Lina is one of my Dragonboat lifters. She has made tremendous progress in a short period of time. I remember the day when the "light went on" for Lina. I believe it was the first time she had pressed the 30lb dumbbells for 5 reps. The look of accomplishment on her face after she completed that set told me that she was a convert for life.
Why do I lift? Well, three reasons.
Reason #1 – I lift for my team. I started lifting because I had to. I am a member of the Philadelphia Flying Phoenix Women’s Dragonboat team. In the November 2009, our coach told us that if we wanted to compete at 2010 Nationals, we would have to add strength training to our winter training. We were a good crew but we needed to be stronger. However, I had no clue what strength training meant. I had never lifted weights in my life. Luckily my teammate, Kerry Major Carr introduced us to Coach Steel. He taught us how to lift - the right way. Focus on your posture, know your technique, but most importantly, you set a goal but “you do what you can do.” It was slow going – most of us had no idea what we were doing – we provided a lot of comic relief for Coach Steel. I was coming off of a major shoulder injury so I could barely lift the 45lb barbell. Truth be told, it was HELL (god, that stupid prowler). But our goal was to get a gold medal at Nationals. We got it in the 1000m race beating a younger, faster team from the Midwest. It was the most awesome race that I have ever raced. And there are so many more races to come.
Reason #2, I lift for me. I found that I actually like lifting. I get immense satisfaction from it. There is something empowering in being able to deadlift 150lbs or squatting 100lbs (going really deep). Not breaking any world records here but considering that I could barely lift the bar two years ago…not bad. Plus, it was pretty cool when I could lift my heavy carry-on suitcase into the overhead bin in one movement by myself (and not have to ask the guy next to me who really didn’t want to anyway). WooHoo! Next step, I want to deadlift my body weight, go up 5% on my dumbbell shoulder press, do a pull up and so on. I look forward to it.
Reason #3, a major reason, I lift for my daughters. It sounds corny but it’s a life lesson for my girls. They see me get up every Sunday morning when they know I could be sleeping in (and I love sleeping). There is no fast track in weight lifting. You can’t push a button or buy a fancy thing and Voila! You have to focus and work at it. It takes time. Other people can’t do the work for you. It’s just you and the weights. They see me set a goal and work towards it. For me, it’s paddling and lifting. For them, it’s could be something else, violin, dance, or anything (maybe even weights someday). I know that right now they see a strong mom and a strong woman. They see that girls can be strong too.