RI Blog #13: Mid-Season Report

Mid-Season Report

July 16, 2008

So here it is smack dab in the middle of the summer, and what do I have to show for it? Well, I finally finished furnishing (note alliteration technique) my apartment, and, if I do say so myself, it ROCKS. I did a death roll in a Beetle Cat (sailboat) in a 30 mph wind, surviving with minimal damage to self and boat (death roll = sailing downwind with sail all the way out, bow goes into water, doesn’t come out, stern lifts up and entire boat dumps over to windward and is then completely upside down, or “turtled” – fun stuff). I am still gainfully employed and am perfecting my summer slackass techniques with great success. After being single for seven months, I have dipped my toe into the dating pool, and I’m still alive to talk about it (not that I really want or need to talk about it). I made it through another birthday without becoming colossally depressed. In fact, it was one of the best birthdays in a long time. Well, last year at the Phoenix, after a party hosted by a certain fellow Bastille-Day Birthday Celebrator, was pretty awesome. And, oh yeah……rowing. Sorry I got a little off-message there.

The rowing thing has had its ups and downs this summer. A series of mishaps, one might say. The season began on a pretty good track. I got out almost every day, was lifting once or twice a week, doing yoga once a week, and it all felt good. I liked the borrowed Van Dusen Advantage (wing rigger) that I was using and was moving the boat pretty well. I was even allowed to practice with the young hot-shot lightweights, which was a hell of a lot of fun, even if they dusted me about half way through each piece. But hey, I stayed with them for the first half!

Anyway, things were just cruising right along. The relatively disciplined practice schedule led to a fun RBC Sprints regatta, in which my masters buddy Rudi Vanderschoot and I won our doubles race, though I got 2nd to Andy O’Brien in the single. But hey, he pulled a 6:12 erg this year!! How do 48 year olds get so strong?

But then it happened. The beginning of The Curse. I flipped the single doing a standing shove. Now, I’ve been doing standing shoves for years – longer than many of you have been rowing. The esteemed Jim Hanley at Riverside taught me how to do it, and emphasized the coolness factor. I learned and now I do it every time. One day I was so confident that, seeing Igor up on the porch with his camera, I stuck my shoving leg way up in the air after I pushed off and he got a cool picture of it. Almost looks like yoga or ballet in a boat. Almost. Anyway, I arrived on the dock one hot afternoon, and my buddies Igor & Tom are sitting there, looking kind of bored. A large motor boat goes by and leaves a substantial wake (after I had put my boat in). I said, “Ok, watch THIS – I’m going to do a standing shove INTO THAT WAKE!” Igor carefully, but very quickly, got his camera into position, thinking, “This could be good.” So into the wake I shoved, was able to sit down, but when I was trying to push off of the dock with my starboard oar, the power of the wave rolled my boat and I had nothing supporting me on the starboard side. KER-PLUNK! In I went. But hey, no big deal – I was shirtless, the water was warm, and I got right out. It was fun and made for a great photo (or series of photos, I was soon to find out).

As I came out of the water, I realized I had lost my prized prescription Oakleys, along with my Sore-No-More seat pad, without which I cannot live, or at least row. So, devastated at losing yet another pair of Oakley scripts in the Charles, I became quite despondent. Worse, the chutzpah of tempting the River Gods did not leave me. A week later, I was carrying the Van Dusen and I tripped on some oars, landing hard on my right knee and scraping the @#$* out of it. The boat landed gently on my back, and even though I had some sharp back pains for a few days, it was ok. Then my borrowed boat started having issues – the seat wheels, which had never been replaced, were grinding and I could barely move the seat. I started having dreams that I was rowing in sludge while everyone — novices, kayakers, my friends — all went flying passed me. I literally had at least two such dreams. Finally I realized I had to get that boat into the shop – it was a borrowed boat, after all, and the owner, my buddy Lee Gresham, deserved a boat in pristine condition. And besides, something karmactically (don’t look that up because I just made it up) bad was happening to me, and I needed to make some changes.

I began addressing my issues one by one. I got my old King back from Graeme’s shop, and it’s in perfect condition. It is heavier out of the water than the Van Dusen, but it feels lighter in the water! Graeme King, a naval architect by training, is an absolute genius at hull design. Second, I bought a new Sore-No-More pad. And finally, I got a new pair of Nike sunglasses. I’m saving for Oakleys, but at least I have something. And, I can rationalize the whole thing because I needed new ones anyway! My prescription needed upgrading (I now row with Coke-bottle-thick glasses). So all I really lost was the frames, which are only 25% of the total cost anyway.

I’m now ready to resume lifting, resume yoga, resume rowing every day, and submit my entry for the Charles, confident that I’ll have suitable training. Oh yeah, and the best thing that happened to reverse the curse was that Sean finally took the time-lapse video sequence of me flipping off of this site’s front page!

Happy rowing to all.

p.s. I flipped the Van Dusen on Friday the 13th, and this blog, in which I wrote about the incident, is my 13th. Coincidence?

RI Blog #12: Don’t Blame The Equipment!

Don’t Blame The Equipment!

June 25, 2008

I always blame the equipment.

Well, I do have a general guideline – if I’m doing well, it’s me. If I’m not doing well, it’s the equipment.

Sometimes in rowing, everything just gels. You’re gellin like Magellan. You go out, row hard, and move the boat. You’re passing people and feel like Superman (or Wonder Woman). I had a few years like that, and they were a dream. But then age and its corresponding aches & pains – along with life and its corresponding aches & pains –  caught up with me. All of a sudden, the equipment seemed a likely scapegoat. I was rowing in a wooden boat – surely it must be the problem. So what if it was the same boat I rowed in when I medaled four times in the Head of the Charles and came in fourth in at Speed Orders? It felt slow, old…wooden. What I was missing was that I was the one who was slow, and old(er), and…wooden?

Not wanting to ditch the boat – it is, after all, a King, the sweetest of all wooden boats – I decided that the riggers must be the problem. People I’d spoken to said that King riggers were really the only problem with the boat. They were too flimsy, and no one had been able to make a proper wing rigger for a King. But a woman from New Hampshire had put Carl Douglas famous AeRoWingTM riggers on her King, and they looked sweet. They were super-high-tech, lighter, stiffer, aerodynamic, and generally really cool looking. I had to have them. I called Carl and gave him all the specs and even put him in touch with Graeme King so they could work out the specs together. I coughed up $800 and they were mailed to my house. I thought that surely, this would solve my problems. But they never felt quite right. I rowed with them for a few years and I could never get them to feel like the old riggers. The pitch was endlessly wrong, and I was damned if I could find anyone who could rig it properly (I hate rigging issues!). Then a friend borrowed my oars and said the pitch on my blades was way off – Eureka, I had found the problem! So I spent weeks trying to get the pitch on the oars right, to no avail. Finally, in frustration, I drove up to Durham, NH to have no less than Jim Dreher (I have Dreher oars) fix the pitch on my oars. He did, and I was sure I would have a dream of a race in Putney at the Green Mountain Head. I ended up having a nightmare of a race because I had become so used to rowing with it messed up.

Finally I conceded. The riggers I had used before, the original King riggers, which had always felt great, needed another try. I took off my $800 experiment (sigh…I hate when expensive experiments don’t go as planned) and put the old riggers back on. They felt like a dream. Just like the old days. I had some of the best rows in years last fall, and even put in a decent showing in the Charles, coming in 10th after starting 55th.

I’ve always wanted an Empacher or a Van Dusen. This spring I’ve been trying out a friend’s Van Dusen, and I have enjoyed it. But it still doesn’t have the same feeling as the King. So I think I’m going to suck it up, continue lifting weights, get stronger, do more pieces, and work on improving the horse, not the chariot. Besides, when you’re the skinny old guy in the wooden boat and you manage to win, there’s just nothing like it in the world.

P.S. Endless nicknames such as “Flipper” notwithstanding, I will continue to do standing shoves in wake, wind, and all other challenging conditions.

RI Blog #11: Mixed Doubles: A Date For The Prom

Mixed Doubles: A Date for the PromJune 4, 2008Okay, I’ve said it before, and now I get to blog about it…finding a doubles partner is pretty much the same thing as trying to get a date to the Prom. Finding a mixed doubles partner is exactlylike trying to get a date to the Prom.Let’s analyze the similarities, shall we? Everyone has been single at some point in his or her life. Some longer than others. Some a lot longer than others. High school was where this all played out with the most drama, but I’d be willing to bet that the dating world of college, 20s, 30s, and on up is not a whole lot farther removed from its adolescent origins. I guess the only thing different when people get older is that they become less willing – if they have any sense at all – to spend enormous amounts of time with someone they know is incompatible, whereas when you’re young & stupid, well…you’re young & stupid.

My aunt (mom’s sister) had a dating theory, which she called the “95/5 Rule.” She went to Harvard & Columbia and is freaking brilliant, and I always thought her insights were amusing and on the mark. Anyway, the 95/5 Rule goes like this: 95% of the people in the world want to date the top 5%. Now, of course, the top 5% only want to date each other. And if you’re reading this you’re saying, as I am, “Well, of course I’m in the top 5%!” Why wouldn’t you be? Don’t get me started. But, as often happens in life, we occasionally dip into the 95%, and we always regret it. Live & learn.

It’s the same with a doubles partner. Everyone wants the “perfect” doubles partner. You always want someone better, faster, prettier, cooler… You never want to trade down to someone less-than. There’s something about a double that is unique from other team boats. Chemistry is vital in all team boats, but especially so in a double because it’s just you…and your partner. A good double is like a new happy relationship: You have that extra spring in your step. You feel like you and your partner can conquer the world. Everything is easy and fun. You have confidence in each other. You’re a team but also two individuals. In short, there’s tons of chemistry. By contrast, a bad double has all the horrifying aspects of a bad relationship. You’re stuck in this thing together. There’s bickering, blaming, and excuses. For some reason you can’t work together – in fact, you seem to be working against each other. And then every little thing about the other person starts bothering you – their mannerisms, their stupid jokes, their technique issues, the fact that their technique sucks and yours is so much better. You’re trying hard to work with them, but they aren’t working with you. It’s all their fault! And I’m just talking about same-sex doubles here.

Mixed doubles are a whole ‘nother deal. I don’t know about your rowing club, but I’ve never seen two people of the opposite gender get into a double for the first time and not be the subject of at least some idle chit chat. “Ohhh…you’re rowing with So & So…” Even when everything’s on the up & up – you are just friends – there’s still talk. And if you’re two single people and you happen to jump into a boat together, well, let’s just say that many a mixed double has turned into a Love Boat.

Don’t even get me started on the rowing & sex metaphors. “Was it good for you?” “Mmmm yeah, it was awesome for me…was it good for you?” “It wasn’t really good for me – we never got into a rhythm…I think we were going too hard too soon – we need to work into it more slowly next time and then take it up.” “Who stroked? She stroked it…” HELLOOO!!! Are we still talking about rowing here?? Good Lord. And I thought this was a family web site.

My advice for finding the top doubles partner, the one you always wanted but thought you could never get? It’s very simple: beat ‘em in a single.

RI Blog #10: Injuries

Injuries

May 6, 2008

“Injury” is the Great Feared Word among competitive rowers. And the more competitive you are, the more you fear getting injured. If you’re in a group like Riverside Boat Club’s High Performance Group, for example, you’re training at least 9-12 times a week with a select crowd of highly competitive athletes who are all doing their utmost to improve individually and also kick your ass and everyone else’s. Your life consists of rowing, eating, and sleeping – in that order. If you work, it’s likely that at least part of your day is devoted to sleeping, when you’re not staring at your computer screen like a zombie. In a few cases, rowers of this caliber have real jobs. How they do it is beyond me (though I did spend one winter living that life and I had a real job, in addition to a wife and two small children). Rob Zechmann is one such example – he’s an engineer. There are many others. But the lucky ones in these groups have easier jobs, which require little to no thinking and may be part-time, or they have no jobs at all (i.e., mom & dad are footing the bill).

So everyone is beating the crap out of him/herself on a daily basis. Coaches love this – the harder they work their minions, the greater the chance of “natural selection:” the inevitable fact that some will get injured and have to drop out. That just makes the coach’s job easier! But for the athlete, getting injured is the worst-case scenario. When you’re living this life, you become addicted to it. You love the punishment, the exhaustion, because you have a single-minded focus of achieving what you always wanted to achieve – an ass-kicking performance at the ultimate race, the U.S. National or Olympic team trials. And if that doesn’t work out, you can take out your aggression at Club Nationals and/or Canadian Henley.

But it’s not just that one race you’re living for. You live for the process. The daily pieces against your peers. The progress that you’re making, week by week, as your body responds to the incredibly grueling schedule. Because if you don’t fall apart, you will get faster, unless your technique is simply beyond hope. Even then, you can hammer your way down the course – however grotesquely it may look – a lot faster than you could a few months prior.

But then something happens. Your worst nightmare. You’re powering along on a cold spring morning and feel a sharp pain in your lower back, or perhaps your rib. Or you’re in the weight room and you’re pissed off about something and lose your focus and overdo it. Or you don’t feel anything until the end of the workout when you try to lift your boat out of the water and again, there’s a sharp pain somewhere. And you say, “Noooo, noooooooo, this is not happening! It’s not an injury! It’s just a little pain. I’ll get over it. I have to get over it!” But the days pass, and you try to row and the pain not only doesn’t go away, it gets worse. Some, who are inexperienced (like I was in the early months of 2002) say, fine, the regatta is 2 months away, “I’ll train through the pain.” And if you’re that stupid, as I was, you will end up missing the entire season, as I did, and you will be completely and utterly heartbroken. But if you’re smart, you will say, ok, I will do what experienced athletes do and focus all my energy on healing the injury.

Unfortunately that requires a little thing called acceptance. And acceptance requires admitting it to others. And when you do, it’s like you’re telling them you have cancer or AIDS. They say, “Oh, I’m…..so, so sorry…” as if your mom had just died. They look at you with this very sad face, and then they slowly back away, because your injury cooties might rub off on them. And all of a sudden, just like that, you’re out of the group. You’re no longer joining in the reindeer games every day. While they’re all out there having fun (so to speak) on the water, you’re on the bike, nursing your broken rib. Or if you have a hamstring injury (like I did), you’re sitting in physical therapy, waiting in line for the electro-shock treatment with all the other pathetic souls. Your dream is shattered and your life is ruined. You cry yourself to sleep at night (okay maybe you only do that if you’re me). And worst of all, you talk, and talk, and talk……about your injury, to anyone who will listen. People in cafes. People on the subway. “See, I was going to be so great, and then I got injured…..” Of course you don’t talk about it that much to your rowing colleagues, because first of all, they really don’t want to hear about it (again, the injury cooties), and secondly, they’re all out there training like crazy and they simply don’t have the time, energy, or interest in playing psychologist/nursemaid to you.

But for the rest of the world who has to listen to you complain about it, have some pity on them and spare them ALL the details. Learn to sum it up in a few quick sentences, if you must talk about it. Or better, find a new hobby – you’ll be a lot happier in the end. And when you least expect it (later, not sooner), you’ll be recovered and back out there. It’s just a little injury after all.

RI Blog #9: Motivation

Motivation

April 30, 2008

It recently occurred to me that I’m entering my 24th rowing season, and I did not row in college. That is absolutely terrifying. “Midlife” is loosely defined as that point in time, usually at around 3 AM, when you face the stark realization that the number of years you have to look forward to is less than the number of years you have to look back on. However, given that definition, my “rowing midlife” is still far away, as I plan on 1) rowing until I die; 2) not dying at least until I’m well past 90; and 3) maintaining roughly the same quality of life that I have now. Ok maybe #1 is a little unrealistic. Let’s say I row til…say…85. That still gives me 37+ more years of rowing, putting my official rowing midlife at age 55 (do the math, 60 years of rowing, add 30 to age 25…). Hell, I’m a young’un! I turn 48 this summer, a whole 7 years away from my rowing midlife. And yes, I plan on winning my event in the Head of the Charles every single year after I turn 80 because I’m guessing there will be, at most, only 2-3 other competitors my age and my handicap will take care of the rest.

So the question gnawing at me today (and every season, actually) is, how in the hell do I stay motivated to keep doing this sport? I mean, what are we doing out there but the same thing, over, and over, and over. Sitting ass backwards and lurching our neck around every minute or so to make sure we don’t kill ourselves. As my dad’s squash coach in college said, looking over at the rowers, “I’ll never understand a sport where you can sit on your ass, go backwards, and WIN.” (Forgive me if I’ve used that in a previous blog…too senile to remember…too lazy to check.)

The answer is, for this masters rower, complicated. I think about rowing all the time, morning, noon and night. I love it so much that I think about it all winter. I think about it mostly when I’m not doing it. When I am doing it, I’m almost always as content as I can be, even when I have the dreaded crappy rows. Often I’m beyond content, existing in a state of complete fulfillment that nothing else can come close to. AND YET, I still struggle daily with motivation. Last Sunday was a perfect example. I had planned on showing everyone how awesome my newly weight-lifted muscles could propel me in my newly just-figured-out-how-to-row-in-it borrowed Van Dusen. Our Club, the estimable Riverside, held its annual Crusher Casey Challenge (CCC) Opening Day Race and Breakfast. I LOVE my club’s events, primarily because I love my rowing club. But I had stuff going on that weekend, it was supposed to be cold, and I went to bed late on Saturday night, lacking the proper “I’m getting up no matter WHAT because I’m gonna kick some ASS tomorrow!” attitude that is mandatory for racing. So I missed it. And of course, the water was absolutely perfect and it wasn’t that cold.

So I guess that’s the answer to “what motivates me:” Perfect water, or, the tremendous pain and remorse of not benefiting from perfect water on a gorgeous morning or evening. Any schmuck (sorry Howie) can blow off rowing when it’s windy or rainy. But it takes some real stupidity to blow it off when the water is good. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, worse than seeing perfect conditions on the Charles and knowing I did not enjoy the sensation of propelling my single through that gorgeous water. Speaking of which, this week marks the first time that we’ll have several consecutive days of good weather. So….gotta fill the water bottle and run! The river awaits.

Motivation

April 30, 2008

It recently occurred to me that I’m entering my 24th rowing season, and I did not row in college. That is absolutely terrifying. “Midlife” is loosely defined as that point in time, usually at around 3 AM, when you face the stark realization that the number of years you have to look forward to is less than the number of years you have to look back on. However, given that definition, my “rowing midlife” is still far away, as I plan on 1) rowing until I die; 2) not dying at least until I’m well past 90; and 3) maintaining roughly the same quality of life that I have now. Ok maybe #1 is a little unrealistic. Let’s say I row til…say…85. That still gives me 37+ more years of rowing, putting my official rowing midlife at age 55 (do the math, 60 years of rowing, add 30 to age 25…). Hell, I’m a young’un! I turn 48 this summer, a whole 7 years away from my rowing midlife. And yes, I plan on winning my event in the Head of the Charles every single year after I turn 80 because I’m guessing there will be, at most, only 2-3 other competitors my age and my handicap will take care of the rest.

So the question gnawing at me today (and every season, actually) is, how in the hell do I stay motivated to keep doing this sport? I mean, what are we doing out there but the same thing, over, and over, and over. Sitting ass backwards and lurching our neck around every minute or so to make sure we don’t kill ourselves. As my dad’s squash coach in college said, looking over at the rowers, “I’ll never understand a sport where you can sit on your ass, go backwards, and WIN.” (Forgive me if I’ve used that in a previous blog…too senile to remember…too lazy to check.)

The answer is, for this masters rower, complicated. I think about rowing all the time, morning, noon and night. I love it so much that I think about it all winter. I think about it mostly when I’m not doing it. When I am doing it, I’m almost always as content as I can be, even when I have the dreaded crappy rows. Often I’m beyond content, existing in a state of complete fulfillment that nothing else can come close to. AND YET, I still struggle daily with motivation. Last Sunday was a perfect example. I had planned on showing everyone how awesome my newly weight-lifted muscles could propel me in my newly just-figured-out-how-to-row-in-it borrowed Van Dusen. Our Club, the estimable Riverside, held its annual Crusher Casey Challenge (CCC) Opening Day Race and Breakfast. I LOVE my club’s events, primarily because I love my rowing club. But I had stuff going on that weekend, it was supposed to be cold, and I went to bed late on Saturday night, lacking the proper “I’m getting up no matter WHAT because I’m gonna kick some ASS tomorrow!” attitude that is mandatory for racing. So I missed it. And of course, the water was absolutely perfect and it wasn’t that cold.

So I guess that’s the answer to “what motivates me:” Perfect water, or, the tremendous pain and remorse of not benefiting from perfect water on a gorgeous morning or evening. Any schmuck (sorry Howie) can blow off rowing when it’s windy or rainy. But it takes some real stupidity to blow it off when the water is good. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, worse than seeing perfect conditions on the Charles and knowing I did not enjoy the sensation of propelling my single through that gorgeous water. Speaking of which, this week marks the first time that we’ll have several consecutive days of good weather. So….gotta fill the water bottle and run! The river awaits.

RI Blog #8: Rowing and Ballet

Rowing and Ballet

April 15, 2008

I had the opportunity to attend an interesting performance at Boston Ballet last week. My cousin, Margaret Tracey, is the head of the Boston Ballet school, having been a Principal Dancer at the New York City Ballet for 16 years. She invited me as her guest to this intimate performance, showcasing a handful of the company’s finest dancers and explaining their techniques to a select group of Overseers and patrons.

I sat about 10-30 feet from the performers (depending upon where they were on stage), so this was ballet up close and personal. I have seen my cousin perform at Lincoln Center several times, all dolled up in her stage makeup and elaborate costumes, and she looked like a little butterfly, floating effortlessly on stage. But sitting this close to the dancers, I noticed the incredible athleticism involved in ballet, which is notoriously brutal on the dancers’ bodies  — especially their feet (as beautiful as they are, ballerinas typically have “gnarled” feet, so if you have a crush on a ballerina, don’t expect her to satisfy your foot fetish). The amount of effort put forth to make the dance look so effortless — complete with the obligatory smiles on their pretty faces — is staggering. Like all professionals, they make something incredibly difficult look so easy.

After I left, I couldn’t help but think of the parallels between rowing and ballet. Like rowers, ballet dancers do it for the true love of the dance — you’ll never make a lot of money being a ballet dancer. (And for you dancers reading this, you’ll never make any money rowing! Have you ever seen an Olympic rower in a TV commercial or on the cover of a Wheaties Box?) I also thought of the lessons that rowers can learn from ballet. True, we don’t have to smile when we’re pulling our guts out in a race, but the idea of taking something so physically difficult and making it look graceful, elegant, and perfect is a goal that rowers should strive for. Watching an accomplished sculler, or the Danish women’s eight in the 2004 Olympics, you realize that perfect (or near perfect) technique can go a long way toward winning races. Sure, they’re pulling their guts out, but they make it look so easy. A perfect finish, blades out neat and square, followed by an effortless feather and perfect body angle before you go up the slide…complete preparation by quarter slide, and then dropping it in at the catch — not lunging it in, not slamming it in, not missing an inch of water because you hit it just right at the very end of the recovery — these are as beautiful to watch as my cousin as Princess Aurora in the NYCB’s long-running production of Sleeping Beauty (ok, had to get one more plug in there). And having it all happen 34 times a minute, all in perfect sync with the other rowers (if you’re not in a single), is art itself.

Think about the beauty and grace of what you’re doing next time you’re out there. And if it’s not beautiful or graceful, which is often the case for me, think about how to make it that way.

And now it’s 5 PM Eastern Blog Time, the wind has finally died down, and I think it’s time to have myself a little pas de deux with some of my friendly competitors on the good old Charles River. Until next time.

RI Blog #7: It’s Spring, And A Young Man’s Heart Turns To…

It’s Spring, And A Young Man’s Heart Turns To…

April 3, 2008

ROWING!! What else?

I rowed last night and it was about 35 degrees with a snappy, gusty breeze. My back was sore from lifting earlier in the day (see “bulking up” blog). And I realized the Van Dusen that I’ve been using while my King is in the shop is a lot less forgiving in the chop and wind than the King. And I’ve only “bulked up” a few pounds, so I’m not strong enough to muscle through the headwinds like I want to.

But mainly it was cold. DAMN cold. And yet, just being out on the water, hanging around the boathouse, seeing my friends…for a masters rower who avoids the boathouse from December until whenever it starts warming up, it’s an uplifting experience unlike anything else.

I’ve been there and done the all-winter erging thing, where you get to know the boathouse and all its inhabitants (including rats and squirrels) a lot more intimately than you ever wanted to. And you come to despise the sight of a rowing machine and yearn to pull real oars through the water. There’s a lot to be said for doing something totally different. If I were independently wealthy, I’d travel somewhere warm! Or at least be a ski bum. But for me, the “doing something different” consists of going to the gym mid-day during work and doing yoga, elliptical, maybe one erg a week, and some weights. Because then, when you return to the boathouse and get that first spring day, which for me would be TODAY (it’s almost 60 degrees out there!!!), it’s like heaven. The next step is…getting up in the morning. Now that would really be a miracle.

That’s it for this week – short & sweet! Unlike my stroke these days, which is long and choppy. Where is the technique this time of year? Nowhere at all. That’s why we have coaches. I just learned our first “fun” race – the Crusher Casey regatta – is in two weeks. Man do I have a lot of work to do.