If You Give a Rower a Boat…

I kicked off official “training” again October 1, commencing with a 20-minute test on the good ol’ erg. Hello, old friend. I’ll be seeing a lot of you again.

So what happened in my first month of training again?

1- Routine struggles

As usual, it’s tough to get back on the horse. We are still navigating the new challenges coronavirus has brought into my life. I just remember the basic tenets: even something is better than nothing, progress takes time, and the first three months are the toughest. Starting is the hardest part.

2- Fall happened

We took a parent-cation early on in the month. The fall colors are gorgeous. One morning, out in the 1x, when the sun poked over the horizon it was like a switch turned on. The colors along the River went from dull yellow to brilliant gold. Amazing.

The river has been full of debris lately. Big, boat-smashing logs and trees. So not a lot of distance rowing.

3- Crossfit

I’ve always wanted to give it a go. What better time than now, when everything is disrupted and I have nothing left to lose?

So I checked out a few boxes, picked one with a lot of women and windows. Seems silly, but winter training is dark enough without being stuck inside a metal box. Also, the coach knew instantly I’d injured my knee in the past from how I was moving. I figured that’s a good sign they know their stuff.

I’ve only been going regularly about two weeks now, but I’m enjoying the challenge. It has reminded me how much I hate burpees. I’m also rethinking how it will compliment my rowing training.

4- Rowing statue

I was driving to meet Alan at a park when I spotted this in a different park. You bet your oats I immediately veered off to take a picture. He needs to work on his blade depth and sequencing, but that face is spot on.

What I was MOST excited about this month was the impeding arrival of my brand-new custom Fluidesign BlueMax. Yep, another Happy Birvalanimas! I rarely get things brand-new, so taking this plunge was a big deal.

5- I GOT A BOAT— kind of..

Of course I barely slept the night before delivery. I closed up work early so I could go row her. I kept peeking out the windows waiting for the truck to turn down the street. Total kid the night before Christmas.

And they unzip her. She is absolutely as gorgeous as I hoped with aqua tinted carbon and white trim. Sleek and luminescent even on the cloudy afternoon.

But then I see the scuff on her top deck. The cover zipper had popped during the transport and rubbed through the pearl coat. Not a structural problem, at all, just cosmetic, but still…. I wanted her to be perfect.

So I made the tough choice to send her back to Canada for fixing. It was like shoving a bucket of candy in front of my three year old and telling him not to eat it. But with winter coming, now is the best time to get it patched.

Until we meet again, my dear…

6- Rowed an 8+

I did my rowing community service for a Learn-to-Row session. I stroked an 8+. It was tough from my POV, being a perfectionist, because they didn’t properly teach how to set the boat in the beginning. My blade was on the water the whole time. Not only was I struggling because I was pushing the blade forward to catch and upward at the same time set the boat, but I felt horrible I couldn’t set a good example for the people behind me.

Then for the last day of October, Halloween, I went out in a real 8+. It was first time scraping ice off the windshield to go rowing, and first time rowing with ice on the dock. It was also interesting to go from stroke the week before to bow. I can’t remember the last time I was bow. I’m usually stern pair, or 3/4 if it’s a stacked boat. It was really cool, though, because there were times when I could feel my stroke physically lifting the bow out of the water. Neat sensation.

Fall is coming to a close, and I feel the days on water are increasingly limited. I look forward to rebuilding through the winter and coming out the other side faster and stronger.

About camckenna

I write; I row.
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