There is a life off the water. You can eat. You can drink. You can sleep in and travel without feeling guilty if you miss a workout. You can have fun on the water.
I’ve done all of those. Last weekend I crossed off the last item on my post-regatta eating binge: “chocolate lava cake.” I celebrated Alan’s birthday by getting tipsy with caipirinhas. I’m writing right now drinking a “Free Cuba!” I reluctantly left sleep this morning at 9 a.m. I went to St. Augustine and Boca Raton with Alan without feeling guilt about missing practice.
Two weeks ago, I went out in a single with the boat captain for our first post-Nationals row. We were rowing nice and easy to the north when dolphins began following us. While the sunrise burnt the sky with fire, they were playing around our boats. We stopped to watch. A pair surfaced between us so close we could read the numbers on their fins. The other mornings have been nice, but nothing compared to the pod of dolphins. I’ve encountered manatees, leaping sting rays, and stunning sunrises. The water has been dead flat–on the few mornings I’ve been out.
Taking it easy has been nice…but I feel anxious. Something is missing. Everyone around me is moving on. There are race boats formed for the Sarasota 5000 and I’m not in them. Other clubs are making boats for the Head of the Charles. I know logically I’m not in shape for the 5000 and I promised to take time off…but it’s still strange not to have a seat in a boat. I continue waking up early in the morning. I started feeling guilty about what I was eating…and now I feel guilty about all the ciders and “Free Cubas!” and coffee mixed with Bailey’s.
I am goal-driven. All year I had a purpose. Now that purpose is gone and I am aimless. I do love rowing and rowing for fun on the water…but it’s not the same without a mission.
I’ve kicked around some ideas. I still haven’t fully committed…but I have an inkling where I’m going after Nationals. Regardless, I plan to start adding mileage on the water and fast. If I can’t run a marathon…perhaps I can row one…?