Our race Sunday was so much fun. The experience itself was one of the most memorable of my life. The huge, exuberant New Zealand crowd was roaring so loudly as the race before ours, the men’s double, came into the last 500 meters that it was loud at the starting line, nearly a mile away. We locked into our blocks, waited for the light, and then surged out of the start.
Being a part of an eight is an awesome experience in every race, especially ones where you lock into a rhythm and commitment together. We executed our race plan as we came down the course, and despite the few wobbles and dips that came with bumpy water and a focus on bending the oar with everything we had, it did what we’d hoped it would. We finished with open water on the field and the gold medal we’ve been working towards for the last fifteen months.
Waiting for the awards ceremony, I found myself in tears—it hadn’t hit home that we’d won, that all of my work over the last five years and especially my training since joining the squad in Princeton last October had resulted in earning a seat in the boat I’ve dreamed of rowing in for even longer than that, and that as part of that boat, we’d achieved the goal we’d all set for ourselves. It was a powerful and emotional realization, and I was so happy to be able to share my joy with the women with whom I’d achieved these things.
There is so much further to go, and so much more work to do, before my next intermediate goal—the 2011 World Rowing Championships in Bled, Slovenia—and my big goal, the London 2012 Olympics, but this moment is so special and I’m celebrating and sharing it with my boatmates and teammates. I’ll be traveling around the North Island in New Zealand for the next week with my friends Stesha Carle (W2x) and Susan Francia (W2-), getting to explore a bit more of this amazing country than what we’ve been able to see around the hotel, course, and on the bus rides between the two! I can’t wait for our adventures, and then to return stateside and be able to share this experience with my family, friends, and teammates.
Thanks, everyone, for following this blog. I plan to continue blogging about training, racing, and my journey towards the 2012 London Olympics, so please check back and check in to learn about where you can read about my adventures! Thanks, too, for all the support and encouragement. None of us would be able to make it to the World Rowing Championships, to the Olympics, or even make it through a year of training at this level without a tremendous amount of support, encouragement, and love from those who understand what this dream is about. So…thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I can’t wait to keep going in pursuit of this dream, and thank you for helping me achieve it.