The last race I talked about was the last of the fall season. During that time I had off, I experienced one of the hardest seasons in a rowers life. The season was winter. During winter season all you do is erg, which is a rowing machine that simulates what rowing is like, and weight training. It’s very hard especially when you do 2k’s. 2k’s are the hardest of the entire season, not because they are lengthy but because they are so short. Since these races are so short you must pull as hard as you can. During the 2k all you can hear is the loud noise of yourself breathing. You feel like with every stroke you can’t pull anymore. Your breath becomes short and fast, almost like you’re hyperventilating. As soon as you step up off that erg your body feels heavy, weak, and you feel like you’re going to throw up. Despite these challenges my average split time, the amount of time it takes me to row 500 meters, for my first 2k was 2:05. An amazing time for novice, but I just felt like I could do better. As the next two weeks went on I was having some complications with my left knee, and I had no idea what was wrong with it. Every single time I would get on an erg and just starting erging it would be in so much pain that I would have to stop and I could barely walk after. Eventually though, it progressed even farther. It progressed to the point where walking up stairs hurt, just bending it in general made it painful. Then after a few more weeks just putting weight on it hurt. I decided it was definitely time to go see the doctor that did surgery on my knee last year. As the day approached I was very nervous, yet in a way relieved that I could finally figure out what was wrong. I slowly walked into the doctor’s office and waited about an hour until I was finally called back. In the exam room they did the routine things and asked me about my pain and when it started and how I believe it began. After this they took me to get x-rays. I was in there for about ten minutes while the nurses moved vigorously around and gave me direction after direction on how to stand. They escorted me back to the room where my mom was waiting. At this point, the way the doctor looked and spoke made me very nervous. My only thoughts were that I can’t get surgery, I just can’t. I can’t afford to be out of the rest of winter season. I will get so behind. Then the doctor slowly crept in through the door, letting it close completely before sitting down he took out my x-rays and just stared for a minute. He would make the occasional “hmmm” or “that’s interesting”. Then finally he looked up at me and slid towards me on his little rolling stool and basically moved my kneecap back and forth for a little bit and just had me bend my knee. I was extremely nervous because with each touch and movement of my knee caused pain and he could tell. Finally, the doctor broke the silence and told me that everything was going to be okay and that he sees this problem a lot with rowers. All that was happening was that my stronger half of my quad was pulling my knee cap off the patella track and that all I would need to do is go to physical therapy and wear a knee brace. At that moment in time I felt a sense of relief rush through me, but he also told me that I wasn’t allowed to do anything for two weeks at crew. Although I was somewhat disappointed that I had already been out for a month and I had stay out even longer, I was relieved to know that everything was going to be okay. When I went back to crew and was able to do things I went back stronger than ever. I was and am up to this day making tremendous progress in picking right back up where I left off. Just this past weekend we had a race, and I was put in the best four boat and despite the extremely cold temperatures, my boat got second place in its heat.
May 1, 2012