Tuesday, September 18, 2012
My attitude to Laser sailing seems to swing from one extreme to another.
I have been at one end of the swing for most of this year. My feeling about sailing, as reflected in many of my blog posts, has been, "I'm only doing this for fun. If I'm not having any fun on the race course any more, I will quit for the day. Race results don't matter." I really haven't raced much this summer, partly because I've been easing back into it (very) slowly after my back injury early in the year. I didn't get around to completing a whole day of races at a regatta until the weekend before last.
At the other extreme I see myself as a committed, hard-core racing sailor. I train hard. I sail lots of regattas. I take pride in toughing it out to the bitter end of every day's racing no matter how tired I am or how much it hurts. When I do this I sometimes actually win something. I set goals like "Sail my Laser 100 days this year" or "Finish in the top half of the fleet at the Masters Worlds." Sometimes I even achieve one of those goals.
I summed up my "only in it for the fun" approach in a post last month Sailing Philosophy with Crappy Chart.
I'm beginning to think that that post was a huge mistake.
I think my pendulum is starting to swing back to the other extreme.
It happened at the New England Laser Masters the weekend before last.
At that regatta I remembered that there is more than one way to have fun.
I realized that I am not ready yet to settle for coming nearly last in a regatta because I can't be bothered to sail all the races.
I've seen my friends this year working hard and hanging tough at regattas and sailing every race and placing well in the fleet and even winning awards sometimes, and I admit I've envied them.
I could be like them again.
I've begun to think that the Sailing Philosophy with Crappy Chart post was total bullshit. There was a lot of pseudo-science and psycho-babble in that post.
I am not that sailor.
I want to get back to being the sailor who wrote Cannabinoid Moment four years ago. The sailor who stubbornly sailed the final race of the regatta even though he was tired and aching. The sailor who was surprised to feel sharper, more competent, more focused, more in control than he ever had while racing before.
I want that feeling back.
Some of you know that I have run a few marathons in my time. Well, three actually. Marathons are long. Marathons are hard. Two of the three were very hard for me. But I finished them. And I still feel a glow of pride from having done so,
This year I have been like a runner who doesn't train properly for a marathon, and who starts to feel really tired at the 15 mile mark and who collapses in agony at the 20 mile mark, and who gives up. He didn't run a marathon. He doesn't have much to be proud about.
I am not that runner.
The pendulum is swinging back to the other extreme.
Hold on tight.
It's going to be a wild ride.