I am in San Diego on a business trip. I arrived last night and didn’t have any meetings until late this morning. I saw an opportunity, and I reached out by email to the fine gentleman from the San Diego Rowing Club who I rowed with last winter to see if I could maybe jump into a boat on Wednesday morning.
I got a positive reply from the master’s coach, and was invited to show up at the boathouse at the ungodly hour of 5am. I arrived and they decided to put me in a quad with Dan, Mark and Kyle. I was in the three seat, and Kyle was stroking. I had the good fortune to show up on a morning that was a reasonably low intensity day.
The session plan was split into a warm up and two 25 minute chunks. The warm up was feet out rowing. The first 25 minute piece was 5 – five minute segments of 4′ steady state and 1′ of drills
pause at the finish
pause at body over
pause at quarter slide
quarter slide rowing
heels down rowing
Then for the second 25 minute piece, a 22/24/26/24/22… rate ladder.
I was really glad for the technical focus. I have not been in boat since November, and I was sure I would be really rusty. I was pretty worried that I’d be a lousy person to have in the boat.
It was a good boat. Kyle in stroke was a metronome. He didn’t have a speedcoach, but he was hitting the rates. I had some trouble matching up to his stroke just because he had an enormously long reach. I would hit the front stops and he would seem to keep going forever afterward. I had to literally slow my roll to get in sync. Some times I was OK, but it came and went. I hope it wasn’t too annoying for them.
The drills were really useful and it was great to get some coaching from the launch. The coach (Patrick) nailed my technique problems right away (not rocking over completely before breaking my knees on recovery and then lunging at the catch), and provided good real time feedback.
The ladders were not as neat. The boat was not set very well, and I suspect that I was the main problem. I was having trouble sitting vertical in the boat. I was tending to drag my port oar on recovery and my oar work was sloppy in general.
Having said that I was delighted to be on the water and I had a total blast.
I hope I didn’t wear out my welcome. I’d love to get back out with this group of guys again. With all the time I spend alone on an erg or in my single, getting into a quad is a fantastic, fun experience. It’s a great challenge to get synched up with another rower. It’s great to get into a boat that is so stable that I can work on getting my blades way off the water on recovery. And the whole tempo is much faster, even at low rates because the oars are going a lot faster through the water.
Now I’m sitting in the airport waiting to occupy my middle seat on the red eye back to Boston.
Tomorrow: The schedule calls for a 3 x 20′ L4, but we’ll see how I feel after this flight.
I slept well last night, but woke up feeling tired. I dragged myself to work and got into the gym around 7. I spent a little while foam rolling the kinks out of my thighs and then settled onto the erg. I did the same power sequence as I did on Sunday, but dropped the stroke rate by 2 spm because I was on the static erg instead of slides.
The first 20 minutes were a breeze. The second 20 minutes were noticeably hard and the last 20 minutes were tough. HR ended up too high, but was under control through almost the whole workout.
Down on the Cape. We went down to see how things were holding up over the winter. The house looks to be a good shape, but the stairs that I built last spring have taken a serious beating.
The damage is much worse than last winter. It appears that pack ice must have entrapped the bottom of the stairs and when it broke free, carried the stairs with it. Next time I go down, I will see what I can salvage and once it warms up, I’ll rebuild.
The workout had a much better outcome. Sometimes, it just happens. You do a workout where you feel great. That’s how I felt on Sunday. I had pushed really hard on Saturday and for Sunday’s session, I just wanted to bank the meters. So, I set up to do the same L4 as I have been doing. But it just felt so easy. And my HR never really went up. I’ve been doing 3 x 20s lately, but 4×20 was no problem.
Notice the summary is a bit ragged. I have seen this before and almost always on the erg down on the Cape. The reason it looks that way is it is missing lots of strokes. This is a quick graph to show what I mean. The captured data includes stroke number. This is just a graph of the stroke number minus the prior stroke number in the file. There are 9 times where more than 10 strokes are missing from the data.
The question is why? There are lots of possible suspects. The data is communicated from the PM5 to my iphone by bluetooth. At the same time, my iphone is streaming a podcast over wifi, and using a bluetooth connection to my earphones. My wifi on the cape is really bad (Thanks directTV!). It’s possible that the streaming is the cause. Someday, I might try to sort it out. Definitely if I am going to do an online challenge or ranked piece.
We headed home around 3 in the afternoon.
Monday – 8 x 500m / 3’30” – L1
I slept badly last night. It’s a Sunday night tradition. But I was up at 5:15 and in the office by 6:20. The planned session was an 8×500, and I was hopeful that I could hold a target pace faster than the 1:42 from the pyramid session last week.
I started with a 2k warmup. Pick drill, then 20 stroke bursts at target pace.
I already posted about my session on Tuesday morning, but on Tuesday night, I did something fun. My wife’s niece play Hockey for Northeastern. Northeastern is a legit women’s hockey powerhouse. They are ranked third in the NCAA division one. They have an olympian on the team. Anyway, we went to see her team play in the first round of the Women’s Beanpot, a hockey competition between the 4 powerhouse schools in Boston (BU, BC, Northeastern and Harvard). They were playing BU and it was an incredible game. The quality of play was very high and my niece in law played well getting an assist and a ton of shots. She was very bummed that she didn’t get any goals. The game ended in a tie and was settled in a shoot out, with BU coming out on top.
Here’s a picture of her right after she scored the winning goal in overtime against BC in a game earlier this year.
Wednesday: No Training
I had scheduled a plumber to come fix a problem with a sink Wed morning and he blew me off. Supposed to show up at 8:30 and didn’t. I called to follow up and found out he wouldn’t get to the house until at least 10. I gave up rescheduled and headed to work.
I hoped to find time during the day to workout, but no luck.
Thursday: Hard 10K – L3
I had limited time because I had an 8 am meeting. I was scheduled to do the 10K on Wednesday and then an L4 endurance session on Thursday. With the short window, the 10K fit in better, and is a higher training priority so I did that.
No time for a warmup, so I just settled right in and went for it. Last time I did a 10K, I fell apart at the end. The cause was butt pain, lack of fitness and lack of toughness. On Thursday, I was hoping to address the butt pain and the toughness. Fitness is what it is.
For the butt pain, I have made an investment. The Citius Remex. The world’s most expensive butt pad. Endorsed by Eskild Ebbesen. I imagine that elite rowers must treat their behinds with the care that a violinist lavishes upon their hands, or a dancer on their legs. My wife has heaped ridicule upon me for buying this gold plated butt pad, but it will all be worth it if it solves my problems.
There is actually a theory behind this butt pad and it make some sense to me. The seat on the C2 rower is basically flat and this puts all the stress on your Iscial Tuberosities (aka your sitz bones). Other butt pads attempt to mitigate this by either cutting out material where the sitz bones are, or by providing cushioning to spread the pressure over a larger area. But this has potential problems as well. The edge of the cutouts can cause pressure points (and they did for me) and this can lead to pain. And a squishy pad can cause problems with circulation on the back of your thighs. The Citius Remex has a different shape to it.
It is designed to spread the pressure between your perinium and your ITs. A bike seat basically puts all the pressure on your perinium, and the C2 puts all the pressure on your ITs. This butt pad basically tries to balance the pressure between the two. It also has three different insert for the middle part so you can “adjust” the balance between support on your perinium and sitz bones.
Anyway, it felt a bit weird at first, but I sat up straighter, was able to keep my knees down better, and my ass hurt a lot less at the end. So, I am happy to have bought my gold plated butt pad and recommend it for aging rowers with delicate buttocks.
Back to the 10K. Last time I averaged 1:57.2, but I was holding around 1:56 before I wimped out. So I decided to try to target 1:56. I ended up feeling a bit better at 1:55, so I hung in with that. Around the 7K mark, I began to feel like that might have been a real problem, but I eased up the pace, counted out the strokes from 7k to 8k and held on.
It was a max effort. I was above 95% of HRR for almost the last 2000m, about 7:30. A very long time to be on the ragged edge. So, I am simultaneously happy with the effort that I put in, and sad that it wasn’t faster. I finished with 38:25.7, a 1:55.2 pace. I ranked it and it’s 89th percentile. Trained, I have the potential for 95th percentile performance. And it’s a long way off of my best 10K (36:33, 1:49.6 pace). I guess it’s something to shoot for.
I logged this as an entry for the rowsandall “Tough Ten” regatta. And it puts me firmly in ….last place. bummer.
Friday: No Training
Today was the make up appointment with the Plumber. He showed up on time, but took my workout window. I was booked the rest of the day. In the evening, we headed down to the Cape for the weekend.
Saturday: 4 x 2000m / 5′ on slides – L2
I am trying hard to do the three “hard” workout per week, even if I miss sessions. Today was the right day to do the L2. Last week I did the waterfall for an average pace of 1:52.4. This was on a static erg. Trying to figure out a target pace, there was a lot to consider.
4 x 2000 is usually a bit faster than waterfall
slides are usually a bit slower for me than static
I was not feeling super aggressive, but I didn’t want to fail at the workout
So, I decided to start around 1:54 and see what happened. What happened was that I was able to do a bit better than that. I did the first 2000 as warmup, then ended up with the first rep coming in right under 7:30 (1:52.3). I felt pretty good so I pushed the second rep a bit more (1:51.5). I had a problem in the rest after the second rep. Somehow I nudged the back of the erg on the slide and it was scraping. I only noticed when I started the 3rd rep and the slides were massively misbehaving. I stopped, worked it out and started up a fresh 2000. It gave me an extra 1:30 of rest. The third rep was challenging. Fatigue was starting to set in, but I wanted to keep it under 7:30, so I pushed hard and finished at 1:51.5 again. I was worried about the fourth rep. My legs were feeling a bit empty. In the first 3 reps, I was aiming at a rate around 27 and trying to pull right on 10 meters per stroke. I was essentially trying to start the drive right as the distance clicked down to a “0”. In the last rep, I found that I was having trouble maintaining that and holding the rate around 27. I struggled through the first 1500m, and then just buckled down to attack the last 500. I was happy to finish, and even happier that I managed a slight negative split (1:50.9).
I am happy to be back at the wolverine plan. I just have to keep the targets reasonable and I think this is a good plan to take me into the spring.
One fun comparison. I used the Trend Flex Plot to look at the power versus stroke rate for today’s L4 and Saturday’s, which was the same stroke sequence, but shifted up by 2 spm, and down by 10W. (Saturday on the left)
Tomorrow: Hard Distance – 30′. Last time I did this session, I managed a 1:53.8 pace. Tomorrow’s target pace 1:53.0
New plan! There is an online 10K race on rowsandall that opens up tomorrow. I’ll do that for my hard distance piece instead. Last time I did a 10K, my avg pace was 1:57.2, but I was holding 1:56 through a lot of it. I think I will aim at that. stroke rate 24.
The last session I posted was December 29th. It’s been busy month since then with some good training, heavy work commitments and recently a few, not terribly serious injuries.
Here’s a synopsis
The result was that by the 27th of January my fitness was at the lowest level it has been for a couple of years, and it’s time to get back on track.
Sunday – Dec 30 – Rest Day
I had a lot of logistics to deal with on Sunday. We were hosting a New Year’s Eve party down at our house in Wellfleet. I had to buy delicious local delicacies on the way and do a bit of house cleaning once we were there. No time for training.
Monday – Dec 31 – Awful Half Marathon on Slides
Our party guests were arriving in the early afternoon, so I got up at a reasonable hour and jumped on the erg. I was feeling guilty about missing a workout on Sunday, so I didn’t want to compound my sins by missing another day. I was so excited to row on something other than the miserable dynamic, I decided to do a half marathon.
It started out fine, but things started to go down hill around the one hour mark. To be indelicate, I’ve been having some issues with my ass. Especially my left cheek. The area around my sitz bone gets sore after about 30 minutes of rowing and it seems to get worse as I go along. I thought it was because my trusty seat pad had gotten squooshed down and wasn’t doing it’s job. So I replaced it with a new one (2 layers of concept2 foam pads with the cutouts removed). This was the first session with the new setup and I think I misdiagnosed the cause of my problem because the pain was much worse with the new pad. I decided that the edge of the cutout must be doing something bad, so at the one hour mark, I dropped a layer. It helped a little, but over within another 8 minutes or so, I was hurting again and tried to sit further forward to get my sitz bone on the pad and out of the hole. That bought me another 10 minutes. I adjusted again and then gritted my teeth through the rest of the workout. I may have to spring for one of those insanely expensive finnish butt pads before I really injure myself.
I am also seeing a lot of data drop outs. I wonder if there is some issue with painsled?
Tuesday – Jan 1 – January CTC (on slides)
I haven’t been very consistent at doing the CTCs in the past couple of years. I used to do every one, but since I started rowing on the water, I don’t usually do them during the OTW season, and I’ve even gotten spotty in the off season. I think it’s mostly a pride thing. I used to do better than I do now, and that bugs me. This month’s CTC seemed fun though, so it seemed like a good option when I was feeling a bit hung over and bloated from a great new years eve party.
The CTC was 20′ at r20. I wasn’t sure how to pace it so I basically just started rowing. I was on slides. I was able to bring the split down into the mid 1:50s and hold them them.
I ended up with 5129m (1:57.0), which puts me in Free Spirits boat 2. I need another 7 meters to get into boat 1. I might have to give that a try. I think without a hangover and on a static erg, I might be able to do a fair bit better than that.
After that I did a 209 minute L4 and it was delightful!
Wednesday – Jan 2 – No Training
Un planned rest day. I had t o drop my car off at the shop in the morning and I didn’t have a window to go work out during the day.
Thursday – Jan 3 – 60′ L4
I had so much fun doing the 20 minute L4 that I decided to do one for today’s endurance session. This on on a static erg. So here I would try to go for my “usual” power levels, which are very easy to remember
16 – 160W
18 – 180W
20 – 200W
22 – 220W
I did very easy progress of sequences. For L4 aficionados, it was a 168/172/172/176/176/180. Here it is in graphical form.
planned a hard session. 30′ free rate, with 2k warmup and cool down.
warm up – pick drip and then 20 stroke bursts at target pace.
The main event. Went pretty well! Little bit of a bobble at the end. I would love to get back to doing over 8000m for these. I have a ways to go (92 meters).
Here’s the whole workout.
Tuesday – Jan 8 – No Training
Traveled to Dallas for a business dinner. No time to train.
Wednesday – Jan 9 – 30′ Max Incline March
In Dallas at the Airport Hyatt before I flew to San Diego
Thursday – Jan 10 – 5km run
In San Diego, I had conference calls all morning in my hotel, and then I went for a run. My hotel was in a nice location.
I had HR monitor issues, so I recorded the run on my apple watch. Turns out, the apple watch does not believe in data freedom!
After my run, I packed up my stuff and flew home.
Friday – January 11 – No Training
I arrived home around 12:30am, and decided to not get up early to train. I had a jam packed morning of meetings, then I headed out in the afternoon so we could head down to the Cape for the weekend.
Saturday – January 12 – 3 x 20′ / 2′ L4 on slides
Down on the cape. I was struggling with a pain in the ass. I have developed some irritation in my left ischial tuberosity (also known as the sitz bones). It was getting worse and I was experimenting with different padding options, but none seemed to be helping. I think a main cause may be sitting for long periods in airline seats. Anyway, I enjoyed the rowing, but my butt was getting worse and worse.
On slides my power levels were.
16 – 140
18 – 160
20 – 180
22 – 200
So, 10W better than dynamic for roughly the same intensity.
Sunday – January 13 – 3 x 20′ / 2′ L4 dynamic
Back in Hopkinton. Still enjoying L4s, still suffering debilitating butt pain.
Monday – January 14 – The Half Marathon from hell
There was a rowsandall challenge race that I needed to get a result in for. It was a half marathon. I had high hopes that I could do reasonably well, and I set off way too fast. I blew up halfway through. I was also having very severe IT issues (Ischial Tuberosity) and tried to readjust my seat padding a bunch of times. It was horrible. Terribly horrible.
This was very disappointing. When I caved in the middle of the piece, my HR was a bit high, but not remarkably so. I had started to try to slow down a bit to try to rein things in, but the pain in my butt made it really hard to get any kind of momentum. Every stroke hurt. I decided that I need to do something about the IT pain.
Tuesday – January 15 – Mini Strength Session
I had very limited time because I had an 8 oclock meeting. Also, my knee hurt so I wanted to avoid erging. I did a quick strength session.
swiss ball twists with med ball
inclined rows in the smith frame
cable pull downs
My knee really stiffened up through the day and get sore. It became painful to walk down stairs, basically the bending my knee under pressure caused serious pain at the base of my kneecap.
Wednesday – January 16 – No Training – Knee injury
I woke up with my knee very stiff and it was painful to walk, especially down stairs. Going up stairs hurt too. I hobbled through the day and by the evening I was taking ibuprofen. Even with that, it was so sore that I couldn’t fall asleep. I got up and iced it for 30 minutes, which helped a lot.
Thursday – January 17 – No Training – Knee injury
Still very sore in the morning. I wore an ace bandage and took ibuprofen and that seemed to help stabilize things. I iced it again before bed and slept fine.
Friday – January 18 – Strength training
Basically the same routine as Wednesday. Avoided doing anything that would put stress on my knee
Saturday – January 19 – No Training
There was a big storm that was closing in on Boston for Sunday. I needed to be in San Jose for a meeting first thing on Monday morning, so I changed my flight arrangements and left on Saturday so I would be stuck. I arrived in San Jose around 10pm.
Sunday – January 20 – Fitness Center strength and Max Incline March
Basic core and strength session, and then added on a 40 minutes on the treadmill.
Monday – January 21- Fitness center triathlon
20 minutes Max Incline march
20 minutes stationary bike
20 minutes elliptical
Tuesday – January 22 – No Training
Our board meeting started at 8am and I was nervous as hell. I got in really early and made sure that everything was ready.
The meetings went well, and then I had an additional 2 customer meetings in the afternoon and a team dinner in the evening. Finally, I headed to the airport to catch my flight to Korea, leaving at 11:30pm.
Wednesday – January 23 – Did not exist for me
I departed at 11:30 on Tuesday night, flew across the date line and arrived in Seoul at 5:00AM on Thursday morning. So does it count as a rest day if the day didn’t happen?
Thursday – January 24 – Fitness Center Strength Training
I arrived in Korea at 5, I was at my hotel before 7. I went straight to the fiteness center. Did a full strength training session. I even did some squats to test out my knee. It seemed to hold up pretty well. I also did some good mornings and I tweaked my lower back. I didn’t notice it at the time, but it was sore the next day. I also did 30 minutes on the treadmill.
After that I went to semicon Korea and did my presentation. At the end of the day, I had a customer dinner. I was pretty tired by the time I was back at the hotel and slept well
Friday – January 25 – Fitness Center
30 minutes inclined march
5 minutes on a stair stepper, then I saw an elliptical open up and bagged that.
20 minutes on the elliptical
I had internal meetings and a meeting with a key supplier and headed to the airport to catch an 8:30 flight home. I managed to leave in such a rush that I left my suitcase in my korean colleague’s car. My bag is still in Asia, coming home tomorrow with a coworker that was staying on after I left.
Saturday – January 26 – No Training
I arrived home at about 2 am on Saturday morning, and I slept until 10 am the next morning. Even after I got up, I was in rough shape. my back hurt, my butt hurt and I felt like I’d been hit by a truck. I basically just did stuff around the house.
Sunday – January 27 – 2 x 20′ / 2′ dynamic
It had been 12 days since I had been on a rowing machine. I was still achy, but I wanted to ease back into, so I figure a nice gentle 40 minute endurance session.
That was surprisingly hard work.
Monday – January 29 -2 x 20′ / 2′ static plus 20 max incline walk
I was going to do 3 x 20′ on the rower, but my butt started to hurt, so I decided to do the last 20 minutes on the treadmill.
Even though I am not 100%, I think the best course of action is to add a measured dose of higher intensity to the mix.
So, time to bust out a classic. The 4 x 1k. I set an easy target pace, 1:50. At my best, I was pounding out this session close to 1:40 pace. But I have to keep myself from thinking like that. It just leads to frustration and injury.
The workout went well. I did a reasonable warmup and got into it.
I think focusing on strength training has improved my power, but I have not re-calibrated myself to the new me. I find it hard to row slower than certain splits at a rate and end up pushing a bit too hard on the long pieces.
This was definitely good training effect. My butt still hurts, but I think I have found a seat pad arrangement that is not aggravating it further.
Thursday – January 31 – 3 x 20′ / 2′
A lovely relaxing row. Butt pain still there, but much less intense.
I like this routine. Sleeping, relaxing, cooking, rowing.
Thursday – 12/27 – 10 x 2′ / 2′ Dynamic
A little bit of a variation on the 8×500. On the dynamic, so aiming for about 4 or 5 sec per 500 slower than on a static erg. First rep was a warmup. Then I targeted 1:50 for the rest, and a faster last. I hate this infernal machine.
The rowsandall summary was a bit stingy with the splits. I seem to lose a few meters on each interval.
Started fine, but I fell apart after about an hour. My ass hurt a lot. I slowed down as necessary to stay under a 155 cap. I had to switch laundry around the 30 minute mark. That’s the stoppage in the plot.
I’m gonna have to explore other seat pad options. My left sitz bone is bothering me a lot!
Saturday – 12/29 – 5 x 1500 / 4′ Dynamic
I went through most of the day intent on taking a rest day, but around 10pm, I got bored and decided to workout. I think it was a good idea because I’ll probably want to take a rest day on New Years Day.
I haven’t done much long interval work, and I don’t like doing it on the dynamic, but the 1500s are by far the least onerous session. I gave myself a softish target and got to work.
I didn’t bother with a warmup, I just dove into the first interval. I think the target was about right. I was very uncomfortable in the last 500 of each rep but I never had the urge to give up rowing and take up knitting.
The rowsandall splits are again a bit stingy. One day, I’ll have to invent a good interpolation routine to make them correlate better with the PM.
I was interested in seeing how I needed to increase my rate, and decrease the DPS as I got tired. I plotted out the WPS and the Average Drive Force to see what they looked like. There is about a 10% decline in WPS over the workout. The question in my mind is whether I should be aiming at that lower WPS the whole workout or is a higher WPS more efficient?
Tomorrow: 3 x 20′ on slides (I hope). We are off to the cape for our New Year’s Eve party,
One of the contributors to rowsandall organized a Christmas 10k. I was a little bummed out because my only option for rowing it was the dynamic, and I knew that I would be a fair amount slower on the dynamic than on the static erg. But, I like the idea of doing the same session as other folks, and I don’t even mind getting beaten (especially when I have an excuse!)
So, I set the conservative target of “faster than 2:00”. I did a 2K warmup to get loose. Starting again with a pick drill.
Then the 10K. I had haunting memories of the 30r22, so I was in no mood to push it too hard. Even with that, I couldn’t have gone a lot faster. My heart rate was up near 180 at the end.