Eleven days until the end of my journey begins. Here lies one year’s worth of work. When I began my rowing blog, about a month into training, I took some measurements:
July 29, 2012
Age: 28 Weight: 155 Waist: 30 in Quads: 23 in
When I discovered the page with my baseline stats, I dug through our vanity until I found the flexible tape.
July 30, 2013
Age: 29 Weight: 146 Waist: 28 in Quads: 21.5
Not only did I lose inches, but I dropped two pant sizes. Right now half of my shorts, pants, and skirts slide down off my hips. Luckily I’m staying at home because I look like a rapper. I have to save what fits decently for when I venture out of the house.
I’ve gained a whole new level of respect for elite athletes or anyone who trains competitively to be the best at anything–Tough Mudder, Ironman, Triathalons, you name it. Whatever the sport, reaching the top level takes some serious dedication and sacrifice. I have trained more than I ever have, eaten better than in the last 28 years, but even I slacked off at times. There could have been more weightlifting, more cardio, better food choices. My metaphorical hat goes off to those who choose to monitor their diet intake and train, train, train. How do those Olympians do it?
I’ve had the best competitive rowing year of my life. Nine races, seven medals, and five of those first-place finishes, and two second-places. Never before have I been so successful. Training has paid off.
The worst loss? My left knee. Ever since February, I’ve had trouble with it. I just started light jogging again, doing walk/jog intervals over 2-4k. Staying easy. Last Wednesday I was running Mr. Beery’s Hump Day 5k, just as I have been, alternating jogging and walking. Despite the reeking humidity, on the jogs I felt loose and fast. My 1k splits were good for a walk/jog. On the jog, my tracker announced I’d reached four kilometers, and at that moment my knee gave out. I literally felt it give a little. The pain was not the stabbing sensation, but an intense throbbing. I dropped down to a walk. I tried picking it back up to finish. My knee protested and I gave up, frustrated and aching, needing ice. Every time I drive down the road and see people out running, I am jealous. I want to take off and run–I want to do a triathlon, but I can’t even complete an easy 5k jog right now or ride a bike.
I have gained some amazing experiences. Waking up to row at 5:45 a.m. is draining. There are mornings I check the weather and pray it’s raining so I can curl back into sleep. But once I’m on the water, it’s worth it. The stars the last few weeks have been amazing. Just last Friday, I had a taste of fall in the early morning sea breeze. As we headed off north, a brilliant green meteor zipped down the sky and burst with a flash. There have been sunrises that paint the sky with fire, sparks of phosphorescence in the bay, sting rays exploding from underwater, dolphins chasing our boat, giant manatees, birds of all kinds, and flat water that hides were the sky ends and the ocean begins. We watched little ducklings grow into ducks, watched ospreys build their skyscraper nests over “SLOW” signs, rainbows and sun dogs come and go. The days grew shorter and then slowly lengthened back out.
That’s time, I suppose. It shrinks and grows. With 11 days to go, and as the rows start in darker and darker skies, time is shrinking. I have five more practices in the 8+’s to go, maybe 2-3 in the 4x/4+.
I’ll be looking for another meteor in the dark on Monday.