Last year, I executed  this race  very poorly. The fall speed order is a two part race: 6000 meters on the rowing machine on Saturday follow...

Race Recap: 2013 Fall West Coast Speed Order

Last year, I executed this race very poorly. The fall speed order is a two part race: 6000 meters on the rowing machine on Saturday followed by a 4000 meter race on the water on Sunday. My inexperience with weigh-ins along with overconfidence led to a disappointing Saturday erg test. I paid for that on Sunday—my legs were suffering way too early.

This year, I did a lot more preparation and planning. My weight management was not perfect, but it showed improvement—two weeks out I was about 3.5 pounds off of weight (rather than the 6 pounds of last year). That allowed me to train smarter and recover better in the weeks leading up to race day.

Over the past few weeks, we have done some great 6km prep workouts:
3000 meters at 6k goal pace minus 3 seconds (per 500m split)
4000 meters at 6k goal pace (or faster)
5000 meters at 6k goal pace + 2s (/500m) for 1km, + 1.5s for 1km, + 1s for 1km, + 0.5s for 1km, + 0s for 1km
6 x 250 meters practicing the start sequence, with 6 minutes rest between

The first workout gave me confidence that I could pull fast numbers, the second that I could finish the full length, the third that I could increase speed over the distance, and the fourth that I could find my rhythm.

Saturday morning was spent passing time until the weigh-in. I woke up way earlier than necessary (habit) and watched about 4 episodes of Flashpoint before getting bored. Dan and I went for a walk, I munched on some nuts (high calorie, low weight), and generally twiddled my thumbs. By the time I got to the boathouse, I was ready to go!!!

Saturday's erg went almost according to plan. Although there was a last minute change in schedule (and an added Sunday weigh-in, much to my chagrin), I managed my nerves and stress successfully. My erg malfunctioned right at the start, but I quickly fixed the problem and got started. I took advantage of the opportunity to sit between two silver medalists from the World Championships this summer and did my best to hang onto their pace. I ended up less than a second from a personal best, which is a great way to start the season! My score was 5th out of the lightweight women.

Sunday morning, I was up early and off to the boathouse for another weigh-in. My priority for the morning was getting a long enough warm-up, so after the weigh-in, I ate breakfast and got ready to go. I shoved off the dock about 40 minutes before the start and got in a really productive warm-up.

I had bow #1 and a fast competitor starting right behind me. (The race is a time trial, so boats start at 30 second intervals and race the clock.) I knew it would be tough to beat her time, so my goal was to stay in front. She steered a great course, which made it even more difficult, but my cheering section at 1250m to go helped me pull off a great time in the last 1000m. I placed 4th on the water—a great result.

Ultimately, this race was a well-executed, successful experience. My results were fast and encouraging, and I'm looking forward to gaining more speed over the next few months. The next racing opportunity will be at the first National Selection Regatta in April and I'm hoping to improve from this year's 10th place finish. This also marks my last race as a member of the California Rowing Club. Although I'll miss proudly wearing the California flag, I'm really excited to transition to GMS for the next season.

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