Thursday 7 June
I'm onto the doctor at 6:30am reporting that my heart rate has returned to 42 and throat feels fine. Having listened to my body's subtle signals and rested I've managed to avoid anything more serious. I drive myself to Caversham and as the weather is miserable Bill (my coach) keeps me inside for a controlled ergo with one of the physiologists taking a blood sample to see how much lactic acid I produced. I get a figure of 1.2 which is perfect. Anything under two was all I needed to show I'm in good shape.
A second breakfast of porridge and then Bill and I head to Bisham Abbey for more strength weights. Alex, my strength coach, really pushes me to load up the weights to my limits causing me to fail on a couple of the squat reps, I went down but didn't come back up and the bar crashed onto the safety bars of the squat cage. Pride dented I hit back with a new personal best on the bench pull of 112.5 kilos. Sandwich and two pints of milk in hand I make my way to Wimbledon for 2pm to see Kate my Bowen Technique practitioner. I met Kate at my boat club in 2002 when I helped coach the weekday ladies group, she offered to give Bowen in return for coaching. I've always found it to be a non-evasive alternative to sports massage, the last thing I wanted was someone trying to strip my muscles having just lifted big. I highly recommend it.
I get home crash on the sofa and catch up on some trash TV waiting for Jules, my wife, to get home. She calls on her way back and I can tell that she's tired probably from my snooze alarm so I make the executive decision to go to Fanoos, our local Persian restaurant for the finest challow rice and lamb cutlets. There's no wine but a jug of water. Home and at 9pm I'm again thinking of bed. Starting to drift off I get a rude awakening of a knock at the door. It's the drugs testers at 10pm - a more regular occurence than I would like, but I'm a professional athlete and this is just part of my vocation. Filling out the forms I have to down three pints of water to try and coax my body into peeing again. It's 11:20pm by the time they leave and I'm back in bed.
Friday 8 June
Surprisingly I'm up with the second alarm, heart rate 42. Meeting up with my carpool buddies it's clear on the drive to Caversham that it's going to be too windy today to row on the lake. Driving in the gate we can already see the white horses on the water and a few keen beans on the ergos (ergometers or indoor rowing machines) already. Having spent whole training camps this season just on the ergos, usually at high altitude, the last thing I want it do is spend more time on them but the lake is not rowable. We blast through the two sessions and I pull a big score on the second and the blood scores again are good. I'm home by 2pm and I'm straight to bed. It's 6pm by the time I'm awake again. Tonight is my favourite dish of Jules', "Poor man's Carbonara". It is pasta bacon heaven! By 10pm I'm fast asleep again.