The Flying Beetroot: Running With The Boats

You’ve probably been wondering what that ‘dilemma’ in regard to the scheduled 12km Sunday run I hinted at in my last post was about, right?

You may even have been wondering why my caped image has been conspicuously absent from the Comments section of your blog posts the last few days, eh?

Oh. You haven’t?

Right-o then. Just carry on. Nothing to see read here.

Well, okay, so just in case you have been wondering….

Here’s a clue.


Too obscure for you? Okay, here’s another more obvious one.


Still haven’t worked it out? How about this very obvious clue?


Well, if you haven’t worked it out by now, there’s no hope for you at all.

Last weekend I competed in my first rowing regatta at Rutherglen in Northern Victoria. Hosted by the Murray Rowing Association (founded 1861), it is the oldest regatta in Australia.

I was competing in a Female Coxed Quad Scull race and a Mixed Coxed Eight race on each day – 800m on Saturday and 500m on Sunday.

We came last fourth in our race on Saturday morning but apparently we were coming second until about 250m out from the finish. We hadn’t thought we were in contention. We had borrowed a very young cox from another rowing club and while she was very encouraging, I think it would have been helpful to know how close we were to the pack. (It’s hard to know where you are when you’re racing backwards.)

The Mixed Eight race was great fun. The eight is a sweep boat which means you use one oar – a bit different to my usual sculling with two oars. We came second in that race.

It rained all day Saturday – unusual for Rutherglen – but the sun came out for us on Sunday.

Sunday’s races were quick 500m sprints. Our cox for the Quad was a wonderful, very experienced member of our club and the difference was this:


My first ever regatta medal!

Drama was to come in the Mixed Eight race. We started well and were clearly in the lead when, barely halfway through the race, the boat in the lane next to us suddenly veered and ran into us. We stopped and the Stroke’s* hand flew up to raise a protest. The umpire looked at the other two boats who had continued to race down the course and told us to keep rowing. We took off like a rocket, powering that boat on sheer outrage. And we almost caught them. Had the course been 50m longer, we’d have still managed to finish first. At the finish line, the Stroke’s hand went up again. This time the protest was upheld and there was to be a repeat race, the boat causing the accident being ineligible to compete. The three remaining crews made their way back to the start line and we set up to race the course again. This time we were not so smooth in our method but still had strength and speed on our side and this was the result:


My first regatta and I scored two medals and experienced the adrenaline of a protest and repeat race (a rare occurrence I am told). Oh, and we also scored a bottle of wine each as a prize for our Quad race in addition to the medal. (We’re not sure how that happened but I think I can live with it.)


Booty from my first regatta




Now, have you figured out the dilemma?

How to fit in a 12 kilometre training run in the middle of a rowing regatta?

Maybe I could swap the 12km run with the 5km one on Tuesday? And/or maybe I could fit it in between my morning and afternoon races?

Problems: 1. It was ridiculously muddy from all the rain on Saturday and I wasn’t really interested in slipping over and breaking a leg; 2. I felt I owed it to my crew mates not to turn up to a race with already tired legs.

So here’s the spreadsheet as it currently stands:

Training runs 7

“But where’s the red box?”

Right. There isn’t one. You will note, however, that there is a green box out of alignment. So I’ll explain. After packing up the boats


and a four hour drive home, arriving at 11.30pm on Sunday night, I got up at 7am on Monday and ran my 12km run. And you know what? It was one of the easiest runs I’ve done yet. I fairly bounced around that trail on the fun and excitement still coursing through my veins.

I figured that entitled me to just move the green box.

And that last green box? Getting up to row at 6am this morning, I should have known that this


would, when it came to running my 5km later in the morning, turn into this


I still ran. Of course I did. I’m more than a little insane.

Besides, it was kind of exciting to pass waterfalls and lakes on the usual run:



One last thing. Anyone who knows me well will know that what I am about to say is difficult for me. The Inner Critic has a very loud voice in my head and doesn’t often allow things like this to be said, but here goes:

I am incredibly proud of everything I have achieved in the past few days and I think I’m amazing.

There. Phew.

But I won’t let it go to my head.

*The Stroke is the first rower who sets the pace for everyone else to follow.



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48 thoughts on “The Flying Beetroot: Running With The Boats

  1. WOW! THAT’S INCREDIBLE! You have truly outdone yourself and I’m so terribly impressed that we just have to change your name to the AMAZING FLYING (and medal-winning rowing) BEETROOT now. Well done! Thank you for the update!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. That’s fantastic! Which one are you in the photos? Rowing, running you are a superstar. Of course you didn’t give yourself a red box silly!

    I apologize for re-asking this but where do you live in Australia?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Goodness. So embarrassed. Was thinking you were the middle one without the hat. Thus had been extra-impressed. Now, not so much.

      (Okay, still pretty d#mn impressed. Although I did row across the Atlantic when only eleven years old. Beat that! You can’t–So there. I’ll blog about it one day.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • I wouldn’t be impressed with that one. All he did was sit in the bow and steer. And yell at us. Nicely, but still. He wasn’t the one gasping for breath. Actually, he probably was after yelling at us for 500 metres. But I bet his arms weren’t sore. Oh, well, he had to steer with those awful pull rope thingies. His legs. His legs were definitely not as tired as ours. So there.

        Well, I… um… I… ran away when I was six. I only made it five blocks which is not quite the distance of the Atlantic but, you know, it was dark.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hang on: Coxswains STEER? With their legs? I thought they used only their voices?! What do they do, stand up and KICK those of you on one side of the boat vs. the other, in order to effect a turn?

          FIVE blocks? In the DARK? At only six years old? You WERE a brave, independent, and precocious one, weren’t you! I suppose you even brought gambling money and a change of clothes. And your shaving mug.

          Liked by 1 person

          • No, with their HANDS. And no, not waving us in the right direction. There’s a rudder and string thing. I think. I don’t really know. It’s a mysterious coxswain secret.

            I would have got further away but the friend I went to meet who had agreed to run away with me never appeared. As I stood vainly waiting outside her house, I was caught by the parental police. I think she was having dinner.
            I forgot the shaving mug. But my favourite memory is of my older brother helping me tie my tartan travel bag onto the back of my bike with an occy strap before waving me goodbye.


            • Wait TWO minutes! Sculls have rooe-controlled RUDDERS?! I am so confused… Or maybe there’s a secret centerboard, like the Kon-Tiki.

              Or…You don’t suppose that rope’s attached to the mizzen-mast, and you at the oars are so heads-down, you just never noticed the boom swinging by overhead…?

              Re: That brother, is he that same one who was always convinced Mom loved you best? Still wouldn’t turn my back on ‘im, were I you.

              Liked by 1 person

  3. I am incredibly proud of everything you have achieved in the past few days and I think you’re amazing. And that’s the truth !!!!
    As well, I am also proud of you for allowing yourself to be patted on the back by you. This is not something that happens often, and is to be fully enjoyed by all on those very few occasions when it does.
    YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYY The Flying Beetroot !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Congratulations on the two medals and everything else you accomplished! I’m sure if you called rowing your exercise for the day people would understand, but, hey, great. It’s been too cold to run here 😦 down below -20 C. But indoor exercise still exists.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Trent. I don’t know how you snowy winter runners do it. I’m so grateful to be able to exercise outdoors year round as I’m not much of an indoor exercise type.
      Someone did say to me on the day that surely three 500m sprints in the boats would be equivalent to at least a 5km run but it felt like cheating. And I’m glad I ran on Monday – it felt so great. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • There’s a place here with a big indoor track but I hate driving to a place to run. Typically I’ll run when it’s above freezing and bundle up with my cross-country skiing clothing. I don’t x-country ski much anymore, so this is a good use of the clothes. And, of course, I get out of shape over the winter;) Me, on the other hand, wouldn’t be able to run in the extreme heat.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. AMAZING!!!
    ahhh – success feels so great 🙂

    I loved seeing the photos and so nice to ‘meet’ you.
    The high from a great weekend like that lasts for a while … small wonder you had a fantastic run 🙂 see? rescheduling works just fine!! No red squares for you!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Success feels even greater when you weren’t expecting any. 😀
      I did hesitate as to whether to put my face up there as I haven’t really up to now (and I’m not exactly dressed in the most flattering outfit!) but it was too tempting to show off! 😉
      Thanks, Joanne. I had your advice in my head as I was nutting out what I should do and it was enormously helpful. 🙂


  6. I would have been impressed enough by this accomplishment, Heather, had I not recently finished reading “The Boys in the Boat.” But having read it, I have a better idea just how hard this really is. Really, really hard and a tremendous athletic accomplishment. The book describes the endurance needed for one race (I don’t know how long it was) as being the equivalent of playing two NBA basketball games non-stop in a row. I bet you can eat a horse with all of this activity! I am using you, Joanne, and M-R as motivators to get off my own duff and shed a few butter pats. But really… are my hero! This is awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was certainly a learning experience for me. These were short races (they’re more usually around 1400/1000 metres) but it can feel like the longest 500m of your life. And then to turn around and have to do it again straight away as we did in the Eight on Sunday… Crikey! The other learning was how hard it is to maintain the right movements because it’s all happening so fast. I was a bit all over the shop. Very exhilarating, though! And it has fired me up to get more hours on the water. 🙂
      The absolute beauty of this blogging community is that we inspire, encourage and support each other so we can all achieve great things. Thanks for being a part of that, Barbara! ❤


  7. Pingback: 2015: A Year For Doing Stuff | Master of Something I'm Yet To Discover

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