New Year, new opportunities!

I feel like C-3P0 from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. If you’ve seen it, you’ll know that this human like droid has somehow ended up with another droid’s arm. Rest assured, I have all my original parts, all the same colour (with the exception of some stark tan lines), but with the surgeon having played ‘operation’ with my knee, I’m still trying to regain the proprioception in my left leg. 

Proprioception is defined in the English Dictionary as ‘awareness of the position of one's body.’ Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I ‘lose’ my leg momentarily and have to go looking for it. Instead the mastery control that's taken over 10 years of rowing to develop, is now not so masterful. For each of the 1,100+ strokes in an average training session, my knee used to automatically assume the exact same position because it was where I was strongest and could best make the magic happen. Well, you don’t surgically remove a ganglion cyst (see previous blog) without playing with the inner structures, including chipping off a bit of the Fibular bone to prevent any more pesky cysts. 

My knee strapped to facilitate proprioception during training in the double with Adam Ling mid-December. Photo courtisy of Rowing Celebration.

My knee strapped to facilitate proprioception during training in the double with Adam Ling mid-December. Photo courtisy of Rowing Celebration.

I’ve been working closely with the expert High Performance Sport New Zealand support staff (physiotherapists, psychologist, doctor, strength and conditioning coaches) on regaining the strength and control in the parts where the mechanics have been compromised. I’ve regained all of the range and strength in the upper range, and am now back to squatting 120-130kg. However, the strength in the lower, more compressed position, and the precision of that movement movement, is taking longer to recover. 

As a member of the Summer Squad (New Zealand summer rowing team), I competed in my first regatta of the domestic season (Oct through Apr) on the 17th and 18th of December. This was my first regatta since racing at Final Olympic Qualification regatta six and half months ago. My races in the single and double weren’t the performances I would have been aiming for pre-cyst removal, but they were a good start considering recent events. I also did a 2km mock-race with Matt Dunham a couple weeks prior to the regatta which went really well, so it’s going to be a case of getting some high pressure experience back under my belt after a decent absence. 

Seeing out the New Year with my High School Rowing crew in classic Kiwi style.

Although training doesn’t take a holiday, the summer squad has been granted 10 days release from our centralized training in Karapiro. I spent Christmas on my home turf in Tauranga then headed up to to Auckland with some of the guys I rowed with at High School for the New Year. Training has involved clocking up some serious kilometres on the bike, seeing my home town from a different angle, and heading down to my old club, Tauranga Rowing Club, to join the local young bucks in bringing the hurt. 

On that note, I’d like to wish each and everyone one of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. With the news that I’ve been selected as a recipient of the Prime Ministers Scholarship for the start of my post-graduate studies with Massey University in 2017, I’m pretty excited about what else the New Year has in stock.