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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