Sunday, February 26, 2006


CRASH-B's went well. I didn't do as bad as I thought I was going to do, but I went in there, rowed my race, and finished fifth in my heat. I can live with that. My legs are filled with the dull aching burn of the lingering traces of lactic acid, but I'm dealing with it. An ice bath would be nice, but I guess sleep can't hurt, either.

Making weight was what I thought would be a difficult proposition. In the end, it worked out, although it involved me not eating about 18 hours prior to weigh in. I only drank a Nalgene bottle worth of water in the same time period, too, and I was paying for it past the first 250. My mouth felt as dry as the inside of a frathouse keg on Sunday morning. I don't think I'm ever going to do that again; from now on, I'm going to have to figure out how to keep weight without dehydrating myself. But at least I did it; making weight is half the battle.

Speaking of Nalgenes, I picked up a bunch of free flair for my bottle. I've now got about 2/3 of my bottle covered! I need a life.

Being finished with that was one of the best feelings of my life. The first thing I did after I dropped my bags off was go eat. I've never enjoyed a pizza and fries more in my life. I'm staying with a good friend from high school for his birthday, and tonight we went out and ate copious amounts of food at Dick's Last Resort, a pretty good place at Faneuil Hall. Total bill for 16 people? $340. And tonight, we party. I'll get back to you when the hangover's gone.

Friday, February 24, 2006


If you've been reading this blog lately, you probably know my feelings about erg tests. If not, I just gave you a link. So read it. :P

So I have no idea why the hell I decided I'd do CRASH-B's.

Actually, yes, I do. I remember the moment pretty well, actually. Last year, my coxswain and I promised each other that we'd do CRASH-B's together, regardless of whether or not we were ready for it. So I guess the question is, how the hell did I allow myself to promise such a ridiculous thing in the first place?

But I'm registered, I lost the weight that I put on over the holiday season (for the most part, at least. I won't be surprised if I'm stuck doing a sweat row for half an hour before my weigh-in ), and I've got my transportation all set up for tomorrow morning.

I've been thinking a lot about the whole thing, mostly on why they make me so nervous, and I've come up with another theory. An erg test really is a test. Let me explain.

So far, the top seeded times are all at 6:20. Maybe there are guys who will show up in the bullpen who can pull faster, or maybe they don't show the elite seeds on Regatta Central, but in any case, the winning time is probably going to be between 6:10-6:20. I know I can't beat that. There's no way I could pull a 6:20 at this point in my life, maybe not ever. Hopefully, some day, I will, but not tomorrow. I know that. So what am I getting out of this, other than the pride of competing?

There are a few things. The rest of the team did their 2K tests this week. I'm fighting for my seat in the varsity boat. I'm also going to race the rest of the guys on my team in my heat, because I don't want some snotty novice beating me. But the most important, yet probably intangible thing that I'm going to get out of this is the knowledge that those numbers put in my head. Like I said before, this is really a test. You put the time in studying, hours upon hours of studying. And then it's test day. The only difference between the limits of the body and the limits of the mind is I know what knowledge I hold in my head. If there's a question to that I don't know the answer to, I know I don't know it. But, if someone asked me "can you go 10 seconds off your PR? How about 20?", I wouldn't have a response. I can only tell you after I get my score back.

You know, I just realized that was a very long way of saying I don't like doing erg testing because I fear the unknown.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Why Redgrave is a God

I was just looking at the record times posted on the Henley Royal Regatta website, and I saw something ridiculous. The first split, the Barrier, was covered by Redgrave and Clift in the Double Sculls Challenge Cup in 1982 in 1:58. Eleven years later, Redgrave and Pinsent covered the distance in the same time. However, they were in the pair. Their record time for the finish in the pair in 1995 is 6:56. The record time for the double, set in the same year by Jamieson and Gleeson in the same year was one second faster.

Dude. That's nuts.

Friday, February 17, 2006


Prior to this year, I hadn't really had any friends who didn't already row. Now, living in a mostly freshman dorm, I've met and befriended more people in one semester than the rest of my college career. Most of them find out that I row pretty quick, when we're hanging out and I leave by ten to go to bed because it's "late." I usually get one of three reactions: 1.) aren't rowers supposed to be taller? 2.) dude, your arms must be jacked (I don't know how to respond to this. Am I supposed to strip down to show them how "jacked" I am?) and 3.) Can you teach me how to row on one of those machines? We can go work out sometime.

My replies usually come out something like this: 1.) I'm tall enough. And if you don't believe me, check out
Steve Tucker's height. He finished second in the Championship Single at the Head of the Charles this year. And there's Francesco Espozito, who was even shorter. So blow me. 2.) See above in parenthesis, as well as the standard explaination that rowing is a predominantly lower-body sport and 3.) Erhrhmmm...

It's not that I don't like introducing people to the sport. I think the more people who row, the better, especially in the United States, where rowing is far outside the mainstream. And I taught a friend how to erg so I could have a training partner for some of the steady states while I'm home on break. He's a former middle-distance runner, and we've been friends since middle school, so when he asked me to show him about cross-training, I didn't hesitiate. But as for my college friends, that's another story.

When I'm at school, training is probably the least stressful part of my day. Sure, it's a pain in the ass to get up at 5:30 every morning, and fitting in the afternoon workouts in a busy schedule isn't any better, but that's more of an issue of timing, not the work itself. Once I strap in and start stroking, I let the issues that have been bothering me about classes and friends and money all go. When I'm doing any type of piece, whether it be steady state or a category II piece, my mind is predominantly on my splits and the time remaining. It's only once the handle stops moving and the flywheel slows down that I let everything else come back into my mind.

Working out is a solitary pleasure to me, most of the time, and I don't want to have that meditative period of my day broken by having to talk to a friend about the very things I'm trying to forget about while I'm rowing. I truly like many of the people I've met while at school, but I'm not at the level of friendship with them yet where I would feel comfortable working out with them. My friend from home, as well as my teammates, understand this for the most part, and when we're doing steady state, the chatter is kept to a minimum, and we never talk during hard pieces, unless it's for encouragement.

So, to my friends at school, I appreciate you showing interest in my sport, and I'd love to have you hop in a boat some day. But, no, I'm not going to show you how to erg.