New Lily

Born to Row…the Intimate Details of My Love Affair

rowing meFullSizeRenderI’m in love.  It’s finally time to come clean. I’ve been keeping things quiet (you can understand why).  But I don’t think there is any going back now.  The guilt has been killing me, so it’s time to confess. I’ve decided to just lay it all out there… I’m exposing the intimate details (this is hard for me too, you know).

It began like these things usually do.  Just a little innocent flirting… really.  I hardly fell fast.  It took some time. In fact, I looked on from afar at first.  I didn’t let myself get too close. I’m not saying I didn’t admire from afar.  I admit I did.  It was hard not to be enchanted.  Anyone would be.  But it was only admiration at first.

Before going any further I feel I must also reveal that I was in a vulnerable position.  I was going through something at the time and let’s just say I was feeling sidelined.  Feeling like I was not really myself.  Feeling old, even.  This attraction made me feel strong again. It made me feel like my old self.  I’m not so much seeking justification as a little insight into my psyche at the time.

Anyway, I convinced myself that I was just testing out the relationship a little. Trying things on for size.  I wasn’t committing to anything.  It was innocent …even awkward at first. When I look back now I see that it probably started becoming serious when we brought home the erg.

Concept 2 Ergometer

Concept 2 Ergometer

The Concept 2 Ergometer was actually not meant for me at all, it was meant for my daughter Grace (#6).  We had to rent it for a few months before she went to Rowing Nationals with some teammates.  I hopped on one day to just give it a try (no one was home so I felt safe).  Like a said before, it felt awkward at first.  I was doing it all wrong…clearly out of my league.  (I realize I sound like I’m justifying things again…it’s just that my running friends might be reading this and you know what they’re going to say).

What happened next really wasn’t my fault at all.  In fact, I’m just going to say it…I totally blame my husband.  #6 (Grace) had been rowing for some time with Charlotte Youth Rowing and there was a sign-up email sent around for a “Learn To Row” weekend at Lake Wylie.  It was months away, but spots were filling up fast.  So James signed me up.  He thought it would be good for me.  Coming back from a running injury (plantar fascitis) that had sidelined me from running for six months, I had been restless and I guess maybe he felt a little of that, so he made sure I was free that weekend and he signed me up.  Of course he asked me, yes.  But neither one of us had any idea how things were going to play out.

Needless to say I went into the weekend tentatively.  I even remember thinking, what can happen in one weekend?  I’ll just do it this once and then it’ll be over.  I’m not committing to anything.  Looking back at that now I can’t believe how naive I was.  It shows how things can happen, though.  As soon as that weekend was over, I was signing up to do it again the next weekend.  I think it’s called the “intentional encounter” when someone goes out of their way to encounter the one they are attracted to.  From that point on, it was all intentional.  Each encounter led to the next. I couldn’t get enough. I’m 48 years old and I’m ready to say it...rowing, where have you been all my life?  

I left the house to head to the lake a few weekends ago and found myself avoiding eye contact with my running shoes.  They must have seen me grab the shirt I often run in.  And then the shorts. Even the socks and the ball cap came with me.  But when I passed up those running shoes for a pair of slip-ons, and went for the door, I’m sure they started to figure things out.  Since the plantar fascitis developed into a full-blown injury and I was out of running…. things just haven’t been the same between us.  They were seeing the writing on the wall, no doubt.

Me on our single shell.... Lovejoy Pond, Maine

Me on our single shell…. Lovejoy Pond, Maine

This confession is as much for those shoes (Hokas to be completely forthcoming) as it is for my own sense of coming to grips with this whole thing.  As I have tried to emphasize to those Hokas, becoming a rower in no way makes me a non-runner.  I will (hopefully) always run.  It was my first love.  You know how that is.  That being said, however, I would be dishonest if I told you that given a choice, when there is a nice day, calm water, and an opportunity… I will be grabbing everything except those running shoes.  Yes, I’m finally at peace saying it… I think I was born to row. 

#6 and #8 love to row too!

#6 and #8 love to row too!

Even #9 (who's only 6) loves to row...

Even #9 (who’s only 6) is getting into the act…

Grace and her coach, "Doc", and her shell...

Grace and her coach, “Doc”, and her shell…

If you find yoursef secretly coveting my relationship with rowing…you can find information on the next Charlotte “Learn to Row” here (no one has to know): Catawba Yacht Club-Rowing (

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