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How do you race your Dragon?

About 3 months ago, a girl in our morning CrossFit class mentioned she was working with the Junior League of Tuscaloosa on an upcoming event. She said it would be dragon boat racing. And I immediately thought of this.

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And this sounded like something I need to do once in my lifetime. Row a huge Viking dragon ship! She casually mentioned that if a CrossFit team joined, we would have a lot of fun even if we didn’t win. Conversation immediately went to slogans for Tshirts and how much fun it would be. We had no idea what to expect and if anybody would really follow through with the payment commitment. All proceeds would benefit the Junior League of Tuscaloosa and it was to be marked for tornado relief efforts.

3 months later, we had enough people sign up and pay the fee that we had two full boats! We showed up for practice Thursday afternoon and found this.image

I spent 45 minutes wonder why it was called Dragon boat racing if there was no dragon. I was mildly concerned that I was going to be a regular boat racer instead of a DRAGON boat racer. Obviously one has a ton more pizazz than the other. One sounded like a much better story to share at the office cooler on Monday. I could race in any boat….I wanted the DRAGON!! 

But we practiced and gained a tiny bit of confidence that maybe we could be good at this.

This is the first year for this event and I was amazed at how big it was. They had a great line up of sponsors from the Tuscaloosa area. It was held at our locally famous Cypress Inn. It’s a semi-fancy restaurant on the river. They have recently built a long boardwalk and event facility next to the restaurant. I love going to Cypress and it was a perfect place for this inaugural event.

Race day was today! The first round had 9 heats of 3 boats each. When we got ready and lined up, we reviewed our strokes and the timing. We got in our boats, now appropriately decorated in dragon heads and tails complete with a big drum for the drummer. Much better.

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When the horn went off, we rowed our pants off and didn’t look back. We won the first heat by two boat lengths!! The other CrossFit team won their heat. They kept a running total of all the times. They had cameras on the finish line and fancy clocking systems to keep up with the times. At the end of round 1, CF 1 and CF 2 were in the top two spots!!!

Round two was the same thing. 9 heats of 3 boats each but different lineups. We had a very similar heat. We won by a lot. CF 2 won their heat too, but their time was less than a second faster overall, so at the end of round 2, both CF teams were at the top. We couldn’t believe this. All we could figure is that we had just enough stamina to finish strong and pull ahead in each heat. Both teams didn’t start well, but we pulled way ahead when the other teams got tired and got out of sync with their rowing. Considering we do a ton of rowing in CF, this made a big difference.

Final round was the top 12 teams going head to head. We were the last heat and we were up against the other CF team and the 3rd and 4th team overall. The CF 2 team won by a lot and we lost by a dragon nose hair. 3rd place. And I’m bummed.

Dragon nose hairs.

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Various pictures from today.

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I have a feeling this will be a yearly event for our town. Way too many people having a ton of fun today and I’m so glad I went and participated. I was almost wishing this morning that I didn’t sign up. I wanted to lay low today and zone out in front of the TV with a good Lifetime movie.

But I’m glad I went even if we got the Bronze paddle instead of the Gold. The gold one will hang in our crossfit gym anyway and it will give me the incentive to smash some goals this summer. Now it’s a hot bath for some sore muscles and catching that Lifetime movie 😉

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Friday 4th of May 2012

[...] lovin’ last bit of strength out of us. One would think that bringing home 2 out of 3 awards for Dragon Boat races would be a reason for some nice and easy workouts. One would be wrong. There’s no whining in [...]