A Swampy Scrimmage

The team put together a singles scrimmage this morning. I was looking forward to it all week.

Meeting time was 6:30. No problem. The night before, I prepared all my supplies, loaded the boat, came up with a morning plan. Wake up 5:20, get there early with plenty of time to rig the boat, stretch, and do some warming up. Double checked my alarm. Yes, set for 5:14. Sure. r

Reality: kid walks into the room. At first I think he’s up really early, maybe had a potty accident. Then I realized light is coming through the window. Explode upright, check watch.

6:34.

“Oh, F—-!”

I’m calculating in my head as I dash to the bathroom, yanking on the unisuit, brushing truth. Twenty minute-ish drive, 25 minutes-ish to start, 7:15 race time. Super tight–maybe I can at least make the relay. I’m out the door in record time, dictating an email while yanking on the boatstraps.

It’s raining as I pull out. Radar check while driving down the road. There’s rain ALL OVER. I checked the forecast the night before, same time as the alarm, to make sure it was clear. It was 20% chance at seven and eight am! Now cats and dogs. I have to slow down to be safe.

I call Julio, thinking maybe he’s in a place where he can tell them I’m late but trying to make it. No answer.

6:55 I pull into the parking lot, not bothering to flip around like I usually do. Yank the boat off, walk straight down the hill versus around the ramp. Unzip, don’t bother to roll it neatly, throw it in the boathouse. I sprint back uphill to get the rigger. Slap that on, tighten tighten, throw the bag in the boathouse.

I have no idea what time it is but I see a bunch of boats heading out up by the bridge, about 500m north of the docks. I hope it’s them. I pass Julio coming off–I yell I’m pulling a Julio–showing up dead late to race.

It wasn’t raining when I was offloading and rigging, but as I turn and head northbound, the sprinkles start. A strong outflow headwind slows down my adrenaline-fueled progress. By the bridge, the hose is on, the sky is gushing, and water runs down my back. Every stroke is squishy. The bridge itself has literal waterfalls gushing down the sides. I don’t think I’ve been in rain this intense since Sunshine State in Gainesville.

So I’m thinking Murphy’s law: no alarm, torrential rain…does that mean I’m going to flip next?

I catch the other woman I’m supposed to scrimmage against. That calms me down–now I’m not late anymore. I’m just soaked and poorly warmed up.

By the time we turn around and meet at the start, I’ve got at least three, if not four, inches of water. A nice strong stroke sends water out the stern. At least it’s sunk my boat enough to where it’s setting up properly.

The 1k

Originally it was supposed to be four heats, two boats in each, near age brackets, but it was changed to all the men in one heat and all the ladies in the other. So we were going four across and I opted for the far outside. I figured if I screw up steering I’ll have a lot of forgiveness.

The rain slowed enough to where I could use my hands to splash some of the water out, but not all.

I knew this 1k wasn’t going to be pretty. I figured get going and then just work on technique, trying to be long, get a good catch.

Floating start, and of course I start behind everybody. My starts are already horribly slow anyway, so it doesn’t help.

I had a stroke coach app on my phone, but the sloshing water turned the screen off. I only knew what I was doing for the first few strokes.

The two AA ladies were ahead, and let them go. I stayed ahead of the girl in my heat, figuring that’s what counts. I really had no idea where I was going, so I just counted, remembered what I planned to work on, did my best to lift into the catch.

So when I finished, I figured I was maybe three or four boats behind. It was hard to tell; once they were gone I just looked for steering and not distance. But I felt embarrassed, to be wearing the unicorn suit and to put in a poor showing. No one was really talking. Very quiet at the finish.

Soaking post-rain

500 m Relay

As I’m rowing northbound for the relay, I start getting really mad at myself. Here I am, going at an 18-20spm and I can pass all these girls and catch some guys, but I go to race, and flame out? What the heck, man? What is my problem?

Every stroke, I’m just stewing. Part of me is downright pissed because this is not the impression I wanted to make. Part of me is glad this has happened; I’m analyzing the performance and calculating what I can do with training to improve. But then the question is: why bother? We’re not really racing until next year, at the least. Now I’m weighing when and why I should ramp up.

This is all happening in my head as we go the 500 m relay start.

So guess what happens?

We’re put into teams; it’s two girls/one guy; one girl/two guys. I’m the one girl on the two-man team. Because of a number issues, I’m now the slowest one on the water based on results. Also, because I’m already on the outside, the two dudes opt to have me go first.

I’m going 500 meters against a guy. I know I can’t beat him, but I am on a mission to minimize his lead. And, like I said, ANGRY. I am ANGRY.

My app works this time, no water changing the station. Now I sprint competitive numbers, but of course, no one is going to know that but me.

The secretary brought donuts for after and I swallowed my misery with two.

The Aftermath

It’s been an interesting scrimmage. We’re soaked, I’m mad at myself, the boat is full of water, and it’s my last official row as the single owner of the white Fluidesign. She’s going to be a club boat by the end of the day.

The whole car ride home, Linkin Park blasts full volume as I ruminate over my sprinting problems. I don’t care that I was injured two weeks, or that I have been challenged with my training schedule, or that I eased off the intensity and volume; I am a competitive person on the water and I did not demonstrate that today.

I stayed angry until about lunch time, when I finally looked at the app. The 1k sucked; about as bad as my first 1k race ever, but the average rate was low. Power-wise I was doing reasonably ok until about 600meters, which is when I think my performance got in my head. The 500 meters was heads better with spilts under 2:00 for the first 20 strokes; my last 10 left a little to be desired, increased the total spilt, but I think I was looking for the finish about then.

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Spring Showers Bring New Boats

Spring is here! Annnnnddddddddd…I’m still not rowing.

Well, not technically anyway. Here’s where early spring training stands:

The Boathouse is Open…

…but we follow the “four-oar rule” and are not supposed to go out on Griggs in a 1x without a buddy when the water temperature is less than 50F. Since I know pretty much no one, and don’t feel confident about rowing in a 2x-8+ yet, I’m stuck.

I did get my first COVID-19 vaccine Friday, so I will probably add my name to the rowing list after two weeks.

I Can’t Find a Coach

I volunteered to take on coached rowing programs, wrote what I feel is great plan, but there’s one hurdle: a lack of coaches. Like, it’s seriously bad. Not only do I not know anyone, so I have no personal contacts to call in a favor, but they’re either too busy with youth/college rowing or won’t get back to me.

Seriously, every email or call is either “I’m too busy, but I’ll reach out to some contacts…” followed by nothing, or just straight up nothing. I think I’m up to 12 dead ends now. I had one coach who was “sure, I’d be interested!” but hasn’t answered me since.

So if you’re reading this, and you know someone in the Ohio or surrounding areas who would be great at coaching Master rowers in a workshop or weekend-style clinic, I really could use a solid lead! It will be paid!

I Went to Florida & Took My Sweet Ride

My Boat: 2020 Fluidesign BlueMax

Here she is: my new aquamarine beauty. A 2020 Fluidesign BlueMax. I wasn’t going to take her to Florida, but she was sitting there…so lonely…begging for water…weeks until singles are cleared…I couldn’t stand it any more. I made the last-minute decision to bring her with us on our Florida spring break. Special thank you to ROCCS in Inverness for letting me store her in the boathouse for a week.

Pictures and video don’t do her color justice.

I may be a little biased, but I do think she is beautiful. And once this engine gets some more training in, and maybe some more feedback on the rigging, hopefully she will also be pretty fast. We had some good moments together. The water just glides along the hull.

In sum, I got in five solid rows. I mean, look at this water! And I had it all to myself each day. (That was a little odd-to be rowing out of a boat house and only see people one day. But, I’m used to solo training.)

Lake Henderson, Inverness

Always a Numbers Game

Before we left, the erging numbers finally starting moving into the “you don’t suck so bad” range, crossing more into “above average but can be better” category. Progress counts. I’m playing the long game anyway.

I always erg better after rowing, but I’ve only gotten a few sessions in since we’ve been back. Still, it looks like I didn’t lose much. That’s a good place to launch spring training.

I still have to do a test to get new training parameters. Yay, testing! So much fun.

What’s Next

Naturally everyone’s excited that there might be some racing this year! Masters Nationals is on the books. I’m undecided about making that commitment. I’m leaning towards keeping my training on head race season and if it looks promising, just go with it and have fun.

I’m looking forward to more rows in my new blue beauty. I do have a name in mind but I’m waiting until after our first race together to see if it is the right one. We need more bonding experiences first.

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Winter Training: Rinse, Repeat

This year’s winter training felt more like a slog than other years. As I write, I’m definitely growing tired of early morning grinding on the rowing machine. I see sunny, blue skies. It’s just cold–very cold. 30F with a feels like 21F. I’m not hardy enough for that kind of rowing.

So how have the first two months of the year gone with training?

Updating the Torture Cave

We finally had our basement waterproofed and re-finished over the last two months. It meant moving the rowing machine up and down the basement stairs a few times–first to avoid the dust from jackhammering concrete, the second so I could keep working out.

The good news is the basement is much warmer now that it’s insulated and has flooring. Still comfortable for rowing, but no longer freezing as I lay out to stretch.

Laying the new floor

Testing

I’ve thrown in a few tests over this time period.

The first I call a “2:00 Challenge.” Essentially, it’s hold a 2:00 spilt for as long as possible. My first attempt went miserably and I threw in the towel just after 2k. The second attempt I set a time goal (ten minutes) and that went better. Still a miserable challenge, but I met the target. The plan is to keep adding one minute until hopefully, one day, I sustain it for 20:00.

I did a rate-capped 6k. I thought I did okay until I looked up my 6k from last year. I was about 12 seconds slower. Room for improvement.

And today, I ended the training cycle with a new 20:00 test. I made improvement over the December test, but not as much as I would’ve liked. Of course, it gets harder to drop seconds and grow watts as the numbers go up. I also used a different strategy today. The good part was my spilts were more consistent across the entire piece and bringing it up at the end was more challenging.

Sweat fest post-test

I still want to do that 7-stroke peak power test that was circulating in January, but I haven’t had time.

Training Challenges

It appears my anaerobic capacity is improving, but that my training needs more distance work if I’m going to be ready for fall. I can’t figure out how to work that in to my life.

Session at the boathouse on volunteer day. Great view.

I struggled at different points in this training cycle during my distance work to hit my target spilts. My tests say “easy” should be a specific watt and spilt range, but when I’d row, my perceived effort made those spilts feel challenging.

Now I’m having this internal debate regarding what is the right thing to do. A coach shared his group’s training plan with me in February and was way more aggressive than what I’ve been doing. Should I push the envelope harder? Should I swap an anaerobic row for a distance row? Should I focus on adding meters?

I also backed my training plan up a week. Starting a new plan at the start of the month was too much on my plate. First of the month also means new lesson plans for Caelan and doing my finances for work. I opted to spread it out by moving my training cycle back a week.

Speaking of work, I’ve been slammed in January and February. I think I have a better handle on it now, but it definitely impact my sleep, recovery, and just trying to get all the work in.

Good things that happened

Crossfit Training

I started with Crossfit in October. The challenge and change up in training has been appreciated. It’s clearly showed how horribly weak my upper body is compared to my lower body. There are some weight workouts where I grab two bars, one for lower body and one for upper body, because if I scaled to my weakest movement the other movements wouldn’t be challenged at all. Example: Power Clean at 75, but then deadlift at 75? No way.

But, my upper strength is definitely improving. One workout, I did 5 x 3 strict pull-ups with no accommodations. The best I’d ever done before was 12, as a 4 x 3, and that was at least two years ago.

I accomplished my first rope climb on a skill day. First attempt at doing it. Two weeks later I did it five times during a workout.

I ran 6 x 400, or 1-1/2 miles. My knee didn’t start bothering me until the last 200 of the last 400.

In the last few weeks, there have been some days where I can do the workout as prescribed, or very close to it.

It’s appealed to my competitive nature. I know you’re not supposed to compare yourself to other people, but I can’t help it when I look across the box and see I’m ahead of another chick. What usually happens is just like my racing–everyone starts the MetCon super fast and hard. Meanwhile, I’m just a pace machine, knocking it out slowly but surely. They fade, I’m still chugging along, and then finish first.

I will be curious to see how all this translates to the boat.

I’m also getting the itch to do some more rowing-specific weight training.

The Boat

Oh, yeah, I got a new boat.

A Fluidesign 2020 BlueMax, aqua with white, and she is pretty.

Technically I got her in November, but she was scratched in transport, so I sent her back to Canada to get fixed over the winter. She arrived back in February between snow storms.

She’s currently sitting my backyard, just waiting for warmer days and ice-free waters. It’s torture, having this new, sleek shell sitting outside my window and not being able to take her for her first row.

I’ll give the full picture when I finally get to take her for a spin.

The annoying thing that happened was during our run of snow storm after storm, the squirrels decided to tear up my boat cover for nest scraps. I am NOT pleased about that. It looks even worse now than in this photo.

It is now covered with a sheet that I spray with a natural squirrel repellent. The weather’s also warmed and snow melted, so the squirrels haven’t been as desperate for warmth.

Coached Rowing

I volunteered to tackle coached rowing programs for GCRA. Now I’m waiting for feedback on my plan from the board, but I’m very excited about it and its potential to bring in some fantastic workshops.

Skiing

We set a goal to learn to ski this winter. Season’s nearly over but we got in a lesson! We are going to acquire equipment throughout the year and I plan to start cross-country skiing next year. I just wanted to learn how to stop first!

The Corona 5

I mentioned before that I put on some pounds over the course of the year. Like lots of people, the weight gain coincided with the pandemic. I really struggled with this one–it seemed like no matter what I did, I couldn’t get it off.

I committed hard at the start of the year. I went back to deep tracking everything I ate, and trying to make better choices. The good news is I’ve burned off five of the corona pounds since I started. I plan on taking off three more before it’s all said and done.

Spring Training Ahead

Better days are around the corner and I can’t wait! Partially because I’m ready to try out my new shell. Partially because I can’t wait to be back on the water and fall in love with the sport all over again.

We are planning to go to Florida soon and hopefully I’ll get some water time in then.

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Out with 2020, In With the New Year

I capped off 2020 with Concept 2’s Holiday Challenge. It was motivation to work hard on rebuilding my cardio base.

The month definitely made helped me make gains in that regard. The day after Thanksgiving kicked off with a 20-minute test. Christmas Eve finished with a 2k test. I dropped 1.6s off the average spilt and gained 58 meters. That’s a big change for four weeks of work.

I achieved 252,267 total meters. I know that’s nothing to those that finished the Great Lakes Challenge, or that old guy who put in 2M meters in the same time frame. But it’s good for me.

I originally thought I might shoot for 300k, depending on what life threw at me. Naturally, it’s never smooth sailing, so I had to ditch that target early.

Last day, holiday socks
  • Food poisoning the first weekend after Thanksgiving. Lost two good long-distance rowing days–Saturday and Sunday.
  • Midway, over-training symptoms flared up. I wanted to keep going, but my back was tweaking, everything hurt, and I was exhausted. It makes sense; I’d gone from 3-4 days erging, 3 days Crossfit, to 6 days of erging–one of those 21k–and 3 Crossfit days. I listened and took two complete days off. It definitely helped and probably saved me from injury!
  • Caelan’s teacher tested COVID-positive, so we were quarantined again for final two weeks, all the way up to Christmas.

What else has been going on with training in the last weeks of the year? Not too much. I finally upgraded the monitor from a PM2 to a PM5. Hello, ErgData and drive speed!

The rowing club’s shut back down due to COVID restrictions, but I hadn’t been rowing anyway.

After first day of Holiday Challenge

We had a 1k in a Crossfit workout and I decimated everyone, including the dudes. They crushed me on the bike/run and burpees, but whatever. Burpees are the bane of my existence.

New Year Rowing Goals

Making goals is tough when you have no idea what is about to happen. Are we going to race this year? When is my 1x coming back? Will I catch COVID? If I do, will I be able to recover?

So I’d like to think of these as flowing objectives. Maybe they’ll happen. Maybe they won’t. The pursuit of achieving them will at least keep me in shape and moving through what promises to be another stressful at least half-year.

  • Try to get 5k in 20 minutes on the erg. At the very least, PR.
  • Maybe try rowing in the Chicago Half? We’ll see on that one.
  • Row the 1x at the Head of Cuyahoga.
  • Row at the Head of the Hooch. Contemplating a 1x redo.
  • Get this stubborn COVID-5 off by spring.
Found this. If we race at the Hooch, I might buy it for Caelan. 🤪

I hope to see everyone again, in person, rowing, by the time we say sayonara to 2021!

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If You Give a Rower a Boat…

I kicked off official “training” again October 1, commencing with a 20-minute test on the good ol’ erg. Hello, old friend. I’ll be seeing a lot of you again.

So what happened in my first month of training again?

1- Routine struggles

As usual, it’s tough to get back on the horse. We are still navigating the new challenges coronavirus has brought into my life. I just remember the basic tenets: even something is better than nothing, progress takes time, and the first three months are the toughest. Starting is the hardest part.

2- Fall happened

We took a parent-cation early on in the month. The fall colors are gorgeous. One morning, out in the 1x, when the sun poked over the horizon it was like a switch turned on. The colors along the River went from dull yellow to brilliant gold. Amazing.

The river has been full of debris lately. Big, boat-smashing logs and trees. So not a lot of distance rowing.

3- Crossfit

I’ve always wanted to give it a go. What better time than now, when everything is disrupted and I have nothing left to lose?

So I checked out a few boxes, picked one with a lot of women and windows. Seems silly, but winter training is dark enough without being stuck inside a metal box. Also, the coach knew instantly I’d injured my knee in the past from how I was moving. I figured that’s a good sign they know their stuff.

I’ve only been going regularly about two weeks now, but I’m enjoying the challenge. It has reminded me how much I hate burpees. I’m also rethinking how it will compliment my rowing training.

4- Rowing statue

I was driving to meet Alan at a park when I spotted this in a different park. You bet your oats I immediately veered off to take a picture. He needs to work on his blade depth and sequencing, but that face is spot on.

What I was MOST excited about this month was the impeding arrival of my brand-new custom Fluidesign BlueMax. Yep, another Happy Birvalanimas! I rarely get things brand-new, so taking this plunge was a big deal.

5- I GOT A BOAT— kind of..

Of course I barely slept the night before delivery. I closed up work early so I could go row her. I kept peeking out the windows waiting for the truck to turn down the street. Total kid the night before Christmas.

And they unzip her. She is absolutely as gorgeous as I hoped with aqua tinted carbon and white trim. Sleek and luminescent even on the cloudy afternoon.

But then I see the scuff on her top deck. The cover zipper had popped during the transport and rubbed through the pearl coat. Not a structural problem, at all, just cosmetic, but still…. I wanted her to be perfect.

So I made the tough choice to send her back to Canada for fixing. It was like shoving a bucket of candy in front of my three year old and telling him not to eat it. But with winter coming, now is the best time to get it patched.

Until we meet again, my dear…
SO PRETTY!!!

6- Rowed an 8+

I did my rowing community service for a Learn-to-Row session. I stroked an 8+. It was tough from my POV, being a perfectionist, because they didn’t properly teach how to set the boat in the beginning. My blade was on the water the whole time. Not only was I struggling because I was pushing the blade forward to catch and upward at the same time set the boat, but I felt horrible I couldn’t set a good example for the people behind me.

Then for the last day of October, Halloween, I went out in a real 8+. It was first time scraping ice off the windshield to go rowing, and first time rowing with ice on the dock. It was also interesting to go from stroke the week before to bow. I can’t remember the last time I was bow. I’m usually stern pair, or 3/4 if it’s a stacked boat. It was really cool, though, because there were times when I could feel my stroke physically lifting the bow out of the water. Neat sensation.

Fall is coming to a close, and I feel the days on water are increasingly limited. I look forward to rebuilding through the winter and coming out the other side faster and stronger.

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Rowing Update: Training Resumes, Loneliness, and Testing

Taking it easy

The August scrimmage was probably the last time I tried some semblance of rowing training.

I reached a point where trying to be in top-notch shape was stressing me. And what’s the point? The 2020 racing season is a bust. Like many others, I had persisted as best possible through the spring hoping maybe a head race season would happen. We all know the (virtual) reality now.

So after the scrimmage and its disappointing result, I threw in the metaphorical oars. I had considered back in December making 2020 an “off” year. I’m not interested in virtual racing at this time. Winter is coming and that meant months of memorizing the crack in our basement wall while sliding around on the erg. Why was I torturing myself? Read the signs.

That’s not to say I’ve been a sloth and mowing down on some ice cream. On nice days, I bicycled. I signed up for a virtual mobility/foundational movement class. I have avoided the erg except for twice. I’ve rowed more this summer than a typical year in Kentucky.

Instead of worrying about poor spilt times and stroke rates, I flipped the stroke app face down and rowed for boat feel and technique. Is my chest collapsing? I am pushing out into the oars? Is the grip relaxed? Is the catch part of the recovery? I am moving the boat past the water? I worked to feel long and smooth. Sometimes I rowed “fast” and sometimes long and slow.

The team held a virtual half-marathon and marathon; it was tempting, but I let the opportunity pass by.

I admired the deer down at the river for a drink. I watched the mist swirl into tornadoes. Ducks cursed at me as I disturbed their morning swim. Fishermen caught my rudder and laughed. I experimented with different boats. As the mornings grew darker, the stern pointed at Orion’s Belt bright despite city lights. Sunrises caught pinks and golds. Temperatures cooled.

As the weeks passed by, that little switch started dialing up. I caught myself counting 100s. Throwing in power 10s. Itching for some distance. Doing starts. Wondering if I could make it to a certain dock before time wound down.

My last “training-free” row on Tuesday, I took a few moments to sit under the bridge and admire the silence. The trees are starting to burn, and the early morning sun sparks them awake. Mornings now frequently have mist gliding across the water. Motorboat traffic is waning. The club is back to rowing all boats, so fewer row 1x’s now. I was alone.

The row was glorious, but tough. The mental voice started to count strokes like I do when racing and had to tell myself to stop and enjoy the moment. I came off feeling long and strong.

Rowing is a lonely sport

How excited I was to join a team! To meet rowing people again! I know becoming part of a club is a challenging process. So many names, faces, and personalities to meet. Add the ‘rona to the mix and 1x-only rowing for weeks and it complicates things.

I expected it to be hard and long to integrate. I didn’t anticipate to be on the water with eight other boats and still feel alone.

It’s been three months since I started and I still can’t figure out this team culture. Maybe the problem is I walked in with certain expectations since the team actively participates in regattas. Then they haven’t met that organizational expectation. Certainly the lack of team boats for weeks plays a role.

This experience has led me to think about how to incorporate new Masters rowers into a team. I don’t remember it being like this when I joined ROCCS, Sarasota, or Louisville–and granted, they are all three very different teams in size, purpose, and organization.

October 1

Today is the date I set to restart my training cycle after weeks “off.”

For my goal, I decided to train for the W1x at the Head of the Cuyahoga, hopefully happening Sept 2021. I sprinkled in some smaller goals along the way, but those all have giant asterisks on them given no one knows what’ll happen with coronavirus.

Day 1 started with a 20-minute assessment. Good news: it was faster than my last test back in April. Good to know I haven’t lost anything! Solid base to launch this next year.

Our days on the water are numbered, and I plan to milk every single one until the weather is too cold. I have some other big rowing news happening in a few weeks.

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Two strokes forward…one stroke back

I think I’ve rowed as much this far in July as I did all last year.

I wouldn’t say the waterway is as peaceful like Kentucky. A busy road runs along the east side, just like Benderson Park. But it is pretty and thus far the waters calm. Only one day of head wind. I’ve seen deer twice and angered many gaggles of geese. And, at least, if I do get in the metaphorical weeds there are people around. I’ll end up in someone’s backyard versus a National Guard shooting range or miles from the nearest house.

The humidity has been near-reminiscent of Florida rowing. I’ve come off sopping wet a few times.

Flat water for miles

So it was really nice to finally get a second opinion about the rig. Without me mentioning my thoughts, The first thing Julio said after watching was “your boat is too big.”

Lesson: Trust your instincts

No one wants to be the person claiming they’re slow because their boat is slow. But I just haven’t seen the numbers I expected despite all my rigging work. I started to suspect the boat was simply too large a hull for me. Again, I didn’t want to blame the boat. The athlete is the motor, the driver, the one with the most capacity to make change.

Same with technique stuff. I knew something about my release was doing was off, but couldn’t pinpoint it. Thought it had something to do with my pull-through and I was right.

Now I’m in the market for a different boat and at a time when singles are more in demand than ever and we have some unexpected expenses. At least I’m not in a rush to acquire. The Fluid still works for now.

Sunrise rowing

I forgot the bubble wrap

We had some family time last weekend with the boys biking and me rollerblading. We found a skate park off the trail that Caelan was loving. It looked fun. So I thought why not? Little ramp, little bump, I can do that.

And I did. Down the ramp, up the bump, and down the ramp right my gluteus Maximus.

I felt the twinge in my knee and my hip. I thought I’d just tweaked it. Rest and ice, ya know? I blazed home just fine. At home it started feeling worse. I took three days off rowing and erging. Just lifting, a long bicycle.

Thursday I seemed fine, but I stayed conservative with just an easy 7k row. It didn’t twinge or anything noticeable— until I got out of the boat. Instant pain, hobbling around the boathouse. Immediate ibuprofen, foam roller, and ice at home.

22 mile bike ride to OSU.

Friday, fine. Saturday, 15.5k. Give me a wheelchair. Excruciating. I wasn’t sure I’d made our first date night in months. Ice, rest, lots of ibuprofen.

Sunday I admitted it was a problem and started worrying about a torn meniscus or ligaments. I found our city had Orthopedic Walk-in Clinics, but none open on Sundays. Still-easy peach and way better than an ER!

Monday, one X-ray and painful manipulation later, a diagnosis of a popliteus strain. Better than a tear, but still a detriment to rowing. I can exercise as long as the movement doesn’t aggravate it… well, guess what particular sport aggravates it?

So it’s definitely a full week away from the erg and the boat. Maybe more. Cycling seems ok, so I’ve done some of that. And weightlifting, just avoiding any problems moves. No lunges, but resistance bands seem fine. The anti-inflammatory medicine makes a HUGE difference in the pain level and mobility. I can tell when it’s wearing off.

The team is trying to have a singles scrimmage in August. I’m hoping to better enough to throw down for that, even if I’m not in top shape.

That’s all for now. Here’s to healing fast and rowing fast.

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Home, Sweet Rowing Home

I officially rejoined a club again this week. It’s only singles, there’s no space for my 1x in the boathouse, and I have to get approved to row the good singles, so I’m car topping still…

But I am so happy.

GCRA’s boathouse

I can’t figure out how to best express what this means to me. I did my intro and clubhouse tour Thursday. So when we were up about 4K on the reservoir, this feeling of “I am home” hit. But that’s not even the right phrase to describe it. Like the world righting? A sensation of being whole?

Essentially, I came off the water feeling like myself again. But I feel that’s not the right thing to say because of course I have been myself. I have been training, I have been rowing, I’ve done racing.

I’m just out on the water and feel like me again. I wish I could find the right words to explain it.

It’s so funny the interesting quirks I’ve developed rowing solo in a state with .001% rowing. For instance:

  • Having a big bag stuffed with gear for water, like wrenches, duct tape, and a spare hat
  • Forgetting to leave my keys in the boathouse
  • Bringing a life jacket
  • Stuffing the socks in my shirt when you can wear them all the way down to launch and recover
  • Taking socks off before getting out of the boat
  • Bringing washing supplies
  • Ant spray

Even bringing the shoes in the boat with me is not the normal here. But we would never do that, not even in SRQ. Too many stolen shoes.

I am also pleased about my decision to turn the stroke coach off. I turn on the app, so I can get the meters and data for review after, but flip it over once I get going. Both rows have been fantastic. Flat water and lots of technique work. The Fluidesign started getting some run today. I felt so good I went back out for a second row, albeit a shorter circuit than the first. But about 18k. That’s the furthest I’ve done in a long time!

Meeting the team members will be challenging with the current restrictions. But I know Julio, so that’s a start.

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May 2020

May 6

So I had all these grand plans to start the new month: do a 20-minute test, do a 2k. Instead I took two days off and went camping. The kid and the dog spent an hour just running circles in the meadow around our camper. I made s’mores, the kid deconstructed them all over his face hands. I had several ciders both days. We spent an entire 36-hours outside. The kid crashed the second night and snored like a pro.

It was great.

Weird thing. We got home. Got out of the car and the back of knee felt tweaky, like when you overextend on the erg or after you’ve done a really long run and can’t bend it straight. Except I’d done neither. I’ve had recurring tweediness ever since. So, four days. It doesn’t hurt, per se, but it’s stiff to straighten. It doesn’t happen all the time and it hasn’t bothered me urging. I can’t figure it out. Alan rubbed my leg down and my hamstring did feel a little more sore on that side than the other.

Another weird thing. It’s been going on ever since quarantine started. Sometimes when my alarm goes off to wake up and work out, I can’t get out of bed. I slap off alarm and literally fall straight back to sleep. A deep, deep sleep, not one of those guilty “I-should-have-woken-up-and-exercised” toss-and-turns. I’d say it happens at least once a week. I try and do something later so the day’s not a total waste–strength training, a bike ride. I figure life is so crazy that I’m not going to feel guilty about it. Obviously I needed the sleep and I do feel so much better after.

So training. I’m trying some lower drag this week and it has been way harder than I expected.

I have to do a 2k to finish the Spring VIIIs thing, and I’ll probably do that Friday or Saturday. I’ve decided to bump the 20-minute check to the middle of the month.

I hope to wash and wax the ride this weekend so it’s ready to go when the weather is great. Ohio has no plans to reopen the boat house yet. I want to drive by a boat ramp on Hoover Reservoir to see if I can possibly get out.

May 9

Just did the 2K test for the Spring VIII. I didn’t expect greatness, but I certainly didn’t expect it to be this bad. It’s my worst time in three years. I’m just…floored. I mean…just wow.

So I have some head scratching and ruminating to do.

During the test I really felt like I was trying hard and giving it a full effort. I kept trying to get those watts up, but it was a real struggle. But now that I’m done I don’t have the raw feeling in my mouth like usual. So did I truly go as hard as I could?

I mean, I did make an early mistake by not doing a start sequence. So it took about 600 to really get a groove. And my song list didn’t play proper; it jarred my concentration for a few seconds before mentally *itch-slapping myself to get it together, its just music. And I decided not to test at my usual drag but to keep it at the lower setting I’ve been using all week.

But none of that really excuses the final time and expectations I have for myself.

Well, I’m not retesting it. This has been a learning experience and feedback.

The issue is probably still strength. I’m really struggling to figure out how to fit in just two days a week with our current lifestyle. I only did one round this week.

May 15

I put in some decent, not great, work this week. One strength day thus far. I found a warmup routine from Will Ruth that I’m digging.

 

We had the house exterior treated for our ant infestation last night. An hour later ants were swarming the basement. Remember–it was just an exterior treatment! But man, they were everywhere down there. Alan dosed the basement with more poison.

The result? This morning when I went down to erg, the chemically perfume was still swirling in the air. It was irritating my lungs while putting my shoes on. If it was like that just moving around, how about when sucking wind erging? Nope.

 

I could’ve done another strength day, I guess, but it would’ve been a busy noisy moving the hand weights upstairs and going through the motions. I decided why not give running a try again? See what happens. It’s the best equivalent to erging, right?

 

I made sure to be conservative, with an overall time cap of 30 minutes, jogging slow, 1minutes on and off. My knee tweaked about minutes 3-4, but I pushed through and, to my ultimate surprise, it went away! I didn’t expect to make it to 30, but the ok’ knee did. Is it too early to be a little tiny hopeful that maybe I can work back into short runs? It would be nice if I could just go for a 5k again, even if it’s not a 10 min/mile pace.

 

Another thing: the forecast changed. From rain all day to dry, low wind, a balmy 58f at 8am.

 

I said, “Sooooooooooooooo…<details morning weather conditions.>”

 

Alan: “Does that mean you want to go rowing?”

 

Um, yes, yes it does!

Fingers crossed.

May 16

ROWING!!! On the water!  It’s been FIVE months since I last was in a boat–Christmas vacation. Six since mine touched the water.

While scoping the boat ramps on Hoover Reservoir I saw what looked like an old ramp now shut down. The other ramps were all steep, narrow, rocky, and/or had docks on both sides, making launching a 26′-foot boat near impossible.

I headed for this one, and yep, it would work. Some plants growing in the water, but no big deal.

Launching reminded me of winter launching in Sarasota pre-boat dock. That water was numbingly cold. I could hear Joe’s voice demanding we hurry up and get out of the water. Gladly!

The first kilometer was awkward. Wobbly, rusty, ya know? Wondering if you’re going to flip over. Didn’t help it had a respectable cross wind pushing.

But it was awesome. Low clouds suspended just overhead, softening the sun. The lake wasn’t empty–people were definitely out enjoying this nice day, but without being crowded. A fisherman here, a kayak over there. A few floating sticks and logs, but not like Louisville where every row was playing roulette with your hull and skeg.  A few houses on the shoreline, but not crowded mega-mansions or concrete condos. Still patches of woods and trees.

The birds fluttered around happy, singing, fishing. The wind calmed down. The nerves went away.

In a word, euphoric, to be on the water again. When day after day, it’s cold, rainy, snowy, quarantined, a black screen with ticking numbers, you do start to lose touch with why the meters on the rail in the basement are worth the effort. Being on the water *without a power motor* is magical. You’re going places, seeing views, experiencing the outdoors as not everyone gets to do. Water is beautiful.

I rowed up Westerville’s 5k course and back. I did some up-tempo work back. The rate was rough, painful, and indicative of all the work needed.

Coming out, a race kayaker was getting ready to go out. She had a USA jersey on and the look of someone who trains to compete. Marathon stickers on her car. We did the chin-nod of acknowledgement: two athletic, independent women invested in off-the-wall sports. “Awesome to get out, yeah?” “Oh, yeah. I wish I’d made it earlier, but hey, I’ll take it.”

May 17

Two days in a row? Is the universe making up for the crappy weather?

I mean, the forecast Monday called for five days of rain, Thursday-Monday. Then Saturday cleared up, but Sunday rain…and then Sunday’s rain chances lifted. WHAT? 64F at 7am–yes, I’ll take it!

I went from a slightly different spot that I’d spied on yesterday’s row. The launch beach was wider and a little deeper.

So, now that I’m taking a much longer-view mindset, I have to tackle the trouble with my boat. From early on I haven’t been getting the numbers I expected on the stroke coach. I’ve tweaked the rigging, set up and oars, but there comes a point when you have to accept the engine is the problem.

I remember the summer I decided I was going to figure out how to be a better sculler. Week after week, every Thursday, I’d take out the Maas and just row, drill, practice. And when that got better, I moved to Peinert. Same thing. Row, drill. Learn how to move the boat.

Now that the competitive year is pretty shot, this is the opportunity to relax the intensity  and focus on moving the boat as efficiently as possible. I’m not saying I’m not training or not racing if the chance strikes. It’s just I can’t put in all the training hours I need to be the most competitive, have technical things that need work, and I really need to figure out how to make this boat perform the way it should. Listen to the universe and seize the chance to come back better and faster.

Yesterday I hid the spilts on my stroke tracker while I was rowing. Today I did the same on the row up–just focus on rate, overall time, meters. For the row back, I took the tracker and tucked it under my feet. I already knew what the meters would be.

And you know what? When I stopped fussing about the numbers to go off boat feel and my perceived exertion, it was an amazing row. I worked on getting as much length as possible and cleaning up the release, alternating the focus for 50 strokes. I practiced steering.  Later, when I compared the numbers, I averaged about 6 seconds faster coming back against the headwind.

May 20

Whoa. I just set my new 5k time for the year during a workout!

I always erg better after I row.

And after a day off. Really, two days off. Yesterday I missed the erg session and only had time for some strength training.

Having a successful day is always a good day. It was a great workout, too. Just a 5k, but as a pyramid with strokes on power and steady. About 1500 in I started to realize I might be able to set a new 5k time for the year without changing a thing about the workout. So that’s what I did.

Now 1.1 second faster per spilt. Yay me!

May 30

Time flies when you’re…surviving coronavirus lockdown.

Training wise, the last ten days haven’t been bad. I’ve been put in the work, doing what I can. I tried a second round of running, or a really slow jog. Minute on/minute off, 25 minutes. My knee didn’t hurt, so woo!

Memorial weekend was beautiful, but we spent the long weekend visiting grandparents and rock climbing. Another few days off rowing. A lot of rest this month.

Today I got another row in. It was one of those “character building” rows. I arrived later than I would’ve liked, so the wind was kicking up.

When I unzipped the cover, I discovered a nest of ants around the impeller and under the foot well. I am SO DONE with ANTS!  So the row almost was scratched because there was no way I was rowing with ants crawling up my legs. The darn things were swimming around, making rafts, and wasting my precious water. But I found a can of bug spray in Alan’s car and with enough spraying and washing, got the darn suckers out.

I had wanted to do the low, long row to the north towards the north bridge. I like having destinations and goals. But it was just too windy. So I rowed under the bridge were I launched to the smaller reservoir section, where they do sprint races and near the dam. Much better. So the first 2200m were fine, a tailwind, but pretty flat. I figured I’d do at least two circles of the lake.

It was a flashback to my Lake Cumberland row last year. By the time I reached the other side, it was whitecaps, water rolling over the bow, unstable, messy, gross water. But I was committed. I knew if I got far enough north the crap would get better, so I just had to be slow and careful.

At some point I heard the clank-clank of a loose rigger. Yep. A loose rigger in crappy water. All I could think about was how the last thing I needed on top of this was to flip over.

Luckily Fluidesign rigging is so easy to tighten. But every weird clink after that had me stopping and checking.

Seventeen minutes after I started the 2200 meter row north….

Yep. That’s the right number. 17 minutes, in a headwind, in rolls, and with the rigger tightening pit stop. I watched the spilt time drop by one full minute from when I started to when I paused for water.

I ended up going back and forth on the one side of the lake. At least it was flatter, even if I still had a headwind/tailwind scenario.

Otherwise, I got in some decent technique work. I kept the focus on my release, grip and steering. I walked away with no new crazy blisters, and my back felt good. If it hadn’t been crappy and so mentally done, I probably would have done more meters. But at 90 minutes in, I was done fighting. I had stuff to get done.

May in summary

The month is over. Overall, I think this was a good training month even though I had more rest days than normal. I liked the workouts, I saw progress in numbers, and I got the boat out three times. The weather started out junk and finally warmed and dried over the last week. I fit in two running sessions without pain, which makes me hopeful for a future of maybe some 5ks…? Is that too much to ask for?

The kid’s school resumes June 1. The YMCA starts a limited opening June 8 with a second opening wave June 29 but their child watch is still closed for the foreseeable future. I might be able to do some strength training, but I’m not banking on it.

I have been obsessively tracking my nutrition to tackle my weight gain problem. What I’ve learned: Nutrition is hard. Making the right choices is hard. Learning about food is conflicting and confusing.

It’s been tough to: 1) determine where I’m going wrong, and, 2) cutting back total calories. My best guess is I’m more sedentary than I was while overeating for the lifestyle. But as a result of cutting back, I feel hungry a lot. Part of it is retraining myself on what hunger really means. Asking, “Am I really hungry, or do I just want to feel stuffed as a measure of ‘I’m full’?” Or, “Am I hungry, or actually thirsty?” Another part is re-learning how to balance what kinds of food I’m eating so that I feel satisfied longer.

The good news is I’m down four lbs from where I started and have a little over two lbs to go to be in a decent place for a while.

Finally, it doesn’t look like the local rowing clubs in Columbus are opening anytime soon. I see all your “rowing in single” Instagrams and I am jealous.

The plan for June is to keep carrying on. We have a planned vacation in the middle of the month, so we’ll see how the numbers go.

 

 

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April 2020: A Test Literal and Figurative

April 1

No joke, 20min test. I decided to do it the day before because it kind of fit nicely into the flow of training to do it Wednesday morning. I expected to see some gains, I just wasn’t sure how much.

I am pleased with how the test went. Last time I started to struggle three minutes in, this time I didn’t really start feeling the burn until 5 minutes in. Even that was not as challenging as last time. I started to struggle with the splits at 13 to go. I was trying to use the last test score as a base to grow from. At this point I started alternating the stroke rate every minute just to beats to keep me mentally tuned in and not focusing so much on any fatigue. It works really well. That six minutes remaining I bumped up the stroke rate changes two beats. Seven minutes to go, holding my target splits became more challenging. The last two minutes I just kept taking it up and trying to tune in was hard.

Last test I struggled with fatigue and I could tell my cardio-based wasn’t there. That improved this round. Probably the biggest victory, besides finding my cardio is improving, is finding a way to mentally stay focused because it’s hard in long-distant pieces. Next test, I probably could do a little more in terms of the base pace.  I need to improve my numbers through the middle and push the power application a little more consistently. I’ll keep working on the aerobic capacity because I know that will continue to improve the scores and what I can do.

Numbers wise, I dropped my average split one whole second and added 26 meters. I also had a slightly higher drag factor this round.

April 3

Feeling so frustrated about the weight. I can’t seem to drop the few pounds I want to lose. I need to start tracking what I eat so I can pinpoint the issue but it’s so hard to do with kid. One, he’s distracting. Two, I try not to use the phone around him. He sees phone, wants phone. “Watch thunder video, watch monster truck.” Causes issues.

Too many carbs? Don’t know yet. But that’s my suspect because I know I didn’t overeat yesterday.

Otherwise, cross training day with Alan. He doesn’t seem to like my workouts. I wish we had a pull-up bar.

I’m hoping the weather sticks around so I can go on bike rides with Caelan. Now that’s cross training.

April 5

Did 3x30mx2r today for 18+k. I didn’t worry too much about the stroke rate, more the spilt time. After two days off the erg, it was a solid workout.

An ant problem in the basement

Got ants?

So I did a thing. Our basement has an ant invasion we are tackling. My job today was to pull more drywall and insulation out. I was on a step stool with a pry bar ripping styrofoam off the wall when I slipped.

My left knee pinned between the wall and the corner of 
the stool. Hurt Bloody Mary, tears to the eyes. It’s definitely bruised, probably pretty deep. Applied ice and took some ibuprofen. Stairs are murder. I suspect tomorrow morning will be awful, after it’s been immobile all night. I do not see myself erging or doing any leg work for probably, minimum, two days.

Bummer!

April 7

Took yesterday off. Did finally get the bikes sorted and went on a test ride around the neighborhood. The knee was tweaking for the few first minutes, but it got over itself.

Knee left and right side. Slipped between the wall and stool, so a double ouchie.

So I decided to give the erg a whirl. I didn’t plan anything earth shattering. I thought I’d just warmup and see how it felt. One hour later, it survived a pretty consistent piece. It’s been a little angry since, but not too bad.

April 8

Knee hurts worse today than any other day.

April 9

Starting to wonder if I have a posture issue, maybe at the release. My right side ribs are feeling tweaky and sore. Today I tried to focus on not collapsing. Breaking bad habits is hard.

April 11

Thursday night I felt completely drained. I decided to take Friday as a rest day, “sleep in” (6:30), and do the 6k Saturday.

It was great. I woke up feeling rested. I ate cake, candy, two glasses of red wine.

So this morning I expected to have gained weight. Nope. Lost almost a pound. What? Why does this happen?!

Anyway, had another awesome night sleep AND Caelan slept in until 7:30! It was glorious.

I’m on a Spring VIII virtual competition team. The 6k is the first up. I purposely waited until the last day because of falling off the stool and busting my knee on Sunday. Just realizing I had two off days this week. Oh, well.

It’s blinking 6

I’ve never done a 6k test before. My objective with this one was really survival. I wanted to be somewhat aggressive, figuring shooting for the 75% range for my age bracket would be solid. I got the numbers from C2’s rankings and it seemed in line with where I’m at.

My rough spots were around 4K to go and 800 to go. I used the same tactic as my 20min test except I added a rate change. So 22/24/26 and back down every 500, until the last 500 which was just up. I had a goal spilt and projected time to hit.

Overall, tired. Hit my max heart rate at some point, so definitely effort was made. I hit the numbers goal, and it’s in line with the 20min test. Can’t complain.

April 13

Decided to do something different today. A friend invited me to join a Zoom erg session, so I did. It was the most rowers I’ve seen since our December trip to Florida.

They did a pause drill at finish, arms away, and body. The arms away absolutely wrecked me. I can’t remember the last time I did one. I usually emphasize arms and body moving out of bow together.

I was hoping for 18k, but I hit 16. And I think it was quality work, so I’m not disappointed.

April 15

Halfway through the month, four weeks of shelter-in-place. It’s crazy!

Following two days of really solid work, today is for the tests. Banged out a 500 for the Spring VIII. I’m okay with the result but I think I can do better. Too much focus on fast strokes for the first 30 and not enough on power. I’ll try again Saturday.

Second test: Faster Masters has a Fitness Evaluation that looked interesting. What have I got to lose? Now is as good as time as any to evaluate where I am. So I’m doing it. The tests are spread out, and the first was a good pairing for the 500. Peak power. Waiting for the flywheel to stop between rounds, I felt like a Price is Right contestant. Stop….stop… ssssstttttooooopppppp.

I have no idea if my results are good or bad yet until I do more tests.

The other thought circulating my head is that goal I had. It was already ambitious for my ten-month timeline, but now it’s seeming even further out of reach. I simply can’t get the training volume or strength training I need to be at a high competitive level. This might be a two-year saga.

I had been thinking of taking it easy with the rowing thing this year. I guess Mother Nature is making that decision for me.

April 18

I finished the testing series with Fasters Masters. Not going to lie: it’s a rough sequence of days. But that’s the point, right? Test your fitness.

Relocated to garage due to basement demolition. It’s in the 40s out here.

I had to flip flop the order a bit, doing the 1k before the 75-minute test. The 1k was depressing because it was 10 seconds slower than the one I did in July. I also did another 500 meters but only dropped one second.

I will also say I know my erg always seemed to post slower numbers than when I used a more recent C2 with a PM4 or 5 monitor. That does account for the same drag setting on both monitors. But I’m not trying to make that an excuse. This is the tool I have to train with, so these are the numbers I go by. And if it is slower, then when I show up for the team, I’ll be faster than I think, right?

Today was the 75 minutes hard steady state. It’s the worst rowing thing I have done in a long time, and that’s on the heels of that 6k. Horrible.

The erg is now in the garage because we completely demolished the basement. I didn’t relish the idea of sucking drywall particles into my lungs for an hour.

I appreciated the new view. The neighborhood cats are funny and so territorial. But it was cold. 43F and in the shade.

The beginning was fine. I just reminded myself to save it for later because it’s a long way to go. Playlist was on point. Did a quick slowdown for water 30 minutes in. Every 5 minutes I added a power 5. My left hamstring started feeling tweaky about 15 minutes in, so I opted to be conservative for a while.

Halfway was okay. Still holding on. I’m doing a power 5 every 5 minutes.

25 to go stuff started getting real. Holding the target spilt at the 20 spm was a challenge.

17 to go Alan calls on the phone, interrupting the music. “I’m busy!” I yelled in the earpiece, deep in the suffer zone.

15 to go, it’s hurting. Keep climbing the mountain, says Three Days Grace. Fighting the spilt count. I started alternating rate every minute instead of every 5 like I’d been doing.

This is the longest 7 minutes of my life.

You know that “length of a minute chart” that shows how long the last minute of a 2K is. Every minute of the last five minutes was that on repeat.

Length of a 2k minute

The length of a 2k last minute chart.

The after was excruciating; the cool down rough.  New slogan: Rowing: low impact on your knees, high impact on your tuckus.

Once I ran the numbers, the weaknesses, in order, were 1) strength, 2) anaerobic, and 3) aerobic.

The strength is no surprise. After two months off strength training, I’d just started again. And then, wham, coronavirus, and  something had to go when I lost daycare and everyone started working at home. It’s 26% off the target. Anaerobic is not a surprise; I always struggle with anaerobic training. It’s 13% off the target. Aerobic is 7% off the target.

So I will have to think over how I can do some kind of strength training to shrink those losses a little, but I’m not going to prioritize it at this time. I want to close the gap on aerobic training first, because it should help me make gains across the board.

April 24

You wouldn’t think an easy steady state day could be so miserable, but it was. I had the worst time trying to maintain the target which was stupidly minimal. “How can I not maintain these watts??? They’re 30-40 lower than everything I’ve been doing!”

Frustrating.

But I needed the easy day. Been hitting it pretty hard all week. Swapped one erg day for a strength day. Definitely worn out this morning. Some pain in my right hip, which is new, and that took about half an hour of easy steady state to stretch out. That resolved when the left hamstring started tweaking. Woke up with vertigo, too, so walking down the stairs in the dark was a treat. Was dizzy on-and-off all morning even after the workout and eating.

Just a rough morning. It happens. Had a good few days before this though.

April 25

30 minutes for the Spring VIII Contest. I wasn’t looking forward to this at all. I did the same thing I’ve been doing: look at the logbook for my gender/age group/ USA and what’s 75% percentile? It seemed a little low. I played around in the pace calculator and came up with that I thought I could reasonably do. Aggressive, but not setting any records. 

Again, the soundtrack mix was on point. “Push It,” “Never Gonna Stop,” “Champion,” all popping on at the right time.

I broke the piece into 5-minute chunks. Each 5-minute started with a 5-stroke power and shifted to a different stroke rating. I made a mental note of my average watts every 10 minutes and tried increase that average at every interval. I wish I was one of those machines who clock the same spilt every section, but right now I need variety to stay alert and performing.

It wasn’t as horrible as I thought it be. Not great, not planning to repeat anytime soon, but not awful. 

I’m encouraged because I started the month with a 20-minute test, then had the 6k, and now this. Each test my average spilt has stayed nearly the same. So the tests are getting longer but my power isn’t dropping. To me that’s a sign I’m getting stronger. Expecting a good 20-minute test next week.

Next is a 4-minute piece. Damn. After that 75-minute, 30-minute, and 6k, 4 minutes sounds like a cakewalk. A pillowy Angel Food Cake.

Yum.

April 29

Maybe that 4-minute piece isn’t such a cakewalk. I had that raw teeth/raw lung feeling after. At least that’s a sign I gave a serious effort. I did a 22-minute warm up but I think I needed more high rate/pushes in the warm-up to be more effective.

The second minute of the test was the worst because I couldn’t land on the target spilt with a good rhythm. The spilt was about 1-3 beats too slow. I finally hit it around the halfway mark. Other than that, this was more consistent than the 1k test and the base spilt was faster. So, improvement! 

April 30

Well, we made it. Another crazy month is down. I ended with a strength training session. I’m hoping I can get out for some aerobic work later, like a bike or maybe attempting a run, but the weather isn’t looking promising.

Spring is here and it makes me itchy for some water time. It’s depressing that we moved somewhere I can row again and I still can’t row. I’ve been secret-stalking the club FB group and fitting in webinars and podcasts during some workouts to get my fix. But I know this is temporary. 

I ordered some stuff to clean up the boat, so at least I can prep it up.

May, I will have to design my own training plan. My income stream dropped 75% from March to April, so I had to make some cuts. I’m thinking of calling it “Back to Basics” and compiling all the rowing stand-bys. You know, the 3 x 20m x 2r, 21′ with rate bumps 6-5-4-3-2-1′, 1 x 60 Hour of Power. 

Here’s to May flowers!

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