No Backing Down

Imagine being an Olympian and seeing the World Record mark flashed on the screen before you.   A World Record is that honor that everyone wants to hold.  But what about the other mark?   The personal best.

Everyone has one.  My new “personal best” in a 5k is 32:30.  Granted, given I’ve only run one official 5k, that’s not much of a “personal best.”  How about the 20 minute erg test?  2:10 spilt.

How do you strive to beat your personal best?    Most people would say, “by pushing yourself in training.”

We know what the 5k mark is for the Head of the Hooch.  We have to row under 20:00 to be in the top group.

In our last double head, we rowed a 22:00 and a 22:07, both capping out at a 26 stroke rate.   Our next double head will be at a faster stroke rate, and hopefully a faster time.    However, what would happen if we rowed a 28 or 30 spm and ended up worse?

If we’re not pushing ourselves in training, how can we expect to be the best?   Training is tough–it’s supposed to be.  You tear yourself down to build your body and your mind back up.   Nothing frustrates me more than when people back down or throw pieces to look good.   Sure–we all have bad days.     I go to the water after work and my mind takes twenty minutes to refocus on the job of rowing.   It’s daunting when the coach says, “We’re going to do three 9-minute pieces at increasing rates.”   Even I cringe when I think of the pain coming.    Sometimes the workout seems impossible–but we’ve always persevered.   We conquered double head races.   We pushed through to finish the 5k.

It’s when there is a pattern of bad training behavior that people fall short.  By saying, “I’m going to take this first piece easy and save it for the end–” that’s wussing out.   Are you going to “take it easy” in the first 2k of a 5k race?  No!  You’re going all out the whole distance.   The philosophy of “saving it for later” doesn’t work in training.   You must push yourself from the first moment.   And in that third piece, when your heart is protesting and your legs on fire, you remember that the mind gives out before the body, so you dig deep, curse, squeal, and moan, and find a way to make it to the end.  There is no other way to build endurance.

Other teams aren’t wussing out, and I don’t plan to, either.


About camckenna

I write; I row.
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