Wednesday, April 04, 2007

2 seconds

We came in second by 2 seconds.

On one hand, given who they were (cox from the US 2004 Athens gold medal 8 was their cox, among other superstars) and who we were, we should be proud of it. Our stroke encouraged us to congratulate them at the awards stand partially because it's the classy thing to do, and partially so they could see how small we were, in comparison.

It certainly makes me appreciate winning last year more than I did before.

And we put on probably the best finishing sprint of my rowing career. At 450 meters to go, we took the rate up 2, and did it again with maybe 250 to go, and we moved on everyone. I remember thinking on the first shift "they'll notice that from shore". It was a decisive and cohesive change in pace. The whole boat just put their legs down harder and moved their hands away faster and we took off. My only thought was to unleash full power each stroke, but not to sacrifice any technique. Full pressure flawlessness. I wasn't going to break form, no matter what.

We went from 2 seconds behind to 1 second in front of a crew that had been ahead of us from the start in those 450m.

But I can't help but wonder if I could have done more. I stuck with the race plan, and the way I had thought through last year's race: Just relax and be sharp and quick for the first 1000m, then go to work. But by the 1000m we were 5 seconds out of first, and in third place. Last year we were up a few seats. We gave up a length in the second 500m. I wonder if I could have gone harder then. I might not have had as much for the sprint, but maybe we wouldn't have needed it.

It just sucks to work hard every day with the same group of guys only to lose to folks who are rowing together for the first time that day, who may or may not have been training the way you have.

That said, I think I can be faster. Now that the knee is better, I can add some weights to my routine. Most folks think I lift a lot. I actually don't lift at all. So when I do hit the weights, I get results. I'm going to use those two seconds to fuel my training for the next year. I can make the boat 2 seconds faster all on my own.