I should have been racing at Fours Head today. For the first time in, well, my entire time at Broxbourne, we got a crew line-up out 8 weeks in advance of the race. Not only that, but all four of us were almost equally matched in build, erg speed and strength. As mentioned in my previous post, our first race of the season was thwarted by illness. But Lou, bounced back and last Saturday and Monday we had two good sessions. We were ready.
Unfortunately, fate / life / luck (whatever you want to call it) had other ideas. On Thursday, Lou had a relapse; It was not wholly unexpected in some ways but after two successful outings, we had not activated our contingency plans. Sadly, despite a lot of trying, the viable subs were not available at such short notice. If it has been an eight, we’d have had more options. But you need to be cautious about who you sub in to a coxed four, especially in a boat known to be quite twitchy! Couple that with the fact that we were racing WIM1 (a fairly high status only superseded by Elite and Senior), we didn’t want to embarrass ourselves – that does nothing for morale.
We took the tough decision to scratch the crew. It brings the racing year of 2012 to a rather deflated close. But, it is a timely reminder that sport, and life, can be cruel. Putting all of your focus and energy in to a single event comes with great risk. Whilst I feel real disappointment, it was certainly not as deeply felt as in 2009 when the race was cancelled due to conditions, but where I had been channeling all of my work stress in to training for that single event. A more public example of the risk of working towards a single event was the Cambridge / Oxford Boat Race this year, where some numpty swam in to the path of two racing eights (I still cannot understand who would not see that as a terrible dangerous thing to do but…). Of course, you cannot always avoid it, but having other things in life to focus on are important. (Shameless plug here for my review of ‘The Secret Olympian’ which touches on some of this for Olympic Athletes.)
So, onwards and a focus on keeping fitness up / improving over Christmas, a period known to be tough for training. I am determined to take some positives from this. Yes, we didn’t race, but we have made real leaps and bounds in that 4. If we can continue to build on that, 2013 could be a much better year…as long as no-one trips over and squashes any of the eggs of course.