Weather as warm (mid 60s), cloudy at first, but then the sun broke through and a light 0-3mph breeze from the NNW. This was a headwind going down river, but only a slowed me down a bit.
- 6 x 1K intervals
- rate r24 to r28
- long rests, maybe 4 or 5 minutes. Enough time so I could get myself to a good start point
- Head race pace
It was one of those workouts that makes you feel intimidated before you even start it. I have done very little harder rowing in the boat, only a few 1′ pieces and some longer pieces where I started slow and sped up. I know that I need to get going if I’m going to feel at all comfortable doing any sprint racing. My stomach didn’t feel all that great either. Arriving at the river, I had a vague feeling like I wouldn’t mind going to the bathroom and sitting for a while, but I ignored it and got out on the river.
I did a Rojabo style warmup, and I felt pretty good during it. I was winded after the last 20 stroke set at >34SPM, but that’s the point. Then I spun around, had a quick sip of water, and psyched myself up for the first interval. I got up to speed and noted the distance on the speedcoach. My rowing felt nice and smooth, all that r18 work seems to be helping, at least a little. This rep took me across the Moody street basin, up the channel, through the Prospect Street bridge and then finished up in front of the watch factory. I kind of like navigating through the bridge for pressure work. It really makes you think about steering in race-like situations. When I finished the rep, it was clear I wouldn’t be able to maintain that level of intensity for 5 more reps. I gave myself permission to do the reps at r24, but I was not going to quit. My bathroom urges were lurking in the background as well (sorry for the TMI, but I think it’s a pretty standard issue for rowers).
I paddled all the way to the downstream end of the straight 1K shot back to the start of the course, had a drink, and off I went. I felt a bit more relaxed in this rep. The speedcoach said that I was getting less run, but I felt like I was rowing with greater length. I sure was tired at the end of it though.
I paddled around a bit and then did rep #3 down stream. Uneventful, but slower because of the light headwind. I then paddled through the S-curve and did rep #4 in front of the watch factory, through the prospect street bridge, and finished at the end of the channel leading out to the Moody street basin. Turn the boat, have a drink, get lined up, and then rep #5 back under the bridge and finishing up right after the watch factory. I was really tired by this point, but I only had one rep to go. I set up at the end of the straight 1K and started nice and easy. I just rowed for length and form through the first 500m or so. I was counting strokes. Around stroke 50, I was at about 450m in. I took “10 for length”, really trying to keep my back straight, but reach wayyyy out to the catch. At Stroke 60, I took “10 for finishes”, trying to go early enough at the finish to not touch my shirt, and avoid too much layback. At Stroke 70, I took “10 for recoveries” and tried to keep my blades totally off the water on recovery. Now I was at 80 strokes and I had 40 left. I started pushing more intently to the finish. I started to push the rate higher and worked on steering. Its easy to misjudge the approach to the end of the 1K. There is a slight starboard turn that if you take it too soon, you end up in the weeds, and if you wait too long, you end up having to turn to sharply and lose speed. Once I had my line to the finish I had 20 strokes left and I noticed that my right calf was cramping up. Every time I compressed at the catch, it would cramp up, and then ease when my leg was fully extended.
It’s interesting how my brain works at moments like this. It hurt like hell, but my leg still seemed to be working, and I knew that I only had about 40 seconds more to go. My heart rate was up in the anaerobic zone and my vision was narrowing. It felt like time was slowing down. But I was able to stay focused on placing my blades, driving smoothly, finishing and recovering clean as I counted down. As soon as I finished, I was worried that I had cheated the distance by 100m, but the speedcoach says that I didn’t. Also when I finished, my calf cramped hard, and so did my abs, right under my rib cage on my right side. I got my feet out of the shoes, stretched out my legs and torso as best I could, and rowed with feet out back to the dock.
My paces were terrible, but I am really thrilled to have gotten through it.
After that, jumped in my car, drove up to Marblehead, bought a boat (more on that later), drove back to Hopkinton, unloaded the boat, put the canoe on the car, went canoeing with my wife and some friends of ours for a couple hours, and then went out for dinner. By the time we got home, I was exhausted!
Sunday: Rest day.