Vacation continues

Monday, July 3:  We delivered my sister in law and her two sons to the ferry in the morning and spent the day doing laundry, cleaning and hanging out.  It was great to have company, but it was also nice to have the house to ourselves again.  Around 3:30 in the afternoon, I decided that the wind had died down enough for a row.  So, I packed up my boat and headed off to the northeast beach.  The wind was blowing about 10mph from the WNW, and there was a ton of chop from the wind and whole lot of motor boats.

I launched from the northeast beach of the island and headed up to wellfleet harbor.  The tide was coming in, so I was going with the current up along the shore of indian neck.  I went into the harbor and did a broad turn up toward “The Cove”.  As I came back toward the channel, there was a sailboat coming out of from behind the jetty.  It’s pretty shallow where I was, and I suspected it was even shallower where they were.  Sure enough, I soon heard a grinding noise and they came to a stop, aground on a sand bar.   As I rowed out of the harbor, I saw them back the sails and maneuver off the bar.

I then headed west along mayo beach.  At certain points, it go pretty shallow.  I could see the bottom and a couple of times one of my oars touched bottom, but it was OK. Then I took a broad turn toward the south and circled around the point of great island.

The row from there to my turning point was bouncy and somewhat unpleasant.  The waves were very confused with all the motor boat traffic, and the various shallow spots.  Eventually, I noticed the time and turned for home.

I had intended to row due east straight past the red buoy #10, but the waves wanted me to take a bit of a more northeasterly course.  I swung around in a big arc and headed for the beach when I passed the northwest tip of the island.

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Workout Summary - media/20170704-015955-Greg Smith 20170703 0352pmo.csv
Workout Details
00|04982|29:30.0|02:57.7|000.0|20.0|154.8|162.0|08.4 - to harbor
01|06740|42:47.2|03:10.5|000.0|21.0|155.6|160.0|07.5 - across and down
02|03749|21:33.0|02:52.4|000.0|21.7|152.3|162.0|08.0 - back to beach

I was working hard through the whole row, and the HR shows it.  I have to avoid doing that in long races or I will burn out for sure.

Tuesday, July 4: We packed up ourselves and headed back to Hopkinton.  The traffic on the day after July 4th can be murderous on the cape, and we wanted to avoid it is possible.  We got home in the late afternoon, and eventually, I settled down for what I hoped would be a quick and easy 40 minute session.  Of course this was on the cursed, awful dynamic erg at home, so it didn’t turn out that way.

The plan for was an L4 style workout.  I really enjoyed the last 20 minutes of the session I did on Saturday, so I decided to do basically the same thing.  But I found doing it on the dynamic to be a whole different experience.  It was massively difficult.  I have never worked so hard to go so slow!

One mitigating factor was the heat and humidity.  It was 70% humidity and 80F in the room when I finished.  It took two towels to mop up the floor.

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Wednesday, July 5th: I guess I must have been tired, because I slept until 10:30.  The rest of the day was a blur of shopping and yard work.  We aren’t around the house much and the outside was looking a bit shabby.  All day long I was dreading the idea of doing another session on the horrible dynamic in the sweatbox.

The plan was to stick to strict HR cap at 155, no matter how slow I had to go.  That turned out to be very slow, and continually slower to stay under the cap.

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So, how much worse is the dynamic.  I used the comparison charts to look at this workout, and the 3×20’/2′ workout that I did on the prior Saturday on a static erg.

Both sessions were endurance sessions, with a HR cap at 155.  Here’s  the HR compared.


The orange trace is the dynamic.  The green is static.  Now here’s power.


In the middle of the last interval, when the HR’s were about the same, I was pulling 50w lower on the dynamic!

Here’s a scatter plot of the HR vs power.  You can on the static (green points), the expected relationship of higher powers and higher heart rates holds.  The dynamic (orange points) shows a backwards relationship.  It seemed as if no matter how much I backed off the pace, my HR was pegged in the 150s.  This is consistent with my thought that there is something wrong with the machine which is increasing the friction on the drive.


One confounding factor is temperature.  The static session was in a cool (but humid) basement.  The dynamic session was in 80F/70% humidity.  That could explain a bit of the difference.

Thursday, July 6th:  My father passed away last December.  He took up sailing in the 1970s and it became more and more important to him over the next four decades.  For the last thirty years, he has been a member of the Boston Yacht Club and over that time has been the chairman of the race committee and a principle organizer of a big ocean race that the club runs every other year between marblehead and Halifax Nova Scotia.

We decided that a fitting send off for my Dad would be to scatter his ashes at sea off of marblehead.  We planned it for this Thursday because the start of this race is coming on Saturday and many of the folks that he knew from Nova Scotia would be around for the race.

A friend of his has a very serious vessel, the Elizabeth M.  It’s a 40′ trawler.  Here’s a video of it out for a cruise on another day…

We had aabout 25 people on board, took a slow cruise around the harbor, and then, once we were off marble head light, we scattered my Dad’s ashes and left some white flowers.

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It was a really nice send off for him.  He had a great group of friends and he has left a legacy at the club behind him.

Then we headed home, packed up and headed back to the cape.

Friday, July 7: Rain was in the forecast starting in the late morning, so I got up early (ish), and headed out for a row around 7:30.  I launched from the NE beach.  It was overcast with very little wind.  The wind picked up a bit about half way through the row, but only to about 8mph, from the SSE.

The plan was for an easy row.  Try to get the feeling of rowing at a stroke rate of 20 SPM and stay in the UT2 HR zone.  For a 3 to 4 hour race, I want to be doing a pace I can hold all day long!

I decided to explore wellfleet inner harbor a bit today.  I rowed out to Buoy #10, then turned north.  The trip up to the harbor was fast and smooth.  There was little wind and I was rowing with the tidal current.  I  rowed to the breakwater that marks the entrance to the inner harbor and rowed along the town jetty, and around behind to the boat slips.  The speedcoach showed that I had done 7500m.

I stopped for a drink of water, and then retraced my steps.  The row back from the breakwater to buoy #10 was a lot slower.  The wind had picked up a little bit and I was rowing against the current.  The plots show a good 30 seconds difference in pace.

I turned around Buoy #10 and headed due east to get back to the beach.  When I reached the place where I launched, I was about 500m short of 15km, so I continued on a bit, turned around and beached the boat right when the speedcoach passed 15000m.

It was a very happy row.

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Workout Summary - media/20170707-170512-Greg Smith 20170707 0739amo.csv
Workout Details
00|02397|15:00.0|03:07.7|000.0|20.8|133.1|146.0|07.7 - to buoy #10
01|02947|15:00.0|02:32.7|000.0|20.4|141.4|146.0|09.6 - to bkwtr
02|01704|09:00.0|02:38.4|000.0|20.6|139.5|142.0|09.2 - to turn
03|01163|07:00.0|03:00.5|000.0|20.0|130.1|136.0|08.3 - back out of hbr
04|04753|29:00.0|03:03.1|000.0|20.5|141.7|147.0|08.0 - back to buoy #10
05|01872|10:11.7|02:43.4|000.0|20.9|148.4|157.0|08.8 - back to beach

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Now it is raining like crazy.

Tomorrow, hopefully another row just like this one!

Thursday: 2 x 30’/2′ – easy fitness center session

The plan called for:

M3 2 x 30′ / 3′ MP or slower 75.0% (140)

Today, I started with 30 minutes on the treadmill at maximum incline (15%).  I adjusted the speed to slowly get me into the UT2 zone and keep me there.

Then I moved over to the stationary bike and did the same thing.  I fiddled with the resistance to keep my HR right around the boundary between UT2 and UT1.



Now I am at the airport in Incheon waiting for my flight.  I fly to Dallas, and then connect to Boston, getting in at 11pm local time.

I will try to squeeze in a short row, either open water, or on the erg on Friday, but we have house guests so I’m not sure if it will happen.


Korea Day 2 – Another modified Marathon Plan session

Today’s workout was planned as:

M2 3 x 20′ / 2′ MP, 10KP, HMP 90.0% (167)

No rowing machine, so I used an elliptical trainer.

I usually do endurance stuff on an elliptical at a resistance of 15 (on a 1 to 25 scale), so I decided I would try doing the first 20′ at 15, then move it up to 19 for the 10kp, and back to 17 for the hmp.

I would watch HR and if it looked like I was way off track, I’d adjust.  it turned ut I didn’t need to.  The settings worked out great.



Compare this to the same session on the erg.

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Just a little bit lower intensity today, but it didn’t feel like it!  Man it was humid again.  The sweat was flowing freely.  While I was waiting for the elevator back to my room, a lady walked over to the elevators, took one look at me dripping in front of the elevator doors, and turned and walked away!

Tomorrow:  Easy session.  Probably 2×30/2′

I catch a plane tomorrow afternoon.  I’m very eager to get back home again.  This was a short trip, but I’m kind of worn out.


Marathon Training – Korean Style

I’m in Seoul, staying at the JW Marriott.  The hotel has a fantastic fitness club, it has tons of treadmills, stair climbers (some with real stairs), banks of those machines with straps that vigorously vibrate your muscles, machines that you stand on that wiggle to and fro, and the famous electric horse.  But no rowing machine.

The training plan called for this session…

M1 4 x 15′ / 4′ 6′ @ 5KP, 9′ @ MP 92.5% (172)

Often when I travel, I just use the fitness center and do maintenance type aerobic training.  But since I’m on the road a lot, and I have less than a month to my race, I thought it would be better to try to replicate the HR response of this workout, even if it wouldn’t be on a rowing machine.

Here’s the HR response of this workout in a boat.  I was pretty happy with this workout at the time.

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So, on a treadmill, the objective would be to get my HR up into the TR zone reasoably quickly during the 6′ portion of the piece, and then slow down enough so that my HR settled into the high UT1 or LT range.

On the treadmill, I decided to set the incline to a 5% grade.  This would hopefully allow me to work my lungs harder and put less strain on my knees.  During the first interval I did the fast bit at 10km/h, and the slow bit at 7km/h.  In the subsequent intervals, I slowed down by about 0.5km/h for each one to try to fine tune my HR.

It was pretty hard work.  The gym was a reasonable temperature, but quite humid.  The treadmill was drenched by the end, and so was I.


It took a little while for my HR to climb in the first interval, but after that, I think it worked out pretty well.  I certainly was praying for the end of each 6′ piece and the time was crawling.

During the rests, I set the incline to zero and walked at about 5km/h.

Tomorrow:  I will attempt to adapt this workout

M2 3 x 20′ / 2′ MP, 10KP, HMP 90.0% (167)

To the elliptical trainer.

The goal is to have it look like this…

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Catching up and slowing down

Wow.  I haven’t posted since last Monday.  It’s been a busy week.

If you recall, Monday’s workout was terrible.

6/20 – Tuesday:  The plan called for a massive workout…

M2 3 x 30′ / 3′ MP, 10KP, MP 90.0% (167)

I was up late on Monday night and slept in instead of trying to go on the water.  I thought I could do the workout on the erg later in the day when my schedule was freer.  I was wrong.

It ended up that I didn’t have time to do the whole workout, so I thought I would change it to be 20′ @ MP, 30′ @ 10kp and 20′ @ MP.

I had hopes that my workout on Monday was just a fluke, so i set out with aggressive power targets.  200W for MP, and 230 for 10KP.

I didn’t last.

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I did the first 20 minutes per plan, but my HR was too high and I was struggling.  I backed off the 10KP to the bottom of the power range (210W), but I busted through the HR cap within about 8 minutes and was flailing around and struggling for breath.  I handled down.  I tried to start again, and HD’ed again.  I decided to just paddle it out to 20 minutes and then pack it in for the day.

Workout Summary - media/20170620-183745-sled_2017-06-20T13-28-55ZEDT.strokes.csv
Workout Details
01|01791|07:00.0|01:57.3|218.1|23.5|158.6|168.0|10.9 -HD
02|02834|12:07.4|02:08.3|179.2|21.1|160.4|166.0|11.1 - paddle it out

Very Frustrating.

6/21 – Wednesday:  Tuesday night I was up late yet again.  Again, I decided that missing sleep to row was a bad call.  But on Wednesday, in an attempt to find my bliss, I left work a bit early, blew off the training plan and just went rowing.  The goal to keep my HR under 150 and just enjoy being out in the sunshine.

It was glorious.  It was quite windy, and there was a lot of kayaks and canoes out on the river.  I haven’t had a chance to upload the speedcoach data, all I have handy is the RIM data, without HR.

It was slow, both because of the breeze, and also because of the HR cap.  I am still getting used to the new oars.  This was a very nice, easy way to get some strokes in.

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Workout Summary - media/20170625-222721-89865o.csv


6/22 – Thursday:  I was up until 1:30AM on Wednesday night, getting my car packed.  We are getting the house down on the cape ready for visitors.  I slept until 7 and rushed off to work.  I was going to take Thursday as a rest day.  I was due for a rest day.  I worked until around 4 and then headed off to the cape.  The traffic was horrifying.  I didn’t get there until 7:30!

6/23 – Friday:  Open water rowing seems to be a probabilistic endeavor.  The tides are really big right now, so I wanted to avoid low tide, which was just before am.

Screen Shot 2017-06-25 at 7.17.29 PM

So, I slept in and I thought I would go in the early afternoon.  That’s when the wind changed my plans.

Screen Shot 2017-06-25 at 6.38.43 PM.png

Around noon, the wind just started building, and building.  By seven pm the sustained wind speed was over 40 mph with gusts nearing 50.

Instead, I got busy with a bunch of work around the house.  The most involved of these chores was repairing the bottom 8 steps of the stairs down to the beach.  The bottom 3 or 4 steps are actually submerged at high tide and they take a terrific beating during the winter.  On Friday, I jacked up and braced the stairs, fixed the handrails, and fixed 4 steps.  The steps I’m talking about are the ones below that final platform you can see at the end of stairs in this picture.

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There was a bit of aerobic benefit from going up and down the stairs about 6 times, but beyond that, there was no training on Friday.

6/24 – Saturday:

Again, I was hoping for a late morning row.  But again, the weather did not cooperate.

In the morning, when I got up, the wind was blowing and the sky was grey and angry.  It got steadily worse.  The weather log tells the story.

The wind howled overnight, with gusts up to 50mph.  The wind stayed up above 30 mph all morning and there was intermittent rain.  Right around 11:00, dark storm clouds rolled in across the water and the sky opened up.  It rained hard for about an hour.  During that hour I decided to erg.  When I came back upstairs, the sky was clearing, the wind was dropping, and I had other stuff that needed to get done.

Screen Shot 2017-06-25 at 6.48.25 PM

The session was an easy one.

3 x 20′ / 1′ rest @ 180.

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This went better than the workouts earlier in the week, but was still a sweaty slog.  I guess the 90% humidity took a bit of a toll.  I had to back off in the last interval to keep my HR below 155.

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Workout Summary - media/20170624-1825210o.csv
Workout Details

6/25 – Sunday:  This morning I was up early-ish because I wanted to get a quick session in before I headed off to the airport.

2 x 40’/1′ rest @ 180.

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Workout Summary - media/20170625-1255220o.csv
Workout Details


So now I am on a plane to Tokyo, then connecting to Korea.  I’ll be there through Thursday.  It’s a challenge to maintain a training plan with summer vacations and work travel.  I just have to play it by ear, be flexible and try to focus on having some fun with it.


Monday: 4×15’/4′ (9′ @ 5kp, 6′ @ mp) – Some days suck

We got home last night after 11pm, and I didn’t get to sleep until after midnight.  So I decided to sleep until 7 and do my planned workout on the erg instead of getting up at 5:15 to do it on the water.

I had a 90 minute window in my schedule from 11 to 12:30, so I dashed off to the gym to get it done.

The plan..

M1 4 x 15′ / 4′ 9′ @ 5KP, 6′ @ MP 92.5% (172)

Power targets

  • 5kp –> 225 to 240W (stretch goal 250 today)
  • mp –> 180 to 195W (stretch goal 200 today)

I thought it was OK during the first interval, but by the time I was a couple minutes into the second interval, I knew I was in deep, deep trouble.  I hung on to hit targets in the second interval, and then reset my target for the next one to be 240/190.

This turned out to be too little too late.  I blew up about halfway through the 9′ piece.  In the past, I have pushed this harder and gone into the anaerobic zone, but that seemed pretty dumb, and I was really in some distress.

I handled down for a few seconds then tried to spin back up at around 225 watts.  That didn’t work out so good.  I handled down again, and decided to just finish the rest of the 9′ piece at a marathon power.

This left me with some thinking to do during the 4 minute rest.  I thought about packing it in, but that seemed to be the coward’s way out.  I knew that I wouldn’t make it through the 9′ piece at any “reasonable” power.  I came up with a brilliant plan.  I would row at 225W until my HR went above the 172 bpm cap.  Then I would drop down to marathon power and finish the 9′ and the following 6′ at that power.

It was highly unpleasant, but it worked.

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Workout Summary - media/20170619-204125-sled_2017-06-19T10-54-44ZEDT.strokes.csv
Workout Details


M2 3 x 30′ / 3′ MP, 10KP, MP 90.0% (167)

Hopefully on the water.  This might be a bit of challenge because it’s a 90 minute workout.

Power targets

  • 10kp: 184 to 197W
  • mp: 158-171W

2 x 40 / 2′ (mp)

The wind was blowing hard today.  Around 20mph with gusts to 25 in the morning and 35 with gusts to 40 in the afternoon.  The water looked very angry.

I decided to erg. 😦

The plan:

M3 2 x 40′ / 4′ MP or slower 75.0% (140)

I decided to row to a HR cap of 155 instead of 140.

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Workout Summary - media/20170618-1950210o.csv
Workout Details

Felt very easy.


M1 4 x 15′ / 4′ 9′ @ 5KP, 6′ @ MP 92.5% (172)


Friday: 3 x 20′ (7′ @ 5kp, 13′ @ mp)

Weather:  Cloudy, mid 60s, light wind, 2-5mph from the south.  There were some stronger gusts towards the end of the workout.  This was a headwind going up river.


M1 3 x 20′ / 5′ 7′ @ 5KP, 13′ @ MP 92.5% (172)
  • Target power:
    • 5kp: 197-210W
    • mp: 158-171
  • modifications:
    • 20′ intervals are 6 minutes too long for the river, so I planned to just turn where required.  I didn’t add any additional time to the intervals since my HR really doesn’t go down much in the turn

I felt a bit tired when I got up.  This was the fourth session in a row, although one day was only 40 minutes.

I decided to stick with the plan and just ease up if necessary.  It ended up not being necessary.

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Workout Summary - media/20170616-145439-Greg Smith 20170616 0629amo.csv
Workout Details
01|01613|07:00.0|02:10.2|213.4|24.9|158.8|167.0|09.2 -5kp
02|01169|05:30.0|02:21.1|176.8|19.9|158.4|166.0|10.7 -mp->turn
03|01363|06:49.8|02:30.4|167.3|19.6|157.3|162.0|10.2 -mp
04|01057|04:60.0|02:22.0|215.4|24.3|160.4|168.0|08.7 -5kp->turn
05|00349|01:31.8|02:11.6|199.3|23.9|165.1|168.0|09.5 -5kp
06|02353|11:16.2|02:23.7|165.6|19.6|162.3|168.0|10.6 -mp->turn
07|00192|00:54.0|02:20.4|181.1|21.3|161.8|164.0|10.0 -mp
08|01461|07:00.0|02:23.8|200.5|24.2|165.7|173.0|08.6 -5kp
09|02475|12:42.0|02:34.0|166.6|20.7|167.9|173.0|09.4 -mp

This was my first row with a new pair of oars.  I bought a pair of smoothie2, vortex edge skinnies so that I could leave my fat2s down at the cape with my open water boat.

Here are a few metrics plots from this workout.

  • Drive length and effective length consistent and a bit longer than prior workouts
  • Lots of variation in WPS and power. Does that mean I need to work on consistency?
  • Power and WPS for the r24 (5kp) chunk of the row. (plotted by excluding all strokes lower than r22 and all strokes with WPS below 450)
  • Power and WPS for the r20 part of the row. (plotted by excluding all strokes higher than r22, and rest strokes, and all strokes with WPS below 450)

I was very pleased with the workout, and the new oars.  More about that later.

Today I am taking a rest day.  Tomorrow, I am planning a long open water row, weather permitting.

Wednesday: 2 x 20′ (10kp,hmp)

No time for a session in the morning, and none of the windows I had in the day were big enough to accommodate the planned workout, which was 86 minutes long.

By the time, I came up for breath, it was 5:30 pm, and I really wanted to workout, but I also didn’t want to be too late going home.  The original plan was

M2 4 x 20′ / 2′ MP, 10KP, HMP, MP 90.0% (167)

I decided to just do the two harder chunks in  the middle for a 4 minute workout.

It didn’t work out so well.  My HR was high and I my RPE was through the roof.  I HD’ed in the second piece.

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Workout Summary - media/20170614-2220190o.csv
Workout Details

I did push the power a little beyond the target band, but it was the same powers as I used in a session last week (mp,10kp,hmp).  Here’s a comparison of my HR in the two sessions.

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Oh well, at least I did some training!


Tuesday: 4×15’/4′ (7′ @ 5kp, 8′ @ mp)

Monday:  I was tired and sore in the morning after my 3 hour row on Sunday.  I took an unplanned rest day.

Tuesday:  Hot!  75F at 6am.  Humid.  Light breeze, which increased from nothing to about 5mph over the course of the workout.  This was a cross/head wind coming up river.


  • 4 x 15′ intervals
    • 7′ at 5kp
    • 8′ at mp
  • 4 minute rests
  • Target power
    • 5kp: 197-210W
    • mp: 158-171W
  • Modifications:
    • To fit river length, shorten the 8′ intervals as needed

This was a good workout.  I was on the edge of failure in the last interval and the interval power came down in each rep, but I maintained good effective length throughout.

myimage (46)

So, I should have spent 28 minutes at or above 5kp.  Total was 26:20.

Interval detail shows that I missed the power targets (barely) in the last interval.  I think these are a bit harsh because the power is dramatically under reported in the turns to port.  (toward the oarlock side)  The power is over reported on turns to starboard, but I don’t think it’s as drastic.  At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

Workout Summary - media/20170613-135530-Greg Smith 20170613 0639amo.csv
Workout Details

After the last 7 minute piece at 5kp, I “handled down” for a moment and then started back up again.  I kinda pushed the end of that bit really hard.

A few metrics for fun.

  • Power in the MP intervals.  Reasonably consistent, except for the handle down at the beginning of the fourth one.
  • Power in the 5kp intervals, shows a slow fade as I fatigue
  • Power and WPS vs stroke rate.  Shows a consistent WPS between r20 and r24.  Also shows a bit tighter grouping of stroke rate at the higher rate too.
  • Drive length and effective length are both reasonably consistent across the whole row.  I was really focused on that today and I think it was a good thing to do.

I was really spent after the last piece.  I consumed an entire 1 liter bottle of water during the row.  For the cool down, I rowed with feet out about 1km back to the dock.  Maybe it was just fatigue and oxygen deprivation, but I felt like my finishes were beautiful!

Tomorrow: I have an appointment at 7 tomorrow morning, so i will have try to squeeze in an erg session sometime during the day.

M2 4 x 20′ / 2′ MP, 10KP, HMP, MP 90.0% (167)