Hammersmith Women's Head 2013

With thoughts of blue skies, grass skirts and pina coladas, I looked down and noted the blue mottling effect that was travelling across my hands. It was February 24th, it was Hammersmith Women’s Head and it was cold.

 The pre-race nerves were there, the imaginary need for the loo was there but both soon abated as I looked up and saw the snowflakes beginning to fall. There was only one remedy, well there was another but it involved the Sons bar and a hot toddy and they weren’t available on the start line - our crew better row their little hearts out and at least then we’d feel the blood returning to our limbs. So when Tash (the cox who’s boss) told us to de-kit we were more than ready to spin the boat and get going.

After a very solid start, we hit the necessary 32 stroke rate to take us through Chiswick Bridge and beyond and it felt ‘chunkily’ good. We’d spent a long time in training working on ‘catching there’ and ‘ratio!’ (thanks Cat & Paul) and it felt really good that our hard work was paying off.

Then Barnes Bridge happened. I’d always wanted to try coastal rowing and I should know by now that wind over tide on the tideway always makes it a little bouncy but perhaps I’d been spoilt with good water over the winter. That said we coped.

I’m really pleased that both my crew and the second IM3 boat put in a stirling effort and didn’t let it phase us. They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result...well you know what, I think the women’s squad must be a little insane. For a little over 15 minutes, in difficult conditions, we did do the same again and the results are paying off. The first boat is catching our friendly neighbours, AK and the second boat is catching the first. Let’s keep doing it.

 To all those racing IM3 having started rowing just last August I would like to say a huge well done to you. You’re working really hard and I have no doubt will go far – like from Chiswick to Putney on the 9th March. Here’s to WeHORR and blue skies...and of course pina coladas!

Lizzie Austin