets, exploring tidepools, hiking trails , talking and laughing - without distractions from electronics and teenage friends.
The weather on our trip had been wonderful, but the guide was worried that the wind was coming up and the seas might turn. By leaving early, we hoped to paddle with the current and avoid having to paddle into a brisk afternoon wind.  And, for the most part, we succeeded.  But the last 45 minutes of the trip were rough.  We had already been on the water for five hours. Henry, my kayak partner in the front of the boat, was pretty beat. Although he can run forever and his thighs are starting to resemble tree trunks (the result of hours of playing soccer), his chest, arms and upper body (the things that would be useful for paddling) are still thin and boyish.  So, I knew that most of the work of those last 45 minutes - paddling against the current and into the wind - would fall onto my shoulders. 
Or, actually, fall onto my "core" - those wonderful muscles in the center of your body which define your abdomen.  Paddling a kayak, you see, is not really about how strong your arms are (although it certainly helps to have strong biceps, triceps and forearms). To paddle a kayak effectively, you twist ever so gently and use your core muscles to propel yourself. As we were gazing across the last long expanse of open water and Henry was wondering whether we would ever make it to our take-out point, I told him not to worry. Because I knew I could do it. All those hours I had spent at the gym this year, all those planks and push ups, all those miles run had made me not just "fabulous at 50" but also "strong at 50."  So, I dug in.  I admit it was tough. I sweated. I grunted. I made those little "I.G.N.'s " (Involuntary Girl Noises). But I dug deep and paddled us home. I treated it like a work out . . . telling myself that this is the part of the work out (the last part, the hard part) which really builds muscle, burns fat and reshapes your body. And it's true.
When we at last reached the beach and dragged our kayak out of the water, I lay on the grass in the sunshine. And I laughed. 

21 comments:

Karen said...

Wow Rinda, you have inspired me to restart my get fit program because I want to be fabulous at 50 too.

debs14 said...

Three years since I was 50 and I don't think I could have got you across that water even then! You have done amazingly well Rinda, you are an inspiration to us all.

laurie said...

oh, rinda, i was cheering for you throughout your story! you truly are fab at fifty and i know it must feel wonderful to have accomplished your goal.

Sian said...

Rinda, yet again you have my utmost admiration! I love that your training has paid off and I love that you felt confident in your own ability because of that training. It's so inpirational. I have a few years to go before I can be fabulous at fifty - but I think I really need to start some work right now!

Thanks for the story today Rinda

scrappyjacky said...

Wonderful story,Rinda....all that hard work is really paying off.

Missus Wookie said...

Inspiring and a good reminder to continue working at becoming stronger and healthier - thanks for that :)

Mommy2CVC said...

Love your story Rinda and congratulations on fitting into all your work wardrobe. It's a great feeling!

Becky said...

Wow! Well done Rinda - I really admire you. Thanks for sharing your story :)

Wanda said...

What a wonderful success-story. And how extra wonderful that you didn't doubt yourself the whole time. Amazing!

Alana said...

Wow, 11 miles. I go kayaking with the school kids on their residential trip and boy it's tough just paddling for a n hour or so. Inspirational or what?

Karen said...

It's so awesome that all your training paid off in such a fabulous way! Inspiring, to say the least.

Melissa said...

What an awesome story - I am working to get in better shape this year. I would love to say I kayaked and camped and hiked and had a blast when I'm 50 (not too many years away). I'll be thinking of this story this week while I'm lifting weights.

Amy said...

Snort! I.G.Ns ... heheheheee, that bit was funny - the rest however is inspirational and a great lesson on physical and mental strength that we can all learn from!

Ginger said...

Rinda your story is very inspirational... and you made me smile with even a bigger smile at the end! What a great journey for you in more ways than one...

helena said...

Fabulous - at any age

Jimjams said...

Brilliant - an exciting AND inspiring story - I'm over 50, but this has reminded me that it's still not too late!!!

Mary B said...

WELL DONE INDEED RINDA THAT IS GREAT

Irene said...

You are inspiring. A mother will pull together all her resources to help her child. I would not want to go against the two of you in a race, ya made a great team.

Alison said...

What a great story Rinda...you have my greatest admiration- you have really pushed yourself this year and reaped the rewards
Alison xx

Miriam said...

Rinda, you are inspiring, fabulous at fifty and I loved your story.

Gail said...

Rinda, you've inspired me to get back to the Y. It's been a long time since I was 50 but that doesn't mean I can't get fit.