C.R.A.S.H B. and Family Support
Sunday March 1st 2015 was my first experience with the World Indoor Rowing Championships. You may know from a previous blog that I am a member of a master’s crew team. We are masters not in ability but in age. Apparently after a certain age which will not be disclosed here, you are considered a master.
The World Indoor Rowing Championships is better known in rowing circles as the “Crash Bs.” Just a side note here, in our home it has been referred to as the “Groovy Bs” as back in the days of prep school my husband’s first introduction to a fellow preppy was something like “My name is Bruce but call me Groovy B.”
Groovy. We are definitely over 50. Being older means it is time to be thoughtful about how I age. I chose to row because it was something I had wanted to do since college and because healthy aging means staying fit and staying social. In fact, physical activity and socialization are better than any medicine on the market to combat memory loss. Better than that, the support of a team of middle aged folks is unique in that flaws are easily accepted when we have gained such insight into our own.
CRASH B Warmups
But back to the C.R.A.S.H –B. race. C.R.A.S.H –B. stands for “Charles River All-Star Has-Beens.” By their own description: “In the beginning, C.R.A.S.H-B. was a group of 1976-1980 US Olympic and World Team athletes who lurked on the Charles River, never rowing the same lineup twice, never practicing before a race, always jumping the start against Harvard and having a lot of fun too.”
At the end of my rowing season this fall, as the water was getting cold enough to numb your legs in 10 seconds, talk started about going to the C.R.A.S.H.-Bs. Coaches tried to get everyone excited and it sounded like a fun idea.
In January I started to take it more seriously and began training. I had seen pictures, knew that there was a large attendance and I generally try not to embarrass myself in front of more than my family. The numbers of Baboosic Lake Rowing Club members intending to attend had dwindled but I was ok with that. I determined that this would be about my personal best. I kept training,
CRASH B World Championship Sprints 2015
beginner that I am, rowing 4-5 times per week on my WaterRower and neglecting weight lifting, energy drinks and the like.
The big day arrived this past Sunday and my husband, Randy, friend of Groovy B, drove me down to the Boston University Agganis Arena for the event. The reality of the event began to sink in as we realized we were surrounded by top ranked rowers, some who had Olympic medals and had broken world rowing records. These are not “has-beens.” These oarsmen are impressive and represent rowing clubs from around the world. The Royal Navy Crew Team is seated in the bleachers behind us, the team from Brazil one section over. Australia, Norway, Germany and Cuba are represented.
Another quote from the C.R.A.S.H.-B site: “Although C.R.A.S.H.-B. as an organization maintains a nontraditional irreverence to all things that are not fun, nonetheless this ergometer has become serious business, threatening to replace fun with pain, unless you can equate the two.” The rowers who have decided to participate are clearly able to mix fun and pain and the support of the crowd is enthusiastic.
Randy was allowed down on the floor with me, able to sit right behind me as my coach for the day though he has never rowed, coxed, or coached before. He was prepared to support and encourage me and I know I am a lucky woman.
As I said, my goal was to reach the other side of 2000 meters on an erg with a personal best time. I failed that. But I discovered a few things.
One, the support of a coach and a teammate who did not attend but sent messages the night before and through that morning was fantastic. I was disappointed in my time and they rallied from an hour away and reminded me to be proud for the training I put in and for showing up. As master’s we have learned that most of life is about showing up.
“physical activity and socialization are better than any medicine on the market to combat memory loss”
Two, my coach for the day/husband/friend of Groovy B is my biggest fan. He told me when to push harder, when to try a power 10, when I was nearing the end and could celebrate finishing. Randy was there for me. I missed my goal for time but sharing this experience with him was amazing.
As Randy pointed out to more than one thousand folks on Facebook, I did not break a world rowing record on Sunday. However we were both inspired by the C.R.A.S.H.-B. race. A woman in her 80’s broke the world record for that age bracket, a 60 year old gentleman with an Olympic silver medal broke the world record as well.
Staying Fit as a Senior–A 60 Year Old Broke a World Record
I plan to be better when I am 60 than I am at 52. I am inspired to be fit, stay social and age well. I can endure pain and have fun. I have a remarkable support system.
This summer my sister Kathy wants me to row her across the lake in Maine to get donuts at the wonderful Day’s Store in Belgrade Lakes. I just might. But she will have to cheer me on all the way and then pay for the donuts. It is never a bad time to add a cheerleader or to carb load when rowing. Another thing that comes with the wisdom of age.
CRASH B and Family Support. http://www.crash-b.org/about/c-r-a-s-h-b-history/