My arm is on fire. The sun is scorching. My sleeve is soggy with sea-spray. Everything rubs and the salt crystals cling to my face, lenses, legs. Water sloshes back and forth, advancing and retreating on my toes as the boat surges.
Whit, shoo, whit, shoo; blades cut through the ocean at speed and my teammates are quiet apart from the occasional grunt and puff as all energy is directed towards moving the craft ahead and maintaining the high level of intensity necessary to take the race.
It is already ours. Yes, we get an “A” for effort.
I am warm on the inside, can feel the calories burning. It’s hard work.
Coach loves to play pretend: “Hunt them down! Five hard strokes now! This is your race ladies! You’ve got this!!! Beach it!!!!!!!”
You’d think we were at the Olympics or something- that’s the point. In actuality, it’s just us. Twenty-two chicks in a boat. The water is smooth as glass. The waves and wind and maneuvering is all imaginary, as is the competition, the entire race.
Paddleboarders and kayakers are out in droves; as they float leisurely along, we make a mad dash for the imaginary finish, breathing a sigh of relief as we cross the line and hear the 3 magic words: “Let it run!”
After a short rest we’ll take our paddles up and travel the last few hundred feet back home, disembark, and head up the hill for coffee and donuts at Honey’s 🙂 The day is just beginning!