Truly remarkable is our capacity to sustain effort when everything about you says stop. Over the last few days our training volumes and intensities have been quiet high. On a few occasions I have had the yearning feeling of boy it would be good to stop. Stop pushing, stop trying, stop focusing, stop moving, stop turning…
I better explain the last stop. Turning, our boat had a fin that was a bit crooked. The team boatman, Urs has been busy ad I am sure over the years he doesn’t look forward to us arriving. To many times we have had things we need him to do with our boats. On this occasion it was a fin and now the boat goes straight. While I was in the stroke seat I tried to tell Duncan I was pulling him around with my huge power???? No actually I have only piccolo power and as such he didn’t believe that I was pulling him around. Urs fixed the fin and Duncan went back into the stroke seat and all things are now right in the World. Well not all things as the weather here has been less than kind. The kind we would prefer I guess is more warmth and less moisture. Not that we are made of sugar, but years ago when I worked as a on a few building sites the old adage was to place a page from the new paper out and if in a minute three drops of rain hit it it was tools down.
This leads me to the idea of ‘Hang On A Minute’. During the last few days many times I have found myself using the idea of just hang on a minute just to see what else there is. Just to see if you can go a little further. A minute seems reasonable to consider. A minute is not never ending but rather a finite period to hang on for. The last bike ride I went on was a classic example where I had the feeling of tired and fatigue in my legs. To the point where I just kept thinking ‘Hang On A Minute’, a minute was fair. It felt ok to push on a little longer obviously to find that there was another still to come after that one. It was a long climb and each and every minute began with a simple task, HANG ON.
Even during a our last couple or rowing sessions involved powers strokes and rate pieces. Each of these had me using the motto to great effect. I know Duncan counts strokes and I guess one of my strategies when the going gets tough is to focus on hanging in there for the next minute. It probably comes for my days doing athletics through school. 400m was roughly a minute and when things were a challenge staying focused on just the next lap was some thing that seemed possible.
We are in the middle of preparation for Luzern and the obvious step towards Beijing. The other day on our team board it showed 80 days to go. When I see that I just come back to whats next. The next session. The next challenge. The next minute. We are measured by a 2000m race but I probably see it as 6 x 1min periods. Other will have there measures and strategies. This does not mean our race plan is designed around each minute but when training is heavy and the load is increased. The sensation of Hanging on is one that appeals to me, it works well with the rowing stroke and allows tension to leave my body as I focus on hanging on. It also fits well with setting standards and working to reach those standards. If you put your self on the line and give all you have then to hang on is the final and complete nature of the feeling you have. It is not survival although ease it is to slip into the stress of feeling like your grip is failing. Hang On is strong and even with my little power I find if I solidify my grip then relaxing and allowing the work, effort, fatigue and resistance to do it’s things is something that does stress.
This is strange to explain and I may not have done a good job, but I am happy with where we are at right now and even though at times I question the level of fatigue, I know that it makes me smile. Maybe not today, maybe not when I wake with my body aching, but when things release and run I smile. When the feeling of hanging on is rewarded by the momentum of accumulation. I smile when that minute nears it’s end and am resolved that if just one more is required I will hang on some more.
We find out where we are at relative to other in just over a week and while we prepare we will also enjoy the relationship we share together. Through rowing we get the chance to share this extraordinary experience. How ever we perceive it we are here together and doing what we can to ready ourselves for what is ahead. Until next time all I can say is you gotta ‘Hang On’.