Race season for me is right at the corner. My first race is in May. I think this might be my last year racing competitively before I step down and let the younger ones take my place. Right now, seems like a good time to take a seat and reflect the roller coaster ride that this sport has taken me on.
I started paddling in 2011, as a for fun thing after I quit badminton. I needed something with high cardio with not a lot of commitment. The fun for me ended after 2 years when I graduated from high school and entered the world of university.
In 2014, I realized that my school had a dragon boating team. For fun, I joined, despite knowing that I would be away for 4 months in the beginning of 2015 for Co-op. I met a lot of people, but quickly lost contact once I left for Co-op. I came back in May 2015 and started paddling since then.
The last few years has really been a journey. From the numbing hands due to freezing winter water practices to aching muscles after gym workouts, we pushed each other to greater heights and opened doors to more opportunities. We supported and encouraged others to reach for higher and be more ambitious with our goals. This definitely showed and our hard work paid off. Between 2014 to now (2017), we went from 2 recreational teams to 2 competitive teams.
When I mean hard work, I really mean the amount of time, sweat, and no tears. From a commitment of at least one practice per week, we went to 2 to 3 days in the gym, 2 to 3 days of team practice and 1 day of outrigger 1 canoe. That’s basically training everyday! . Sure, the amount of time spent in training seems like a lot and super rigorous to the world outside. But like I said, it paid off. And honestly, we don’t notice it anymore. It became our lifestyle. Now, not seeing my team for more than a week or a few days, makes it seem weird and gives me the feeling that something is missing.
Our first race is just around the corner and the biggest race of the year is coming up too. I’m excited to see what this coming race season and our fellow competitors has in store for us.