Monday: Equipment Problems Mar Threshold Session

Weather:  Cold (35-40F).  Thick mist rising off the warm lake water.  Light wind from the north, maybe 5mph.  Damn near pitch black when we launched.  Between the mist and the darkness, it was a tough day to be steering the boat.  I felt bad for Joe, he was looking around almost every stroke, trying to pick out dim bow lights in the gloom.


  • Warm up to north end of the lake including a few power 10s and 20s
  • 5.8km from North end of the lake to the south end, finishing with a broad turn back to finish around the beach.
    • r26
    • pace: ~2:15
  • Cool down and drills back to the boathouse


It started off well enough.  It was cold and damp when we launched and as soon as we got out onto the lake, we noticed the light breeze from the north.  It was enough to make something bigger than ripples, but smaller than waves.

We did 2 10s and one 20 on the way up to the north end of the lake and spun around to head south again.  We got up to speed over about 5 strokes and then settled into a nice rhythm at 26 spm.  The boat was moving pretty well.  We about 1500 meters into the piece, when I hear a big THWANG! from my port oarlock.  I look out and the backstay is flapping around and there is no bolt on the top of the pin holding the oarlock in place.  We paddle in to the dock from there and scrounge up some spacers and a new bolt to get it all repaired.  On the map below, the red arrow is the scene of the crime.


So, now we need a new plan.  I thought it would make sense to go from the route 9 bridge down to the islands, do the same broad turn, and then take it all the way back up the lake back to the bridge.  I figure that this would be almost 6km, so a pretty good approximation of the original plan.

Off we go.   We paddle to the bridge and then take it up to r26.  Again, the boat is moving pretty well.  We surge down lake, and along the way, Joe points out a big inflatable boat-like object drifting unoccupied on the other side of the lake.  Well, that’s another thing to keep our eyes open for, now isn’t it.  We continue down through the narrows, and past the first island.  Joe lines us up for the beginning of the turn and we blast along the south shore of the big island.  We are in pea soup fog at this point, and about to cross the uplake channel, so Joe start’s shouting “Look Ahead!” as loud as he can, just in case there is a boat hidden in the murk.  As fortune would have it, there wasn’t and we zipped across the lane and around the outside of the smaller island and finished the turn.  We were just settling back in for the rest of the journey up lake, when THWANG!, Joe’s port back stay is flapping in the breeze and he has no top bolt on his oarlock anymore.  We assessed the situation, Joe grabbed the spacers off the top of the pin, so we didn’t lose them overboard, and we picked back up the pace once again.  I imagine that it would have been a bit nerve wracking for Joe, because one bad finish and his oarlock would have sailed off the top of the pin, but he rowed clean and no disasters happened.  In fact, after he spotted the drifting inflatable, and the fog cleared a bit, we managed some of the cleanest and fastest rowing we did during the whole session.

In the map below, the arrow shows where the second backstay let go.

Screen Shot 2016-09-26 at 11.35.22 AM.png

We fixed the backstay when we got to the dock, and I checked the tightness of the top bolts on all of the oarlocks. (Something I obviously should have done when I fixed the first one!, Doooh!)  There was some good rowing, but all in all, a hugely unsatisfying session.

Here’s HR, pace and rate for the warmup and the first piece.

|Start|Dist_|Time_|_Pace__|_SPM__|avg HR|DPS_|Remarks
|00010|02310|15:04|03:15.7| 17.7 | 126 |08.6|warmup
|02320|01576|07:02|02:13.9| 25.5 | 154 |08.8|rep #1
|03896|00533|07:02|06:35.9| 22.3 | 112 |03.4|busted backstay

|Start|Dist_|Time_|_Pace__|_SPM__|avg HR|DPS_|Remarks
|00000|02310|15:04|03:15.7| 17.7 | 126 |08.6|warmup
|00000|01576|07:02|02:13.9| 25.5 | 154 |08.8|main set
|00000|00533|07:02|06:35.9| 22.3 | 112 |03.4|rests

I felt like we were faster than the shown average, so I did some 250 splits.  We had two slow downs

|02320|00247|01:05|02:11.6| 26.0 | 136 |08.8|
|02567|00251|01:06|02:11.5| 25.3 | 152 |09.0|
|02818|00250|01:08|02:16.0| 25.5 | 155 |08.7|  <—slow down
|03068|00249|01:06|02:12.5| 25.5 | 158 |08.9|
|03317|00252|01:07|02:12.9| 25.5 | 159 |08.9|
|03569|00250|01:08|02:16.0| 25.6 | 160 |08.6| <—Slow down

Here’s the same for the second half.

|Start|Dist_|Time_|_Pace__|_SPM__|avg HR|DPS_|Remarks
|00009|00321|03:32|05:30.2| 07.7 | 090 |11.8|warmup
|00330|03449|15:39|02:16.1| 26.2 | 157 |08.4|rep #2
|03779|00118|00:49|03:27.6| 24.1 | 150 |06.0|busted backstay
|03897|01623|07:13|02:13.4| 27.1 | 161 |08.3|rep #3
|05520|00287|03:06|05:24.0| 20.4 | 124 |04.5|rest

|Start|Dist_|Time_|_Pace__|_SPM__|avg HR|DPS_|Remarks
|00000|00321|03:32|05:30.2| 07.7 | 090 |11.8|warmup
|00000|05072|22:52|02:15.3| 26.5 | 158 |08.4|main set
|00000|00405|03:55|04:50.1| 21.2 | 130 |04.9|rests

Again, I felt like we were faster, so I looked at the splits.

This is the chunk from the bridge, down around the islands and starting back north.

|00348|00500|02:14|02:14.0| 25.6 | 142 |08.7|
|00848|00501|02:17|02:16.7| 25.6 | 152 |08.6|<— Not sure what slowed us down here.
|01349|00497|02:15|02:15.8| 25.8 | 156 |08.6|
|01846|00504|02:16|02:14.9| 26.4 | 159 |08.4|
|02350|00500|02:16|02:16.0| 26.4 | 162 |08.4|
|02850|00496|02:17|02:18.1| 27.2 | 165 |08.0| <—Main part of the turn
|03346|00391|01:47|02:16.8| 26.4 | 164 |08.3|

|03850|00497|02:18|02:18.8| 26.2 | 152 |08.2|<—trying to see if it worked with no bolt
|04347|00502|02:13|02:12.5| 27.2 | 162 |08.3|
|04849|00500|02:12|02:12.0| 27.2 | 166 |08.3|
|05349|00171|00:44|02:08.7| 28.5 | 169 |08.2|<—big 20 to finish

So, the plan was for 5800m of threshold, we got 6500m of threshold, but in 3 pieces with long rests.

Tomorrow:  The weather is supposed to be terrible, so I think I will do a 4×20 steady state session on the erg at work.


Friday: 4 x ( 5 x 2′ hard / 30″ paddle) / 3′ rest (2x)

Thursday:  I felt very tired when the alarm went off at 5:15am.  I hit the snooze button and slept in.  I took it as a rest day.

Weather:  Incredible, again.  Flat water.  nice temperature.  What an amazing fall it’s been.

I was out in Worcester again this morning for another hard session with Joe.  Today, the objective was to work on our technique and synchronization at race rate and pressure.


  • 4 sets of  5 x 2′ hard / 30″ paddle
  • 3 or 4 minutes between sets
  • rate: 24/26/28/26/24 in each set
  • pace: ~2:15
  • technique:  work on blade depth and cleaner finishes

First we did a 2K warmup to the north end of the lake.  In the warmup up we did a couple of power 10s and one power 20 to get a taste of what was to come.

We set up and started from the North end.  The first set of five we enthusiastic, but a bit ragged in terms of technique.  Joe also needed to do a hell of a lot of looking around, so he felt like he could really get in a good groove.  It was still very dark and there were quite a few eights out on the water with pitifully dim lights.  He was rightfully concerned that we might plow right into one.

The first set finished up a bit south of the bridge, so we did a quick loop to make sure we wouldn’t run out of lake in the second set.  The second set was much better in terms of technique, but a bit slower.  The last two pieces in this set were a bit shaky.

Then we paddled the rest of the way to the south end of the lake, and set up for the third set.  From the first two sets, I think we both had a better idea of a sustainable level of pressure and could focus a bit more on technique.  The r28 rep in this set was especially crisp.  The 2nd to last rep of this set was a bit ragged, but the last rep at r24 was much better.

This set finished a bit south of the Rt 9 Bridge.  We took a bit shorter rest here and got into the last set.  The first rep finished under the bridge.  The next two were good, and then the end was in sight.  The 2nd to last at r26 was not memorable, but the last one at r24 started right in front of the QRA docks.  This time of day, there is always a bunch of people there, so I could feel myself sitting up straighter and really concentrating on nailing every single stroke.  It ended up being just about as fast as the very first rep we did at the beginning of the workout.  Amazing what pridefulness can inspire…

On the way back to the dock we worked on a bit of square blade rowing.  We did some alternating square and feathered (I love doing that!), and then some sets of 5 and 10 square blade strokes at a time.  This was a mess at the start, but we improved a lot over about a 1000 meters.  We went straight from rowing on the square into a couple of power 20s, and they felt great!  Some of the best, crispest stroke we took all day.  I think we have to do some rowing on the square in our warmups from now on.

Looking at the splits for the different rates is interesting.

  • r24: 2:15.1
  • r26: 2:14.2
  • r28: 2:11.8

I was expecting to see a bit more speedup from 24 to 26.  I think that might be because we had r24 reps for the very first and very last reps, so they were a bit faster.  Still, since r26 is most likely our go to pace for head races, we have to do some more work on efficiency at that rate.

| Tstart_ | Dist_ | Time_ | _Pace_ | SPM_ | avgHR | _DPS___ | Remarks
| 00:00.0 | 02424 | 16:00 | 3:18.0 | 15.2 | 120.6 | 10.0 | warming up
| 16:00.0 | 00464 | 02:00 | 2:09.3 | 24.4 | 149.7 | 09.5 |
| 18:00.0 | 00095 | 00:30 | 2:37.9 | 22.0 | 159.1 | 08.6 |
| 18:30.0 | 00464 | 02:00 | 2:09.3 | 26.2 | 161.9 | 08.8 |
| 20:30.0 | 00088 | 00:29 | 2:44.8 | 23.1 | 164.8 | 07.9 |
| 20:59.0 | 00467 | 02:01 | 2:09.6 | 28.0 | 164.0 | 08.3 |
| 23:00.0 | 00088 | 00:30 | 2:50.5 | 23.1 | 166.7 | 07.6 |
| 23:30.0 | 00455 | 02:00 | 2:11.9 | 26.4 | 164.5 | 08.6 |
| 25:30.0 | 00090 | 00:30 | 2:46.7 | 23.2 | 167.2 | 07.8 |
| 26:00.0 | 00452 | 02:00 | 2:12.7 | 24.8 | 165.4 | 09.1 |
| 28:00.0 | 00436 | 04:30 | 5:09.6 | 21.8 | 124.6 | 04.5 |
| 32:30.0 | 00452 | 02:00 | 2:12.7 | 24.9 | 147.1 | 09.1 |
| 34:30.0 | 00089 | 00:30 | 2:48.5 | 23.0 | 160.3 | 07.8 |
| 35:00.0 | 00450 | 01:59 | 2:12.2 | 26.3 | 162.9 | 08.6 |
| 36:59.0 | 00092 | 00:31 | 2:48.5 | 23.8 | 166.3 | 07.5 |
| 37:30.0 | 00449 | 02:00 | 2:13.6 | 28.1 | 164.8 | 08.0 |
| 39:30.0 | 00087 | 00:30 | 2:52.4 | 24.0 | 168.4 | 07.3 |
| 40:00.0 | 00438 | 02:00 | 2:17.0 | 26.4 | 166.1 | 08.3 |
| 42:00.0 | 00088 | 00:30 | 2:50.5 | 24.4 | 168.4 | 07.2 |
| 42:30.0 | 00426 | 02:00 | 2:20.8 | 24.6 | 165.7 | 08.6 |
| 44:30.0 | 00563 | 05:00 | 4:26.4 | 20.2 | 128.9 | 05.6 |
| 49:30.0 | 00444 | 01:59 | 2:14.0 | 24.7 | 149.0 | 09.0 |
| 51:29.0 | 00093 | 00:31 | 2:46.7 | 23.7 | 160.8 | 07.6 |
| 52:00.0 | 00447 | 02:00 | 2:14.2 | 26.3 | 160.6 | 08.5 |
| 54:00.0 | 00086 | 00:30 | 2:54.4 | 24.3 | 164.5 | 07.1 |
| 54:30.0 | 00454 | 02:00 | 2:12.2 | 28.7 | 165.3 | 07.9 |
| 56:30.0 | 00083 | 00:30 | 3:00.7 | 24.5 | 169.8 | 06.8 |
| 57:00.0 | 00427 | 02:00 | 2:20.5 | 26.9 | 164.6 | 07.9 |
| 59:00.0 | 00080 | 00:29 | 3:01.2 | 24.7 | 165.7 | 06.7 |
| 59:29.0 | 00438 | 02:01 | 2:18.1 | 25.0 | 163.9 | 08.7 |
| 01:30.0 | 00258 | 03:00 | 5:48.8 | 19.8 | 131.8 | 04.4 |
| 04:30.0 | 00428 | 02:00 | 2:20.2 | 24.6 | 149.0 | 08.7 |
| 06:30.0 | 00096 | 00:30 | 2:36.3 | 24.6 | 161.2 | 07.8 |
| 07:00.0 | 00446 | 02:00 | 2:14.5 | 27.1 | 161.3 | 08.2 |
| 09:00.0 | 00081 | 00:30 | 3:05.2 | 24.4 | 165.2 | 06.6 |
| 09:30.0 | 00455 | 02:00 | 2:11.9 | 29.1 | 166.1 | 07.8 |
| 11:30.0 | 00084 | 00:30 | 2:58.6 | 25.0 | 170.5 | 06.7 |
| 12:00.0 | 00443 | 01:59 | 2:14.3 | 26.8 | 166.8 | 08.3 |
| 13:59.0 | 00086 | 00:31 | 3:00.2 | 24.6 | 170.6 | 06.8 |
| 14:30.0 | 00448 | 02:00 | 2:13.9 | 25.2 | 169.7 | 08.9 |
| 16:30.0 | 02355 | 18:21 | 3:53.8 | 24.2 | 134.4 | 05.3 |

| Tstart_ | Dist_ | Time_ | _Pace_ | SPM_ | avgHR | _DPS___ | Remarks
| 00:00.0 | 02424 | 16:00 | 3:18.0 | 15.2 | 120.6 | 10.0 |warm up
| 00:00.0 | 02663 | 20:31 | 3:51.1 | 21.9 | 142.7 | 05.9 | rests
| 00:00.0 | 02355 | 18:21 | 3:53.8 | 24.2 | 134.4 | 05.3 | cool down
| 00:00.0 | 03552 | 16:00 | 2:15.1 | 24.8 | 157.5 | 09.0 | r24 pieces
| 00:00.0 | 03570 | 15:58 | 2:14.2 | 26.6 | 163.6 | 08.4 | r26 pieces
| 00:00.0 | 01825 | 08:01 | 2:11.8 | 28.5 | 165.0 | 08.0 | r28 pieces

Wednesday: Twisty 4 x 2k / 4′ rest (2x)

Weather:  Awesome.  Sunrise is at 6:33am, so when we launched at 5:40 it was still very dark.  The eastern sky was just starting to lighten up.  No wind.  Clear skies.  Flat water.

In the race last weekend, one of our week points was maintaining speed and technique during the big sweeping turns.  Today’s workout was designed to try to practice that.  In the south end of the lake, there are a set of small islands and the lake is much wider.  I looked at it compared the turn radius that you need to hold for the big turn on the charles before the Eliot Bridge.  The inset in the map below is the Eliot turn.  The rest of the map is the south end of Lake Quinsigamond at exactly the same scale.  By doing a figure 8 around the little island on the eastern side of the lake, it is a similar turn to two Eliot Bridge turns in opposite directions.  If you start and finish at the small island to the north, it’s about 2000m.



  • 4 x 2000m
  • 3′ to 5′ rest
  • spm: 24-28
  • pace: faster than 2:20
  • technique:  try to avoid digging too deep.  Clean up finishes.  work on maintaining speed in the turn.

It turned out to be a very hard workout!  I’m not sure about Joe, but it nearly killed me.  I was a bit lightheaded and woozy for a while after we landed.

Here’s the whole thing on a map.  The boathouse is on the top, and we warmed up going down lake to the little island next to the google maps red “pin”.  Then there are four loops around the islands.  Then a cool down going back up to the boathouse.

Screen Shot 2016-09-21 at 3.07.07 PM.png

Here is a zoom of each of the four loops.

As we went along, Joe got more and more comfortable with the best line around the small island.  The biggest difference was from rep number 2 to rep number 3.  In Reps 1 and two we lost a ton of boat speed at the apex of the turn.  You can see the divot in the pace plot.  In rep #1, the pace was killed around the 3000m point, and we slowed all the way to a 2:42 pace.  We only got back our boat speed in the last 400m or so.  In rep #2, we still lost speed at the apex of the curve, and the pace dropped to 2:33, but we managed to get back on track sooner.  In rep #3, the pace never got worse than 2:27 and we held boat speed through the whole back half of the turn.  By the fourth rep, I was toast.  I rated lower and rowed like crap.

The piece splits back that up.  Rep #2 had a furious sprint at the end at 30 spm, but was still slower overall than the third rep.

|Start|Dist_|Time_|_Pace__|_SPM__|avg HR|DPS_|Remarks
|00010|01990|10:45|02:42.1| 17.7 | 131 |10.5|warmup
|02000|01999|09:39|02:24.8| 26.6 | 162 |07.8|rep #1
|03999|00251|03:28|06:54.3| 18.1 | 126 |04.0|rest
|04250|02000|09:13|02:18.3| 28.1 | 166 |07.7|rep #2
|06250|00500|06:04|06:04.0| 13.9 | 129 |06.0|rest
|06750|01928|08:51|02:17.7| 27.2 | 170 |08.0|rep #3
|08678|00341|04:27|06:31.5| 26.2 | 130 |02.9|rest
|09019|02001|09:47|02:26.7| 26.0 | 168 |07.9|Rep #4
|11020|02171|13:56|03:12.5| 20.7 | 146 |07.5|cool down
|Start|Dist_|Time_|_Pace__|_SPM__|avg HR|DPS_|Remarks
|00000|01990|10:45|02:42.1| 17.7 | 131 |10.5|warmup
|00000|07928|37:30|02:21.9| 26.9 | 166 |07.9|main set
|00000|01092|13:59|06:24.2| 18.8 | 129 |04.1|rests
|00000|02171|13:56|03:12.5| 20.7 | 146 |07.5|cool down


I’d call that about 38′ of HIT and 37′ of LIT.

Tomorrow:  75′ steady state in my single down in Newton.


Monday: Head Race Piece on Quinsig in a 2x

Weather:  A bit chilly, around 50F.  Clear skies, but a low mist was rising from the lake.  This effected Joe a lot more than me because he had to make sure we didn’t hit anything or any body.  There was a very light breeze which seemed to mostly come out of the north, which was a slight tail wind.  Looking at weather stations near the lake, they show no wind at all.


  • Warmup to the north end of the lake
  • Hard 5.5km from the north end of the lake to the south end.
    • rate: 26
    • pace: better than 2:15
  • Cool down and a few power pieces back to the dock.

We launched around 5:40 and the sky was just starting to lighten up in the east.  We headed north at an easy 18 spm and got warmed up.  We were in the club’s Vespoli 2x, which I think is a better boat for us.  My foot position was also a bit better.  I had more room at the finish and I like my catch position.  I was still coming down hard on the track ends, so I need to remember by bite guards.

We spun up at the north end and then started the piece.  The intent was to simulate a head race at our target rate and race pressure.  I wanted to make sure that we had some time trying to row hard while carrying a lot of fatigue before we raced next weekend.

I liked this boat a lot more.  I felt like I was getting good strokes in, and there were sections where the boat really felt like it was moving very well.  Probably the best section was during the last third of the piece.  When we passed the first island past the narrows, the boat just seemed to get a lot lighter and we were in very good synchronization.

Here is a comparison of our strokes in the first 1000, when we were fresh, but the boat felt a bit heavier and the “magic” section.

I specifically tried to pick out single strokes to avoid any averaging.  The thing that jumps out at me is that we had better finishes in the magic section.  The hump between 0.8 and 1.0 sec is lower.  The acceleration is still sloping up to a peak right before the finish, and I’ve changed my mind to say that it’s probably OK.  In the boat, when we are running well, I can feel the surge late in the leg drive and through the body swing.  It makes sense that it takes more of the stroke to accelerate a heavier boat and two rowers than a single.  The thing that we have to work on is consistency.  Hopefully a couple of rows per week between now and the HOCR, we can lock it in.

This was a much better piece that the one we did on Friday.   The avg pace was 2:14.4, and a fair amount of the time, we were hovering around 2:10.  We would have done even better, if we hadn’t been waked about 500m from the end.  That slowed us down a bit and we struggled to get back up to speed for the last bit of the piece.

On the way back up lake, we took it easy all the way up through the narrows and then did 4 sets of 20 on/10 off.  Then to cap it off we did a 30 stroke piece after we got past the rt9 bridge.

|Start|Dist_|Time_|_Pace__|_SPM__|avg HR|DPS_|Remarks
|00020|02330|13:16|02:50.8| 18.2 | 129 |09.6|warmup
|02350|05502|24:39|02:14.4| 26.2 | 164 |08.5|hard 5.5k
|07852|02046|12:52|03:08.7| 24.1 | 136 |06.6|rowing light
|09898|01349|06:27|02:23.4| 25.7 | 154 |08.1|20 on 10 off
|11247|00239|00:57|01:59.2| 28.9 | 160 |08.7|last 30
|11486|00251|03:08|06:14.5| 24.4 | 122 |03.3|back to dock

|Start|Dist_|Time_|_Pace__|_SPM__|avg HR|DPS_|Remarks
|00000|02330|13:16|02:50.8| 18.2 | 129 |09.6|warmup
|00000|06851|31:06|02:16.2| 26.1 | 162 |08.4|main set
|00000|02046|12:52|03:08.7| 24.1 | 136 |06.6|rests
|00000|00490|04:05|04:10.0| 25.5 | 131 |04.7|cool down

It was so pretty this morning when we landed I could resist taking a few pictures.

Tomorrow:  Back in my single on the Charles for a long and slow endurance session.  r20 and HR cap at 155.



Saturday: Tough Threshold work on Quinsig

Weather:  Warm, starting in the low 70s and climbing.  Wind was gusty, swinging randomly around from the south to the west.  Average wind was around 4 mph with gusts above 6.  There was a fair amount of chop on the lake.  There were also lots of power boats.


  • Warmup by heading to the north end of the lake (~2K)
  • 2 x 5.5K
  • 5′ rest
  • pace target: 2:20
  • rate: start at 22 for 2k, then to 24 for 2k then to 26 for the last 1.5K

02225_|_1404_|_06:40_|_2:22.3_|_152___|_22.8_|_09.2_|_157___|_head down lake
04476_|_2134_|_10:05_|_2:21.7_|_253___|_25.1_|_08.4_|_168___|_rest of lake
06796_|_5724_|_27:19_|_2:23.2_|_669___|_24.5_|_08.6_|_165___|_full lake
12520_|_2246_|_14:22_|_3:11.9_|_265___|_18.4_|_08.5_|_139___|_feet out

09262_|_44:04_|_2:22.7_|_1074___|_24.4_|_08.6_|_165___|_Main set
01102_|_07:30_|_3:24.2_|_122___|_16.3_|_09.0_|_139___|_rest meters
02246_|_14:22_|_3:11.9_|_265___|_18.4_|_08.5_|_139___|_cool down

What an adventure.

The warmup was reasonably uneventful.  I launched and headed up lake.  The wind was behind me and I was cruising along nicely.  I pushed the pace a little until my heart rate was well up in the UT1 range, then backed off to save myself for the main event.

The plan was to do two complete lengths of the lake, 11k in total at a pace a bit slower than head race pace.  To try to conserve energy, I planned to start at 22spm, and then push the rate up to 24 after 2K, then again up to 26 after another 2k.

This plan lasted until my encounter with the new police boat on the lake.  This is a truly magnificent police boat.  Apparently a surplus open ocean patrol boat from the coast guard.  It’s big and I learned the hard way that it throws a massive wake.

I was pushing hard into the head wind.  At first, in the relatively sheltered north end of the lake, I was doing OK around 2:20 pace, but slowed considerably in the chop and breeze as I got into the second 1000 meters.  Then I saw the police boat over my shoulder.  It passed to my port side, about 40 meters away, and I steered a bit toward the wake to take it straight on my bow.  The wake was huge.  I rolled down either side of my boat, well above the gunwale and completely filled the footwell before it receded to stern.  At first, I thought I would just be brave and muscle on, but the water sloshing around was really bugging me, so I turned into the docks to empty it out.  My pace from the top of the lake to the point I got waked was a 2:22.3.

That part went just fine.  In to the dock. Out of the boat.  All the loose bits out of the boat.  Oars off, lift the boat, drain it out.  Back in the water. Oars back on.  Water bottle and shoes back in the boat.  Get back in the boat.  That is where things went awry.

I stepped into the boat and got my feet strapped in.  At that point, I noticed the dock was just barely beyond my reach to push off.  Oh well, I slowly pulled in my port side oar to push away from the dock.  I had to haul it all the way so that the blade was at the oarlock.  This position was apparently a bit unstable.  I started to push off with my blade tip, and the oar slipped under the side of the dock, and in a heart beat, I was in the water next to my boat wondering what the hell had happened.

So back to square one.  right the boat.  Repeat the drill to get the water out.  Get back in.  Feet in shoes.  Push off and row humbly away.  Very embarrassing.  I paddled out to the proper course and restarted my piece.  The wind must have swung more westerly in this section because the chop was less and my pace was better.  At least it was better until I was waked again about halfway to the narrows.  I got back up to speed and continued to the narrows before I noticed that my speedcoach seemed  to have been stopped during my whole docking/draining/flipping/draining exercise and I had not logged the prior 1000 meters or so.  Dohhh!  I restarted the speedcoach and continued.  Within a few hundred meters, I was waked hard again.  Not enough to swamp me, but enough to make me stop rowing for a couple strokes.  Things were nice and flat for the next 1000m, then another waterskiing boat nailed me with a wake as I was heading into the cove at the south end of the lake.  The last 2K was at a 2:21 pace.  I guess it must have been more of a cross wind than a head wind.

At this point the thought doing another piece just like that one was filling me with dread.  I took a nice rest, a bit longer than 5 minutes and told myself that a nice tail wind would make everything feel much better.  This lie was exposed almost immediately.  The wind was coming just about from exactly sideways, and now I was on the leeward side of the lake, so the chop was bigger.  I gave up on trying to rate down at 22 because it was easier to balance at 24.  It was a real challenge to try to keep my strokes long at the catch because the chop was throwing off my balance.  I was also having trouble finishing clean on some strokes because my oars would come out of the water at different times with the wave action.  Strangely enough, after getting waked 3 times going down lake, I was completely unscathed going uplake for the entire 5700 meters.  I was slower going uplake, with an average pace of 2:23.2.  I blame the chop!

I was very tired by the time I finished the piece at the north end of the lake.  I had a drink, pulled my feet out of the shoes and took it really easy coming back down lake to the dock.  I crawled out of the boat onto the dock.

It wasn’t easy, but I have to say it was a productive session.  Need to get practice in crappy water, and I need lots of minutes at threshold to get ready for head racing.

Sunday: 2 x 1K on Quinsig

Weather:  Sunny, cool (60f), a bit of wind from the West, about 5-10mph.  This was a mostly cross wind, but a little bit to the bow when rowing north, at least I’d like to think so.


  • Warmup
  • Practice Starts
  • 1000m Race Simulation
  • recovery
  • 1000m Hard Interval
  • Cool down

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I guess I’m OK with how things went.  I was hoping for faster times, but with the cross wind and chop, I was having some trouble rowing long.  It was a bit tippy at the catch.  The pace variations were mostly caused by gusts.  Especially the big drop off about 3/4 of the way in to the second 1000m.  In terms of effort, the first one was all out.  The second one, I started out a a bit lower stroke rate, and when things seemed to be going OK, I started pushing harder.

But the main point of today was to dig deep, experience the pain, and carry on.  From that perspective, this was a very good session.  It hurt like hell, but I eased up just a little and carried on.  I have a good idea of what I can do in the race.  target pace is right around 2:00 for the first 500m, and then go for broke in the second half.

While I was doing the 1ks, I noticed that the speedcoach was reading a bit faster than Crewnerd.  I had not recalibrated after reattaching the impeller, and I think it was giving me a couple of seconds on the pace that I was not earning.  So, after I got to top of the lake, I did one final 1K, this time trying to keep the rate around a 26 to do a speedcoach calibration.  To do this, I set up a 1000m piece on Crewnerd, and put the Speedcoach in to calibration mode.  You start them both up, and then you push stop on the speedcoach right when Crewnerd hits zero.  The cal factor ended up being 0.971.  My old cal factor was 0.983.  The change takes away about 1.5 seconds of pace.  Whew.  I feared it was more.

This afternoon, my wife and I are heading off to Cape Cod to celebrate July 4th out in Provincetown.  Tomorrow will be a rest day.  Tuesday, I will do an easy erg session in the afternoon.


Sunday: 6 x 750 / 4′ rest on Quinsig

It was a lovely morning.  Temperature started around 65F and was 75F by the time we finished.  Wind was light from the south, about 2mph with gusts to 5 mph.  It seemed to be strongest during the first 3 intervals (2 with head wind and 1 with tail wind) and then died down.  Very sunny, I was glad I wore a hat.

The plan for today was hard intervals.

  • 6 x 750
  • 4 minute rests
  • standing starts
  • rate:  original plan was to start at 26 and work my way up.  But I changed my plan when I was able to tempt Bob from my club to do the 750s with me.  So, no rate cap.
  • pace:  As close to 2:00 as I could manage without dying
  • technique: Work on getting a clean start, and rowing clean and light.  Try to keep the blades off the water.

When I launched, the HR was working on CrewNerd, but not the Speedcoach.  Then the Crewnerd HR blinked out.  Time for a new battery.

We started with a warmup for about 1500 meters or so.   Some 10 strokes bursts, and then a few practice starts.  Once we were past the narrows, We set up for the first interval.  I setup Crewnerd for the workout.  I guess I must of splashed a bit in my start, because a drop of water strategically hit the crewnerd screen right in the right place to take me to the “Live Tracking” screen.  So, I didn’t have a view of how many meters remained.  Since I was responsible for the interval distance for both me and Bob, I counted out strokes, and when I got to 95, I called it done.  Turns out I stopped about 10 meters short.

Looking at the weather data, it seemed like the wind was very light, but it was hard to get down to target pace.  A 2 mph wind is about 1m/s.  This will add about 3 seconds onto the split.  It felt more like a 6 second adder.

The second interval was unremarkable.  Still the light but pernicious headwind.  And it really hurt!  If the goal of this workout is to provoke the lactate wave, it was certainly doing it’s job.  I felt like I was going to shit myself after this interval.

Now we turned and headed up lake.  By now we had calibrated how much time to leave between us starting so that we would finish just about even.  This ramped up the level of intensity.  The third interval was nice and fast with a bit of tail wind.

The fourth was interrupted at 400m by a gigantic, boat stopping wake.  We picked it back up and did 250m to finish it off after the wake had rolled through.

The fifth and sixth were just damn painful, which was  the point.  To provoke the lactate wave, and push through it.  In each of the last two, the wave hit at about 400m, and I just counted down the strokes to the end.  Each of them took 91 strokes.

From there, we paddled to the north end of the lake, with square blades.  Then we spun, I took my feet out of the shoes and worked on nice clean finishes for the 2500m back to the boathouse.  I was really tired.

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The whole workout, pace and rate, from the speedcoach.

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The fifth and sixth intervals.  I need to remember that the pace gets messed up at 10m per point and use strokes for hard workouts.

Tomorrow:  Steady State rate ladders

A whole boat load of 1′ intervals

Cloudy, calm, upper 50s.  A little bit of a wind from the south picked up while I was rowing.  About 3-4 mph by the tie we finished.

I was out in Worcester on Lake Quinsigamond with my clubmates today.  We had 10 of us.  We boated 2 quads and two singles.  I had cartopped my wonderful, repaired fluid.

Last night I stopped at the hardware store on the way home and picked up some silicone sealant.  I repaired the small leak behind the fin in the parking lot, and then continued my drive home.  Today, the repair was set and there was no water in the stern when I finished.  Tick that item off the list.

The plan was for 1′ intervals.

  • 6 x 1′ on / 1′ off
  • 4 sets with 5′ rest or so between sets
  • Target pace: 2:00
  • Target rate: 30 spm
  • Technique Objective:  Smooth recovery, good catches, smooth acceleration, early finish.

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We were on the water around 7:30 and the lake was beautifully flat.  I did about 2000m of warming up going down lake and then set off on my first set.  In the fourth interval I was waked by a waterskiing boat, but nothing too serious, it just made me miss a coulpe strokes.  The fifth interval took me all the way down to the south end of the lake, so I had to spin and come back north to finish the first set.  I then spun again and hung around until every one was down in the cove and ready to head north.

By the time I finished the 5th interval of the second set, I had just passed the narrows going north.  During the rest between the 5th and 6th interval, I was passed at close range by another waterskiing boat.  I paused the timer during the rest to let the wake pass me before I started the sixth, but I was working from a standing start and the water was still pretty messed up.

I was feeling some fatigue by this point and I paddled the 4′ rest pretty slowly continuing north.  The first interval of the 3rd set brought me under the route 9 bridge.  The next 5 intervals brought be all the way up to the Donahue Rowing Center.  I finished my last interval in front of their docks with a number of people standing there watching the old guy gasping past at 30 spm.  I tried to look as debonair as possible.

I paddle up to the north cove of the lake and spun around.  After we had reassembled, I took off back home.  There was another single that took off when I did, but he didn’t take the bait and turned into the DRC docks.  My legs were pretty much done, so I let the rate sag a bit.  I was waked again in the 4th interval, but I tried to make a good finish in the last 2.  This brought me just past our docks, so I spun and went back in without much of a cool down.  I crawled out of the boat.  34 minutes in the TR zone.

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It would be nice if I was faster, but it I felt more comfortable at r30 than I expected.  It would also be nice if I had my speedcoach.  The pace lag on short intervals is awful on CrewNerd.  If I don’t have my impeller mounted by next weekend, I might risk using the Dual GPS dongle to make it a bit better.

Workout Summary - media/20160611-215914-2016-06-11-0727.CSV
Workout Details
01|01845| 10:38 |02:52.9|19.9|135.0|162.0|08.7
02|00252| 01:00 |01:57.5|30.4|160.0|169.0|08.4
03|00253| 01:00 |01:58.6|31.0|164.0|171.0|08.2
04|00252| 01:00 |01:58.6|30.1|165.0|172.0|08.4
05|00239| 01:00 |02:05.2|30.1|165.0|173.0|08.0
06|00252| 01:00 |01:58.7|29.1|169.0|176.0|08.7
07|00249| 01:00 |02:00.0|30.1|172.0|178.0|08.3
08|00602| 04:27 |03:41.9|20.2|133.0|162.0|06.7
09|00243| 01:00 |02:03.2|29.0|158.0|168.0|08.4
10|00256| 01:00 |01:57.1|31.0|168.0|175.0|08.3
11|00247| 01:00 |02:01.3|30.1|169.0|175.0|08.2
12|00239| 01:00 |02:04.9|30.2|171.0|176.0|08.0
13|00244| 01:00 |02:02.1|30.3|171.0|177.0|08.1
14|00237| 01:00 |02:04.9|30.4|162.0|171.0|07.9
15|00528| 03:23 |03:12.8|20.3|142.0|164.0|07.7
16|00242| 01:00 |02:02.1|31.5|159.0|170.0|07.8
17|00248| 01:00 |02:01.1|30.0|169.0|175.0|08.3
18|00248| 01:00 |02:00.7|30.1|170.0|175.0|08.3
19|00236| 01:00 |02:06.6|29.1|166.0|172.0|08.1
20|00245| 01:00 |02:01.9|30.2|166.0|174.0|08.2
21|00240| 01:00 |02:03.9|29.2|168.0|174.0|08.3
22|00563| 03:51 |03:22.0|18.7|144.0|165.0|07.9
23|00238| 01:00 |02:04.6|31.4|158.0|167.0|07.7
24|00236| 01:00 |02:05.5|30.4|166.0|170.0|07.9
25|00231| 01:00 |02:10.0|28.0|163.0|168.0|08.2
26|00224| 01:00 |02:13.7|29.0|160.0|170.0|07.7
27|00233| 01:00 |02:08.5|29.1|164.0|172.0|08.0
28|00233| 01:00 |02:08.4|30.1|167.0|174.0|07.8
29|00165| 01:53 |05:35.9|14.6|127.0|131.0|06.1

All Intervals
   05817| 24:00 |02:03.8|29.8|

Tomorrow:  4 x 20’/1′ rest on the erg, nice and easy.

Saturday: 12K variety 1x session on Qinsig

The weather was beautiful.  There was a very flukey breeze, building from nothing to about 5 mph.  It felt like a head wind while we were rowing uplake, but it wasn’t much of a factor.

The lake was buzzing with activity today.  Tomorrow is the Eastern Sprints, which is the most important east coast regatta for Men’s Division 1 Collegiate rowing.  All the big name teams were here.  Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Navy, Penn, Cornell.  We lend out our little boathouse to Navy.  Their rowers are tall and lean.  Very impressive.

We had a good group today, 11 people.  3 of us in singles, 2 doubles and a quad.  I was pretty much rowing with Bob in another one of the singles.

One confusing thing is that the lake run a reverse pattern on race weekends.  So, we headed up lake along the worcester shore and down lake along the shrewsbury shore.  It’s very weird because you get very used to steering the other pattern and you have to find all different points to use on the reverse patterns.

I was in a reasonably nice Drew Harrison single.  The boat is a good fit for me weight wise and it’s rigged pretty well for my height.  Bob and I headed up lake first along the outside of the buoyed course. I tried to hold about 18 SPM and get out over my oars.  I was also trying to keep my oars off the water on recovery.  About halfway up lake, I needed to stop to fix the foot stretcher.  One of the wing nuts was not properly tightened and it slipped noisily as I started to push the pressure up.

I finished fixing that as Bob was right beside me and we basically rowed side by side all the way up to the rt 290 bridge.  I put in a little burst at the end to see if I could hold technique as I pushed up the rate.  It was a really beautiful morning for a row.

We puttered around a bit until the quad showed up, and then we headed over to the buoyed lanes.  I was in the lane closest to the shrewsbury shore (Lane 6).  It looked like Bob was over in Lane 4.  The wind was behind us now, but pretty light.  I just wanted to work on technique at r18.  I tried to see how fast I could go at r18 without pushing my HR up past 155.  You can see the GPS spike where I went under the Rt 9 bridge.  From there, I kept doing the same thing for another 2K, which took me through the narrows.  Then I started to push the rate up to something resembling head race rate and pressure and did the final 2K down to the bottom of the lake.  I have a lot of work to do.  It was exhausting and I was remarkably slow.

After hanging around and reassembling our group, we took off back up lake.  For this section I rowed alternating square and regular strokes, trying to work on finishes.  I also tried to keep up with Bob who was doing low rate steady state.  I did this for about 2K up to the narrows.  After the narrows, it is about 1K to the bridge, so I pushed the rate up to 22 and tried to keep my finishes clean and keep reaching out for the catches.  There was a little bit of head wind.  Again, it was a lot more tiring than it should have been for the pace I was getting.

When we got back to the boathouse, it was madness.  People everywhere.  Very cool to see some of the best rowers in the country here.

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Screen Shot 2016-05-14 at 6.55.25 PMScreen Shot 2016-05-14 at 6.56.15 PM

Tomorrow:  Probably a steady state session.  Very easy though.  I’m a little freaked out by Friday.

Sunday: 12K in a quad on a windy morning

No rowing on Saturday.  My wife and I were down in New York City.  We had Friday night tickets to the “hot new musical” Hamilton.  It was a remarkable show.  Difficult to believe that you can create a heart wrenching play about the guy who was the first Treasury Secretary of the United States.  Even more remarkable, the show was hip hop based and nearly the entire thing was rapped or sung.  In my mind, it has basically just reinvented the genre of musical theater.

We got home in the early evening on Saturday.  Too late for a row.

The weather data says it was only a blowing 7-10mph, with gusts up to 15mph, but it felt like a lot more wind while we rowed in it.  It was straight from the north which is a head wind while rowing up lake.

I was in a quad with Bob, Angela and Deb.   This time of year, there is a fully buoyed, six lane, 2K course set up on the lake from the 290 bridge down to the rt 9 bridge.  There were races later on in the day, but we could row up the lanes this early in the morning.

We headed up lake first and turned around before the rt 290 bridge because the stake boats were out and then turned and rowed with the tail wind (and big chop) all the way down the lake.  Then we turned around for the long slog back up to the boathouse.

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I forgot my HR strap at home so no HR data.  I also got the screen splashed pretty hard during the last push to the bridge, so the last 1000m or so is missing from the pace plot.  The TCX data kept recording though.

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Tomorrow:  Probably another 3×20.  I fly out to Denver late in the day tomorrow and return on Tuesday night.