Hey! At the end of the spring season I was one of the best rowers on my team. I had some of the strongest erg scores and was stroking the 1V8+. However I was rowing through an injury, it was a plica so there was no structural damage, and after receiving a cortisone shot, the pain went down a lot, so I was cleared to row though they said to go see another dr. over the summer for potential surgery. The Dr. I saw over the summer took an MRI and decided to try PT and an anti-inflammatory. She also said to limit my exercise to non-impact workouts, which pretty much meant no erging/rowing, running, or biking. I did do some swimming this summer and focused on building core strength. Now I’m back at school in pre-season, it definitely helped, and my knee is better. However my erg scores (obviously) haven’t been where they were and it’s been discouraging. I’ve been going to every practice to gain an advantage, before mandatory practice starts, but it’s so hard motivating myself to go when I know I’ll be in the middle of the pack, even though I know the only way to get better is by going. What’s worse is that my coach ignores me. This sucks because I’ve picked up that that’s what he does to the girls who maybe aren’t the top rowers on the team. Do you have any advice on how I can boost my moral?
Ah yes, I’m familiar with plica syndrome. I’m pretty sure the chondromalacia that the doctors say I have in the knee I dislocated is actually this. It’s definitely not a pleasant thing to deal with – I can’t believe you rowed through it! I wouldn’t keep doing that though if it starts acting up again just because you will, without question, end up exacerbating the problem and ultimately end up with an injury that is way more severe than this one and will keep you off the water for an even longer period of time.
Even though your erg scores aren’t where you want them to be right now, I think you can at least take comfort in knowing that they’re where they are for a legitimate reason and not because you were lazy and sat around on your ass all summer. There’s nothing wrong with being in the middle of the pack either. I know people look at it as some colossal failure if they were previously at the head of the pack but it’s really not that big of a deal. If you’re relatively in shape then you shouldn’t have any issue getting back to where you were in a reasonable amount of time.
Instead of focusing on getting your scores back to where they were just focus on improving where you’re at right now. If you’re currently pulling (for example) a 1:55 split for a 2k but your PR is a 1:46 then yea, no wonder you’re discouraged. That’s a lot of time to try and make up. Stop focusing on the 1:46 though and instead work on making small improvements on the 1:55. Eventually you’ll get back to where you were but it’ll be a lot easier if you set more reasonable goals for yourself (i.e. like maintaining a 1:53 on your next test…). Being able to knock off small goals on your way to a larger one is much more motivating and better for morale.
If you think your coach is ignoring you, set up a one-on-one meeting with him sometime this week so you can update him on what your doctors told you, what you did this summer in terms of working out, and what your plan is to get your times back to where they were. If he doesn’t have any idea as to what’s going on and it just looks like you came back to campus out of shape then I can understand why he’d be annoyed. I don’t necessarily condone ignoring you for it but I can at least where he might be coming from. Clue him in and go from there. I would also touch base with the sports med staff that works with your team and work something out with them too, that way you can tell your coach that you met/will be meeting with them so that he sees that you’re serious about taking care of yourself and you’re not being flippant about this whole situation.