The docks came out today, officially marking the end of the fall season. Granted, fall racing has been over for a month, but this seems like...

The docks came out today, officially marking the end of the fall season. Granted, fall racing has been over for a month, but this seems like an appropriate time to recap the season. Sometimes, we need a month of space to make a valuable reflection on our performances.

Fall racing has never been my favorite. I'm not very good at it, and I have trouble taking it seriously without taking it too seriously. The best way to get better at something, though, is to practice, so that's what I've been doing.

I started my fall racing season with the Head of the Riverfront. To help me take it less seriously, Guenter had us 2k test the day before. Clearly, that did the trick—in a strong headwind/current combination against open weight competitors, I just went out to race hard and have some fun in the single. I came home with my first win of the season!

More importantly, I learned a lot. I learned that a second every 500 meters adds up over 5 kilometers. I learned to look back more often to find the best course. I learned that I sink into lulls when I'm by myself. I learned to race, and enjoy the back and forth of passing other crews.

All good lessons before the big event: Head of the Charles!

Last year, I put in a bid for both the single and double and got neither. I was super excited this year to get a doubles bid with Morgan—my doubles partner from Elite Nationals and 2 seat from our quad this summer.

We entered the Championship Double category, with a special lightweight medal designation. That meant that we had to weigh in (133lbs maximum weight) the morning of our event, and were much smaller than many of our competitors. This was a big disadvantage in the crazy headwind. The heavy double that started directly behind us made up almost 20 seconds in the first 500m as we barreled into the worst wind on the course.

Top 10 finishers in our event
Fortunately, our lightweight competitors were equally small in the wind. Morgan and I won the lightweight category, and placed lucky #7 overall.

We won a medal!
My final race of the fall season is by far my least favorite: Fall Speed Order. This race is a special kind of torture. Saturday there is a 130 pound weigh-in (way too light for this time of year) followed by a 6000 meter test on the Concept 2 ergometer. Sunday, on still tired legs, there is a 4.5km rowing racing in singles.

We were coming off of a few hard weeks of training, and had seriously backed off of training for a full week to try to recover for this race. I was starting to feel better, and so set myself three goals. Good: Just do better than last year. Better: Improve on the previous week's 6k test. Best: Set a PR.

It turns out none of those three were in the cards. I finished 11 seconds slower than last year's time, also a poor performance.

And so, with less than 24 hours, I had to pick my sorry butt up and get ready to attack a new day on the water. Overall, I was really pleased with a second place finish, closing the margin on Emily, the event winner on the erg and the water.

Once racing was over, we hit the ground running. Our next big regatta is US Rowing Olympic Trials in Sarasota this April. With 5 months to prepare, I've got a lot of fitness left to build.

Fortunately, I've taken nearly 30 seconds off of my 6k erg since Fall Speed Order! If I can continue that rate of improvement, I'll have the world record by trials. ;)

How did your fall go? Ready for winter training?


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