Why do we do it to ourselves….?
The story of the EIRC 2015
I started to write this blog in the car last night on the way home from the English Indoor Rowing Championships. I like to reflect pretty soon to allow myself to move forward again and clear my mind. However the volume of messages I received and their content in the hours following my race blew me away to be honest. I started to look at things a little differently so decided to write this the following morning.
Leading up to my race yesterday I had a clear goal and minimum requirement to achieve a new personal best (currently 6.04.5). I am a realist and this was more than possible given my training and some succeses in changes I had made. I removed my heart rate monitor, seeing it as only a negative input, and I had dismissed a lot of rate controlled sessions at harder intensity. This kind of created two workout types and all my ‘session best times’ had improved.
On the day I had entered two races with the idea to take part in the one which gave me the best chance of hitting a PB. At this point the winning of the race was not priority, although if in the latter stages things were tight then hopefully that would bring that extra bit out in me. For a few reasons, mainly a faster field and better perceived race time, I chose to make my main race The Open at 3pm.
I chose to row slowly in the 30-39 group race at 930 as didn’t want to leave a machine free having entered, so did this at a modest pace and quickly got an idea of race conditions. Well even then, and at that pace, there was no air and it wasn’t that pleasant. I knew by the time 3pm came around it would be worse as more oxygen would have been sucked up by an even busier venue. As the day went on indeed racers times were relatively slow so I thought through adjusting my pace to suit conditions. I decided to do this, but still had the hope I might sneak under my previous best. Race time came and following a slight start delay I was ready to go.
Nothing short of altitude training could have prepared me for the next 6 mins lol. It felt my lungs were stealing any available oxygen, leaving my legs with nothing! My mouth was so dry it was like I had sand poured in it! I am sure the other races felt the same. So at around half way this became a race for me and not about a PB. A horrible experience that I just wanted over! I dug in and hung on for gold, ending also with the best time of the day from over 700 entries. I came off the machine struggling to stand let alone walk away, instead choosing to lie on the floor for quite some time!
I am not disappointed with my effort, nor my win. I could have done no more on the day. But this is a journey for me and yesterday was about taking the next step – bridging the gap between 6 mins and 6.04. All my training was on the button and my preparation was faultless which left me knowingly confident, not complacent, of about a 6.02. And I am still yet to take that step which is the frustration. But in life things are all relative and I feel blessed with what I have and coming home to my family and 5 kids who had chosen to stay up to see me (930pm) was confirmation of that. I know that step will happen soon.
Ending of a light note and of course a positive, this time last year I was told I rowed like a weight lifter which brought a smile to my face. A year on and I had a new comment to digest…I had a perfect rowing technique! Now I expect the truth is somewhere between the two, but it also made me smile. It shows either people’s opinions differ hugely or simply that in sport a year is a long time!!
Well done to all those who took part. Our journeys are unique to ourselves and we set our own standards and expectations. I am sure many will have felt the same as me as we all chase our own goals. It is an incredible venue and event, run superbly. The only thing I would change is the conditions, which when I was rowing were most uncomfortable and certainly the hardest I have experienced. The times of the 3 leading men were all around 4-5 seconds off target.
Most of all it was so great to meet so many of you yesterday and put faces to names. Your support has been incredible thank you.