Perhaps a gross overstatement, but I feel like today was a bit of break through.
The weather started perfect, but a gusty, but persistent breeze sprung up about halfway through. This was mostly a cross wind, but depending on the bends of the river sometimes slowed me down quite a bit.
The plan was
- 4 x 12′ rate ladders
- 6′ @ 18
- 4′ @ 24
- 2′ @ 28
- 6 minutes rest between
I decided to use the rests to do some KOM drills, and even tried a couple of slow motion starts.
The whole way as I drove to the river I kept telling myself to focus on technique instead of pace or power in this session. Make sure that in the r24 and r28 sections, I rowed with light pressure and good form. All of this self talk seemed to make an impression because for once, I actually seemed to follow it.
And the results were awesome. For brief moments today, I got the feeling of effortless speed. Sometimes it was during the r18 section when I eased in the catch more gently. Sometimes it was during the r24 section, though rarely because a lot of those were through the s-turn and it’s hard to reach a sublime state when you are putting all your pressure on one oar. And a few times, for a few strokes it happened at r28.
These fleeting moments made the whole row a delightful puzzle to solve. As soon as I noticed that feeling of flow, invariably the next stroke would feel like mud. Then I would be thinking through how to recapture it. I am certain it is related to how I take the catch, but balance during recovery is a huge part of it too. All I am hoping is that I can feel it again, and then extend it over more strokes.
To put this in some context. I can remember this feeling from a couple of seasons ago, maybe it was even three seasons ago. I am sure I never felt it last year. Looking back, it seems like I spent the whole season fighting the boat. I’d forgotten what this feels like.
A few details about the row. Each piece was 12 minutes long. The good section of the river is about 14 minutes of rowing, so that worked out very well. I only needed to make one adjustment on the fly. When I was doing the third piece, I was approaching the stone bridge when it was time to shift from r24 to r28. I decided to extend the r24 by a minute and do the full 2 minutes at r28 after the bridge in open water. Take that as an indication of how I was feeling. I don’t know that I have ever willingly extended an interval before.
My problems with my oarlock are unimproved. Hopefully a HW swap will fix things up. NK is sending me a replacement to try.
Looking at the heart rate is another indication of goodness. I was up touching the anaerobic zone at the end of the 3rd and fourth intervals, and I fought no demons. I was far from comfortable, but I was able to purposely focus on technique during the last ten strokes of each of the pieces.
Tomorrow: Aerobic gardening!