First Day of the New Season

Guys …. The new season kicked off yesterday, so we’re officially back to training 3 times a week.

I rocked up to training after work on a cold and wet Melbourne day. Despite the fact that the weather was miserable the water was in perfect condition for paddling – delightfully flat, a puff of breeze and the city lights playing in the background off the water. Picturesque, no? You know I’m a drummer. I’m tiny. I’m built like a grasshopper, not a paddler. So when I went to training yesterday, I was expecting to kind of be eased back into the boat, and maybe learn some race calls for the Battle of the Barwon regatta that’s coming up in a couple of weeks. Instead, I grabbed a paddle and paddled 5km pretty much non-stop, and man, am I feeling it today! I think the last time I actually paddled was in like, March, and I don’t think it was for any large distance like that, so my back and my shoulders are super sore today.

But being in the boat gave me a new appreciation for what I call out as a drummer, and the technique points that our sweep, Darren, calls out. I love the way that he helps us re-focus with is “8..9..10” calls when we’re focusing on a specific thing, like going at 90% or focusing on the Catch, because it really bring your mind back to what you’re doing instead of how much your physically hurting. And for a while there I was seriously hurting. I think I was in denial for a long time about what I was doing. I was like “there’s no way I can do this. I’m a drummer, I can’t paddle 5km” but then by about the 3km mark I was like “Well, I can’t get out of the boat So……..” and I kind of settled into a rhythm and I went from there.

They were going to make me do another 5km but I (respectfully) bailed. One was enough for this little drummer girl! I’m definitely happy to learn how to paddle, but perhaps not in an endurance style environment. I’ve never been an endurance athlete. Even in high school I was better at the 200m track races than the 500m track races. It’s really all a mental game and that’s the hardest thing to overcome in sport. Anyone and anything can psych you out and you have to be in such a good head space. I remember at Worlds last year the Swiss bought giant Cow Bells with them to ring from the sidelines which we could hear from the marshalling tent and I always wondered if that was them using the bells to cheer their squad or to get into the other teams heads ….

The regatta coming up is a 6.5km race, so naturally that’s what we’re training for right now. The regatta after that is a mix of 200m and 500m I think, so hopefully if I’m thrown into the boat to paddle again I won’t die of exhaustion. My coach says it’s good to get into the boat though every now and then so I can get a feel for the boat and a feel for what it’s like to be a paddler and I completely see where he’s coming from because those 5km hurt. So I have a better understanding now of what some of my calls should be this weekend when we do another river run which is good! Unless I end up paddling again! Haha. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen 🙂 But even if it does, remember: Positive mind, positive attitude!

Until text time,

Rach x