Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Rowing (ouch) and thoughts on drive

Love these sweet Xenia Taler note cards I found at Barnes and Noble. I think they look 70s modern in a good way, and the colors are so cheerful without being sappy.

Today's WOD:

Row 2k for time

My time: 8:51. Ugh! I was hoping for 8:30. But I fought for it. The first 500 went great, around a 2:05/500m pace, the first 1000 went pretty good, around 2:10/500m, but when I had about 900 left I slowed down and couldn't get it under 2:15/500m. Rowing 2k may not sound that bad, but if you go hard, it is one of the most painful things you can do to yourself. At least 500 or 1000 m is over with pretty quickly, before the wheezing starts. (Yes, it was a squeaky last 3 minutes).

It was interesting to examine my thoughts after I finished. No celebratory - whee, I'm done, I accomplished it! Instead, it was more chagrin, more why didn't I do as well as the other women who rowed today. It was anger and frustration with myself. Jealousy of others' performance. Even as I was lying on the floor gasping and aching, I was thinking, couldn't I have done more? Couldn't I have gone harder? Honestly, I just don't know if I could have gone harder. I don't know if it was a mental limit or a physical limit.

I'm glad I did it. I'm glad I went hard. And I know I shouldn't be too hard on myself. But nothing seems black and white anymore, and trying hard is not just trying hard - there are million shades of "try". Am I trying as hard as I can? Am I trying as smart as I can? What is getting in the way? CrossFit and weightlifting have opened up in me this incredible, overpowering competitive drive to be the best (or at least among the best). I'm not quite sure what to do with it.

At times it overwhelms me. I set my sights high every time I step in the gym, and this nearly always leads to disappointment. Looking at the big picture, I feel very good about what I've accomplished. But day to day, it's one crushing defeat after another. I can't just decide to mellow out. I've tried that. It's just not in my personality. And I like my competitive drive. I'm proud of it, and it's a part of me that I was happy to discover. I live life with an intensity and sense of pride that I did not have before. There are downsides to drive - I'm not at all proud of the jealousy that it provokes, and I live with a lot of anxiety. Of course, it's all about finding a balance, but when you crave intensity and eschew moderation, balance can be elusive.

Okay, enough navel-gazing and getting too serious. Any thoughts or comments on this issue are welcome. But if you're here for some links to some pretty/informative/entertaining things, here you go!



rosanne said...

Here's a thought, I was the slowest at rowing that 2000m row today. Not just out of the girls, but out of all the guys as well. Hmmmm....I got me something to work on! I was so proud of all you girls breaking the 9 minute mark today~ Congrats!!

Pili said...

Rowing is HARD! Trust me, I rowed in high school. It's such a technique drivel sport that it's well worth going and getting some extra coaching with an actual rowing coach. Its not just about pulling hard or fast.