a sound I’ve been trying to hush to the back of my mind over the past few weeks… the inevitibility of time quickly slipping away as we move full on into training for the Olympic Year. Earlier this week a few of us at the boathouse were remarking incredulously to one another that it was already November. Fall Speed Order is this weekend, then just a few short days to Thanksgiving, and then just three short weeks of winter training in Princeton before a select group heads out to the OTC in Chula Vista to do the heavy-duty Olympic selection that will prepare lineups for NSR I in March.
Ideally at this point I would be looking forward to my first chance to race for the 2011-2012 season, feeling pretty slick in the boat I’m racing, and coming up with a plan for an upcoming 6k that will provide a rude, but necessary, awakening on the ergometer. But instead, I’ve spent the last four weeks or so droning out the incessant tick tocks of 2012 with the sound of a spin bike wheel. It hasn’t been an ideal autumn for preparations for this weekend.
When we were just back from Worlds, we made some changes to the training plan that placed me exclusively in a pair. As a random factoid, before this September, it had been approximately five years since I’d been in a pair, and at least six months since I had last held a sweep oar. I have been sculling almost exclusively since 2006 so the switch was significant. Despite my best efforts to stretch, roll and will my body into an agreement with the sweep motion, I developed a deep tissue muscle strain on my inside shoulder that has been causing pain with rowing, breathing, sleeping and just about everything else. I’ve spent the last four weeks rehabilitating, patiently trying to assure myself that this is something that I can overcome and that does not have to define my Olympic year; But it’s not an easy lie to tell myself.
Now, with less than a week until the first selection event of the 2012 Olympic year, I am just getting back on to the water in my single and trying to sort out the residual issues with my shoulder. Things have turned a corner over the last few days and I’m feeling much better, but I’m still not sure what is going to happen this week. I’m not sure if re-entry into the pair is going to go as well as I need it to, or if my body will relapse.
But I have decided one thing: it doesn’t matter. I can say with some confidence that there are very few things that can phase me or surprise me on race day anymore. I’ve raced in all manner of conditions and with bad circumstances that have been both in and out of my control. Lots of those races didn’t go the way I wanted them to go. But the time has arrived for me where I can say that despite these less-than-ideal circumstances, I am ready to be tough and do what I need to do to get through next weekend’s races with the best result I can. If I have to rate my 6k at a 36, fine. If I have to race the single, fine. If I have to race the pair with a new partner, fine. I have already accepted that my circumstances are not perfect. At this point it’s not just about getting a specific result but about not letting a bad situation define who I am as an athlete this weekend, this year, or this quad.
I missed four weeks’ worth of mileage in the pairs. So what? What do you think I was I was doing every day as I sat down on the bike and watched out the window?–feeling sorry for myself? Yeah right.
On the hunt. See you on the other side of this.
Long Live the Dream,