March 2020: 31 Days That Rocked the World

When I began March, I thought I’d try making short diary entries throughout the month rather than dumping all at the end. I had no idea this would be a fortuitous decision, as coronavirus interrupted our daily lives and routine. We started at business-as-usual; now I live under a shelter-in-place order and social distancing. This is how life evolved over the last 31 days.

March 2

I started the month with a 20-minute test, right on day two.

I didn’t expect earth shattering numbers and it wasn’t. It was right on the mark of how I thought it’d go. I definitely walked away feeling like the test was a true effort, and that I still need more cardio base. My only issue is my muscles lacked didn’t have that worn out feeling that normally sets in after a erg test during the afternoon. That makes me wonder if I could’ve done more.

The hardest part was actually early in the test as opposed to the middle or the last third. I struggled from minutes 17 to 12 to find a rhythm and maintain goal pace.

March 4

Back squats felt solid. Rower’s Delight routine. Have a good superset going for this workout that I can bang out in 20-30 minutes, depending on reps.

March 6

Strength training. First time I felt decent. Tough, but not dying. Ready for more reps or more weight.

Tried the Matrix rower. The good: a super plush seat. A smooth motion. The bad: you can’t set the screen for interval training. The watts didn’t make sense for the spilts I was pulling. The resistance adjuster is just more/less like a spin bike—how to calibrate to the same workout every time? The “pace” graph is wonky and distracting. It doesn’t show average spilt for the workout.

March 7

Missed the low and long erg workout today, but took an adventure hike in the woods. It was worth it. Mental break from my busy life. I have been stressed from the house, increased workload, parenting, and trying to train. I needed it.

March 9

Really tough to get back in the swing of things today. Time changes suck.

Still making gains, but tired. Not getting the full exercise routine in like the previous week.

March 12

The time change, early mornings, and work stress is getting to me. Today was the first day I didn’t make any progress. It’s the third week of the cycle and my numbers were worse than the first week.

To be fair, I do have a head cold. Not coronavirus. And definitely worn out. So it’s probably playing a role.

I’m sucking at holding an 18. When did 22 become my sweet spot? Thinking of making my 18k a 2-minute low rate rotation row. If you can’t push low, you can’t push high.

March 14

Well. Things are getting crazy with coronavirus. Yesterday the YMCA shut down child watch, so I lost my access to heavy weights and cross training.

I feel bad for all the school programs that lost their season. That’s rough. I can’t imagine being a senior and not having a chance to row for a championship.

18k day. 18/20 every 2 minutes. Tough. Somehow I’ve lost my decent low rate, but this was good. Solid work and felt I made progress reconnecting with the drive. I will do more.

Tomorrow is Caelan’s birthday. He’s 3!

March 16

Wow. Amazing how things can change in 48 hours.

We are concerned about how we will both work at home with Caelan. His school isn’t closed yet but it will be. Alan’s work is closing the office so he will work remotely. I work remote anyway, so that’s not new.

I’m also not sure how rowing training will play into this. At least everyone is in the same boat.

Today was at-home strength training. I anticipate many more early mornings and to just do what I can. Something is better than nothing.

March 17

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! First day of everyone at home. Early rise for some 3x20m, again with the 18/20s. Added a 5-stroke push every odd minute.

I feel good about the work I put in today. My mantra has been “slow it down, speed it up” (recovery, drive) but today I switched to “Connect/ relax.”

A song played about making it count. True. Got to make every stroke count.

March 18

You have one hour to workout. Go!

I slept in, because we intended to send Caelan to school. But he woke up with a little cough…and then we started wondering, are we *those* parents? He was one of four in his class at school Monday. He clearly knew something was wrong when Alan dropped him off because he said he was scared.

So we decided to keep him home. I was fully ready to not workout that day, but then Alan looked at his schedule and said I think you can have hour. Can you do something in a hour?

Can I?!? Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

During my piece, I had the idea of doing this little video because I thought it funny. How many other people are working from home with young kids and trying to meet fitness goals can relate to this?

March 19

Modified leg lifts

Something has got to give. In my case, I think it’s going to be strength/cross training. I hate that. I was making real progress and the rug’s pulled out.

We’re still trying to figure out our schedule. Alan’s climbing gym is now closed, so he’s lost his training venue. I looked up GCRA and they’re all closed. The city shuttered the boat house.

March 21

Started feeling sick yesterday. Not COVID-19 kind of sick, but head cold. A waterfall nose, headache. Then stomach issues. Alan was hit hard by stomach problems, but he thinks it’s food poisoning.

Today I woke up with a killer headache, dizziness, and runny nose. Tired and achy. Definitely not working out today.

March 22

Felt better this morning. I did 3x10mx2r at 18/20. Part me felt I should’ve gone for more, and the other part felt the lingering head cold. Probably for the best to keep it short and simple.

I want to know where all this free time is that people keep talking about. “Wondering what to do now you’re stuck at home? Binge these Netflix shows! Do these workouts! Deep clean your house!”

I have less free time now than ever before. It looks like a typical day now will be:

5:30-wake up

5:50-workout. Length varies based on Alan’s schedule for that day

~6:30-7am: go upstairs. Rotate through breakfast and showers.

8a: Start day with Caelan. Either playing or doing his homeschool activities.

10a: snack. More school or play. Maybe outside if it’s not freezing, soaking, or both.

~11-12: If Alan has time, I get 1-1.5 hours to bang out some work and he gets Caelan lunch. Otherwise I act domestic and make everyone lunch.

~1: crossing fingers that Caelan will actually take a nap. Laying on the floor of his room. Sometimes so tired I fall asleep, too.

1-3: Either sleeping, working, telling Caelan to go back to his room, or giving up. Making coffee or chai tea.

3-5: free play. Maybe get him outside. This March weather sucks. Maybe be productive. Sweep the floor or something. He plays Sesame Street games and I can check email.

~4-5: Alan wraps up. I go work. Or:

5-6: cook dinner.

6: Eat dinner

6:30-? Do more work, if needed. Set up Caelan’s activities for tomorrow.

~10:30: Rinse, repeat

March 23

Drag factor maximum
Drag factor maximum

Alan took me up on a suggestion I made last week: wake up with me and workout. I made a partner workout routine. It was fun.

Of course Caelan woke up early. We didn’t finish it. Something is better than nothing!

I also did that thing you’re not supposed to. Just for 10 minutes though.

March 24

Today was the first workout in a while where I walked away feeling really positive. Physically I felt solid, the numbers showed progress and were nearing “decent” and I worked on some technical points.

Triple win.

March 25

Changed it up today. Some anaerobic training. Another session walking away feeling like the ol’ muscles are adapting.

Until I got on Facebook and saw someone’s 10k erg spilt. Sigh. Facepalm. More work to go.

March 28

We unpacked the remaining boxes—the art stuff. It included my motivators. Hung these babies up to remind me hard work pays off.

My She-shed has an erg in it.

March 29

3x5kx3r rate change every 1k 18-20-22-20-18. Made a commitment to walk away gassed and I delivered. On the third piece 20spm and I went to war. Couldn’t seem to find the rhythm and the target spilt at the same time.

Good work today.

March 30

Why do I always get the best night sleep Sunday? Why not Friday or Saturday when I can sleep to 6:30?

The quads felt fatigued on the warmup. So tired. Did some cross training. Still feel like I could curl up and nap. And it’s only 7:35am.

It’s going to be a long quarantine Monday.

March 31

What a month this has been. I started looking forward to joining a rowing team, but tomorrow is April 1 and rowing is shut down in Ohio. I started with a gym membership and eye on increasing strength. The gym is shutdown. I went from growing towards big training sessions to doing what I can.

The spring season shut down for all of us rowers across the nation, but especially the juniors and collegiate rowers. Masters have decades to excel in the sport; at most they have four years. I feel horrible for the seniors robbed of their last few months.

Olympics, postponed. Regattas, cancelled. Who could have imagined where the world would be from March 1 to March 31?

I ended with some hard minute on, minute off for 30minutes total. 24 stroke rate but serious push. Last few I felt really dialed in to power application and transfer.

I’m framing this time as “back to basics.” As in, applying the basic workouts that show up in training plans time and again. Focusing on the rudimentals of the stroke. Building mental toughness. The last few sessions have been about connecting through the stroke, digging deeper, and making sure I walk away knowing I’ve done full effort.

I waited four years to be part of a team. I can wait a few months more.

About camckenna

I write; I row.
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