Sunday, February 25, 2007

C.R.A.S.H.-B.'s

This evening was everyone's favourite February indoor race, the 2K CRASH-B race. One of our men (Toby Medaris) won the heavy collegiate men's race, with my friend from Northeastern (Pat Sullivan) pulling a strong piece to take second. On our side, a couple of friends had phenomenal races (Kady Glessner and Catherine Starr), and Radcliffe overall had an extremely strong showing. I'm very excited for our spring racing season, based on how many people PRd and pulled very hard-fought pieces--right now, I think we're stronger than the year we took 3rd at NCAAs!

CRASH-Bs is an interesting race because all the factors that affect you individually, and usually stay within your own boathouse and team, are pulled out into the public eye. If you falter for five or six strokes, it's not just on your own monitor, it's on a jumbotron. As Blocker said, "it's not just a race, it's a performance."

I had a disappointing piece--I wasn't able to maintain the goal pace I had set for myself after the first 750 meters, which I think was largely due to having forgotten what it felt like to be in that much pain (rather, in the normal amount of pain you're in during a 2k). The good thing about that is that as Sullivan says, "there's a pretty steep learning curve between the first and second spring 2k." I'm not worried about it (last year I was 13 seconds faster in June than I was at this race), but it would have been nice to PR. However, now I have a lot of good things to focus on, and some mental toughness to get back.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Season of Self-Renunciation?

Lent begins this Wednesday and with it, a renewed focus on abnegation. There's not a lot I can do to change rowing and training into something that fits that focus, but I think that sharing my training with other members of the rowing community might be a step in that general direction.

I feel like there is a dearth of resources for female collegiate rowers, so that's what my general focus will be. I'll be publishing workouts, thoughts on training and where training fits into the life of a student athlete, linking to articles, and writing about some things that I feel are especially relevant to female rowers, such as nutrition and the team community.

This sport has made a huge impact on the person I am today, and I believe in its power to affect positive changes in the lives of just about everyone. The lessons it has taught me, and continues to teach me--among other things, about interdependence with a team, personal focus and fortitude, and what a difference a mentor can make in one's life--are ones I will truly value for the rest of my career as an athlete and also for the rest of my life. To quote Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes:

"One would sometimes think, from the speech of young men, that things had changed recently, and that indifference was now the virtue to be cultivated. I have never heard anyone profess indifference to a boat race. Why should you row a boat race? Why endure long months of pain in preparation of a fierce half-hour, or even six minutes, that will leave you all but dead? Does anyone ask the question? Is there anyone who would not go through all its costs, and more, for the moment when anguish breaks into triumph--or even for the glory of having nobly lost? Is life less than a boat race? If a man will give all the blood in his body to win the one, will he not spend all the might of his soul to prevail in the other?"
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