02 Sep It pains me to continue, but it hurts much worse to stop.
It has been a month since I came to Sydney. The first week here was tough- it was one of the coldest weeks in Sydney’s winter and my body was finding it hard to adapt to the weather I fell sick. It was also a bit tricky with training as I was jumping in from just having long paddles to high intensity work as I was following the programme of the girls here as they are preparing for an upcoming competition. I have no excuses, I am also preparing for the Asian Champs which is coming up end of Sept in Beijing. I’m kinda excited for it, but feeling a little anxious at the same time. It will be my first open cateogory race since 2011.
The differences between being a lightweight rower and an open weight rower (i think they have avoided the use of heavyweight for a good reason) are massive (oh no, the "fat" words are all just shouting at me!). As a female single sculler lighty (as the Aussies call the lightweights) I needed to be 59kg and under. I used to run alot, at least 10km almost everyday, eat sparingly but I trained like a beast, despite of how unhealthy it is to be consuming like a mouse but having to train like a lion. I had to learn to love running and was pretty addicted to it and got kinda good at it too, I dare say considering I did a 10km in 44mins 11secs. The only difference was that I wasn’t able to lift heavy weight because the excess muscles might add on to my body weight. As hard as it is to face the weighing scale every morning, after every meal, before I go to bed, as scary as it is sometimes to wonder if you’re able to make weight for your race, I enjoyed being a lighty.
However, things have changed since the Asian Olympic Qualification only has two events for the Asian Olympic hopefulls:
-open weight single scull or
-lightweight double scull
The choice is to gain weight, build mass, and continue to train like a beast or stay skinny and find another skinny partner. I choose the former because it is easier to deal with yourself than to have to find a partner who shares the same dream as you do and is willing to put aside life to achieve that dream.
So here I am, making the transition to be an open weight sculler, knowing that I am going to face giants who are 20cm and probably 30kg heavier than me. It doesn’t scare me though because there have been situations where rowers who are shorter and smaller than their competitors but these dwarves are able to kick asses. Just like how David defeated Goliath. Three things that make you win: physical, technical and mental. If you don’t have the physical attributes of a giant, you bloody hell make sure you have the perfect technique on the boat and possess a mind as hard as rock.
#notetoself: aim for perfection and crazy ass mental strength so that nothing can rattle me
What is scary though, is the fact that this transition is harder that I thought it would be. Even things like eating is challenging. As a lighty, I used to crave to eat anything and everything and now that I have the chance to eat just about anything in the world, I can’t. I can feel that I’m not eating enough because I feel so lethargic and sick and weak all the time. Maybe I’m just making excuses. Just last week, my coach gave me a revised set of boat speed targets. It was hard to meet the targets-so fkg hard.It made me feel useless and hopeless and nothing I’m doing is worth it because the boat isn’t hitting the speeds and it’s not even like I’m not pushing! Bloody hell, I push so hard after every training my legs hurt, it’s so hard to climb out of the boat when my legs feel like jelly. Sitting doesn’t help because hey, if you haven’t realised, I have been sitting on the boat when I row! What really helps is not thinking about it. Not standing, not walking, not lifting the boat out of the water, not carrying the boat on my shoulders and walking with that extra weight. What helps is just lying down on my bed for at least 11 hours until my legs stop crying for help.
The new boat speeds were meant to make me fast on water. I didn’t know they’re meant to make me go crazy as well.
It has been 2 trainings so far where I just sat there on the baot and cried like a fkg loser. I didn’t care how I looked or what my coach was gonna tell me- which I probably would guess he’d say something along the lines of, "suck it up, princess". I cried because it hurts so much. Everything- my legs, my lungs, my brain, my arms, my back, my face, my throat, my eyes. UGH. I cried because I don’t feel like I’m good enough to be an open weight sculler. I cried because I felt so fucking alone having to do all these crazy shit training sessions on my own and my coach is watching my every stroke and getting on my nerves it makes me feel like jumping out of the boat and tell him that maybe we should swap places so he knows how painful it is!
After like 10seconds of crying, I stopped and continued rowing.
#notetoself: You keep on pushing, not matter how tired you feel, no matter how slow you think you’re going, no matter how much it fkg hurts. It feels good to show some courage.
I know my coach is pushing me hard cuz he wants me to be fast. He knows that I can be fast. That’s why no matter how tired I am, no matter how much I don’t want to get out of bed when my 4:30am alarm rings, I show up at training. Because I know he’ll be there. There isn’t any consolation for him to be there. But he’s always there.
It is hard. It’s meant to be hard.
If it was easy, everyone would be doing this.
NOONE SAID IT’S GONNA BE EASY.
I haven’t stepped on the weighing scale since I’ve been in Sydney. It scares me to know my weight, so I might as well avoid knowing it altogether. Of course I can’t look skinny anymore like how I used to be and it is mentally affecting me. No matter how strong I am, I am still a girl and when that pair of jeans don’t fit anymore, the world feels like it’s going to end. It sucks having that awful feeling of putting on weight but hey,how much do you want to be in the Olympics?
#notetoself: buy more dresses and sell all my jeans
I felt utterly miserable today, I thought I’d write this blog so that when I get to the Olympics next year (InsyaAllah) I will read this entry and self-hi5 myself for overcoming this stupid phase in life where everything seems like a misery and things are not going well.
#notetoself: EVERYTHING IS GONNA BE OKAY. Just believe.
I took the courage to ask Peter to bring my bike riding at West Head. There is just something about cycling that I despise so much but because I don’t want to suffer in training camp when we have to climb the crazy Jindy hills in January, I better start my preparation early. I used to hate running but eventually fell in love with it, maybe there is hope in cycling.
#AchievmentUnlocked: Voluntarily went for bike ride
Maybe there is hope in everything that I do.