compete

Ready All, Row!

"On the water, nobody can hear you scream."  ~Unknown Hiya,

When I was in college I began my rowing career.  I went to an introductory meeting after seeing a flyer.  I had been told by a sophomore that I could row without any prior experience.  She has done it and thought that it would be perfect for me after I told her that I was looking for a sport to do.  I knew that there would be something that would work for me though I was not a basketball, volley, or any other ball player.  I was tall and athletic but with no real direction to my athletic endeavors.  So, I joined the rowing team… the crew, and my career began.

By my sophomore year I had shown enough promise that I was really in a league of my own.  In the United States, at the time, in order to get noticed by the US Rowing National Team you needed to pull certain numbers on the erg (Concept II Indoor Rower).  Each month you were required to do an erg test (2000 meters during the sprint season and 5000 meters during the fall season).  Your coach would send in the scores and, fingers crossed, you might get the attention of a National Team coach.  I began sending scores in during my sophomore year.  I remember wanting coaching and not getting any (my head coach was pretty unfortunate in lots of ways).  I did my testing on my own that year.  I felt pretty alone in  it and after the summer I stopped sending my scores in and let the dream of making the team dwindle.

After I graduated I became a rowing coach.  It was fantastic.  I was so excited and ready to start molding champions.  I did just that.  I was wildly successful, especially in my early years.  I also kept rowing for myself.  One day I was approached by a coach who'd been training National Team Athlete Cindy Brooks.  She offered to coach me for free.  She said she saw potential and, if I was game, would train me.  YES!  Of course I would train and be coached!  Yippeeee!!!  I was pumped.  I didn't have a boat that was mine (I worked at Wesleyan and was paid $5300/year to coach the novices) but could use the Head Coach's boat to train in.  I had been rowing in it regularly anyway.  I would also be rowing in a double with Cindy and Cindy owned a few boats, so I was covered, for the most part.

I trained for some time and ultimately had to stop due to lack of support financially.  My numbers were great and always getting better, my dedication was unwavering, but I had to choose.  Make $ or lose $.  I was offered a coaching job at Rutgers University out of the blue.  I would be making more money than I had ever made at that time and, due to feeling overwhelmed with bills and barely evading eviction, I jumped at the offer and gave up the dream of competing on the National Level for my country.

Every time I watch the Olympics I think a little about my journey to train 4-6 hours every day.  Waking up and rowing for 3 hours, lifting for 2 or so and eating more calories daily than most people need to eat over several days.  I remember being told that I could have two out of three of these things: job-rowing-relationship, but not all three.  I had to pick.  I think about how important the ego is to get you to a point where you can compete on such a high level.  I think about love; loving something so much that you give yourself over to it completely.  I think about how lucky I am to know how that feels.

I hope you enjoy the Olympics for what it is, in my opinion:  a display of love-pure, true and unrelenting.

xo

a

"Real athletes row.  Everyone else just plays games."  ~Unknown

On Your Mark

"I am too positive to be doubtful.  Too optimistic to be fearful.  And too determined to be defeated."  ~vandon Yeehaw!

I LOVE winning.  It's true.  The other truth is that everybody does!  Ok, not everyone but most.  As an instructor and coach I am not competing in the same way I do as a rower, runner, Words With Friends player.  Instead I compete to get my athletes as fit as I can get them.  To bring them to health and wellbeing in the best way for them.  I become their biggest fan, their resolve when they have none, and their answers when they are questioning.  I find fulfillment in the work that I do and for that I am grateful.

I haven't competed in a race or event that wasn't connected to supporting a client in quite some time.  So I haven't actually tapped into my own personal desire to compete for Aina in a while.  Basically I haven't had to be in that place that I put my riders, clients, athletes in and then coach them through.  I hadn't had the opportunity to compete with me for me.  Until recently when I joined The LAB - A Crossfit Gym on Eastlake.  I am not doing anything that is amazing, just small workouts of the day (WODs) when I show up… but compete I am.  Because my schedule is packed with teaching and training I don't get to the gym as much as I would like.  The two times that I have had the opportunity to compete I have had the fastest time overall completing the workout that was assigned.  Can I tell you how fantastic that feels??  It is GREAT!  Seriously.  I love competing and I love seeing the hard work that I do pay off in a way that I enjoy.  One of the many benefits of being fit is being able to swing a kettlebell until the cows come home. :)  Yep.

Now, just because I compete doesn't mean I have to win or that I get upset when I don't.  I am a coach, and a very good one, and I understand perspective.  Prior to that I was an athlete that was new to competing.   In my freshman year of college I lost a huge race as a part of a team that had, up to that point,  won everything.  I was devastated.  I sobbed for hours on the floor in my dorm room while my then boyfriend grew ever exhausted with me not getting ready for a date we had.  I felt overcome with sorrow for the work I put in only to lose by less than a second in the Championship.  It was so hard because I had never experienced that kind of loss before.  The loss of a race.  The loss as an athlete.  It was a very important experience, one that I grew tired of quickly and realized shortly after the final tears fell that I was taking things way too seriously.  It was a game.  It was FUN, right?  I needed to see how seriously I took it, how important it was/is for me.  I figured out that I didn't need to be devastated by a supposed loss.  I learned that it was during those time when most of my information was gathered to lead me to amazing future successes.  I learned that the how in dealing with anything matters more than what the anything is.  I also learned that the toughest competition is within… moving to a stronger place within yourself.  Doing more than the day before.  Pushing through no matter what.

I know people who get afraid of competing, who think it is negative because they feel that it puts others down, or leaves others out.  There is nothing wrong with loving being first in something.  It feels good.

I believe that we often don't compete because we don't want to lose not because we don't want to win.  Are you not competing because you are afraid of the work it takes to be great or because you don't think you ever could be?

xo

a

 

"I'm not in competition with anybody but myself.  My goal is to beat my last performance." ~Celine Dion