80′ L4

In an episode of a podcast called “browshowpodcast” (which is really quite good and available on soundcloud), they talk about the difference between beginning of the week watts and end of the week watts.  I feel like I experienced that today.

I did the exact same session as I did on last Wednesday in Shanghai and it felt a whole lot harder.  Today’s session was the third day in a row of training and yesterday’s L2 workout was pretty intense.  I also did the session on 18 hours of rest.

But anyway, I did the session and I’m glad.

The plan was the same.

  • 4 x 20′ / 1′ rest
  • rate / power
    • 16 / 155
    • 18 / 175
    • 20 / 195
    • 22 / 215
  • rate plan


The results…

Target power for the 20′ sections was 165W and 173W.  Stroke rates were right on.  But the HR was a lot higher.


Here are the HR pie charts for today’s and last week’s session.  The good news is that I spent longer in sub-UT2.  The bad news is that I spent longer in AT and TR.

Gotta say, I am enjoying getting back to basics on this training.

Tomorrow:  L3.  10K.  According to the plan, an L# should be done at about 85% to 90% of 2K velocity.  I am working off of paces for a 7:00 2K, so a 1:45 pace.  90% of that is a 1:56.6.  85% of that is a 2:03.5.  I think I will aim at a target pace of 1:57 and see how it goes.

Walking around Macau & 5 x 1500 / 5′ rest

Sunday, 30 July:

Most of the morning, I had work to do.  Getting ready for a big presentation that is coming up later in August.  Around 1 in the afternoon, I got bored and decided to go explore Macau.

There are two main parts of Macau.  My hotel is in Cotai, which is on the southern island and has been developed quite recently.  Cotai is basically Las Vegas, all hotels, casinos, and glitzy shopping malls.  The other part, across a wide a shallow waterway is Macau proper.  Today, I took a cab to the Ma Temple and walked through a lot of the old city.


The streets were pretty confusing, but my path was something like this.


There were some really old churches, and Temples.  It was also incredibly crowded.  It was also very hot.  I was embarrassingly sweaty.  Here are a few pictures from my walk.


By the time I had made it through the Camoes Garden, I was done.  I wander down to the main road and flagged down a cab back to the hotel.  I peeled off my sweaty clothes and took a shower.

A couple hours later, I was ready to hit the gym.

The plan was a 5 x 1500 / 5′ rest.  Target pace 1:55, with a faster last.

I warmed up with a 1500.  I rowed at about a 2:05 pace, with 10 stroke bursts at 1:55 to 1:50 every 250 meters.  That felt pretty good.

Then a 5 minute paddle to contemplate what I was doing, then into the first interval.  I started a bit fast and then bled off speed to try to hit exactly 5:45 seconds, which would be a perfect 1:55 pace.  I missed by a tenth.  I also felt great.  I decided to see if I could negative split each rep.

Rep 2 – target 1:54 pace.  Again, I started hot, and around 500m, I backed off and used the predicted finish to try to nail 5:42, again, I missed by a tenth.  Still feeling pretty good, but wondering if I can keep it up through all 5 reps.

Rep 3 – target 1:53 pace.  This one I started even faster.  I backed off at 500m, but I was still having trouble holding on to the 5:39 predicted finish.  This one was a full 0.4 seconds off.  Now, things were seeming a bit more doubtful.  My HR was getting pretty high and I was starting to feel some cramping in my calves.

Rep 4 – Target 1:52 pace.  I figured the strategy of getting a bit of cushion at the beginning was working so far, so I tried to hold 1:50/1:51 through the first 500m.  Then I eased up and aimed for 5:36.  This one was within 0.2.  And I was very gassed at the end.  But only one more rep left.

Rep 5 – Target 1:51 pace.  Time to empty the tanks.  I tried to keep the avg pace below 1:50 through the first 500m and it was hovering around 1:49, but I was starting to get a bit shakey.  At this point my predicted finish was around 5:28.  I tried to ease off to 5:33, and that gave me a new lease on life.  By the time I passed 1000m, my avg pace was just a little bit above 1:50, maybe a 1:50.5.  I decided to see if I could nail a 5:30.  I did, right on the nose.  Peak HR was 183, my maxHR is about 186.

I paddled a bit to cool down and staggered to room.  Mission accomplished.



Tomorrow:  80 minute L4.

Blessed be, another erg! 60′ L4

This has turned out to be a pretty nice day.

My ride to the airport was smooth, well, except for the part where I discovered that I was short of money to pay the driver and had to run inside the terminal to an ATM to fix that little problem.

My flight from Taiwan to Macau was delightfully short and very comfortable.  Customs was a breeze, and the shuttle to the hotel was easy to find and extremely well air conditioned.  I’ve never been to Macau before.   If it wasn’t for the humidity, I would swear that I am in Las Vegas.  The hotels and casinos are nearly indistinguishable!  I am staying at the Sheraton, which boast of having 4000 rooms.  I can tell you that 4000 is a lot of rooms in a hotel.  The front desk had about 40 clerks working and the queue was quite long.  Luckily, I’m a member of the sheraton frequent guest program and they had a nice, special check in desk for us away from the hoi poloi 😉

I went to my room and this was the view from my window.


Basically what the brochure promised.  I settled in, did some work, and around 3:30 I decided to check out the fitness center.

My plan was to do an easy workout to see if my stomach would give me troubles.

It took me about 10 minutes to walk to the fitness center.  (Did I mention that it’s a large hotel?)  Lo and behold, what did I see?


Yep, a brand new Model E rowing machine complete with a PM5 monitor.  Alas, I couldn’t get the monitor to link up with my phone, but still, two ergs in one trip.  I felt extremely lucky!

I settled in for an L4 session.

  • 2 x 30′ / 2′ rest
  • 10′ sections
  • rate / power targets
    • 16 / 155
    • 18 / 175
    • 20 / 195
    • 22 / 215
  • rate plan


I was hoping that this would be a reasonably easy workout and for the most part it was.  My stomach was a bit grumbly in the middle of the first 30 minutes, but settled down.  My hr climbed a bit higher than I was hoping it would as the workout wore on, but nothing weird.  All in all, a very pleasant session.

So, the stroke rate for the first 30 minutes should have been 17.2 and the second 30′ should have been 17.6, so that’s OK.  The power target for the first 30 minutes was 167W and the second was 171W, so I was 3W ahead of m=plan.



Now it’s about 5:30 and I’m trying  to figure out what to do tonight.  I guess find some dinner and do some more work.

Tomorrow:  Sticking with the WP theme, I think I will do a very tame L2 workout.

5×1500/5′ rest

At my best I could do this workout at a 1:45 pace.  In general, I’m closer to 1:50.  Since I’m just restarting, far from home and not in the mood to try to hard, I’m going to do it at 1:55 with a faster last.



Travels and no training

My stomach has been a bit dodgy the whole time I’ve been in Asia.  I have no appetite, and if I eat, I get stomach cramps and other bad things happen.

It wasn’t too bad on Wednesday, but Thursday after my CTC attempt, I had troubles all day long.  It didn’t help that it was over 40C and humid.  Basically, I was sweating the whole day, even when I was thoroughly air conditioned.

I flew from Shanghai to Taiwan on Thursday evening and I got to my hotel around 11:30.  This was perfect timing because I had a conference call from midnight to 1:00AM.  After that, there was a bit of email to do, so I got to bed around 2:00AM.

Friday, 28 July: No training

I was getting picked up at the hotel at 8:15AM.   I decided to sleep instead of working out.  I would be getting back to the hotel around 6pm, and I figured that I could workout then.  My stomach was still bothering me.

I skipped breakfast, had a couple of meetings in the office, and then we went for lunch.  I was feeling a bit better, but maybe the sashimi and cold noodles was a bit too much, too soon.  I suffered through a long car ride, a customer meeting, and another long car ride.  I was glad to get back to the hotel, but working out definitely off the agenda.  So, I guess you’d call that a rest day.

I went to bed around 10 and slept until 5.

Saturday, 29 July:

I left the hotel at 7 for the airport.  My stomach feeling a bit queasy, but I might have been just hungry (I thought hopefully).  I’m in the lounge now, waiting for my flight to Macau.  I put my stomach to the test with some toast.  The reaction indicates that the rumbling I felt was definitely NOT hunger.  Well, maybe this will clear and I will be able to do a light workout in Macau this afternoon.  At least I hope I can do some exploring.  I’ve never been there.  I’ll be staying at the Cotai Grand Sheraton


I guess things could be a lot worse.

July CTC – Sprinting? What’s sprinting?

In an effort to get back to basics, I have been thinking about getting away from fancy training plans and just get back to doing the Wolverine Plan.  It was my mainstay for the run up to my first CRASH-Bs and it has the advantage of simplicity and flexibility.

My life is too hectic to try to implement meso-cycle based training, and while I might tailor my sessions a bit to focus on head race distance instead of 2K performance, doing the basic WP would probably get me in much better shape.

Over the past 6 months I have been trying to follow the Eddie Fletcher Marathon Training Plan.  I haven’t been very successful with it, but that is not the plan’s fault.  My lack of success is directly related to not having enough time to do the sessions, and having travel disrupt the progressions built into the plan.  Nevertheless, my endurance is much better than my sprinting ability right now.  It’s been a long time since I pulled any sessions at a pace faster than 1:50.

So, today was going to be a shock to the system.  At least I had the advantage of going in with very low expectations.

Here’s the CTC definition.

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I added a 2K warmup (with some power10s at 1:45 or faster), and a 2k cooldown at 2:15 pace.

Warmup:  The 1:45s were hard!  And I had a lot of trouble getting the rating up.  I haven’t really had my stroke rate much above 25 for the last 6 months.  It showed.


The into the main event.  I decided to target a 1:45 pace.  Mainly because I had no idea what else to do.  That proved a little too spicy in the 1000m piece, but otherwise it was a fine target.  Based on the HR data, I didn’t phone this one in.  I was working at very close to my limits.

My total time added up to 13:53.1 (1:44.1 pace), which puts me in Free Spirits Boat 3 and at 127 of 370 entries.  The last guy in Boat 2 is significantly ahead of me in the rankings (13:38.7, 1:42.3 pace), so that is not a good motivation to take another shot at this.  The other is that I probably won’t see another erg until I’m back in Boston.  Notice how horribly low the stroke rate is.  I guess sprinting is something you need to actually train for.  Who knew?

I was pretty shattered at the end of it, and I dialed up a 2k cool down.  I was originally thinking that I would do a happy ending cool down with 500m at 2:00, then 500m at 2:05, 500m at 2:10 and 500m At 2:15, but I got the feeling I might pass out or throw up during the first 20 strokes at 2:00 pace, so I backed off and just tried to hit exactly 9:00 for the whole thing.  I missed by 0.4sec.  Another thing I’m out of practice at, I guess!


Here’s the HR data for the whole workout.  That’s a whole lotta red!  Nearly 6 minutes of it.



I still felt a bit funny after the cool down.  I went to my room, and lay down for about 30 minutes.  After that I was feeling much better and was ready to start my day.

Tonight I fly to Taiwan.  I’m there for a day, then fly on Saturday to Macau.  My plan is to do a 60 minute endurance session tomorrow morning at the hotel.


Hooray, the hotel has an erg!

Monday, July 24 and Tuesday, July 25:  (No Training)

I woke up at the ungodly hour of 4:30am to get to the airportfor my 7am flight.  I was flying to Shanghai via Chicago, total flight time 17 and a half hours.  Total travel time 22 and a half hours.  With the time zone changes, I got into my hotel room at 3:00pm Tuesday afternoon.  I took a shower and went to work, then a customer dinner.

I was back in my hotel room by 9:00pm and asleep at 9:01pm (approximately)

I guess you’d call that 2 rest days, but it didn’t feel very restful.

Wednesday, July 26:

I slept pretty well considering the jet lag.  I woke up around midnight, but got right back to sleep.  I woke up at 3:00am and slept fitfully until 5am.  I was in the gym by about 5:30am and what a gym it was.


I’m staying in the Kerry Hotel in Pudong and the fitness center is incredible.  The main gym has ceilings two stories high, there is a spinning room and a group room off to the side.  They have lots of treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, weight machines, TRX, free weights, kettle bells, all in brand new condition.  And they had 2 perfectly maintained concept2 Model D rowing machines with PM4s.  I couldn’t believe my good fortune.

When I arrived there was someone using one of the rowers, and so I settled into the second one.


  • 80′ L4
  • 4×20’/1′ rest
  • rate/power
    • 16 – 150W
    • 18 – 170W
    • 20 – 190W
    • 22 – 210W
  • stroke sequence:  I decided to go for my all time favorite classic L4 sequence.  In shorthand it’s a 2x(168/172/176/180).  That means 168 strokes in the first 10 minutes, then 172, then 176, then 180.  So, here’s how that looks.


I had a blast!  The intensity was just about perfect.  The fastest bits pushed me above the top of my UT1 zone, but my HR dropped back in the slower pieces.

I really should get a USB cable so I can use ergdata with the PM3 and PM4, but for now all I get is HR data.


Tomorrow:  I think I’ll stick with the Wolverine theme and do this month’s CTC.  It will be slow, but I’d like to put a score on the board.



Off to China

Once every calendar quarter we have business reviews.  As an engineering company, we are naturally enthralled with applying acronyms to everything, so the weeks of reviews is QBR week.  I am in a position where I am the principle reviewer for a set of them, and then later in the week, I try to put together a summary review for my supervisors.  At the same time, we have to prepare for board meetings, get ready for employee communications meetings, and also actually take care of business.

Tuesday, 18 July:  No training

I managed to find a brief window to exercise on Monday, and I was hopeful that I would be able to do some OTW rowing on Tuesday morning, but that was spoiled by a bit of a stomach bug that hit me Monday night.  I was up for a lot of the night and I needed to be at work for an 8am meeting.  After that, I was in meetings until 8pm.  After that, I worked until 10pm catching up on email.  I got home around 11:00 and didn’t get to bed until nearly 1am.

Wednesday, 19 July: No training

I slept until 7am and hustled off to work for more business review meetings which started at 9am.  These went straight through to 6pm.  After that, I needed to prepare for meetings with my boss that were happening on Thursday.  I was at work until 10pm again, and got to bed after midnight

Thursday, 20 July: No Training

I was up at 6am, and right out the door.  Thursday was a bit less stressful, with only 7 hours of meetings, but 4 of those hours were with my boss, so I needed to be on my toes.  I needed to get right out the door at 6pm to get to an appointment.  The evening was filled with domestic chores because I’d be leaving right after work for Cape Cod.  Again, it wasn’t until after midnight when I got to bed.

Friday, 21 July: No Training

Again up at 6am, and quickly out the door. Meetings from 9 to 4.  At four, I bolted out the door and headed home.  I picked up my stuff and continued on to the cape, arriving at about 8pm (having picked up pizza right near my destination).  Needless to say, I was eager to get to bed early, and I slept a long time.

Saturday, 22 July: 3 x 20’/1′ on the erg.

My schedule wouldn’t work out for a coastal row today, so before breakfast, I snuck down to the basement for a easy endurance session.  I purposely kept the power really low since it had been 4 days without training.

I did the first two 20′ sections at 180w.  At the end of the second, I was seeing my HR going a bit high, so I decided to do the last 20 minutes as 2×10′ L4 rate ladders

  • 4min / r17 / 160w
  • 3min / r18 / 170w
  • 2min / r19 / 180w
  • 1min / r20 / 190W

This was very entertaining, and I didn’t much mind that my HR spiked up a bit with the rate restriction and ladders.

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Workout Summary - media/20170722-1545410o.csv
Workout Details

That was good fun.  I think I’ll do some more of that.

Sunday, 22 July:

I was planning on a coastal row, but I was stymied by weather.  It was grey and blustery when I got up, so again, I opted for an erg session.  Today’s plan

  • 80 minute L4
  • 4×20’/1′
  • Same rate vs power as Saturday
  • Keep it nice and easy.

Nice low HR, easy row.  The low rates started to bug my back by the end though.

I notched up one stroke per minute after 30 minutes to make it a bit harder.

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Workout Summary - media/20170723-1435180o.csv
Workout Details

Now I’m off to Shanghai, the first stop on a two week trip with 4 different destinations.

Monday: Totally blind 40 minutes

Well, sometimes you just have to improvise.  I went to the gym at lunch and settled in on the one erg.  I found the batteries dead in the PM5, so I replaced them.  Then I got all set up and started pulling.  The PM would not register any strokes.  I reset everything, and the PM would dutifully show me my HR, but not the pace, meters or stroke rate.

I was losing time, so I decided to just set up my iphone to show me my heart rate, and then I counted strokes per minute using the elapsed time there.  I tried to hold about 20spm and I pushed hard enough to do most of the row as UT1.  I backed off the pressure a bit as my HR passed 157.

Very unsatisfying, but at least I rowed.



Tomorrow:  Back to Fluid in Newton.  I think I will do an easy rate ladder session to get re-acclimated to the flat water rowing.  I’m not entirely sure, but I don’t think I have been in my Fluid since June 21!  :-O

Sunday: 15km towards Eastham

Our guests left around 10am, and we set about cleaning the house.  I had such a good time walking the sand flats that I dragged my wife out for a walk around noon to explore around the north end of the island.

Things we well under control around 3 in the afternoon, so I decided to go for a row.  Just about all of my rows have gone north into Wellfleet Harbor, generally to ge some shelter from the prevailing SW winds.  Today, with very light winds, I decided to go south along the Eastham shore.

It was a very enjoyable trip.  I wanted to row for about 90 minutes, which at my plodding pace in the Aero would take me about 15km.  I was just going to row south for 7.5km and turn around and come home.

Screen Shot 2017-07-16 at 5.58.54 PM

The trip was in about 6 legs.

  • From the beach to Red Buoy #10 (across the incoming tide)
  • Southeast from the red buoy to the Eastham shore (incoming tide on the starboard bow)
  • South along the shore until 7.5km (straight into the tide)
  • NNE along the shore until I got to the southern edge of Lt Island (with the tide)
  • Follow the shore around to the northwest corner of the island (not much tidal current)
  • Back to the beach, with a little bonus distance to get to 15km. (with the tide, this was fun!)

As I rowed, I kept track of distance and time.  You can see the HR climbing as I approached 5K.  I wanted to be sure I did that in less than 30 minutes.  Then I eased off a little bit, until I was getting close to 7.5km, which I wanted to get done in under 45m.

I finished that about a minute and a half ahead of the pace  plan, and took about that amount of time to drink some water and turn the boat.

Coming back with the tide, I got way ahead of the plan, but I was having fun pushing a bit harder, so I went with it.   Then when I passed the northwest corner, and saw the pace getting faster from the tide, I wanted even more, so I kicked up the rate a bit and tried to hold about a 2:15 pace.

I saw that I would be short of 15km, so I headed a bit north toward the indian head shore line.  I turned back when I reached the floats marking the corners of the commercial oyster beds.  Then I just rowed until the speedcoach clicked over 15km.

I coasted to a stop had a drink and paddle back to the beach.


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I took a quick look at the iphone versus speedcoach GPS data on the charting SW.  Generally it lines up very well.

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If you zoom in you can see some differences.  The most noticeable difference was the turn at 7.5km.  The error there is 40m.

We left the cape around 8:30 and it took us nearly 3 hours to get home.  I slept in instead of rowing this morning.  I’m going to go do a quick 10K on the erg at lunch instead.

Business & Pleasure

Monday, July 10: travel day.  flew to California, immediately went to meetings down in San Jose until 6pm, then drove up to San Francisco.  Had room service for dinner and went to bed early.

Tuesday, July 11:  Up early for conference calls, which lasted until about 9am.  Then I headed down to the gym for an easy endurance session.  First was 30  minutes on the treadmill at 15% grade.  Then 30 minutes on the elliptical, easy intervals.



Then I showered, got dressed and headed out for meetings around the big conference.  The meetings took me out to about 5pm, then we had a corporate function until 9pm, then I was out with customers until 1:15am.

Wednesday, July 12:  No surprise, I didn’t get up to work out.  I needed to be at the conference site by 8am because I was giving a presentation at 8:30am.  This wrapped up by around 10, and then I was in meetings and conference calls the rest of the day until 6pm when I drove off to the airport.  I caught the red eye back to Boston.  No training. 😦

Thursday, July 13th:  I slept maybe 2 hours on the flight and arrived in Boston around 5am.  I headed straight to Cape Cod.  We were having some guests coming to the house later in the day.  I got to the house around 7am and went to bed for about 3 more hours of sleep.  The rest of the day was a flurry of cleaning and shopping, and they arrived around 4pm.  No training.

Friday, July 14th:  We still had guests, and there was no way to really sneak away to train.  However, we were pretty active.  We went for a nice walk around the north side of the island.  When it was low tide, we went out and gathered about 3 dozen oysters from the sand flats around the island.  These were a very tasty addition to dinner on Friday and Saturday.

2017-07-15 19.36.55

Later, my friend and I kayaked around the island.  This is a pretty cool route.  You start on the northeast beach, and cross Loagy Bay.  You then enter a labyrinth of channels in the salt marsh and you have to guess which one will take you to cut under the bridge.  All other channels are dead ends.   Coming out of from under the bridge, we saw a big white bird.  It looked like a Great Blue Heron, but it was white instead of grey.  I would have sworn it was a Crane, but we don’t really get that species around here.  After we exited the salt marsh, the route continues along the south shore of the island.  There is a platform that has been built for the Osprey’s to build nests on.  This one has a big nest and there was an Osprey standing on top of it glaring at us as we paddled past.  Then rowed up along the outer shore of the island, and back into the wind to the beach where we launched.  It’s probably about 5km of paddling and it took us about an hour.  Not much in the way of aerobic exercise, but good fun.

The tides are perfect right now.  The low tide is in the late morning, and the high tide was around 6pm.  We were hanging out at the house and the weather got sunnier and warmer as the day went on.  Around 5pm, the wind died down and it seemed like it might be fun to let our guests try my new boat.  So, I carted the oars and boat down the stairs to water.  I took a quick spin, maybe 15 minutes or so, and then everybody took a turn.  The hardest exercise that I got was the half dozen or so trips up and down the ~80 steps from the house to the beach.

Saturday, July 15th:  Again, the started out pretty grey.  I slept in, and then after breakfast went for walk at low tide.  I walked out as far as I could and as I went, I thought it would be fun to see how far that was on the chart.  You can get an idea of how far the sand flats go, and this wasn’t even a very low tide, and was starting to come in by the time I reached the outer point.

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Here’s the view back to the island from the farthest out point.

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Just like Friday, the day got nicer and nicer as it got later.  By the afternoon, it was gloriously sunny, and there was very little wind.  I again launched the Maas from the steps at high tide.  I went for a quick 20 minute row, and then everyone else had a go at it.  Just like Friday, the major exercise was going up and down the stairs.