I was accepted into the Novice program and subsequently joined the Vancouver Rowing Club last week – something I had been anxiously awaiting since taking “learn to row” levels 1 and 2 this past summer. I had put my name on the wait list and fortunately a spot opened up for me.
No, it’s not a snobby, elitist club manoeuvre, this wait list – rather that the club is just active and competitive, and the way it works is that Novice spots only open up when enough talented rowers get promoted to Intermediate, and Intermediates only move on once there’s room in the Masters program. Hey, there are only so many seats and boats available.
Anyhoo, I’m very excited about this opportunity for a variety of reasons. First of all, it gets me off my ass three days a week. Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout the winter – October thru March – I will be in the club doing assigned workouts and stretches, or on the water (Saturdays) or erg training (proper rowing machines). Between March and October we’re mostly on the water or working out, or competing at Regattas throughout the pacific northwest.
Secondly, I get to meet a group of similarly-minded people, and branching out from my industry group of acquaintances is healthy and necessary (hey, I love those guys, but I can’t eat, sleep and think wine 24/7, as ridiculous as that sounds).
Thirdly, and most importantly, it will help me to get in better shape. Just since August I’ve noticed – nay, felt – a decided change in my body and general state. I’m sure I’ve put on a few pounds, thanks in no small part to the exquisite dinners and travel during our busy wine months of September, October and November. And the extra weight and lack of activity have contributed negatively to my body, not just in fat, but my shoulders are tight and I’ve strained a muscle in my back (again) recently. Rowing this past summer was divine for my range of motion and musculature. These insistent workouts and training will hopefully do wonders for me physically.
My first day, last Saturday, I rowed approximately 7 km in 2 hours. 2000 meters on the machine for warm-up and then roughly 7000 meters on the water with 3 new teammates. Tonight and Wednesday, we get introduced to our workouts and training regimen. Part of that includes finding our baseline – 20 minutes on the erg at 22-25 strokes per minute (rather fast), which will help my coach figure out who to pair me with so I don’t get teamed up incorrectly and slow everyone down.
The proof will be in the pudding. With great humility this past weekend I asked my wife to take my measurements – waist, chest, shoulders, etc. – so I could have a personal baseline to think back to as the coming months of hard work go by. But as I said, it will really be about how I feel – physically and mentally – and based on how excited I am to be involved and after my first day last weekend, it’s already been good for me. OK, time to get changed and head to the club!