Thurs: Travel, Friday: 8x(4:30@18,30″@30)/30″ (good) , Sat: 4x(3’@28,7’@18)1′ (bad)

Thursday: Up at 5:15am to head to the airport.  Direct flight from LAX to BOS.  I managed to score an upgrade to business class.  I arrived around 4:45PM and was home by 6:30.  A reasonably civilized way to travel.

Friday:  Back to the routine.  Up at 5:15, and into work.  I had an 8:30AM meeting so I had to be aware of the time, but the planned workout was pretty short.

I did my full set of PT exercises.  Then the erg session.

  • 8 x 5′ / 30″ rest
  • first 4:30 of each interval is Cat VI (r18, 2:05)
  • last 30″ of each interval is Cat II (r30+, 1:45 or faster)
  • The important thing to me was to try to maintain good sequential recovery in the high rate bursts.

The first annoyance was that I could not get Painsled to link up with the PM.  I tried a bunch of stuff and then gave up.  I ended up using ergdata which linked up right away.

The workout itself went great.  I had a blast.  It was pretty close in feel to the HIIT sessions I did while I was on the road.  I was not pushing  the fast bits as hard as I could go though, and the paddling I did in between bursts was harder than the rests for the HIIT stuff.

Because it was captured with ergdata, it is almost impossible to get a good set of summary stats.  Luckily, rowsandall has a way around that, using the flex plot.  I can look at a plot of all the strokes I took at above r25.  And get an average stroke rate and power.


So, 324.28 watts is 1:42.6.  I was closer to 1:40 in the bursts after I got up to speed.

Saturday:  I slept a lot on Friday night, and since we had a busy day planned, I went to workout as soon as I got up.  I didn’t feel so great.  And today was a tough workout.

I did my PT exercises.


  • 10 minute warmup
  • 4 x (3′ @ r28, 7′ @ r18)/1′ rest
  • target pace for r28: 1:48
  • target pace for r18: 2:05

I felt pretty nasty in the warmup.  It seemed like it was taking a lot of work to get to my regular Cat VI pace and the bursts were hard too.

Then into the workout.  I was destroyed by the first 3′ section.  I usually bring down the rate in a controlled way.  Yesterday, I just started paddling and tried to bring the pace back to the target.  I made it about 5 of the 7 minutes in the first rep and I was having trouble catching my breath, so I paddled out the rest of it.  The second 3′ section was even worse.  I stopped completely after it and then rowed to the target off and on through the Cat VI section.  Same thing in the last two intervals.  In the last Cat VI section I started getting awful stomach cramps and I barely made it to the toilet after I finished.  Not really the cool down I was planning.

Workout Summary - media/Import_32270454.csv
Workout Details

The only positive note was that I actually hit the target for the 3 minute sections.

I was drained the rest of the day.  We took a quick ride down to the cape.  I needed to replace some shingles on the roof and do a few other chores.  I fell asleep in the car going down for about 30 minutes, and while we were there I slept for another half hour or so on the couch.  I didn’t have any other symptoms, but I suspect that I am trying to fight off a bug of some kind.


Thurs: 3 x 20′, Fri: Rest, Sat: 4 x (3’@28,7’@18)/1′, Sun: 4 x 20′

Tough week last week.  Quarterly business reviews and lots of issues at work.  I had time to train (mostly), but no time to write it all down.  So, now I try to catch up.

Thursday: 3 x 20′ / 1′ Cat VI

I had meetings starting at 8 am, so I didn’t have time for 4 pieces.  I settled for 3.  Not much to report.  It was a fine workout.  Rock solid HR with basically no drift in the last 40 minutes.

          Workout Summary - media/20180118-1245320o.csv
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2018-01-18 07.41.55

Friday: rest day

I was intending to workout.  But I had to meet someone fixing my furnace in the morning, go to the dentist at noon, then get to work, and after work, meet a candidate for a quick drink.  I had no time to train.

Saturday:  4-6 x (3′ @ 28, 7′ @ 18) / 1′

By all rights, I should have been fresh as a daisy, but I didn’t feel that way.  My target paces were 1:48 for the r28 (Cat III) and 2:05 for the r18 (Cat VI).

I did the full set of PT exercises include the core work.

I started with a 2k-ish warmup, with bumps to Cat III pace.

          Workout Summary - media/20180120-2006130o.csv
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The main set was brutal.

         Workout Summary - media/20180120-2005350o.csv
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I wish I could say that these were getting easier, but they aren’t.

Sunday:  4 x 20′ / 3′

Again, I did the full set of PT exercises.

I decided to try out Zwift with painsled.  It worked fine, but I managed to hang it up during my second 20′ piece.  In terms of a workout, my HR was a bit higher than normal, but stabilized below 155.

First 20 minutes.

Second 20 minutes is missing.  Here are the third and fourth.

I also did sets of 10 kettlebell swings during the breaks.  I think I like the idea of adding a little bit of strength work to these easy days.  As for Zwift, it was kind of cool, but I don’t see it being something that I do regularly.

Monday:  Arother rest day.  I got up at 3:30AM eastern to catch a 6:00AM flight to San Francisco.  From there, it was straight into meetings and will finish up with a business dinner tonight.  I’ll try to do a quick workout in the morning before my first meeting.

As for the featured image.  I read yesterday that Antisocial Marmets live longer than socially adept Marmets.  So, there’s a vote for being antisocial!


4 x (3’@28, 7’@18)/1′ – Is this Cape Cod or Greenland!

We drove down yesterday evening and arrived around 7:15pm.  We had not been down to the house since the week after Christmas, and that was just a very short visit.

As we drove down, the weather app on my phone popped up with 4 different weather warnings for Wellfleet

  • Gale warning
  • Flash Flood Warning (potential for up to 4″ of rain)
  • Flash Freeze warning (the temp was going to drop from 50F to around 20F after the front came through
  • Fog warning

Oh well, we didn’t think it was going to be beach weather anyway.

When we arrived, the wind was already whipping and the rain was starting.  We settled in and I made dinner (Filet of beef with mushrooms in red wine sauce and sauteed baby spinach).  The wind just kept getting stronger and we could hear the rain pelting the side of the house.

During the night, the wind was incredible.  Three times it caused the screen door outside our bedroom to start banging against the frame.  I would go to close it, open up the door and the wind and rain would come blowing into the bedroom.  Unpleasant!

Here’s the overnight wind speeds.  Peak gust around 65mph, but lots of time the sustained wind was above 50mph.  It only calmed down after about 9am.

Screen Shot 2018-01-13 at 6.42.27 PM.png

It was tough to sleep with all the racket, so I stayed in bed until around 9:30, and when I got up the sun was starting to break through the fog.  I couldn’t believe the site in front of me.  It was like something out of the arctic.

I headed out to get something yummy for breakfast and on  the way back, the fog was clinging to ice across the bay.

2018-01-13 10.26.00

By now the sun was out and the ice looked even more amazing.   Here’s a panorama from top of the bluff.  The ice close to shore is dirty because it lies on the sand at low tide.

2018-01-13 11.41.29

My next mission for the day was to get the basement organized.  I moved my dad’s tools in over the Christmas break, but I needed to get everything arranged.  It took a couple hours, but turned out good.

2018-01-13 18.38.37

The erg is setup out of the picture on the left side.

2018-01-13 18.38.50

All of this took time and I debated blowing off my erg session.  I decided to cut it a little short instead.  I would do 4 sets instead of 6.

So the new plan

  • 4 x (3′ @ r28, 7′ @ r18)/1′
  • r28: Cat III, Pace: 1:48
  • r18: Cat VI, Pace 2:03 – 2:08
  • Technique:  Still focused on fixing my stroke.  This is more important that pace.  Avoid breaking my knees until my arms are extended and body over.  Try to remember to keep my glutes tensed through the finish.  At r28, limit layback and keep the handle moving.

First a warmup.

          Workout Summary - media/20180113-2251060o.csv
Workout Details

The the main set

          Workout Summary - media/20180113-2250310o.csv
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That was harder than it should have been.  But I think I maintained form pretty well.

Tomorrow:  4 x 20’/3′ @ r18 focusing on technique

Brutal: 6 x (3′ @ 28, 7′ @ 18) / 1′

I spent most of Sunday trying to avoid doing this workout.  It was a good thing, really.  I got some good work done on a presentation I need to get ready, I shoveled the walk to the front door, and I think I did at least two crossword puzzles.

But finally, around 4, I mustered  the courage to go down  to the basement and confront my demon.  I blew up last weekend on this workout, and I’ve failed at it even before my target paces got faster.  Today, I really wanted to make it through, and I was going to try to be as careful as possible to maximize my chances.

The plan:

  • 6 x ( 3′ @ 28, 7′ @ 18) / 1′ rest
  • r28: Cat III, Pace target: 1:48
  • r18: Cat VI, Pace Target: 2:05
  • The goal is smoothly transition from the r28 to r18 sections over a few strokes

I decided that it would be OK if I wanted to underrate the r28 sections by a little, if it helped me hit the target pace and felt a bit more comfortable.

I did my PT exercises.

I did a 2k warmup with 20 stroke bursts at target pace and rate.

Workout Summary - media/20180107-2131090o.csv
Workout Details

I was doing this warmup with 10 stroke bursts and I think it’s better to do it with 20s.  I was a bit more winded at the end, but I felt a lot looser.

I had a drink of water, and went through the labor of setting up the PM for variable intervals, and off I went.

The 3′ of hard rowing wasn’t so bad in the first couple of intervals, but the rate of recovery while rowing at 2:05 was quite slow.  The first couple of minutes of each r18 section was a real battle to stick to the rate and pace.  The r28 sections always felt great in the first minute, tough in the second and brutal in the third.

I was pretty happy to make it through the fifth interval, since I blew up a minute into it last time.  But, by the end of the 7′ section of  the 5th one, I felt like I didn’t have the oomph to do the last one.  I decided that I would give myself a bit of a break and do it at as Cat IV (r24 and 1:52).  When I got going, I felt a bit stronger than that and I ended up at r26 and a bit faster than 1:50.

That was a good workout.  I felt it the rest of the day in my legs and lungs.

Monday:  4 x 20′ / 3′ Cat VI.

Tough Session: 4 x (3′ @ 28 + 7′ @ 18)/1′ rest

I thought this would be a challenge. and it was.  I also think that I was not in my best form.  Not sure why, maybe I’m fighting off a little bug or something.

The original plan was for 6 intervals.  I was so done in that I gave up during the fifth one.  It was still really hard!

The Plan:

  • 6 x (3′ @ 28, 7′ @ 18) / 1′ rest
  • r28 section: Cat III, pace 1:48.
  • r18 section: Cat VI, pace: 2:03 to 2:08

This was my first attempt at this workout with my new faster pace guidelines.  Marlene shortened the r28 sections from 5′ to 3′ to make it a bit more doable, and I think it should have been, but I was really struggling from the first interval.  My HR took a long time to recover and plateaued higher each time.


warmup:  Rowed at 2:06-ish and 10 stroke bursts trying to get r28 and 1:48 dialed in.  I was not doing very well.

2017-12-31 12.42.20

Then the main event

Next time I will try to get all 6 done.  I think on another day, it would have worked out.

Tonight:  New Year’s Festivities!

Tomorrow:  Atonement…4×20′ / 3′ Cat VI (r18, 2:05)


Where’s my mojo.

Thursday: First day of vacation.  I’m feeling kind of down.  I’m not sure why.  But my motivation to train is quite low.  The plan for the day was to do the session that was planned for wednesday that I delayed to do an easier session


  • 4 x ( 1500m + 500m ) / 2′
  • 1500m – Cat V: 2:00, r22
  • 500m – Cat IV: 1:55, r24

Workout Summary - media/20171221-1645290o.csv
Workout Details

That was a bit harder than it should have been.

Friday:  My daughter came in from St. Louis around noon.  I picked her up at the airport and we took a quick detour to Boston’s North End, which is the italian neighborhood.  I wanted to get some pastries, pasta and bread for dinner.  With all the bustling around, I didn’t find a time to train.  If I am being honest with myself, I wasn’t all that motivated to train anyway.

Saturday:  With everyone home it was going to be another day of family stuff.  I knew it would be weird for me to disappear to erg, so I hopped on the erg as soon as I got up in the morning.  Despite a HRV reading that said I was good to train hard, I felt really unmotivated.  I was also a bit intimidated by the planned session.  This is the hardest session of the week for me.


  • 6 x (5′ @ r28, 5′ @ r18)
  • r28 – Cat III, 1:51 or faster
  • r18 – Cat VI, 2:06-2:11

I didn’t have a lot of time, so I skipped the stretching and PT exercises that I usually do before an erg session.  To get a little bit of a warmup, I did the first 5 minutes at r18.  I found it disturbingly hard to hold 2:06 even though I had fresh legs.

The first r28 section was OK, but I was pretty tired by the end of it.  I recovered OK during the next r18 section.  The second r28 section was horrible.  I was trying to lighten up my stroke and counting down.  The next slow section was not nearly slow enough.  I blew up at the end of the third r28 section and paddled through most of all the next r18 section.  I managed to get myself psyched up to do the next one by deciding that I would stop after 4 instead of going to 6.

But, my plans were blown up by getting a phone call in the middle of the last r28 interval.  This cost me at least 30 seconds, then I pushed hard through the last 2:30 of interval.  I was so disappointed that I just stopped after that instead of doing the last r18.

To add insult to injury, the phone call seemed to blow up my painsled session.  When I finished, no workout was recorded. Fcuk.

I’m not sure what my problem is, but I think I need to ease off and do some base sessions.  I might sneak off an do a second session later today, maybe a 2×20′.

Tomorrow:  4 x 20′ / 3′


Sunday: rest, Monday: 6 x (5′ @ 28, 5′ @ 18)

Sunday:  I intended to workout, but I slept in late, ran lots of errands, and set up the Christmas tree.

Monday:  Up at 5:15.  In the gym at 6:45.

          Workout Summary - media/20171211-1315300o.csv
Workout Details

That was a bitch!

Tomorrow: 4 x 12′ at 2:01/r22

Saturday: 6 x (5′ @ 28, 5′ @ 18) On the Water! In December!

What an unexpected treat.  Joe texted me yesterday afternoon and asked if I wanted to go rowing this morning.  The forecast was favorable.  Very light wind, sunny and right around freezing.  It sounded like a great idea to me.  I asked him if he was up for the workout I had scheduled in the training plan for Saturday.  Lucky for me, he was!

The plan:

  • 40 to 60 minutes
  • 5 minutes at r28 and Cat III pace (1:51 on the erg)
  • 5 minutes at r18 and Cat VI pace (2:06 to 2:11 on the erg)
  • Stop only as needed to rehydrate

So, the first challenge is to translate this into a good OTW workout.  I decided to focus on the rates.  That translates well.  The lake is a little more than 25 minutes from top to bottom, so we could fit in 5 – 5 minute segments each way.  So, we would warm up to the north end of the lake, then row south to do 3 segments of r28 and 2 segments of r18, then spin to go north.  I decided to let the spin be part of the next 5 minute r18 chunk.  Then we would probably have enough lake to finish that 5 minutes at r18, and do 5 more segments to the north end of the lake.  It worked out perfectly.  We finished with about 200m of lake left.  Then we cooled down coming back to the boat house.

There was a bit of wind from the north.  Not enough to effect the set of the boat, but enough to slow down the northbound splits.  The boat felt much heavier going that way, then going south.  It took a couple of reps to get used to the rate that high, but by the third, I felt like we we rowing well together and the boat was moving.

After we turned north, I felt a big blister on my left hand blow up and by the time we were halfway up the lake, my left handle was a bloody mess.  I sprayed bloody blister juice all over the rigger and the stern of the boat.  The stickiness started to make it a bit tougher to cleanly feather, but it didn’t screw things up too much.  I sure noticed it after we finished the main set and started the cool down.  Both my hands were stinging badly.  Oh well, that’s what you get when you only get out on the water once every couple of weeks.

It was totally worth it!

Screen Shot 2017-12-02 at 3.31.47 PM.png

          Workout Summary - media/20171202-195851-Greg Smith 20171202 0913amo.csv
Workout Details


  • 4 x 20′ / 3′
  • Cat VI: r18 / 2:06-2:11


Tuesday: 5 x 2000 / 2′ (1500 @ 22, 500 @24)

Tuesday was a bit of a jumble.  I had to be at an offsite meeting at 8am to give some opening remarks, so no morning workout.  Then by 9am, I was on my way the office.  I couple of meetings brought me to around 12:45pm, when I headed off to the gym to do my planned session.

  • 5 x 2000m / 2′ rest
    • 1500m: r22, 2:01
    • 500m: r24, 1:55

Before that, I did the ever expanding set of corrective exercises from the PT.  These are starting to be a real time sink.  I hope the benefit is worth the training time that I am devoting to it.  The exercises have 3 purposes.  First to correct the imbalance between my hips and glutes.  Second to work a bunch of adhesions out of my quads and IT bands and improve hip flexibility.  Third to strength the helper muscles in abdomen to improve my ability to rock over and hold a strong position at the catch and finish with a very stable back.  I guess this is the perfect time of year to work on these issues, but I find it to be maddening drudgery.  I have to look at it as if it was a standard medical prescription and take my medicine.

I noticed that I felt more fatigued from my PT exercises , and I wondering if I was either coming down with the cold that was going through my family last week at Thanksgiving, or just worn out from my battles with the dynamic erg.  At any rate, I thought the erg session would be a struggle, and it was.  This is the same session that I did on 11/17 and 11/21.  The one on 11/21 was remarkably good.  This was a lot more like the one on the 17th.  High heart rates, but otherwise entirely manageable.

I started with a 2000m warmup, basically starting around 2:15 and speeding up to do the last 500m at my target 2:01 pace.

Then into the intervals.  I still want to pull a bit faster at r22 than a 2:01 pace, so I really needed to focus on light strokes, limited layback, and fast hands away to keep from either pulling 1:59s at r22, or 2:01s at r21.  This was actually a really good way to keep my brain engaged in the technique notes that I’ve been getting from Marlene.

As I said above, my HR was high, but I felt good through the session and pleasantly tired, but not beaten up at the end.

I finished with a 2000 happy ending cool down.


          Workout Summary - media/20171128-1920330o.csv
Workout Details

Wednesday is a planned rest day.  I’m flying down to Texas for a couple of meetings.  I’m going to try to find a crossfit box for a workout tomorrow morning. The planned session is a nice easy endurance workout.

  • 3 x 20′ / 3′
  • Cat VI (r18, 2:06)

I’m pretty pleased with how things are going lately.  November is going to be my highest monthly training time in almost 2 years. Here is training time per month going back to May of 2013.  The last time a set a PB was January of 2016.  Do you notice something different in the graph before January of 2016 and after?  I sure do.


By a strange coincidence, I got a promotion just about 2 years ago and the amount of travel and work hours ramped up at that time.  If I look closely at the months with low training totals, some of them correlate to months with a ton of travel (Feb-17, July-17), but other correlate with injuries (12-16 – knee surgery, 9-17 – back injury).

So, my conclusion is that I can probably manage about 30 training hours a month.  This would include rowing hours plus aerobic cross training.  It does not include PT stretches and exercises.  If I am traveling heavily, there will be more cross training hours and fewer rowing hours, and most likely a couple of extra “no training” days.

I think one adjustment that makes sense to is approach my schedule to do longer “easy” sessions when I have a time window to do it, and even extend them from 80 minutes to up to 2 hours, if I have the time.  I think there is a strong correlation between total training time and results.


Saturday: 4 x (5′ Cat III + 5′ Cat VI)

I spent a couple of hours outside putting up the Christmas lights.  Then around 4pm, I suited up and headed back to the dreaded dynamic erg for a hard workout.  I was very worried about pacing for this one.

The plan:

  • 2 x 20′ / 1′
  • Each 20 broken into 2 sections, 10′ each
    • 5′ at Cat III (28 spm, 1:51 pace)
    • 5′ at Cat VI (18 spm, 2:06 to 2:11 pace)

My paces are derived from testing that I did on the static erg, and it seemed like I was a couple seconds slower for the Cat VI stuff.  But then yesterday, when I was doing the 20 stroke bumps, it felt much, much harder.  Like 5 to 10 seconds off what I could do on a static.

I decided to try to hold the original targets.  It was a very hard.

I started with a 5 minute warmup.  This was a minute easy, then a minute at r24, then a minute easy, then a minute at r28.  The minute at r28 was a bit scary because I discovered that it was far from easy to hold a 1:51 split.  It was actually quite hard.  Oh well.

Then I pushed on into the workout.  The first one was OK, but I was annoyed that my HR sensor seemed to be lagging.  It finally got with the program about 2 minutes into the first interval and was fine after that.  But I was really tired by the end of it.  I shifted down to the r18 and 2:10ish pace and recovered well.  But the second one came around pretty soon and I found myself counting strokes with my eyes closed to try to get through it.  I slowed down, just a little about halfway through and that helped me keep the wheels on.

I gasped my way through the 5 minutes at Cat VI, and then had a quick drink.  My legs were shot, but I gave it a go.  I told myself that 1:52 or 1:53 would be good enough and again counted strokes with my eyes closed.  The slower pace seemed to help.  The Cat VI section flew by and it was time for another 5′ sojourn in hell.  Now my legs were pretty useless, and even 1:53 was hard to hold.  But I counted strokes and got through it.  It really felt like I was rowing through mud (despite a very reasonable 128 drag factor).

After I finished the main set, I did a happy ending 2k cool down.

This is a bit depressing. The workout should have 20 minutes of Cat III, but I had less than 12.

Over time, I am supposed to extend this workout from 4x to 6x the 10 minute sequence.  I hope I can do it next time on a static erg.  I’m very interested to see the difference in outcomes.

Sunday:  The plan is an hour of power at r22.  Cat V pace.