Friday, 7 November 2008


I'm racing on Saturday. 7km head race (time trial).

I can't quite reconcile this with having been not entirely at my best over the last couple of months.

About four weeks ago I sat in the bar at the club attempting to have a chat with the coach. Being a high-transmit sort of person and giving the impression of lacking a 'receive' button, I was limited to interjecting the odd word into his soliloquy, but nevertheless managed to convey the assertion that I would indeed be fit to race 7 km four weeks later, despite at that point having lost 4 kg in weight almost exclusively from my thighs. Obviously, it was a complete lie, and there was absolutely no way I thought I'd be in race shape a month later, but figured it was worth keeping open the option of racing, and doing so required telling the odd porky.

Remarkably, four weeks on I'm actually in excellent shape. I might have had a few small issues with producing solid sh*ts, but it doesn't seem to be impacting my cardio-vascular fitness nor having sufficient impact on my strength to be noticeable over mid/long distances. Even after being ill and coming back with a light training load, I'm outperforming the rest of the club in the gym. (At least, I'm outperforming the portion of the club who turn up to the gym.) I'm fit to race... but I'm not up for racing.


This bothers me. Four weeks ago, I figured that by now I'd be well up for the fight, but be let down my lack of physical fitness and wellness. I never imagined I'd be in good shape physically and (at best) indifferent mentally. Gee-ing myself up for a competition is not something I've ever struggled with before. True, before I took a few weeks off, I'd been finding it difficult to motivate myself to do the training, and wondered whether I was actually enjoying rowing and, if not, whether I ought to find something more enjoyable to do. Having later admitted defeat to illness, I took some time off and figured that my lack of motivation was actually due to being ill. Now I pretty much feel fine, but still am not enjoying the training.

Enough navel-gazing. I'm getting too close to the obvious conclusion that actually I'm just not enjoying rowing as much as I need to in order to justify the time commitment, and I ought to find something else to do. (I'm still holding out some hope that my lack of enjoyment is a hangover from being ill and everything will be fine once I've been fixed, or at least once I've caught up on sleep.)

I'm rather hoping that something miraculous will happen between now and the start of the race which will see me adopt my usual 'wannabe killer' attitude. It'd better happen, otherwise it's going to be a painful experience in all the wrong senses.


warriorwoman said...

Good luck with that race this morning, hopefully you'll re-kindle some rowing passion along the way.

trousers said...

So, m├ędecin mais pourquois, how did it go?

My immediate thought as regards your musings is that your lack of enthusiasm is indeed a hangover from being unwell: these things really do take their toll in all sorts of ways.

I would suggest a middle route: do something other than rowing at least for a short while, the novelty aspect may well be helpful in regaining your get-up-and-go (though by the sound of it you've had to get up and go in more ways than one lately). Then you should have a clearer perspective on whether you do want to continue with rowing at any given point.

You can always ignore such sensible-sounding and ultimately dull advice though ;-)

Come on, tell us about the 7k!

Kahless said...

So Dr But Why?

How did it go?

I like Trousers suggestion btw.

But Why? said...

Hello, and thanks for the good luck. The weather sadly wasn't kind to us, though two hours of sitting on the water through stiff winds and heavy rain was pretty helpful in encouraging me to empty the tank on the course (if only to warm up).

I'm still waiting for the passion to return (I'm sure it will - I'm a competitive little bugger by nature, and so was rather disconcerted to find myself in the middle of a race and not really giving a stuff about winning). Meanwhile, I'm taking a break from the rowing, as what I've been doing recently hasn;t been helpful in that respect.

I think it's probably a combination of the illness, and a lack of enthusiasm to turn up for five hours of demoralising under-achievement at the boathouse.

I'm planning on doing pretty much as you've suggested - I'm thinking of going for a swordfighting lesson next Saturday.

As for the 7k, well, it was a pretty poor showing. Started OK, went a bit rubbish, finished slightly less rubbish. I must have been putting the work on - my heart was doing the right sort of thing, but instead of feeling like I was in a race and wanting to beat people, I was motivating myself to work harder solely with the notion that working hard was what I should be doing and quitting really wasn't an option, but I had a complete lack of interest in whether we were making up ground on other boats. After twenty-some minutes of that, I was absolutely certain that doing the same thing in a couple of weeks time wasn't going to do me any favours, and also that I wouldn't be a helpful influence on the rest of the crew, who've been amazingly patient with my recent foul moods.

Consequently, I've pulled out of the squad for the next couple of months, and will be using my weekends to have fun, get out of London now and again, and catch up on sleep!

But Why? said...

You snuck in there whilst I wasn't looking.

Well, yeah, the 7km.

Pretty badly.

Luckily, I had a social lined up with plenty booze in which to drown my sorrows later in the day. I started drinking at about 2pm and finished the next morning. Oddly enough, I feel much the better for it... (I suspect I may obliterate my fitness in alcohol and chocolate over the next couple of months, but at least if I do that, I shalln't be wanting to row again come the new year.)

Rob Clack said...

Good grief! There is a real human being inside there after all!

Dear Dr But Why?
So very good to have you back in the land of the living. You've obviously had several completely miserable weeks, and I'm very glad to hear you're on the mend.

I won't try to advise you on the loss of the competitive streak, having no experience there. I suspect (as you do) that Trousers is probably right. With luck you'll find that tackling a new skill reinvigorates you, and whether you stick with that or return to rowing probably doesn't matter. [said he, not offering advice...]

Whatever the outcome, we're rootin' for you.

But Why? said...

Rob C,
Yup, 100% human, despite appearances to the contrary. Currently planning all the lovely things I can do with my spare time - I could get used to this not rowing lark...

Thanks for your roots. They're much appreciated!