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This past May I hurt my back. I blew out the disk between my L5 and S1 vertebra. I have tweaked my back a little in the past but not to any major extent. I now understand what back pain is! At first I started to get a bunch of numbness in my left leg, and that then lead to lack of muscle control due to the nerve that controls the calf getting squeezed by a good bit of pressure due to the bulging disk. In the end my left calf atrophied about 50%. My chicken legs took on a whole new meaning, mostly on my left side. With bunches of great PT I made progress to the point that I was able to travel to Wausau to coach one of my favorite events of the year, the Midwest Freestyle Championships. I also headed of to Gauley fest where I was looking to try to boat for the first time since May. It started out great with some dealer visits in addition to a Potomac session, my home river, as well as an upper Yough run. I was also feeling good enough to take our World Kayak Chaco partner down the Gauley in a duo at a solid flood level. The next day when we unfortunately had to boat for our JK sales trip to Ecuador. I had not been to Ecuador in 8 years so I was super excited to return, but while there I was only about 60%-70%. I did my best to be cautious and to limit my boating time, in order to prevent a second relapse. Two weeks after that I was on my way to China with EJ, Nick, and Dane to teach a bit on the Nu River. Once again I played it safe and passed on a few rapids that I REALLY wanted to run. Since then I have been continuing my PT and waiting until I felt strong enough to try to play. The few times I got to boat were either in a creek boat or my trusty Fun Runner. While I love all styles of paddling, playboating was the one that I had not been able to do for the longest period. Today I decided to give it a go. My wife, Hope, and I meet up with JK team members Ruth Gordon and Jessica Yurtinus along with WK ambassador Noah Fraser to go for a birthday paddle for Ruth. Not only was it the first day back in a play boat but it went well! My plan was to be conservative and for the most part I was until we started a game of HORSE in order to spice up our current super low flow state. It was a great session and I know I still have a long way to go to try to regain my strength, speed, and full set of tricks. I forgot my GoPro so I could get a shot of the play return but Noah brought one and it and I did not agree. I thought I had it going but it was only shooting in the eddy opposed to the flow. Any way it was a blast and you can see from the smile on my face that I was stoked.

Later ; Colin
Team JK