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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.


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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