BIRC 2005

Went to the BIRC yesterday. I was really nervous in the days leading up to it, so i tried to not think about it.

When I actually got there I was even more nervous, watching all these very tall people walking around I felt somehow out of place. I recently beat my personal best of 4 years standing. I managed 6:30.7 on my last test before the race. So I was pretty confident of achieving my goal of breaking 6:30. I did my warm-up, again feeling a little out of place. Took it easy for 8 minutes or so, then had a quick blast and got the split down to 1:17. The quickest I’d been in some time, I was also quite pleased to have moved my rower a couple of feet! Feeling fairly happy that my back muscles were nicely warmed up. (I got a twinge when I was using a weights machine about 3 weeks ago and it’d been hurting a fair bit since then). I headed over to the holding pen, again feeling a little short, at only 5’11”, compared to most of the other competitors.

We were called up, found my machine and warmed up a little without strapping my feet in, as I always do. Then I hear “90 seconds to start” over the tannoy. So I strap in, and we’re off before I know it.

The race plan is out the window after the first 2 pulls and I’m going along with everyone else in row B.

Felt quite comfortable doing 1:34(ish), then slacked off a bit when I hit 400m and settled into a 1:36/1:37 pace which I held until 800m to go. That’s when the burn started kicking in. Pushed through it until I had 400 to go, then started the push for home. Managed to put 1:31/1:32 for a little while, but just faded a little towards the end doing 1:36s again.

Stopped rowing with about 5 metres to go, and ended up ½ a second behind the next man, maybe if I’d kept going to the end I might have stolen 10th place. Gasping for breath, close to blacking out, I look up and I did 6:25.6. Beating my recent PB by 5.1 seconds. Unbelievable! Get told to leave the rower, I can barely stand up, but I make it to a seat and sit with my head in my hands for 5 minutes, then try to go to the cool down area. But I end up sat on a chair by the medical area looking into a bucket of my own sick! All worth it in the end though.

Maybe I can break 6:20 next time, who knows.

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