Thursday: 10K run / walk in Kumamoto

Weather: Hot!  80F and 95% humidity.


  • 45′ to 60′ of threshold done as 10K run outside.
  • Objective: maximize time at HR > 165 (TR range)

The hotel had no fitness center, and Komamoto is a really beautiful city with a remarkable castle on a hill, so it was a perfect opportunity for some aerobic sightseeing.

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Well, that did not go to plan.  I started off fine, but it was so hot and humid that I was drenched in sweat within minutes.  Then, added to that was the challenges of road closures because of the Earthquake here in April.  The damage to the Castle and the grounds was quite extensive.  There were places where the whole castle wall had just collapsed.


Later in the day, I was speaking to the governor of Kumamoto perfecture, and he told me that reconstruction of the castle and grounds will cost more than $600M, but his government and the national government were committed to restoring it completely.

All of this damage also busted up the roads around the hilltop where the castle sits, so I was shuttled in all sorts of unexpected directions, but the big factor was the heat and humidity.  After about 30 minutes, I found that I could not run any appreciable distance without gasping for air.  A one point during the run, I started to wonder if I was getting a heat stroke, which seems pretty melodramatic.

Anyway, after about 40 minutes, I finally asked Google maps to get me home, which it did.  There was a lot of walking in the second half of this adventure.  It was not the session I intended, but another 70′ of mostly low intensity cross training.


Tomorrow:  I have an early start and tired legs, so I think I will pass on the planned steady state session.


Wednesday: 3 x 30′ UT2/UT1

Still in Shanghai.  I fly to Kumamoto early this afternoon, so I had time for a nice(?), long session in the fitness center.

  • 30′ incline treadmill (15% grade, 3.3mph)
  • 30′ Stationary bike (random profile, 15/25 load)
  • 30′ elliptical (rolling hills, 15/25 load)
  • HR limit ~150.  OK to exceed that briefly with variable load
  • ~1′ between machines

What a bore.  Listened to NPR’s “Ask Me Another” game show, and then a the “Daily Tech News Podcast”.  That got me into the last 30 minutes, when I needed a bit more motivation.  I switched over and listened to Steely Dan’s “Gaucho”, which brought me home in mellow style.

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Tomorrow: 60′ treadmill threshold run.

Video Feedback

GoPro Hero2.  Video feedback is very useful to try to figure out what you are doing wrong, and I use a GoPro waterproof camera to do that.  I use it in one of two locations.  First, I have a mount on my stern deck.  This view provides a view toward the bow and shows me and my oars out to the ends.  You can see issues with balance and oar height, but you can really see body mechanics all that well.  This is also a good mount for races where you want something relatively unobtrusive.

2013-09-18 06.37.38

This creates video like this:

For side view video, I was sent a gift by a friend in Canada.  An old backstay.  He had previously improvised a mount to put this on the end of his rigger to get the camera about 4 or 5 feet out to the side of the boat.

I modified the way to attach the gopro to the rigger. The end of the rigger is a 1 1/2″ OD aluminum pipe 3 1/2″ long welded to the rigger tube vertically. This tube is drilled on the stern side to mount the oarlock. Looking at it, I decided the easiest way to mount the backstay to the gopro was to put a bolt through the pipe and hold each end with a 1 1/2″ OD fender washer. It worked like a champ!

With this mount, I get videos like this:

Notice the pace, rate and HR?  I’ll do another post later about how to do that.

Tuesday: 45′ Threshold on Treadmill

In Shanghai.

Nice fitness center, but no ergs in sight.

Plan called for a 10K run, but at 6am, I was surprised with an invitation to a conference call scheduled for 7am.  I only had time for 45 minutes in the gym, so I just set the treadmill to 2% grade, 6mph and 45′ and went.

It was just about right in terms of training effect, maybe I could have pushed just a little bit harder, but not much.  I saw some weird HR monitor effects in the second half of the run, but it was above UT for the last 25 minutes.  I’ll try the H7 tomorrow to see if that’s better.

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Tomorrow:  Plan calls for for 80′ of UT2/UT1.  I’ll probably do some kind of a fitness center triathlon.

Head Race Training – Week 2 review

Date Day Workout Type mode Planned Workout Actual
7/18/16 Mon Rest  rest  rest  rest
7/19/16 Tue Hard Distance otw 4 x 2900 / 1′ rest r24 (HR limit 170), 50′ HIT, 30′ LIT  4×2800/4’rest, r26, no HR limit, 50′ HIT, 30′ LIT
7/20/16 Wed Steady State otw 4 x 2900 / 1′ rest r20 (HR limit 150), 70′ LIT  4×2800/1’r, r20, HR limit 155, 70′ LIT
7/21/16 Thu Hard Distance otw 4 x 2900 / 1′ rest r24 (HR limit 170), 50′ HIT, 30′ LIT  No training
7/22/16 Fri Technique UT2/UT1 otw Bungee Row first half, Steady state r20 second half, 70′ LIT  No Training
7/23/16 Sat Hard Distance otw 4 x 2900 / 1′ rest r24 (HR limit 170), 50′ HIT, 30′ LIT CTC: 30′ HIT, 30′ LIT
7/24/16 Sun Rest  rest rest yard work: 180′, about 60′ of LIT
summary  150′ HIT, 230′ LIT  80′ HIT, 190′ LIT

I think that three days with no training is bound to have a negative effect.  My weight is up.  Hopefully, I can do some good cross training this week and keep some discipline in my food and drink intake.

Thurs: No Training, Fri: No Training, Saturday: CTC, Sunday: Yard Work

Well, you make your choices and you own them.  This week was quarterly business review week at work, and it’s a big week to prepare our status from the prior quarter and present it to executive management.  There is also a lot of activity to get ready for our earnings call.  Anyway, this quarter it meant early starts to the work day and late nights and no time for training.

Wednesday:  I was at work until around 8pm, got home around 9

Thursday:  I had meetings starting at 9, but I had to do some prep for them so I was at my desk at 7.  No time to go rowing, or even hit the gym at work.  Meetings were back to back from 9am to 7pm.

Friday:  My meetings started at 8am, and again I had prep work to do before, so I was at my desk at 7.  I had meetings most of the morning, then more prep, then a big review from 2 to about 6pm.  I got home after 7.  And I was totally exahausted.  I don;t think I had gotten more than 5 hours sleep any night of the week so far.  I decided there was no way I could get up early to row out at Quinsig.  I conked out around 11, and slept until around 9am.  It was bliss!

Saturday:  I had a another busy day.  We had our work family day at an amusement park about an hour away from home and I needed to do some shopping for a trip to China and Japan.  But I desperately wanted to get some training in.  I decided to do the July CTC as soon as I got out of bed.

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It’s always a guessing game to do these sessions when I am not erging regularly.  This looked a lot like a Wolverine L2 session, like the waterfall (3K/2.5K/2K), and I can usually hold about a <1:50 pace for sessions like that, so I thought I would go for that as my pace.

I warmed up with rate ladder 18/20/22/24/26 over the planned 2813m distance, and then paddled a bit in the 4 minute rest.  I let the flywheel completely stop so my first rep of the CTC would be legal.

I took off at my 1:50 pace and very soon realized that it was way too aggressive.  I started to bleed off speed about half way through the rep and by the time I finished, I had let the average pace creep up to 1:51.

I knew even that was too spicy and I set out on rep #2 targeting 1:52.  Again, it was too much for me and I slowed in the middle.

The last rep, I figured i was toast.  I started off trying to hold the 1:52.6 from the last rep, but it was not working out very well.  I saw lots of 1:55s and some 1:56s in the middle, but with a bit less than 2K to go, I found a bit of energy (and pride) and started to bear down.  The split came back in line and I was seeing 1:54s and 1:53s.  Then I started seeing 1:52s.  With 1000m left, I was counting down strokes.  My avg pace was still above 1:54, but I was seeing it come down.  As Rocket Roy describes it, the “red mist” descended and I sudenly thought I might be able to equal my previous rep.  Turns out I missed it 3 tenths of a second.  I dug my way out of a really deep hole.

I did a quick cool down and then had some breakfast.

2016-07-23 10.42.06.jpg


The rest of the day was a blur.  Shopping, off to the picnic, back from the picnic, laundry and packing.

Sunday:  I had to leave for the airport around 11am, and I really needed to get some yard work done before I took off.  There were trees to be pruned, and a bunch of shrubs and hedges that needed trimming.  I was hoping to dispatch it quickly and do an hour on the erg, but it took nearly 3 hours and I finished with barely enough time for a shower before I had to head off to the airport.

Now I am in a plane somewhere over canada, near mackenzie bay.  I am on my way to Shanghai for some customer meetings on tuesday.  Wednesday, I fly over to our plant in Kumamoto Japan.  Our building was essentially destroyed by the recent earthquakes and the folks we have working for us there have been doing an amazing job improvising, finding space, and supporting our local customers.  I’m visiting to see the damage and review our reconstruction plans.  I fly home during the day on Friday.

In other words.  More cross training this week.


Monday: No Training, Tuesday: 4 x 2800 / 4′ rest

Weather: Sunny.  Beautiful.  Building wind from the WNW.  I launched at 6:30, and started the first interval about 10 minutes later.  I was back on the dock at 8:00.  So you can see the wind increasing in the chart below.

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  • 4 x 2800
  • 4′ rest
  • rate: 24-26
  • pace: <2:20
  • HR: No cap, objective is to maximize time in TR
  • Technique:  early and clean finishes, good reach at the catch.

This was a good workout.

The reason that this workout is 2800m intervals is because that is how much river I have to row on.  I row out of a place called Boating in Boston, at the bottom of this map.

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I row across the lagoon, which is chock full of weeds, then around a reasonably tight corner.  Then there is about 300m of straight water.  This is good for a few power strokes and warmup type drills.  Then a sharp turn into “the cut”.  That is a short cut that cuts out a big, long, annoying oxbow in the river.  Coming out of the cut, there is about 100m of weedy channel to get to a little island on the south side of the river.  That island is the start point of the “good rowing” and the start of the 2800m interval.  This map shows the course of the rowable water.

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Starting at the island, you row down a narrow channel for about 100m, and then things open up on both sides.  On the south/east side, there is a long cove which is good rowing early in the season,  but gets all weedy.  On the north/west side, there is a broad area of wetlands.  This is a nice broad channel.

About 600m from the start you pass between a point on the east side and little island on the west side.  There is a sunken log off the point that I mashed a fin on two seasons ago.  I tend to give it a wide berth.

After you pass this point, you turn a bit to take the ideal line through the s-curve.  The traffic pattern on the river is defined as downriver on the south/east side and up river on the north/west side.  But in the curve, on a high intensity workout, I will go for the best line and keep a sharp eye out for boats.  The river is usually pretty deserted.  The perfect line for the curve is to cut the south shore close going in, then turn as little as possible to get past the north corner, then gradually get back to the east side coming out of the turn.  The turn is tight enough to cost me me about 5 seconds on pace in the two turns.

Coming out the turn, there is beautiful stretch in front of an old watch works.  It has been converted to condos and offices, but it still looks like a classic New England factory.  There is about 600m of nearly straight rowing before you need to think about the bridge.

The bridge.  What can I say about the bridge.  It’s very pretty, but a challenge for rowers.  Here is a view of it from the downstream side on the north/west bank of the river.  The nearest arch is unusable because it is too shallow.  The middle arch is for going uyp river.  The far arch is for downstream traffic.  Each arch is about twice as wide as the span of a sculling boats oars, and the bridge carries two lanes of traffic and two sidewalks, so it’s about two boat lengths through.


The challenge is the approach.  Coming downstream (at the bottom of the next photo), you need to cut close to the dock, and turn toward the east bank for a few strokes.  Then you need to cut back to line yourself up with the center of the arch since the road is not at right angles to the river.  Then coming out of the bridge, you should steer a bit back to the east bank to be in the right traffic lane.  You can see I didn’t do a good job with that today.

Coming upstream, you can’t just aim at the middle arch because the is a outflow pipe which has made a little sand bar that juts out a bit, so you need to aim at the downstream arch, then turn to the middle, then turn back to get the right angle through the arch.  Then there is a bit more adjustment to get out to the upstream lane.

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All of this is actually easier than it sounds, but it is a challenge to do it right after 2200m of hard rowing.  It’s even trickier at 30spm.

After the bridge is about 600m in a long arc to the Moody Street Dam.  This is straightforward but tends to have the worst wind for some reason.

Anyway, not sure why I felt the need to do that, but I did.  Back to the workout.

The first rep was magic,  I was flying.  I was rowing well and moving fast.  If only it was always like that.  2:11.8 pace over 2800m including all the shananigans.

After I finished it.  I had an “Oh dear” moment, realizing that I had 3 more to do.  I decided to hold myself back a bit from then on.  I aimed at keeping the pace on the right side of 2:20.  That worked out fine.  The second interval was trouble free.  2:18.4 pace.

OK, half done.  Time to go again.  I was tired but ready to give it a go.  No problems to report.  2:17.6, with a little bit of help from the WNW breeze.

After three I was smoked.  And the breeze seemed to be building. I gave myself permission to suck.  And at first I really did.  The head wind was not debilitating, but it sure slowed me down across the basin at the start, then it was more of a cross wind, until the S-turn, when I was back into the teeth of it.  I was lots of 2:25s and higher in the worst of it.  Then when I got back to about the point with the sunken log, I started to push a lot harder,  I got a little faster and my level of effort went a lot higher.  I charged back up the channel at about 2:10 pace and declared victory.  2:20.3 pace for the last interval, fair enough with the head wind and tired legs.

Here’s the data from the Speedcoach

01536_|_2801_|_12:18_|_2:11.8_|_309___|_25.1_|_09.1_|_163___|_light tail wind
04482_|_2798_|_12:54_|_2:18.4_|_327___|_25.3_|_08.6_|_169___|_light head
07509_|_2784_|_12:46_|_2:17.6_|_317___|_24.8_|_08.8_|_169___|_light tail
10429_|_2788_|_13:02_|_2:20.3_|_325___|_24.9_|_08.6_|_171___|_stronger head
13217_|_1204_|_08:06_|_3:21.6_|_150___|_18.5_|_08.0_|_135___|_cool down

11171_|_51:01_|_2:17.0_|_1278___|_25.1_|_08.7_|_168___|_Main set
00510_|_05:57_|_5:49.7_|_071___|_11.9_|_07.2_|_129___|_rest meters
01204_|_08:06_|_3:21.6_|_150___|_18.5_|_08.0_|_135___|_cool down

Tomorrow: Completely the same and totally different.  Again 4 x 2800, but with 1′ rests, at r20 and with a HR cap at 150.  Steady State endurance training.

Sunday: 15K of Technique

Well, more like 13K of technique and 2K of slogging through nasty chop.

Weather:  Weird.  It started out just fine.  Little or no wind.  Overcast.  About 70F and more humid than yesterday, about 80% RH.  We launched at about 6:45 and the weather stayed that way until about 8am.  Just when we had hit the south end of the lake. We turned around and all of the sudden there was a pretty considerable headwind from the North.  It was a slog up to the narrows, and it got worse from there.  The chop on the north side of the narrows was awful, and it made me feel like all the good drill work that I had been doing had gone to waste.

Don’t take my word for it.  Take a look at the plot from Weather Underground.

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Anyway, back to the rowing.

Today’s Plan:

  • 2K of rowing with a bungee.  Trying to work on relaxing my arms and shoulders through the drive and getting my arms out straight.  Work on sequencing the drive better and holding a forward position through the leg drive.
  • (500m of SBR, 500m of alternating SBR and feathered, 500m of feathered) repeated over and over again.  Working on trying to maintain the same back position at the finish when feathered of square.  Try to correct my habit of laying back too much.  Also try to get way out at the catch and challenge my balance at the catch.

We launched and headed north.  I had a bungee around the boat about where the footplate was.  I was working on getting my arms straight and my shoulders relaxed.  At first, I was really hammering the catch and opening up my back too early.  I was also rowing at a very low rate.  As I continued up lake, I was doing better getting to full compression, easing into the drive, and holding my body forward longer.  This was a much smoother stroke and my speed and rate both picked up.  Very satisfying at the end seeing the water flying everywhere off of the bungee.

At the north end of the lake, I had a quick drink and took off the bungee.  Then I started my 500s with my blades square.  My balance was pretty good and I was able to get out to full compression reasonably well.  I was having some trouble keeping my finishes clean.  On about 1/3 of the strokes, I could feel myself getting hung up as I extracted the oars.  My best strokes, the finish was much smoother, essentially maintaining the pace of the stroke at the finish and just lifting the blades clear of the water.  On the bad strokes, I would reach the end of the stroke with the blades still buried and I could feel the pressure on  the blades from the boat velocity.  It got a bit better as I continued to work on it.

The alternating SBR and feathered is a great drill (in my opinion anyway).  I have noticed that I tend to layback too much, especially as I get tired and leave the oars in the water too long.  Then I feather and extract the oars in one movement.  By doing alternating strokes, I can try to match the exact body position at the finish for both SBR and feathered.  An early finish on SBR leads to a smooth extraction, going late leads to a hang up.  The feeling is much more pronounced than when rowing feathered and the turn of the oar handle avoids the hangup.  The alternating strokes reinforces the right moment in the drive to push the handles down.

It’s always a relief to do the 500m of feathered rowing, but also a chance to really try to reinforce the body position that I was holding at the finish.  I caught myself with too much layback a bunch of times, but the good thing was that I really noticed it and corrected it.

The 500m chunks are a good length because it’s enough time to really work on stuff, but not so long that you lose concentration.

I did about 11K of this drill, so maybe 7 complete sets or so.  the last couple sets were into the newly developed head wind.  I could really feel it pushing back on square blades.  I bailed out on the drill at the narrows because the water was too nasty to row n the square productively.  I slogged along until I was nearly at the bridge and then pumped up the rate a couple notches and tried to finish with a bit more effort.

Workout Summary - media/20160717-165231-2016-07-17-0647o.csv

Workout Details

Tomorrow:  Probably a rest day.  I am picking my wife up at the airport at 11:30pm.  I doubt I’ll want to get up at 5am after going to bed around 1am.

Week #1: Plan vs Actual

Date Day Workout Type mode Planned Workout Actual
Meso Cycle #1 – Endurance
7/11/16 Mon Rest  rest 40′ UT2 cross training
7/12/16 Tue Hard Distance erg 60′ @ 1:57 60′ Threshold on treadmill
7/13/16 Wed Steady State erg 4 x 20′ / 1′ (hr cap at 150) 80′ UT2 on elliptical, bike, treadmill
7/14/16 Thu Hard Distance erg 60′ @ 1:57 rest day
7/15/16 Fri Technique UT2/UT1 otw Bungee Row first half, Steady state r20 second half 3×20′ UT2/UT1 on erg
7/16/16 Sat Hard Distance otw 2 x 5.5K r26  1×5.5k hard distance, plus 60′ LIT
7/17/16 Sun Technique UT2/UT1 otw Square Blades / Slow Roll Up / r20 2 minutes each, repeated  90′ OTW Technique work
Summary  240′ LIT SS

110′ Threshold distance work

330′ LIT SS

85′ Threshold

Happy enough with that.  Priority is on lots of SS minutes now.

Weight Loss

I weighed myself this morning for the first time in many months.  As I suspected, I’m way to heavy.  205 pounds.  Time to do something about it.  No crazy diets, just trying to monitor my weight and moderate how much I am eating.  I’ll weigh myself daily and keep updating this post with where I am.  My goal is to be at 190 for my first head race in September.

  • July 16: 205
  • July 17: 204
  • July 18: 204 (rest day)
  • July 19: 206
  • July 20: 204
  • July 21:  204
  • July 22: 206
  • July 23: 202 (post workout)
  • July 24: 207 (arghh)
  • Trip to Asia
  • Aug 2: 202
  • Aug 3: 202