June 3 – 8: Trying out Humon

Monday – June 3: Humon Threshold Test and a few intervals

I bought a new toy.  A Humon Hex.  A muscle oxygen sensor.  I straps to your thigh and shines a light into your quadriceps.  The color of the reflected light can be used to determine the amount of oxygen in your muscle.  It advertised the ability to help you monitor lactate threshold in real time and suggested that it could help optimize both steady state and interval training.

The app supports 3 exercise types; running, cycling and rowing.  It also supports 3 sessions types; steady state, intervals and a threshold test.  Sadly, a rowing threshold test is not yet supported, but I decided  to just try it in cycling mode to see what happened.

The app is pretty slick.  I ran it on iPhone, but you can also use it with Android.  It pairs with the Humon Hex sensor and optionally a BLE HR monitor.  I’ve had mixed results trying to get the HR monitor to pair with it, but the Humon Hex sensor has been absolutely reliable in making and keeping the connection to the phone.

If you pick a Threshold test, it tells you what power to row, and counts down to your next power level while showing your smO2 percentage on the screen.  The instructions are pretty simple.  Start at 30W, and increase by 30W every 3 minutes.  Stop when you can’t do it anymore.  The app then tells you what your lactate threshold power is.  (Aka your FTP).

I sat down and gave it a go.

Here are the results from the online data site.

Screen Shot 2019-06-15 at 8.29.28 PM.png

So, weird thing happened.  I was pushing through and I reach the 20 minute mark and go into the “red”.  I keep pushing, because that’s what they say I should do, and within a minute or so, the display goes green again.  That’s pretty weird.  It tells me I’m at “Steady State”, and I feel like I’m close to exploding.  Well, no algorithm is perfect right?  Maybe it’s the difference between rowing and cycling?  Here’s the painsled view of the same session. (I had the HR connected to Humon, not painsled for this session)

I must have done something wrong, because it didn’t give me an FTP value.

You can see I did a hard minute after I rested up to watch what would happen with the Humon.  This time it went red and stayed red for that.

I still had some time and I wanted a bit more exercise, so I just put the rower on just row and set up the humon app to guide me through intervals.  The theory is that you go until you are in the red zone and the % plateaus.  Then you rest until the % goes back to green.

Screen Shot 2019-06-15 at 8.36.55 PM

You can see in the last interval, where I dug pretty deep, that Humon flipped me back to green.  An interesting quirk.  I found this an interesting way to do intervals

Tuesday – June 4:  Another attempt at the threshold test

I violated a rule about testing.  Generally, you want to take an easy day between tests, but I didn’t think that I pushed all that hard in the prior day’s test and I really wanted to try it out again.

This time, I managed to get the app setup right and it actually told me what it thought my FTP was.

Screen Shot 2019-06-15 at 8.41.30 PM

I flaked out at about the same power as Monday.  The test estimated my FTP at 224W.  This actually seems pretty sensible.  In October of 2017, I measured it with a 20′ test at 244W and with a lactate step test at 238W.  I was in better shape then.  I also think I pushed the test a bit harder then.

Again, this was an insufficient amount of rowing, so I decided to do some more of the fun Humon intervals.

Screen Shot 2019-06-15 at 8.49.25 PM.png

Today, I aimed at doing longer intervals at lower power just to watch and learn what the app did.  It did take a bit longer to get to red and longer to plateau.

Wednesday, June 5 – 5 mile run in Alexandria VA

I was Alexandria for an offsite strategy meeting.  I got up early and went for a run.  Our hotel was right on the shore of the Potomac across from Washington.  There was a nice path along the river so it seemed like a good chance to try out the Humon Hex running.

Screen Shot 2019-06-15 at 9.01.51 PM.png

I am the world’s slowest runner, but it seemed like a fun idea to try to run keeping it in the green zone.  I always tend to push too hard on runs and this might help me with my pacing.

Screen Shot 2019-06-15 at 8.56.35 PM

All was well until I got to the 50 minute mark.  At that point, the velcro on the Humon strap decided that it liked grabbing onto the inside of my shorts more than the other velcro.  The huge variations and spikes after that in the plot are where I needed to stop and adjust and try to get it to stay.  I think if I run, I need to keep the sensor under the leg of my underwear.

After that, we were in meetings from 8am to 6:30pm.  Then we went to a team dinner.  I got back at my hotel around 10pm, pretty tired.

Thursday – June 6 – Walk around the National Mall

Part of the offsite meeting was a group walk around the National Mall.  We met at the ungodly hour of 5:30Am in the lobby of our hotel and took a 15 bus ride.  We were let off at the Jefferson Memorial.  We walked through the FDR memorial, then to the WWII memorial, and finally to the Lincoln Memorial.  A nice 2.5mile walk.

Screen Shot 2019-06-15 at 9.12.33 PM.png

Then another long day of meetings and another dinner.  I had too much to drink and I felt awful for the next 3 days.  I just can’t drink like I could when I was younger.

Friday – June 7 – Nothing

I had an early morning flight back to Boston, felt horrible all day, and couldn’t wait to get to bed that night.

Saturday – June 8 – 3 x 20′ / 2′ L4

At home, on slides.  Still feeling subpar.  Today’s adventure was to see what a typical L4 looked like from a Humon perspective.  Here’s the rowsandall view.

And here is the same thing from Humon.

Screen Shot 2019-06-15 at 9.18.08 PM

So, it appears that from a Humon perspective, I am doing my steady state work at too high an intensity.  I am OK seeing the orange, but red means that my lactate is going above 4.0mmol.  It’s good the see that it recovers in the lower stroke rate sections, but I think I should probably back off the intensity more.


Catching up

It’s been a while, so my memory is a bit hazy.

July 5:  36km Bike Ride

I don’t recollect why I decided to ride my bike instead of rowing.  I think I was a bit worn out from my long row on the day before.  I wanted to scout out a different route for when my daughter visited.

Screen Shot 2018-07-22 at 7.35.07 PM

Screen Shot 2018-07-22 at 7.36.55 PMScreen Shot 2018-07-22 at 7.37.11 PM

Screen Shot 2018-07-22 at 7.38.39 PM

July 6 AM:  Another lovely walk

Screen Shot 2018-07-22 at 7.41.37 PM.png

July 6 PM: 3 x 20′ with bumps

I guess the weather must not have been too good, so I did an erg session.

          Workout Summary - media/20180706-2035240o.csv
Workout Details

July 7 AM: 3km walk at low tide

Screen Shot 2018-07-22 at 7.53.42 PM.png

July 7 PM: Bouncy row up to Wellfleet

Screen Shot 2018-07-22 at 7.55.21 PM

Something went a bit squirrely with the data, so no cool charts, but it was about 75 minutes of tough rowing in choppy conditions.  I kept the HR below 150.

July 8: Failed 10K push

We headed home on Saturday night and on Sunday, I did a quick row on  the dreaded dynamic.  My go to for this situation  in the 10K push.

It went terribly.  I started slow, but it did no good.  I flamed out at 2:00 pace.

          Workout Summary - media/20180708-2330230o.csv
Workout Details

July 9: Drills on the 5s

Back to normal, at least for a few days.  I was back on the river in my fluid.  I wanted to get comfortable in the boat again, so I went to my new favorite workout.  Drills on the 5s.

A minute of drills and 4 minutes of steady state.  The drills were delayed feather, half slide, pause at body over and open hands on recovery.  The greatest thing about this workout is that I feel like I row so much better at the end than I do at the beginning.

July 10:  4 x 1k

I’m not sure why I did this workout.  After my vacation and all the walking and endurance session, I think I wanted to get a bit of intensity into my training.

That being said.  Despite the splits being no where near where I wanted them to be, I was happy to push a bit harder than normal and I enjoyed session a lot.

I did this as a rate ladder.  r20, r22, r24, r26.  There was a head wind for the 2nd and fourth interval.

          Workout Summary - media/20180710-1931010o.csv
Workout Details

July 11: Drills on the 5s 

An easier session after the 4x1k of the day before.  I pushed the steady state a bit harder because I was doing some side video (i’ll post that next).  The batteries in the oarlock died in the last chunk of the row.  No great loss.

That evening, I headed down to the cape.  My daughter was coming into town for vacation.

July 12:  35km bike ride

Screen Shot 2018-07-22 at 8.22.23 PM

Nice and easy with my daughter.  I pushed the pace a little at the end because I had a work call that I needed to get back for.

July 13: Rest Day

We were stymied by the tide, so we ended up going kayaking around the island.

July 14: 40km bike ride

We drove up to Truro and then biked up and around the provincelands at the tip of cape cod.  It’s beautiful scenery, but the ride through north Truro is a bit of a slog.  It’s flat but it feels like the wind is in your face no matter what direction it is coming from.

Screen Shot 2018-07-22 at 8.53.55 PM

July 15-July 19:  No Training at all

On Sunday, we got everyone back on the ferry and then we had the house to ourselves again.  We just hung out and relaxed for the rest of the day.  We decided to sleep over on Sunday night.

On Monday morning, I had the long drive from the house on the cape to work.  I set out at about 5:15 and I didn’t get to work until about 8:15.  I was all stressed out because this week is our quarterly business reviews.  The business is going well, but there are a lot of specific things that could certainly be going better, and I had a lot of high tension meetings throughout the week that I needed to handle well.  I had no time to train on Monday.  I got home quite late, and didn’t get to sleep until after midnight.

I had meetings starting at 8am on Tuesday, which were scheduled to go straight through until 8pm that night.  Again, no time for training.

Same thing on Wednesday.  Meetings started at 8am and finished at 7pm.

Thursday was basically another intense day of meetings. Still no time to train.

July 20:  Slow 10K

On Friday, I headed into work early so I could do some final prep for meetings with my boss at 9 and 10.  The 10 O’Clock meeting went until 1pm.  After that, I had a couple more meetings, which finally wrapped up around 4:00.  I had a bit of email  to finish up and then I headed down to the gym to finally do a bit of exercise after a 5 day layoff.  I’ve taken less time for injuries and illness than this!

I just dialed up a 10K on a static erg and did a slow and easy row.

Even though it was slow (2:06.6, 172W avg), it was still too intense.  I decided that I need to back of the intensity and rebuild some endurance, so that what I’ll be doing for a little while.

It was good to be back rowing again though.

July 21: 3 x 20’/2′ on the dynamic

After my tough week, I wanted to sleep in.  Late in the afternoon, I jumped on the dreaded dynamic to do a 3×20′ session.  The only guideline was HR limit of 155.

          Workout Summary - media/20180721-2045250o.csv
Workout Details

I stuck to the cap, except for the last 2 minutes.  I really wanted to get the total distance over 15km, so I sped up to do that.

Looks like 165 is a much better power level for me to work right now. (sad really).

July 22: 4 x 20’/2′ on Slides

Basically more of the same.  I dropped my wife off at the airport, she’s visiting some family down in texas.  After that, I continued on to the cape so I could do a bit of cleaning, and hopefully rowing.

When I got there, rowing was definitely not an option.  The wind was blowing about 25mph from the southwest and there was intermittent rain.  Time for an erg session.

I thought I’d be able to hold the 165W from Saturday’s session, but my HR had other ideas.  To stay below the 155 cap, I had to keep slowing down throughout the whole session.

Today, by the end, I was only pulling about 155w.  Well, it is what it is.  I know the drill.  Stick with the HR limit.  Put in the minutes and the power level will slowly rise.  That’s what I need to do for the next few weeks.  Add in one or two threshold sessions per week and there you have it, a basic training plan.



Great day! – Walking and rowing

After I got up this morning and had breakfast, I decided to go for a walk.  It was low tide, which is a blast because the sand flats are exposed and you can see all kinds of marine life.

I headed down the stairs from our deck and headed straight out to the water’s edge.  Then turned south.  My first goal was to walk to the rock that I nearly hit going down to Eastham.

Here it is about an hour after low tide.  It’s hard to get a sense of scale, but the rock is about 8 feet tall and 16 feet long.  It’s a big rock.

2018-07-02 10.37.52

I then continued to walk along the edge of the water.  The tide was coming in, so the shore was receding visibly as I walked.  But I had never really walked all along the south edge of the sand flats before and I was eager to explore.  I ultimately decided to try to find my way to the tidal creek that runs under the little bridge to our island.

Along the way I saw some really nice shore birds.  I think the white one was an Egret and the pair was, I think, Willets.

I had a couple of false starts as I went into streams that turned into dead ends in the marsh.  As I got further along, the sand turned to mud and at times I was buried to the middle of my calves, making slow progress.  Ultimately I found the creek and it was about 6 inches deep with a nice sandy bottom.  I was able to rise off all the muck.

As I got close to the bridge, I found a little tidal pool off to the side of the stream and there were 3 horseshoe crabs in it swimming around.

I made it to the bridge and walked back across the causeway, and then out to the Loagy Bay Beach.  I then followed the north shore of the island back around to the house.

Here’s the whole path.  It was just over 6km.

Screen Shot 2018-07-02 at 10.22.01 PM.png

The last bit was really sunny and the southerly breeze was entirely blocked by the island.  It was hot and the sand was soft.  I was pretty sweaty by the time I got home about an hour a twenty minutes after I started.

We chilled out at the house for most of the day, and then around high tide, I decided to go for a row.  I can launch from our stairs at high tide, so I did that and headed south.  The wind was in the process of swinging from the SSE to the SSW as I went.

I followed the shore of the island on my way south to give a wide berth to that damn rock (and also because the marsh is fun to look at).  Once I was well into the bay, I turned and followed the south shore out nd then turned to follow it.

That took about 20 minutes or so.  I decided that I would row south and turn at the 40 minute mark.  With a more direct course and a tail wind, I figured I would end up with a nice 70 minute row.

I watched my heart rate on the way south and tried to keep it around 150 or so.  When I turned, I stopped and drank half a liter of water.  Then I headed home.  The tail wind was pleasant because it lightened up the load.  But I missed the cooling breeze.  The chop was pretty big, maybe 12″ and the boat wakes would interact with it in unpredictable ways.  I experimented with different stroke rates and focused on clean finishes and keeping my blades clear of the wave tops.  It’s a lot more press down than I am used to in my Fluid.  The waves were pushing me around a bit and I had to do a lot of steering to stay on track.  Now the goal was to head directly back to my launch point and not run into the rock.

Mission accomplished.  I spotted the rock off on my starboard bow, about 100m away.  I turned toward the island and back to the stairs.  I stopped a bit offshore, got my feet out of the straps, and undid the nuts on the oarlocks.  It can be a bit hectic with the waves bouncing the boat around at the bottom of the stairs.  I paddled in like that and made a clean landing.  I was just in time.  The rocks around the base of the stairs were almost exposed and would have made landing a lot harder if I had pushed the time much further.

Screen Shot 2018-07-02 at 10.51.43 PM.png

          Workout Summary - media/20180702-2150230o.csv
Workout Details
01|02113|12:32.1|02:57.9|000.0|20.2|142.9|153.0|08.3 - into current
02|04542|26:16.9|02:53.6|000.0|20.6|149.4|154.0|08.4 - with current at first
03|05513|30:57.0|02:48.4|000.0|21.6|153.2|162.0|08.3 - tail wind

As usual, the hardest work of the outing was carrying the boat back up the stairs.

A great day!

Catching up. 5/24 to 6/3

Over the 11 days, I rowed 1 day, biked one day, had a good walk one day and didn’t train for 8 days.  It was a pretty bad spell including allergies and injuries.

Thursday – May 24: 61′ Steady State

I arrived home from California late in the day on May 23rd.  The next morning, I was back on the water down in Newton.  It was windy and choppy, and I was a mess.  Slow and sloppy.

Friday – May 25: Rest – Sick

Thursday night, I felt awful.  Stuffy nose, sore throat, a bit of a fever.

I worked from home on Friday morning.  I was worried enough about my throat that I went and got a strep test.  The diagnosis was allergies causing congestion, post nasal drip and throat irritation.  They told me to go buy some flownase and sent me on my way.

Then in the early afternoon, I headed down to the cape.  My wife was following me down later with one of my sons, his girlfriends and my daughter who was flying in from St Louis late in the evening.

I had a long list of things to do.  Work on the stairs to the beach.  Get a bunch of delicious food.  Rent a bike for my daughter and do a bit of cleaning.  I made very good progress on the stairs, and I made a large number of trips up and down the 80 steps, often carrying loads of wood.  By the time the tide came in, I was really worn out.  But I had managed to get all the stair treads in, leaving just the railings to do on Saturday.

So, I got some exercise, but no proper training

Saturday – May 26: 50km bike ride

My daughter wanted to go for a ride, so we planned an excursion to the Cape Cod Rail Trail.  I was a bit worried about my health.  If I had a cold, the ride would knock me flat.  If I was just suffering with allergies, it should actually make things better.


It was two and a half hours of riding, but at a nice easy pace.  I guess it was allergies!

After we got home, my son, his girlfriend and I finished the stairs.  I think they turned out great!

I slept well.

Sunday – May 27: rest

The weather was pretty lousy, so we went up to Provincetown for lunch, hung out, did puzzles, played games and relaxed.

Monday – May 28: A brisk walk around the island

The weather was still crappy.  Cold and grey.  My daughter and I originally planned to go for another bike ride, but we didn’t have good cold weather clothes, so we opted to just go for a walk around the island.


Later in the day, we put my son, his girlfriend and my daughter on  the ferry to Boston, we cleaned up the house, had some dinner and left around 11.

Tuesday – May 29: Rest – Travel Day

Flew out to San Diego for a business dinner.  It was a long day, I got back to the hotel around 10pm, and I had an early flight.

Wednesday – May 30: Rest – Travel day

I was up at 4:30 to get to the airport to catch my 6:30 flight to San Jose.  I had meetings from 10am to 7pm.  After that, I headed to the the airport to catch the red eye home.

Thursday – May 31: Rest

My original plan was to go straight from the airport to the river and go for a row on the way to work.  But the flight home was miserable, and I discovered that a meeting had been scheduled for 8:30, leaving me no time to train.

I ended up getting home around 8:00pm.  During the day, my back started to really stiffen up,  By the time I got home, it was painful to try to stand up after sitting and I ended up walking with a bit of a stoop.  Based on how quickly it cleared up, I assume it was a pinched sciatic nerve which calmed itself down with ibuprofen after a few days.

Friday – June 1st: Rest – Back Injury

I was in too much pain to train.  So I didn’t.

Saturday – June 2: Rest – Back Injury

Back pain starting to ease, but I wasn’t going to chance aggravating it.

Sunday – June 3: Rest – Back Injury

Almost pain free.  Decided to train on Monday.

This sucks

So, my last post was on September 2nd.  Ten days ago.  At that time, my back was killing me and I decided that I needed to really lay off the rowing until I figured out what was going on.  I bought the book “Back Mechanic”, read it cover to cover, and I’m trying to use the good advice contained within.

This advice can be boiled down to:

  1.  Avoid aggravating your injury by practicing good “back hygiene”.  This means sitting up straight and avoiding positions that hurt.
  2. Figure out the most likely cause of pain by doing some diagnostic tests.  (For me this resulted in a likely diagnosis of a disk injury in the lumbar region.  One fun fact that I learning is that disks are hydrophylic, which means that they absorb fluid over night and are “puffy” in the morning.  So, if you have a disk impinging on a nerve it will probably hurt more in the morning and will feel better after the disks lose a bit of fluid over the first hour or two of the day.  Interestingly, this makes you more susceptible to disk injury first thing in the morning too.  So once I get back to rowing, I should do a non-rowing warmup before taking a stroke)
  3. Start strengthening your core muscles with a set of defined exercises that utilize a limited range of motion, but help to work on the muscle balance in you back and abdomen
  4. Don’t do any stretching to the limit of you motion until you are pain free.  Stretching will essentially release chemicals that ease the pain immediately, but will continue the inflammation cycle and slow down recovery.

So, I’ve been dutifully doing my core exercises nearly every day.  They are boring and a pain in the ass, but I have to put in the effort.  Over the ten days, the amount of pain I feel in the mornings has been steadily decreasing, but is not going away.

Yesterday I went to the doctor for my annual physical.  I asked him about my back issues and he diagnosed me as having a problem with my SI Joint.  This is the joint between the Sacrum and the Ilium.  I am less than completely convinced he is right.


So, he has set me up for x-rays next week, and referred me for physical therapy.  I need to find myself a PT that understands rowing.

I also discovered to my horror that I have gained 12 pounds over the past couple of months.  I guess my eating hasn’t changed even though I’m burning a thousand less calories a day.  Another thing I have to fix.

In terms of training, here’s a quick synopsis of the past 10 days.

9/3 – Another walk around the island.

Screen Shot 2017-09-12 at 10.41.40 PM.png

9/4 – Another walk around the island.

Screen Shot 2017-09-12 at 10.42.35 PM.png

9/5 – Fly off to California – no training.  Used a lumbar cushion on the airline seat and that seemed to help reduce pain.

9/6 – 60 minutes in the fitness center.  30 minutes on the treadmill set to max incline at 3 mph, a fast walk.  Then 30 minutes on an elliptical machine.

9/7 – 48 minutes in the fitness center.  30 minutes on the treadmill same deal, max incline, fast walk.  Then I moved over to the elliptical for another 30 minutes.  18 minutes into that, I got a call from the guy I was meeting saying that he was in the lobby.  I thought I had another 45 minutes before he was arriving.  Dashed off to the shower.  Long day of meetings.  Caught the red eye home.

9/8 – Got home around 7am and slept for a couple of hours.  Then worked from home.  Late in the day, I decided to go for a short run to see if my back would tolerate that.  It did.  I ran for 30 minutes and then walked another 15.

9/9 – We headed back to the Cape on Friday evening and I’m glad we did.  Saturday morning, it was incredibly beautiful out.  I went for another walk around the island.  I was feeling a lot of stiffness from the run on Friday, but my back was not significantly worse.  The tide was low so I could get out on the sand flats a bit more and watch the birds.

Screen Shot 2017-09-12 at 10.51.23 PM.png

9/10 – Same thing as the day before.  Another glorious day, another walk.  Still sore from Friday’s run, but less so.

Screen Shot 2017-09-12 at 10.54.00 PM.png

9/11 – Monday.  I had my doctors appointment, then a few hours of meetings and then headed off to the airport.  I flew out to Las Vegas for a conference, arriving around 8 pm.  Got to the hotel, grabbed dinner and went to bed.  No training.

9/12 – Tuesday. I slept in a bit longer than I should have, so by the time I did my core exercises, I only had enough time for a 30 minute death march on the treadmill.  I did that, showered and went to the conference.  This finished around 5, and so I headed back to the gym.  Now this hotel (The Wynn Hotel) has a fantastic fitness center.  Lots of treadmills, stationary bikes, and a nearly new Concept2 Model E rowing machine with PM5.  I managed to ignore it this morning, but it’s siren song was way too tempting for me this afternoon.  I melted under the pressure and before I knew it I was sitting on the seat, linking my phone to the PM and firing up painsled.

Part of me thought this was pretty stupid.  But part of me thought that a session done at lighter pressure would be a gentle test to see if I might be ready to resume some light rowing specific training.  I decided to do 30 minutes and to up the stroke rate by 2 from my more normal stroke pressures.  So 18 SPM would yield 160w and 20 SPM would yield 180W.

I also wanted to really focus on trying to limit my over reach at the catch.  I’ve been dropping my legs apart to get more length and I suspect that this new aspect of my style is what is putting more stress on my back.  So the goal for the day was to row with my knees together, even at the catch.  I caught myself slipping a few times, but generally it was OK.



        Workout Summary - media/20170912-2040320o.csv
Workout Details

Not very impressive, but I was glad to have done it.  My back is letting me know that it’s a little unhappy, but the true test will be how it feels in the morning.

After that, I had reached my 30 minute limit for rowing, so I moved over to the treadmill and did  20 minute death march.

Tomorrow, I head home.  I might have time for a quick workout in the morning before I leave, but I will only go if I’m not paralyzed with pain.


Back Injury

Injuries are an unavoidable part of being an aging athlete.  Generally, they are minor twists, scrapes and contusions, but some are more serious.  Over the past 8 years, I have worked through a whole assortment of injuries

  • Rib Stress Fractures (cured by rest)
  • Osteo-arthritis in my knees (treated with cortizone shots and improved with arthroscopic surgery)
  • Sciatica (improved by using seat pad on the erg and better seat in the boat)
  • pinched nerve in my high back (trained through)

Now I am working out how to manage an injury to my lower back.  I hurt it in an open water session a couple of weeks ago.  I didn’t notice it at the time, but by that evening, I had trouble standing up.  It was a very localized pain right at the top of my left buttock, between my spine and my hip.  If I stood straight up, I could lean slowly forward at my hips and it would hurt at a very specific angle, around 60 degrees from vertical.

After that, I would stretch and maybe take a day or two off from rowing and then return.  The back pain was there, but manageable and I thought it was improving.  Then on 22 August, I did a sprint workout, a Pyramid session (250/500/750/1K/750/500/250) in my single.  I felt fine immediately afterward, but by the end of the workday, it was very painful  to stand up from a sitting position and the pain made it difficult to sleep in any position but flat on my back.  I took two days off of rowing and then eased back in with some lighter pressure endurance sessions.  It still hurt when I woke up in the morning, but felt pretty good through the day and at night.

On 29 August I rowed out on Lake Quinsigamond with my friend Joe.  We did a 2 min on / 1 min off session.  This was a bit moretame than a pure sprint session, with stroke rates around 26-28 for most of the on sessions.  But the same pattern occurred.  Felt fine right after, but by the end of the day, I was in serious pain.  Again, I could only sleep on my back.  The pain in the morning made it a challenge to bend over to put on my underwear and pants.  Working out was out of the question.  I’ve been trying to figure out what to do since then.

I even went to the unimpeachable fount of information, facebook, and posed the question to the master rowers group.  To my surprise, I’ve gotten over 120 replies so far and a lot of good advice.  Here’s a synopsis of what I’ve gleaned and the framework of my plan.

  1. Make immediate changes to try to improve my spinal hygiene.  This includes getting a lumbar support brace to remind me to sit up straight.  Sit on an exercise ball.  Stand more (I’m going to ask for a standing desk at work)
  2. Take anti-inflammatories (Ibuprofen for now) as needed
  3. Stop rowing until I get cleared up
  4. Seek a genuine medical diagnosis so I understand what is going on in there (I’ll get a referral from the guy who did my knee)
  5. Learn all I can about back injuries and how to manage them (Many people recommended this book “The Back Mechanic” by Stuart McGill.  Other folks pointed me to this online presentation by Fiona Wilson)
  6. Once I have a diagnosis and treatment plan, find a physical therapist who does a lot of work with rowers to help me figure out a plan to strengthen my core and improve my injury resistance (If anyone knows a good physio in the Boston area, please let me know)
  7. Multiple people commented on my posture in my facebook profile picture which shows me with an unusual amount of layback.  They recommended that I get some immediate coaching.  I think that is actually really good advice.  Once I can get back into a boat, I will try to find a good online (or local) coach.  I have higher hopes for online coaching since my training schedule is so constrained and variable.

Who knows how this will go or how long it will take to get better, but my priority is to get healthy and fix whatever elements of my rowing style (and lifestyle) contributed to injury before resuming hard training.  My most important objective is to be able to row until I am very, very old.  I don’t want to do something now that will jeopardize that.

So, for now, it will be cross training.  Walks, jogs, maybe some biking if I am pain free.  I won’t scratch from the HOCR yet, but I’ll make a decision about that in a month or so.

By the way, today, I went for a nice 4km walk around the island.  About 40 minutes or so.

Walk around Lt Island


Sunday: A nice long walk

Friday:  No training

Saturday: No Training

Sunday: I was down on the cape, it was too cold to ride a bike and I didn’t want to pound my knee by going running.  So, I decided to just take a nice long walk around the island.

Screen Shot 2017-01-17 at 7.52.09 PM.png

It was about 3.5 miles and I was out for about a bit more than an hour.  It was cold, windy and sunny.  I loved it.

Thursday: 7km walk on the beach

Hot and humid.  I just decided to take it easy today and went for a walk on the beach.

I walk from the house we are renting this summer up to the house we rented last summer, which was right on the beach in North Truro.

It took an hour and 23 minutes to walk 6.85km, and I was pretty tired at the end of it.  I’m glad I decided against running. The sand was soft and I really wasn’t in the mood for a slog.

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 12.45.54 PM