Happy Monday from the Green Racing Project Rowers!
GRP scullers got back last week from a training trip in DeLand, FL; and, since then we’ve been back on the slopes, the erg, and in the weight room, all in preparation for the upcoming spring season.
Here’s a recap on our 2018 Winter Season so far.
Craftsbury Marathon, New Sponsorships, and Gratitude
The Green Team started team practices on January 3rd, after a week away from the center to be with family and friends during the holidays. Our first benchmark was to race 1, 2, or 3, 16 km laps of the Craftsbury Marathon; so, for three weeks, our ski training was strictly on classical skis. Every Wednesday, Steve prescribed a 120-minute endurance effort, which was incredibly helpful in the physical (but mostly mental) preparation for the marathon.
In December, we had the good fortune of skiing, shooting on the biathlon range, and learning ski technique from the ski and biathlete greenies as well as from coaches, Sam and Pepa. Over the course of January, six of the GRPers were selected to compete in the 2018 Olympic Games in PeyongChang, South Korea. That being said, we had some of the best teachers in the world – a truly incredible experience.
We continued pushing our benchmark erg pieces, getting our general volume cross-training in, and lifting 3-4 times per week.
The weather crept above forty-degrees a few times, and before the cool weather blanketed us again, rain was threatening on the forecast.
Because the Marathon was only about a week away, we had a COC-wide “snow scooping” party to move as much snow as possible onto the trailsbefore the rain swept through and washed it all away.
Big shout-out to the trail groomers who work tirelessly to keep the COC’s trails skiable even in what seems like unskiable weather. YOU. ARE. MAGICIANS.
Our final preparations for the marathon included either Screaming Mimi hill intervals, or racing in the Tuesday Night 5 km Race series. We were as ready as we could have ever been, and after the starting horn sounded, it was all business. We got incredibly lucky with weather that day, and the thrill of racing among some of the best skiers and athletes in the world was a rush.
Thanks to the rigorous and thorough planning of the COC, and to the amazing volunteers, athletes stayed hydrated and fed during the race. This was the first long race that many of us had ever done before, and also for some, their first ski race…ever.
That being said, having feed stations every 8k was a godsend. The encouragement from COC staff and the countless volunteers (thanks to our U23 Summer camp athletes Sydney and Emily who helped out) along the course was a huge boost to moral as fatigue washed over our bodies.
We all had a good race, and were welcomed back to the COC with a hot bowl of chili, oven-fresh cookies, and Vermont-made apple cider. It was a real treat to race at our home venue- with our teammates and support crew around the center. Not to mention the crowds of spectators and participating athletes that made the COC brim and buzz with excitement and spirit. There really is no place like home.
Post marathon recovery started nearly immediately with delicious food from the COC Kitchen, hot epsom salt baths, foam rolling, hydration, and utilizing our new NormaTec pants. Thanks to the generous donation from NormaTec the skiers, biathletes, and rowers can now recover faster between same-day races, and after particularly challenging training sessions. Be sure to check out NormaTec’s website for more information on their product.
The team got right back into a week of training before heading south for our first training camp of the year. In addition to our new partnership with NormaTec, and a generous nutrition donation from PacificHealth Labs January brought a new force to the GRP – Lucas Bellows, a big guy from Minnesota with a quick wit and a fat ergo – making our team of 4 grow to 5.
In early February Wes, Nate, and Jen got a head start on the winter training camp and boarded a Philadelphia-bound train to break up the driving, while Jenny, Lucas, and Steve held down the fort back at the Center. Thanks to the generosity of the Pennsylvania Athletic Club and Vesper Boat Club, the three of us were able to continue our training leading up to our departure for FL. Huge shout out to Peter Mansfield, Charlie Biddle, and Sean Hall for letting us bang some chain while in Eagles Country, and to our friends at The Monastery who let us crash for a few days.
Sport culture, and rowing culture specifically, has an overwhelming spirit of good sportsmanship and hospitality within the community. It would be easy for a competing organization to turn away an athlete who is asking to use equipment while he is away from his home club; however, time and time again experiences within the sport have always been extraordinarily positive and welcoming.
The rowing community is full of incredibly gracious individuals that have given so much back to the rest of us- without any question as to why we need the help. There are a lot of athletes, both retired and active in the sport, that pursued the same dreams of excellence in rowing that the GRP athletes have right now. We would be remiss not to attribute their overflowing generosity with the quality of character that comes with years of developing ones self into a seasoned athlete: training, excelling, failing, hitting the bottom, and reaching the top.
The appreciation for the work we’re all doing, combined with the desire to give back to future generations of athletes stems from reminiscence about training, “the process”, and the feeling they got when an unlikely beneficiary held out a helping hand.
Living and training at the COC Outdoor Center feels like we have a constant extension of generosity put in to our direction. No matter where or how far we travel, we still feel the overarching presence of support from our home community. It is up to us to pay that generosity forward to people within and beyond our daily schedules.
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Upcoming article Part II: Florida Training Trip