Saturday, January 30, 2010

Erg Sprints in the books

What a long, tiring, but fun day. A short post to report on the Mid Atlantic Erg Sprints where I participated in the 30 minute row and 4 person mix relay (2000m).

Goals going into the event were to cover over 7000m and come within 500m of the overall winner. Whether or not I'd attain that many meters, I was hoping to have a split of at least 2:10/500m. There were a total of 4 preregistered women in my event, but I wasn't sure how many (if any) would sign up race day. The weather (4-6" of snow) and distance seemed to keep other competitors away, but I looked at the original list and figured I could finish 2nd or 3rd even without knowing the ability of the other rowers. I had an idea of who would finish first as she did last year, so another goal was to finish within 500m of the overall winner who I figured would blow away the competition.

I'll have to say that adrenaline is absolutely incredible. I was fired up with a heart rate well over 200 BPM (guesstimate) and couldn't get it down. I led the event for the first 500m or so (woo hoo!), but knew there was no way I could maintain a 1:55 500m split the entire time. The monitor showed my place as well as who was in front of and behind me and by how many meters. Knowing I didn't have a shot for 1st place, I tried to settle into a slower pace and get my strokes down to 24 SPM.

I seemed to be fine around 2:06, but couldn't get my SPM under 26. I was good for the first 10 minutes, then 'hold on for dear life' kicked in for the rest of the race. I was situated in the back of the field, but could see my GF up front who had one eye on the screen showing all the racers 'boats' and one eye on me. We worked out a couple hand signals for her to give to me if I was dropping my hands or slouching. The signal I gave her a couple times was a head shake - 'not good'.

For those marathon runners, it was miles 17-23 that were the worst. Translated to the 30 minute row and it was minutes 12-7 where I'd hit my wall. My quads were fried and my form was poor. I kept losing pressure, however, I was able to maintain my distance from the girl behind me, so I was hoping she wouldn't have a 5 minute kick in her. Even the music I was listening to couldn't get me to settle down.

I kept thinking in terms of 'songs' to figure how much time was left in the event so I didn't have to keep staring at the monitor, and 3 was the magic number. I zoned out and held on for dear life those last 5 minutes. I let out a few loud grunts of frustration hoping it would speed up time and end the event. At 2 minutes left I gave a few extra good pulls to ensure my place and held it until the monitor time ticked 0:00 and my total meters and place flashed in front of me..

2 - 7101m - 2:06

I had met a couple goals and also knew I was about 360m behind the first place rower. I was fine with that and happy to be done, wobbly legs and all.

The 2000m relay was one of the last events of the day, so I tried to not sit too much and rub out my legs. I'd brought The Stick with me and used it on my quads and calves. It seemed to help some as I pulled a 1:40-1:48 during the second leg of the relay. We were the only group in Mixed Masters, so I metaled again. We raced with 6 other teams who were younger and stronger and it showed as we were the last in our heat to finish. As a hodge podge group thrown together the hour before, we faired well.

I'm happy with how the group performed and had a good time. It was a long day and should've gone to bed 2 hours ago when I'd originally planned. A good workout is planned for tomorrow as I start to transition my focus back to running.


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