Today was my 8th year competing at the Nottingham IRC, and this year was probably about the highest overall standard I’ve seen there I think. I coxed Olly Smith during his race, a perfectly paced 1:31.4 average I think – very, very impressive. Graham Benton was on the erg next to him and finished when Olly was only about half way I think, 1:24.9 was reasonably impressive from GB too. Watching Olly’s race helped with my motivation, and got the adrenelin pumping a bit.
My race was a bit of a bizarre feeling. I had Tony Larkman on the left, and knew he would be well ahead of me. The others in the race were seeded far enough behind me that second should be in the bag. So the plan was to do 5 hard strokes, settle to 1:33′s and 1:34′s, then finish faster to get the average down in the 1:32′s. Tony had been unwell this week, and after the start settled to rate 36spm, I couldn’t help but rate in with him. After the start I just stuck on 1:33 / 35-36. It felt really good, I just counted it down in 20′s and was quickly though to 1000m to go. I was very much in the zone, didn’t know what was going on around me, and it didn’t feel hard. A couple more 20′s and I was down to 600m to go, and still feeling good. My average as on 1:33.2 I think at this point. The way I was feeling I should have pushed on to get the average right down into the 1:32′s by the end, but with a clear second place and the strange “out of body” feeling of watching myself row, I couldn’t help but just stick to the 1:33′s. Another couple of 20′s counted down, and then I pulled it faster in the final 200m to get the average down to 1:33.0.
Finish time was 4:59.3, a 1:33.0 average split. I felt good, not breathing too hard, no real sprint at the end, legs not too tired. Ok, so when I got on the warm up machine for a short cool down I found that I was pretty tired really, but not 100% effort level. So the time wasn’t quite as fast as I would have liked, but the pace is equal to my (over 4 years old) 2k pb pace, the time 2 seconds faster than Evesham, it was the most consistently paced race (of mile / 2k) I have ever done, and it didn’t feel maximal. I could have sprinted the end, but I knew I was under 5mins, and couldn’t affect the finish position, so didn’t. But it was weird the feeling of being “in the zone” where I could just row pretty much even pace start to finish and never doubt I would hold it.
Good enough for a silver to Tony, and the gold in the GP series in the 30+. Next stop BIRC in 3 weeks time. 391m further, not as nice racing conditions, but I am sure I will get a birc pb, hopefully close to if not under my all time race pb, and all depends on who turns up on the position.
Other pp’ers racing seemed to do well, pb for lwt Jef, only 2sec off the British record for Emma, and about 2.5sec under her 2k pb split, bit faster for Andy Oz, and all around some very good performances.