I get a lot of questions about fueling and eating a vegan diet while training. My eating has evolved a lot over the last six years, but I...

What I Ate Wednesday

I get a lot of questions about fueling and eating a vegan diet while training. My eating has evolved a lot over the last six years, but I'm really happy with my current diet.

I try to follow intuitive eating practices as often as possible (i.e. eat when you want to, don't eat when you don't want to) rather than counting calories or tracking nutrients. There are a few exceptions to that. Sometimes, I need to time food intake around practice times and end up eating before I'm truly hungry. I also have made a habit of eating meals and snacks that have a good balance of carbs, proteins and fats so that I don't have to track nutrients.

Another thing worth pointing out: the vegan and lightweight rowing communities are both rife with disordered eating, and there is a lot of negative pressure on social media from those communities. A few years ago, I found myself falling into the trap of thinking "this is healthy/not healthy and therefore I should/shouldn't eat this". Hello, slippery slope. I've worked really hard the past two years to change my narrative into "this makes me feel good/bad and therefore I want to eat more/less of this".

And, you guys, I love eating. So it's important to me that I feel happy about how and when and what I'm eating. It pained me that something so integral to me caused me so much stress. So if it's causing you stress, please know that there's a different way!

This is from a typical training day: 75 minutes/15km in the morning and an endurance lift in the afternoon (30 minutes of cardio and 45 minutes of hard weights). I also walked about 2 miles.

Breakfast. I eat this every day. A toasted sesame seed bagel, peanut butter, apple(s). I love it. A couple times a week, I'll think about eating something different... and then end up eating this.

Second breakfast. Oatmeal with raisins, peanut butter, brown sugar, soy milk. This is probably my second favorite breakfast option.

 Lunch. Baked tofu and potatoes, sauteed kale and carrots.

Snacks. Banana. About half of the pineapple shown. Homemade carrot cake waffle and banana oat muffin.

Dinner. Burger night! Burgers are basically my favorite food. (Sorry not sorry, dad, for always ordering them at restaurants as a kid.) I'm a huge fan of the Gardein and Beyond Meat veggie burgers. This is the Gardein burger on an everything bagel with avocado, tomato, bell pepper, lettuce and ketchup. Dan and I also shared this fruit salad.

Dessert(s). Dark chocolate with sea salt. This stuff from Aldi is excellent. And a protein shake before bed.

Please reach out if you have questions but know that I'm not a nutritionist so I can't tell you what you should be eating or analyze your diet. I'm more than happy to answer questions about things like transitioning to veganism, tips for fueling enough, etc.
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For years, my body has taken very good care of me, taking hours of hard training everyday with hardly a complaint. My last (and only) injury...

Training Update June 2018

For years, my body has taken very good care of me, taking hours of hard training everyday with hardly a complaint. My last (and only) injury was in high school. My spirit, on the other hand, has been much more delicate.

I have often pushed myself to emotional failure, which can be as debilitating to training progress as an injury. For me, it looks like crying 30 minutes into an easy session and feeling overcome with fear at the thought of a hard workout. And over time, even as I have recovered from those individual periods of exhaustion, I built a fear of pushing too hard.

Peak emotional exhaustion occurred in the lead up to the 2016 Olympic trials. I put an immense amount of pressure on myself to perform, while also increasing my training volume, losing 10 pounds, and getting inadequate sleep. When I decided to continue rowing for another quadrennial, I knew that I had to break that cycle and figure out how to train and live happy.

I took a big break after trials in 2016 and came back in not great shape. Fall of 2016, we made some big changes to my training program, backing off a lot.

I wanted to create a baseline of training where I could execute every workout, every week, without failure. And that place feels good. It's comfortable. It's fun. But it also doesn't produce improvement. And I almost got lulled into staying there... until I went down to Philadelphia to try out some double combinations and got pushed way out of my comfort zone—hard pieces two days in a row, with three practices (including a lift!) on the second day—and didn't break down or fail.

After that trip, I started to push my boundaries a little bit. In the first three months of 2017, I averaged 680 minutes of training a week. In the three months after that trip (May, June, July), I bumped my average up to 750. It felt good to struggle sometimes. But I was still only allowing myself to struggle through individual training sessions. And my improvements were still small.

A graph of weekly minutes this quadrennial, with trend line
In the fall of 2017 and early 2018, I stepped up to 775 minutes a week, but I also fell back into a comfortable rhythm. I was still avoiding some of the workouts and back-to-back combinations I feared the most. I was still backing off instead of pushing through.

Then, I failed.

I went to the first race of the 2018 season and I didn't perform as well as I needed to. I raced the same way I had trained—afraid. I find it ironic that my fear of failure ended up causing me to fail. But it also lit a fire. I came back the following week and wrote a training program that included all of the things that scared me the most. The first three weeks were 950 minutes each and over the last seven weeks I've averaged 875 minutes. I scheduled Guenter's crazy circuit lift on Monday and Thursday afternoons, with a really long, hard endurance session on Tuesday morning. I did two hard sessions every Saturday. And week after week after week, I checked off workouts.

Two weeks ago, I executed a week that felt like everything I'd been building towards for the last 18 months. 900 minutes. Crushed all of my lifting sessions. Did two sets of hard pieces and some speed work. Worked hard, got tired, recovered and adapted.

Boat rigger or neck pillow?

And then last week, I did what scared me the most: three hard days in a row. What that looked like:
Th - AM off, PM 3x2k hard (16km total)
F - AM 3x1k (15km total), PM 75' easy
Sa - AM 3x750m (13km total), PM heavy lift

And here's the thing, it wasn't that bad. Yes, my body hated me a little bit on Friday morning. And yes, we did all three 750m pieces with the tailwind on Saturday. But I hit great paces on all three sets of pieces, knocking a few seconds off my previous best times.

I have no idea what the rest of the season holds for me. There is a lot of great racing ahead and I'm looking forward to finding out what I can do. I still need to work on a lot, especially my headspace. Fast splits scare me and my self-confidence can be pretty flaky. And, despite the help of Jasyoga and consistent practice, I am not great at switching between the aggression of working out and the calmness of working in.

But most importantly, I'm excited to be back training at this level, and doing it from a place of joy rather than obligation. It's been a difficult journey these past two years trying to find love and purpose while also chasing speed and intensity.

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Last week, I raced the open weight double at the second Spring Speed Order event hosted by US Rowing. Practice Rosa, my doubles partner, ...

Spring Speed Order 2

Last week, I raced the open weight double at the second Spring Speed Order event hosted by US Rowing.

Rosa, my doubles partner, arrived Monday morning, giving us just four rows together before the first race. We had rowed together once in January, on a 35 degree Florida day featuring 20mph winds. We knew we matched well, but also had a lot of work to do.

The first session was a good indicator. We took a series of 10s and 20s at increasing rate and felt good up to stroke rate 28, when things started to tense up. Not bad for a first outing.

Our second session involved some longer work at race pace (start 250m, base 1km, finishing 250m), which was also promising, but again featuring that tension at the higher rates. We also seriously botched our pacing, heading out way too fast on the 1km piece. That's not surprising: both of us have spent a lot of time in singles recently and pacing a double is pretty different.

Our remaining sessions in the boat were easy paddles, working to find our rhythm and where we were most likely to mismatch.

Time Trials
Originally, the time trial would have seeded us into semi-finals, but two late scratches to the event meant the time trial was just a race for lanes: all boats would progress directly to the A-final. We wanted to put together a fast race, but more importantly we wanted to put together a solid piece. After our poor pacing earlier in the week, we decided to treat this race as a builder, starting at a lower stroke rate and slightly slower pace and building over the 2000 meters.

This resulted in a relatively slow time, but allowed us to find a good racing rhythm. Our last 500 meters were strong and fast. This was my first trip down a 2k course in bow seat of a double, and I was terrified that I would botch it. I've never been comfortable with my skills at matching. This piece gave me a lot of confidence, though. It wasn't quite magic, but we were very in sync. We still had some of the tension we felt during the practice pieces, but that was a manageable error.

During the one practice window between the time trial and finals, we made really good progress on relaxation. We especially focused on coming off our starting sequence relaxed. I also needed to be more aggressive in the first 500 meters of the race. I've lost a lot of races in the first quarter, afraid the pace was too hot. So that was the goal: make the first 500m aggressive and relaxed, then reassess the situation.

We got off the line really cleanly, and were actually right with the pack. Our rhythm was relaxed and I was going way harder than I thought was appropriate, so everything was on track. We came through the first 500m just under 1:50, a very solid pace given the headwind. We were still in contact with the back of the pack, and we held that through the 1k mark, splitting 1:53 for the second 500.

Going into the race, we knew it would be very challenging to stick with the rest of the field. Our race featured some of the best open weight scullers in the world (and ultimately, some of the fastest times of the day). On top of that, both Rosa and I are lightweights, and while neither of us were prepared to weigh in for this race, we were still much smaller than our competitors. Difficult under normal circumstances, the addition of a 6-7mph headwind put us at a serious disadvantage. Contact at the 1k mark was really good.

Then sh*t got real. Physically, we were still pretty ok: in pain, but tolerable. What we didn't expect was the wake. With two doubles duking it out 15-20 seconds in front of us, we got sucked into a wake so big we thought a motorboat had gone by. The boat was getting slammed from one buoy line to the other, and the splits would rise and fall as we sunk into troughs and rode crests. The brunt of the wake hit us in the third 500, also the most difficult portion of the race mentally. We came through in 1:54.

By the last quarter, things had smoothed out a bit. We could still feel the wake, but we weren't reeling in it. Our plans for a lift at 800m to go hadn't really panned out, so we hit the gas at 400m to go, accelerating through the line. Final 500m time was 1:52.

We were far off the back of the pack by the finish line. But the winners' 94% of world's best time was an exceptionally fast result for the day. The next fastest winner (in the women's pair) was 91.4%.

In addition, our time was very solid compared to the lightweight doubles. Obviously, we didn't earn the right to line up next to them by weighing in and I know that being that light would have affected our finish time. Still, it's exciting to move boats fast.

What's next? 
I'll be continuing with my current training block, working towards Senior Trials in the lightweight single in early July. My first three weeks were a low rate, base-building phase. (Yes, I raced a double off of three weeks of exclusively low-rate work. It was... exciting.) The next four weeks, I'll be working mid-rate, trying to add a layer of fitness and some confidence in my boat skills. At the end of that mini-block, I'm planning to test my speed at the Schuylkill Navy Regatta on June 16th. The last few weeks, I'll be doing race-specific work, including a lot of short pieces at or above race pace, and a few 2k time trials here at GMS.

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If you're doing things right, you should look back on yourself a year ago and think, "What on earth was I doing? What an idiot!&quo...


If you're doing things right, you should look back on yourself a year ago and think, "What on earth was I doing? What an idiot!" Sounds about right.

Last year was a tough year for me. We finished out 2016 without a permanent home and spent the early months of 2017 moving twice, finally settling into our condo. That condo? Best decision we've made so far, but it also required so. many. hours at work to afford. Did I mention that I also got an online MBA in early 2017? Yea. I was overwhelmed.

Suffice it to say, my preparation for the 2017 racing season was not ideal. I was scratching and clawing and fighting to put together 800 minute training weeks. And I had so much to work on. My strength has always been an issue so we wanted to develop that. But my endurance was also suffering after a pretty extended break in 2016. And mentally, my confidence was gone and I was really struggling to find my purpose. I still cobbled together a season I was proud of and worked my tail off to set up an environment that would be conducive to future success.


They say that a fast racing season is built in the off season. The fall of 2017 and winter of 2018 were about building my foundation. I trained for a half marathon last fall and built out my capacity for single-session (acute) volume, regularly running or rowing 24km. And over the winter, I strung together week after week of 800 minutes, creating a tolerance for chronic volume.

I was really confident and excited about starting out 2018 at the first Spring Speed Order. This race has no formal selection implications, but it is the key to finding fast partners for team boats and getting invitations to top selection camps.

I ended up in 4th place, just one spot up from my placement last year.

And my emotions about it are... unclear. The field this year was much stronger, with 3 of the top 7 athletes not racing at last year's regatta. And the three women that beat me all have medals from World Championships. But it still wasn't enough. In the time trial, I was right there with the best of them, but in the finals, I was pretty far off the pace of the leaders. There are only two seats in the Olympic boat class and a fourth place finish without a close time wasn't good enough to compete for one of them. (The lightweight double starts its selection process this week at the National Selection Regatta 2.)

But I'm trying to roll with the punches. And so, while not racing for a spot in the lightweight double feels a bit like a punch in the face, I'm letting it turn my head and change my perspective. Instead of wishing the standards were lower, I'm finding a way to meet the standards.

I have 11 weeks between the finals at Spring Speed Order 1 and the beginning of Senior Trials, where the lightweight single will be selected. That's a big opportunity to get in some quality work and show up at trials ready to win. I've already put in three solid weeks of base building, including facing down (and getting a personal best on) a workout I've been afraid of for two years and three weeks in a row well over 900 minutes. If I'd been scrambling to make a top lightweight double, I wouldn't have been able to strengthen my foundation. I wouldn't have been able to capitalize on all the scratching, clawing, fighting I've done in the last 18 months, pushing myself up on that base of 800 minute weeks.

I will be racing at NSR2 this week, just in the openweight double. This is a great opportunity for me to race hard, make a lot of mistakes, learn as much as possible and stoke my fire a bit before the next long stretch of training. You can follow along with live results at HereNow, and I'll also be updating my Twitter and Instagram as often as possible. (Lane assignments for Thursday's time trials will be published around 6:30AM eastern on Thursday.)

The current schedule (all times eastern):
 --> Time Trial: Thursday 5/17 8AM
 --> Semi-Finals: Friday 5/18 7:16 or 7:24AM
 --> Final A/B: Saturday 5/19 8:20AM or 9:10AM
The weather forecast includes high winds, which may cause delays, changes and/or cancellations at any point.

Photos by Dan Copenhaver.

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I didn't think it would make a difference. I've been rowing for so long that I often fail to have perspective. In my mind, going 3...


I didn't think it would make a difference.

I've been rowing for so long that I often fail to have perspective. In my mind, going 3 splits slower on an easy paddle spells doom for my fitness. A 15km row is just a normal workout—no reason to be tired from it.

So when I need perspective, I translate my experiences into running. Going 3 seconds per mile on an easy jog is negligible. And a 9.3 mile run is reason for a big meal and a nap.

So when I didn't think it would make a difference, I thought about running in shoes a size too big. At first, it probably wouldn't matter a lot. If you were just going out for a few easy jogs here and there, no biggie. You'd probably even survive your first few races in those shoes.

But when the margins in your races narrow to seconds? When you're losing by just 1 percent?

The last three years, I've been rowing in a club boat owned by GMS. I've had almost exclusive use of it, and it has taken me through some great performances. But it was a size too big, meant for rowers 145-165 pounds, when I'm just 130 pounds. So when the opportunity came to buy the same model boat in my size for just $8000, my coach and I jumped.

The boat, a Hudson S1.11, was about a year old and came in pristine condition. In addition, we already had $4000 of funding in the Northeast High Performance Rowing Foundation. Since Hudson was generous enough to allow us to make the final payment this September, the boat was delivered just after my first race of the season.

It's hard to tell how much of this is time on the water and how much is the boat, but I'm already seeing a dramatic improvement on my splits (and my margins relative to one of my training partners). I also just feel a lot more comfortable in the boat. (The shoes are the right size! No more strapping my feet in with my seat bungie!)

And now I need your help.

I need to raise the remaining $4000 for the boat. You might not think it makes a difference, but every dollar raised translates directly into time I can spend getting faster and pursuing my goals. Even small amount make a huge difference—about 200 of you read my blog posts, and even if you can contribute just $20, I will have reached my goal. (If you can't contribute financially, I'd really appreciate a shout on on social media!)

Here's how to make a tax-deductible donation:
1. Online
Head to the Northeast High Performance Rowing Foundation donation page and click the 'Donate' button. Here, you can donate via credit/debit card or PayPal—super easy. In the notes, specify "Michaela Copenhaver - boat purchase". (Note: Credit/debit cards require an extra processing fee, so we prefer PayPal!)

2. By mail
Don't have a PayPal? No worries, you can also mail a check! Either go to our donation page or download the mail-in form directly.

3. Large donations
If you're interested in making a donation of $500 or greater, please be in touch! I'd love to find an additional way to recognize your generosity.

All donations will get a thank you shout out on social media. Donating at least $30? Include your address on the donation so I can send a thank you card in the mail!

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That's right: a second blog post. This time, with good great reason. One of my goals for this year is to break 90 minutes on a half m...

Danbury Half Marathon

That's right: a second blog post. This time, with good great reason.

One of my goals for this year is to break 90 minutes on a half marathon. Sometime in the pit of despair that is January, I started poking around the internet for local half marathon races. The most convenient one was in Danbury, just 20 minutes from our house. It also checked a bunch of other important boxes, including prize money ✔ and some possibility of winning that prize money ✔.

BUT.. it was two weeks before our first race of the spring.

I hemmed and hawed about racing it for months, and then finally asked my coach, on a scale from 1-10, how stupid it would be to race it. His response? "I think it's a good idea." I couldn't believe my ears!

So I signed up. And then I spent the next two weeks freaking out.

I think I calculated every possible pace for every time between 1:30 and 1:35, plus mapped out at least five race plans. I obsessed over what to wear. Wrote a detailed fueling plan. The usual type-A stuff.

I also looked up half marathon advice. The best piece: know why you're doing it. So the night before the race, I decided: I wanted to know what I'd do when shit got real.

Dan came with me to be my support crew and personal paparazzi. (Pro-tip: he's on Instagram, now. Give him a follow!) We arrived about 45 minutes before the start, and I jogged a mile and a half. I was nervous, so my heart rate was through the roof, which made me more nervous, which increased my heart rate.

I wanted to win, so I toed the line. And when the horn sounded, I immediately threw my plan out the window, because duh.

Ok, so it wasn't that bad, but it took a lot of willpower to not take off with the lead group. I tried to count the women as they passed me. By the time things settled in, I figured I was in 4th or 5th. I took my first gu at 3 miles, trying to stay ahead on fueling. (Eat before you need it.)

My plan was to hit the 5k mark around 22:30, and I clocked in at 22:04 [4:24/km]. I made a quick assessment. I'd gone out too fast, but it was mostly downhill, the wind was at my back, and my heart rate was a little high but comfortable. My breathing was much less labored than the people around me. Also, I really wanted to catch the woman in front of me, so screw tactics I was going for it.

Passing off my earmuffs. Time to get to work.
Over the next 5k, I started to close the gap on the leading women. Dan drove from the mile 3 meet up to mile 6, cowbelling from the car as he passed. We hit our first hill, and then a gradual descent into the 10k. Goal was to hit 10k at 44:10; I was through in 43:46. [5k split 21:42 - 4:20/km] Too fast, but damnit I wanted to win. And I was technically on my target pace, 4:20/km, just riding off of seconds gained in the first 5k.

Dan only snapped one photo coming into the 10km mark, before quickly digging out the pretzels and prepping my snack pickup. The handoff needs practice, but I grabbed a few. I also picked up two gus at the aid station at 10.3km.

There was an out and back section from the aid station through 13km. I'd driven the second half of the course the day before, so I knew the hills were coming. I wanted to take the lead before we hit them, so I hit the gas. As the leaders doubled back, I passed the last woman and took the lead. I also ate another gu here, my last fuel of the race.

Dan pulled over around mile 9 to cheer one last time before the finish, and I shouted to him "Dan I'm doing it!" as I flew down the hill with a grin on my face.

Then things got real.

I ran through 15km in 66:13, about 20 seconds slower than the plan (65:50). [5km split 22:27 - 4:29/km]

Because my goal was to find out how I reacted when shit got real, I knew this was coming. It helped me push for this moment. And I womaned up.

The hills were hard. (Really it was one hill, climbing continuously for 2.5km before immediately descending.) Rowing has developed my climbing muscles incredibly well, so the uphills were a nice break from the flats. But they destroyed my pace, and the slamming of the downhill thrashed my legs. I had a large enough lead at this point to let off the gas and catch my breath, but I found myself pedal to the metal, grinding into the depths of misery.

Just before the 20km mark, one of my Oiselle teammates had gathered a cheering section that pushed me into the last stretch. I crossed the 20km mark in 1:28:38 and with over a kilometer to go, I knew I wouldn't be breaking 90 minutes. [5k split 22:25 - 4:29/km] I let their cheers carry me forward. Don't think, just do.

And then I broke the tape! I've won two other local races, but neither one had a finishing tape. Seeing it as I rounded the last bend put a huge smile on my face.

Final time was 1:33:22 (average pace 7:08/mile - 4:25/km.)

And then, I got the best kind of trophy—a check! Prize money was $200 (plus some mini-champagne bottles).

I'm definitely soaking in the win and confidence boost, but my priority for the next two days is recovering so I can get back to training. I'll be trying to get extra sleep and drink more water. On the nutrition front, I'll also be upping my protein and fruit/vegetable intake. I'm hoping by tomorrow I can accomplish some gentle stretching and foam rolling.


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I was wondering if after all these months you'd like to hear how it's going, everything. They say that bloggers like to write but ...

Hello, It's Me...

I was wondering if after all these months you'd like to hear
how it's going, everything.
They say that bloggers like to write but I ain't done much writing.

Hello from the other side.
I must have worked out a thousand times.
I'll tell you I'm sorry for the radio silence.
But it don't matter, it clearly hasn't torn us apart!

Ok, enough Adele-inspired poetry. It's been a while. What have I been up to?

Last you heard from me, I was building back from an August break. I may have been overly ambitious about how quickly that would happen. Life seemed to have other plans. We'll get back to rowing in a moment, but let's talk about life outside of rowing for a bit!

First things first, Dan and I just moved into our own condo! That's right, we bought a condo. We knew our housing situation would disappear at some point in 2017, so we started looking in September/October, and put in an offer on a place in late November.

It was a short sale, and the previous owner's bank didn't get around to approving our offer until late February. In the meantime, we had to move into a temporary place for two months, not knowing if we would even get this place. It was.. stressful.

In order to afford the place, I've also upped my hours at work. I've been working 15-20 hours/week. I feel so lucky to have such a flexible job that pays well enough to save money with so few hours.  It doesn't sound like a lot, but every hour I spend at work is 100% on mentally, which can be exhausting. I'll have to continue with the higher hours to rebuild my savings.

And talking about biting off more than I can chew: I'm also working on an MBA right now. Dan and I were both accepted into the Smartly MBA program. Despite the cheesy name, the coursework has been remarkably helpful. It's way less time than a traditional MBA, but another thing on my plate.

Have I mentioned the election yet? Yea. There was terrible awful day in November when I felt like the world was crashing down around me, after a month of hope and optimism. The emotional toll from the election was greater than anticipated, and I'm only now beginning to feel like I've recovered enough to help do something. The work done by activists already has kept me sane and given me joy, but I'm still constantly wary of government in a way I'd never had to be before. I cannot thank my Senators Murphy and Blumenthal and Representative Esty enough for having good sense and judgement so I don't have to call their offices every day.

So that all has been pretty tough. And when I put it all down in writing, I'm damn proud of what I've accomplished as an athlete through all of that. So let's talk about training.

Over the course of last year, all of the other elite athletes at GMS left, either leaving the sport altogether or heading off to a new club. I knew training alone would be hard, so I tried to set myself up for success.

In October, I joined the Oiselle Volée. I needed people who would cheer me on, and people who could inspire me, and I got just that. It's a running team, and so I felt my heart pulled more and more towards running.

That's not my goal, so I found another team, too: the junior athletes here at GMS. I worked with Guenter to adjust my training schedule, decreasing my weekly minutes in recognition of my crazy non-training life, and matching my training up to the junior squad.

I now lift with the girls on Mondays and do the hardest sessions on Wednesday and Saturday with the group. I also often have company for my afternoon steady state on Tuesdays and Fridays. I still have to get through a lot of easy minutes on my own, but it's no longer everything.

So where has that left me?

My base is the bomb. I'm running a half marathon next weekend, and looking to PR by 5+ minutes. My long steady state work is consistently faster than it's ever been. And my head is really screwed on straight about this stuff: I know when to take it seriously and when to back off.

Unfortunately, my speed is still missing. I PR'ed on my lactate threshold test. (This measures the point at which you start to accumulate lactate in your muscles while working out. The more watts you can produce without accumulating lactate, the harder you can go for longer.) Everything above lactate threshold is still missing. My 6k is getting close to PR territory, but still not there (and my PR is still way slower than my competitors). Let's not talk about my 2k.

We're also still not back on the water. The company that puts our docks in missed their appointment to put them in, and then we got 18" of snow, and now the river is drained, and then it's going to windy and... it just keeps going.

I've accepted that I will be underprepared for the first race of the season, NSR1, coming up on April 18th. It's important that I do well, but it's more important that I prepare myself for the rest of the season, and the rest of the quadrennial.

I've had to re-write my goals for NSR 1 countless times over the last 4 months. From top four, to "hope for the best", they've now become "just see what happens". I feel an immense sense of calm about that. Things never work out the way I plan anyways, so all I can do is keep preparing, and trusting my coach, and just see what happens. And with such an amorphous goal, I've set myself up to be brave and maybe even a little stupid, something I definitely need to get better at.

So that's my life right now. If you've made it through, thanks for sticking with me. No pictures, because those take time, and life is busy. There are some on Instagram.

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