Rowing to the Top

300 413 Ellen Ensher
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By Caroline Chavos

Chavos Cropped

Monday through Saturday at 5:05 A.M. an alarm goes off… and yes, it is mine. I lay in my bed and truthfully every morning I ask myself, “CAROL, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” Reluctantly,I put on my workout clothes that are set out the night before, barely manage to comb my hair and brush my teeth, drag myself to the car and head to the LMU boathouse. Oh, and my carpool, we are all too tired to even talk to each other in the car on the way there.

Walking down the dock I hear a choir of annoying seagulls accompanied with the scent of fresh sea lion poop and then I really question everything. But then I turn the corner and I can see into the boat bay all the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championship banners hanging, and there is one missing, West Coast Conference Champions.

For two years now, my team and I have been chasing this title and it is time for me to set a SMART goal. My goal is SPECIFIC, I want to win a WCC Championship. You bet this is MEASURABLE, rowing is a game of inches, who is going to get across the finish line first? Winning a WCC Championship is ACTIONABLE, in fact one could argue it is the most important factor in my smart goal. I have to make sure every morning I am showing up to practice as my best possible self. This means sitting in the freezing cold ice bath after practices to help my muscles repair, even though I will try and talk myself out of it by convincing myself I am going to get hypothermia (even though it’s not possible). It is imperative that I meal prep so that I eat cleanly and am nourishing my body well, and that I also get enough sleep, which is what I struggle with the most. My goal as well as my teams’ goal is REALISTIC because we have the bodies, we have the coaches and we have the grit to win. Our team hates to lose more than we love to win. Finally, our goal is TIMEBOUND because on May 17th, 2020, at 7:40 A.M. our boat is going to be locked into the stakes ready to put everything we have built in the previous nine months together for this one race.

By no means is this going to be easy, in fact my teammates and I will experience multiple painful showers from having the soap touch a fresh blister on our hands from the oar, or the unbearable pain of water hitting a newborn butt blister from rowing countless meters. We will spend numerous hours studying on a bus right after racing because we must fulfill the student in student athlete. In the end our bodies will hurt, we will be tired, but we will be champions and I will tell myself “CAROL THIS IS WHAT YOU HAVE DONE” and it starts by setting a SMART goal today.