The two weeks at home flew by, but I made the most of visiting friends, family and my home training sites. Initially I took a few days easy, but then ramped up my physical training for a four-day high intensity block of flatwater training. This particular block focused on 30-second intervals going as hard as I can to maintain the pace over the given number of reps per set. A question that I receive frequently is "What music pumps you up?" I usually fumble with this question because while I use music in training I do not rely on music for competition preparation. That said the interval workouts alone on flatwater in 90 degree plus heat can get miserable quickly without some other stimulus to distract my mind from the lactic acid in my muscles. David Guetta, Rihanna, the Temper Trap, Regina Spektor, Nicki Minaj, and Adele helped me out this week. Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games series and Christopher Buckley's satire Supreme Courtship have captivated me between workouts.
Once I arrived in London, it was time to pick up my new boat! After making some adjustments to the seat and bringing its weight up to regulation, it's a perfect fit! The front of the boat, the bow, has some more volume than my previous boat, which helps it stay on top of the many waves and hydraulics of the London course. The additional weight I must install to make the boat acceptable for racing is not behind me instead of in front of me, which seems to make turning easier and smoother. Since I'm in slalom kayak, making effective turns is critical.
This week of training has focused on learning to paddle longer pieces of the course well. When one first arrives at a new venue, it makes sense to play around on the major features of the course and get to know them in small pieces. Now we're far beyond that and must learn to put those pieces together into race-length runs. I feel fortunate to have had a few weeks of practice on this course before actually becoming an Olympic team member, being able to build up my knowledge of this venue over time has worked well.
This camp has also helped convince me that I have made the final cut! While at home I did not really recognize that I had earned the chance to compete at the Olympics. Little by little though it's hitting me. Being at a camp with only five of the usual fifteen or so athletes present is one indicator. Another came as I watched a BBC piece about the Olympic Village, "Cool!," I thought. A few moments pass before I continue, "I get to live there for almost a month!"
Two weeks from today I officially settle into the role of Olympic team member when we move into the Village. Between now and then the hard work will continue as a finish up this training camp before heading back to the US on the fourth of July. While in the States I get the opportunity to race at the U23 World Championships in Wausau, Wisconsin, so look for a post then! Thank you!