Just Row 2019

I came last…

I could let that get me down and vow to never enter a competition like that again.

But, I’m not that kind of person. There are many positives to take from the experience.

When I entered the competition back in January I was feeling pretty low. Winter is a mental struggle for me and I was unhappy with certain parts of my life. As a result I’d been comfort eating and had put on a lot of weight (for me), so started the year the heaviest I’ve ever been.

I saw the competition advertised and as I quite enjoy rowing I thought it would be something different for me to focus on and look forward to.

On entering I discovered that there were weight categories. I could have entered the ‘open’ category at the weight I was and not have to worry about trying to lose weight. But, the ‘middleweight’ category had an upper limit of 72.5kg, a weight I usually sit below and can maintain. I’d already started trying to lose weight so this would give me the motivation to lose the weight I’d gained, at the same time as having something to train for.

With my sights firmly set on doing the best I could in this competition, I started eating better and slowly getting my training back on track. The weight loss began!

I started the year weighing in at 79.65kg (12 stone 7.6lb). I’m not usually one to weigh myself regularly, I prefer to monitor how my clothes fit, how I feel physically and whether I’m happy with how I look. Weighing myself weekly became routine and the weight was steadily coming off each week, I was feeling better in myself and I started a rowing specific training programme (with my training buddy Jason at my side).

In the last couple of weeks leading up to the competition I started worrying about making weight and so started weighing more regularly (daily in the last week). The ‘middleweight’ category was for women weighing 61.5kg-72.5kg and I wanted to be at the higher end. By the Thursday morning I was finally below the top weight, so then needed to maintain that until Sunday! I weighed in at 11am on competition day at 71.2kg (11 stone 2.9lb). I lost 1 stone 4.7lb in 15 weeks, averaging just over 1lb loss per week, making it healthy and sustainable.

The competition workouts had been released some time before the day and I had planned to have a trial run, after completing my rowing programme, which would be the week before the competition. I did that on the Thursday, so as to allow time for recovery before the big day. I was happy with the tactics I’d used and was very happy with the distances I’d achieved.

I went into the competition knowing I wouldn’t be the best rower there and fully expecting to come near the bottom of the leader board, if not last. I am, after all, still very new to this.

So, here’s how I did…

So, yes I came last (a big fear for a lot of people), but I didn’t fail.

  • I successfully stuck to eating well for 15 weeks and achieved the weight requirement for my category.
  • I improved my rowing ability by sticking to a 3 day a week, 6 week programme.
  • I improved upon my own performance of the competition workouts.

All of this has given me the drive to keep some focus on rowing in the year ahead and to go back again next year.

So, next time you think you’ve ‘failed’, take a step back and think about the positives you can take from it.

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