You're probably still reading this because you think I am crazy. Either that or you think I am brave and you're curious to learn more about why I would want to do this.
Well, you came to the right place. Even I think I am crazy. I call this my absurd dream. The funny thing is, I haven't signed up for the race I want to participate in. I don't have any money. I don't have a boat. I just have a dream...an absurd dream. It's big, it's daring, it's crazy, but...it's MY crazy dream.
You might be wondering what got me into this...well, here you go.
In December 2017, I randomly heard about this challenge, with people crossing the Atlantic Ocean. I was obsessed with following their boat trackers across the ocean for a couple weeks. I went to my husband and told him I wanted to row across an ocean. He said, "how serious are you?"
I said, "75%". He said, "okay".
I forgot about it two weeks later.
Fast forward to December 2018 and the same thing happened. I saw the race, watched the dots, and this time I didn't say anything until about three weeks later.
I went to my husband and said, "I want to row across an ocean".
He said, "How serious are you this time?"
I responded, "95%".
He said, "oh, you're serious".
Ever since, I couldn't get it out of my head, I read three books in a month, and usually, I read two books a year. I researched and read everything I could. I watched movies about it. I looked at how to find a boat. Everything I could learn, I tried to learn. So clearly, I was into it.
Needless to say, at the time of writing this, it's been a few months, I still haven't signed up, and who knows if I will. But, I am researching, I am learning as much as I can, I am talking to other ocean rowers, and I still have my absurd dream.
Along the way, I decided I wanted to help people find their love of rowing. Regardless of their reason, we all find our way into new adventures and dreams. Mine was a rollercoaster of hating rowing, loving it, hating it, and loving it again. I am sure after being stuck on an ocean rowing boat for 3+ months I will fall back into the hate category, but I also believe I will find my way back to the love part. Either way, my mission in life is four-fold.
1. Help people learn to row and row without aches and pains so they can enjoy it just like I do.
2. Love what I do and put my love of physical therapy and rowing together.
3. Follow-through on my dreams, which currently, is to row across the Atlantic Ocean.
4. Share my story and make it easy for other people to row across an ocean if that is what their heart desires.
So, follow along on my podcast if you want to learn more about where I am in my Ocean Rowing adventure and to hear from other ocean rowers. There's only an episode twice a month right now, but it'll pick up as I get closer to my dream date.
Please reach out to me and tell me your story, your love/hate relationship with rowing, ask questions, or even just to say you think I am nuts. I will respond even if you think I'm crazy.
Thanks for following along and learning my WHY.
So yesterday I told you a little bit about how I started rowing and what I loved about it. I also mentioned that I went to college in the hopes of rowing for the next four years at a D1 university. Well, when I went to those practices and only heard people complaining about being there...it got me thinking....
Do I really want to wake up early and spend my time with people who don't want to be here?
No...I don't. First off, I am not a morning person. 5 AM is like the worst time for me to have to tolerate people complaining. Second, this is a team sport and if my teammates hate it...why am I here?
Well...I lasted one year...and then...
I QUIT! I felt like I didn’t belong and like I was a failure.
The thing is…I’m not a quitter, so this was a big deal for me. I had to weigh my options. I had a group of people that didn't like rowing, but suffered through it anyways. I had to wake up at absurd hours and go to class soaking wet because I couldn't get later classes...but I could deal with that. However, I did find another group of people that loved what they were doing....
My freshman year of college there was an EMT that lived across the hall from me. From the moment I saw him in his uniform, I thought, "I want to be him". So while I was still rowing, I worked my booty off to get into the schools EMT program...and I got it!
So I replaced my love of rowing with people who had a common goal, wanted to do something, and loved it. I found my group of people in the volunteer EMT program. I think what I was missing in rowing were people who enjoyed what they were doing. I wanted to be around people who pushed themselves to be better and found the good in themselves and others, not people who just complained all day. So...I was an EMT for the next three years in college and continued after school.
I ended up having a third ankle surgery while I was in school and that is when I had to go to physical therapy and ended up deciding that it is what I wanted to do.
Since my ankle wasn't great with running, and my booty wasn't a fan of biking, I actually found myself on the indoor rowing machine a lot and even though this device was the devil for people who row on the water, I found it kind of peaceful.
So...I eventually got into Physical Therapy school, learned a whole lot about how the body moves, and found a new love of rowing alone on the rowing machine.
Well, there is a lot more to that story and how I want to make it my mission to take my rekindled love of rowing and my desire to help people do what they love, and help rowers row without aches and pains, but...
I think the more interesting story that really plays into how much I love rowing and is my four year dream is...
In 2022 I want to row SOLO across the ATLANTIC OCEAN. You read that right. I want to row all alone, on a boat, 3000+ miles across the Atlantic Ocean in a 21-ish foot boat with sharks, dolphins, storms, 21+ foot waves, etc….and guess what…
I hate the ocean…It’s big. It’s scary. I could die…
I'll tell you all about it tomorrow.
I want to let you in on a little bit of my story...because my story is what makes me who I am today. And honestly, if you're going to be learning or chatting with someone, it's always nice to know a little about them and why they want to help in the first place. It's one of the reason's that I love being a Physical Therapist, because I get to work with my clients, one-on-one, multiple times a week and we really get to know each other. There are a few people out there helping rowers, and I want you to make sure you follow people you relate to and who are truly able to help you. So here is a little bit about me and why I love rowing.
I got started with rowing when I was at boarding school in 2001. I actually hated rowing my first season, as all I cared about was the upcoming basketball season and rowing was a means to an end. At the beginning of the basketball season, I broke my ankle, for the second time, and I was benched for the rest of the year as I had surgeries and recoveries. However, even though my ankle was fixed, I was never really as quick on my feet as I used to be in basketball. Sophomore and junior year, I did rowing in the spring and the fall, and I was glad I did as rowing is where I found the ability to be good at something again. I got into the Varsity boat and loved every second of it.
There is something about being in a boat with four other people, with only one of them allowed to talk, and just rowing together in silence, that is quite amazing. The fact that it was a team sport that required no talking, and precision to make a boat go faster was amazing to me. I continued to row every season I could throughout the rest of high school because I enjoyed it, and not because I had to, like I did when I started.
Once I got into college, I was put into a boat with all newbies and once again, I was miserable. I was with eight other people who all talked over each other and complained about being awake at 5 AM to row. I had specifically chosen a school with a rowing team, and I was already questioning my love for rowing and my desire to continue rowing.
Tomorrow, I'll fill you in on how my rowing career took a turn for the worst but I found something else to get me to where I am today.
See ya tomorrow.
Amanda Painter is the Rowing Doc. She is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and is here to help people stay active and rowing without aches and pains so they can keep doing what they love!