So, it's a year later, and here I sit in my hotel room at the 2019 US Rowing Masters Nationals in Grand Rapids, Michigan. A lot has changed. No longer sweep rowing, I competed in my first 1000m sprint event in my 1987 Kaschper single (thank you, Betsy) and instead of belonging to one club, I now effectively am a member of four. It's been a wild ride, filled with uncertainty, self-doubt, frustration, inspiration, gratitude, successes, failures, and many great and a few awful people. Just like life!
Things that I'm thinking about right now as I type this:
Nobody wants to hear about your race.
When someone asks you, "How'd it go?" That's the equivalent to passing someone on the sidewalk and saying, "How's it going?" which translates as, "Hi." No one stops, everyone keeps walking. Smiling and friendly, but moving on.
The correct answer to, "How'd your race go?" is a simple nod and smile, and a firm, "Good!" Whether it was actually good, bad or otherwise. That'll do. On several occasions today I found myself in the midst of describing my event to someone when I noticed their eyes glaze over or their head turn away. Not in an assholey kind of way, just in an I've been at the racecourse in the sun for 6 hours kind of way. I could have said to multiple people, "Dude, it was sick, at about 750m I busted out a line of coke and did it off my oar handle, and then this giant duck came and landed on my stern, laid a golden egg and flew off. It was crazy!" I would have been met with the same response. No one is listening, everybody is thinking about their own race, and that's cool. All good. There are very few people who are actually interested in the details of your starboard oar at the 500m mark. Save the analysis for that special person over coffee the next day. My forever answer from this day forward to the inquiry of "How'd it go?" is now, "Good!"
Must spend more time out of my comfort zone at higher rates.
MUCH MORE TIME.
A great warm-up is a great thing.
I had one today, and I felt really good in my boat because of it. I have been guilty way too often of short-changing myself in this department. No more.
A good swim/soak after rowing is THE BEST.
I have been fortunate to have spent the last few weeks at our cottage on Glen Lake, Michigan, and each time I got done with a rowing session I hopped out of my boat and into the lake. So good. I have to figure out a way to make this happen back in Chicago. Used the hotel pool and hot tub as my lake substitute today. Perhaps a beach stop at Lake Michigan on the ride home. Not hard.
Kind people rock.
Super grateful to the woman in the stake boat, on her knees in the sun for hours who was totally chill and funny when I backed in for my heat. My brother-from-another-mother who let me crash at his pad on a moment's notice two nights ago had a great Nationals and I am really proud of him. Ran into another great lady from NYC in the pool at my hotel. Best sculler I know from Chicago is also one of the most supportive and inclusive competitors I know. And nothing is better than hearing those bells ring... Being talented and successful is not exclusive with being kind and open-hearted. The best ones know how to do both.