Eating ergs for lunch

It’s a Sunday. Usually Sundays are off days, but this weekend it ended up Saturday as my rest day.

I remembered that my weekend workout was short. What I didn’t remember until I looked at my training plan was I was in for a 1K test.

Enter expletive <here.>

“Are you nervous?” Alan asked as I change into workout clothes. Well, yeah, I am now that I know what I have to do.

“Why?” he asked.

Why is any athlete nervous about physical tests? Because we want to do well. We want to be kick ass. My case, because I had not anticipated it. I didn’t eat properly or sleep or prepare in the days before like I usually do. I had a chocolate-zucchini brownie soaked in Disaronno for lunch yesterday.

No defined mental strategy. It was, “oh, shit, I have to do something on the fly here. What’s my prior PR? What can I do now?”

Add to it: I haven’t been sprint training. So how’s all my endurance and anaerobic work going to play out?

So in the 45 minutes between, “crap, I have a 1k test,” and sitting down on the machine at the Y, I had to strategize and mentally prep. And suck down loads of water.

I looked up my last PR. Goal: be close to it, beat it if you can.

Goal 2: forget stroke rate. Aim for the target numbers as low a rate as makes sense for how you feel today.

And yeah, I was stupid nervous. I always am.

Strategy: copy the 5k framework, but over 250 meter splits. Try to beat each prior split. Do a start and five to go. Be strong all the way through. Consistent. No “hail mary” sprint like the 5k test.

Not going to lie, sat on the machine post-warm up procrastinating hard core. Fiddling with the ear buds, the straps, slapping thighs, sliding back and forth. Waiting for the right chorus in the song to start.

Finally, I just go. No more delaying the inevitable reality. It will be what it will be.

I count to 25 strokes. The start has sucked. Watts are up and down. I don’t like my settle stroke rate, it’s under my target watts and I can’t get it up. I accept a higher stroke rate around 200 in. I’m also at 25 strokes and 200 meter in, not 250. That’s a bummer.

Count to 30 strokes. This is sucking. I think I’m faster than first 250. Still trying to compromise between rate and watts. Forgot to look. 613 meters? Damn.

Count another 30. Push hard. Give up on rate/watt balance. Just push hard and through the lactic acid. Right around 30 it’s starting to burn.

But it’s 270 meters? Ok, 30 then 5-ish strokes, no big deal. Push. Starlight vision, definitely dehydrated today. Projected time 3:43, 3:41…must keep it 3:41. 250-sprint? No, just keep pushing hard. Will go after 30.

At 30, 60 meters to go. Hail Mary now. Projected time: 3:41. Can I make it 3:40? Let’s try! One! Two! Wattage isn’t high enough. Push harder! Four! Nope, move too late. Must move earlier next time. Six! 3-2-1-0 m Paddle!

Awesome! A new PR! Not a bad effort for underhydrated, unprepared, and a higher drag.

When I added the test to my record book, I was pleasantly surprised to see I did a 1k almost exactly a year ago (7/20/18 to 7/21/19). Time was 2.2 total sec faster, even with up erg and a different training schedule.

I am pleased with this effort and have no complaints for where I am with the training goal. After all, the target is the Head of the Charles.

Speaking of Head of the Charles

Last week I started getting really worried I would have to lottery in as a single. I always said I would if I had to, but I really didn’t want to.

Having heard from nobody looking for a rower for a crew boat, the possibility that this would be my route has been increasing. It was dwelling on my mind a lot last week. Just thinking about it made my palms sweaty. Can you imagine, trying to race a 5K for the first time alone at this prestigious event? Who’s Who of rowing watching and paying attention? My pulse was skyrocketing just thinking about it. And then remembering how I felt at the World Rowing Masters Regatta last year before the single?

I know people do it, but I bet most of them are better rowers than me with a lot more experience on this kind of platform.

I’ll do it if I have to, but my biggest challenge if I win the lottery will be the nerves. That will make or break my experience, and I expect they will be running high.

The advantage of rowing with other people is it actually distracts me from what’s happening. I “get out of my own way.” I’m thinking about them and pushing harder for them. I would even bow a boat for the first time at the Charles rather than raise the single. I would handle the pressure better. I’m not saying all the jitters would be eliminated, but it would be better.

So the 1x deadline is in two weeks. One of my rowing pals is back in, and we’re trying to make a women’s club or Masters 4+. We need one more girl, preferably port, to make it happen. If we can’t make a boat, I’ll enter the singles lottery.

Health update

Apparently my problem six weeks ago was caused by a little virus called mono. You may have heard of it.

Now I’m wondering: am I tired because of my training, because I have a toddler, because my plate it too full with Mom/work/training, or just a side effect of mono?

Either way, the mantra has been suck it up, buttercup. Keep pushing forward.

How’s the training going?

Like always, there are good days and bad. This week’s long endurance work felt better. I might finally be making progress in that realm. My new weightlifting routine is still in the early stages. I like having the numbers from the test that I can use to establish effort-like, “today is an 85% day, so that means 135lb back squat.” It’s proven I have been too conservative with my lifts.

So onward and upward! The routine continues. Always making gains.

About camckenna

I write; I row.
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