RIO DE JANEIRO -- After a day off due to gusty winds, Olympic rowers got back in their boats Monday with the outstanding U.S. womens eight making a strong debut in Rio.On calm water with barely a breeze on Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, the Americans qualified for Saturdays final in 6 minutes, 6.34 seconds, a whopping eight seconds ahead of the Netherlands.It was good to get a race under our belts, said Meghan Musnicki, one of two rowers remaining from the U.S. eight that won gold in London 2012. This is the first time weve raced in this lineup.Britain won the second heat in 6:09.52 and is lining up as the strongest candidate to smash the dynasty of the Americans, whove won 10 consecutive world and Olympic titles in the event.Its definitely achievable and we all believe that we can do it, and thats what you really need in a race like this, said Karen Bennett, who rows in seat No. 7 in the British boat. What better place to beat them than the Olympics to really make a statement.The Brits held off New Zealand and Canada, coxed by 56-year-old Lesley Thompson-Willie, who is participating in her eighth Olympics.Britain also secured a spot in the final of the mens eight, winning its heat in 5:34.23 while defending Olympic champion Germany won the other heat, four seconds slower.Helen Glover and Heather Stanning nearly saw their four-year winning streak end in the womens pair as Hedvig Rasmussen and Anne Andersen of Denmark led the race until the final stretch. The British pair won by just two-tenths of a second and advanced to the semifinals, along with the Danes.A Serbian pair that capsized in choppy waters Saturday stayed in their boats this time as they qualified for the semis in a repechage.Vladislav Yakovlev of Kazakhstan was less fortunate as he flipped in the single sculls after just 200 meters. Yakovlev climbed back into his boat and finished the race almost five minutes behind the Algerian winner.The first medal races in the Olympic regatta are set for Wednesday. The morning after the election, I wrote to a friend, Im so devastated I can barely love.The last word was a typo. Id meant to write move. After I read the line, I realized that the word love worked too. I was numb. Angry. All the stages of grief mixing together and battling for expression.To me, the election results were less about the candidates than what the candidates revealed about we, the people. About who counted and who didnt. All those fears we chew over in the dark, all those unspeakable dialogues we imagine are happening, confirmed en masse, right there on the evening news.As a female journalist who has worked for more than 25 years in a field where I was often the only woman on the scene, I am no stranger to sexism or any of the other -isms that pollute our population. I have been groped by male bosses. I have been sexually assaulted and raped (a linguistic delineation that feels absurd to me). I have been threatened online, the standard rape and kill shoutouts, but with them, insults so convoluted in their hatefulness that my teenage children would repeat them back to me as a joke, all of us laughing, treating it like farce, because really, what else could we do? You cant block the universe. You cant mute the world. Especially now.And yet, I was laid low by the election results in a way Id never been before, my breath taken.I mean, I can barely move, I corrected in the letter to my friend. I wasnt exaggerating. My body felt leaden, swollen and empty at the same time. I couldnt stop checking the news feeds, feverishly hoping for some small bit of something that would remind me that this world was still a welcoming place for my daughters, for my family of difference, for my friends and neighbors and extended family who did not look like Children of the Corn. I knew what I was doing was unhealthy. I didnt care. Mercifully, I have dogs.And so, on went their leashes and my sneakers as I forced myself to do the most basic human thing I could manage: I put one foot in front of the other and lurched forward.I ended up walking for five hours. It was windy, and the November breeze pushed the clouds past the sun so quickly the light flickered as if coming from an old-time film projector. Leaves blew at my feet, into my hair. Air filled my lungs. I meandered through neighborhoods toward downtown. At first I avoided looking at other people. I felt raw, ugly. But after a mile or so, I began to make eye contact.?When I did, some passersby smiled. Others rolled their eyes. One woman, a stranger, asked, How you doing today? Before I could answer, she burst into tears. I followed suit, blotting the stream with the corner of my hoodie. Later, when I paused to allow the dogs to drink from a fountain, a man approached on a bicycle and asked for permission to pet them. I nodded, and he squatteed down and leaned in, hugging my 90-pound pit bull around the waist, pressing his cheek to his dripping jowls.dddddddddddd.Im sorry, he said, looking up at me. Im a veteran and I really need this today. I just, I dont know what I was fighting for all that time, he continued, before standing and brushing fur off his shirt.As he pedaled away, I began to sob again. And so it went. Walking and weeping, like a scene from an Ingmar Bergman movie that wouldnt end.It was dark when I finally got home. My calves burning, my skin pinked from cold. I fed the dogs, both exhausted now, then reached out to the women in my life.My daughters told me theyd gone hiking at their school. A colleague said shed ridden her bike in fast circles around her neighborhood. My 79-year-old mother-in-law emailed that shed attended two spin classes in a row. Woman after woman shared that they had taken to the streets or the athletic court or the field or the gym, trying to reassert themselves, their significance, their essential goodness and glory, with the simple act of moving.I understood. I understood all of it. The veteran, so weary, wondering what hed been fighting for all that time. The stranger, so vulnerable the mere act of eye contact leveled her. My daughters, my kin, my co-workers, running, stretching, sweating -- each of us forcing our heart to pound hard enough that we couldnt ignore it, that we felt it battering inside our chest like a bird. In action, we are alive. Our aches self-inflicted. Our limits pushed by ourselves. Our victories earned. Our value unquestioned.Yesterday,?Hillary Rodham Clinton was photographed walking her dog in the woods near her Chappaqua house, face flush, hair windswept. Another woman, hiking with a baby in a carrier, spotted her. In the picture, Clinton holds the dog leash loosely at her side, a poop bag knotted on the end. She is smiling. She looks tired, but not unhappy. She, too, moving, breathing, trusting her body to hold her up.Since the results of the election, a mere 48 hours ago, a rash of hate crimes have been reported throughout the nation. Against Muslims, against those identifying as LGBT, against brown and black people, against women. These crimes are being documented in every state, many of them occurring in schools, where racial slurs have found a new bookend in exhortations for Trump.As any management expert can tell you, the culture of a company is determined from the top down. However your head boss behaves, so go the workers below. A sexist bigot is now the boss of our nation. And for some time, it will feel to many of us that we can barely love.But love we must. The world is out there. We can -- and will -- move through it. ' ' '