I am so not ready to race this weekend. It’s been a few years since my last one – looks like that was this same regatta in 2013. I’ve been doing good training on the erg, but we have way too little time on the water; not only has the weather not really cooperated, but it seems like there have been more wake issues than normal. A larger nearby lake has been drained while they’ve been working on the dams, so it’s possible some of the boats that would normally be over there have been coming to our lake instead. We went down to the house last weekend – we were there the week before and will be next week, but we needed the water time and also needed to clean a bit, since our friend R is coming. We did get out for a bit on Saturday, but there was a collegiate regatta going on which kind of limited where we could row. Then Sunday the weather was perfect, but there was a big boat casting up wakes so huge and constant we wouldn’t really have been able to row at all, so we gave up and came home.

So why am I racing? I hate almost everything about it – the anxiety beforehand, the difficulty of getting my gut settled in time to launch my boat at the time I need to (thanks, IBS!), pushing my body to the point of pain and (sometimes) dry heaves, and still often coming in last despite training and effort, because I do really have just the wrong sort of body for this sport.

I’ve thought of three reasons: one, because I do like the feeling of having done it, and of being part of the regatta; two, because it’s much easier to stick with a training program if I have a concrete goal to train for; and three, because what I hate even more is being at a regatta with everyone else around me pushing themselves to their utmost, and yet not being a part of it because I wimped out.

The other thing I’ve found I have to do is to not focus on others in the race. For many people it can matter to keep track of the others so for example you can put on a burst of speed if someone is about to pass. For me, it’s better to focus on my own race; win or lose I need to row a race I’m proud of. If I’m hitting the 750-meter mark as I hear finish horns going off (which has happened), I need to keep the pressure on and not slump in defeat. If I watch the video of this race, I need to seem myself racing the whole way through, not giving up. (This probably sounds defeatist but it’s just pragmatic. I have won races, but usually smaller ones; I’ve competed in this particular regatta twice before and know that they tend to have a lot of fast women in my age group and above.) Either way, by this time Saturday I’ll probably be all done it, and trying to figure out what I should do next for a training plan.