April 27, 2013

Diving In


Sorry folks, for all of you now spoiled by outstanding guest posts: the Crab is back from vacation.

And yes, this means yet another self-indulgent photo-packed ramble!  Expect the usual miscellaneous musings, tiresome tips, blog-related blather, annoying alliteration and ridiculous rationalizations, all dressed up and masquerading as post about health and fitness. Complete with a Theme That Doesn't Always Fit the Contents!

D'ja miss me?

Oh.  Okay. Well, anyway, let's Dive In!

Leap of Faith

First off, it felt weird for me to stay away from blogging the entire time, though I can't claim I was totally offline. I did sneak in to read comments.  But wow, it was a great experiment in Trust as well as Gratitude because I was totally blown away by the awesome guest posts, thoughtful and amusing comments, compassionate and clever replies, and enlightening interchanges.  Gaye and "Shadowduck" and Cranky Fitness readers rock!!!

So next time I am the least bit nervous about wandering off from the blog and letting others run the show I plan to remember...


Everything runs A-OK without Crabby McSlacker, thank goodness!

Diving In: The Part That's Actually about Fitness and Personal Growth

Time-Saving Short Version:  Crabby was afraid to go snorkeling.  Crabby went anyway.  It was awesome. She is glad she went. If you are afraid of something, you may want to try this too!

Long-Ass Version Complete with Illustrative Photos:

Thinking of Diving In to Something New?

If you are striving to lead a healthy and active life, you may come across opportunities that you suspect might be fun and good for you, yet could seem a bit scary at first.

Perhaps it's a Zumba class, or a 30 day pledge to go sugar-free, or an ultramarathon. Or a new-agey clothing optional Couples Communication Workshop held in a remote wilderness retreat.  In other words: some activity that might benefit you, but also might come with some risk of unpleasantness, whether it be humiliation or failure or heatstroke or a sad combination of divorce and poison ivy.

You could say "no" and be safe! Or you could say "yes" and challenge yourself a bit.

Personally, I've spend most of my life a perfectly contented party-pooper, and I still think a cautious approach to scary things is a perfectly legitimate lifestyle choice.

On the other hand, sometimes you know you are exaggerating risks and being a big baby and that you will feel like a wuss if you miss out on something potentially awesome.  In that case: not a bad idea to suck it up and give it a shot.

How Crabby Managed to "Dive In" and go snorkeling in 4 Simple Steps:

Step 1: Do a Reality Check On Fears.



OK, so yeah that's a shark we saw which is probably not even visible unless you click on the picture.  It seems unlikely it's the bitey kind of shark, and weirdly enough, I wasn't particularly afraid of sharks.

Or eels for that matter.



This is what I was afraid of:

1.  The ocean is made up of water which you can not inhale and breathe the way you can with nice ol' air.  Breathing water instead of air is not recommended.



OK, so some might disagree.

2.  The ocean contains WAVES that could engulf a person and drown them, and perhaps even pound and smash that person atop a lovely but lethal coral reef and turn them into hamburger meat.

3.  Oceans are COLD at first, even in warm places like Hawaii (despite what liars say about it being like bathwater, or maybe they are not liars but people who take freezing-ass cold baths).  Anyway, however warm it may eventually feel even Hawaii water tends to feel, to this warm-blooded mammal, icy and excruciating for a few seconds on initial contact.

Upon exploration of these fears I came to the conclusion that... I was being an idiot.

In my mind, the fact that 50 foot waves can be dangerous to surfers meant that 1 foot waves would be just as dangerous to someone only 1/50 as comfortable in the ocean as a surfer. I was reassured by those wiser than myself that the math doesn't work that way.

And while I knew I would be absolutely miserable for the first two or three seconds of every aquatic adventure, I was pretty sure I would thereafter be fine, and not simply cease to breathe forever after due to the shock of cold water.

Hint: a line of people behind you can help with the whole "wait and fret" issue, providing motivation to just get the f--ck in the water.


Step 2:  Seek Support and Encouragement, and if Possible, Bring Brave Companions along!

And yes, this is the point during every blog post where I get tired of yammering so let's just go with straight to the pictures that include supportive wife and friends, shall we?












Step 3: Don't Forget to Enjoy the View!

Or whatever else the "fun" part is. I found myself a couple of times so focused on getting to the next reef and trying to impersonate a "real" snorkeler, that I'd temporarily forget to really relax and savor the lovely stuff beneath me.





4.  Step 4: Keep it Up!

By the end of the trip I was the one suggesting snorkeling all the time, and each time I enjoyed it more than the last. Turns out, the beaches right across the street from our condo offered more amazing tropical fish and giant sea turtles than the fancy-pants and totally crowded Molokini excursion. Plus, without the crowds they felt like our own personal fish and turtles.

And sure, I dreaded and hated getting into the cold water EVERY SINGLE time, but it was totally worth it.


Now for the Bloggy Part of 'Diving In...."

Warning:  A Bunch of  Posts Ahead in the Next Week or So, Some of Which May Feature Products or Services!

In a spectacular example of ridiculously bad post-vacation planning, I seem to have promised quite a few posts by early May which have not yet been written.  Whoops!

So as much as I'd like to ease back into the blog and write only thoughtful and entertaining blog posts, (wait, I never have before, why do I think I'm going to start now?) instead I'll be Diving In with as much grace as... well, lets say a D-list celebrity seeking high diving reality show fame and belly flopping themselves into a hospital stay.

I'll be doing my best to multi-task and slip in the rest of our vacation pictures into these posts (lucky readers!) and I apologize in advance for this period of "paying the piper" in return for a rather greedy recent spree of free-sample-grabbing and sponsorship-scrounging. Normal Cranky Fitness operations will resume shortly and I appreciate your patience!


Has anyone else conquered a fitness-related fear, whether silly like mine or totally legit?  What helped?

(Photos mostly by the Lobster and our pal Katie).


55 comments:

  1. Death Ride GrandmaApril 27, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    Welcome back! Now I really can't wait to get to Hawaii later this year & see my old turtle friends again! It's great that you got over your worries about snorkeling - hope I can get some of my family to do the same soon.

    I used to be quite afraid of descending on my bike. One ride I was on told all of us about a road that was improperly graded, so it was really risky to go fast, so we were to hold our speed down to 15mph as we came back down the hill. Most riders really struggled with that. Me? Well, yeah, when I first rode my quads hurt plenty, but I also had a gadget in my desk drawer to exercise my hands, 'cause if there was a hill to get down, my hands cramped much faster than my legs had on the climb - clutching those brakes is a lot of work. So I wondered if they really thought I'd be going as fast as 15.

    Now? I am still not racing down the hill, but if I know the hill, no potholes, no hairpin turns, no traffic signals, well, I will go as fast as gravity allows, and it is fun! My record so far is about 42mph. On the Death Ride, with the thin air that allows even a shrimp like me to get going a bit faster, I expect to beat that.

    You are so right - these fears are really worth working on. The rewards are very cool.

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    1. I am not the most courageous Crab, so the stuff you do, DRG, seems somewhat terrifying and incredibly impressive. Biking where there are cars whizzing by, roaring down mountains... yikes!

      But I do understand the thrill of going fast, even if my own biking adventures are on little hills free of traffic. So awesome that you are always challenging yourself!

      And I hope you have a WONDERFUL time in Hawaii!!

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    2. You forgot "no wind" DRG! I was caught by a gust on a fast descent (not sure how fast I was going on that occasion but it's a 45mph+ hill) and dumped unceremoniously on the wrong side of the road; between the speed and the wind it took me a good hundred yards or more to get back where I should be, including a blind bend with a dodgy surface... If there had been any traffic I don't think I'd be writing this now!

      So yeah, I'd have to say being nervous about fast descending is perfectly sane and reasonable. Bikes just don't have the weight, stability or handling for that kind of speed in anything other than perfect conditions. #8-/

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    3. Death Ride GrandmaApril 29, 2013 at 6:37 PM

      Yes, of course you are right, Shadowduck. No wind is a big one. Cycling is never as safe as being inside a car. And there is the possibility of the front tire blow-out, or a crazy rider in front of you dropping a water bottle, or suddenly deciding to stop. I know, I know. But I also believe the rider can make it a whole lot safer, and I shamelessly encourage other riders to let go - at least a little bit. Some (not all, by any means)of life's great pleasures do involve some risk.

      And I never thought I would say that. Never. But the older I get, the more it seems to be true.

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  2. Great photos! Someday I will go to Hawaii! Or not...they probably have giant bugs there, yes? I am not so good with bugs, especially the giant kind.

    Most fitness related things I have done that involve interacting with real live people have scared me. Joining a gym was super scary, but it really wasn't so bad. Going to classes instead of just hopping on a treadmill by myself? Scary, but worth it once I actually did it. I had wanted to try Zumba classes for a couple of years, but once I actually found one near by, it took me a few weeks to work up to it. It was awesome and I loved it! You'd think I'd learn not to be afraid of these things, but I guess it runs deep.

    Glad you had a great vacation!

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    1. Good for you JavaChick for braving Zumba! I still haven't quite gotten up the courage myself... someday though.

      Did not see ONE giant bug while in Maui, just giant turtles! Don't know if I was lucky or if they're not all that bad. And bonus: no snakes on the islands, for those a little spooked by 'em.


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  3. Yes, i missed you. And every time i realize i'm afraid to try something, i know that's my cue to try to do it anyway.

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    1. That's awesome messymimi! Usually when I realize i'm afraid to try something, I dive under the covers! It's only rarely I go ahead and challenge myself.

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  4. More pictures please!!! I love Hawaii and want to live through your stories and pictures since we don't have a trip planned.
    I've never snorkeled or gone scuba diving and I don't know if I will - I'm not a fan of being under water. Maybe next time I have the opportunity to dive I will think back to how brave you were. Or, I might just lay on the beach with my book and drink.
    Welcome back - Can't wait to hear more about your adventure!!!

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    1. Hey Kim, cool, another aquaphobe out there! I hesitated to admit I wasn't crazy about swimming in the ocean.

      Actually, if you can find calm waters, you don't even have to get your head totally wet--diving down is not required. I discovered that doing it in stages really helped; didn't venture out into choppy waters until I was pretty darn comfortable. You could practice in a swimming pool to get used to breathing through a tube.

      But I totally understand the book and the drink being quite entertaining enough!

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  5. AWESOME photos! I went to P-town last week and posted some pix of that...none of my photos have sharks in them, though. :(

    Well, I competed in a sporting event for the first time in my entire life, EVER, at age 39.5, when at my MMA coach's insistence, I entered a NAGA grappling competition after only about three months' experience in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. My first opponent was 19 years old, four inches taller, and 22 lbs heavier, who was in the "beginner" division (second lowest -- I was in "novice," the lowest division. But as we were the only two registrants n those divisions, they matched us up in spite of the experience and size disparities, lucky me). I went the distance with her but lost on points. I got second place for losing! LOL -- but, I got to fight a second time several hours later, with someone closer to my age/size/level, and I won that match (on points) and won the bronze medal for that division. It. was. awesome.

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    1. I was terrified going into my first martial arts tournament too, Norma, I don't think you'd be human if you weren't! And just like you, I loved it and came away with a medal... #8-)

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    2. You were in Ptown Norma? Shoot, we'll be there in a few weeks, sorry I missed you!

      You martial arts people totally blow me away, and as much as I want to work in some sort of dirty double entendre with the whole grappling thing, I will try to resist and just express my admiration for such a bad-ass fitness pursuit. So cool, Shadowduck and Norma!

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    3. Please do tell me when you're heading out this way, Crabby. Would love to zip down there again to say hey to you crustacean creatures & maybe do yet a bit more shopping... :)

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    4. Excellent plan Norma, looking forward to getting together!

      We arrive, bleary eyed from an overnight flight and ferry ride, on May 22nd with the aim of being unpacked and somewhat functional by Baby Dyke weekend... or as it's more commonly known, Memorial day weekend. :)

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  6. I'm trying in vain to think of anything I've tried, fitness-wise, that scared me, and I overcame it. I can't think of anything fitnessy that scares me except heights, and my poor balance makes that a fear I have no intention of overcoming.

    Cold, now, is not a fear but a strong dislike. If it involves cold, I'll avoid it if at all possible.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

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    1. Mary Anne, I'm right there with you on the cold thing. I detest cold and snow - it's why I think we should move to Hawaii!!

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    2. I think it's perfectly rational, solarity and kim, to avoid cold! Though in my case, defining the water in Maui that way is perhaps a bit overly sensitive. And I woulda missed the pretty fishies.

      Someday I gotta get the whole Health and Fitness and Goals retreat thing going... sounds like Hawaii would make an excellent venue!

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  7. Dear Crabby -

    You are SO right about the water being cool (cold!)... Compared to the Atlantic (and this person can only, sadly assume, the Caribbean), it IS colder. Always. Every time. Ok - at least compared to my nice bathtub.

    I was totally afraid to snorkel, too. It took a trip to Hawaii to get me to do it (and then - mainly because I knew I would suffer slings and arrows of rolled eyes and comments along the lines of "you went all that way and didn't even REALLY get in the water?!").
    Had I been surrounded by good natured "hey - do / don't do whatever you want :)" types, it would have been very tempting to just continue soaking up the sun on the beach. So, good on ya!!!

    Plus - yeah, to this day, my worst nightmare is being overtaken by a wave and tossed around like in a washing machine and not able to surface. I hate swallowing salt water! In fact, whenever those little 1 foot waves would start coming toward me, I'd scream "BIG ONE!!" and scramble back to shore. Meanwhile - someone's grandma and 3 year old ventured bravely into what I was certain was a veritable tsunami.

    But - the prizes are out there for those who dare. AND - totally right about the best snorkeling being right across the street from most condo/hotel areas. Fewer snorkelers in concentration than Molokini and more fish (and more COLORFUL ones).

    The only tough part about your wonderful blog post is that now I totally wanna go back!!!!!!!!

    Since throughout most of my life I have been afraid of most of life, I have a loooonnnnggg like of things having gotten past to some extent to another. Some provided tremendous discoveries, pleasure and pride of accomplishment. Others? Let's just say they were "confirmation" :) The list contains things big and small, typical and strange. And plenty of contradictions.

    So, thanks for the great re-entry post and welcome back! And get some MORE pictures up, please???
    Anon

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    1. Hey thanks so much anon!

      Love your comments, btw. And true to my cranky self, I think my favorite part of this one is the acknowledgement that sometimes when we stretch ourselves and confront the scary unknown that we may not like... we do indeed discover there was a good reason we were avoiding it. Not every freakin' mountain needs to be climbed!

      Hope you get back to Hawaii sooner rather than later!

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  8. Good on ya for going snorkeling! Here's my dirty little secret: Both times that I've been to Maui recently? I have not snorkeled at all. Because of the fish. They are beautiful, but I get the heebie jeebies at the thought of one of them touching me while underwater. I can swim in the ocean (OK, float on a tube if you want to know the truth) and most of the time I don't worry about a fish touching my legs. But snorkeling? That's just asking for a fish touch.

    Oh and my husband thinks I'm crazy when it comes to my snorkel-aversion.

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    1. That's a great one Shelley, the "fish touch" aversion! Much more creative and unique than my wimpy cold water and wave phobia. Don't know if you remember the weird photo I posted from our Prague trip with the "spa" service that offered the chance to have hordes of hungry fish eat the dead skin off your feet, but I'm thinking that would probably NOT be your idea of a great time. http://www.crankyfitness.com/2012/08/travel-is-broadening.html

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    2. Ack! Heebie Jeebies just thinking about that spa service!!!!! ::shudder::

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  9. I agree...such beautiful photos! They have inspired me to get back into the ocean after a break of nearly 4 years (yes that is a scary amount of time)..thank you so much!

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    1. Hey thanks Sarah Jane! I hope it's a lovely warm ocean too.

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  10. Wow, what is it about snorkelling that attracts spamming dentists? (For anyone reading this after they've been deleted, I'm posting after a run of ten spam comments, eight of which are for dentists)

    I think going into anything new is a bit scary; it's part of the excitement, though, isn't it? Will you make a fool of yourself, will you get injured, will you get eaten by a shark..? I just keep reminding myself that the first doesn't matter and the others don't happen often (can't remember the last time I got eaten by a shark), then jump in anyway.

    I think my next sporty challenge will be on my next trip to Spain, when one of my brothers-in-law has promised to take me scuba diving. Needless to say, I'm terrified ... but I'm SO doing it. #8-D

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    1. The spamming dentist rampage was indeed weird Shadowduck! Usually the spam filter catches about 75% of those, but it must have been in Hawaii on vacation or something.

      Scuba is even more scary to me than snorkeling, because of all that stuff about the "bends" and the whole relying on equipment that could fail issue. And yet... I'm sure the actual probability of anything bad happening is quite low and I bet you can see some amazing stuff.

      You try it first, Shadowduck, and tell me how it goes!

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    2. I saw the spamming dentists and was impressed at the amount of spammage they managed to achieve. Bizarre that people actually thing this kind of "advertising" works.

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    3. You mean you don't go to nearly illiterate dentists you see indiscriminately spamming blog posts Shelley? I always find my medical and dental professionals that way! :)

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  11. Welcome back girl! Glad to have you back and posting. I'm off diving in Egypt in July and can't wait. :)

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    1. Oooh, Egypt? That sounds fantastic Jessica!!! Hope you have some wonderful adventures there.

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  12. I'm glad you broke your fear and had a good time. Snorkeling is awesome.

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  13. Aaahhh... beautiful pictures. Seems like you had a wonderful time!

    You ask if we have conquered some fears. Water has been my redemption. As a kid I was shy and afraid of everything. I learned to deal with my fears one by one with the help of water. There would be too many examples, I might write a post about it one of those days. :-)

    Snorkeling: I have fond, fond memories of it in the beautiful blue waters of Croatia!

    Thank you for this happy post!

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    1. Wow HSH, looking forward to your post about water redemption, sounds very inspiring!

      And now you've got me wondering about Croatian waters, sounds lovely!!

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  14. Love the pictures! Looks like you had a great trip.

    My motivation for jumping in to new things even when I'm scared is usually that no matter how afraid I am, I am more afraid of missing a really good time. I hate to be left out! :)

    Happy to have you back!
    Gaye

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    1. The 'missing out' aspect was really helpful for me too Gaye, though I've been quite willing to make that tradeoff throughout life and have happily missed out on a lot of scary things. Glad I didn't this time!

      Thanks again for your awesome guest post!

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  15. I love the ocean...so much so that I majored in Marine Biology in college. I've been snorkeling and deep sea fishing, but not scuba diving yet. It's next on my list.

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  16. Just want to say that I need more time to read this so I kept putting off & will read tomorrow - I did not just want to skim it - HUGS!!!

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    1. Ah Jody, you are so sweet to always stop by!!! Can't wait to get a chance to check in to see what you've been up to. Am SO BEHIND on all things blogging related...

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  17. Aw this made me smile SO HARD. Looks like you two had a blast! And now I'm having major vacay envy;)

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    1. Thanks Charlotte! Your pictures of your adorable happy family make me smile hard too... I know that having a passle of active kids makes vacationing harder to manage, but I imagine it's quite a fun and magical adventure when you do!

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  18. Sounds like someone is having a lot of fun while playing in the ocean. :) Count me in next time. Anyway, if you really to snorkel, you should visit Malaysia since they have got some really nice snorkeling spots.

    Cheers.
    Ed

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  19. LAUGHED OUT LOUD at the end.
    we are twins except I MAILED MINE BACK and declined AFTER agreeing.
    GO MIZFIT!! :-)

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    1. Sigh. probably should have done the same! It's gonna be like Cranky QVC up in here for awhile... :)

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  20. I could do with following in your foot steps. I am quite nervous of the see and sticking my head in the water. Maybe all the rubbish I have watched on TV.

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  21. Fun photos!!

    I've done some great snorkeling in Florida waters! It's amazing the world that exists just a few feet away from us that we never see unless we just dive in!

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    1. I bet you have Dr. J! Sometime I've got to wander south and say hi to you and some pretty fishies!

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  22. Crabby,
    Go you!
    I have done something similar.
    I am scared of water and can barely manage to dog paddle, but my husband and I went snorkeling on my 35th birthday. It was wonderful. Terrifying at first, moderately less so as the day progressed, but wonderful.
    I conquered the fear and am happy, but I take the position that I never have to do it again.

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    1. Good on ya, Leah!

      And especially if you're not much of a swimmer, I say you've done your bit and can rest on your laurels.

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  23. It looks like a wonderful vacation! I've always wanted to scuba dive but Alaska isn't exactly ideal for that.

    I tend to lurk more than comment (rude, I know), but when you asked about silly fitness related fears it reminded me of mine. The aerobics stepper platform. Specifically, jumping from the floor up onto the step. Regardless of the fact it's not even 6 inches off the ground, the first time my trainer wanted me to jump onto it I had this picture in my head of tripping on the step, flailing over the top and landing on my face. It took him almost the entire session to talk me into trying it once. And what happened? Just as I was jumping somebody walked by the front of the step and it startled me so badly I tripped, flailed, and landed on my trainer. I suppose that's better than landing on my face, but not much. I was so mad/embarrassed that after the three seconds it took for the shock to wear off, I got up and hopped onto that evil step. Twice.

    On the good side, I'm no longer afraid of that little piece of plastic. And my trainer didn't charge me for the session. lol

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    1. Hi Aimee!

      No rudeness at all in lurking, I appreciate the visits! However, it is indeed a special thrill when a lurker appears with a great comment.

      You totally cracked me up with the stepper platform fear, which I have to confess I share! I stopped jumping at all a couple years ago because of foot issues, and recently thought I might try jumping up on a very short platform, and... chickened out! Had to do one foot at a time and work up to two feet at once, and even with the mellow approach I can only jump a few inches. Sigh. So yay for you mastering it!

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    2. I am now convinced I will never try the stepper thing! 8) (One of the things that bothers my hips most is climbing stairs, so I am quite happy to avoid it. I have looked at people using it and wondered if it feels like real stairs.)

      Mary Anne in Kentucky

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    3. Death Ride GrandmaApril 29, 2013 at 11:33 PM

      Yes, Mary Anne, it feels like real stairs. Until I got in shape, it always killed my knees. Now, I'm not afraid of it (though maybe I will have to rethink that, Aimee), but oh, when the trainer put this little, square metal stool in front of me - maybe all of 18" high, and suggested I jump up...I made him put it next to the wall so I couldn't fall right over the edge. Then I went home and spent a ridiculous amount of time jumping onto the right height of couch cushions (no domestic skills or pride here, I'm afraid). Then went back to the gym feeling surely it would be ok - and still needed to put the stupid thing next to the wall to be able to jump on it.

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  24. I am not a snorkel person so I get this & I did NOT conquer that fear.. I just love Hawaii plain & simple - I need to go back over & over again! :)

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