5 x 1500 / 5′ on Quinsig

An extraordinary morning.  We launched around 5:40am.  The sun wouldn’t be up for another hour, but it was crystal clear and there was a beautiful full moon out so it was way easier to see where we were going.  There was a very light breeze from the west, which is basically a cross wind. It was light enough that the water was just barely rippled.  It was an extraordinary feeling rowing in the dark on perfectly flat water.  I felt like I was flying.

I got the replacement rigger for my fluid on Wednesday, and I spent a hour or so getting it installed yesterday.  It took a bit of work to get the rigging right and I was sure that it was right.  I always worry that I might have missed something.

The plan:

  • 5 x 1500 / 5′ rest
    • rate: 25-28
    • pace: 2:15
    • HR limit: none
    • Technique:  knees together at the catch, limit layback, crisp finishes

I started out with about 1.5K of drills.

  • arms only
  • arms abd back
  • quarter slide
  • pause at finish
  • pause at half slide on recovery

From there, I did about 500m of steady pressure at about r20.

Through this, I was annoyed to see that technology was failing me today.

  • My speedcoach battery was down to one bar
  • My HR sensor seemed to be stuck at 96 bpm
  • My EmPower oarlock wasn’t registering any power or angle readings

I didn’t want to take the time and effort to try to figure out what was wrong, I decided to just do the workout using pace and rate.

I started the first interval right after I got through the narrows.  I was pleased to see the pace drop down to about 2:15 and hang there.  The setup of the boat felt good.  I was well set, and it felt like the boat was accelerating nicely.  After about 60 strokes which was about 500m, I started to notice that it was hard work.  But, the level of effort felt very sustainable.  I continued through another 60 strokes, two thirds done, and I felt even more strongly that the effort level was pretty close to right for a head race.  I finished right as I passed into the cove at the south end of the lake.

I paddled the rest of the way into the cove and turned around.  I hung out and waited for the quad that launched behind me to get there.  I noticed that I was right on 4000m, so I took off for the next interval, heading north.  This one was a little faster.  I guess the cross wind was a bit against me in first one and behind me in this one.  This one stung a bit more, but at the end, I was counting down remaining strokes, I could have kept going.

After the second interval, I rowed a quick loop to make sure that I would have enough lake at the end.  As I looped around, I had to dodge a eight coming north.  I think I spooked the cox a bit.  But this was pretty good because it gave me something to chase for the third interval.

I started this interval about 500m south of the narrows.  I could see the white light on the stern of the 8 and it looked like I was gaining on them.  I passed through the narrows and took a line towards the eastern shore so I would give the 8 enough room.    The rest of the interval, I continued to gain on them and I was about even with them when I hit the end of the interval.

I paddled to the north side of the route 9 bridge and started the fourth interval.  My legs were a bit more tired now, and I noticed that I was rating a bit higher.  I also noticed that 28 felt good.  I didn’t feel rushed or sloppy.  That made me happy.  I was feeling some distress by the end of this interval.  I’m not sure how much further I would have liked to go beyond the end of this one.   The last 200m of this interval took me right in front of the docks of the QRA.  I ended up closer to  them that I like to go because I wasn’t paying close enough attention to my line.   But I got to watch about 40 rowers watching me as I did my last 100m.  It was certainly incentive to keep my finishes clean and not look as gassed as I actually was.

I paddled to the north end of the lake and turned around.  I ended up paddling an extra 100m to get lined up right and started the interval heading south.  It was the fifth interval, so my legs were pretty empty, but I was still able to get down to the target pace.  When I got to the last 500m, I started to bring the rate up and counted through the last 60 strokes. I was glad it was over, but it wasn’t a near death experience.

After this, I looped back to go find the quad.  When I found them, I turned again, and we did a quick 500 piece back toward the dock.

This was a really fantastic workout.



        Workout Summary - media/20171006-131833-96782o.csv
Workout Details
01|01547|06:58.0|02:15.1|000.0|24.6|000.0|0.0|09.0 - down lake
02|01543|06:54.9|02:14.5|000.0|26.0|000.0|0.0|08.6 - up lake
03|01541|06:50.0|02:13.0|000.0|27.1|000.0|0.0|08.3 - chasing the 8
04|01540|06:52.2|02:13.8|000.0|27.1|000.0|0.0|08.3 - past QRA
05|01547|06:45.9|02:11.2|000.0|27.9|000.0|0.0|08.2 - heading south
06|00575|02:36.0|02:15.7|000.0|25.5|000.0|0.0|08.7 - bonus piece!

Tomorrow:  Steady State coastal row.



Up at 5:15.  In the gym around 7:00AM.

The Plan:

  • 10 minute warmup on the treadmill (15% grade, 3mph)
  • L2 Waterfall
    • 3K / 2.5K / 2K
    • 5′ rest
    • pace target: 1:54
    • rate: 24-26
    • Technique: knees together
    • HR limit: none

I’m trying to warm up off the erg to try to make sure that I don’t take any hard pulls until my back is limbered up.  Today was a brisk walk up a 15% grade.  My HR was still below the bottom of my UT2 range by the time I had gone 10 minutes, but I had broken a sweat.


This was right on the edge of my capability.  I eased up a bit in the 1000m to 500m to go in the last two intervals, but just by about a second or so.  It was enough to make it through.  Each interval, I counted strokes from beginning to end.  Between 96 and 100 strokes per 1000m.

        Workout Summary - media/20170927-1235430o.csv
Workout Details

Tomorrow:  steady state 4 x 15


4 x 2K / 5′ – on the erg – Back at it

When my alarm went off at 5:15 this morning, I felt very tired.  I walked downstairs, thought about it for a minute, and then went back to bed for another 2 hours.  I got up at 7:30 and felt much better.

As I drove to work, the weather was fine, but a bit windy.  It would have been perfectly rowable, but I was glad to get the additional sleep.

My new plan was to do the workout at the end of the day on the erg.  Because I have missed just about a full month of serious training, both technique and fitness need attention.  Today I wanted to focus on fitness.

I haven’t done this workout since 9/16/2016, just over a year ago.  This winter and spring, I was using the Eddie Fletcher Marathon training plan and haven’t been doing the normal interval work at all.

I point out all of that basically to say that I had very low expectations, and I didn’t want to bite off more than I could chew.  So, I decided to pick a conservative pace target.

The Plan:

  • 4 x 2000 / 5′ rest
  • pace target: 1:55 or faster
  • rate target:  1st: 24, 2nd 25, 3rd 26, 4th: no target
  • HR limits: none
  • Technique:  Focus on keeping my knees together at Head race stroke rates

myimage (8)

        Workout Summary - media/20170921-2215550o.csv
Workout Details

That was hard work.  I managed an average pace of 1:53.7.  Under “normal” circumstances, I would consider this a massive fail.  But given that I am coming back from an injury layoff, and going by the HRs, I was working very hard.  Mostly I was really happy about sticking with it in the later reps and I walked a bit taller walking away from the erg.

Tomorrow:  OTW steady state.  Focus on technique.

Saturday: L2 Waterfall 1x

Friday:  We came back from the Cape Thursday evening.  Friday, I had an appointment with the eye doctor, and I had a lot of running around to do to take care of some car maintenance.  I never got around to working out.  Part of it was dreading a session on the dynamic erg.  I need to get rid of that thing.

So, it was a rest day.

Saturday:  We were up late, so I decided to sleep in a little instead of rowing out in Worcester.  I got up around 8:30 and decided to go row in Newton in my neglected Fluid.

It was a hot, humid morning.  Overcast with very little wind.


  • L2 – Waterfall (3000, 2500, 2000)
  • ~5′ rest
  • Stroke rate target: 25 spm
  • Pace target: 2:15

I was bummed out that I couldn’t find my speedcoach in my rowing bag.  I’m wondering if I forgot it down the cape.

So, I just had RIM in the boat.  So, basically, just a way to see the start and end of each interval, the stroke rate, and a very rough idea of pace.



        Workout Summary - media/20170819-160532-93720o.csv
Workout Details
01|03000|13:23.7|02:13.9|000.0|25.1|165.6|178.0|08.9 - down
02|02500|10:54.8|02:11.0|000.0|24.9|170.9|181.0|09.2 - upstream
03|02000|08:38.0|02:09.5|000.0|26.6|171.8|182.0|08.7 - down

I was very surprised by the paces.  The display on RIM was showing between 2:15 and 2:20 most of the time.  But, I’ve always felt the live display was a bit on the slow side.  But looking closely at the GPS data, there is a lot of location jitter.  I am wondering if that is causing the distance logged to be further than actual distance, and thus showing a faster pace.

Screen Shot 2017-08-19 at 2.41.57 PM.png

This was a tough, tough workout.  I felt like I emptied the tanks on each interval and I needed a bit more than 5 minutes rest after each.  It ended up being closer to 7 minutes, I think.

I steered a reasonable line.  In the 2500m interval, I saw a kayaker over my starboard shoulder and it looked like I would clear her easily.  Then, while my back was literally turned, she decided to cross in front of me and misjudged the distance.  I clipped her stern with my oar.  That’s the pace and rate glitch right around 7000m.  She’s lucky I didn’t smack her in the head.  I try to keep a good watch, but when I’m 20 strokes from the end of a 2500m interval and my heart rate is around 180, I get tunnel vision.  I need to be more careful.

Tomorrow:  Hopefully head out to Quinsigamond.


What a blast…4 x 2k / 5′ – Open Water

Weather:  Broken overcast.  About 70F.  Wind started nearly calm and built up to about 5-6mph from the ESE.


  • L2 – 4 x 2k / 5′ rest
  • Rate Target: 25 spm
  • Pace target:  I have no idea.  Just row hard and see what happens.

Unlike rowing on the twisty section of the Charles River, there is no problem finding a perfectly straight 2km course down here in Wellfleet.  There are other challenges though.  Specifically shallow water, tidal currents, wind and waves.  I was looking forward to those challenges though.  It might keep me from focusing on my own heavy breathing.

I launched very close to low tide, and I was a bit worried by what I saw.  All of the boats moored off the beach were aground and the channel was close to the narrowest I have seen it.  But, I was here and I had a plan, so dammit, I was going to launch.  It worked out OK.  I could see the bottom and my oar blades were guide.  If I hit bottom on starboard, then I steered to port.  If I hit on port, I steered to starboard.  If I hit on both, I hoped for best.  And it worked out.  I puttered along until I cleared the tip of Lt Island, and I was home free.

I planned to row between 2 buoys which mark the channel into Wellfeet inner harbor.  This is 2.4km.  I figured I would row 2k, then paddle to the end and turn around for the next one in my 5 minute rest.

Screen Shot 2017-08-11 at 1.50.15 PM

After I got to deep water, I did an improvised warmup with some 10s and 20s at my target stroke rate.  And I maneuvered over to the red buoy that marked my start point.

I paddled until the speedcoach clicked over to 2700m, then I brought it up to 25 spm and steered a course of 200 degrees.  I counted strokes.  25 strokes a minute, so by counting strokes, I was also keeping time.  I checked the distace rowed.  I was taking just about 62 strokes to go 500m, aha, so the whole piece would be 250 strokes.  That bit of simple math kept me occupied for a little while.  I enjoyed rowing  this piece.  The water was pretty flat and the wind and the tide were behind me.  The Maas is very nice to row.  It feels heavier than my fluid, but it is responsive and fantastically stable.

I knew that there was a green can buoy along my path, but I was having trouble finding it while rowing under pressure.  All of the sudden, there it was, about 30 meters ahead of me, maybe 10 meters to my port side.  I had two thoughts.  First, wow, I almost hit that.  Second,  great job steering!  I clicked along through the rest of the interval.  It was a tough row, but I didn’t push it to the edge.

I paddled along for 4 minutes, then spun the boat, took a drink and set off on interval number 2.  This one was a lot more work.  The wind had built a little, so I was dealing with a bit more chop.  It was good because it forced me to row with my blades farther off the water during recovery.  If I didn’t, I smacked the wave tops and it slowed me way down.  The wind was on my port bow, and it really didn’t like the heading that I wanted to be on.  A few degrees more to the west, and things worked out a lot better.  I gave up on trying to go straight to the red buoy and opted for the easier ride.  The chop was substantial enough to fill my footwell by the time I got through the piece.  I opened the self bailer while I paddled and headed back in the direction of the Buoy.

The third interval was basically the same story as the first.  The wind was on my starboard stern.  It was easier rowing, but I was still getting splashed a bit.  It did keep me from getting too focused on the effort going into the interval, and counting strokes helped a lot too.

As I set up for the fourth, I noticed that I was running a bit short on time, so instead of aiming back for the red buoy, I set a course that would bring me closer to the beach when I finished.  This also had the advantage of putting me closer to the windward shore so the chop was much smaller and there was less wind.  I just counted strokes and made sure that I wasn’t going to run into anything and before I knew it, I was done.

And I was tired.  This was a lot of work.  But I’m really happy with how it went. I guess that’s the advantage of not having any real expectations about pace, and knowing that the wind and current will make the pace pretty much meaningless anyway.  I could just focus on rowing hard enough to be in the upper part of my threshold HR zone and do the session.  No real chance to “race my training” today.

Screen Shot 2017-08-11 at 1.35.44 PM



Workout Summary - media/20170811-172143-Greg Smith 20170811 0855amo.csv
Workout Details
01|02000|09:46.2|02:26.5|000.0|25.6|165.2|175.0|08.0 - w/ tide
02|02000|11:06.8|02:46.7|000.0|25.2|170.5|179.0|07.1 - a/ tide
03|02000|10:08.9|02:32.2|000.0|25.2|168.8|178.0|07.8 - w/ tide
04|02000|11:13.7|02:48.4|000.0|24.9|172.5|181.0|07.1 - a/ tide

Tomorrow:  Plan calls for an L4, I will substitute a 90 minute open water “easy row”.  HR limit around 150.

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.

Thurs: No Training, Fri: No Training, Saturday: CTC, Sunday: Yard Work

Well, you make your choices and you own them.  This week was quarterly business review week at work, and it’s a big week to prepare our status from the prior quarter and present it to executive management.  There is also a lot of activity to get ready for our earnings call.  Anyway, this quarter it meant early starts to the work day and late nights and no time for training.

Wednesday:  I was at work until around 8pm, got home around 9

Thursday:  I had meetings starting at 9, but I had to do some prep for them so I was at my desk at 7.  No time to go rowing, or even hit the gym at work.  Meetings were back to back from 9am to 7pm.

Friday:  My meetings started at 8am, and again I had prep work to do before, so I was at my desk at 7.  I had meetings most of the morning, then more prep, then a big review from 2 to about 6pm.  I got home after 7.  And I was totally exahausted.  I don;t think I had gotten more than 5 hours sleep any night of the week so far.  I decided there was no way I could get up early to row out at Quinsig.  I conked out around 11, and slept until around 9am.  It was bliss!

Saturday:  I had a another busy day.  We had our work family day at an amusement park about an hour away from home and I needed to do some shopping for a trip to China and Japan.  But I desperately wanted to get some training in.  I decided to do the July CTC as soon as I got out of bed.

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 6.54.52 PM

It’s always a guessing game to do these sessions when I am not erging regularly.  This looked a lot like a Wolverine L2 session, like the waterfall (3K/2.5K/2K), and I can usually hold about a <1:50 pace for sessions like that, so I thought I would go for that as my pace.

I warmed up with rate ladder 18/20/22/24/26 over the planned 2813m distance, and then paddled a bit in the 4 minute rest.  I let the flywheel completely stop so my first rep of the CTC would be legal.

I took off at my 1:50 pace and very soon realized that it was way too aggressive.  I started to bleed off speed about half way through the rep and by the time I finished, I had let the average pace creep up to 1:51.

I knew even that was too spicy and I set out on rep #2 targeting 1:52.  Again, it was too much for me and I slowed in the middle.

The last rep, I figured i was toast.  I started off trying to hold the 1:52.6 from the last rep, but it was not working out very well.  I saw lots of 1:55s and some 1:56s in the middle, but with a bit less than 2K to go, I found a bit of energy (and pride) and started to bear down.  The split came back in line and I was seeing 1:54s and 1:53s.  Then I started seeing 1:52s.  With 1000m left, I was counting down strokes.  My avg pace was still above 1:54, but I was seeing it come down.  As Rocket Roy describes it, the “red mist” descended and I sudenly thought I might be able to equal my previous rep.  Turns out I missed it 3 tenths of a second.  I dug my way out of a really deep hole.

I did a quick cool down and then had some breakfast.

2016-07-23 10.42.06.jpg


The rest of the day was a blur.  Shopping, off to the picnic, back from the picnic, laundry and packing.

Sunday:  I had to leave for the airport around 11am, and I really needed to get some yard work done before I took off.  There were trees to be pruned, and a bunch of shrubs and hedges that needed trimming.  I was hoping to dispatch it quickly and do an hour on the erg, but it took nearly 3 hours and I finished with barely enough time for a shower before I had to head off to the airport.

Now I am in a plane somewhere over canada, near mackenzie bay.  I am on my way to Shanghai for some customer meetings on tuesday.  Wednesday, I fly over to our plant in Kumamoto Japan.  Our building was essentially destroyed by the recent earthquakes and the folks we have working for us there have been doing an amazing job improvising, finding space, and supporting our local customers.  I’m visiting to see the damage and review our reconstruction plans.  I fly home during the day on Friday.

In other words.  More cross training this week.


Saturday: 4 x 2K / 4′ rest

At home.  Static erg.  Over cooked the first rep and never really recovered.  Hung in there at progressively slower paces, and finished the set, but at very high heart rates and by digging very deep.

Glad I finished.  Depressed I was that slow.

No rowing on the lake this weekend because of some big collegiate racing going on.  Today it was the NERC, which is the New England championships.  Tomorrow is the Women’s Eastern Sprints, which is for bigger schools.  We lend out our boathouse to some crews and there are tents set up all around so it’s impossible to get to our boats.

Tomorrow:  Recovery row.  Something easy.

Sunday: 3 x 7′ / 5′ rest – February CTC

I was going to go to the lake this morning, but I we went out for a big dinner last night and between that and the jet lag, I was feeling a bit off before bed.  I decided to sleep in and do the session at home later in the day.  This turned out to be around 2 in the afternoon.


  • 7 minute warmup
  • 4 minute paddle
  • 1 minute with no rowing to let the wheel run down
  • 3 x 7′ / 5′ rest
    • target pace 1:48
    • target rate:27
    • active rest for 4′ and static for 1′ to let the wheel run down
  • 7′ cool down

This is the February CTC.  And the tricky bit is that you have to log the rep with the lowest meters.  So, there is no point to negative splitting or positive splitting or anything like that.  Just the fastest, flat split that you can hold across all reps.

Here are my results.  I did this on rowpro, but the no rowing for a minute during the rests seemed to really screw up the spreadsheet calculations, so I took these off the PM3 manually.


So, my worst rep was my first with 1964m.  Puts me 18th overall right now and in the Free Spirits Boat #1.  Another Free Spirit is tantalizingly close ahead of me at 1966m.  I guess I’ll have to give it another go.  I was pushing pretty close to my limits in the later reps, but I think I can squeeze a few more meters out.

Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 5.11.40 PMScreen Shot 2016-02-07 at 5.11.23 PM

Tomorrow:  Should be some long slow distance, but I have an early meeting at 8am.  I think I will try to squeeze in as much as I have time for, and maybe do a second session later in the day.



4 x 8′ / 4′ rest – solid


  • 4 x 8′
  • 4′ active rest with a stop for a quick drink
  • Pace target: <1:48.8 (from last time on January 3rd)
  • Rate: 27-28

8′ warmup up, with 3 – 10 stroke bursts at faster than target pace (strapless)

Then into the main event.  Rep 1 was tough, but never in doubt, I finished with 2211 meters (1:48.5), so I kept that as my target for all the reps.  Rep 2 was HARD.  I was ahead of target through 100 strokes, fell behind through the next 100, and made up the lost ground in the last 20.  I wondered if I could do it again for rep #3, but felt OK by the end of the rest.  Same story for rep #3, but an even bigger ask to try to make up the lost ground in the last 20 strokes.  I was sure that I couldn’t hold the last rep, and through most of the rest, I was thinking I would see if I could hit 1:50 for it instead.  But at the end the rest, I decided to try to hit target for the first 100 strokes and see how I did.  At the 100 stroke point, I was really struggling, so I dropped back to about a 1:50 and tried to hold on.  I was seeing some 1:51s, and feeling the HD-demons peering over my shoulder, but I just kept pushing.  With 20 strokes to go, my projected finish was around 2180.  A push at the end got me to 2203 (1:48.8).  Session average was 1:48.6.

4′ rest was about 2 minutes of gasping and 2 minutes of light paddling, then an 8 minute cool down starting at 2:00 splits and slowing down from there.

I wish I could have laid down a faster time on this workout, but I am proud of my execution.  I was really hurting in the last rep and I pulled back from the edge just enough to make it instead of bailing out.

Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 11.44.37 AM

2016-01-14 08.21.16

Tomorrow:  4 x 20′ / 1′ rest