Thursday, April 29, 2010

And for the mental toughness portion of our program

We have rowing, in the basin, with the wind -- a nice swirling cross, nothing so straightforward as a headwind -- and the very rough waters, making small waves, which will break over your boat, more than once, and bring to mind people telling you about racing singles at Head of the Charles with waves breaking over their boat and flipping at the start....

It was NOT pretty, people. I periodically would stop and swear or sigh or moan, but the thing is ... without rowing again, no way would I get back. After the Mass Ave bridge, where the water perhaps got worse -- is that even possible? -- and after attempting one more drill sequence (sigh, because of COURSE the basin with shit water is a GREAT time and place to do drills, particularly catch drills -- I mean, what's a little more boat instability at that point, right?), our coach finally relents and tells us to spin, so then we get to work our way ACROSS, which means imagine instead of taking the waves straight on, they're rocking you side to side. And I am one of the bigger wind/bad-water wimps. The crazy part is that it somehow never crossed my mind to turn back. And that's no credit for me being brave and tough, it's like I literally forgot that was an option. As we were spinning, I was like "why the hell didn't I turn back before the bridge??" No good answer.

Of course, if we all reflect back to posts at the end of last rowing season, where I was complaining about rowing in the wind, I was also acknowledging what I needed was to be forced to row in more of it. The trueness of that makes me grumpy enough to not say anything more about it. Let's just say I won't do such character- and rowing-ability-building with much grace or without complaints. That can be the goal for 5 years from now or something.

I'll begrudgingly point out that once we came back upstream, the water felt like heaven, the straight headwind at our backs was lovely. Rowing felt smooth, almost easy. I'm not sure what I was doing in the basin, but it wasn't really rowing. Lots of oar-dragging on water and wave-catching and grunting. And the swearing.

After, stretching on the mat upstairs, I demanded a water review of the veteran rower in our little group (oh yeah, did I mention there were NO other singles, hell, any boats, in the basin because every other SANE person wouldn't go down there??) -- a seriously fast, tough dude who was once impaled by an 8 and miraculously survived his guts spilling out into the then-disgusting Charles water (no, I'm not making any of this up). He confirmed the water was bad and said he felt "uncomfortable," which I took as splendid vindication.

It just so deeply sucks rowing in water like that. I kinda suspect it never gets easy or feels good, but I guess it's all about building the tolerance and moving the discomfort/confidence threshold. By its very nature, a very nasty, terrible business there.

No comments:

Post a Comment