Wednesday: 4×500 – taper

Weather:  Sunny, dry, comfortable around 60F.  Wind brisk 10mph from the North.  This was a tail wind coming up river and a head wind down river.  It was gusty at times.  There was enough wind that there was considerable chop at the south end of straight sections of the river.  Nothing like Quinsig, but enough to make you notice it.


  1. Drills: King of the mountain, top quarter, arms only, arms and legs, half slide
  2. Rojabo warmup
  3. Practice Starts
  4. 4×500 with lots of rest at race pace.  Race start, settle to race pace after 10 strokes and grind out the rest of the piece.

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04232_|_0318_|_02:02_|_3:11.4_|_039___|_19.2_|_08.2_|_141___|_paddle to start point
04550_|_0500_|_01:52_|_1:52.0_|_062___|_33.2_|_08.1_|_167___|_500m #1 (tailwind)
05372_|_0528_|_01:58_|_1:52.1_|_065___|_32.9_|_08.1_|_164___|_500m #2 (tailwind)
05900_|_0744_|_04:40_|_3:07.9_|_090___|_19.3_|_08.3_|_141___|_paddle and abort
06644_|_0490_|_02:05_|_2:07.7_|_067___|_32.1_|_07.3_|_167___|_500m #3 (headwind)
07134_|_1179_|_07:12_|_3:03.3_|_137___|_19.0_|_08.6_|_137___|_paddle and abort
08313_|_0545_|_02:09_|_1:58.2_|_069___|_32.1_|_07.9_|_166___|_500m #4 (tail wind)
08858_|_1306_|_07:18_|_2:47.8_|_146___|_20.0_|_08.9_|_142___|_Cool down

02063_|_08:04_|_1:57.4_|_263___|_32.6_|_07.8_|_166___|_Main set
02711_|_16:59_|_3:07.8_|_323___|_19.0_|_08.4_|_139___|_rest meters
01306_|_07:18_|_2:47.8_|_146___|_20.0_|_08.9_|_142___|_cool down

Warmup was uneventful, but the paces were slower into the headwind.

Starts went much better today.  No really horrible ones, and a few of these actually felt pretty good.

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 11.59.00 AM

Then a quick paddle under the bridge and setup for the first 500m.  I did this one in front of the watch factory with a nice swirly tail wind.  The water was flat at the start and got choppy by the end because the wind had some fetch over the water to allow it to build up.  Pace was delightfully fast because of the tail wind.

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Then I paddled around the s-turn to the start of the 1K straight section and setup for another one.  Another reasonable start and a blistering 1:52 pace.  I had to steer a bit around the 300m mark to get back on a good line.  This one really stung over the last 10 strokes though.  Looking at the stroke rate, I think I’m going to have to focus on keeping my rate around 30 during the race.  It is creeping up steadily during these pieces.

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I then paddled to the other end of the 1K straight and steup quickly for a start.  The weed harvester was bearing down on me from behind and I didn’t want to let him pass and then steer around him.

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 12.00.01 PM

Anyway, I took off like a rocket and settled down by the 20th stroke, and then I came out of the sheltered cut into the broader stretch and was hit by a big headwind gust.  It slowed me way down and I lost the will to continue. I coasted to a stop and tried to figure out what to do.

Part of me wanted to just pack it in.  Hell, its a taper week, I should keep it brief and not dig deep.  But, then the other part of me came back with a well crafted argument.  It had a number of points.  First, I was flying out right after this workout and would miss tomorrow on the water.  Second, I really should get the feel for rowing hard into the headwind since that could very well be the race conditions on Sunday.  Third, It would be shame to finish the workout on a low note.  And finally, man up you whiny little princess and row the damn piece.

The last point got me.

I set up again with the headwind whistling past me (it was actually just a 10mph wind, but poetry).  I managed a clean start into the hurricane (more poetry).  As science would suggest, my splits into the headwind were significantly slower.  And there was enough chop that I needed to be a bit more careful about recovery and placing the blades for the catch.  I tried to ignore the splits and focus on rowing to a consistent rate and level of misery.  Looking at the HR plot, I think I nailed that.  I managed to smack a wavetop as I was squaring my oars in my 5th to last stroke and I ended up with the oar not squared when buried for the catch and I crabbed hard.  I took this as another teachable moment and got my oar out and accelerated the boat with 5 more good crisp strokes.  Slow as hell for the interval, but hard!

I paddled a little bit extra to get some more recovery time.  I thought I saw a sculler coming down river and I wanted to try to avoid doing my last piece heading right for him, so I paddled a bit further through the turn.  But when I came back he was no where to be seen.  Most curious.  Anyway, I set up for my last one.

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My legs and lungs were both fried.  I started cleanly and executed a nice settle after 10 strokes, but I bailed out again after 20.  No good reason, I just felt like stopping.  A much briefer internal negotiation commenced and once again, the hard ass bully won.  I set up again and executed yet another good start.  I felt it again in the legs, but this time, I just let the pace stay a bit slow through the middle 30 strokes of the piece and my sprint was nothing to write home about.  I desperately want it to be true that the tailwind was much lighter during this rep, but I suspect that is just wishful thinking.

That wrapped it up for the day.  I paddled back to the dock.  In the way, I passed the sculler I had seen before.  He is the new coach for LaSalle College.  This is cool because they have not had a program for the past couple years and they are getting it going again for the fall head racing season.  It will be good to have some more boats on the river.

I stashed my boat on the rack and drove straight to th airport changing out of my workout clothes in the car.  I showered at the airline club and took off for LA.  I am there for a dinner tonight.  Then tomorrow I fly up to San Jose for a couple more meetings.  I fly home during the day on Friday, landing around 3:30PM.

My plan is to hit the hotel gym for a very quick treadmill session tomorrow morning.  Basically a warmup plus 2 – 2 minute sprint intervals and a cool down.  On Friday, I plan to stop on my way home from the airport for a quick row.  Just a warmup, some starts, and the 3x250m workout that Sander suggested in his blog.  Then on Saturday, I will just do a few starts and pack up my boat.

Sunday is race day.  I have the Masters (50-59) 1K at 8:30. There are 10 entries, so that will likely be 2 heats of 5 boats each.  Based on my intelligence gathering, I will either win the slow heat or lose the fast heat, depending on which one I am placed in.  Then at 10:20 I have the Open 2K.  This one has 12 entries, so probably 3 heats.  I would probably be seeded in the bottom third of this event since I am neither your nor a stud.  But it will be nice to get beaten by former national team members and other worthy conquerers.

Tuesday: 1K TT

Weather: Cool, upper 50s. Wind very light 0-4mph from the north.  Head wind heading down river, but almost non-existent.

Plan: Now tapering down for this weekend”s races.  The theory of the taper is to maintain intensity, but reduce the total durations during the week.

  1. Warmup:  Standard Rojabo
  2. Practice some starts
  3. 1K TT
  4. Cool down

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05593_|_1007_|_03:59_|_1:58.8_|_128___|_32.1_|_07.9_|_164___|_1K TT
06600_|_3930_|_21:22_|_2:43.1_|_440___|_20.6_|_08.9_|_139___|_Technique & cool down

I started with drills: King of the Mountain, Top Quarter, arms only, arms and back, half slide.  Then just some steady state out to and through the cut.  Then I was going to go into my warm up.  I looked over my shoulder and about 200m ahead there were three weed harvesters heading down river.  Weed harvesters are BIG and my river is narrow, so I elected to paddle out until I could maneuver around them and then I started to do the power bursts for the warmup.

The warmup went great.  I was hitting nice paces and I felt nice and relaxed.  Here’s a plot of the paces and rates for the last 4 20 stroke bursts.

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 9.52.59 AM

Here are the RIM analytics for the couple strokes in each of the bursts.

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 4.45.40 PM

So, as expected, I haven’t fixed the double hump overnight, and the 37spm stroke looks mighty ragged, but heck, its 37spm.  And look at the boat speed, I was going faster than 1:45 pace for about 10 strokes.  8)

After that, I spun the boat and setup to try a few starts.  The first one was OK, the second was abysmal, so was the third.  I tried to refocus and take it a bit easier on the first stroke and then the next 2 were OK.

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 9.53.12 AM

After that, I rowed the 1300m back to the start point of the 1K with square blades.

Then it was time to do the 1K.  I was really nervous.  I was determined to not bail out, but just slow down if I needed to.

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 9.53.29 AM

The start was OK.  I was conservative on the first couple strokes, and managed to get the split down below 1:50 by the fourth stroke.  I pushed very hard through the 10 strokes and was still rowing at a 1:50 split.  Then it was time to settle, and in retrospect, I don’t think I shifted gears crisply enough.  My rate dropped from 36 to 31 over 5 strokes, and my pace drifted down to about 2:00 over 10 strokes.

Anyway, from strokes 20 to 40, things were fine.  Around stroke 40, I started to really feel the effects from the surge of lactate.  It started as a strange sort of tingle all over, then a wave of nausea, then the feeling that I might lose control of my bowels (sorry for that).  Fantastic!  That’s what this training is for.  To recognize these feelings and learn strategies to manage them.  I eased up on the pressure and tried to bring the stroke rate further down.  It only took a couple strokes before the feelings started to subside and I started to really focus on breathing.  Hard exhales at both the catch and finish.  And I kept on counting through the 60th stroke.  Now I have finally learned that to get through 1K takes more than 120 strokes, so I didn’t celebrate the halfway point yet, but it was definitely time for some steering.  So a couple of quick glances over my shoulder and then I lined up a new point to stay in the best part of the lane.  That got me to 70, which was definitely over the hump. I was in some definite distress.  For some reason, my heart rate was unnaturally low today, and it felt like I didn’t have another gear to shift into, but I just sort of kept plugging away through sets of 20 strokes.

At 100 strokes, it was time to line up another point to get into the narrow cut for the finish of the 1K.  This cost me a bit of speed because I needed to turn a bit more sharply than the ideal line.  I tried to up the stroke rate and bring down the split for the last 30 strokes and managed a feeble sprint that brought the split back down below 1:55 for the last few strokes.

End result was 3:59 for 1007m, a 1:58.8 pace.  Basically the same pace I held for 950m with a tail wind in the sprints last year.  I’m OK with that, especially looking at the HR plot.  Normally a much steeper rise and higher plateau than today.

Here is a comparison of 8 strokes in that magic section from 20 to 30 strokes before all hell broke loose, and then another set of 7 strokes as I cranked up the rate for the last 20 of so strokes.

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 11.35.28 AM

There is a remarkable level of consistency.  The purple is at a higher rate, so the initial peak in the drive is a bit higher, and the finish blivet is a bit bigger, but I was expecting it to look much worse since I was really tired at that point.

After that, I did a long cool down with some 10 and 20 stroke bursts to flush out my legs and headed back to the dock.