3 March, 2012:
I have never been so motivated in my entire life. WeHORR (Women’s Head of the River Race) pushed me to my point of physical stamina, mental strength, and determination.
We got to the boat house around 8:30am for the start of what would be a ridiculously tiring day. The boys were about to get off of the water from an outing in preparation for the Supaerowing event in Toulouse the following week.
All of the girls were getting ready to go out and prepping ourselves in the changing room. We went out to the boat and then fixed our foot plates and waited for the right time to boat. Pelayo was the nicest of all of the guys and stayed to get our wellies out of the boat, which made all of the difference with our time! We ended up paddling down the river to a little bit past the start line so that we could marshall before the start of the race.
We were 180 in the draw so while we were marshaling, we were able to see around 150 crews at the start! It was a crazy experience to see all of those crews go off and an even better experience watching the 20 crews in front of us do a hairpin turn at the exact same time.
And at that point, we were building up to the start. Power strokes were on and then we were off!
I can’t even begin to tell you actually what was going on during the race because I was too focused on my stroke. It sounds incredibly cheesey, but that’s the truth. All I can remember of the 7000m race was sheer pain and Val’s voice screaming different things throughout the 24 minutes. It seemed as though every 10 strokes we were told to focus on something new. Whether it was the catch, slide, recovery, stroke length it was anything to keep our minds fresh and off of the fact that we were rowing all out for so long.
The one distinct part of the race that I do remember was the crew that started at 181 that was trying to overtake us. It was a battle for about 2 minutes of bow ball to bow ball until our crew pushed so hard that we pulled back our lead. We kept getting further and further away from the crew and that gave us an even greater amount of motivation to keep going. This happened a bit early in the race but we just kept on going.
Ultimately we finished 202 out of 287 crews which far surpassed our original goal of passing 250. We also came in 11th out of 40 in the Novice Academic category and beat 39 Intermediate crews over all! I am so incredibly proud of LSE Women’s Rowing.
The pain and suffering and overwhelming joy of rowing for 24:09.10 made up for the 9000 m row back to the boat house.
Check out the pics!