What would compel somebody to rouse themselves out of bed at 4:45am to go row a boat in a river, in the dark? Trying to explain this to a non-rower is an exercise in futility. You try explaining over and over again that it's actually fun and challenging, and that they are missing out by not doing the same; and all you're met with is that ole familiar look of "What the hell is wrong with you?"
Admittedly, it takes a rare and unique individual who would willingly subject themselves to such a lifestyle. I mean, we're not talking about a group of kids rowing for a high school or collegiate crew team, or people in the prime of their lives training for the Olympics. These are mainly middle aged folks -- doctors, lawyers, corporate executives, stay-at-home moms and the like, who for whatever reason, are completely and utterly devoted to this sport, maybe even a little obsessed. A handful are former college athletes, looking to recapture their rowing heyday, but most are not. It's just something they decided to try on a whim, and now find themselves hooked. It begs the question, WHY? Why are they so passionate about this sport?
It was time to go straight to the source and ask our master rowers:
I’ve only been rowing for a year, but for me, rowing is the best of all possible sports. I have been a runner and a cyclist, but I find that I get a much better physical workout from rowing because it involves using almost every muscle in my body while getting a decent cardio workout. Unlike individual sports, it also challenges me to work in harmony with a team. Then there is the choreography – it’s similar to dressage or ballet in that you strive to be perfectly aligned with the others in your boat. Take all that and put it on the river early in the morning, in one of the most beautiful parts of the country, and it is deeply rewarding. And as if that isn’t enough, I’ve met some really great, healthy, fun people with like interests – a community of rowers! What’s not to like?!?
I like rowing because it provides a mentally challenging, low-impact, full body aerobic workout on the water. Rowers advance by going backwards!
I love the combination of strength and grace required to row. I love the feeling of flying a few inches off the water. I love that I can do this with my kids and share their struggle while earning their respect. I would tell anyone thinking of rowing, while it may not be for everyone, you’ll never know if it’s for you until you try!
My 'Top 5 List' of why I row at 5:15am:
All of this together makes it highly addictive!
- Karen Norgaard