Yes, the camp was hard and I had a lot of fatigue in my legs by the end but I relished in the hard training and long miles because I needed it.
We have arrived in sunny Sarasota. First impressions are it is hot and humid! The humidity can reach 100%. This takes some getting used to and is why we have come out a week before racing starts.
The first real part of our preparation for the World Championships was a three week training camp on the beautiful lake of Varese in Northern Italy. Varese is one of my favourite lakes to train on. The alps create a beautiful backdrop and on most days the water is mirror flat. The temperature was consistently around 30 degrees Celsius which was good preparation for the Florida climate. Us Brits are not used to much heat back home! It did take me a good few days to adjust to the heat though. I felt lethargic and my heart rate was a lot higher than normal in training, everything felt like hard work. However, the human body is a wonderful thing and it adapts so quickly to a new stressor.
We had great weather enabling me to really work on the technical side of my sculling, I could really feel the boat underneath me in the undisturbed water. I rarely get this back home at the team base in Caversham. The whole team shares the lake and in a tiny single scull I sometimes feel like a bobbing apple due to the wash created by the big boats powering their way around the lake. However, in Varese the long miles were made slightly easier when I could go a whole session without seeing another boat. Yes, the camp was hard and I had a lot of fatigue in my legs by the end but I relished in the hard training and long miles because I needed it. The World Championships being a month later this year has been great for me. I have been able to catch up on the training I missed in the early winter due to my prolonged break after the Olympics.
When the three weeks were up I was really looking forward to spending two nights in my own bed! The first morning back at home I spent on the sofa with copious cups of tea, gawking at the TV as I watched the last two episodes of Game of Thrones Season 7 unfold. The rest of the day was spent doing my washing and re packing my bag. Standard post camp activities.
Between Varese and flying to Florida we trained at the GB base in Caversham. To keep us in a camp environment, where are minds are totally on the job at hand and life is kept simple with our meals being prepared and our beds changed we stayed in the Crowne Plaza Hotel. It is strange staying in a hotel so close to where I live but at that point in time, so close to a World Championships I don’t want to go back to “normal life”, I like to stay in the mindset that a camp environment creates. However, I really do miss cooking!
Coming back to the UK was a big bump down to earth! The UK was cold and windy! This took some adjusting to and I was finding it pretty frustrating in the first few days. The boat felt different and I couldn’t seem to find that sweet spot that I had had in Varese. I had to keep bringing myself back to the basics and work hard on keeping my cool. As the World Championships were getting closer I found myself feeling slightly more on edge than I had in Varese but recognising this was the first step to addressing it in the right way. As “Camp Caversham” drew to a close I felt happier and more in control and being a control freak where rowing is concerned this was a good thing!
After a 2km piece on the Friday it was home to pack for Florida and spend about 12 hours with my boyfriend Rick before we were on a plane to the World Championships. This is what this year has all been about. All the work comes down to one week of racing and one race that really matters. Bring it on.