They call it being bitten. More like receiving a jolt of adrenaline straight to the heart – very Pulp Fiction-esque.
Not having been an heroin addict, I can’t say with absolute certainty that rowing is more of an instant addiction, but I imagine it might be.
I totally made that definition up, but it sounds really good.
I went from sloth to getting up at 5am to drive through misty darkness to get on a boat on water so cold the ducks refuse to swim in it. I don’t joke. I watched one do an incredible impression of Christ walking on water before succumbing to gravity and letting out a shriek of horror.
I can’t even say that it’s because I have discovered a hidden talent. I’m just learning, so I still get bow and stroke confused, my steering is wonky and my speed non-existent. Beside all this is a steely determination to succeed.
My schoolmates must be killing themselves laughing. After all, I did a sterling trade in sport sick notes and coming with creative excuses to avoid PE for 12 long years.
Now, usually on a public holiday, I sleep in as long as possible and dedicate myself to doing as little as possible. Not this one. For the last four days I’ve been at sparrow’s fart to row. This is when I start to wonder if my mental health has taken a knock.
I should be diagnosed with ‘Late Onset Physical Exercising’ otherwise known by its acronym – LOPE. Which, incidentally, is also my top speed of walking.
Let’s talk about shoes, shall we?
“Power to the legs!” yells my coach.
Yup. About that. I push off with all my might and my size 5 feet fly out of the size 15 shoes, I fly back and my blades go skywards.
Who on earth are these rowing shoes made for? Bigfoot?
Not only was I handicapped by my freakishly small feet in freakishly large shoes, but also by sitting in the steering seat. Because of my teeny tiny toes, I had to resort to contortion to steer the boat. This involved twisting my right leg and standing on tip toes to move the rudder while still trying to row. It wasn’t pretty.
I had to invest in some Tommies this weekend and shove my feet (now clad) into the enormous shoes on the boat. I still have space to spare, much to the amusement of my crew, the coach and Son 1.
Speaking of Son 1. He is a marvel. Despite his amusement, he has given me so much support in this endeavour. I’m also driven by the need to impress him. This inevitably means that whenever he rows past I lose all sense of coordination. Typical. I only row well when no-one’s watching.
Back to eretmania, I somehow find myself excited about rowing at 6am tomorrow morning before work. Instead of worrying about how on earth I’m going to get myself up at that time, I’m wondering how I can turn my rowing gear into a work ensemble by adding a skirt and some accessories.
PS: Don’t forget that if I can get my chubby bum into a boat, so can you.