As many of you know, my training has been rowing focussed for most of this year. I’ve been working towards my goal of breaking the World Record for a tandem 100,000 metre row on a Concept2 rowing machine on 5th December.
Despite being 5 years older then I was when I first set a world record in 2010, I was going to need to row significantly faster to regain a record. Training has been hard and exhausting but also exhilerating, exciting and has got me back to fitness levels which I haven’t experienced for a good while.
As my husband will confirm (!), my stress levels have been a little high for the last 2 or 3 weeks – the fear of failure has been very real and Tracy, my rowing partner, is super strong, powerful and has an incredible ability to just keep on rowing…the thought of letting her down had been playing on my mind too. After all, she was driving all the way from Norfolk for this row!
So, on the morning of Saturday 5th December and after a (very short!) warmup and a couple of changeover practises, we got underway. The plan was to row 1,000m each, quickly swap over and then rest while the other rows. We’d need to do that FIFTY times. Tracy and I had agreed a pace we were going to target. She went first and went faster than the pace we’d agreed. I put it down to adrenalin and decided she’d slow down on the next row. My first k was also faster than we’d agreed, but it didn’t feel faster so again, I decided it was just adrenalin and I’d relax into it on my second go.
It didn’t quite work out like that. The pace just didn’t slow, which was fine until we got to 60k and we both hit a wall of tiredness. We decided we’d keep going to 70k and then drop the intervals down to 500m each – which would make the rowing far less painful but would also mean only half the rest time in between each one. It made SUCH a big difference and the next few k flew past. But by the time we got to 90k, even though we ‘only’ had 10k to go, 500m was feeling like a marathon. So we agreed to drop down to 250m each when we got to 95k. This was the BEST decision! I suppose partly because we could see the finish line but mostly because 250m is less than a minute’s worth of rowing, we absolutely stormed the last 5k and managed to bring the average pace right down.
The existing record was 7 hours, 2 minutes and 27 seconds. We were targeting 7 hours. We finished in 6 hours, 50 minutes and 6 seconds, which is astonishing (even if I say so myself!) because a) we never dreamt we’d keep that pace, b) we were both shattered after 60k but most incredibly c) it’s a faster time than all the other ladies’ categories: we were faster than the 30-39 AND the 20-29 AND the under 20’s! Still can’t quite believe it.
This was the final 500m:
Next goal: London Marathon!