“My bum hurts and I haven’t even been in the boat yet” — The Wow’s and Woes of Rowing

20 Jan

This Tuesday I joined the Regent’s Park College women’s rowing team.

What started out as a casual lunch conversation (“Oh, you’re the rowing captain? That’s sounds fun!”) somehow developed into a commitment to join the team and wake up early the next morning for a workout.  And just like that, I had gone from zero to 6 AM faster than a Ferrari.  How did this happen?

Ok seriously, rowing is big business here in Oxford and I’m quite excited to be a part of it.  I’ve been looking forward to doing it as a challenge as as well as a great way to become integrated into university life here.  Plus, Columbus State doesn’t offer too much in the way of rowing, so where else am I going to learn to freeze my butt of on the river each morning?

Right now we are training for Torpids which is one of two big annual boat races.  It takes place in the 7th week (out of a total eight) in Hilary term, at the beginning of March.

We couldn’t actually get in the water on Tuesday because it was a “Red Flag” day, meaning the water was too high.  Instead, we opted for one of my favorite activities called “running in the January darkness.”  Nothing is more invigorating than going outside for a run first thing in the cold of morning.  I have found this to be about the most effective waker-upper, even surpassing a shot of expresso.

Once we had our muscles warm, we proceeded to the circuit, which was another term for dividing our workout into different stations, then rotating from one station to the next each minute.  One station was tricep-curls, one a medicine ball, one a stationary rowing machine…you get the idea.   Together, all these different stations were responsible for how incredibly sore my butt felt this morning.

I learned a very important lesson the first day:

Contrary to popular belief, rowing is not just about the arms. It is a FULL BODY WORKOUT.  Legs, back, arms, shoulders, everything.  Good news is, I don’t have to worry about joining a gym anymore; buying a gym membership here now seems as pointless as buying a curling iron.

Tomorrow will hopefully bring us to a “Blue Flag” day in which the water is at a good level to row.

More specific rules and info about the race can be found here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torpids.  While Oxford would tell me that Wikipedia is not a scholarly source, it still does give a good overview, complete with pictures 🙂


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