Bronze in the “Old and Skinny” races at @ScottishRowing IRC. #indoorrowing #concept2 #perfectstartandfinish

This was the start and the finish of my race season this year.

I won’t go into the gory details of why (although I did when I was talking to people at the race today) but let’s just say I’m going to have a limp for a couple of weeks, and it’s going to keep me away from the Welsh and BRIC – and unless a miracle happens, will mean there’s no point in me travelling to the English IRC and certainly not the World’s. Add in a mistake in my work booking where I seem to be editing football the week of the JustRow event, and today’s row at the @scottishrowing IRC was my start and finish to real life rowing for 2018/2019 season.

But you’re asking yourself, where’s the rant? When will johntherower implode on his result? I see he only got a bronze… surely there’s an epic self destruction /  over analysis waiting in the wings where once again he blames everything around him and not actually his performance.


I’ll get these out now.

  1. The info on the PM5 screen was frustrating. They put the event first, then your name. Which in the 1K, meant only the first two letters of your surname appeared on the screen. And with STeventon, SToddart and STrang racing, adding in my muddled brain while racing a 1K – I had no idea where I was in the race. I actually thought I was in the lead. Turns out I wasn’t.
  2. In the 500m, the chain kept spitting the cog when I tried to lay in ‘full power’ (full power for me – not ‘real’ full power). This completely threw me off concentration and performance. There was no way I’d have taken Noel who came second as I completely bottled it. However, I don’t think I’d have taken the 2 seconds I would have needed to get past him anyway.

End result – 1K – 3rd, 3:10.7 and 500m 3rd, 1:31.0

But apart from a couple of distracting excuses, I’m still not ranting. I’m not blaming the air. I’m not blaming any delays in start, I’m not blaming the fact that I wasn’t wearing my lucky pants (*I don’t have lucky pants, that’s a joke) – I’m reflecting on this as the end of my year.

And I’m reflecting forwards.

The year hasn’t been great. Starting with the bad bug I got right before the World Champs in February, which I then missed – I then cut my hand badly in March, which kept me off the erg for two months. Then I started getting back – and obviously over did it and hurt my intercostal. Then I came back – and got another cold. Then I got back – and got that nasty stomach thing which made me lost 4Kg overnight. It’s like each time I tried to build up, something tore down my wall.

And in amongst all of this, I had two issues. 1) My head has gone. I don’t want to push out of my happy comfort zone anymore. and 2) I’m panic training – neither sprinting properly, nor doing long slow stuff to build my engine. I push to slow stuff and then can’t hit the hard stuff (see (1))

So it’s been a schizophrenic year for me on the rowing machine. 1 time I love it, the next time I hate it. 1 time I’m killing it – the next time it’s killing me. But a lot of things fell into place today. Firstly, I realise I’m not as fast as I think I am. Yes, I can hit a 3:10 1K. Which ‘technically’ translates to a 6:40 2K. But I know deep down I don’t want to do that right now. Next up – I know I’ve been training wrong. I’ve been half-assing plans, making it up as I go along. Over training / under performing – trying to steal from the next day to make up for yesterday.

I also took stock at who came first. The difference in Guy Blackburn between last year and this year is like night and day. This year, he won it with a 3:07.1 1K – which I believe is a competition record for this event. Last year, I think it was 3:11 (correct me if you read this and know different). But to knock off 4 seconds in a year is very impressive. And a lot of this I put down to the amount of training he did for a marathon.

What’s that you say? Long stuff makes you faster for short stuff? Yup. It seems so. Putting in 2-3 hour rows once a week on top of his regular training seems to have transformed Guy into someone who can now produce power – and keep the endurance of that power going. Something which he will admit, in previous years he’s struggled with.

I’m not saying I’m going to start doing 3 hour rows every Sunday now – but it made me realise my engine is bust. I think I have a Ferrari. It turns out, I have a Ford Mondeo – and I’m trying to pump nitro through it to make it go faster. But I’m doing it the wrong way. I need to build it back up – add a bit, replace a bit, get it stronger – let it be its own natural power that can handle long term exposure, instead of short term bursts of power that will eventually blow a gasket.

I’ve got time ahead of me to work on this. Settle on how I’ll absorb the right direction. Accept I’m not fast. Train at what I am, rather than lying to myself that I am faster. Yes, I SHOULD be faster. But I simply am not right now. I’ll work out how to build the engine. More 30/60/21097 rows at 2:00 will help for sure.

And I’ll just row. No performance pressure.

Like Tom Foxley says, it’s all about progress over perfection.

Good grief I hope 2019 is better for me….

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One Thought to “Bronze in the “Old and Skinny” races at @ScottishRowing IRC. #indoorrowing #concept2 #perfectstartandfinish”

  1. Noel Stoddart

    Good to meet you John… I look forward to you being at full fitness soon enough. Noel

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