2k = 6:26.2, splits approximately 1:35.5, 1:37.4, 1:37.4, 1:35.9
Having rowed at Bristol and few weeks ago and done a 6:26.5 I had some recent 2k race experience, and a good idea what I was capable of. I had done a good few weeks of training since Bristol, and knew I was in better form. From the race entries I was seeded 4th, and figured that I would need to be in the low 6:20s to have a hope of medalling. So my race plan was to go out hard for the first 7 strokes, then settle to 1:37s through to 750m to go and try to use the competition to spur me on to drive the pace down from there. My training predicted that I should be able to just break 6:24, but I was confident that if I could get in the mix on the higher places inside the final 500m that I could find a good sprint finish.
I got a great start, pushed out 7 hard strokes and then settled to my planned pace of 1:37. I was surprised to be sitting in 6th place, with the leaders quite some distance ahead inside the first 500m. With the screen behind us all I knew was who was in the lead, and who was in the place just ahead of me. The start put me in a good place after 500m, going through that point at around 1:35.5 average, but still in 6th place and with Sam on the erg next to me over 40m up already! He was seeded 5th, so he didn’t figure into my plans of who I would need to beat! At this point I got a little demoralised, having expected to be in 4th and not too far off 3rd on predicted times. A few too many 1:38s crept in through the middle. As my marker of 750m to go came along I was still sitting in 6th place, with 5th over 20m ahead of me and no knowledge of where 4th or 3rd were ahead of that. In somewhat of a no-man’s land I just kept going at the same pace hoping to see the distance to 5th place start reducing as surely someone had gone off too quickly? Into the final 500m and I definitely wanted to beat my Bristol time if nothing else. It was hot and dry in the venue, but nothing too unusual and not something that made too much difference to me. I like to race a 2k more than time trial one, so without someone close enough to race against I just wound up towards the end to make sure of beating my Bristol time. A shame not to be a couple of seconds quicker, but a solid enough 2k time on the training I’m been able to do.
The other Pete Plan coached athletes all performed well. Jo Hill won the women’s 30-34 with a 7:04.7, with Rachel Harris second with a new 2k pb of 7:11.2. Hannah Hawkins came second in the 35-39 with a new 2k pb of 7:12.0. Janice Marston raced her first BIRC in the LTA adaptive category to record a 1k win. The time of 4:07 not really reflective of anything, as Janice only got her adaptive classification through the day before BIRC, and hadn’t done any erg training for the race. Now that her eligibility is confirmed it is time to train for the record times in the category! Mike Wrenn performed as he always does to win the 70-74 category in 7:18.7. At 72 years old now it is amazing how consistently Mike both trains and performs, having been training with me for coming up to 6 years now. James Hyde is one of the newest PPC athletes, recording a solid 6:32.7 in the 35-39, but much more to come from James over the coming months and years.
The MAD Team also had a great event taking the fastest Men’s and Women’s time with Graham Benton’s 5:52.4 world record, and Anna Lewis’s 7:02.5 winning the women’s open event. Lots of MAD medals including Graham, Anna, Jo and Janice all taking gold.
It’s been a really busy last 3 months for me balancing work, masters degree studies, travel, coaching, normal life, and the odd training session. Work won’t change – I leave home at 7am and get back home at 6pm each day, so that just leaves 4 hours each evening for everything else. Work travel won’t change, and looks to be a very busy year for it next year, but I wouldn’t change that to do a more boring job! The masters degree is supposed to be 20 hrs per week on top of that during term time. Gladly I finished this term’s assignments on Friday ready for hand in day next week, and it currently looks like I will have next term off which frees up a lot more time for training. 2 more weeks of work before Christmas, then 2 weeks holiday in Seattle visiting the in-laws, back home for a weekend, then the busy travel year begins with a flight back to the west coast of the US. I plan to try to do a good volume of training between now and then, including over the Christmas holidays – we have an erg at the in-laws house so no excuses and plenty of time.