Me: So, what do you want to do for your birthday next week now that you’re the mother of 8 million small children and still breastfeeding? It’s probably inappropriate for us to get blackout drunk at AZ88 on ridiculously overpriced but fabulous cosmos and then head over to the Grapevine to karaoke shout/sing “Hold On” to the general distain of everyone within a 5 block radius like we usually do for your birthday, right?
My sister, Sarah: At least I didn’t puke last year. That was all you.
Me: I think that was actually your bachelorette party. It’s hard to keep track because it’s sort of our go-to celebration activity.
Sarah: True. Well I was sort of thinking I would like to try out that stand-up paddleboarding thing everyone’s been doing lately.
Me: Really? I could totally make that happen. Are you sure you want to submerge yourself in the cesspool of Tempe Town Lake like 10 seconds after you had a baby?
Sarah: Well I’m definitely going to shower before I feed the baby again. I don’t want him to get boob-transmitted ecoli.
So that’s how we ended up doing this last Sunday morning:
My Ragnar teammate, Richelle, owns Ultimate Body Bootcamp in Scottsdale and is an an all-around fantastic athlete/trainer type. She’s super into the stand-up paddleboarding (SUP, if you’re cool) and she graciously agreed to take us out and show us the basics so we weren’t just flailing around like idiots. (Spoiler alert: We still pretty much flailed around like idiots.)
1. My sister’s bff, Jen, spent her childhood as a world-class swimmer and is still an awesome athlete in general, but it turns out balance is not her strong suit. She was in the water within 2 minutes of climbing on the board and was generally meandering somewhere off in the distance trying to find her way back to the group.
2. Richelle made it her mission to make each of us fall into the water. Mostly she accomplished this by teaching us a pivot turn and shouting at us drill-sergeant-style to do it faster and suck less until we got dizzy or too tired and fell in. After which, she moved on to the next victim with a satisfied smile.
3. I, however, was so terrified equally of the lake monster who lives at the bottom of all bodies of water (his name is Ralph and he visits me often in my nightmares) and of getting my bangs wet (you bangless people don’t know! You can’t go to brunch without looking like a troll if you get your hair wet, it’s just not an option) that by sheer will I stayed dry. Richelle even paddled over and tried to flip me, but she was no match for my fear. It was like I was super-glued to the board.
4. She also led us through a short series of yoga and strength exercises on our boards in the middle of the lake. You haven’t lived until you’ve done a downward dog on a gorgeous Sunday morning in the middle of Tempe Town Lake.
5. We ended the session with a race back to the beach we started at. Of course, my sister, the super athlete, ultimate competitor, killed it and beat us all by a mile. I, as per usual, had very nice form, but came in last place. ‘Slow and steady wins the race’ is just a flat out lie. I’ve been trying that strategy for years to absolutely no avail.
6. I’m pretty sure Richelle’s military demands to spin faster and that she’d never seen anyone move so slow actually caused a muscle in my back to have a panic attack out of fear of inadequacy in its abilities. It’s completely spazzing out. I’ve been in a lot of pain since midday Sunday. It’s apparently not ok to yell at my muscles for being slow. They’re emotionally fragile and just can’t handle the stress.
But other than my sore back, I had a fantastic time. Richelle was an amazing instructor, and if she ever decides to start up a bootcamp class on paddleboards, I will be the first to sign up. Maybe she could actually teach me how not to be the slowest person in every sport I attempt. I also kind of want my own paddleboard. Especially now that I know it means I don’t HAVE to battle the lake monster. I just need to stay up-right.