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16 May 2010
Categorized As: This only happens to me

There are so many ways to gain my respect:

1) Cure something. (I mean really is that a no-brainer or what)

2) Invent or develop something that makes my life easier.

3) Offer me chocolate or coffee for any reason whatsoever.

For a long time I thought those were my top 3. Now I have a new one:

Live* and run in the South.

Now, before my Southern readers (ahem, HZ) get all hot and bothered allow me to explain.

*please note that some of you proud Southerners would argue that North Carolina is not actually The South and if you feel that is the case then you have no reason to be offended by this post now do you? Hah!

Without further ado allow me to detail the reasons I prefer California

  1. The weather- That’s right, I don’t like your seasons.

First there is rain. Now I’m from Southern California and rain tends to make us panic but okay, I can deal with it.

Then there is snow. Now, I liked the snow because it’s fluffy and pretty and I always felt ripped off that we never got snow days when I was growing up.

I’m cool with the snow even when it forces me to join an East Coast gym for treadmill access.

(See, I’m even posting a second picture, more proof that I love the snow)

But the season I loathe with the fire of a thousand suns?

Pollen Season. This is a picture of the Target parking lot after an hour of the strongest rain I have ever experienced in my life. Torrential rain. And you can see all the yellow pollen on the ground.

Three days before this I was driving down to Columbia, SC from Charlotte, NC and my best friend pointed to a gigantic yellow cloud up ahead. She said

“Hey do you know what that is?”

I immediately started thinking about that X-files in the woods with the creepy bugs that came out at night and ate people. It was a pollen cloud.

2. Sidewalks and jogging trails-

Sidewalks: There AREN’T any. Apparently part of the charm in my part of N.C. is NOT having sidewalks.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the few jogging “trails” went through a dense wooded areas which are beautiful but also incredibly creepy. I’m a female exercising alone, I refuse to go anywhere I don’t have clear visibility around me for at least 25 feet, preferably 50 feet. Not to mention forest = POLLEN.

3. Race Calendar-

If I want to participate in a race I check local race sites and find something 100 miles away or less. There are at least 30 great half marathons within a 2 hour radius. I have a full race schedule and have yet to have to stay the night in a hotel. This means running is much cheaper for me. This is not just limited to the South but those of you who not only have to contend with race registration fees AND hotel costs on top of that have my respect.

4. Time Limits-

My first race took forever. Heck, I know women who have given birth in less time then it took me to walk those 13.1 miles and every step of the way I wasn’t sure I could make it. Having crossed that first finishline, however, I was inspired to actually go from walking to occasional jogging and from occasional jogging to running intervals. I actually consider myself a runner now. Why do so many East Coast races have 3 hour time limits? WHY? I don’t care what anyone says, 3 hours is NOT “walker friendly!”

5. Southern Hospitality-

Yes, this is a BAD thing. I already have issues with my Mama trying to show me love by feeding me. Then I left the state and spent 4 months fighting off other people’s Mamas all trying to feed me things I love. Mostly fried things (who told my dirty secret?) I should not be consuming.

6.

It is no accident that the first five letters of this restaurant’s name is CRACK.

I have officially returned home and boy do I love pollen free oxygen! I love dry weather! Too bad I’ve lost all patience with the ridiculous traffic jams and have to force down road rage every time I get in the car between the hours of 7am and 9pm. But hey, you win some, you lose some, right?

For the first time ever I crossed the starting line as soon as the gun went off. This was important because it meant when I reached the finish line the clock time displayed would actually be pretty close to my actual time. That was definitely a nice side benefit for competing in a small race!

The problem with being so near the front was that I had to start at a run. Faster runners are towards the front, the very fastest are in the very front. I was frontish so it was important that I crossed at a good clip and kept going. For the most part that was okay, I’ve been doing a lot of running on treadmills and local park trails but it’s a bit different when you can feel a wave of people behind you trying to get past. At one point I really started feeling the pace and looked down at my watch. I was running a 9:30 mile. Advanced runners run 9:30s and there was no way I was keeping that up for very long. I moved as close to the side of the route as I could and started walking for a bit.

At that point I was feeling pretty good. I’d made a big dent in my first mile and was just about to start a second running interval when my foot slipped on a lane line. Yes, the lines they paint on asphalt to direct cars are incredibly slick in the rain. I recovered without injury but I frightened myself and my muscles tensed. The next time I tried running my shin splints flared up and bam, there went my fantasy of jogging a substantial portion the half marathon. Which was especially annoying because I was wearing compression sleeves for shin splints.

Right around the time I started feeling sorry for myself for having a setback so early in the race granny passed me with her walking sticks. The shock actually rendered me mute (miracle!) for a moment and I’m sorry to say she was ahead of me by the time I got it together and cheered her on. How cool that she was out doing a half marathon on Sunday morning! (And leaving me in the dust!)

If you look at the map everything in the white space after the first mile marker basically until you hit the blue resevoir area was a private airport. I’m assuming Pomona airfield but don’t quote me on that. The route went right past the flight tower and about 10 of us in a pack all simultanously waved at the air traffic control guy. A woman behind me said “This is probably the most variety that guy has had in his day all year.” We all laughed because she was probably right.

By the time I hit the second mile I realized one weird thing about the course. It had no spectators. I mean NONE. You could argue that rain would have discouraged even the most hard core race enthusiast but when you looked at the land you couldn’t tell it had just rained. There was none of the flooding I’d seen in my car. The earth just soaked it all up (which tells you how desperately we needed the water).

Every half mile or so for the first part of the race there was a cop parked in his cop car watching us from across the street. Didn’t honk. Didn’t clap. Didn’t wave. Just sat there and watched us. Every other race I’ve done the local support has at least cheered or smiled or something. Notsomuch in Pomona. Kind of a bummer.

What I didn’t know during that second mile was that I should be soaking up every second of the flat route. As a finisher of two coastline events it never even occured to me to ask what the elevation was for LA County. Oops. Hills galore! short ones, long ones, steep ones requiring signage, the whole enchilada.

Here is the route in pictures:

On the resevoir trail

That’s Raging Waters Water Park and this is the closest I’ve ever been to it.

As for the resevoir trail itself

Looks kind of flat right?

That was before

See the sign? I listened to it and was half way down that dirt trail (my first ever trail run) when a college guy from behind me shouted “Hey red shirt girl! That’s the wrong way!” He and his girlfriend became my race buddies. Had he not saved me from my horrible mistake I would have ended up at this boathouse about 2 miles round trip out of my way with no hope of returning to the race in time.

Thanks again B!

Plus I had company for what turned out to be a hilly course.

But I did learn one thing. Sometimes you’re okay with hills and slopes if you think they’re going to take you somewhere good.

By mile 7 I was all ready for that!

But the fat lady wasn’t done singing and the fat chick wasn’t even halfway done racing.

According to my GPS watch the total elevation change in feet for the race was +1,381 / -1,367.

Did I mention I live at sea level? I’m not used to this stuff!

Now this made me think two things:
1) Damn if only I’d known I would have been mentally prepared for it at least!
2) If only this race was in June because I really need a warm up for the San Francisco 1st half marathon!

Yes, most of my thoughts pertaining to racing are punctuated by exclamation points.

Other pictures include:

Notice how the road is empty of all other competitors. This would never happen in a race with 18,000 people. There are fields on the right and an airport on the left. This is somewhere around the 9 mile marker and it was a little creepy. I was grateful to have two race buddies with me.

I also had a glorious realization: NO BLISTERS SO FAR!

Huge. Yes that is HUGE!

And let me tell you that perked me right up! The rest of the course from 9 on felt like it went a bit faster.

From the middle of mile 10 on you were pretty much on Fairgrounds property again. Parts of the course were very well marked. Other parts not so much. I’d printed the map you see above before my race which is what allowed us to figure out where we supposed to go in several instances if you can believe it.

See the water drop before 12? We passed the water station and then it was like a ghost town. There were barricades in several different places and the path could have been in either of two directions. The map saved us.

Do you also see that loop above 12 that runs parallel to North White Ave? That segment of the race was through what basically amounted to the Fairgrounds backlot. There were a lot of food carts being stored. Full sized Union Pacific train engines (not sure why). There was also the:

And the final water stop?

I kept waiting to see Clifford the Big Red Dog racing for the fire hydrants.

If only I’d known that was a precursor for heading to the back 40. The last 2 miles of the race route took us through mini vegetable gardens and tiny apple orchards. We moved past an equestrian center (and smelled it) and then went right through the Pig Patio

I’m serious the sign on the back wall says Pig Patio!

It was an interesting glimpse at the county fairgrounds.

Believe it or not I didn’t get a picture of the finish line but I did manage to run to it. I’ve never done that in a race before because by then the blisters are so bad I won’t even consider it. This time I was just fine!

Oh and for those of you who read this far (I’m sorry).

But here your treat.

Dirty D turned out to be a speedy young woman running with her arm in a sling. She raced past me not long after granny. (I missed the pic of granny but I still had my phone out and managed to snap a pic of D)

Next year’s goal is to catch up with Dirty D and maybe beat granny!

Gee CK, how was your race?

I got passed by a woman using walking sticks and wearing an adult diaper.

Yes, really.

No matter what else I type about this race, I just want you to know that in my mind the 2009 Inaugural Los Angeles County Half Marathon will stand out in my mind as the race where I got my a** handed to me by a walking granny.

I also have to pat myself on the back here. Once you’re smoked in a race by the diaper crowd whether they’re AARP members or little kids sprinting past you in a 5K (yes that happened to me too because the half marathon and the 5K started at the same time) it takes a lot of determination not to fake a ruptured spleen and leave a race course. I should probably thank Greg and Steph because I was definitely thinking about their Medal-covered Christmas tree when I decided to keep going!

That being said I also cheered for granny. She was in WAY better shape then I was!

So here is how the whole thing went down.

As I said in my last post the night before the race was miserable. I could hear torrential rain outside my window and was envisioning

Yes, they were closing the race course to cars (or at least one side of it) but pre-race paranoia has no bounds.

That night I slept fine and woke up when my alarm clock went off at 5am. It was still pouring rain. It was definitely one of those moments where you have to decide whether you take this as a sign from the universe or if you get all your stuff together and drive an hour in the dark to find out what the situation is at the race. Weather.com said that the rain in Pomona should let up around 7am and then resume at 10am. The race had a surprisingly late start, 8am. I knew there was no way in hell I was going to be off that course by 10am.

But I also knew one other thing:

I’d rather be out there and give it my best damn effort then know I was home sleeping when the rain went away and the course dried out.

Positive sign #1: It stopped raining where I was by the time I hit 7-11 for a morning banana so at least I wasn’t going to have to drive in pouring rain.

It did make me think though. My GPS watch told me it was 3/4 of a mile from general parking to the race start. Did I want to stick with general parking or pay the extra $3 for preferred parking near the race expo? Walking to the race would be fine. Walking back to my car with potential blisters, etc. would be excruciating.

No brainer.

I got to the race course and the woman generously let me pay $3 extra to upgrade my parking rather then force me to spend $12 for new parking. I thought this was a sign from the race gods until I found out the difference between preferred parking and general parking is exactly two rows. I didn’t get to park near the expo those were vendor spots. So $3 got me 2 rows closer then 3/4 of a mile. Doh! Fortunately it wasn’t raining at the race so I was too optimistic to worry about post-race challenges.

I parked and headed for the trunk of my car where I had put all my stuff. I had 2-3 changes of clothes in case it started raining. Several shirt options in case I decided I didn’t really want to wear what I put on that morning. Two pairs of shoes and a pair of slippers. TONS of: icy hot, body glide, vaseline, gatorade, energy gels, towels, trashbags and

I had a typical pre-race breakfast dry toast with a banana. Some people do bagels with peanut butter but that’s a bit much for me on a nervous stomach. I ate about 2 hours pre-race which is key for me. So far everything is a go.

Then I got to the race start and WOOT! Daylight!

Oh wait!

DAYLIGHT! and what looked like imminent SUNLIGHT!

New problem. I had a hat on but I didn’t have sunblock or my sunglasses. I have fair skin and major sunburn issues so hours in the sun without sunblock is impossible for me.

Now my 3/4 trek from the car to the starting line is going to turn into another round trip pre-race. I was worried enough about time to jog it.

I grabbed what I needed, dumped cold weather gear I no longer needed (skull cap, gloves, jacket) and jogged back to the starting line.

I don’t know about you all but I like to people watch at races.

This lady drew my attention

That’s an interesting way to carry gels and much lighter then a fanny pack or even a SpiBelt. Unfortunately I’m not sure how it works with the CarbKiller klutz factor. I can see myself accidentally puncturing those little pouches with my watch or something and having to deal with exploded Gu everywhere. Ick.

And then there was this guy.

Notice how everyone else at the starting line was wearing considerably more clothing.

Next thing I knew it was time for the starter gun and other people faded into the background. On your marks, get set, GO!

11 Dec 2009

Dear Friday,

Thanks for kicking my ass. Really, would it have hurt you to allow me to achieve ONE single thing today? Apparently today was a CarbKiller shut out. I’m still not sure why I got out of bed.

Let’s look at my schedule shall we?

My goal for the day was to go pick up my bib/packet for Sunday’s half marathon at the LA County Inaugural Half Marathon race expo. Mom volunteered to come with me for the first time ever and I was so excited!

Notice how it looks dark and ominous around 11am? That’s because it was raining. Oh, and the gates were closed.

Genius CK figured that was becuase the expo opened at noon (people work on Friday mornings right?) so I drove around for 45 minutes trying to find a Starbucks for mom and I. Failed there and ended up at an independent coffee house. The coffee sucked. REALLY badly. Even after I doctored it with milk and splenda. Note to independent unnamed coffee shop in Pomona/San Dimas if your coffee still tastes burnt and nasty after milk and splenda you need to seriously reconsider your roasting technique. Armed with motor oil coffee mom and I returned to the Fairgrounds to find it still locked.

Because the expo didn’t open until tomorrow.
Commute- 2 hours round trip
Coffee search- 1 hour
Price of 2 cups of crappy coffee $3.67

Awesome.

Then on the way to my place from Pomona I stopped off at the grocery store to pick up a couple things for the lunch I promised to make mom. She waited in the warm car since it was pouring rain and I ran into Albertsons. Grabbed everything I needed and headed for the checkout.

I’m standing in the checkout minding my own business when the guy in front of me sees me playing with my crackberry and asks me if I want a job.

HUH?

Apparently he runs a rescue diving company and never has time to collect accounts payable because he’s so busy. (Someone tell me how it’s possible to run a business without collecting accounts payable). Before I had a chance to respond he told me about how he’d been in a coma for 6 weeks after a dive accident. Um…okay. What am I supposed to say to that? I smiled politely and made sympathetic noises.

Then he walked me out to the parking lot and said “I bet you get this all the time but you are just so cute. What are you doing for dinner tonight?

I swear he wasn’t a day over 60. *vomit* Why do men do this? I mean seriously? You offered a stranger a job. Followed that by inappropriate TMI. THEN followed that with a request for a date. Did you really think I was going to say yes?

Good Grief.

Right about then mom and I realized the day had reached its low so we decided to drive to San Pedro and pick up a picture frame she had ordered at a cute little gallery we found last weekend.

We drove all the way out past the docks, etc., in the rain, barely avoided getting side-swiped by rain-panicked drivers and the gallery was closed.

Wasted gas
Destroyed stomach lining
Creepy date offer
Closed Gallery

Final score Friday 4, CarbKiller 0

I want a redo.

10 Oct 2009

See, I told you to pretend I’m standing on a boat!

9 Oct 2009

So I walked down to the Long Beach Half Marathon Race Expo today. I had to pick up my packet and my tags and my tshirt that makes me look like a stuffed sausage.

On my way back I accidentally ran into one of these…

How weird is that to see on a public beach in Southern California? It was even weirder when I got closer and saw:

See all those guys in helmets on the side? I feel very comforted when I see soldiers wearing helmets elsewhere. When they’re standing walking distance from my place in full gear I tend to wonder if I should start stockpiling canned veggies and beef jerky.

But seriously…

How fricking COOL is that thing!

And then, of course, it was gone in a big plume of sand. I videotaped it (all five minutes). Let’s just pretend I’m standing on the bow of a ship because otherwise I shake like an old lady. LOL.**

Oh, and in other interesting local news, U.S. Navy Hovercraft actually have civilian applications. Check out the article HERE.

**Please note, video is not up on this post, I’ll post it on it’s own. According to my cruddy DSL it’s going to take 2 hours to upload a five minute video.

23 Jul 2009

Dear Scale,  (Oh good grief I’m talking to the scale like HZ)

I reject your numbers. Your numbers are wrong and mean and they mean nothing to me.

I’m rubber, you’re glue, and whatever number you flash bounces off me (quite literally, I’m still quite bouncy you see) and sticks to you.

You suck!

Totally sincerely,

CarbKiller

 

I would like to thank the people who came up with THIS youtube video. I know I should feel ashamed of myself but it made my day. (It’s G-rated you can totally show your kids)

12 Jul 2009

My watermelon addiction is seriously impeding my weight loss. I’m convinced of it.

Do I have proof of this? Yes, thanks to The Weight Watchers Food Scale.

I broke this puppy out when I realized it was impossible for me to make it through the summer without cold seedless watermelon. I love watermelon. LOVE IT!

I love it so much I cannot be trusted around plates of watermelon. It’s embarassing. So I have to rely on the scale to keep me honest. At 9 calories per ounce I have a decent amount of wiggle room on this but I like to know just how much caloric damage I’m doing.

So I pulled out my WW scale and weighed it.

And YES I was honest about it. I put the plate on the scale, zeroed it out and THEN added the watermelon.

That serving you see above you (yes, some could argue that two slices is two servings but they’re clearly not watermelon junkies). Anyway, that portion is 13.2 ounces.

Okay cool.

Except that I’d rather it be 14.0 ounces then 13.2 because I like nice round numbers.

So I added more watermelon.

You can imagine my surprise when I discovered this plate also contained 13.2 ounces of watermelon. That whole slice at the top contained ZERO ounces. HELL YEAH!

Waaaaait a minute.

I might suck at math but that didn’t make sense even to me.

Took off slice. 13.2

Added slice 13.2

It turned out my WW scale maxes out at a certain weight and since my plate was almost 13 ounces. It couldn’t go any heigher then measuring another 13.2 ounces.

Shit Shit SHIT.

So I flipped through my calorie journal for the past 4 days during which I have used my scale religiously but haven’t lost a single pound. And I suddenly realized why everything weighed 13 ounces.

And yet I haven’t lost a single pound.

So I’m back on the wagon.

But I can’t trust myself to buy anymore watermelon.

(Edited to Add: That first plate with two slices wasn’t 13.2 ounces either)

25 Jun 2009

Thursday’s survey question: At what point does it become ok to kill your neighbor? Isn’t there a too-stupid-to-live-put-them-out-of-their-misery rule somewhere?

Last night I awoke at 12:30am to the sound of the fire alarm in my unit shrieking. Went to check it out and discovered water pouring through the alarm and two light fixtures. AGAIN. This is the third time in 8 years, and the second time for the same reason. Fridge exploded allowing water to pour unhindered though the exploded filter. 8 years ago when we first discovered this problem I tore GE’s legal department a new one for damages.

This time the woman tells me she noticed her fridge freezing veggies, etc. She knew that had caused a fridge filter to explode 8 years ago when a different neighbor lived above me so she had her son-in-law order the necessary piece online and install it. Did he install it correctly? Maybe. It’s always possible the piece malfunctioned. However, I have to assume no since I have a waterfall in my living room. Hell, I’m not even 100 percent sure she didn’t decide to save money and buy a non-GE part. It wouldn’t surprise me.

It is 2am by the time everything gets done. Water restoration guys now know me by name even half asleep at 1:30am. And then my neighbor turns to me, water streaming through two holes in my ceiling behind her, raises her voice above the sound of the blowers and dehumidifiers and says “what am I supposed to do now? Not use the fridge?”

Priceless.

This leaves me with several thoughts:
1) Never buy a standard-grade GE fridge they wouldn’t know quality control if it bit them in the ass.

2) Modern technology, though delightful, appears to be preventing natural selection.

3) It never occurred to me back when mom was teaching me manners and self-control that some day those skills would save me the hassle of trying to post bail for a homicide. Thanks Mom!

Your day looks better already, doesn’t it?

20 Jun 2009

Okay I guess technically it wasn’t a floating banana because this time my kayak was blue (YAY!). But I did decide to forego a gym workout for some solid water time yesterday.

For those of you who have never been on a kayak let me say this:

You know how female swimmers have amazing bodies but big man shoulders? Therein lies the problem kayaking. It’s a 100% upper body workout. And it’s a KILLER WORKOUT.

My favorite part though is being “one with nature” in a totally public, rent-by-the-hour kind of way.

Here is the water view of a bridge I drive over every day.

It’s totally cool paddling under it and reading things like “Carrie Loves Mike” and “Long Beach Crew FOREVER” and “Nick has a tiny dick” (okay I made the last one up just to see if you’re paying attention).

Unless you’re under the bridges you’re in a channel with amazing houses on both sides, boats everywhere and people. Some are sailing, some are kayaking, some are sitting in their docked boats and doing nothing but growing their beer bellies. It’s like being on a ride at Disneyland. You get a snapshot of people’s lives and it’s fascinating.

Renting kayaks is surpringly easy. There is no “training” of any kind they just hand you a lifevest and a paddle and off you go. That might also be because every time I walk up to the check in desk (see hut with grass roof below) I always tell them I know what I’m doing.

Yesterday though, I ate a little humble pie floating banana-style.

Kayak guy with HOT HOT washboard abs wearing nothing but board shorts: Hey you’ve been here before right?
Me: *looking at abs* Yes, but not this year. I think I’m going to start slow.
(side note, extreme shoulder pain from overdoing kayaks is not to be believed)

Washboard Abs Guy: Oh okay, we have maps
Me: I don’t need one, I’m not going out very far, maybe an hour.

WAG: Cool. You pay when you get back, same as before. I just need your driver’s license in the meantime.
Me: *forks it over*

I didn’t take the map. I didn’t even glance at it. I’ve only been kayaking in Long Beach a handful of times with my sister and we always went straight up the first channel and then turned around and went back because my sister doesn’t share my ginormous man shoulders or my freakish peasant strength.

Flashforward 20 minutes and I have already reached the the turning point it usually takes me 30 minutes to get to with my sister. If I turn around now I’m only going to use 40 minutes of my one hour rental which I’m paying $8 for no matter what. (CK is cheap).

So I decide to keep going since I know I’m on some kind of water loop. I row past a lifeguard on the shore (he was wearing a shirt. jerk.) I shouted “Hey, how long do you think it takes to row around the island? Shirted-lifeguard shouts back “I dunno, an hour? Hour and a half maybe?”

I decide to go for it.

You’re wishing you had an image right? See pic below…

See the black square on the sand at the bottom? That’s where the kayak rental place is. The pathetic I-tried-to-make-an-x at the top is where I talked to Lifeguard guy.

Did you read all the text in the bubbles? I had no idea any of those things were a possibility because in the 3 years I’ve been going to this place I’ve never actually read a map.

See the black line that goes over the starbucks bubble and turns the corner. That’s right near the Long Beach Yacht Club. That was the point at which I realized I had noooo idea where I was. Since I like to rent nature by the hour and am 100% girl I did what any intelligent chick would do in those circumstances. I pulled my blackberry out of the ziplock bag I’d brought along to hold my keys, kleenex, and cash and called Kayaks on the Water.

Me: Hi, I just passed the Long Beach Yacht Club and I’m passing the Navy yacht club on my left, how far am I from you guys?
(side note: the sky was looking very dark and forbidding and I was wearing shorts and a tshirt.)
Phone guy: I have no idea.

Me: This is Kayaks on the water right?
Phone guy: yes

Me: Well, I’m sitting in one of your kayaks, floating on the water so I’m kind of hoping you know where I am.
Phone guy: We have maps.

Me: (getting slightly irritated) and clearly I didn’t look at the map because I’m an idiot. However, I am passing the Navy Yacht Club.
Phone guy: I don’t think there *is* a navy yacht club (now he’s using the uber-patient voice).

Me: *looks over at the sign that clearly says Navy Yacht Club and shakes her head wondering if this guy has ever been on a kayak* You know what? let me call you back.
Phone guy: well I might not be here

Me (internally) WHAAAAT?
Phone guy continues: Well, we’re not closed yet so good luck.

I hung up on him. It was very clear I wasn’t the only idiot in that phone call. I figured it was a really good time to point out that it was my own fault. *sigh*

I floated there for a second watching the water lap up against the sides of the kayak and tried to get my bearings. Was the ocean on my left? I was still in a channel so I had no idea. Regardless I decided to pick up the pace a bit having wasted almost 10 minutes trying to figure out where I was as the sky darkened further.

About 15 minutes of moderate rowing later I reached the beach where you rent the kayaks. I’m sorry to say I didn’t actually enjoy those last 15 minutes because I was too busy staring up at the sky and trying to figure out where I was using landmarks around me that I’d never seen before.

It’s probably as close to competing with Lewis and Clark as I’m ever likely to get since I’m not a fan of dysentary. (I still love that Oregon Trail game though it’s one of the fondest memories of my childhood. LOL.)

It wasn’t until I’d rowed up to the beach, had gotten out of my kayak, put away the paddle and lifejacket (which, incidentally I never wear anyway), that I discovered I’d only been out for 45 minutes. This meant, of course, that I still paid for 15 extra minutes I didn’t use. Rats!

The cool part was that the water route which was supposed to take between an hour and an ninety minutes took me 45 minutes flat. Including the ten minutes I tried to figure out where the hell I was and what I was doing. Apparently I’m all kinds of tough and didn’t know it. Awesome.

The reward? I impressed the hell out of Kayak guy with HOT HOT washboard abs wearing nothing but board shorts who apparently noticed that I left in one direction, returned from the other and had only been out for 45 minutes. Go me.

When I asked him who answered the phone it turned out the guy who owns the kayak rental place has it set up to call him on a cellphone elsewhere. For all I know he lives in Oregon, I didn’t ask.

But I impressed washboard abs guy. **WOOT**