Training Update: Back on the water!

We’re back on the water! Woo hoo!

May and June have been a busy month. Getting used to this summer-only rowing season is challenging. So many little muscles that are hard to train on land!

Launching in May

Rebuilding calluses

May was a humbling month.

My start-and-stop over and over again winter training routine and the lack of a goal means I lost some speed. I suspected this would be the case before I jumped back in a boat, and it was.

The last few weeks have been about improving technique, trying to get on a training rhythm and continuing to rebuild that fitness.

But mostly, the mental focus has been to reconnect with why I love rowing in the first place.

The pressure I have put on myself, and the cycle of not meeting those expectations, has been exhausting and demoralizing.

This getting older thing is tough. I now have respect for these rowers in their 60s and 70s who have been at this for decades. This training-working-parenting-having a relationship is a challenge. So is remembering how fast you were, versus the reality of where you are.

So, for a lot of rowing sessions, it’s been acknowledging that I am present and soaking in the moment. Appreciating the vibrant morning sunrises. Admiring the swans, ducks, geese, otters, and deer, gracing our waterways. Listening to the bubbles swooshing along the hull. About the quietness of the stroke. Accepting each row here as a gift, because you never know where you will be in a month, a year, a decade.

As we look towards racing again, and the stress that comes with it, I hope to keep remembering to find the joy in the process.

Highlights of the early summer training

Rowing Camp!

After 5+ years rowing solo, All-American Rowing Camp came to GCRA and I finally got some intensive instruction in the 1x! Nothing like a weekend brain dump to make you rethink everything you were doing.

So some of it was what I suspected. Opening the back too early. Finding more patience on the drive. Not quite at full compression-but close. But to all y’all that always say I need to work on my releases and holding onto more water, take a back seat. It’s my catches that need the most work.

Some great feedback and lots of points to work on. Every row since has been trying to ingrain the changes. It’s a lot to think about. Right now I’m focusing on the leg drive and getting all the water before engaging that swing.


Plus there is this awesome drone video!!! Isn’t she gorgeous?

Watch out for that…


Yep. 5 years rowing alone, and I mean REALLY alone, in some sketchy places, and I hit a tree that’s always in the same place on a water I row 3-4 days week.

Complacency leads to accidents, as they say.

I didn’t hit it in my new boat, though. I was in a club shell. Shell was fine, I mostly connected the oar in the branches sticking up. My ego and arm were bruised.

Training with People!

Now that COVID restrictions are lifting, I’m finally actually meeting and talking to people at the club. We have a very tiny training group going. I’ve been out in a 2x three times and one 8+. The 8+ was decent enough we’re going to try racing it!

Racing is coming.

I can’t believe there are actually going to be regattas! At first I wasn’t sure about racing. As I thought about it, I decided to give it a go. It will be a chance to experience the venues in the Midwest, meet some people, and, for this year, focus more on the race experience as fun rather than racing to win. Again, it’s back to reconnecting with why I love the sport.

Racing is what creates camaraderie inside a team or club. It unifies our purpose and is how we grow the sport. Our shared experiences, good and bad, create lasting memories.

Adventure Rowing

Out at Rocky Fork

Something else I love about rowing and owning my own boat: adventure rowing! For my birthday weekend we camped at Rocky Fork State Park. The lake is large enough to make a 19-20k loop, although I only did about 18k each day. It’d actually be a great place for a rowing club, if the population could support it.

Traveling with a single and staying in a campground also makes for a good conversation piece.

Where’s My Speed?

As I said, the speed I expect hasn’t been there, but I’m starting to see some glimpses. Rowing camp definitely helped. So has just getting back on the water and slowly putting in those miles.


I am enjoying a CrossFit. Now that we’re back on the water, my impressions is I’m in better all-around shape. While I feel overall stronger, my rowing-specific power is not where I would like it.

Still, it’s fun to drag sleds and work on hand stands and climb ropes. Cross training should be part fun, right? I even like the assault bike. I still hate burpees. Anything overhead I suck at-presses of any kind, pull-ups are work in progress, forget about muscle-ups.

For the remainder of the rowing season, I plan to stick with it. At this stage, I think improving my general strength conditioning is more important than going rowing-specific.

What’s next?

As I said, racing is back! Up here, regattas go back to back to back through July to August. It’s a weird change, and makes head race training more challenging. So I will have some race experiences to write about by month end.

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1 Response to Training Update: Back on the water!

  1. Toni Seghi says:

    Thanks for sharing, Casey! I am one of those older people who row, although I just started, 5 years ago! It is so fun!

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