Sunday, 1 September 2013

Wow - all done!

For a while there, I wasn't sure that I'd manage to complete my aim of trying out 20 new activities this year but I have done it! The self set criteria was that they all had to be new activities that I'd not done before and couldn't have done before my heart transplant; it has been a busy (and expensive) year which has included:
  • FLYING A TIGER MOTH - WOW
  • testing my powers of endurance through activities like walking Hadrian's Wall, climbing a mountain and even the 5k trail run at Wimpole
  • overcoming my instinctive fears of height and open water by climbing, sailing and high wiring
  • undertaking child hood rites of passage that were missed and only now caught up on such as skipping and hula hooping
  • trying out a few new exercise classes with spinning and zumba - spinning wins!
  • testing a few moves with tap and belly dancing 
  • having lots of fun!
It has been amazing to try out so many new activities and a positive way to celebrate the gift that I was given 20 years ago. Now I'm into my 21st year of healthy post heart transplant life, I want to: spend a bit of time getting better at some of these activities, finally learn how to swim and keep trying new things.

My final two challenges:

Challenge 19: Spinning Class
Normally I avoid aerobics classes like the plague but as spinning involves a bike, albeit a static one, it sounded much more promising.  The instructor explained the three different riding positions: standing, sitting (yes done those before) and hovering somewhere in the middle.  This I could do even without my glasses on.
 
It was an hour of fairly solid cycling to the backdrop of loud music, with lots of standing, sitting, hovering and "sprinting".  I managed the whole class with no stopping, although my sprint was probably about the speed of everyone else's easy ride!  Could feel my heart pounding in my chest and the sweat pour down my face; this was much tougher than your average fenland cycle. Came out feeling really energized and wanting to go back for more...

Challenge 20:  Kayaking with the kiddies on the Cam.

31st August was a gorgeous day for my final challenge, a kayak trip down the Cam with my family. We opted for two double kayaks, Keith and Bel in one and me with Joe in the other. It was a balance of skills as both Keith and Joe have kayaked before; Bel has too but only a couple of times.
 
Standing on the floating deck, waiting to get in the kayak, I felt a little surge of my non-swimmer anxiety but pushed it to one side.  Joe and I climbed into our boat and instantly I knew it would be fine; with such a low centre of gravity on a shallow slow moving river, you'd have to go some to capsize it!

All we had to do was paddle. All the blogs I'd read had made this sound much more complex than in reality it was, so it didn't take long for Joe and I to get up to speed.

We had a few races with Keith and Bel, bumped into the odd punt & kayak and splashed our way down the river, going for synchronised strokes where we could. It was a fantastic way to spend the morning and something that we will all do again as a family.


All done!  
  1. Climbed My First Mountain - Cadair Idris
  2. Learned How To Punt
  3. Learned How To Hula Hoop
  4. Road Bike Ride
  5. Tap Dancing
  6. 5K Trail Run At Wimpole Hall Parkrun
  7. Archery Session
  8. Learning how to climb on an indoor wall
  9. Zumba
  10. Belly Dancing 
  11. High Wire Course
  12. Learning to skip - now over 100 skips in 2 minutes
  13. Segway ride
  14. Tandem bike ride - bringing up the rear!! 
  15. Insane Terrain - obstacle course
  16. Flight in a Tiger Moth
  17. Hadrian's Wall National Trail Walk
  18. Sailing
  19. Spinning Class
  20. Kayaking 
 

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Sailing

I should start this post by explaining that I'm terrified of open water and can not swim so have usually avoided most sports that require open water. For me this challenge was a big deal.

Of course, you don't actually need to be able to swim to do sailing as the life preservers mean that if you end up in the water, the worst that will happen is you get wet.  As a non swimmer - my brain knows this but doesn't necessarily take it all in when faced with the practicalities of water!

Swimming as one of those vital life skills that I was unable to learn as a child.  Although I took swimming lessons for a while after my transplant, I moved around an awful lot and in the end it fell off the radar.  Perhaps this would be a good challenge for my 21st year.

We started the course with  mini briefing on how to rig your VERY TINY  boat which you will be sailing all by yourself - scardy cat. At least this bit was on dry land...

One of the other participants kindly pulled me in my boat out into the water and across to the starting point. We needed to zigzag out of the harbour due to the wind direction.  In the photo I'm chatting to one of the instructors, whose telling me to follow the red power boat.  The word "flotilla" is used and fills me with the dread of other people's expectation. 

I try to remember the instructions on steering, how tight the sail should be, and am relatively OK whilst going in a straight line although get stuck on turning the boat as am sat into the wind.  The instructors were both in powerboats and every time they came near, I felt my tiny craft lurch beneath me. 


Having had a mini sailing taster in a bigger boat at Grafham earlier in the year, I'd anticipated that the lesson would be in a similar boat with an instructor on board, so hadn't been prepared for this. I really wanted to get off the water. 
Fortunately one of the instructors joined me on my boat, managing the sail, whilst I did the steering. After a few crossings of the lake I began to get the hang of things, feel more relaxed about being on the water and even started to enjoy myself!!

Will definitely have another go at sailing, as I know that all I need to do is build my water confidence!!



18 out of 20 Challenges complete and only a week to go to finish...
  1. Climbed My First Mountain - Cadair Idris
  2. Learned How To Punt
  3. Learned How To Hula Hoop
  4. Road Bike Ride
  5. Taken Up Tap Dancing
  6. 5K Trail Run At Wimpole Hall Parkrun
  7. Archery Session
  8. Learning how to climb on an indoor wall
  9. Zumba
  10. Belly Dancing 
  11. High Wire Course
  12. Learning to skip - now up to 103 skips in 2 minutes
  13. Segway ride
  14. Tandem bike ride - bringing up the rear!! 
  15. Insane Terrain - obstacle course
  16. Flight in a Tiger Moth
  17. Hadrian's Wall National Trail Walk
  18. Sailing