This “month of love” has been difficult.  Sour times in the rowing world.  Impending regattas, slating, trailer woes, personality woes, just lip-curling sour, sour, sour!

It’s hard to ignore the disgruntled feeling in the boat.  You’re all squished together and suffering together.  The rows have been rockier than a teeter-totter and power?  What power?  We couldn’t bring a spark to a lightbulb if we tried.

When you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, and when it feels like not everyone’s giving it 125%, it’s tough.    We should be getting better.

But we haven’t been.  Some days it feels like we’re regressing.

Some days I feel like we don’t even stand a chance in repechage.  Forget winning our heat.

Then I consider being crazy and striking out solo.  Row a single.  No one else to deal with but me.  No one to answer to but me.  That’s the glory of rowing a 1x–you are the sailor and the sail, the engine and the wheel, your own human automobile.

But like I said–it’s a crazy idea.  Almost stupid, even.   My technique is NOT that of an Olympian’s, but I rank my sweeping ability far over my sculling.  As optimistic people would say, “there’s a lot of room for improvement.”  And to crank it up in five months?  I barely make it on the water two-three times a week and to strike out solo?  Not to mention, rowing in the “A” category!   All the Ivy League alum eat people like me for breakfast.  We’re fodder.  Someone’s got to be at the bottom so they can be top dawg, and that’s me.  The sculling chum.

Then there’s my current situation.   I feel like an idiot every time someone at work asks, “What happened to you?”  I can’t even give an interesting answer like, “I rescued a cat from a tree,” or, “I twisted my leg saving a baby from the backseat of a car about to be hit by train.”

We had my alumni “Legends of the Spring” over the weekend.  Check this out:

800 meters finish

800 meters finish

I came in third.  Not too bad, right?   What the picture doesn’t show is that I limped the entire two laps around the track.   Every step a knife plunged into my left knee and my right one screamed, “WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING?”   So I came in third by TWO seconds and I did it on two bum knees.   I should have won.

It all started the Monday before.  I wanted to run an hour, just at an easy pace, over the Ringling Bridge and back.   No big deal.   Until 4k in when I began to feel like my shin bone was being ripped away from my kneecap.  And did I stop?  No–“Run through the pain, it’ll go away.”  Like a side stitch or the hiccups.    Except it didn’t stop and at 6k I gave in.  I shuffled a mile back to the car.

The next morning I woke and erged, lightly, just 25 minutes, keeping in mind how my knee felt the day before. All felt well and had no pain–until I got off the erg and started walking around.

I limped the whole day.  I was bummed.  Why was this happening now before my track meet?

I took off the next three days, hoping rest would solve it.  I did yoga one day.  I missed the Hump Day 5k for a board meeting.  Rowing cancelled due to weather.  Valentine’s Day trumped weightlifting.  On Saturday, during our warm-ups, the sensation returned immediately.  I knew that was it and I could only run once, and that I probably shouldn’t I all.    I guess twisting my one good knee high jumping wasn’t a big enough sign that I was not meant to race!

Long story short, no running.  I consulted our boat captain to get advice and I’m following it carefully.    No running, stretches, ice, exercises–the whole shebang.

While I am bummed about running, I’m trying to look at the other side.  I can use the time I’d spend running to erg more and weight lift more.  I can come out of this more powerful than before.   I can work on technique and power application.

And if I have to, maybe I will row a 1x.  I will learn discipline and improve my sculling.  If I’m causing the rock’n’roll, then I will pay the price and get dunked.

And today’s row, after all the bad ones…it wasn’t too shabby.  More of a rocking than a rolling, and my app showed we hit our fastest speed yet.

Oh, February, the sweetest lemon of them all.

About camckenna

I write; I row.
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