Summer Adventures

It feels like the summer weeks have been flying by so far! I have been trying to make sure to “stop and smell the roses” whenever possible so I don’t fall into a rut. The weather in Chicagoland has been less than ideal at times (we had about 3 weeks straight of rain & now it has been unseasonably cool), so when we do have a nice day I try to get out there & enjoy it!

One of the more fun things I have done this summer was taking a kayaking tour. I have an old friend that I only see a couple times a year, but when we meet up we try to do something adventurous or fun rather than just meet up for dinner. Last summer we both mentioned wanting to try kayaking, so we finally picked a date and booked our tour. We signed up for the Chicago “fireworks paddle.” The tour consisted of paddling down the Chicago River for a little over an hour to the point where it meets the lake, stopping to watch the fireworks, and then paddling back.

It started with a short kayaking lesson done on dry land. They taught us the basics of how to properly sit in our kayak to stay upright and how to steer.

All fun & games before we got in the water...

All fun & games before we got in the water…

Then we got in the water. Somehow the “how to steer” part didn’t seem to click. I had no idea what I was doing wrong initially, but I could not turn my kayak. One of the guides stayed with me to try to help, and eventually taught me that I could steer by “ruddering” my kayak. The only problem with this method was that it slows you waaaaaaaay down so my early kayaking experience consisted of turning, paddling really hard to catch up to everyone else, and then repeating this episode the next time I had to turn (or started to veer off course). I was getting a great upper body workout from trying to play catch-up, but it was also really frustrating!

We had started the tour a little off the beaten path in Chicago, but once we hit the downtown area it was gorgeous! We hit the skyline views just before sunset. No matter how many times I see the Chicago skyline, I still find it breathtaking. Being in a kayak on the water was one of the most fun ways I have ever experienced it. You feel really “small” out there in the midst of a huge city.

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Thankfully, I eventually started to get the hang of the steering without slowing myself down every time and the experience became a lot more fun! I did manage to hit my friend in the head with my paddle (twice! Sorry Jean!) when trying to navigate out of tight spots, but the general steering got better. :)

Have you ever kayaked? I find myself much more adventurous in “real life” since I have become a gym rat. I am still not a naturally coordinated person (anyone I workout with will attest to that one!), but it has given me the confidence to try new things that require physical activity.

We are talking about indoor skydiving for our next “adventure meet-up.” I do not think I could ever jump out of a plane, but I have heard the indoor experience is a lot of fun!

In other summer news, I am deeply into Ragnar training at the moment.  I have been logging more miles than I have done in ages, and it is starting to become fun again as it gets “easier.” Not going to lie, some of those runs a few weeks ago on tired legs were brutal.  But then last night I went out for 6 miles at 6 p.m. after a pretty tough boot camp class in the morning. My pace is not where I want it yet, but I realized that my endurance is beginning to return.  Yay! This means not feeling like I am going to die from about mile 2 on…

I have signed up for a couple races leading up to Ragnar.  I had signed up for a “sunset 10k” the end of July, but now I added a 5K about 2 hours later.  Not quite the same as Ragnar since you get more than two hours of rest before running again, but will nonetheless work on pushing through “dead legs” on a run.

What has been your favorite active “adventure”?  Anything we should add to our “must try” list?



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