This time last week, I was sat in a hotel room in Caversham, mulling over what had happened in the recent days.
Knowing that my PB was 3 seconds over their arbitrary talent time, I was quite certain that I wasn’t going to meet the required time. I arrived Friday afternoon in Caversham, and was determined to give it my best go, knowing I had nothing to lose. Once I’d dealt with a receptionist saying I couldn’t use my fridge, which was solved fairly easily, thankfully, by me saying I’d been told it was fine. In all honesty I can’t remember if it was that hotel or not that had given me permission previously, but hey it worked!! I set about with my usual process of sticking my motivational thoughts and quotes up around the room. It helps get me into the right frame of my mind. I then had a quiet evening, listening to music, trying to remain calm, and rested.
Saturday morning I did all of my usual necessities, realised I still had plenty of time, so had a power nap, although it was mostly spent worrying about not waking up on time!! I put on my motivational music first thing, to start getting into the swing of things. Left with plenty of time to spare. I’m always paranoid about being late to things. Arrived at the boathouse with plenty of time, but had to join someone else waiting for someone to come and open the gate. Safely in, I set about getting myself sorted out, carrying fixed seats and a rucksack is quite a trick.
Arriving in the crew room, I was quite daunted, all around the walls were photos and signs celebrating the success of all the Olympic medallists going back to the 1980s. The crew room was fairly empty, but there was one other female, who began talking to me, which helped take my mind off the imminent test.
When the briefing started, I had a huge panic, they announced that my category of rowers was to be tested on the water, but the email I had said ergo test, so I was greatly relieved when a small group of us were given different instructions, which involved the rowing machine. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to go on a rowing machine!!
Prior to the test, we had to see the medic. That was an interesting experience, don’t think she’d met such polypharmacy in this setting. She was impressed that I’d been in contact with UK doping, and knew what I was allowed and what needed a TUE (therapeutic use exemption) application.
Then it was downstairs ready for the ergo test. I knew mentally what my race plan was, and listened to a couple of special songs before I started. There was nothing more I could do now other than row to the best of my ability.
So I did!! It was hard, and that’s probably an understatement, but the main thing is that I took six seconds off my PB, which apparently is no mean feat on it’s own. More importantly this meant I was 3 seconds under the target time. I couldn’t believe it, I was so shocked.
I will carry the rest of this on soon, but my bed is calling out for me.
Back to finish the story.
In all honesty I still feel surprised I pulled it off. After a quick cool down, we returned to the crew room to wait for our debriefs, cue me panicking and trying to get prepared for a harsh reality check. In the meantime, I chatted with some of the others, who I knew from other events. It was a long wait, as they were observing seat racing for one of the other categories.
Eventually my turn arrived, thankfully it was nowhere near as bad as I had anticipated. I suspect I was the only one to have the doctor in the debrief though!! We talked about my row, and was praised for having done a well paced race, although I set off on my final sprint too soon, which I knew and is something to work on. The rest of the debrief was talking about practicalities if I were to make the team, which was all rather scary (in a good way) and overwhelming.
This, therefore, means I have been invited back to closed trials in April, to be tested on the water. I’m excited, nervous, scared and have what feels like several hundred more feelings racing around!! I honestly didn’t expect to get through the first round, so I hadn’t even considered the next stage.
Training is now focussed on improving my water speed and technique. This means I’ve been in talks with a few other people to try and maximise my water time, no mean feat during an English winter!!
Mentally this has been quite a challenging and interesting time, which is an entry for another day.
So many people believed in me, which means so much to me, thank you.