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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