I wonder if Squash would have me back?

Kidding!

So, this weekend has sucked a bit. I didn’t want to start this post off on a negative slant, but as I’m now winging my way back into central London after my flight has been cancelled, it’s certainly taken the shine off the weekend.

In truth I like hotels. Well, nice ones anyway. Let’s just hope the Doubletree next to London City isn’t the nail in the coffin for the weekend.

So. The race. How did it go?

It won’t surprise you to hear I didn’t win. That was never on the cards with Tim, Mark and Danny all rowing. Throw in Simon and I would have been happy to get 5th.

As it was, there was another fella in the mix too. Keith towed a storm, snatching 3rd from Danny. And Simon, who rowed an incredible 6:32 in his first ever race was left with 5th! Most races that would have been the winning time.

So did I get 6th then? Well, no.

What happened? 10% no air one floor and I felt it really hard to breathe – but 90% head again.

The breathing thing was odd. I hit the 500m mark relatively happy – yes I had a bit of burn in my legs, but I wasn’t in bad shape. But at 800m – I felt my chest tighten up and it felt like I was rowing with one lung!

At which point I eased off. I think I was in 6th at this stage. Maybe bouncing back and forth with Guy. But I dropped to 1:43/44 splits – rate down to 30 – and just tried to make sure I at least hit sub-7!!

This went on – just counting 10 strokes at a time. I didn’t really see 1000m pass, I certainly didn’t see 1500m pass. But at 300m I looked up – figuring I was in 10th place by now. But I was 8th – with Guy only 12m ahead. So by the time I got to 250m to go, had to decide – “Do I breathe? Or do I try to beat Guy?”

I knew I’d be able to breathe later. I’d have been really irked if I hadn’t at least tried to take Guy. So full pressure was applied. Down to 1:35/32/30 – maybe a couple of strokes at 1:29.

It finished: me 6:50.0 Guy 6:50.6.

Woop!!

So 7th.

Denis, who came 6th was only 9m ahead of me. And in no way taking his 6th place away from him, I should have pushed earlier – or at least not have let my split drop so much – and should have managed 6th. 6:50 is the slowest 2k I’ve done (in anger) since 2014 – so I’m not over-the-moon happy with it.

But.

Much like Wales, I knew this wasn’t a race that would be my return to form. It was an assessment of my mental inner dialogue, so I can try to turn myself around.

And my inner self is a very negative chap indeed. Always “Can’t, shouldn’t, scared, tough” Never “Will, should, trust and powerful”.

I had a great call with a guy who focussed on dealing with peoples mental strength in exercise – and he’s the one that suggested I remember what goes through my head so I can start to re-draw my self-speak. And this race, though not the result I was looking for – in placing, time or even the feeling like I gave my all – was invaluable in arming myself with what I’m fighting against!

So I need to be more (realistically) positive when I talk and think about the tough stuff – and fight back the negativity that creeps in.

How? I’m not entirely sure of that yet. I have a plan – which mostly revolves round putting myself into that position more often and learning to re-write how I talk to myself – but that’s mechanics of that will take some work.

For the time being, I’m happy that I’m moving on with this. I need to get back in the fighting spirit for this stuff. And I’ll be sure to post my progress – if only so I can get this straight in my head.

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