It's been a long lonely year indoors. Much different than any other indoor season I've trained for a 2K during. Sitting here on my erg I have some thoughts I want to get down. Thoughts that I want to remember. I could get all weird about it, or I can be grateful for what I still have. I'm choosing to be grateful.
Don't let yourself slide. Time-off is a good and necessary component of an athlete's life. Take it. But be prepared that the time away is directly proportional to the effort it will take to “get back.” ESPECIALLY after age 50.
I started moving my body again very slowly on Nov 1 after completely shutting it down after CRASH-Bs last March. A little over a year ago.
When I sat down on the erg on Nov 1, 2020, I was at least 10 lbs overweight and totally deconditioned. Couldn’t put together 10 unbroken pushups. I was mentally and spiritually fried after a year of intense training, the reality of COVID, and the daily political pile-on that has become American politics. I wasn't feeling it... I had no other goal than to move my body and lose some of the weight that had rendered my jeans unwearable the past 6 months. I didn't need to win a National Championship or PR. I just needed to move.
It took me months, until about Feb 1 of this year, until I actually cared about my split and felt a shred of competitiveness again.
This past year has been a slog. One that required a different type of dedication than I was used to. Dedication to the process, not the numbers.
I am so glad I started moving again! I am just now beginning to feel more like myself and that is a good feeling. I miss me. I'm tired of being tired and my knee hurting from bearing too much weight.
Another thing that has really been driven home is something I already knew intellectually but had not ever experienced myself in practice because I have always been very strong:
The secret sauce of competitive rowing is strength training.
Without strength, you flat out cannot make the boat fly. You can move the boat, yes, but beautiful technique will only get you so far. Literally. On race day you will lose to a stronger person with equally good technique. Always.
Strength training has been completely absent from my program since last March and it is the difference. I had a dedicated strength coach that I worked with last season and the impact of that is obvious. I actually think my technique is better this year and my overall race execution more consistent, but I am weak, and that showed today.
This past year has been a fascinating journey and experiment in totally sliding down the mountain, losing all conditioning, becoming substantially overweight, and then beginning the long slow climb back uphill towards home. Towards my truth. Towards me.
So those are my thoughts. Fools Fast Sprints is Saturday, April 3 and I will be faster. But today, I truly am grateful for what I got. I executed a really nice 2K. Time to do some pushups.
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