Friday, January 28, 2011


Today at rowing I stayed in the harbor but went right out to the mouth. I am glad we aren't going on the open ocean (the Monterey Bay is not nearly as protected as the San Francisco Bay) until the end of the quarter because rowing over there was exhausting compared to rowing in the back of the harbor, where there is barely a current and I am the main thing moving my boat. For some reason I decided to row without using my legs for a few minutes. I thought I could control the boat better if I wasn't sliding around, and I also thought I could exercise my arms. Anyway, I wore myself right out and still had to row to the mouth of the harbor and back. I was not sore and my muscles felt fine, but I was rowing really sloppily because I had just used all my energy. Like, I would fail to switch an oar from feathering position (skimming) to digging in, but only on one side, so I would do a proper row on one side and get turned in the water. I could only keep myself from doing this a few times before I would do it again. The part of the harbor near the ocean is wider so I thought it would be a good time to learn to left row and right row. That is where, just by pulling harder on one oar during a stroke, you turn a bit. It is better than turning by dropping an oar in, which is what I do, because dropping an oar slows you way down. But, it was not a good time to learn those. About half the time my stroke would turn me the opposite of what I intended, because I veered left all the time.

Sometimes I surprise myself with how slowly or quickly I catch on to things, and just now I figured out why when I was messing around with my little dumbbells* and doing crunches with them on my chest yesterday they seemed as easy as regular crunches. It is because rowing uses my stomach muscles, but it uses them very gently so far compared to how it uses my arms and back, which ache for days.

*I am figuring out a performance piece about strength for early feb, and so far it looks like I have to cast fake weights in plaster even though I would strongly prefer to use real ones.

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