People are making travel plans. They want to know the race schedule. I opened Microsoft Word and created a preliminary trailer packing list. The treasurer is buying extra uniforms; people are paying their membership fees; the race organizing committee announces the Friday party. I’ve been asked about when our trailer rehab will be finished. I had to check the budget for renting a tent. At breakfast we talked about the progress at Benderson Park and if they’ll be finished in time.
Time is winding down. The website meter reads 16 days to go. The coach says it’s time to taper, right as practice is scheduled every single day for this boat or that boat. The boat captain jokingly said we’re setting up “Camp Osprey” because we’re never leaving the boat yard. My switch to plastic oars created a crater on my left hand that is hollowed out a little more every row. On my rest day, I slept in and then passed out on the sofa in the middle of the day. I have one more pound to lose and grapes just isn’t satisfying the 3 o’clock hunger strike.
Entries are populating regattacentral. I’m cruising the site everyday to scope out the competition and the number of entries, which will determine the racing progression. I’m waiting for Halifax to post their results to see the times. I’m debating entering the Open A 1x while munching on apple slices smeared with peanut butter and honey.
Even as Nationals creeps closer, it’s hard to believe it is real, even as I count how many pairs of black racing shorts I have, debate how many white hats I want to take, or what I should eat for the three days of racing. I quit my job and now can entrench myself in rowing culture a little more. I want to win a medal to earn street cred, maybe go into some novice coaching. Then I remember–I quit my job and I still have to pay my entry fees! Am I a fool?
Race day feels like tomorrow and months away at the same time. I know for some athletes, this is par for the course. It’s their chance to prove they are the best of the best. They look forward to the intensity. For me, this is the most challenging task I’ve ever undertaken and in twenty days it will be over. A new chapter will open, not just in rowing, but in my whole life.