Thursday, August 24, 2006

Dragon Boat Race Training

I joined a dragon boat racing team today. The team is made up of breast cancer survivors, organized by the Breast Cancer Foundation. There were about 30 women, ages 35 to 65. They’re training for the World Championship race for breast cancer survivors coming up in September. Yep. An entire world championship dragon boat race, just for breast cancer survivors. The team’s been training since last October, and you have to be out of treatment for at least six months before joining the team. I thought I might lie and not tell them I was still undergoing treatment, but my near-bald head gave me away. I told them my doctor said it was okay. A tiny little fib. They let me train with them today. I hope they let me race on racing day next month.

All of the team members were Singaporean. I was a bit surprised. I was expecting mostly expats. I didn’t think Singaporean women were that open about their cancer. I underestimated them, I must say. These women seemed like feisty fighters to me. Just the type to join a dragon boat team. Just my type of people.

I feel the need to conquer some hard, physical challenge. I’ve always admired endurance athletes like marathon runners because of the mental discipline required to push their bodies beyond their limits. I think golfers, basketball players, and tennis players, for example, might have talent and discipline. But they don’t overcome their bodies’ limitations with sheer mental power and determination. They don’t go on for hours and hours. That’s what I want to do. I want to conquer this body that has let me down so badly with whatever I can muster of my spirit and mind.

So for now, dragon boat racing. Maybe next year, I can try a half-marathon.

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