Friday, August 24, 2012

Skittles Sculls- for real!

So the insane pain from Sunday had waned by Tuesday, and it still hurt to lift my legs up, but I went skating anyway.  Nothing remarkable, just LTS.  Although I felt better, I skipped practice ice on Wednesday, just to make sure I had time to heal.  Because Thursday was a big night: my first on the water practice.

The weather was beautiful, so we actually got to row for real.   The way our rowing group works (because I know others are different, some you have to sign up as a boat team, for instance)  is you sign up on a website for the practices you plan to attend, and then R.C. makes assignments for who is in what boat.  She apparently does try to shuffle people around, so you don't always row the same type of boat, side of the boat, scull/sweep, or with the same people.  There are apparently some people who only scull (I may become one of them...I like it so much better, and sweep seems like a great way to get a shoulder/wrist injury- but I haven't decided yet), and of course, if you ask to be in a certain configuration, you probably will be.

So anyhow, the list tells me that I am a double scull with Michelle.  We take the boat (holy crap heavy!) down to the dock, and she talks me through getting it set up, it's basically the same, but there are minor differences for what you do with a partner vs a single or an 8.   Then we head out.  I'm bow seat, which means I'll follow her stroke pattern.

Michelle is extremely patient and an excellent teacher.  I have two immediate things to work on: pulling more evenly (I had a constant need to be heavier on the right to stay straight, which really seems to mean lighter on the left...) and not rushing my recovery- quite a few times I had the oar in the water before her, and the stroke seat sets the pace, not the bow!

It is also really difficult to see where you are going.  Even looking over both shoulders, all you see is reflections of light, and I'm guessing it just takes time to decide if those reflections are boats?  Way harder than skating backwards...
Can I brag for a few moments?  Apparently I AM good at this.  When we started, Michelle said for balance with a new rower you alternate "setting the boat" (holding oars at a flat stable position, to create a stable base for the boat to rock against) while the other person rows.  So she rowed for a few minutes, then I did, then R.C. drove by on the launch and said "she's good- just row normal", and from then on, we rowed together the whole time (occasionally I would row, while Michelle would try to look over her shoulder to correct an error- like my "chicken wing arms").  Then, Michelle tells me she wishes she was able to race in Des Moines, because she would race with me.  Um- what? Des Moines is in 4 weeks.  I've rowed in a double, uh, once.   Nice vote of confidence there!  Racing would be fun, but it seems like I should have more than a month under my belt.  I got tons of compliments from Michelle (in between tons of corrections...) and afterwards one of the guys said something to me, and I said it was my first time out there other than the private lesson with R.C., and he was shocked- so apparently, I really do know what I'm doing!   (Just put me starboard sweep, I'll stop knowing what I'm doing and be humbled real fast- I'm clueless on that side, slightly better on port.)

So I LOVE sculling, and only having to work with Michelle meant this practice was way more my pace and I am not injured like I was Sunday.  No new blisters today (the two from Sunday have disappeared) though I have some major slide-bite on my left calf, and minor on my right. It's not actually cut open though.  (For those wondering- your calves sit between the track that the seat slides on.  The friction against them causes cuts and bruises- slide bite.  It's like breaking in new skates!  Except I think I'm breaking in the calves, not the boat...  I have permanent scars on my ankles from my skates before I got a gel sleeve, so who knows what my calves are going to look like.
In other news: rowing is a WET sport.  We didn't capsize, but you wouldn't have known it looking at me. The splash from Michelle's oars in front of me, I was soaked.

Oh- other update.  Kevin and I bought a new house! We are moving to a new city (very near where we live) in October :) 

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