Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Push

This season's going fairly well; we're only visiting a few courses this year, our coach focusing us more on the spring season. Of course we'll be at the Head of the Charles, and there are a few other races we'll be involved in, but that's about it. We're rowing well despite the lack of competition, and I can say I'm really starting to get excited about how things will be shaping up for the spring. Head racing is fun, but there's not much in the way of t-shirts...

I had a really tough piece ahead of me today, and I can't even begin to describe how well it ended up going. I'm having a little bit of trouble going through the middle of longer pieces, and while I'm not flying and dying, there's definitely a slowing trend between the start and the finish. I've also found my arms are weak; they tend to tire during long pieces. True to form, my arms started to fatigue about a third of the way through the piece today. I hung on through the halfway point, wondering if I was going to be able to make it.

Gut-check time.

At two-thirds through, I started to focus on power with the legs, hoping I could just get a little more squeeze out at the catch. The next stroke I started to get the legs down faster, controlling the rate on the recovery. It's tough to describe how it felt at that point. The first (and best) analogy I could think of was comparing myself at the catch to a branch on a tree that's flexed all the way back, and when I pushed off the foot stretchers, it was like letting the branch go. I don't know, everything just flowed. It was great. At 1000m to go, I started winding it up a beat and dropping the split by two to three seconds. At 500m, I let go of the rate and dropped the split as far as I could hold it. Even though it was only a training piece, I felt like I was pulling the 6k of my life. It was beautiful, and the agony at the end only served to highlight how amazing the past four minutes had been. But there are very few things that I get satisfaction from more than lying down on a dirty gym floor, too spent to move, knowing that I went to the edge -- and found there was still more to give.

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