Rowing practice has intensified since February in preparation for the San Diego Crew Classic in April. I’m excited and nervous of course. As frustrated as I can be sometimes with rowing progress at times, it’s after an amazing progress since the beginning of it all last May in DC. The coach told me to chill out a bit with my own expectations. And I did, rowing became enjoyable.
Rowing has undeniably replaced two things I had been passionate about for the last 10 years, running and ballet. It didn’t replace them in terms of the limited amount of time I can spend on these hobbies. Rowing combines the stamina, zen, grace, rhythm of running and dancing. On top of which it adds team work and competitiveness. As a rower, you don’t have to worry about weight all the time. I have not worried about eating things I like and for how ever much I need for a long time. Looking back, I was starving myself a lot as a dancer. Sure I would like to fit into those skinny size 2 pants comfortably once again but the mental stress is no longer worth the trouble. I love my rower body, especially those shoulders and arms showing more definition without being bony.
These are pictures I took for Pierre in last year’s Tail of the Lake. I don’t have pictures of me rowing yet. I’ve only rowed in two head races and one sprint race as of today. I raced in two 1Ks in today’s Green Lake Spring Regatta. My parents came to watch me row for the first time. Mom was all excited showing me that she knew the difference between sculling and sweep. I found out that I have never learned any Chinese related to rowing. It was fun that they came to watch.
Today, I rowed in an open 8+ bow seat. It was the first spring distance ever. We rowed in a very high rating of 36 which we don’t normally do at practice (why don’t we.m… ). It felt easy and strong. In the middle of the race, just when I thought I was going to either have to stop or die, I could hear the crowd’s cheers. Wow, amazing. The boat picked up stroke rate and we flew through the finish line.
Without a break, the moment we hit the dock, I went from bow seat to 2 seat rowing port, which I haven’t done for 6 months. But it had to be due to someone getting sick last minute. I was worried, thinking if the race is going to feel like that first race, I’m not sure if I am really cut out for competitive rowing. This second race was a light weight 8+, and we were the only masters boat competing against the juniors. It felt surprisingly short. Of course it was short, a mere 4 minute race. I remember my body hurt, my gluts, arms were shaking. But it wasn’t bad. I thought to myself, ah… it does get easier.
As of today, I still haven’t broken my DFL record. I’m not sad or disappointed at all, actually still bathing in the excitement of having giving my best out there. It was simply fun. There will be more fun tomorrow to row in a double and then an 8+ in the Seattle Henley. I can’t wait.