Row, row, row your boat… Gently down the filthy, polluted Anacostia river.
Runners are amazing people and there’s nothing more American than running’s unrelenting individualism and solitude. We’re like lone wolves out on the trails, conquering miles, staring into horizons. It’s a well documented fact.Running means I can do whatever I want to do and don’t have to think about or take into consideration other people. You know, aside from potential muggings and assaults on otherwise deserted trails. Group runs are fun and everything, but I’m one of those lone wolf runners, really.
So it turned out this weekend that in many respects, rowing was kind of the antithesis of running. I signed up for a learn to row class through Capital Rowing, rowing “sweeps” where each rower gets one oar to operate. I can handle 1 oar, right?
Running is zen-like in the rhythmic way your feet fall, you get into a groove and zone out. Rowing is a lot like that, except that I ended up gently gliding across the water like a cloud instead of, you know, stomping on a trail like a Clydesdale. Except when the person behind you is not paying attention and their oar keeps hitting your oar and they say it’s because you’re not rowing fast enough but you’re in the stroke seat so they need to learn to deal and adjust and then coach Bob has to get involved.
So unlike running, rowing in a sweep boat requires doing everything together. You stretch together, you row on the machines, together, you carry the boat together, and you don’t step in the wrong spot and put your feet through the bottom of the boat together.
Surprisingly, I really like it. I find it quite relaxing and by the second day I stopped laughing out loud every time someone said “cox box.”
I still love running, though, and after rowing on Sunday I did 5 miles on the treadmill, making my training for the week only 2 miles short from my injury shortened run.
Dare I say, as I slogged away on the treadmill, I felt like I got my groove back somewhat. I felt like running and I were finally on something vaguely approximating the same page. And I realized that I can’t run in running shorts because they just ride up and wedge themselves at the top of my thighs in an exceptionally unflattering way. It doesn’t matter what the manufacturers claim, I look like shit in shorts.