I had a 5k test on the rowing machines in the gym today. I did one a couple of months back and it went really well. It was a 20s PB, and I just smashed it.
Today, was a different story. I had come in with some injuries over the past few weeks and my preparation had been less than ideal. I had a bit of a sore throat that was also playing on my mind, but more importantly, there was just a lot riding on the 5k. Whereas the 5k 2 months ago didn't matter, it was just a 'let's see where we are' thing, today was an important selection criteria.
Warm up went well, no issues. I started the test and settled to what I thought was my cruising speed. Anyway, first km went fine, by the end of the second one, I was starting to fill a bit of a pinch. With around 2600m to go, coming up to the half way, I was done, I was thinking to my head, 'let's just stop, put the handle down and go home, you are not made for this'.
However, I had a look at my split and saw I was going faster than my target pace, so I thought, right, slow down if you must, but you are not stopping. So I had some strokes couple of seconds slower, but was back onto my target soon enough.
The next 1000m went without much incident, I was just in complete agony. I continued powering through, my rate creeping up a little to keep the split down. By 1300m to go I was happy for the chain to break and let me off the hook. My head, heart, lungs, legs, everything was hurting.
'Is this what it felt like 2 months ago?'.
I couldn't stop, not now, not with 4 minutes to go.
'it's not 4 minutes to go, it's more like 4 minutes and 30 seconds to go'.
1250m to go.
'Oh no, why is this 100m taking so long?'
I think I blanked out for the following 400m, and then before I knew it I was at around 800m to go
'OK, I am going to wind it up with 700m to go'.
700m came along, nope, no winding up.
500m came along, nope, still not winding it up.
300m came along, OK, I finally start the sprint home, but it never really materialised. I could see the 'estimated finish time at 17min', but no matter how hard I tried to push with my legs, I just had nothing more in me.
Still a 2 second PB.
p.s. I remember a few days before the test our physiologist saying something like "remember, you are not special, everyone is hurting" - true, thanks man.