It’s another three more days before departing to Jakarta for the SEA Games. Preparations have been pretty full on, but not exactly the smoothest. Spending three months in the Melbourne winter has made massive leaps and bounds not just for my rowing, but for my overall development as an athlete. And it also came with major financial drawbacks. I therefore had to keep on working for pocket money leading up to the SEA Games. I’ve been fortunate enough to get work at a fabulous new cafe, Sarnies. Huge thanks to my bosses for being understanding and supportive!
Having to continue work leading up to a major regatta has certainly taught me a few valuable lessons. In the past, I would have chose to train full time. But I’ve learn that it might not always be the ideal situation nor will it always achieve best performances. Balancing work and training, especially through an intensive training phase, has stretched me all the way in terms of time management. I have had my fair share of missed alarms when I wished I didn’t have to sprint off to work on my bike and had all day to finish off the rowing session. But every day, I value every single hour that I have, bearing in mind I have a responsibility to my bosses, and a responsibility to myself. It has taught me to focus on every single stroke and the importance of nailing every single work piece, because I do not have the luxury of sitting in the boat all day. Just like in a race, I really only have one shot. No rehearsals, no room for error. The ability to do that comes with practice, lots of it. It’s not just lots of practice while in training, the overall approach in every day life in just as important.
It’s also about finding that balance to keep my body free from illness. Let’s face it, Singapore doesn’t have the best of climates. The humidity, coupled with continuous bouts of thunderstorm which is usually followed by a really hot sunny day, isn’t the thing my body needs to recover. Having to miss sessions because of illness is certainly frustrating. But if my body breaks down, I’ll have to bear the consequences. Therefore, it teaches me to value my time in the boat. It cultivates a mentality that every time I come off, I want to have learn something. Every session has a purpose and must be treated with equal importance.
I have learn to accept the fact that circumstances here will never be ideal for achieving optimal performances. Plunging head on into something which is directionless will drain the life out of anyone, no matter how positive he or she is. The past couple of years for me have been a classic example of plodding along. I am glad of the decisions I made to train abroad. For me, I have found that the more quality sessions I have, the easier it is mentally for me to get the quantity up.