Lucky in the Ultimate Rowing Lottery: HOCR 2019

Friday morning I woke up to this awesome text message screenshot:

I’m going to the Head of the Charles! All this hard work will serve its intended purpose!

Immediately after the morning workout I jumped online to buy tickets. It’s fun watching the prices inch upward and return flights sell out. But tickets have been purchased, so I’m going. I might be bumming it under a bridge somewhere, but it’ll be in Boston.

Just kidding. I do have a place to stay. I’ll be there Thursday-Monday soaking in the full HOCR2019 experience. There’s no time like the first, right? (Haha)

Training catch-up

After Nationals I planned to take Monday off before jumping back on the erg. Nature made other plans. I started telling Alan midday I didn’t feel right. I couldn’t quantify it, just “off.” A mild headache. Stomach a little funky.

Tuesday morning I woke up with 100.3 fever, headache, soreness all over. Luckily we were able to put the kid in daycare for the full week because I pretty much slept all day Tuesday.

Wednesday the fever played the yo-yo, but finally broke for good in the evening. Thursday the headache eased off, but I waited until Friday before doing any physical activity. Even that was an easy 20-minute tester.

The struggle is real

Starting the plan again the following Monday, I knew it would be a horrible week. All it takes is three days to start losing gains. I’d been out longer than that.

Is this all you can do lazy bones???

First workout went decently, but I struggled the rest of the week. Endurance, gone. Power, reduced. Mental toughness? Did I ever have that?

One theme I’ve been working on is what I call “changing the narrative.” It’s rethinking the benchmarks measuring what makes a workout good or bad. Specifically, I’m working on how I approach low rate, steady state. This shift in what’s an acceptable pace has made the workouts harder all-around. Many mental battles have been waged. Some won, some lost.

Weightlifting hit harder than erging, probably because I eased off the week before Nationals. My tush and shoulders keep asking for some TLC but I keep serving shoulder presses and lunges. Ouch.

I keep waiting for the workouts to “turn the corner.” It’s this magical moment when you’ve been struggling for days and finally, your body adapts to the load. The workout on that wonderful day makes me feel like The Rock. I am She-Woman, hear me roar!

If anything, the struggle has gotten more real. Friday I threw in the towel on the erg after two disastrous pieces. I’d had enough. The goal numbers were so far beyond my reach and I felt wiped out from the previous day’s weightlifting. Physically and mentally. You’d think learning about the Head of the Charles just hours before would be sufficient motivation. But I just couldn’t do it.

Saturday I took the little guy out for a day in the woods. I still felt sore from training, but nature is a great drug. She heals. And it was active rest, lugging a 30-lb toddler plus backpack plus Boykin Spaniel up and down steep hills.

Magical Morning in the 1x

For as hard as land training has been since I resumed, my row this morning was euphoric. I haven’t had such a solid workout in the 1x in ages.

I can’t say there was anything particularly special. Sometimes you have a day where you feel great in your body and how the boat is moving.

Turn around point on today’s 16k of water time.

I thought I’d end up with 12-14k, but the current was down to nil with unusually low water on the river. The temperature was in the 60s, 70s. Half the row, the sun didn’t peak over the cliffs, leading to long stretches in the shade. So I went for 16k total. Rowed a 5k and 4K low rate steady state pyramid. Executed a combined total of 4K in necessary drills, like square blade and cut the cake. I ignored the average spilt to focus on rowing well at the given rate. It felt good, and as I headed upriver towards the launch, like I’d made progress technically. This little piggy was rowing cleaner all the way home.

I chased a river otter downstream. Scared a deer. Saw practically no one.

My only regret is not starting earlier, when the mist swirled around and over the river. It was just lifting as I rigged the boat.

So a great row to start the next week of training. Six weeks to the Head of the Charles. What better motivation do you need?

About camckenna

I write; I row.
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