May 21, 2005

The horror!

I did City Chase Vancouver on the weekend of the 14th after a recommendation from Rob & Sandra. It was sort of like The Amazing Race, where couples (in this case my friend Denise and I were one of 270 such duos) run around the place -- public transit and foot power the only accepted methods of transport -- finding the answers to silly clues and/or performing ridiculous stunts and challenges.

Between 10 and 5 on Saturday, Denise and I were at Metrotown asking octogenarians to pose for pictures with their dentures in hand; at Nat Bailey Stadium firing paintball pellets at each other's asses; in Almond Park balancing on an exercise ball while tossing water balloons back and forth; at UBC following obtuse orienteering maps to find hidden windsocks; but it was at Kits Beach that I faced the most terrifying moment of my sappy little life.

I'm hydrophobic. That means I have an irrational fear of water. Okay, I don't run screaming from a bottle of Evian; I actually quite enjoy an hour in a jacuzzi. Should water in the pool be deeper than a metre and a half, however, I start getting nervous. Throw me in a natural body of water, most of which are two or more metres deep, then, and I'll go into an apeshit blind panic on your nasty ass.

So it was surprising that in the final moments of City Chase, I found myself on a frickin' surfboard about 40 metres off the shore of Kits Beach. Paddling frantically and hyperventilating, it turns out, don't go well together. (I'm getting tightness in my breathing just typing about it.) I had to stop three or four times to calm myself down -- I put my forehead to the board, tried not to feel the motion of the water, and took ten deep breaths -- it felt like I was out there for a full year.

There was a short triangular route we had to follow, with the choice to go together on one board, or to go separately relay-style. The photo above is of another team going together; me, I couldn't wrap my head around that, so it was eight minutes -- did I mention it felt like a year? -- of solo torture before I collapsed on the beach and let Denise bring it home.

The event as a whole was tons of fun, and we met a few great people during the day. We'll definitely be back next year. I dunno if I'll get my sorry white ass back on one of those boards, but maybe we can plan to skip any challenges based beachside.

1 comment:

sofasophia said...

to act in the face of fear--that's courage. what i want to know is what kept you from reacting as you usually did? what was different this time? was it you, or the situation?