Winning the Olympic trials was a massive pressure release. However, there is a new and unique pressure slowly manifesting itself into my training – the notion that I will be representing 200 million Americans at the 2012 Olympic Games. As my dad said, “congratulations, now you’re the monkey!”
After the World Championships in Perth, I took three weeks off and enjoyed the time with my friends and family. I worked closely with my coach and structured a training plan for the Olympic year that we believed would be ideal for a strong peak performance at the Olympics. The first training block was a 5-week stint in South Florida surrounding the Rolex Miami Olympic Class Regatta (RMOCR). The RMOCR was scheduled soon after the world championships; because of the proximity of the events, the number of participants was small, and therefore, we approached it as a training event.
Leading up to the RMOCR, Sebastian (training partner) and I partook in a variety of different training activities. One of them, a 7-mile Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) race. Naturally, we thought we would fare well among the other competitors, as we are both elite athletes. We were, however, quickly humbled with how sound the top SUP athlete’s technique was and how impressively fit they were. We didn’t finish as well as we would have liked (16th and 17th out of 25 in our age division). And it took us a while to nurse ourselves back to form after the demanding race.
Check out the GPS from my Garmin during the race: http://connect.garmin.com/
The effects of the “Olympic trials hangover” were apparent during the first few days of racing in Miami at the RMOCR. I started the event with two OCSs (false starts) and struggled to get in phase. However, towards the end of the event I managed to put up some very strong scores. I finished the event in 6th out of 14 and moved up the ladder each day. I was not pleased with my performance at the event; however, I think small setbacks like this are important towards the ultimate goal - they illuminate, very clearly, techniques I need to work on.
As the RMOCR was primarily a training event, I didn’t taper for the event, nor did I take time to properly recover from racing. After the event ended I took one day off and went right back to training. My coach and I noted that my boat speed has been consistently strong over the past 12 months; leading us to outline a training plan focused more on boat handling and maneuvers and less on speed. To address these issues, we spent a majority of our time doing very short (3-5 minute) races that required crisp transitions. While we were training in the Keys, we spent many hours doing short races in a very narrow dredged out channel. The channel, no more than 50 meters wide, forced us to tack every 5-20 seconds; otherwise, we would run aground in the shallow flats. After a solid 5 weeks of tedious boat handling drills, I am pleased with the progress I have made and I am looking forward to refocusing on my speed in the next training block.
Concluding my time in Miami, at the 2011 US Sailing Team Alphagraphics awards banquet, I was the co-recipient of the 2011 best teammate “Charlie Award.” I was very pleased to receive this award – it is easy being a great teammate when you are on a great team.
I will be competing in a number of events leading up to the Olympics. However, the primary goal is clearly a medal performance in London. Looking forward, I have scheduled various physical and sailing training camps to properly peak at the Olympics. I will discuss more about peaking in the next blog. In the immediate future I plan on spending 2 weeks in February at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Followed shortly thereafter by a 20-day training camp in Cadiz, Spain leading up to the 2012 World Championships, taking place in Cadiz, at the end of March.
Updated on May 20, 2013, 8:55am