There’s been a touch of drama lately in my quiet, retired life. I had hoped to row in the Head of the Charles Regatta this October (in my case that meant a tough three mile, single sculling race for old people) but did not qualify. No surprise: this is an event for sereious, masters athletes. I had been planning to build the fall around it…get in much better shape…become a better rower…whatever. It was to be a "kedge" or motivational undertaking of the kind we talk about in the books. When it fell through, I was depressed – and a bit adrift. It was a sad little lesson in the importance of having something like that in your life all the time.
Now I learn that I am "first alternate" with, say, a fifty-fifty chance of racing after all. Hooray!…my fall is transformed. My coat is glossy again, my nose is wet and I am full of beans and in general. And better company. I was up at dawn today, to row for two hours (in the amazing Indian summer on a glass-still lake); am determined to drop a whopping ten pounds in six weeks (Harry says that’s stupid and won’t happen); and I am again cranking up on the "core" exercises that seem to matter a lot for rowing.
So what? you reasonably ask. Well, nothing. Except that it is a striking demonstation, to me at least, of the profound importance of having a "kedge"…a goal…in your life all the time, if you are going to keep up this six day a week stuff for the rest of your life. And it is SO worth it…makes you do stuff when you might slack offl. Makes you feel good.