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The 2K
by Conor Madden
posted on April 22, 2009

If you are one who participates in the "legendary" sport called crew, you certainly know the one aspect that is dreaded by all, the 2k. Some call it a test, while others call it torture. If one were to type the word erg into urban dictionary they would find that it says "An awful torture machine that should be illegal under the eighth amendment, but gets out under a loophole that it is "fun". Commonly used in the regime of an evil dictator by the name of 'Coach' and his/her faithful servant, 'coxswain'. Originally derived from the Greek word meaning "to work", which is what one does; very, very hard, for a long, long time, causing the buildup of extreme amounts of lactic acid in the body, and thus great pain".

Rowers live in fear every day of the possible "surprise test", or the risk that they might walk into practice with ergs lined up waiting for them. When the word 2k is heard among the murmurs of the athletes, your legs immediately start to get weak. All begin to panic looking for spandex and the shoes that they forgot at home, while trying to chug water in order to hydrate themselves before the forever 2000 meters. They begin to regret and question why they had those fries or the candy bar at lunch that day. Or if you were really ambitious the night before the extra workout you did after practice.

Once on the ergs and ready for the piece to begin you look around seeing the rows of ergs and meet eyes with another rower with a face that scares you and then set up the 2000 meters. After moving up the slide and sitting ready at the catch, you hear the coach sharply say "We have alignment...Attention...Row!". You start to pull, 1/2 ... 3/4 ...full...full...full, and then it has begun. You look at the screen as the split slowly lowers and as the meters seem to fly by. But then you reach 1775 meters left and the burn starts to kick in. It's right here where you start to become aware of how much you actually have left. Now the meters drop off the screen slower and slower. You try to swallow but the saliva has long gone left your mouth.

1260 meters left. By now the lactic acid is in full throttle and you struggle to hold that goal split. You end up just praying to get past that 1000 meter mark hoping that once you reach it, it will be smooth sailing from there. Wrong. It's here where you hit one of the worst parts. At about 840 meters left you think to yourself that there's no way you'll live through it and that going up a few splits won't matter too much. The coaches make there rounds screaming behind you to "drop 1 split - drive the legs! ...50 strokes left, unload the tank!".

You hit 480 meters left and you begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel but you soon realize that its fading away. You think that you're practically done but after another 6 strokes your mental status is back to what it was before. Once you reach the 250 mark you try to follow orders by starting the sprint and unleashing the fury. However, four strokes later you realize that fury was short lasting and that you can't even push your legs down fully or pull yourself all the way up to the catch. Getting closer to double digits, your form is out the window and your body is so hot that you can't focus any longer. 30 meters left...20...10 and then you hit 0 and instantly let the handle slam back into the catch. You're so tired that you can't even keep your eyes open. You try to keep your slide moving as you've been told after every erg piece but your legs are so engorged with blood it hurts. You stumble your way over to the water fountain to try and hydrate your mouth but you can't get enough water between the gasps of air. It's these experiences that crew kids live for.

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