Now that we’re settled in Sarasota, it’s nice to reflect back on our time in Sebastian and training at Canal 54. The Sebastian/Vero Beach area began to feel more like a home and less like a training trip by the end as we got to know our neighbors, the right radio stations for the right moods, and a few local groups. Ask anyone on our team, and they will say the number one quality setting Sebastian apart from other training locations is the community. We met Tom Lange and his high school athletes right away and frequently crossed paths at the boathouse; the Sebastian River parents helped us out with excursions to local spots; we connected with an awesome gym, Treasure Coast CrossFit; and the kids at Fellsmere elementary were a fantastic audience for a afternoon of inspirational talks. A BIG thank you is in order to the Sebastian community for welcoming us with open arms. I hope you enjoyed having us as much as I enjoyed being there!
Here’s catching up on a few of those events (see Maggie’s recent blog post for corresponding pictures). Coach Tom of Sebastian River High School Crew organized an informal Q&A in the school’s very nice 700-seat auditorium. After having fun testing the acoustics, we sat on stage and chatted with athletes and parents. Afterwards a few girls asked me about lifting (specifically: “How do I get jacked quads?”) and 2k pacing strategies, which was pretty cool.
Later that week, we set up an afternoon of talks at Fellsmere Elementary. Via contacts from a CrossFitter who works at the school, I met with the principal (Mr. E, as the kids call him) to scheme a program that would be inspirational and motivational for 600+ little kiddos divided into three 30-minute talks. It had been a long time since I’d been to the principal’s office! The visit exceeded expectations on all fronts. The kids were fantastic. When asked, they responded that their heroes were mom and dad, they jumped out of their seats screaming “YEAH SCIENCE!!” when Liz shared her favorite subject (similar reaction for Star Wars, Frid’s favorite movie series), and of course they asked hilarious questions. We brought a boat and oars for them to see and John commentated the quad’s 2014 World Cup race on a big screen, during which Mr. E started a “U-S-A! U-S-A!” chant. Afterwards, many produced autograph instruments—an inch-long blue crayon, a fat pink highlighter, an orange glitter gel pen—and asked for our autograph, often followed by a hug.
In a voice the size of her, one tiny kindergartner told me she too wanted to go to the Olympics, in the same sport as me—rowing! What good is a dream if it isn’t shared? Thank you to Mr. E and Fellsmere Elementary for inspiring and motivating us with your infectious energy, we had a great time.
Our social calendar exploded (relatively speaking) on our last weekend in Sebastian. On Saturday evening, Treasure Coast CrossFit invited us to be guests of honor at a gym-wide party. We’ve met quite a few members through teaching erg classes, so it was great to kick back and relax with familiar faces over a delicious dinner. The following Sunday, a parent on the high school team hosted a little gathering at her popular local hangout, the Tiki Bar. Good weather, good people, and cornhole by the beach—doesn’t get much better!
Stay tuned for updates from Sarasota! Racing begins Sunday with the Men’s 4x time trial at 5pm.