One Step Forwards, Two Steps Back

I think I finally have a date for the Australian team trials in November. They’re falling midway through the month and so I’ve taken a moment to sit down and take a look at where I am health wise and I’ve got to say …. Since the last time I wrote about where I was sitting, I’m not impressed!

I’ve had a few work functions and things on, and in the Sales arena, it’s quite a boozy environment. Couple that with poor food choices and over eating, and I’ve increased my weight, and my sleep schedule is completely out of whack. Mt training regime has been a little bit scattered too – I’m not managing to make it to my three weekly sessions because I’m so run down at the moment (probably from my bad food choices) and despite my boyfriend’s constant nagging I’m slowly slipping behind on where I want to be.

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So I had a bit of a chat with my boyfriend this morning and we’ve got a few strategies implemented to get me back on track again and try and maintain it until November trials.

Firstly, the nagging continues. That’s always going to be a given. The getting to training three times a week is tough because for two out of three sessions I’m paddling, and I’m just not a paddler. My body aches for days afterwards, and seizes up, so I’m either going to have to quickly get some muscle memory or invest in a large bottle of Radox bath gel.
Secondly – I need to lose 1.5kg to get back to the weight I need to be for trials. That’s going to severely reducing my alcohol intake again to practically nil, and reducing my portion sizes back to what I should realistically be eating. Oh, and licorice …. We’re going to have to break up again for a while. Sorry, friend. We had a good run though … 😦

The maintaining the weight and fitness is going to be the hardest part of all.Being in the club with the Australian team coach comes with it’s own personal expectations which I never really thought about. Being someone who has chronic fatigue, I have to learn how to manage that because I will have to turn up three times a week otherwise I will be booted from the team. No ifs, no buts. There’s going to be many tears, and many tantrums, I imagine.

I know that being an athlete is not a linear process – that you can’t always be making progress and sometimes you either have to plateau or you have to take a step back. In my case, this time it’s two steps back, but it’s better that I’ve caught this now early on in the season and I have time to sort this out before trials. It’s so easy to get caught up in every day life and not pay attention to your body and that’s exactly what I did.

So I’m going to sit outside in the sun today, and enjoy my boiled eggs and salad for lunch, before going for a brisk walk up to Typo to buy my friend a birthday card and then tonight I’ll wander off to training where the real work will begin.

Let’s do this.

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Bench marking: Round 1

So I guess by now you’re probably wondering how the process goes when you want to be on the Australian team. Well, lucky for you, everything is starting to happen right now.

On the 1st July (oh my goodness, that feels like forever ago!) I put in an expression of interest to be a part of the Auroras. The timeline for the entire process usually looks a little something like this:

Put in expression of interest

  • 1 month after: Attend fitness bench marking in your state. If you pass bench marking:
  • 2 months after: Invited to a selection camp, usually held in QLD
  • 2 weeks: Begin the nail biting wait to find out if you made the team or not.

It’s a rough time line, but that’s usually how things go.

So we’re up to dot point #2 – the bench marking per state, which is due to happen next weekend. My friend Tim who is a paddler technically doesn’t have to do it because he’s already selected to represent Australia for a campaign that’s happening in October, but he’s doing it anyway. His fitness tests consist of far more than mine do as a drummer (obviously) Tim’s consist of kettle bells, push ups, chin ups, sit ups, beep tests, bench press and probably something else I’ve forgotten about. Maybe a flexibility test? Perhaps a weigh in? I’ll find out more next weekend.

Bench marking for a drummer at this stage is extremely different. For starters, we don’t really have to do anything, but I don’t like to be caught off guard. Usually at this stage, the drummers divide up and help jot down the results for the men’s and women’s bench marking results – or that’s how it’s been done in the past. This time it could be different … I could be called to have a weigh in. Which if that’s the case, that’s totally fine. Weight wise, I’m in my absolute prime – I just have to hold it here for another week before I can pig out on a burger and chips.

My real bench marking is done all at once – usually at selection camps. I’m tested for my weight then, my agility on the front of the boat, my ability to balance in rocky and windy conditions, my confidence, my voice, how I command a boat, how I work with the Sweep at the back of the boat and so on.

This time around I’m stressing out. There’s so much more competition this year and one of the other girls I’m against is fierce. Her voice is far more stronger than mine and I’m wracking my brains trying to think of everything I’ve been told in the past of how to make my voice carry. I know that it does in the middle of a race, as opposed to river runs down the Yarra on a Sunday morning where I don’t really want to be too loud because I don’t want to disturb people having their Sunday morning coffee, but at the same time … STRESS. And this is only one girl! What about the others that are going to come from other states that I don’t know about?

The only thing I have that’s keeping me sane is that Serge, who is the head coach of the Aus team, casually told me about a month or so ago that I was a good drummer because I knew my calls. I’m holding on to those words, and right now I’m doing my best to work with Darren, the sweep from our club who could be going to China to try and improve my chances of making the team.

What else am I doing? Oh yes … I’m looking at buying a wobble board to try and work on my balance and strengthen my ankles so I can hover above my drummers chair if I need to. One of the Australian drummers, Pauley, was able to do that and I respected her so much as a drummer. Granted, she was a lot shorter than I was, but if push comes to shove in a 2km race and I need to stand to balance the boat out, I’ll be able to do it. I want every advantage I can get because going to China is something I desperately want to do. I can’t un-grow, so it’s the next best thing!

So these trials are next weekend. I’m (im)patiently awaiting an email with the fine details in it, and hoping I can squeeze in some time with my brother too while he’s down from Queensland. From there, we wait. And we train. And we wait. And we train.

Stay tuned for the post-trials deets!

Rach xx