Long journeys, little steps, and neon lights.
Having had a wet but very beneficial session in Leander, I attempted to put all of the things I had worked on with Toby together. This time however they would be made a little more difficult for me in that I would be trying to do them in a scull.
For all of you non rowers, sculling is fairly difficult to master for several reasons really. But the main reason is balance. Trying to move up and down a slide rail and row while balancing on something no wider than a ladder is..Well..Hard! I think it would be so much easier if you were younger. I watched a really interesting program recently about learning a new motor skill when you are an adult versus when you are a teen/child. It appears that it is in fact easier when we are younger. Not that I am going to let that stop me.
I get frustrated with myself and I guess I have to remind myself that my objective is not to be the greatest sculler in the world but that it is a just a really good way of giving me strong technique for my ocean rowing boat. I won’t need to worry about all the things I have to in a scull when I am in my boat. I guess I like to be great at everything I do and I get frustrated easily when I can’t do something immediately. On a personal level, it’s a really interesting experiment in itself. One I recommend!
Going out and learning something completely different when you are a fully fledged adult is a massive challenge..Mainly for our ego! I guess we have mastered so many things by the time we are adults that it seems beneath us to go out and take baby steps again. As I said in a previous post..”Never be afraid to be a beginner”. My experience up to now has thought me that we are capable of far more than we think and really we have only scratched the surface of what we are all capable of.
As the saying goes…”a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step”. Well for me a rowing trip of 6000km starts with hours of practice in a single scull and there are times where I am feeling totally uncoordinated. For me it’s very annoying, as I have always thought of myself as very coordinated and fairly decent sports person. I liken it to learning to write with your other hand. It feels awkward and strange and it’s much easier to just switch hands and go with what we know. In other words..The easy option!
Before my last session(April 9th Leander)in Henley I felt that I had reached a bit of a brick wall on my technique. I seem to make a lot of progress when in the double with Toby but translating this progress into the scull has been a massive challenge.
In the midst of all this, I showed up at the rowing club in Carlow quite a few weeks back determined to make the most of my session out on the water. When I got there one of the guys involved in the club…kindly offered to head out with me in a double. He has been rowing for over 40 years and as such he has a lot of experience himself and more importantly with novices like me. We started off with some exercises most of which were alien to me. They were really basic things which felt pointless individually but by the end of the session they had made a massive difference to my technique. In that short one hour session I had made more progress than the previous four weeks.
My biggest problem has been and is, wanting to run before I can walk! I have been concentrating on moving the boat fast rather than slowing everything down and doing things right. I guess my “adult ego” wants to prove that I have mastered it. The reality is I will progress faster and in a better manner if I slow everything down. Lesson learned I guess. I was told this a million times but I guess sometimes you have to have it spelled out for you. And in my case.. Sometimes in bold neon lights!
Fuelled with this knowledge I was ready to head to Henley for my next session in the hope of impressing Toby with my progress.
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In 2011 I am aiming to become the first Irish person to row solo across the Indian Ocean. Although this challenge is vastly different from everyday life for me, I believe I have the determination and sheer single mindedness to achieve my goal of becoming the first Irish person to row across the Indian Ocean, not only that but I will also be the first Irish person to attempt it solo. My other interests include snow boarding, playing guitar (badly), drama, flying and generally keeping fit.
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