Sunday, May 30, 2010

Head Killing Kayaking

Happy Memorial Day, ya'll! And thank god, because I for one can seriously use an extra day off work to blow off steam and chill.

Yesterday, I took my new second-hand kayak (if you are counting, this is #5) out on a real river. We had a great group of people going out, and I was really excited to spend some time with my river people and get to know my new boat, which likes to tip me over at unexpected times. Unfortunately, once again, my head had to come in and ruin the deal.

I've been going back and forth with good days and bad days for headaches. Friday was a good day. Saturday was a bad day. Today seems like a good day. I still can't figure it out.

So, Saturday morning, my head was throbbing and since I had stayed at Prof's house, I had no migraine pills. I was in charge of river logistics for the day, so felt like I couldn't back out. And, I didn't want to back out, but I also didn't want to run a river with a migraine.

I did everything I could on the way to the river to take care of my head - moderate amounts of caffeine (not too much, not too little), food, chocolate, coke, and copious amounts of OTC painkillers. For a little bit, I thought I had it under control, but after about an hour on the river, I started feeling really, really, really bad. My head throbbed, I got sort of sick to my stomach and I was shaky. These are very not good things when you are trying to navigate through rapids.

We stopped for lunch, and I was told that I looked pale. Yeah, well, I felt pretty pale. I ate a powerbar and laid on the rocks. I could barely talk - just moving my jaws made me want to hurl. I couldn't imagine getting back in my boat and paddling, but I also couldn't imagine trying to take my boat off the river, dragging it up a steep hill and trying to get someone to take me to the end point.

Long story short, after going back and forth about it several times inside my traitor of a brain, I decided to get back in my boat, suck it up and get my ass down the river as quickly as possible. An interesting choice really, since the hardest rapid on the river was just downstream of our lunch stop. The pain in my head took away any anxiety I usually would have about that particular rapid - I just bopped down it like it was no big deal, and waited for everyone on the other side. And as the day went on, the pain started to subside a little bit. By the end of the trip, I was feeling good enough to grab dinner with everyone and stay awake and chatty for the ride home (I wasn't driving, thank god).

When the pain from a migraine subsides, I feel almost euphoric. The throbbing and pain is so intense, that when it lets up, you just can't hardly believe how good you feel. Sad, really, but that's how it is.

The morale of this story is that I'm damn proud of myself for pushing through the pain and coming out on the other side. I'm also damn proud of myself because I have clearly become a better paddler. Paddling this river in a new boat and not killing myself is pretty good. Paddling the river in a new boat without killing myself, with a migraine? That's pretty damn impressive if you ask me. So, I could be ready to hurl myself down some bigger water this summer. If I can keep the headaches away.


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