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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Settling In

Finally I have sat down to write my first post while residing in London, Ontario. Most people who know me know that it's a hard transition for me to go from training and life in my home town of Victoria to training in London where there's not much life at all and just rowing. The reasons for not wanting to go obviously exceed well past the reasons of just liking the city and friends and family however. Let it be known that ultimately it's about training and the training environment in which I exist at my best that holds me to one place or another.

I have been here for three weeks and nearly all the time has been spent in a preparation for racing/selection and/or watching fellow team mates (heavy or light) be raced off time and time again. It leaves one craving a hard 22km row of side-by-side battling. Being in a holding pattern in sports is probably the hardest thing an athlete can do. We are mostly driven to move forward, to make ourselves hurt and to push to a point of physical fatigue that many people have never experienced...selection is the opposite. You must sit and wait and keep healthy and constantly be monitoring how your legs feel when walking up a flight of stairs. It's easy to worry if you feel a little more burn than you'd like when carrying groceries a block or two. The worst part: the mind. The mind goes from a state of comatose inactivity to spinning and reeling up possibilities and scenarios and I don't even know what else. My mind is an opponent right now, not something I feel I can control. However, I must. The strong will survive and I think when it comes to selection and "data collection" (as it's so fondly referred to at the LTC), those that keep their minds an ally and not an opponent are the ones that escape cracking and splintering and are the ones that end up rising to the top. We are in the process of choosing the strongest mental team in the world.

photo by: Kevin Light

So although I am here working through the hardest part of the year (selection), I have left supportive and motivating team mates at home. I remember what we did together and I use the lessons I have learned throughout the year to get me by. The above photo was taken as a thank you for John at Shawnigan Lake School because he not only lent, but re-rigged a pair into a double every day Patricia and I showed up there to row. His generosity is what allowed us to clock nearly 150km some weeks up at Shawnigan alone. If he had not been so willing to help, the selection that I speak of right now would be even harder. Because of him and the people in that photo I feel prepared, I feel strong and I feel ready for the rest of the summer. I have to admit somehow that I'm missing Will Crothers accuse Patricia and I of cutting km's. Don't worry Will, we're clocking all the k's here!!

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