Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Outside My Comfort Zone

Rivanna Reservoir, University of Virginia, October 1st, 1992

Rowing duels are rare. Usually crews will compete in fleets of 6-8 boats at a time. But once a year, my crew would take on UVA's crew and this year it would be on their course. It was a quiet reservoir. No spectators; no shore to have them. It was early fall, the leaves were only beginning to change.

When the gun sounded, we pried into our first ten strokes. The UVA crew was rowing higher than us and they immediately gained a 2 seat lead within those first ten strokes. Joe was our stroke, the newest member of our team, one we have not yet really gotten to know.

Had I known Joe would raise the stroke rating to a 48 and demand that we stay there, I probably would have unlocked my oar and dove into the reservoir because I did not think that pace was sustainable. But, having no choice if we were to stay with the big and powerful UVA crew, Joe kept us high.

I remember cursing Joe halfway through the race, accusing him of inexperience for rowing this high - we never settled! We have to settle you ass! We're going to blow up!

UVA hung with us but I could here there coxswain growing more frantic and demanding toward her crew. They were beginning to falter, which gave us new life, and we began to surge.

"Okay Joe, lock us down. Let's settle. Let's bring this down."

He never did. He kept it high and I, along with my crew, felt like our lungs were going to explode. I had already emptied my tank, or so I thought.

Funny how your body has reserve of which you are not aware. Survival reserve.

2000 meters later, we finished in the lead with an open water advantage and broke UVA's course record. Once we recovered in the boat, UVA floated over to us so we could lock oars, shake hands and claim their jerseys. My UVA counterpart was 6'4" with no lank about him. I could not believe I out-rowed this guy.

I took his sweaty jersey that he surrendered in sportsmanlike fashion and thanked him for the race. On the dock, I thanked Joe with a slight grin and smirk on my face.

Who was this guy that handled me like a horse and demanded I go faster than I was accustomed?

Every now and then, we should all surrender control to what we think we know and let someone else guide us. The outcome could take you to a good place.

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About Me

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NY, New York, United States
I'm 34 years old, the proud father of 2 beautiful children and husband to Jennifer, a beautiful, smart, and very caring woman. I'm an athlete - someone that was blessed with the ability to move fast and fluidly past, around, up and over my opponents. But, my body now reminds me that those days are numbered. I'm the Founder of Agile Fitness, a company dedicated to helping others achieve their fitness goals. Resume: - Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist ('96). - Bachelor of Arts & Science, University of Delaware, ('95) - Masters in Business Administration, Baruch College Zicklin School of Business ('01)