Nine months of dragon boating.
I’ve seen improvements in my endurance and physique. When I first started, I would stop halfway during a 10-minute warmup drill. I would give up and start questioning myself, “Bakit ko ba ito ginagawa?”. I would look at my teammates with both envy and admiration. “Ang gagaling nila.”
With my physique, I no longer feel like the lanky pale-skinned guy I was before. I love my tan. I love it so much that when I see a cute guy with pale skin on the train, I frown. Ang boring siguro ng buhay niya (JUDGEMENTAL AGAD?!) Ayaw niya mag-paaraw. Siguro all he does is shop, gym, and stay indoors. In the past nine months, I get turned on by athleticism. Yung tipong kasama mo ang mga conscious sa health. People who challenge themselves and encourage others to reach their physical goals.
Physically, I feel slightly slightly toned. I still have tummy fat and average arms. Sa tingin ko, need lang mag gym and program to bulk up a bit. As for endurance, I am running farther and faster thanks to FDS training. I succeeded making personal best in 10km and 21.1km at the recent Sundown Marathon. Not as fast as my peers, but most definitely better than anything I’ve done before.
I may not have a firm chest, or have big biceps and triceps. Those are aesthetics I feel. What about substance? So many lean women on my dragon boat team… some even so petite and yet when they paddle, the water disappears. I’m so eager to gain strength. Even if I have tummy fat or little arms… Strength muna before aesthetics right?
Since dragon boating is a team sport, it helps when you hear encouraging remarks. I’ve had a fair share of pep talk from our training committee (mga kapitan), our coach (a former Philippine national team captain), and various seniors. Minsan napapaisip ako… siguro I keep getting called out kasi pansin nila mukhang hirap na hirap na ako. They push me to improve myself. But I am prone to second-guessing myself. 😦
Which brings me to say that after nine months of dragon boating, the other issue apart from the need for strength training is mental training. Mind over matter, right?
I find that when I second-guess myself, when I start focusing on my weaknesses… I distract myself and I doubt and lose focus. Suddenly it’s my mind that slows me down. Our team captain would scream, “It’s all in the mind!”. I feel totoo nga. Lalo na when you are in a sprint or at the last 100 meters of a 500-meter race. With splash in your eyes, the adrenaline of competition, commands being yelled “LONGS! READY??? GO!!!!”.
I guess I’m writing this now kasi despite wanting to be the best version of myself for the team, I am still struggling. I still hop onto the boat asking myself if I can survive the training program. When I’m paddling for eight minutes with two more minutes to go… losing my form is frustrating!
From zero sports participation to joining one of the most competitive expat teams in Singapore, it’s been a wild challenge. I should heed to physical, brute strength development and stop overanalyzing myself. I need to control my mind and stop doubting. Lalo na dito sa dragon boating. This is something I am committed to.
Dragon boating is a team sport. As an individual within a team, the greatest challenge I feel is to defeat self-doubt and to push myself beyond what is safe and comfortable.