Sunday, October 16, 2011

Get ready for Head of the Charles...
and the 2012 Power and Grace Calendar!

The Head of the Charles Regatta is just five days away, and the women's team here in Princeton is gearing up to make the drive north to support everyone racing...and to share our amazing 2012 Power and Grace Calendar with the world!

This is our second year of making the calendar, and while last year's was beautiful, inspiring, and still hanging on my wall at home, I'm SO EXCITED for the 2012 edition! Our excellent calendar team hired two premiere New York-based photographers to shoot us on the water and in the studio, and put together little cameos that are windows into each rower--what inspires us and drives us on our journey as we train towards the 2012 Olympic Games.

Susan Francia. On your wall. Fierceness!
All images property of Jordan Matter and Jeremy Saladyga.

The calendar's not just beautiful, it's also useful to rowers and non-rowers alike: both major holidays and major regattas are printed in the calendar! Even though I see these women and train with them every day, I'm inspired every time I look at mine--it somehow manages to show both the incredible amount of training my teammates put in to this endeavor, while also showing everyone's competitive, beautiful, and resilient spirits.

So, if you would like to support our journey--100% of our net proceeds go directly to the women of the USRowing Princeton Training Center--and to hang some inspiration, motivation, determination, and just some pure joy in rowing on your wall for the next year, please buy a calendar!

All images property of Jordan Matter and Jeremy Saladyga.

You can order your calendar online by clicking here. We will be selling our calendars on Saturday and Sunday at the USRowing booth in the main tent at the Head of the Charles, and holding a special autograph session on Saturday from 2-4 at the Wintech Racing booth along the walkway by the finish line. We will be selling the calendars for $15 at the Charles--so come by and get one with autographs for the same price! You can also email me at if you would like to order a larger quantity to sell at your club, event, or store.

Erin Cafaro can do more pushups than your boyfriend!
All images property of Jordan Matter and Jeremy Saladyga. 

If you want to see even more about the calendar, you can check out our photographer Jordan Matter's blog about our shoot, "25 Beautiful Women and 2 Frantic Photographers- How We Photographed an Olympic Calendar in One Day" here, as well as my teammate Megan Kalmoe's video about the making of the shoot here!

Thank you for supporting our journey. Go USA! (And SEE YOU AT THE CHARLES!!!)

Monday, October 10, 2011

An Apple-Pickin' Good Time!

Just some grown-ups doing some grown-up apple picking!

 This weekend we had some amazing weather in Princeton, and I decided to mix it up by going to pick some fresh produce with a couple of (non-rower!) friends. After conferring about where to go (our usual place, Terhune Orchards, was overrun by shrieking children for a Family Fun Weekend), we headed out to Lee Turkey Farm, which thankfully was not overrun by shrieking turkeys.

Yasmine, apple warrior!
I see you, Karen!
The produce was a bit spotty--this summer had too high of temperatures and too much rain (thank you, New Jersey!) for many good crops. But we managed to get a big five-gallon bucket of tomatoes, eggplants, and apples. It was our first time using apple pickers, little cages at the end of PVC pipes that are ingenious for reaching up to the highest branches. We also did a bit of tree-climbing, which turned out to be against the rules...which we only saw just as we were leaving! Oh, well.

Looking for apples!  All photos: Karen Pszonka.

I'm baking my share of the apples into my favorite apple crisp today...I'll have a photo up tonight!

Training has been going well as we build back into the year. It's been great to see Tweets and blog updates from athletes from other countries also building back into training--it makes us feel less alone that the first couple of weeks feel exhausting. I think everyone has a moment or two when you wonder if you lost all the work you put in over the last year! But after a bit, you realize it's all still there, and you're right back on track.

1x the pleasure, 1x the fun!  Photo: Stesha Carle.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Care Package

   I knew when I decided to pursue training full-time that my life would be a nomadic one. We spend somewhere between three and seven months each year away from Princeton at training camps and races, and in Princeton, "home" is the (admittedly amazing) guest room of my host family. If I'm lucky, I make it to my parents' house in southern California a few scattered days each year.

   However, one of the great things about being a nomad is receiving care packages from home. This Thursday I came home to a big box waiting on the porch. In it? Nothing spectacular: a bunch of clothes I'd sent home with my parents from the World Championships, some mail, and a note. But what was so special about it was that it was from home--a little link to the parents and brother that I don't get to see often.

   It's interesting, though--talking to athletes from other countries and reading interviews, we actually are "home" quite a bit. Many rowers from Asia, Australia, and New Zealand are abroad from May to September every year, and also travel to training camps. I''ve read that Chinese rowers often leave home to train in their teens and may not get to go home until they meet with success in their rowing careers or else after they've ended. And some rowers from Sweden and Norway live and race abroad for nearly the entire year.

   So there are quite a few of us out there who've lived out of our cars, who've moved somewhere far away, who travel across the country and around the world in pursuit of our racing dreams. I have no second thoughts about living the life of a nomad: I get to go to some truly amazing places and the whole time, I have the luxury of doing something that I love and that is an incredibly rewarding journey. But man, do I love those care packages and the little glimpse of home they give!