I kid you not, Monday morning as I started to erg the first song to play on the completely random playlist? “I Believe,” by Christina Perri. After a demoralizing previous week, I heard:
‘Cause I have been where you are before
And I have felt the pain of losing who you are
And I have died so many times, but I am still alive
I believe that tomorrow is stronger than yesterday
And I believe that your head is the only thing in your way
I wish that you could see your scars turn into beauty
I believe that today it’s okay to be not okay
Hold on, hold on
I wish I could say buttercup sucked it up and killed her tough workout week.
The truth is I endured. Buttercup tried being tougher and mentally resilient, but continued struggling to meet the measured goals for the rowing workouts. The resulting times were much closer to the goal than last week, but still falling short of the optimal outcome.
I said before, I believe it’s a mental barrier and I still believe it. I just couldn’t find the key to breaking it it down. Monday. Tuesday. Wednesday. The same, the same, the same.
Of course, the final day of the hardest week, I finally broke through the invisible barrier.
Fridays I have double-sessions, usually weightlifting first, then a break at home for breakfast and walking the dog, then rowing followed by finishing the lifting.
My morning started by scrolling Instagram and seeing the incredible Megan Kalmoe’s post
about her “humble rebuilding” after injury. She rowed a 30 minute piece with an average 1:56.5 spilt.
All I could think was, “damn.” If only I could do that…I’m not an elite, but still…I would be thrilled to hold 1.56.5 for 5k much less 30 minutes. And she’s aiming for under 1:49! Damn! Talk about a perspective gut-check. If elites are doing that, what I am supposed to do?
So at the Y, I change the routine. I opt to row first. It’s a throwback day! 3 x 15 minutes with rate increases at 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 minutes. No big deal. I thought I’d get two pieces in, then lift and finish rowing in the second session. But, I’m a turtle in the morning and after my warm-up row only one 15-minute piece.
During the piece I feel like I’m putting on the right pressure and holding decent watts for the stroke rate. The drive speed looks solid. I finish thinking I’ve done great work.
Then I flip the rowing workout diary back to November 20. Just two average watts faster over the first piece. Drag just 3 points harder. Essentially, no progress.
Alan asked how my workout went over breakfast. “It sucked.” Understatement of the year.
I have around two hours-cooking Caelan’s breakfast, eating, cleaning, walking the zoo, packing the bag– to dwell on how much I suck at rowing and why.
I have two 15 minutes pieces to prove I’m not a loser. I’m better today than I was eight months ago, for all the reasons I outlined over eggs with Alan. I’m at least eight, if not ten-plus pounds lighter than November. I’m leg pressing 60+ pounds more on a consistent basis. I crushed my 2k and 1k erg test.
I must stop being a wuss.
As I get going, the light bulb moment happens. And it’s a stupid epiphany for a rower. Really. The self-talk went like this when the dropped below acceptable levels.
“Are your legs tired?”
“Then keep pushing.”
This became: “STOP THINKING AND ROW WITH YOUR LEGS”
Don’t stop because I’m sucking wind, or a feeling tired, or the shoulder has a little twinge. Legs tired yet? Nope. Push harder.
Watts drop? ROW WITH YOUR LEGS.
Rate up two beats? ALL IN THE LEGS. No big deal.
Guess what? The second piece finished with a better result. The third a bit faster.
Conclusion: Time to embrace the discomfort because my problem is in my head. My legs are my engine, and they are stronger than I think.
After all, rowing is a legs sport, not an arms!