There are two days left before the final dragon boat race of the year. We’ve trained for this even in the damn haze. We’re hungry for a victory.

I’m hungry for a different kind of victory.

More than paddling my best, I’m trying to conquer my mind. My mind tells me to quit sometimes. It tries to remind me of how weak I used to be. Sometimes my mind wins and I lose focus and form.

You’re weak. You’re the weakest guy on the team.

You can’t run as fast as you want because you suck at running.

They’re correcting your form for the nth time, you’re a fucking idiot.

You’re on this boat because you’re weak.

They’re just being nice.

I try to imagine it like waves in an ocean. I close my eyes and think about how to calm the rough waves.

You’re stronger today. You’re getting stronger each time you keep training.

You’re running faster and in better form.

They’re teaching you how to be a better paddler, because they care.

You’re on this boat so you can improve on your own pace and maybe share that with a newbie.

They are just as passionate about this as you are.

I’m going to enjoy the race this weekend. Whatever the outcome. I’ve come this far.