Wednesday, June 29, 2011

BMW High Performance Team - PLEASE VOTE

What a great opportunity I received when a representative form the BMW who is an official US Olympic Committee sponsor called and asked if I would consider being part of this voting for one last spot on their high performance team. In rowing, as an amateur sport, this is great publicity and I hope, moving the sport into a highlight for sporting events. The filming of the regattas is really making it nicer to watch with great close-ups of the rowers over the long 2km course.

Here is the link to follow on casting your vote:
Its between me, and cyclist and a wrestler.

BMW Performance Team: Ursula Grobler

Please vote for me : here

The outcome of 2 days at the Holland Beker

In two days Abby and I were put to the test with the best. It was to our luck in nature that the e-coli breakout in Europe caused top crews to seek an alternative regatta to the second world cup in Hamburg, Germany. Great Britain, The Netherlands, Canada, and USA-2 (racing as LUC "Lake Union Crew") met on the Bosbaan in Holland in the W2x -Yes we all went 'heavy'!
Day one, Saturday June 25th > the weather was 'Seattle' at its best. Rainy, grey, cold, damp to the bones kinda thing. Abby and I took on the heat with angst. One lane next to us paced Canada (the World Champ winners) and on the other side, GB (multiple World Cup winners).

First time racing in the new line-up of Abby in stroke position, set us off the line with too much excitement. Almost, a false start by us as the red was like a green. We were ready to go! Quick adjustment to actually wait for the green, hold blades and off we went. The rhythm of Abby was energetic and sent us down the course building every 500m. We finished just behind GB, and Canada behind us. In four hours we would meet again for the Saturday final.

That afternoon, we lined up again, and added from other heats was The Netherlands crew and the Danish true openweight 2x. The rest of us were all LW2x crews. This time we were ready for the green and got off to a better start. Through the race our pace, expectations, speed was amiss. And GB, Canada and the Netherlands finished ahead. Home with a fourth in the final meant we might lose our housing with Frans Göbel, who is known as a racer to win!

We awoke to Sunday where we were scheduled for three races in 2 hour gaps. The schedule updated and we had a heat, top 2 direct to final. We lined up with mostly Dutch club crews and this Denmark openweight 2x. This 2x and me already met in the warmup area where the chaos of when to go and what lane to be in, did not match, resulting in stink eye from the blond bow girl. In the warmup you need to stop when crews are racing, and you have one lane up, and two lanes down, but one of the lanes down you need to not use, unless you are clearing a crew, or doing a piece (I thought).

So here we sit waiting for the green, Denmark to the right of us, and the Dutch crews all to the left. This Denmark crew was ready to kill us. They took us on the first 500m, by a lot. We knew they would. They did it all yesterday. So now we get to work, and take on the rest of the 5min of the race. 'Moving', I yelled. 'Moving' again, and into the last 500m we had them just on bow ball. But they took first and split seconds later LUC.

Abby and I went to recover and restructure and reframe what we wanted. In four hours, at the final, we made it clear that we are on our way to making our comeback. We had the fastest first, second and third 500m, over GB, Canada and the Netherlands. It came down to that last 500m, and GB pushed through us in 250m. We took a silver in the Sunday finals. Full Results here >

On a side note, there were a lot of South African juniors racing. It was great to hear the SA accents and talk to the development coaches. There was even a girl from my highschool there! Go Willowridge.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Making a difference

Following on Nell's blog post,


Pizza... And Cookies? Seriously?

I don't believe it.  As if frozen pizza or toll house cookies weren't awful enough on their own, now they're available in the very same box, so you can defrost/ reheat both at the same time and enjoy together.
It's as though consumers are just throwing their hands up in the air and showing how little they care about their bodies, shrugging their shoulders and shoveling in thousands of calories of pure, 100 % NON FOOD.
How on earth can anyone, aside from Nestle, who is sure to make a killing (both literally and figuratively) on this think this is remotely a good idea!
We've GOT to work collectively to teach EVERYONE all about PALEO!!  Start with yourself and lead by example- PLEASE! "
I commented with this:

We have a little spirit in us that asks us to donate to charities, causes, be more aware of the environment etc.. In times when we do, we feel amazingly good about ourselves and even a sense of peace. So have you considered that when you buy food, you actually either do just that. You either donate or destroy. The book by Barbara Kingsolver called Animal, Vegetable Miracle describes this concept well. But briefly, if you pay a little more for the organic, if you do a little extra effort for the local-farm produce you are making a huge difference by showing your purchasing power and you are on track to paleo living. Can you imagine if we all stopped buying these pizza/cookie mixes. These processing, packaging-focussed companies would be forced to make a change. They are only selling to market demand. So by not showing interest in these things we can make a change. I don't have have financial resources to donate to the charities I would love to support, but I have to buy food. So when I do, I consider that I'm combining these two things. And I'm telling these big corporations who just don't give a damn about what preservatives and toxins they use in the food, or how addictive the outcome can be, leading to obesity (which then can be another profit market for more pills or programs) that I'm not ok with that.

There was a person walking on a beach who came across all these starfishes that had been washed up on the shore. There was another person picking the starfish up, and tossing them back in the ocean. This walker said, there are so many here, you are wasting your time. You can't make a difference here. This other person picked up another starfish, tossed it in, and said, to this one, it makes a difference.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Staying Paleo while eating out

Last night, we went to this awesome restaurant, called Cicchetti on Eastlake, Seattle. At first it would appear really small by the standards of a restaurant, but I loved it, feeling like a guest in someone's house. It was so social, and I didn't feel like I was being served. But rather as if I was part of a process, of tasting and sharing. The seating allowed us to sit at the bar right in front of the chefs and we watched them cook, and chat. A feeling of collaboration. Like they had something to show us, and share their talents with us. Each dish was unique and nothing felt mass-produced. Each plate they adjusted and talked about, 'add a little paprika' I heard the one chef say to the other. The freedom to asses each plate with individual touch was refreshing. Like a showcase piece and we as the audience were the enjoyers and the tasters. I felt our reactions were part and parcel to the feedback the chefs were looking for. A very interactive process.
But on top of this integral eating experience, it was super easy to stay on top of paleo choices at this restaurant. The starters were perfectly without grains, legumes or dairy. Almonds, raisins and dates, or beets and fennel and olives in red peppers. Salmon on butternut pieces... and the portion sizes were perfect. Dessert was even coconut ice-cream. We walked out with a dining experience while continuing on our paleo lifestyle. Setting us up for good sleep which will follow with good training in the morning.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

My Rowing World - a Teenage Obsession

  As we were putting the double on the racks after morning training, I thought about my life as is, with training being my job. But its even more than that; its my obsession. In a way like a teenage stage, when everything depends on one focus. Whether that's the latest song, love or breakup. Nothing else matters. At the exclusion of everything else (mostly parents words). And your young lived-life depends on it. That's how I can get about rowing. And every stroke, of every practise.
  Then my age, and hopefully with it, some maturity,  I take a deep breathe and remember that everyday, in every way, goes a long way. Scott Gault said once he could see who were the athletes who have been around for a while. They are not roller-coasters, but more steady. A certain confidence, that even when they have a bad piece, they know they are still good, and one bad piece does not a shitty rower make.

But in this sport, where we are all so passionate, we get wrapped up in every detail. A fine balance between. Therein the magic.