In the winter of 2007 I gave in to a craving to learn how to scull; a craving born years before while living in Washington, DC and watching scullers glide across the water on the Potomac. I went to the Texas Rowing Centerand took the beginning class, got up in the AMs or went in the evenings to row a few times a week. I started 2008 by rowing at 6 AM on January 1. It was amazing. I am not sure why I stopped; I think it got cold in the winter and my workouts moved indoors.
This past summer, the Karma Badgers went onto Town Lake in canoes to pick up trash (volunteer opportunity provided by Keep Austin Beautiful) and I put the oar in the water again. I felt muscles in my arms work that I had forgotten were there. On the drive away from that morning spent on the water I spit out the words: I want to start rowing again.
I hadn’t thought about it before; not once did I cross over the river and see people rowing and think: I miss that. But in that moment, I realized that while it was sweaty and hot to be on the water at noon, I did recall how great it felt to be there in the mornings and the evenings. And without thinking about it, I said it. Out loud. To a witness. And with that, a few weeks later I was getting up at 545 AM to row pre-dawn.
When I first started rowing I was much more graceful and at ease with it; I was doing it with regularity then, about three times a week. So while I most definitely do not row in a way that comes close to the grace of those scullers on the Potomac, it’s a great feeling to be on the water with the stillness of the lake and the quiet of the air (when you get far enough away from MOPAC). There is something amazing about starting your day in place of such calm and peace – until the UT rowing crew goes tearing by you.
While the New Year didn’t start with a dawn row, before the month is out, I will be back on the water in the mornings – maybe even in the evenings too.