The CRASH-B Sprints is the world championship for indoor rowing. The test is a race over a distance of 2,000m on Concept2 indoor rowers. It is held every February in Boston, Massachusetts, most recently at Boston University’s Agganis Arena. The CRASH-B Sprints are officially sponsored by Concept 2.
I promised myself I would not get nervous about this race. I was doing it for fun. Yet, as soon as I walked into Agganis Arena it felt like someone filled my legs with cement. I could hardly walk up the stairs to the bathroom without much effort. I needed to use the bathroom often, a super dry mouth and wet palms. The endless rows of ergs made a purring sound that filled the arena and made my heart race. I quickly found my rower and was ready to go.
I hear the announcer calling my name that I’m in second place and I now know I’ve come out too hot…or did I? The Dark Horse rowing program I’ve been following taught me the sprint start. I was executing exactly what I had done in training – 15 fast hard strokes cutting lay back. I had no expectations for a top 10 finish in this race. Especially because I didn’t lose the 5 pounds I would have needed to make the “lightweight” class for 30-39-year-olds.
I was in a land of giants standing just under 5 feet 5 inches tall. Find your pace, my coach, and boyfriend, Rob Carson called out. It felt smooth at about 33 strokes per minute (spm). With all the noise of the crowd, the announcer and the screaming of the ergs I was at peace. Almost like an inner silence. “Kick now, kick now” Rob yelled with 300m left to the race. I had plenty left in the tank to finish the race fast. I didn’t hit a personal record that day but I was close within 2 seconds. The finish time was 7:31 good enough for 6th place overall. It was the absolute smoothest 2k I have ever rowed.
I’m just an average woman that loves to compete. I like to test myself and see what I’m made of. I’m a single mom of 2 girls. Without the financial assistance from anyone, I alone have had to figure out a way to make a life for my family. Every day is a test and I’m not afraid of hard work. I’m always curious what testing our abilities teaches us about ourselves.
I’ve been a CrossFit competitor since 2013. I got started a little late in the game at the age of 33. Yet without having been a high school or college athlete, I managed to qualify in 2013 and in 2014 in the northeast region. Then narrowly missed out in 2015.
Facing some injuries I took the season off in 2016. I’m currently training for the CrossFit open and the 35-39-year-old master’s qualifiers. I’m also a team member for Crossfit Garden City. I’ve been following the Dark Horse Rowing program and I consider rowing as my strength in CrossFit. I participated in the online rowing competition, Row’d Royalty this past January with my super athlete friend Kari Pearce. After finishing in 2nd place I wanted to see how I stacked up against the best rowers from all over the world.
No matter your situation or level of fitness, competing is always fun and it will always make you better. Whether you’re a pure rower or use rowing as a supplement to your training, the CRASH-B Sprints is a great environment to push yourself to your limits. It was an amazing experience, to say the least.