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04/1 2010

The flipping video

As promised: proof that I’m a little nuts.

I thought that by pulling off a few stunts and even flipping the other day in the single I might just make it easier to row the boat.  I’ve been out in the single only once since that practice, and in that session the wind was huge – moving me 1.5 metres/second sitting there.  Needless to say there was not noticeable benefit when I was trying to ‘survive’.

The next time I’m in the single on a ‘normal’ to even ‘moderately bad’ day, I’m curious to see how much further I can push myself.  It’s length that I need more than anything, and it’s length that I’m going to get.  The stunts I pull in this video may not seem like a big deal to all of you, but believe me, they were really pushing my boundaries.  Length comes at the catch and finish and those are the spots I work on in the video.

I’d tell you to enjoy the clip, but I already know you will.

Dave

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03/31 2010

Mood Swings

Camps really test your strength, and I’m not just talking about physical strength.

Here we are, as I said in an earlier note, focusing only on rowing.  As such, when I get off the water from a good row I am happy, and carry that mood into the afternoon or evening.  However, if I have a bad row, or a frustrating row, I also carry that into the afternoon or evening.  There is a compounding effect that can swing the benefit of a camp for days.

One can argue though that a really good athlete can get the most out of any situation.  For me that means that I have to get as much out of rowing the single here as I can, no matter if the other guys are miles ahead of me in the singles, pairs, doubles, fours or quads.

If the single is the boat I am training in then there is no reason why I shouldn’t be able to get the best training effect out of it…one man…one boat…get it done.

That has been the attitude that I have tried to have here – “embrace the single, learn as much as I can”.  Two days ago I flipped the single three times to learn as much as I can, then yesterday was such a windy day.  Sitting there the wind was pushing me 1.5 metres per second.  That was faster then I was moving when I was rowing into the head wind.  A little laughable, but again – I tried to get as much out of it as I could.  I know that I was rowing really short, so I tried to row longer.  My forearms were so tight from all the tension that I carried dragging my oars along the top of the water, so I tried to get my oars off the water.

Although flipping my boat in calm water metres from the dock didn’t feel totally applicable to me in the really rough water, I know it was because I didn’t just try to survive…I thought about what I was doing a little bit more.  Granted – I did just try to survive at points too.

But I got the miles in – my fitness will benefit – I will benefit – I didn’t give up.  With my boat halfway full of water Mike had us all spin at the dam here on Lake Natoma and do a portion of our long pyramid ladder, 4 minutes with the tail wind and then 3 minutes into the head again.  It wasn’t mandatory, other boats went in, but little moments like that make us stronger, braver and somehow turns a 2K race at the end of the season into something very simple.

In 2003 the final in the 8+ at the worlds had a huge head wind pick up in the last few minutes of the warm-up.  Because of training like last night not a man in the boat flinched and our fearless cox got us better prepared in the warm-up for the wind than the other 5 crews – presumably because we won that race.

I had a sense of pride knowing that I survived the conditions last night, even if it was really ugly most of the time.  But my frustration has been building because I am not getting markedly better in the single.  My fitness is coming back faster then my speed is increasing in the boat.  That pisses me off.  I carried that into the evening along with my tiredness and negativity.  But this is all part of camp, and I forgot about that last night, and went to bed wanting to destroy something.

This morning Morgan Jarvis and I rowed a pair together.  We jumped into the boat last minute – I had already taken my sculls to the dock – the boat was not perfect for us but I was rowing again, not sculling.  My shoes were so small, but I squeezed into them because I just wanted to row the boat so much.  We went out and sorted through a few style differences, and had a great time.  The workout was 10 by 90 seconds, and we did okay.  We weren’t setting world records, but we got stuck in and that is what matters most.  I was getting good training in, we were working well together to try to raise our game, and once in a while we picked off a boat or two.

As you can probably tell from my writing I am in a much better mood than I have been in for a few days – and that will carry into the single or back into the pair this afternoon – whichever boat the coaches need me to row.  I am glad to be here at camp, I don’t want to get in the way of the guys who are fighting for seats for the first World Cup, and I also want to get the most out of this camp for me so that when I return to Victoria I get REALLY STUCK IN and ready to crack into the top boat when the boys return from Bled.

Dave

PS.  I have the videos from flipping on the desktop of this computer, but have to process them a bit now.  There may be a few words I don’t want younger audiences hearing as I hit the freezing cold water!  Stay tuned…

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03/30 2010

Sick and tired.

I am going to nap right now.  I think I was in the cold water too long yesterday.  Last night I had a rough sleep.  I was able to get the miles done this morning in the workout – but it was NOT pretty.  I will rest and see if I can bring my A-game to the afternoon workout.

Dave

PS. Video to follow soon.

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03/29 2010

Doing whatever it takes

The main reason for a camp is to get away from the distractions of home.  These are the words of my coach, and that is why I am in Sacramento right now.  I’m a month into my comeback, and everyday I can feel more fitness return to my body.  Coming on this camp may be my very best opportunity to kick start or boost my comeback.  All I have here to focus on is rowing.  When I’m not rowing I’m planning my next row, or recovering from my last one.  My loving wife and friend and support is back at home taking care of all those things I left behind.  Bowen has his first ear infection and was up all night last night.  Mira had Sparks tonight and wants all of Rachel’s attention. And Rachel, well she only has her Masters to finish over the next handful of weeks.  No big deal.

I have had a mental block rowing the single.  Something about the boat has made me feel vulnerable, scared, ready to flip.  It isn’t a fear about dying, or not being able to get back into the boat – our coach Mike has us flip in a pool every couple of years.  It is more of an irrational fear of getting too close to the flipping point then actually flipping.  Anyway, today I thought it would be a good ida to push my limits and get more comfortable in the single.

I went down on my afternoon off and started to see how far out to the catch I could get.  I pushed and pushed and pushed.  And eventually I flipped.  It was great.  I also tried to see how deep my oars could go in the water before I flipped, and I couldn’t.  Then I put my oars parallel to the boat at the finish, and I was very surprised to see how hard it was to flip – but I did flip again.

By this point there were a few local rowers wondering what I was doing.  One of our guys told them that I was an Olympic Silver Medalist getting over my fear of flipping.  Plain and simple.

The third time I flipped was again at the catch, because that is where I am most stressed.  It was great.  At this point are you wishing you were there to see it?  Well, we caught it on film.  Watch for it on my website or on Youtube.  I will try to edit it and get it on-line sometime tomorrow.

To bed now – Dave

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03/28 2010

I’m alive…

Don’t worry – to any of you who have been looking for the next blog – I am still alive.  I will post tomorrow afternoon when we get a little time off.

Dave

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03/26 2010

Back in California!

The last time that I was on this course would have been at the Pac-10 Conference Championships racing for Bob Ernst at UW in 2001.  Fast forward to today – I just rigged and rowed my single, and at 4 PM the sun was out and I was wearing just my uni suit.  I love the warm weather.

Part of my survival for being involved in a specific sport at such an intense level has always been to use my time away from the lake to get some healthy distance.  I traveled here today with Malcolm Howard from the men’s eight in 2008 and Mike Wilkinson, a newer guy to the team.  We talked about rowing for hours.  We had a 4 hour lay over in San Francisco that was gobbled up by our story telling.  There was something therapeutic, even cathartic about talking through past events with one of the guys who witnessed or experienced them with me.

Although I am not going to give up my sacred separation from rowing altogether, I do think that I want to let a bit more rowing into that space.  We’ll see how the balance happens.

Dave

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Posted in All Blogs, Rowing
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03/25 2010

Testing results…

Again, I have to know what to post and what not to post.  I am not going to be the one who spills all our national secrets.  Hey, at least now I know how it feels to be the federal conservatives!

The testing was a shock to the system.  I almost said it was a blow to my ego, but I knew I’d be somewhere around where I am, which isn’t going to win any medals if I had to race tomorrow, but what else can I expect three and a half weeks into training?  I’m here for a long time, not a good time – so have a good time, the sun can’t shine everyday.  That’s not how the song goes.

The outcome from today is that I have been invited to attend a camp in Sacramento starting the day after tomorrow.  I say the outcome from ‘today’ as apposed to ‘racing’ because my invite has more to do with my track record over the years than my performance today – oh, and probably also something to do with my tenacity just to go through the testing today.  It pays to work hard all the time.

I will miss Easter for the first time with Mira, and I will miss Bowen’s first Easter ever.  It’s not like Bowen will know what’s going on – but I love how excited Mira gets on Easter morning.  Rachel is such a strong support.  She is doing her masters and raising our family on her own while I run off for 12 days.  I owe her big.

Dave

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03/23 2010

19:54

I had rhythm for the first 2000 metres, and then the door started to close on me.  I actually started counting at 400 strokes to go – but told myself it was too early.  I think when I count that far out I don’t get as much from each stroke.  So I counted to 100, and then counted down from 300.  

In the end I can’t complain about the test.  I got a good push, fatigued, recovered and was able to push hard again in the last 1000 metres. 

Next time I’ll be better.

Dave

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03/23 2010

30 minutes to go…

I’ll be heading over to the testing centre in about 30 minutes.  The test itself starts at 11:15 AM.  I slept with ear plugs in last night and slept like a baby – slept in past 8 AM.  By the way, whoever coined the phrase ‘slept like a baby’ clearly did not have kids.

I am looking forward to getting into that rhythm that comes at around 1300 metres in, just after it really starts to suck.  Then that rhythm will carry me through to the halfway mark, where I will start counting strokes…  Or something like that.

Dave

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