Crews Participate In The Thames Annual Great River Race

On Tuesday I joined a Dragon Boat team in Hartford. You can visit the team’s site on Facebook, if you’re interested. Over the past few years I’ve had two clients recommend joining a Dragon Boat team. It actually fits into my schedule since I’m an early riser, and since I teach in the evenings I can’t join most team sports.

And quite frankly lately I’ve been really missing being part of a team. When I was in college I played field hockey and did theater. In both there is a team and a group of people working together to achieve the same goal. I miss that. Plus, it’s a fun excuse to get a workout with a group of people.

So Tuesday, I set the alarm clock a little earlier (we meet at 6:30am–really, not that bad) and went to my first practice. Now, I had no clue what I was getting into and I wasn’t that good. I couldn’t even keep time with the rest of the boat, let alone do the exercises properly. Being a beginner was a really good reminder of how anyone who comes to my Pilates class for the first time must feel. It’s awkward and you feel like a fool at times. But the people on the team are very helpful and supportive. They all seem nice. I’m excited to figure out how to paddle properly (it’s a lot of abs and shoulders–both considered part of the Pilates core) so it should come naturally. But so far it’s not that easy.

In addition to good people and a fun workout, I get to be on the Connecticut River first thing in the morning. There is something about starting the day with a workout outside. I used to always run in the early morning and I remember feeling like it was a great way to get a sense of the day ahead. You get to actually feel the environment we so often shut ourselves off to with buildings and air conditioning.

As I paddled through the morning fog last Tuesday there were cold patches and warm patches. The feeling felt good on my skin, and I was once again reminded of why I love the morning. Then I realized that I’d lost focus and was out of time with the other paddlers. Oops. MUST KEEP FOCUS.

At Thursday’s practice, I think I did better when I was paddling on the port side (that’s the left), but my right side (that’s starboard) appears to be very stubborn and really doesn’t want to cooperate. That or thirty minutes in I begin to lose focus.

So I may not be the best on the team and I definitely have a lot to learn, but I’m totally loving it. I can’t wait until 5:30 Tuesday morning when my alarm goes off and I get to be out on the water again paddling.

I’ll be posting more about my dragon boat experiences on the blog if you’re interested and want to check in occasionally. And, word on the street is that they are always looking for new people, if you’re interested. Check out this link to see a video of what dragon boat racing looks like. It’s not the Hartford team, and they don’t start paddling until about 40 seconds into the video, but when they do it looks really cool. And they all know how to keep time.