It’s now just under two months until the big day, and a month has passed since I started taking this training thing seriously. We have been out rowing as a crew and I have been showing my face more regularly at the gym, so how have we been getting on?
We have now completed 3 on the water training sessions. For our first row we started by chucking the ice out of the boat and covered a miserly 3 miles in about as many hours. Nothing to worry about, we only need to complete 20 times that to get around the Isle of Wight!
The second row was looking more optimistic, the sun was shining and not only did we have a full crew of 8, they were all able to row, such progress! I commenced the row in the cox’s seat and as I sat and watched our scratch crew struggling back into action I wondered what on earth were we thinking! However as the session progressed so did we. We covered about 6 miles in 3.5 hours, and at times might have convinced the casual observer we knew what we were up to!
Row 3 and third time lucky… the sun quite rudely did not appear as expected, but we didn’t need the sun as we started our row through the harbour and out into Solent Water. Once again I started off coxing and we were looking none too great, maybe the fact that stroke side were trying to row through mud rather then water due to my slightly too racy coxing line wasn’t helping! We did a tough few hours pushing against the tide, at times it felt like we were barely moving until finally we popped out into Solent Water. As soon as we emerged from shelter of the harbour things got a bit more interesting! I don’t know about everyone else but I loved the waves, and got an extra dose of energy as soon we had some waves to play with, awesome. The row back was easy (ish!) in comparison, we covered 4 miles in 50 minutes, which is the kind of pace we need to be doing when we row around the Island.
So what have I and the team learnt so far?
- How to change our positions in the boat slightly faster then the 30 minutes we then row in that position!
- How to drink with one hand, this is still being mastered and I find it hilarious every time I attempt to take a hand off the oar whilst continuing to row. I must get better at this or else its going to be hungry and thirsty row. I also learnt that having the cox spray water into your mouth whilst amusing is not particularly productive in terms of trying to take on liquid!
- How to row in waves, kindly provided by two motorboats coming very close to our boat (without us even having to ask!)
- Tasha has been coaching Heather that laughing when she says we are going break a record is not a good way of getting ourselves in the mindset for record breaking!
- The rest of us have been trying to explain to Tasha that we might not beat the ladies crew record – a) there were 4 of them in a lighter boat b) they had been rowing for years and probably training for their row around the Isle of Wight for years! Tasha is still struggling to accept this!
- That I find coxing tough, not only do you have to steer the boat you are supposed to motivate the crew. When it was my turn I got stage fright and struggled to say anything at all. Having the cox count to 10 repeatedly is surprisingly useful whilst rowing but for me easier said then done (despite having all 10 fingers to help me!). I was glad to get back to the rowing!
- That I will not die whilst rowing 5k on the rowing machine, I initially thought I was going to have to give up or die in the attempt, I’m kind of amazed that I’m still here! I still need to learn how to breath whilst rowing, I think its kind of important!
- That pilates is boring, I have only done three sessions in the last month, I know its good for me, good for my core and will hopefully improve my flexibility from that of a 90 years old to someone slightly younger, but does it have to be so boring?
- That my hands are amazing, after Sunday’s row I counted 10 blisters, not massive and the skin wasn’t broken but nonetheless there. When I woke up on Monday morning I merely had ten hardened skin spots and no blisters. Hands, I applaud you and would like to give credit where credit is due. However in no way am I proud of you as I don’t want to set you up for a fall!
- That the heat building up in my bum as I moved on the seat was alarming, my bum may not fare as well as my hands!
Next up, we are going to be rowing around an island in training for rowing around an island! 10 points for the first person to guess which one…