Saturday: 5K hard on Lake Quinsigamond

Weather:  below 30F, but bright sunshine and nice flat water.  A slight breeze from the NW, which was a cross/head wind for the hard piece


  1. 5km
  2. Rate:  First 2k at 24, then 2k at 26, then the rest at 28
  3. Pace:  Faster than 2:15
  4. Video from the side to record the state of things at the end of this season and figure out what to work on next year.

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 5.50.35 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 5.50.24 PM

04000_|_5200_|_23:06_|_2:13.2_|_604___|_26.2_|_08.6_|_171___|_5K hard

Very hard work.  At first, I was doing great, even at r24.  But after about 1K, I started to feel it bite.  I was working hard when I did the rate shift to 26 spm and didn’t get much pace out of it.  By the tie I rate shifted to 28, I was in survival mode and couldn’t really squeeze much more out.

Videos coming in a while, as soon as they finish loading and I figure out what they say.

Tomorrow:  4 x 20′ / 1′ rest

Friday: 4 x 20′ / 1′ rest Steady State on the erg

Today, I had a doctor’s appointment at 11am, so I decided to work from home before that.  That made getting to the river for a real row a hassle, so again, I opted to do my steady state session on the erg.  It was a lovely fall morning, but it was a bit blustery, so I wasn’t to disappointed to miss the OTW.

The plan for today was a steady state endurance session.  The objective is to do the whole session with lactates below 2.0 mmol/l.  To test  that, I did a lactate test at the end of the 3rd interval, so after 60 minutes of rowing.

I am also sticking with the slow start plan.  It’s a relaxing way to start and I think it has a measurable impact on how well my HR plateaus, and results in lower lactate readings.

Last few of these sessions, I have been working at a 2:04 pace, and I’ve been reading around 2.0 for lactate readings, which is a bit higher than I really want.  I decided that if today was above 2.0, I would slow down the pace by a second.

But as it turns out, today’s lactate reading was a delightfully low 1.5mmol/l, and HR was equally low.

lactates 10-30

The other thing that I would like to think is going on is that the change that I made to reduce the intensity of my steady state rowing and ergs is actually having a beneficial effect on my endurance and reducing lactate levels.  There isn’t enough data to support that, but I think the trend is good.

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 1.32.54 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 1.32.18 PM

Workout Summary – Oct 30, 2015
–_|_19284_|_80:00.0_|_02:04.5_|_181.6_|_18.1_|_133.3_|_ 63.3% _|_13.3_|_10.0
Workout Details

01_|_01116_|_05:00.0_|_02:14.4_|_144.3_|_15.4_|_107.8_|_ 45.3% _|_14.5_|_09.4
02_|_01163_|_05:00.0_|_02:09.0_|_163.2_|_17.2_|_119.7_|_ 53.7% _|_13.5_|_09.5
03_|_02423_|_10:00.0_|_02:03.8_|_184.3_|_17.9_|_130.3_|_ 61.2% _|_13.5_|_10.3
04_|_04860_|_20:00.0_|_02:03.5_|_186.0_|_18.1_|_133.8_|_ 63.7% _|_13.4_|_10.3
05_|_04854_|_20:00.0_|_02:03.6_|_185.3_|_18.6_|_136.7_|_ 65.7% _|_13.1_|_10.0
06_|_04868_|_20:00.0_|_02:03.3_|_186.9_|_18.8_|_139.2_|_ 67.5% _|_13.0_|_10.0

While I rowed, I was listening to the Teaching Company audio course on “Turning Points in American History”.  I learned a bit about the King Philip War, the court case that laid the legal foundation for freedom of the press in colonial america, and the Boston Tea Party.  The time passed very enjoyably.

Tomorrow:  Head Race Simulation on Lake Quinsigamond.  Hard 5.5km.

Thursday: 10×3’/1′ rest on the erg

Weather forecast was for rain, wind, and chance of thunderstorms.  So, even though the temperature was back in the high 50s, I decided to stay inside on the erg.  I did the workout on slides.

The OTW plan was for 4 x ( 3 x 3′ / 1′ paddle) / 2′ turn.  This was adapted from an erg workout 15×3’/1′ rest, so I decided to do that.  The problem coming back to the erg is always figuring out a good pace.

Today I guesses wrong and paid the price.  I decided to try to hit 1:50 or better, and ended up faster than 1:49 through 10 intervals, but I was totally done by that point and HD’ed in the 11th interval.  Once that happened, I basically gave up on the workout.  Looking in my old notebook, I saw that my fastest ever for this workout was 1:48.5, so I was a bit too ambitious with my pacing.  1:52 would have been a much better choice.

10x3 Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 12.57.10 PM

I have trouble getting upset about this workout.  I did 30 minutes at head race pace and pushed it pretty hard.  I hate to bail on a workout, but trying to get 15 good reps in would have been an epic battle, probably without much additional training benefit.

Wednesday: 14K Steady State

Still pretty darn cold.  I wore Pogies through the first 3/4 of the workout.  I don’t like how sweaty my hands get, but it’s better than going numb.


  1.  4 x ~2700m / 1′ rest
  2. rate: 18-20
  3. pace: 2:20 to 2:30
  4. HR cap: 150 (75% HRR)

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 12.45.11 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 12.44.58 PM

03000_|_0200_|_01:09_|_2:53.0_|_021___|_18.2_|_09.5_|_127___|_couples of fours in my way
13800_|_0100_|_00:40_|_3:22.5_|_011___|_16.3_|_09.1_|_145___|_cool down

12420_|_00:55_|_2:27.1_|_1154___|_18.9_|_10.8_|_145___|_Main set
00480_|_02:57_|_3:04.8_|_048___|_16.2_|_10.0_|_127___|_rest meters
00100_|_00:40_|_3:22.5_|_011___|_16.3_|_09.1_|_145___|_cool down

An uneventful, but hugely enjoyable row.  Trying very hard to work on really reaching for the catch, and to finish cleanly.  Also trying to be more disciplined about keeping my blades off the water on recovery.  It’s a challenge on mornings like Wednesday, when the water is so smooth, that touching it on recovery results in just a soft “hiss” or “sizzle” and does not disturb the run of the boat at all.

Tuesday: 4 x 2500 / 5′ rest

It was COLD this morning.  About 28F, with a thick layer of frost on the dock.  After I finished rowing I noticed that the water on my oar blades was frozen when I put them into my car.  They were lying on the dock or about 10 minutes while I put away my boat.  That’s cold.

It was also dark.  I could not see very well until I was on the water for about 15 minutes and the sun got a little closer to rising.  On my way out of the lagoon where I launch, I saw that one of the fours from Brandeis had rowed way off into the weeds in the dark and was stuck up against the shore line.  That’s how dark it was.

Plan for today:

  1. 4 x 2500 / 5′ rest
  2. pace target: 2:10
  3. rate target: 28

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 2.39.29 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 2.39.13 PM

01000_|_0580_|_02:41_|_2:18.6_|_063___|_23.5_|_09.2_|_151___|_false start
01580_|_2200_|_09:39_|_2:11.6_|_257___|_26.6_|_08.6_|_164___|_Interval #1
04000_|_2500_|_11:07_|_2:13.4_|_307___|_27.6_|_08.1_|_168___|_Interval #2
07000_|_2500_|_11:02_|_2:12.5_|_311___|_28.2_|_08.0_|_168___|_Interval #3
10000_|_2500_|_11:09_|_2:13.7_|_314___|_28.2_|_08.0_|_168___|_Interval #4
12500_|_1460_|_08:38_|_2:57.3_|_164___|_19.0_|_08.9_|_134___|_cool down
09700_|_42:57_|_2:12.8_|_1189___|_27.7_|_08.2_|_167___|_Main set
01800_|_12:11_|_3:22.9_|_225___|_18.5_|_08.0_|_133___|_rest meters
01460_|_08:38_|_2:57.3_|_164___|_19.0_|_08.9_|_134___|_cool down

So, I am a bit disappointed.  Last time I did this workout (September 22nd), I managed a 2:11.1 avg pace.   Today, was 2:12.8, with roughly the same HR. I’m not sure why.  There was a little bit of cross wind, but not enough to really write home about.  I think I was just having trouble getting the boat up to pace.

One small issue was during the first interval.  I wanted to let the coach from Brandeis know about the stuck four, but they were already heading down river by the time I got to the start point for my interval.  So I cranked it up, but then stopped to talk to the coach once I caught up around the 400m point.  I extended the interval until I ran out of river, but ended up a couple hundred meters short.  The rest of the time, I just couldn’t find that extra second of pace.

Oh well.  Tomorrow is another day.  At least I didn’t quit on the intervals or blow up.

Tomorrow:  Steady State

Monday: 14K steady state + drills

It was cold this morning.  There was frost on the dock when I launched and it was still there when I got back.  There was a light, shifty breeze, but not much of it and the water was deliciously flat.

I started out fully outfitted for the cold.  long tights, 3 layers on top, hat and pogies.  I took off the pogies after the first 4K, otherwise I needed to keep all the layers on.

There is a long thread going over on Rowing Illustrated about the “Scullers Catch”.  Basically, it has devolved into a somewhat pedantic argument over squaring early, versus late, and how quickly one can bury the blades.  I dipped a toe into the conversation and was ultimately rewarded with a couple of interesting drills.

Row , pause every other stroke at half slide, square the blade and go take the catch at full slide . Once you have a hang of that you will have a good feel for placing the blade. Then try it at 3/4

Row half slide for a min, then 3/4 slide for a min, then full slide for a min, then go to alternating half , 3/4 and full slide. Works timing of the front end.

Work on placing the blade at zero pressure and then just accelerate to half pressure , then to 3/4 , then full. Let the speed of the boat dictate your rhythm.

I tried the first one today.  I started each piece with about 20 strokes or so doing a pause/square drill.  It was very challenging.  I needed to finish very cleanly and get the blades off the water.  Then I needed to square the blades with enough clearance to miss the water with the bottom edge of the blade, and smoothly continue to the catch.  I would guess that I did it cleanly about 1/5 of the strokes.  About 3/5 of the strokes, I touched water lightly on one or both side after I squared.  The remaining 1/5, I would catch serious water on one side upon squaring and really screw up the catch.  It certainly helped to reinforce balance and oar control.

Other than that, it was just a nice row, with good heart rate discipline, and reasonably fast pace too.

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 4.54.32 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 4.54.09 PM


09040_|_43:45_|_2:25.2_|_887___|_20.3_|_10.2_|_143___|_Main set

Sunday: 10K Putsch!

Rest day yesterday.

This morning, I was planning to go rowing.  I got up and headed out the the lake.  When I got there, I rapidly reconsidered my decision.  It was 44F, grey and raining.  There was a little wind, but the forecast was predicting it getting stronger.  And when I checked the online sign up sheet, I saw that most of my clubmates had scratched and undoubtedly rolled over and went back to sleep.

I drove home instead of rowing.  So, that left me wondering…What should I do.  The plan called for a hard distance piece, but the idea of sitting down and doing a 6K TT was not appealing in the least.  I decided to give myself a break and have a little fun.  I was going to dig up one of my favorite erg workouts.  The 10K Putsch!


  1.  2K warmup
  2. 10K with a prescribed negative split
    • 1K at 2:00
    • 1K at 1:59
    • 1K at 1:58
    • and so on until the last 1K is at 1:51
  3. Free rate
  4. No HR Cap

This workout is adapted from “Erg: 75 workouts for Athletes”, by Lisa Schlenker, a great book, but apparently out of print right now.  In that book, the workout is a little different.

2015-10-25 10.28.22

It’s in 2K blocks and it’s a bit faster pace.  Even with my more gradual pace ramp, I’ve struggled with the Putsch in the past.  But not today!

First, the warmup.  2K starting slow and building speed every 500m.  Felt very easy and nice low HR.

Screen Shot 2015-10-25 at 10.13.43 AM

Workout Summary – Oct 25, 2015 — Warmup
–_|_02000_|_08:06.9_|_02:01.7_|_194.1_|_19.5_|_124.0_|_ 56.8% _|_12.7_|_10.0
Workout Details

01_|_00500_|_02:09.1_|_02:09.1_|_162.5_|_16.7_|_104.0_|_ 42.5% _|_13.9_|_09.7
02_|_00500_|_02:04.3_|_02:04.3_|_182.1_|_18.3_|_120.5_|_ 54.3% _|_13.2_|_09.9
03_|_00500_|_01:59.2_|_01:59.2_|_206.5_|_20.6_|_130.0_|_ 61.0% _|_12.2_|_10.0
04_|_00500_|_01:54.2_|_01:54.2_|_235.1_|_22.6_|_138.7_|_ 67.2% _|_11.6_|_10.4

Next, the main event.  I set this up in RowPro as 10×1000 intervals with zero rests.  That way I could see the average pace for each split and aim to for the target.  The first pull of each interval generates a very fast pace reading.  I was just rowing normally through the end to the beginning, but the data shows the pace transient.  You can see that I had a fair bit left in the tank when I got to the last 1000m, so I aimed at (and beat) 1:45 as my pace target.  It stung.

Screen Shot 2015-10-25 at 10.15.04 AM Screen Shot 2015-10-25 at 10.15.22 AM

Workout Summary – Oct 25, 2015 – 10K Push
–_|_10000_|_38:06.8_|_01:54.3_|_234.1_|_23.0_|_152.5_|_ 76.9% _|_11.4_|_10.2
Workout Details

01_|_01000_|_03:59.6_|_01:59.8_|_203.5_|_20.8_|_127.4_|_ 59.1% _|_12.0_|_09.8
02_|_01000_|_03:57.4_|_01:58.7_|_209.4_|_21.2_|_138.9_|_ 67.3% _|_11.9_|_09.9
03_|_01000_|_03:54.8_|_01:57.4_|_216.2_|_21.5_|_142.6_|_ 69.9% _|_11.9_|_10.1
04_|_01000_|_03:52.7_|_01:56.4_|_222.2_|_22.2_|_146.3_|_ 72.6% _|_11.6_|_10.0
05_|_01000_|_03:50.8_|_01:55.4_|_227.6_|_22.6_|_150.2_|_ 75.3% _|_11.5_|_10.1
06_|_01000_|_03:48.9_|_01:54.5_|_233.3_|_23.1_|_153.8_|_ 77.9% _|_11.4_|_10.1
07_|_01000_|_03:46.6_|_01:53.3_|_240.7_|_23.6_|_158.0_|_ 80.8% _|_11.2_|_10.2
08_|_01000_|_03:44.6_|_01:52.3_|_247.0_|_23.8_|_161.6_|_ 83.4% _|_11.2_|_10.4
09_|_01000_|_03:42.4_|_01:51.2_|_254.7_|_24.6_|_165.9_|_ 86.5% _|_11.0_|_10.4
10_|_01000_|_03:29.0_|_01:44.5_|_306.8_|_27.9_|_174.6_|_ 92.7% _|_10.3_|_11.0

Then a nice long cool down.  Started at 2:00 pace and slowed down by 5 seconds every 1000m.  Sort of a backwards push.

Screen Shot 2015-10-25 at 10.16.22 AM

Workout Summary – Oct 25, 2015 – Cool down
–_|_05000_|_21:33.9_|_02:09.4_|_161.6_|_18.4_|_142.9_|_ 70.1% _|_12.6_|_08.8
Workout Details

01_|_01000_|_03:58.6_|_01:59.3_|_206.2_|_21.6_|_148.2_|_ 73.9% _|_11.6_|_09.5
02_|_01000_|_04:09.1_|_02:04.5_|_181.2_|_19.8_|_151.4_|_ 76.2% _|_12.2_|_09.2
03_|_01000_|_04:18.8_|_02:09.4_|_161.5_|_17.9_|_145.6_|_ 72.1% _|_13.0_|_09.0
04_|_01000_|_04:28.8_|_02:14.4_|_144.2_|_16.5_|_138.1_|_ 66.7% _|_13.5_|_08.7
05_|_01000_|_04:38.7_|_02:19.4_|_129.3_|_16.8_|_129.8_|_ 60.9% _|_12.8_|_07.7

A very satisfactory workout.  I was looking back and almost a year ago on Nov 15, I attempted the same workout and burnt out before I got to the middle.  I did a flat paced 10K at 1:53.4 which was a maximal effort.  Today was much easier.  I’m pumped.

Friday: 16K steady state on the charles

I had my boat on my car anyway, I decided I might as well go row somewhere fun.  So, I went down and launched at CRI in brighton and rowed all the way down to the BU boathouse and back.  About 16K.


  1. Steady state 2 x 8K
  2. rate: 18-20
  3. pace: 2:30 ish
  4. heart rate: 150 cap

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 11.17.24 AM

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 3.27.26 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 3.27.10 PM


15940_|_20:23_|_2:31.3_|_1620___|_20.2_|_09.8_|_147___|_Main set
00280_|_01:44_|_3:06.4_|_034___|_19.5_|_08.2_|_128___|_rest meters
00160_|_01:16_|_3:57.8_|_017___|_13.4_|_09.4_|_123___|_cool down

The trip down river was basically uneventful.  There was a breeze building, but I didn’t much notice it until I got down past the Riverside Boat Club.  By the time I got to the basin, it was gusting up above 20 mph (the weather data says gusting to 29!), and blowing a steady 15.  The wind direction was basically from the NNW.

[Edit:  Here is the weather history from the station at MIT, right off the basin.  I basically launched at 7:00 and recovered around 8:30.  During that time, the temp dropped 5 degrees, and the wind build from 10mph to 25mph with higher gusts]

Screen Shot 2015-10-24 at 10.45.17 AM

This was a bitch of a head wind through the powerhouse stretch and a cross head for most of the rest of the row until the big turn to the Eliot bridge.  In the big gusts it was all I could do to keep control of my oars and at times my pace was way slower the 3:00/500.  I was mostly concentrating on trying to take good strokes and avoid smacking the waves.

After Eliot, it calmed down a lot and I could make better progress.  I thoroughly enjoyed the last 4K or so of the row.

When I pulled my boat I was delighted that there was no water sloshing around!

Tomorrow: Rest day.

Boat repair

On Wednesday night, I stopped at the hardware store and bought epoxy, silicone caulking, and the tools I needed to do my fin repair.

On Thursday morning, I stopped and picked up my boat and threw it on my car roof.  At lunch on Thursday, the weather was nice, it was warm enough to use the epoxy and silicone, so I put my boat on slings in the parking lot and set to work.

Job one was to extract the fin without doing any more damage to the boat.  So, I sliced the existing caulking on both sides, and front and back and then slowly worked the fin out of the fin box.  Then it was on to caulking removal.  I was able to get all the caulking off the fin and most of the caulk off of the outer surface of the hull.  I was able to cut the caulking away from the top of the fin box where the seam was between it and the hull of the boat.  I cleaned this up with the knife as much as I could and I could see where the seam was delaminated on both side from about half way back to the stern.

I mixed up some epoxy and delicately smushed it into the crack all the way around trying to avoid getting any drips down the sides of box.  Then I waited about 10 minutes for the epoxy to setup and stop being tacky.  The last thing I wanted was to permanently glue the fin in with epoxy.  That would be bad.  While I waited, I put down masking tape on the hull marking the outside line of where I wanted caulk.  I did the same thing on the fin.

Once it was dry to the touch, I carefully reset the fin in the box.  It appeared that the box stayed laminated all the way around during this process and the fin appeared to my eye to be aligned and in the same position as before.  At that point, I put down a big bead of caulking along both sides, trying to make sure that all voids were completely filled.  I then took a caulk bead tool and used it to form a small 45 degree fillet between the hull and the fin along both sides.  I carefully faired the caulking at the front and back to make sure that it was completely filled and smooth.  Then I pulled away the tape.  It actually looked pretty good for an amateur job.

I left the boat as it was for the afternoon, and when I left for the night, the fin was stable in the slot.  I suspect that it is not entirely perfect, but this morning when I used the boat, it tracked straight and didn’t leak, so I think it’s good for the rest of the season. I might get a pro to look at it this winter.

Thursday: October Cross Team Challenge 15 x 1′ /1′ rest

Landlocked due to boat damage.  So I decided to substitute my OTW short interval session with an erg based short interval session.  The CTC looked like a pretty good match to what I needed to do.

Plan: (erg on slides)

  1. 20 minute fletcher style warmup
  2. 15 x 1′ /1′ rest
  3. pace target: under 1:40
  4. rate: over 30

oct ctc Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 10.30.32 AM

That went better than I thought it would.  I beat the target and had enough oomph left over to deliver a punishing last rep.  I thought I was going to puke, pass out and wet myself at the end of the last rep, so I guess I pushed it hard enough.

This puts me in about the “right” place in terms of team and overall scoring for the CTC.  And it was a really good workout.