Tuesday: 3 x 20′ (MP,10KP,HMP)

Weather: Overcast, cool, humid.  Light wind, headwind going upstream.

Felt very low energy in the morning.  Got up anyway.


M2 3 x 20′ / 2′ MP, 10KP, HMP 90.0% (167)

Power targets:

  • MP: 158-171
  • HMP: 171-184
  • 10KP: 184-197

So, I had two different thoughts in my head.  One was the memory of the awesome workout I did on Saturday where I pegged the watts above the top end of the band.  The other was the empty legs feeling from the aborted workout Monday night.

For the first interval, aggressive Greg was dominant.  I rowed it at an average power of 176W (including the s-turn, but not the spin).  Or 6 watts above the top end of the power band.

Same thing in the second interval.  I rowed the first five and a half minutes at 196W watts avg, spun the boat, rowed another 3 minutes at about the same power, hit the HR cap, tried to slow down, and then bailed on the interval. I rowed the rest of it out at sub marathon power.

Chastened, I rowed the final interval smack in the middle of the power band, but it was massively hard to do.

I annotated the summary plot with the turns, rests and failures.

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The pie charts show elevated HR, and overly ambitious power.

There should be no 2kp and very little 5kp, basically just from starboard turning strokes.  There should be around 20 minutes of 10kp, 20 minutes of hmp, and 20 minutes of MP.  And then the balance sub-MP, about 15 minutes.  Lousy pace discipline.

I’m finding it hard to row to a target power.  It seems to bounce around a lot from stroke to stroke.  Perhaps that is an indication that my rowing is inconsistent. Perhaps, it is a characteristic of the measurement method.  I wonder if there is a way to have the speed coach show a running avg of the power over a few strokes?

Alternatively, I could try to row to a specific work per stroke and stroke rate.  That seems to be a bit let noisy on the display.

Workout Summary - media/20170530-172024-Greg Smith 20170530 0643amo.csv
Workout Details
01|02771|13:13.8|02:23.2|179.0|20.5|149.4|156.0|10.2 -1st mp
02|01431|07:04.8|02:28.4|172.5|20.3|155.2|159.0|10.0 -1st mp
03|01162|05:31.8|02:22.8|194.5|23.6|160.2|168.0|08.9 -2nd 10kp
04|00607|02:52.2|02:21.9|192.2|24.3|161.6|167.0|08.7 -2nd 10kp
05|00262|01:15.0|02:23.1|174.3|23.3|154.5|157.0|09.0 -2nd ease up
06|01664|08:13.2|02:28.2|154.9|19.2|147.5|160.0|10.6 -2nd post bail
07|03927|19:39.0|02:30.1|176.1|22.8|162.0|171.0|08.8 -3rd

I was wondering what the heck was wrong.  Why was I so tired.  I decided to do an experiment.  My HR monitor didn’t work on my long row on Sunday.  But, my guess was that I averaged about 150 for the 2 active hours of the row.  I manually doctors the CSV file for the row to insert 150 for the active part of the row and reimported it to Stravistix.  Turns out that a 2 hour workout at 150bpm is a TRIMP of 256.  It pushed me into overload.

Screen Shot 2017-05-31 at 11.51.09 AM

Then my aborted session and the Tuesday session kept me right on that line.  I’m not sure that this is exactly right, but I do think that rest will do me more good than working out right now, so I decided to sleep instead of rowing on Wednesday morning.

In the Eddie Fletcher Marathon Plan, he says that you may need extra rest days and you should not hesitate to take them.  Despite the fact that it I still have trouble believing that I can make more progress by doing nothing than by doing something, I should let the evidence and data guide my actions.  The important thing to me right now is to be able to do quality sessions, and especially to be ready and eager for the open water long rows that I do about once a week.  Those are the pinnacle sessions.

Wednesday: Rest Day


On the water

M1 4 x 15′ / 4′ 6′ @ 5KP, 9′ @ MP 92.5% (172)

Power Targets:

  • 5KP: 184-197
  • MP: 158-171

Monday: I shoulda taken a rest day

I was wiped out all day after my 20k adventure.  (Maybe I pushed a bit harder than I thought).  Monday was a holiday, but the weather was terrible, so my wife and I decided to head back a bit early.  Apparently everyone on Cape Cod decided to do the same thing because we were in a massive traffic jam and it took us over 4 hours to get hour (vs the normal 2 hours).

Once we were home, I decided to do the  next M2 session.

M2 3 x 20′ / 2′ MP, 10KP, HMP 90.0% (167)

I was doing this on the dynamic (and I am beginning to really dislike the machine).  I felt awful.  Just rowing the first 30 minutes at marathon pace was torture.  My HR didn’t climb that much but my RPE was through the roof.  I decided to bail after the first 20 minutes.

myimage (19)

Part of the problem was that I didn’t respect the fact that I get more watts on the static than I do on the dynamic, but really, the big issue was that I was just spent.


Sunday: The Maiden Voyage of Kanangra

Weather:  I launched right around 8am.  There was a little wind that was dying down.

Screen Shot 2017-05-30 at 11.41.25 AM

The more salient bit of data was the tides.  We are in a period of time called the King Tides.  These occur a few times a year when the moon is at perigee and also aligned with the sun (new moon of full moon).  If they happen around January 2nd, they are even bigger because the earth is at perihelion.  These tides were pretty damn big.

Here’s a view of the Lieutenant Island Tide calendar.

Screen Shot 2017-05-30 at 11.48.47 AM.png

The squiggle is the tide height.  The numbers above each peak is the time and height of the high tide.  The highest tide of the month was very early Saturday morning (12:46AM May 27th) and was a 13.0 tide.

Aside:  The faint line near the high tide points is the tide height where the water comes over the road to the island.  When these tides are very high, you are cut off for about 4 hours around high tide.

The low tides are correspondingly low.  I launch from a beach that has the best low tide access, but this particular low tide ended up causing me a comic 30 minutes of trying to find deep enough water to row in.

Here it is speeded up buy a factor of 30 to reduce the boredom factor.

Certainly an inauspicious was to start.

Once I got through that, I was able to really try out the new boat.  Here’s my course.

Screen Shot 2017-05-30 at 11.59.09 AM.png

This chart was made with some a navigation.  A program called GPSNavX which supports plotting course directly on navigation charts.  The GPS coordinates come from the speedcoach, exported to CSV using NK Link, then uploaded to rowsandall, then exported as TCX, then convert to GPX by TCXConverter, then loaded into GPSNavX.  Simple 😉

This part was “on foot”


The row up to Wellfleet was good fun.  There was some light wind was from the SSW, so the chop could build up more as I got further north.  The boat handles quartering waves very well and surfing directly downwind is rock solid and good fun.

I noticed that there were patches of floating reeds all over the place.  These float out of the salt marshes during very high tides.  They had the effect of turning this outing into something like a random bungee row.  I would be rowing along, pass through an area with some reeds and eventually notice that it was harder to keep the pace.  Then, I would stop, back the boat down, wiggle it a bit from side to side and see a big clump of reeds float up from the fin.

I turned and headed out to sea.  The wind basically stopped and there was very little chop.  I just tried to set a nice rhythm and take long easy strokes.  My HR monitor decided early in the row that it didn’t want to cooperate, so I didn’t have that feedback.  My guess is that most of the row was low UT1.

I passed over Smalley Bar, and I noticed the water got appreciably lighter as it got shallower.  At the shallowest, I could see the features on the bottom, but at least I didn’t need to get out and walk.

After that I noticed that my pace was getting mighty slow.  It eventually dawned on me that the tide had turned and was now coming in.  On the chart, you can see that I was in the deepest part of the channel for a while.

I got to Red Nun “6”, and decided to do another 2K to the south.  That would put me at about 20km for the whole outing.   The row to Green Can “5” was very slow because of the tide and I could see it flowing past.

Rowing into the tide, I was doing around a 3:30 pace.  After I turned, with the same effort, I was doing around 2:20.  I calculated out the current.


Here’s the pace and rate for the outing. The first 1000m were paddling, dragging and walking the boat.

Here’s a quick video showing a bit of the downwind with the waves, then me trying to row past the green buoy against the tide, and finally showing the process of getting the reeds off the fin.

Despite the initial challenges, I declare the voyage a success.  The boat is amazing.  It’s noticeably lighter to carry and much stiffer to row.  I can’t say much about how it does in bigger waves, but I suspect it will do better than the Alden.

Anybody want a “slightly used” Alden Star?

Saturday: 4 x 15 / 4′ (6’@5kp, 9’@mp)

We got to bed late on Friday night, and I was feeling lazy on Saturday morning, so I postponed my maiden voyage of Kanangra to Sunday.  The weather was going to be better as well.  Instead, I went out to the lumber yard to get wood to build a proper boat rack, and then I built a proper boat rack.

2017-05-27 13.50.26

Space for two coastal boats.  The old broken Alden Star on top and the New Maas Aero on the bottom.  I think I might swap that next weekend.  Getting the boat off the bottom rack is a bit of a tricky maneuver.

Anyway, by about 6pm, I was ready for an erg session.  Another session from the Marathon Plan.

M1 4 x 15′ / 4′ 6′ @ 5KP, 9′ @ MP 92.5% (172)

So, for target powers, I wanted to kick it up a notch.  Last week I did this with 9′ at 5kp and  6′ at mp, and this would obviously be easier at the same pace.  That session was 235W and 201W.  So today, I decided to aim at 250W and 203W.

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So, I did it and it was hard!

Workout Summary - media/Import_29819180.csv
Workout Details

Pleased with the steadiness of this effort, even when it got hard.



Today is a rest day, but an eventful one.

Last weekend’s experience breaking the backstay on my Alden Star convinced me that I would need a more reliable boat if I was going to continue to do coastal rowing.  After the backstay broke, I suddenly felt very far away from land, and the boat felt very small.  If the wind had been much stronger, I doubt that I would have been able to paddle with enough pressure to get home.  Even as it was, I basically destroyed the bulkhead that the rigger attached to because of the flexure.

So, armed with the arguments about safety, I began the project to convince my wife that I needed a new boat.  It was not a difficult project.

Me:  Honey, I’d like to buy a new boat.

Her:  Would it make you happy.

Me:  Oh, yes.

Her:  Then you should.

With that endorsement in place, I put my plan into action.  I emailed Dana at Mystic River Boathouse.  I told him that I wanted to buy an Maas boat, either a Maas 24 or an Aero.  We went back and forth a little bit.  The Aero is shorter and a bit wider so it slower, but it handles rough water a bit better.  Based on the conditions that I have been seeing in Wellfleet, I decided that a rough water handling was the most important factor.

Typically, in open water events, the 24s and the Aeros are in separate event classes.  For example in last year’s blackburn, there were 11 in the “Touring Class” and 8 in the “Racing Class”.  The times on the course were not that dissimilar.

I inquired if Dana had an Aeros available on hand.  He did…Specifically he had the Maas Aero Carbon, with self bailer.  I asked him if I could come pick it up on Friday.  He seemed delighted by the prospect.

So, this morning, I drove down to Mystic, Connecticut to go get my new boat.  I was so excited, I showed up an hour early.  Dana went through the features of the boat, then I loaded it up and came home.

Which leads me to the title of this post.  This new boat will be christened with the name “Kanangra”.  The name is an Australian Aborigine term, which according to my late father means Spiritual Resting Place.  It is also the name of a National Park in Australia (Kanangra Boyd National Park) where my Dad went bushwalking while he was in High School and college.


When I was a kid, I sailed every weekend with my Dad on his Ensign, a 22 foot Pearson boat.  My Dad spent a while trying to figure out the right name for his boat, and ultimately came up with Kanangra.  It was a lightbulb moment.  As soon as he thought of it, he knew it was perfect.  He owned two other boats after the Ensign, and the Kanangra name was passed along to each.

Now there will be a Kanangra on the waters of Massachusetts Bay once again.


2 x 45’/4’30” (sub-mp)

Weather:  55F, light rain, wind started about 2-5mph from the south and building to 5-10mph from the east by the time I finished.


M3 2 x 45′ / 4’30” MP or slower 80.0% (149)

Target power was ~160W, more important was the HR cap at 149.

I felt very tired this morning.  The long and hard sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday have taken their toll.  The marathon plan calls for 2 rest days a week, and I think you really need them.  It’s a ton of volume in the heavy weeks.

So, I had limited aspirations in terms of how well or fast I would row.  It was a good thing.  My rowing was sloppy and slow.  There was a bit of chop, but that did not entirely explain why my effective length was a good 5 degrees shorter today than yesterday.

In the end, between my inability to generate power, and the depressingly slow splits on the screen, I pushed a little bit beyond the HR limit.  Not enough to ruin the training effect of the session, but I wish I could be more mature about it.

Doing 45 minute intervals involved a lot of turns.  2 in the first one and 3 in the second one.  There was also a lot of twisty turny stuff at the beginning of the first and the end of the last interval.  I tried to make the turns as quick as possible.  I managed to keep all of them below a minute, except for the first one.  I need to spend a little extra time to do some “masculine rearrangement”.  Which turned out to be a bit of a challenge to do with one hand, in a sitting position.  (Sorry, TMI, I know)

myimage (10)

Workout Summary - media/20170525-152322-SpdCoach 2182533 20170525 0634amo.csv
Workout Details
01|03906|19:55.2|02:33.0|163.7|18.2|139.0|148.0|10.8 - #1
02|02833|14:27.0|02:33.0|157.2|18.2|145.9|156.0|10.8 - #1
03|01829|09:30.0|02:35.8|154.9|18.2|148.8|155.0|10.6 - #1
04|00427|02:13.8|02:36.7|167.6|18.2|137.4|149.0|10.5 - #2
05|02871|14:48.0|02:34.6|149.4|18.0|149.5|154.0|10.7 - #2
06|02009|10:31.8|02:37.3|152.0|18.7|150.7|156.0|10.2 - #2
07|03137|16:31.1|02:38.0|141.7|18.3|153.3|162.0|10.4 - #2

The summary here include all the weaker turning strokes.  When I prune strokes with a WPS below 400J, the session avg was 161W, right on target.

The usual collection of metrics.

You can see me lightening up in terms of power and WPS in the second interval as I tried to stick to the cap.  Finish and wash were much worse today than at 22 and 22 yesterday.  I think part of that was rowing at 18 spm.  Part of it was being really tired.

You can get a better idea of how bad my form was today by comparing it to other sessions.

  • stroke rate, lower than recent sessions.
  • Drive length a little bit shorter
  • Eff Drive Length shorter
  • Work per stroke, shockingly consistent
  • Finish.  Terrible
  • Wash: a smidge worse
  • Catch:  consistent
  • Slip: slightly worse (I suspect both slip and wash are strongly related to stroke rate)

Tomorrow:  rest day (I need it)  And I go pick up my new Maas Aero so I can try it out over the long weekend!

Side Note:  Stravistix seems to agree that it’s time for a rest day!  But on the plus, my fitness is definitely going in the right direction.

Screen Shot 2017-05-25 at 3.48.10 PM.png


Wednesday: 3×30’/3′ (mp,10kp,mp) – A whole lotta rowing

Weather:  Overcast, 55F, no wind, humid (The Dew Point was 54F!).  Nearly perfect for rowing.


M2 3 x 30′ / 3′ MP, 10KP, MP 90.0% (167)

OTW Power Targets:

  • MP: 155 to 165W
  • 10KP: 180W to 190W

The main problem of this session is doing 30 minute intervals on a stretch of river that is about 15 minutes long.  Each of the intervals had one or two turns in it.  I tried to do these turns as quickly as I could.  I was generally back to full pressure strokes within 40-50 seconds of my last stroke in the other direction.  And the turn itself was reasonably aerobic (or stressful), so my HR stayed high through it.  I tried to extend each of the 30 minute intervals to account for the time lost in the turns, but it seems I shaved a little time off of each of them, based on the collected data.

It was basically 3 complete laps of the river.

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 1.31.16 PM.png

The first interval took me down to the damn and most of the way back.  I paddled the 3 minute rest upstream and then turned about 500m from the start.

The second interval took me downstream.  This interval was at higher stroke rate (22) and higher power.  I turned at about 12 minutes, then rowed upstream for 14 minutes, turned again and finished the last 5 minutes or so going downstream again.  I finished in the middle of the s-turn.  I doubled back to before the s-turn during the rest and spun to go back downstream.  The turns were hard to pull off when I was going faster and breathing harder.

The third interval took me down to the dam in about 9 minutes.  Then I turned and rowed all the way back up past the boat house for another 20 minutes.

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Workout Summary - media/20170524-145648-SpdCoach 2182533 20170524 0639amo.csv
Workout Details

I think that I should decrease my OTW slack factor.  Right now I have it at 15% and in today’s session, I was consistently above the band.  The middle interval was 100% above 10kp, evenly split between 5kp and 2kp.  The two mp intervals were similarly above the target zone.  I think that today’s power should be in the middle of the zones.

Todays powers:

  • 10kp : 191.9, 188.6,206.5 –> 192.8W (weighted avg)
  • mp : 177,167.9,171.1,169.4 –> 171.7W (weighted avg)

Changing my slack to 13% brings the 10kp roughly in line.  I am still overachieving a bit on mp.

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 1.55.35 PM

The power pie chart was generated with the 13% slack number.

Here’s a collection of stroke metric plots.

  • Power is noisy but pretty consistent through the session.  Pace is all over the place.
  • Drive Length and Effective length is consistent over time and stroke rate

And here are box plot of my sessions so far this spring.  I excluded all open water and technique sessions.  The main thing that jumps out at me is how little change over time I have seen.

Tomorrow:  On the water.  Another long session.  This one a bit easier.

M3 2 x 45′ / 4’30” MP or slower 80.0% (149)


Power target: 160W to 170W.

Tuesday: 4 x 15’/4′ (9’@5kp,6’@mp)

Monday:  I felt very tired Sunday night and I decided that I would benefit from a rest day, so I took on.  I slept in instead.

Tuesday:  I was on my way to row.  The sky was grey and it was cool and drizzly.  I have gotten into the habit of stopping at a highway rest stop that is near where I launch to go to the bathroom.  Before doing this routinely, I have had a number of sessions ruined by a urgent need to go to the bathroom.  This morning was one of those mornings, I could just tell.  I made an executive decision.  I drove right past the boathouse and continued on to work.  I would do the session on the erg instead in the fitness center at work.

This worked out just fine.  I was able to go to the bathroom and  then exercise with a clear conscience (and empty…).

The plan

  • 4 – 15 minute intervals with 4 minute rests
  • Each interval
    • 9 minutes at 5k power (225 to 240W)
    • 6 minutes at marathon power (180-195W)
  • Heart rate limit at 172

It was another great workout.  These rest days are kind of magic!

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Compare this workout to the same one done at the end of January.  The HR response today was crazy low.  The first chart is power and you can see I used a higher Marathon Power, and even pushed the 5k power in the last rep.

Tomorrow is a monster session.

M2 3 x 30′ / 3′ MP, 10KP, MP 90.0% (167)

Hopefully, I can do this one on the water.

  • Power Targets:  MP -> 155 to 165W, 10KP –> 180 to 190W
  • Adaptations.  The first 30 minutes I will start right off the dock and it will take me down to the dam and halfway back to the start.  Then I will paddle the rest of the way to the start of the good rowing section, then I will do down and back.  Then a 3 minute paddle downstream, then back to the dam and back home.  About 2 hours on the water.


15km around Wellfleet Harbor

The weather was much nicer on Sunday morning.  I headed out around 8:30 and launched just before nine.

Screen Shot 2017-05-23 at 9.55.54 AM

The wind was from the ESE at 10-12mph with gusts to 15mph.  This was enough to kick up seas around 1 foot once I was out toward the further out part of the row.

I was following the same “long row” course that I defined a couple of weeks ago.

Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 9.27.40 PM

I didn’t have enough time to do the whole course, so I cut off the 4.9km out and back.  This turned out to be a wise move for a couple of reasons.  First, it was getting pretty bumpy and I was a bit concerned about rowing into the wind and waves for 7km.  Second, my boat broke when I was still about 3km away from my launching point.

Here is a video of the fateful event.  The breakage occurs at 50 second in.


Prior to that I was having some fun in the waves.  Here is a video of the last couple of minutes heading out to Billingsgate Island.  The waves were getting a bit bigger and I was surfing down some of them.  Then I turn and head back toward home.  It was about 20 minutes later when I broke the backstay.

Here’s my overall course, from Google Earth.

Screen Shot 2017-05-23 at 2.09.48 PM.png

Screen Shot 2017-05-23 at 2.13.18 PM

I need to recheck the course.  It looks like the initial 1.2km is wrong and the heading for the leg down to billingsgate Island is a bit off too.  I was glad to see that my lines were much straighter from paying closer attention to the course.  The stay parted just a little bit north of the buoy nearest the “0.5km/20deg” label.

I was also happy with the HR profile of this row.  I wanted to try to maintain this as a UT2 row, because I will need to stick to that kind of a pace for a 3 to 4 hour event.  In the summary plot you can see that I held the same heart rate both upwind and downwind.  The pace was good, bnetween 2:40 and 3:00/500 until I turned into the wind and waves.  Then it was a lot slower, as you can see in the next plot.  Then around 1:17, the boat broke and I was limited to a slow paddle.

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So, I had a blast during this row.  I am bummed out about the boat, but to be honest, I was worrying that it wouldn’t be seaworthy for the race, given the kinds of conditions that can occur.  I was also feeling quite vulnerable as I got into bigger seas far away from land.  I bought the boat cheaply to find out if I like coastal rowing.  I have decided that I really do.  So, I think I will buy a proper boat that I can trust.