The 2009 Fall Speed Order has come and gone, and I am on my way home for Thanksgiving Break. We get a whole week of time to do with ourselves as we please… something that is both a blessing and a curse since being out in in rural Wisconsin doesn’t always provide one with the most motivation and/or opportunity for rowing training. I’m prepared to run, lift, swim and erg through and am looking forward to the challenges of the week while spending time at home with my family and the dog.

Last weekend was my third crack at a Fall Speed Order, and even though my performance was not as good as I had hoped, it is still the best I have ever finished at the fall selection regatta. Every year that I have participated the format has been different: 2006 was a 7.5k with a stake turn in singles; 2007 was a 3 miler in singles to create doubles lineups the following day; this year was a 6k erg test on Saturday and a 4.5k piece in singles on Sunday. They say variety is the spice of life.
With 39 entries in the open women’s events, finishing 7th on the erg and 8th in the single isn’t too bad. Throw in that I pulled a PR on the 6k and improved my placing on the water and I should be pretty pleased. But I’m not. In standard fashion I’m being pretty tough on myself for not finishing in a better position on the water and losing to people from the training group that I’ve been beating all fall. That’s never fun. But more than anything, this has served as motivation to attack my training in the single this winter in order to be sharper, more aggressive and meaner on the water than I have been in order to come back faster in the spring. The bottom line is that I think I have more speed than I showed at the Speed Order and I have a lot of work to do in order to give myself the best possible chance to show that speed for 2010.

As for the format this year, I am about 50/50 on including the erg in a selection regatta. In some ways it was a good deal for me because I’m not too far behind the big girls on the erg, and not too far behind the little girls on the water. And in some ways it is good for people who are much stronger in one event or another–especially for athletes who are not especially confident or experienced in the single. But the fact will always remain that 6ks are pretty yucky, no matter what. They used to be my favorite erg test… I think that was when I wasn’t pulling hard enough. And arguably I’m still not pulling hard enough, since I haven’t broken 21:20 yet. The logistics of the test didn’t make it any more appealing either, with athletes only getting about fifteen minutes on the machine before launching (with the exception of the skinnies, who were the first flight) in order to run the three flights at forty-five minute centers. A little more time would have been nice, especially since I was using the warm up as a barometer test to figure out what split I should try to test at. Yikes.

The piece on the water was not as poetic as I’d hoped; but it was still solid. I rated higher than I had planned, held consistent speed, steered a mean course and passed a boat. It just wasn’t enough to be on pace (or even close to pace) with the leaders.

An interesting trivia bit: the 4401 represented the hell out of the weekend, with Meg winning the erg and Ellen winning the single. Apparently I was the only one who didn’t eat her spinach on Friday and Saturday. Bummer.

The good news is that we have camp dates for San Diego, and I will be headed out to the OTC in January! We will be running a second camp in March, but athletes have yet to be named for that camp, following selection over the next few months.

I have a lot of work to do between now and then. See you out there.

Also, please check out the fun video posted by Shivani that gives you a sneak peak into prepping and erg testing at the speed order:

Speed Orders Fall 2009: East Coast 6k.

Long Live the Dream,