I've had it. I've just had enough.
I work and work and work and work and get fuck all back. In the last 4 years I've been in 6 races, only 1 of those in the past 18 months. And now I have no prospect of racing this season.
I train and train, but don't get any closer to my goals, because my goals are competitions and I don't have the chance to compete. Even losing would be better. At least if I lost I would have had a fighting chance. As it is, I don't even have that much. And now there is no prospect of racing in the future.
Fuck it all.
There is still the slightest chance I may yet find a doubles partner for Women's Henley Regatta, but that is becoming slimmer by the day.
So I've told Bristol to put it where the sun don't shine, and I've joined a local club. They're friendly, and they have some nice equipment. I will pass the summer paddling around the Bristol docks in a single, and hopefully enjoy some summer sunshine, keep myself in shape, and maybe get a bit of a tan.
And come the end of the summer, September, the wedding, and all those other life changes, I will hang up the blades for good. I will not look for a rowing club in Plymouth. There is one, but it's crap, the water is crap, and there's no good competition down that way. So it would just be more the fucking same, and I can't face that.
When I get to Plymouth I will attempt something I've always wanted to do: martial arts.
I've had the chance to take karate lessons a few times over the years, and I always wanted to give it a go, but I've never had the time. I was always committed to my rowing schedule. So now I'm going to give myself the time. I'll try to find a decent karate or judo or tae kwan do studio. It will help keep me in shape, it will be new and exciting, it will be good way to work out aggression and frustration (a mental health benefit rowing has always provided me which is a key to my sanity), and I like the idea of an activity where I get to beat the crap out of people. That has a lot of appeal right now. A lot of appeal.
It's been a difficult decision. I never thought I could turn my back on something I love so much. It scares me that I'm capable of that kind of mind-shift. But it doesn't feel like i've turned my back on it, it feels more like it's turned its back on me.
But of course, as an athlete, you have it drummed in that winners never quit and quitters never win. I'm not a quitter. I'm a winner. I don't quit. Ever. I don't give up. But how is this not giving up?
Shouldn't I be more determined than ever? Shouldn't I go to Plymouth and start my own club, if that's what it takes? Shouldn't I do everything in my power to keep going?
When does that cross the line into stupidity? When do determination, commitment, and perseverance become shouting at a brick wall?
How can I quit and still face myself in the morning?
But how can I keep going, when it's ceased to be a joy and become nothing but a burden? When does it all stop being worth the constant mental and physical struggle? How can I walk away and keep my self respect?