Tag Archives: Rowing

Mistaken identity

jjI know you won’t believe me when I tell you I was once mistaken for a movie star. Ridiculous of course, but I tell you, it happened.

I was seated at a diner somewhere near Bemidji, drinking coffee with—was it M? or an old boyfriend?—waiting for eggs and toast, when the waitress came to warm our coffee and said,

“I’m sorry to bother you, but—” and here she looked around shyly, “aren’t you Sandra Bullock?”

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Trust the earth to hold you

group in savasanaThe best thing I ever heard in a yoga class was this: Trust the earth to hold you. When lying in shavasana, or corpse pose, surely the easiest of all poses, flat on my back in a neutral position, the teacher would utter those words, and when she did I’d feel my bones settle ever so slightly. Only then would I realize I’d been holding myself in as if every molecule in my body needed to be drawn in tight to hold together. I’d see that I’d been resisting gravity, ignoring the fact that the body will hold itself together just fine without my help. And I noticed that when you let go of holding yourself together and sink your bones into your flesh and your flesh into the ground beneath you, you begin to float just a bit, and remarkable things happen.
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Both sides now

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The red line is the border between Berlin and Brandenberg; it also marks the location of the former Berlin Wall and borders in the water as well. Due to West Berlin being in the middle of East Germany, former West Berlin is the east side of this map; to the west of it is former East Germany.

Having talked with Anne about making a visit to Glienicke Brücke since before the Unity Day race last October, we finally managed to do so last Thursday. We made a tour of it together, sprinkling in a few other sites from that portion of the Wannsee along the way. I discovered, not surprisingly, that I’ve already been enjoying the best view of the duo-toned bridge for months from the optimal vantage point: the water. Continue reading

The boys in the other boat

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The main Olympic stadium in the west of Berlin. The partial roof was added in recent years as part of renovations. In this image you can see the cauldron; Berlin held the first Olympic torch relay. (Click on any photo to enlarge).

A few months ago my family and I toured the 1936 Olympic Stadium, restored in recent years to its original condition. Jesse Owens earned his glory here, perhaps the most famous athlete to emerge from those Olympics.

The stadium is quintessential Nazi architecture, they say; it’s an imposing structure of concrete and marble, built to impress the world. The stadium lies in far western Berlin, just north of the Grunewald Forest. Many of the sports events of 1936 took place in this location, but not all. Continue reading

Good times on the high seas

cloudsIt was a stormy day in early April, and as I walked down the hill to the boathouse I wondered what on earth I’d been thinking, attempting a row on such a forbidding day. The clouds were full and the wind was high and a drenching rain greeted me halfway down the hill.

“I’m here to erg,” I reminded myself, and trudged onward through the rain.

I ran into Dietmar along the way. Like me he had the hood of his raincoat pulled tight around his face.

“There’s no way we’re going out on the water, right?” I asked.

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Sea monsters

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Haus der Wannsee-Konferenz

It has happened to me on the Mississippi in a single, when a movement in the water catches my eye—a black swirl spinning away from me—and in that moment my heart seems to leap to my throat, as if some water creature might climb out of the depths to the surface. But soon I see it has a mate on the other side spinning away from my boat, and I recognize the pair as the puddles from my own stroke.

I had that feeling again yesterday, though it wasn’t my swirls that jarred me. I was in a men’s quad for this late afternoon row, and the pace was unrelenting and solid. There was a good chop on the water, most likely from the new ferryboat unveiled by the BVG this spring, and it runs on the half hour and ruins your good water for quite a spell. Irregular waves splashed up the side of the boat, ricocheting off the riggers, and the water that struck my back, arms and legs was cold, though nothing like the cold of a Minnesota snowmelt.

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