Speed Kills—or at Least Makes You Wanna Puke


I’ve really got to get a handle on this blogging thing. Seems like two seconds pass and another week’s gone by. I was going to post something this weekend, but I was madly trying to finish up Dead Heat (one and a half chapters to go) and then on Sunday my friend Josh had a birthday celebration that involved Red Robin and indoor go-karts. A word of advice: do not gorge yourself on a Burnin’ Love Burger and bottomless fries before strapping yourself into a device that will sling you through a series of hairpin turns with an exhaust-belching lawn mower engine just inches from your head.

Other than the fact I wanted to puke for the last two laps, it was a lot of fun. I had no idea what I was doing (okay, duh, go fast, turn left–and in this case, right as well) but after a couple of laps I realized that the guys in charge were correct when they said having your back tires slide does not make you faster. In a car, drifting is totally cool. In a go-kart, not so much. What really slows you down is that even after you stop sliding, you can’t get the power to the ground smoothly. The wheels just sort of chatter until they catch. Once I got this figured out I passed a few people, lapped one guy, and basically concentrated on figuring out the fastest way around the track. Since most of the time I was pretty much by my lonesome, I figured I was way down in the lineup. It surprised me when I pulled in and found out “Raging Duck” (the nickname Josh’s son, Bert, picked out for me) had come in fourth. They rank you by your lap times, not your position on the track. It would have been fun to go out for another session to see what I could do now that I knew what was what, but 1) it’s expensive, 2) my throat was on fire from huffing all that exhaust, and 3) my arms felt like they were going to fall off.

Now if I’d done this in July, when I had four months of slinging compost behind me, I probably wouldn’t have felt it much at all. But since November the most I’ve done with my arms is lift them high enough to get my fingers to the keyboard. It didn’t help that the steering wheel was so far away that my arms were practically straight. It’s called leverage, folks. Or rather, a lack of it. Instead of being able to use my shoulders, I had to do all the turning with the muscles in my forearms and biceps. And that damn cart wasn’t exactly rigged with power steering. It was like being in a forced ten-minute workout with no breaks between reps. A good way to get some exercise without being bored, that’s for sure.

I came home thinking I needed to get back to work on Dead Heat, but my throat was still sore, and I hadn’t stopped feeling pukey, and my head was aching, so I took a nap. When I woke up I still felt like crap, and I didn’t have the energy or brainpower to work on plotting or even scrape together a blog post. Hmmmm. That exhaust was nasty, right down there at face-level, but surely I couldn’t have gassed myself? I mean, if carbon monoxide was a problem, other people would’ve felt it, too, and they’d have shut the place down long ago, right? And it’s not like I had irrefutable evidence. Sure, nausea, headache and fatigue are symptoms of CO2 poisoning, but the definitive factor is your blood oxygen level, and it’s not like I keep a pulse oximeter in my desk drawer alongside my Sharpie collection, Post-it notes, and chocolate stash. Certainly this must all be in my imagination. Either that, or I’m the biggest wimp in western Oregon, possibly the entire Pacific Northwest.

I still felt loopy Monday morning, but since it wasn’t raining torrents I had to go do some landscaping. You know, so I could build up my arm muscles for the next time I want to blow $15 on a ten-minute speed rush. For the first hour I was just spacey. After that I felt like crap. If given a choice between spacey and crappy, most people will pick the former. Just one more reason Vicodin is a controlled substance. Fortunately, inertia is my friend, and once I get going I’m usually okay unless I stop. I got through the day, washed the grass off my lawn mower with only one hose explosion mishap, and came upstairs to take care of some of the social networking stuff I’d ignored Sunday. Not. Even reading email was way more than my brain wanted to do. I flopped down on the couch with my Oregon Ducks Snuggie, a warm cat, and an easy-to-follow book. And stayed there all night.

Today I’m pretty much back to normal, except my brain still seems to be missing on a couple cylinders, which isn’t that far from typical. I’m already thinking about taking a drive out to that track to see just how fast I can make one of those karts go. Maybe in summer, when they’ve got the doors and windows open. You all must think I’m crazy, but let’s face it—it probably wasn’t the exhaust, anyway. No doubt it was that damn Burnin’ Love burger.

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26 Responses to Speed Kills—or at Least Makes You Wanna Puke

  1. Alice Lynn says:

    It isn’t as if you haven’t been busy. An agenda that looks like a congressional proposal is the perfect reason for not blogging. But your stuff is always worth waiting for. I hope you will wait until next summer before showing the amateurs at the go-cart track how a real race driver does it. Sans the Burning Love Burger. 🙂

    Like

    • Lisa Nowak says:

      Thanks, Alice. You’ve always been my greatest champion. Maybe I’ll take you along to the track when I go back so you can keep me from eating anything beforehand. You’d think I’d have learned from Race, right?

      Like

  2. Katy Skinner says:

    Ha! That was a great post, Lisa. ‘Cause I was there with you! From Burnin’ Love burger right thru go-karting. 🙂 Maybe next time you go karting I’ll try it. But honestly, I’d rather just have the burger. 😛 I just can’t relate to how much some of those guys like going fast. I’d rather take that go-kart along a river somewhere along a path.

    Like

    • Lisa Nowak says:

      I challenge you to get out on the track next time, Katy. But then you’d probably kick Josh’s butt and you’d have to live with him, which wouldn’t be pretty. Speed is a great thing. The way it feels to go through a corner at top speed…well, it’s better than chocolate. That’s all I’ve got to say about it.

      Like

  3. Beth says:

    Next time go BEFORE you eat and wear a gas mask.

    Like

  4. Todd McCann says:

    Why don’t you just go ahead and admit you’re a lawnmower engine exhaust junkie. I mean really. You suck the fumes until you make yourself sick. Then what do you do the very next day? You go out and mess with a lawnmower. Now you’re already thinking about your next fix. Need I say more? 😉

    Seriously, I love reading your stuff. It’s always so entertaining. Excellent post!.

    Like

    • Lisa Nowak says:

      Todd, you always crack me up and make my day. Yes, you’re on to me. I’m a lawn mower huffer. I’m glad I can entertain you. All I know is that anytime I can use the term “pulse oximeter” in a post I entertain myself. It only I could get House to do a guest post. Don’t burst my bubble and tell me he’s not real.

      Like

  5. terripatrick says:

    This is a great blog post and the type of topic and style your future readers will want to see. They will check you out to see if they want to buy your books and/or after they’ve read your books and want to know more about the author.

    The title is also perfect. Dead Heat readers will chose to read this post. Landscaping and hauling manure posts and the details of your business equipment are also good. Posts on being a writer or publishing information – not so much.

    All the social networking in the world is only effective if it targets what the readers are interested in knowing. So I hope you really liked writing this post and have tons more stories like this one to tell, because these are the stories your future readers will want to read and share with their friends, even if the stories are from your past. 🙂

    Like

    • Lisa Nowak says:

      Terri, you’re comment really hit home with me because once I get my first book published I intend to go more toward a reader slant with my blog. For now I’m trying to get my name known with other bloggers who might help to promote me when I first get out there, though. I totally agree that too many authors do writer-oriented blogs, and I see many of my friends trying to steer away from this now. I did have a lot of fun writing this post. My first inclination was not to write about feeling crappy–frankly I would rather not have people share their every ache and pain online–but I figure if it’s funny, it gets a pass, so I’m glad this worked for you. Getting thumbs up from you and Todd lets me know it worked, so thanks.

      Like

  6. Roxie says:

    Headache, nausea, lassitude, – yeah, time to do some yardwork alright. You are tougher than an old army boot, woman! Lemme know when you go to the go-kart track. I’ll come along and take bets.

    Like

  7. That sounds like a great weekend.
    Hearing about go-karts reminds me of that Disney movie about those sisters who race go-karts. That’s your genre, isn’t it? Maybe you should take a look at it. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the name, how many go-kart-racing movies does Disney have?

    Like

    • Lisa Nowak says:

      Oh, sure, McKenzie, tell me about a movie a should watch and don’t give me the name! I’ll have my husband try to look it up. He’s the movie guru around here. 🙂

      Like

  8. You are so driven! (I am so sorry but could not resisit!!)
    Who woulda thought that a bit of fun would make you sick! LOL

    Like

    • Lisa Nowak says:

      Okay, Rose, if you’re going to throw my book titles around, how about coming up with a new name for In the Blood? One that doesn’t call to mind vampires? No one seems to be able to help me with this.

      Like

  9. Pat L. says:

    Bet I was not the only one who wasn’t surprised that you finished so well! I was rooting for you–figured that racing experience would kick in!

    Like

  10. Beth says:

    I guess I’d better watch Cars again and try to find you a title. I shot four or five at you last year, but I can’t remember any of them. Non-memorable is probably why they were non-starters. I think I trying to channel all the 60s car songs that time.

    Beth

    Like

    • Lisa Nowak says:

      Beth, I do remember you trying to help me out. It’s not an easy thing, coming up with the perfect title. I appreciate your efforts, though. Of course any excuse you can find to watch Cars is a good one. 🙂

      Like

  11. Margo Kelly says:

    Great post! I love your blog! I’ve given you an award!! You can pick it up from my blog: http://www.margokelly.blogspot.com

    Like

  12. I’d rather feel crappy than spacey, personally. I like to be in control of this beast. Otherwise, who knows what would happen…

    Like

    • Lisa Nowak says:

      Hey, thanks for stopping by, KeyboardHussy. Good luck with your book promotion. I plan to get back over to your blog, it’s just been a crazy week.

      Like

  13. Pingback: sport passions « Terri Patrick's Blog

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