Back at the Boathouse

I have mentioned before how valuable having a training partner is. Yesterday was my first workout back with my partner Brian, breaking a long 11-day solitary confinement driven by my own ambition to get the workouts in–and of course, my workout binder (yes, I have a binder that catalogues my workouts, mileage, test results, etc–I might be a bit Type A) mandating I check off each day. More on the binder later.

Sunday’s Sub-max 6K was good–especially in the company of Brian and his wife Pam. While it’s not necessarily “difficult” because you aren’t going balls to the wall, maximum effort–it helps knowing you’re in it with a team. You’re working hard because you know that’s what you have to do but you’re also working hard with others and in some way this creates an atmosphere of obligation and maybe even competition; making sure you give your best because everyone else around you is doing just that (and you expect that from them), and it would be insulting, even disrespectful to them to not put in your 100%.

This morning was a 75-minute easy piece on the erg (easy, HR zone = R)…but LONG. A month ago, 75 minutes without stopping used to seem like an eternity. Today, it felt fantastic–I was cruising and enjoying it. But I also think a huge part of the ease of this morning was having someone working just as hard on the erg next to me. For all the reasons mentioned above and before, there is comfort and strength in that. I was talking with a friend last night who was flabbergasted at the idea of spending that long on the erg. She exercises so it wasn’t the thought of working out but more so the idea of spending so much time doing the same motion–methodical, boring. I remember thinking that same thing before actually trying this rowing thing. I can run for hours but never imagined I could have the focus to sit on an erg for hours…but alas, I have arrived. I guess it’s one of the side effects of the addiction. Focus, fixation. My mind goes to another place for those 75 minutes, 100 or 120 minutes (as tomorrow’s workout calls for). I think about everything and nothing. Time when my mind is completely at ease and for lack of a better term, “blank” is rare but graciously welcomed even when it is sweating on an erg, feeling my muscles working and burning. I love it. I look forward to it. Not just for the time that it is (because truly, I do love the exercise), but knowing that every minute I’m training, I’m working toward a goal; toward being better as an athlete and person. There truly is purpose (and benefit) in every pull I put in on the erg. And for that alone, I absolutely love it. It’s why I wake up at 5:30am every morning; it’s what I look forward to in my day.

It is 3 days into a new year. Many successes and victories and many losses and failures will be seen over the next 362 days. But at the end of the year, the final result will only be success and I can’t wait to taste a little bit every day.

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