I arrived at the London, Ontario training center for the Canadian Women's National team circa three weeks ago. My purpose: Make a seat in one of the boats headed for the U23 world rowing championships in Trakai, Lithuania. I have been rowing for nearly four years now with the University of Victoria "Vikes", and loved nearly every minute of it. As any athlete knows, competitive sport comes with ups and downs, peaks and plateaus, setbacks and advances. Hence the "nearly". The most recent setback I suffered was the reoccurring rib injury. These come in multiple forms amongst rowers, ranging from muscular strains to broken ribs, and are all too common.
Long story short, I am trying out for a spot on the U23 team after being unable to row for nearly 9 weeks due to a mystery rib injury that failed to heal properly. Why? For the same reason that I spent countless hours every week on the stationary bike and, once I was given the go-ahead by physio, riding all over the back roads of the greater Victoria and Saanich area on my boyfriends road bike wearing a combination of clashing bike attire from various roommates. Come rain or shine; the bright red shorts, pinstripe leg warmers, and sky blue jersey were not to be missed by any of the cars, pedestrians, turkeys or cows I encountered on my many expeditions through the city and neighboring farmlands.... I guess it's because I'm competitive, goal oriented, and slightly insane.
So here I am, training two to three times a day; sometimes alongside the Olympic crew headed for London 2012. It is both extremely tiring and inspiring. Tiring in a sense that by the end of the week I would rather sell my soul to the devil than walk up a flight of stairs, and inspiring because I get to see firsthand the motivation and dedication it takes to become an Olympic champion.
Lookout games of the XXX Olympiad! These women are fast!