Septum Mirabilis

Since last Saturday, I rowed my single 6 days in a row!  It’s a miracle.  I think the first time all season.

Sunday – Sept 15 – 16km on the Lower Charles

I met my friends from Worcester at the public docks at CRI in Brighton.  I brought my single.  They brought a single, double, quad and believe it or not a triple.  Our club bought a couple of lightly used Swift Triples.  These boats are going to be great.  Having the option of using a triple when we have an odd number of rowers, or if we want to balance lineups will be awesome.

We launched around 7:30.  The goal was to scout the river for the people that we going to do the CRI Fall Classic the following weekend.  My goal was to have some fun and maybe do a threshold piece.

I succeeded at having fun, but by the time, I tried to settle in for a 5k threshold piece, I was already pretty tired and gave it up halfway through.

Screen Shot 2019-09-21 at 9.52.30 PM.png

We made our way down river, and ultimately got to the beginning of the powerhouse stretch.  I asked the other boats if they wanted to do a race pace 1K, since this is the best place to do it.  They acquiesced and off we went.  I felt pretty good for the first 500 or so, but I rapidly ran out of oomph.

We continued down to the basin, and waited for everyone to regroup.  From there, we headed upriver to the area where they marshall the start of the CRI Fall Classic.  We regrouped again and then we took off.  they continued to just scout the course, but I wanted to do my threshold piece, so I got pretty far ahead of the group.  I made it around 2500 meters, then the combination of river traffic, a bit of headwind and lack of training got to me and I pulled up instead of trying to pass a big group of boats as the river was narrowing.  I put on a few bursts of speed the rest of the way, but I was really tired out.

        Workout Summary - media/20190915-1631070o.csv
Workout Details
09|00876|03:46.4|02:09.2|209.0|27.6|164.6|176.0|08.4 - most of a 1k
15|02561|12:10.2|02:22.5|164.9|26.1|167.9|178.0|08.1 -- a bit of hard rowing.

An incredibly enjoyable outing.

Monday – 16 Sept – Drills on the 5s

After Sunday’s exertions, I took it easy on Monday.

So, I did a technical session, with 4 minutes of steady state and 1 minute of these drills.

  • open hands on recovery
  • half slide
  • delayed feather
  • square blades
  • pause at body over

By the way, the weather was perfect!

Tuesday – 17 Sept – 4 x 2k/4′

Another perfect morning.  A scary workout.  I decided to go easy on myself and rate limit it.  r22, r24, r26, r26.

It was a great workout.  I felt good throughout.

The summary shows where I am.  Now that my impeller is calibrated.  When I was in good racing shape, I was knocking these out around 2:15 or faster.  It is what it is.

        Workout Summary - media/20190917-1607180o.csv
Workout Details

Wednesday – 18 Sept – Steady State

Working on piling up the meters and rowing clean.  Did the session with Humon to keep me honest about intensity,  Halfway through, I decided to pop up to r22 and row lighter.  It seemed to work quite well.  I needed to cut it about 10 minutes short because I needed to get to work for an early meeting.

        Workout Summary - media/20190920-1546120o.csv
Workout Details
07|00341|01:33.8|02:17.6|182.7|26.3|139.4|153.0|08.3 - nice ending

Screen Shot 2019-09-21 at 10.14.01 PM.png

Thursday – 19 Sept – 3′ on / 1′ off

Again using rate limiting to manage intensity.  (22,24,26,28)  The annoying thing is that I must have bumped the speedcoach I got my drink of water after the first set, because that’s where the data ends!

Here’s the heart rate from my apple watch

bokeh_plot - 2019-09-21T222015.119.png

And here’s the view from Humon.

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Another really good workout.

Friday – 20 Sept – Steady State

Just like wednesday.  Using Humon to keep me honest and trying to get the best speed with the least effort.  The key seems to be a nice, clean, early tap down.

That and maintaining good body posture through the leg drive.  When I open up my back early, I work much harder and go slower.

      Workout Summary - media/20190920-1557290o.csv
Workout Details

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When I got back to the dock, I turned around and it was just so pretty that I had to take a picture.


I felt great, and headed off to work.  In the evening, we drove down to the cape.

Saturday – 21 Sept – No Training

Our house has a huge deck surrounding 3 sides of the house.  Today’s mission was cleaning it with the pressure washer so that I can seal it tomorrow.  It took me 5 hours.  The Apple watch tells me that it was about 15000 steps.  I am tired and sunburnt, buy the deck looks fantastic!



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.

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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.

myimage (8)

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.

Friday: Groggy 10K of technique

The red eye was pretty miserable.  I was in a seat with extra leg room, but because it was in front an exit row, the seat didn’t recline.  I got some sleep, maybe 2 to 3 hours in fits and starts, but I eventually gave up and just read.

Boston was cloudy, drizzly and about 45F when I landed.  I wasn’t sure if rowing was the best idea, but it seemed to be clearing up a bit, so I went for it.  I’m very glad that I did.  It was glorious out there.  I wasn’t working terribly hard, and I wasn’t out for very long, but I felt a thousand times better when I finished.

The plan for the day was to just do 2 minute intervals of SBR, then 2 minutes of alternating SBR and feathered and then 2 minutes of r20.  It’s sort of become my go to low intensity workout.


I finished 1 lap of the river and had a little bit more time, so I did 6 minutes down river in the 2 minute chunks.  Then I turned around and rowed at r22 back to the cut.  It was about 6 minutes of high UT1 rowing, and it felt nice and clean.  I tried to row it to 190W or so.  I think I’m about 10w different between erg and boat (erg higher for the same HR repsonse).  When I got back to the lagoon when I launch, I did a 30 stroke set at r26.  It sure felt hard.  I was doing that for 30 minutes in head races not that long ago.

Tomorrow:  My big adventure row.

Monday: 2′ Intervals OTW

Weather:  Cool and misty.  Around 45F.  A little bit of wind, head wind when going upstream generally.  After Saturday in Wellfleet, I have a new standard for wind and waves.  😉


  • 2′ On /2′ Off
  • 3 sets of 4 intervals
  • Each set at 22, 24, 26, 28 spm

As I set off from the dock, I noticed how much more cramped I felt at the finish than I did in my Alden.  I turned around and headed back to the dock and moved the footstretcher 2 cm toward the bow.  I noticed the change immediately and I felt a lot more comfortable at the finish.

I rowed the 1km out to the start point and I set off.  The 22 was easy, so I only took 1 minute of rest.  After the 24, I was starting to feel it so I took the full 2 minutes.  This setup worked pretty well.  I was pretty gassed at the end.

Workout Summary - media/Fusion_20170502-211209.csv
Workout Details
01|00458|02:00.0|02:11.0|198.3|22.5|153.1|160.0|10.2 - tail wind/curr
05|00437|02:00.0|02:17.4|216.7|22.8|150.1|165.0|09.6 - head wind/curr
09|00451|02:00.0|02:12.9|235.3|22.6|146.2|165.0|10.0 - tail wind/curr
11|00448|02:00.0|02:14.1|228.9|26.3|159.2|171.0|08.5 - head wind/curr

This shows some of the power of the interval editor on rowsandall.  By isolating each interval, you can see how much the wind and current was effecting pace.  Compare intervals 1,5, and 9.  In # 1, I was in a tail current the whole way.  In #5, I was against the wind and current for the whole interval.  In #9, I started in a dead end section and finished with a tail current.  You can see that in the variations in pace.  More interesting was how I was working at higher powers in each one of them.  Look at the consistency of power at r28.  275 to 279W.  But the pace was 2:00 with the current and 2:10 against!


To look at the effect of moving my feet, I compared this workout with the a rate ladder workout I did back in April.  This workout was at r18,20,22 and 24, so I plotted a few parameters versus stroke rate to see what changed.

  • Effective stroke length:  Improved about 2-4 degrees
  • Slip: roughly the same, strongly correlated with stroke rate.
  • Catch angle:  Maybe a little higher.  I was surprised, I would have thought 2cm would have caused a bigger change.
  • Wash:  2-4 degrees better.  This where the longer effective length came from.  By giving myself a little more room, I could tap down better.
  • Finish:  I was expecting this to get smaller since I moved my feet, but it didn’t change all that much.

I am like the new foot position, and I like being able to correlate it with a single parameter (wash) that got better.

Good workout.  It’s fun to row hard sometimes.


Monday: Back On The Water!!!! 15km

Weather:  Cold and Sunny.  About 35F.  Basically no wind.  A beautiful morning.

Today was all about just getting back in the boat and trying out my new toys.

New iPhone, case and mount –> running RIM

New Speedcoach GPS (Model 2)

New EmPower Oarlock

The iphone case and mount worked great.  Much more rigid than the mount that I was using last year (and considerably cheaper).   I got them from Quad Lock.

The empower oarlock and HR monitor paired with the Speedcoach very easily.  I had done the angle calibration on Sunday.  The force calibration was easy and quick.

I was off the dock within 20 minutes of getting there.  The river is really high right now.  Right up to the top of the dock, and the current is visibly faster than normal.  I was the only person out on Monday morning.  I had a beautiful morning all to myself.

Our population of swans seems bigger this year.  There was a pretty good number of cygnets last summer.  I think they’ve grown up and returned.  Pretty to look at, but additional obstacles to row around.

I did my normal row, about 15km.  Starting at the docks, I row 4km downstream.  The first km is winding and slow.  After that, it’s lovely flat water and mostly straight for 2km.  Then I go under a narrow bridge and the last km is out across a small basin before the Moody Street Dam.  It’s a beautiful row and I was so happy to be back outside, enjoying the morning.

After I turn at the dam, I row back upstream.  This time of year, I row up into a long cove instead of completely retracing my steps.  There are some nice houses along the cove, and I get a little more distance.  It’s about 3km from the dam to the end of the cove.  Then I spin, and head back down river to the dam.  Finally, I turn back up river and row the 4km back to the dock.

The first and last km where it’s winding I think of as the warmup and cool down.

Now, for the toys.  I loved rowing with the EmPower Oarlock.  I tried out all the skill screens.  There are screen to show catch and with slip, finish angle with wash, power, and work per stroke.  I used one screen for each of the 3km sections.  Unfortunately, I was enjoying the row so much that I didn’t notice that I had forgotten to start the speedcoach.  The way the speedcoach works, it gives you a live screen, but just doesn’t accumulate data if it isn’t started.  Of course it does say “stop” right in the middle of the screen, but I just didn’t notice that.  I hope I don’t make the mistake again, I’m sure I will.

Of course, since I am obsessive enough about data that I run redundant systems, I had the whole row recorded with the Rowing in Motion app on my phone.

The skill screens on the Speedcoach are great, but I was bothered that I wasn’t able to keep an eye on my Heart Rate while I had those displays up.  I know from reading the NK materials that this was a concious choice to limit the chances of information overload, but I find it pretty easy to focus in on on number in a display and only look at other ones every few strokes.  I wish that HR and SPM were visible on the skill screens.

But, I have a solution to my problem.  Since I am running RIM anyway, I can get that info from my phone while I use the speedcoach for technique feedback.  The great part about that is rowsandall provides a cool feature to let me smoosh the data from RIM and Speecoach together before I analyze it.  (More about that in my next post).

Based on that conclusion, I will most likely pair my HR monitor to my phone and use the RIM display to show pace, HR, SPM and time.  I’ll stick to skill screens on the speed coach, unless I’m doing a workout where I want faster pace feedback, like short sprints.


You can see effect of the current on pace.  It was about 10 second delta

Here’s a view of just the speedcoach data for the last 30 minutes of the row.4-3c.png

And here’s a stroke profile for the section from 2000m to 2600m


I need to double check the angle calibration before I draw any conclusions from this.

I did a quick very of effective drive length and work per stroke to get a baseline.


The effective drive length has got me worried, so I wanted to compare it to total length.


I think I have some work to do to get a longer drive.

I also just looked a power for this chunk.


It’s lower than I would have expected. I guess I have some work to do on strength and fitness too!

So.  Much.  Data.  🙂

Friday: 8K steady state in the Miracle Shell

Weather:  Broken clouds, occasional drizzle, windy.  WSW 5-10 mph with higher gusts.

Back in the saddle!  While I was in Phoenix, the good people from Fluidesign dropped off my boat.  I am massively impressed with the results.

Here’s the before picture:

2016-04-08 17.40.10

And here are the after pictures:

The finish is beautiful, and there are only the the slightest hint of a ripple where the carbon had been creased and torn.

On the water, the boat felt just like before.  Stiff and responsive.  It set well and had been rerigged perfectly.  It tracked perfectly.  I am amazed at the repair.

By the time I had gotten it all unpacked and all the gadgets mounted, I was short on time, so I did a quick 8K steady session.  I wanted to take it easy and make sure that I felt confident in the boat before I did anything too intense.  I loved being back in my boat!  For the same effort, I feel like I am about 5 seconds faster on pace.  A little tough to tell because of the breeze this morning, but the speedcoach seemed much more willing to spend time below 2:30 pace than in the peinert.

myimage (10)

Of course there are a few nits that I need to take care of on the boat.

  1.  They reset the fin when they repainted the boat.  In doing that they did not notice the damage behind the fin from a close encounter with the sunken log (Trees and this boat do not get along!)  During my row, I shipped a little water in the stern.  I just need a dab of silicon over the area and it will be fine.
  2. When they refinished the boat, they forgot to remount my impeller.  I didn;t even notice this until I was rowing and saw the pace display on the speedcoach stubbornly staying blank.  I felt under the boat to see if the impeller was fouled with weeds and discovered that it wasn’t there!  I’ve asked them to send it back to me so I can get it put back on.
  3. I noticed that an elastic bands on one of the Magik oarlocks had snapped.  This band opens the oarlock when the latch is disengaged, so it is not critical, but I’d like to fix it.

All minor, and easily fixed.

Tomorrow:  Out to Worcester.  Time for a bit  more intensity.  I’m thinking of doing a  4 x (6 x 1′ on / 1′ off) 4′ rest at r30.

14K of bliss (rate ladders and a hardish 1K)

The weather was just about perfect.  Not a cloud in the sky.  The temperature started around 50F, and by the time I finished, it was around 60F.  Tee shirt weather!

There was a light, but building breeze from the west.  This averaged around 5mph from the West, which was a head wind heading upstream.

My plan was to do the same workout as Monday.  Rate Ladders.

  • 3′ @ 18
  • 2′ @ 20
  • 1′ @ 22

The length of the river is not precisely right for these ladders, so I just turn around and get going in the other direction.

I am not happy with my boat speed, but I’m not quite sure what’s wrong.  I guess I will just keep working on stroke technique.  Breaking down the stroke into phases:

  • Recovery to Catch:  Inconsistent in terms of my body position and reach.  For some sections of my row today, I felt like I was doing really well getting my body over before I broke my knees and then smoothly moving to the catch position.  I got that “glimpse out of the corner of my eye” feeling on some strokes.
  • Drive:  I was working on building power through the stroke, so easing into the stroke a little bit.  I was also trying to row lighter at r20 and r22.
  • Finish: Very messy.  I am still a little crowded at the finish, mainly due to being about 10 pounds heavier than I should be.  I was working on tapping down early enough and then feathering, but on many strokes, I was getting hung up trying to extract the oars cleanly.

I think I need to add some drills to try to work on specific parts of the stroke.  The good thing is that the boat is setting reasonably well.

My workout took an unexpected turn on my first trip back up the river.  I was coming through the s-turn and I saw the Brandeis boats lining up to go up river as well.  Before I got to where they were, a pair of fours took off side by side with much splashing and squawking from the cox boxes.  Behind them, two pairs (W2-) were turning around and lining up.  I paddled around to the far side of these boats and then took off when they did.  I wasn’t sure exactly what they were working on, but I decided that my plan was to get ahead of them and stay there.  It turned out it wasn’t that hard to do.  They were rating around a 26, and I was rating between 24 and 26 and opening up some distance with them.  Over about 1100m, I managed to put 100m between us.  Pride compels me to point out that the GPS derived pace over this piece was impacted by both current and head wind.  That felt good.  Then it was back to the regular workout.

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Tomorrow:  I think I will do a split session.  About 20 minutes of drills, then some 2′ intervals and then another 20 minutes of drills.



Friday: OTW – 1x – 4 x ( 7 x 1′ / 1′ rest) x 3′ rest

Cool, cloudy, Wind was flukey, from the WSW.  Generally about 5mph, but with gusts up to 10mph.

I was originally intending to just do a steady state session, but I was in the mood to try to work on full pressure and rate technique.  I wasn’t in the mood to kill myself, so I decided to do 1 minute intervals at about 26 t0 28 spm.  I can do about 7 of these in in a row on my river, and then I would need to turn around.  I took a bit more rest on the turn arounds.

It was basically a head wind rowing downriver (1st and 3rd set) and a tail wind rowing upriver (2nd and 4th).  Since this is GPS based data, the upriver paces were probably about a couple seconds slower than actual.  And the downriver ones a couple seconds faster, basically enough to counteract the wind.

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I moved the footstretcher one notch to the bow and I was much more comfortable at the finish.  My blade work was really mess though.  I guess that would be expected for my second real outing in this boat.  The slide doesn’t really have quite enough travel to the stern to me.  Whenever I really got out to full extension at the catch, I was running into the stops on the slide.  Things did get better as I went along and in the last set of intervals, I was getting good clearance on recovery and felt a lot smoother with the application of power during the drive.

This weekend, my focus is on yard work.  Time to get all the flower beds in shape for the summer. So basically 4 hours of low intensity exercise per day.  I might wear a HR strap to get an idea of what kind of aerobic benefit it has.