Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What I've been doing on my summer vacation...

Once again I realize it has been a long time since my last post here.  And lest my C2TweetCrew friends think I have totally abandoned the erg for other pursuits, I thought I'd update my running total.   I have been doing some rowing, though all of it has been at CrossFit workouts.  And rather than list them all individually, I thought I'd just tally them up and post the running total from my online log book.  Over the last couple months I have managed to get in 45,000 meters (kind of funny that with all the rowing WODs I've done over the last two months, the total ended up being a nice, round number!)

As August rapidly approaches, I hope to get more time on the rower and start finishing up my challenge for the year.  I have a feeling that September and October are gonna be pretty busy...

because I will be opening my very own CrossFit gym in September!   If all goes as planned Flower City CrossFit will be opening its doors around September 15th, 2010!  I will certainly be posting more about that in the weeks to come... so stay tuned.   The web site will be live in early August!





Description
Total Meters
Time
Pace/500m
Misc CrossFit Rowing
45,000
-
-
Total
45,000
Meters to go
294,636

Monday, June 7, 2010

I'm still here!

I realize it has been a loooong time since my last post!  And my rowing meters have been suspiciously stagnant for the last couple months.   So I thought I would check in and let folks know what I have been up to.

As typically happens in the late spring, most of my attention gets pulled into triathlon training and CrossFit.   This year is no different.  Though I did branch out a bit and ran the Segahunda trail marathon relay race with some CrossFit friends. 

 Our marathon team the "Power Snatchers"

I ran the final leg of the marathon - in Inov8 trail shoes, not VFFs this time.

That was a great experience!   The course was challenging and running a relay marathon was lots of fun -- I've never run a race with a team before.   Our co-ed team placed second amongst the co-ed teams, so I felt pretty good about that.One of the credos of CrossFit is to "try a new sport" regularly.  For me, the trail marathon fulfilled that requirement for me.  And now I have at least two other trail races planned for the summer/fall, including the Northeast Warrior Dash.

I've also been moving my CrossFit Endurance focus from the rower to running.  We've been running CFE running classes three nights a week at CrossFit Rochester.  Teaching the classes has really had me working on my running technique, and I've been spending a lot of time running in my Vibram Five Fingers  (including a great new pair of Bikilas I got!!)   I really feel like my transition to a more "barefoot" running style has made huge strides thanks to the CFE classes and the Vibram shoes.  I really can't recommend them highly enough!

Vibram Five Finger Bikilas!!!

But with all this going on, fear not!  I have not forgotten my quest for a million meters this year.  I plan on getting in a few rowing workouts over the summer - though not at the March Madness pace I set earlier in the year.   With a little over 300,000 meters to go, I am certain I will be able to get the rest of them in once the summer begins to wind down.  Even if it means some "Fall Madness".  I'll be up for it!!

My apologies for being silent (I haven't even been on twitter lately!!!) and for seeming to fall off the face of the blogosphere (does the blogosphere have a face?)  I'm still here - keeping busy and working out like a maniac.  I'll be back on the erg before you know it.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Video from the Row For The Red Cross

Here is a video from the Row For The Red Cross event that I did back in April.   Props to Laura for doing a great job on the editing (and most of the filming)!  All I had to do was row!



2010 Row For The Red Cross from Jeff Rice on Vimeo.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Happy New Year!

May 1st marked the official start of the 2010 Concept2 rowing season.   As one who is relatively new to this whole indoor rowing thing, it was a bit of a surprise to me to find out that the rowing season runs May-April each year.  Who knew?

My new year seems to be off to a bit of a slower start than my prior season ended.   I'm still struggling with fitting everything into a hectic schedule.   Hopefully I will be able to settle in to 30-50K a week soon.   As the weather is improving here in the Northeast US, I am finding more reasons to be outside, and more things I need to do that take me out of the house.   Not conducive to logging lots of meters on the rower...  But that was somewhat expected, and part of the reason I wanted to get a good head start on my million meters in the first quarter of the (calendar) year.

So, to all my rowing friends (especially those on the C2TweetCrew!)... Happy New Year!   Spring and Summer may have me contributing at a somewhat slower pace to any challenges, but rest assured I am here, and at the very least will be cheering you all on!

Results from Tuesday:


Description
Total Meters
Time
Pace/500m
10K
10,000
46:41.2
2:20.0
Total for Day
10,000
Meters to go
339,636

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Life's little sub-plots

Boy,  just when I think I am getting back in the groove, I encounter another minor bump in the road.

Sunday afternoon I was all set to hop on the rower for a 10K row.  About 1000m in, my digestive system forced me to abort the row in favor of an extended visit to the porcelain throne.... Ughhhh.   Seems I got hit with a bit of food poisoning.   Sunday and Monday were spent largely in bed and in the bathroom.   I'm feeling much better today and might even venture a go at the erg this evening.

My little battle with food poisoning is what I like to refer to as one of life's little sub-plots.   It's a metaphor that was suggested to me by one of my best friends from my first job out of college.   It has stuck with me through many years.

We all have a vision of what we want to do in life.  That may be a long-term goal of where we want to be in 5 years, or when we retire.  It may be a shorter term goal of the 5 things I want to accomplish this week.  Or even the one thing I want to accomplish today (like my 10K row on Sunday).  These things are the main plot of our lives - our lives as we have scripted them. 

But the reality of life - at least as I have experienced it - is that much of life is actually lived in a of a bunch of unscripted sub-plots.  Sometimes these sub-plots will advance the main plot of your life -- a friend offers to take your kids to the park for the afternoon and you suddenly find yourself with a couple hours of free time to tackle one of those 5 things you wanted to get to this week.    Sometimes they seem to derail your plans and keep you from accomplishing what you want to do -- a fender-bender on the way to work forces you to "waste" hours of time getting your car fixed, contacting insurance companies for estimates, arranging for transportation, etc.

More often than not, we have no control or influence over the sub-plots that land in our path.  Life just deals the cards and we have to work with the hand we are dealt.   It is easy to get frustrated when the sub-plot you find yourself in seems to completely derail your intentions.  But sometimes these detours may be just what you needed, giving you minor corrections to your long-term plans, or perhaps giving you insight (or battle scars) that will help you with the next sub-plot you find yourself starring in.

At times when I find myself buried in one of these sub-plots, I like to remind myself of a quote by Teddy Roosevelt:

"Do the best you can, with what you have, where you are."   

Wishing that I am not sick won't get me more time on the rower - that is not "where I am".   Where I am may be sick in bed.  Being resentful that someone else may have more free time to do something I would like to be doing doesn't advance my situation - extra free time is not "what I have".   What I need to focus on is doing my very best to accomplish the tasks at hand and, if possible, return to the main plot.  "Doing my best" means using every asset at my disposal, in the current situation I find myself in.

I try not to get too hung up about sub-plots.   Ultimately, they are a big part of the story line.   I just hope there are not too many more food poisoning sub-plots in my future!  But if there are, I just hope to do the best I can, with what I have, where I am.

Friday, April 30, 2010

I'm baaaack...

So I have been conspicuously absent recently.  There has been a lot in life that has conspired to keep me off the erg lately.

First, once I completed the marathon for the Red Cross, I felt like I needed a bit of a break.  The Concept2 March madness challenge, followed by the marathon, forced me to put in a lot of meters in a month and a half.   By the time I finished the marathon I was starting to feel a little bit of burnout.   I was just not feeling excited about getting back on the rower.   That, to me, is a sure sign that a short break was needed.

Last weekend, I traveled with Laura to Dallas Texas for a CrossFit Level 1 certification class.   I have been doing CrossFit for over 2 years now and have been wanting to get my teaching certification for about a year now.   It was a long time coming, but in one regard I am glad I waited.  The certification process is more formal now and includes a graded test at the end.  This was formally introduced 4 weeks ago.  Anyone who took the certification class in the past, needs to go back and take the test to be officially certified.  So, I am glad I don't have to do that!    The great news is that I passed the test and now am officially certified to teach CrossFit!   Can't wait to start putting that to action!

It has also taken me a while to get into a good routine with my new dog, Kira.   She's a great dog, but is still a bit of a handful - as puppies are prone to being.  My past routine of waking up and rolling onto the rower for a 10K has become, rolling out of bed, letting the dogs out, running a mile with Kira, feeding the dogs, and THEN rowing 10K.   Still working out the kinks in that schedule to find a reliable way of logging the meters on the rower.    I'm sure I'll figure it all out.

I did manage to get a quick 1,500 meters in as part of a warmup at CrossFit earlier in the week.  I have to pull that data off my log card and record it here.  In the mean time, my 10K row from this morning is recorded below.  Feeling like my technique is off a bit after the 2-week hiatus.  Kept the pace pretty easy and tried to focus on that...

Finally, I just wanted to say one more time - THANK YOU!!! to everyone that donated, rowed, or provided support to the Row For The Red Cross!   We are going to try to roll it out on a much bigger scale next year.   I sincerely support all the encouragement from friends, and particularly from the online rowing community.    (Speaking of which, if you happen to stumble upon my blog and are a rower, check out the rapidly growing community of rowers at www.c2tweetcrew.com Charles Anderson - the creator of the site and the founder of the Concept2 virtual rowing team "tweetcrew" - has done an amazing job with the site.  Some awesome features there.  Check it out!)



Description
Total Meters
Time
Pace/500m
10K
10,000
47:43.1
2:23.1
Total for Day
10,000
Meters to go
349,636

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Ok, that title might be a bit over-dramatic.  But there were elements of all three things in my row today.  It was my first full-marathon, and was part of the Row For The Red Cross event that I started with Bethany of CrossFit Geneseo.   So much to talk about... lots of pictures to share (thanks to my girlfriend Laura, and to my friend Randy for taking all the GREAT pictures!!)... let me break it down.

The Good

Really almost every aspect of the day was good.   Actually "great" would be more accurate.   First, and perhaps foremost is that I completed my first full marathon!  42,195 meters of (basically) uninterrupted rowing on a Concept2 rower.  My time is posted below.  I managed to keep it under 3 hours and 30 minutes, which was my primary goal for the day.  I'm tired, but not too battered from the effort.

But really, the thing that is more important to me is that the event was a huge success!   We had a great turn-out at CrossFit Rochester, with about 13 people coming out to row.  And several more came out to cheer the rowers on.  And just about everyone hung around to the very end when I finished.   I just can't put into words how much that meant to me.
CrossFit Rochester
 Laura rowing beside me at around 20K to go...


One of my fellow CrossFitters, Darren, jumped in to do his 5K when I had about 15K to go.   He hammered out a sub-20 minute 5K (by a good margin!) and then, after a short pause, hopped back on the erg to row next to me to help me finish it out!  What a HUGE mental help that was!   Darren is officially on my "I owe him a beer" list!  Thanks Darren!!!!

Darren helping me bring it home!

Thanks to the Red Cross, we also got some local media coverage.  Local CBS, FOX, NBC, and Time Warner Cable affiliates came by to video and talk to me about rowing, CrossFit, and raising money for the Red Cross. That was fun!
Proof that I can talk and row at the same time!


Again, it was HUGE success, thanks to all my great CrossFit friends, the great people at the local Red Cross Chapter, and especially to all the generous people that donated money to sponsor rowers.  We have raised over $3,400 for the Red Cross.

Oh, and I broke 600,000 meters on my way to a million this week!   With a bad back even!!!

The Bad

Really only one "bad" thing to report.  With about 5K to go, my laptop which was running RowPro went into sleep mode!  This caused RowPro to lock up!  So I was unable to save my marathon digitally!  FAIL!   And, of course, this was the one time I did not have my log-card inserted into the monitor.  ARRRGGGHHH!   Fortunately, I have lots of witnesses. :-)
RowPro, locked up with 5,591 to go!
See, I really did do it!
The Ugly
The one thing that I would potentially characterize as "ugly" is that 1/2 - 3/4 distance 10K.  When I hit about 20,000 meters I was thinking "Great! Almost half way there and I am feeling great!"   The next 10K seemed to take about 2 hours... Ughhh.   My pace stayed pretty constant, but mentally the clock just seemed to sloooooow dooooown.   I need to be mentally prepared for that next time I try this.

Next time???  Did I just say that?

Heck yeah!   We are planning on making the Row For The Red Cross a much bigger event next year.  We are hoping to even take it nation-wide!  Gonna have to get going on that.... But for now, I think I have earned an evening's rest.   And maybe a beer to replenish my electrolytes.  There are electrolytes in beer, right?  :-)


Description
Total Meters
Time
Pace/500m
Does my back still work? (Thur)
2,012
9:47.0
2:25.8
Easy 5K (Fri)
5,000
23:02.7
2:18.2
Marathon (Sun)
42,195
3:21:40.2
2:23.3
Total for Day
49,207
Meters to go
359,636

Today's the big day!

Today's the Row For The Red Cross.  I'll be doing my first Marathon in about one hour from now...

Nervous.  Excited.  Anxious.  And very, very thankful for the incredible support I've gotten from everyone.

I'll post again later to log my meters and let everyone know how it went.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Short (forced) break before the big row

Sometimes life throws you a curve ball.  One of those "sometimes" for me was Monday.   I somehow managed to tweak my back at the beginning of a CrossFit workout.   Went to do a dead-lift high-pull and one of the muscles in my back went into a spasm.


This is a recurring problem for me.  Though I have been fortunate in that it has not happened for a couple years.   Consistent working out, and morning and evening stretching exercises seems to keep the problem at bay.   However, as often happens in my life, when something changes my daily routine something will end up forgotten or deferred.  In this case dealing with my new puppy in the morning disrupted my morning schedule enough that I have been forgetting to do my morning back stretches. (Yes, I am blaming it on the dog!)  No stretching equals higher susceptibility to back injuries for me.

So with less than a week to go before the Row For the Red Cross I am nursing a sore back.  Rest, stretching, alternating heat and cold treatment, and anti-inflammatories are the order of the day for the next few days.   I am hoping that I can get a 10K row in on Thursday or Friday to test the waters (pardon the pun) and see how the back handles the movement and stress of rowing.  Hopefully I'll be ok by Sunday (you can click on the link on the right if you want to sponsor me for the row...)

Never did like curve balls...

Here was my last row.  An easy 10K last Sunday.  My next row should take me over the 600K mark.


Description
Total Meters
Time
Pace/500m
10K (Sun)
10,000
47:31.5
2:22.5
Total for Day
10,000
Meters to go
408,843

Sunday, April 11, 2010

One week to go!

Today marks one week before the Row For The Red Cross event.  In case anyone has stumbled onto my blog for the first time, the Row For The Red Cross is an event that I put together with Bethany Wadsworth of CrossFit Geneseo to raise some money for the local Red Cross.   It really started out with my new years resolution to row a million meters in 2010.   Bethany decided to join me in that quest and she's closing in on 500K now (Go Bethany!!!)  Then we somehow talked each other into rowing a marathon during Concept2's April Marathon Challenge.  Now we've got several CrossFitters joining us to row 5K's to raise money, and the Red Cross is talking to me about making this an annual event.  Funny what a crazy new years resolution can turn into. :-)

So, as I think ahead to the week leading up to the marathon, I am planning on a pretty easy week of CrossFit, running and rowing.  (I have signed up to run one leg of a trail marathon in May... never done any trail running before, so that should be fun!  One tenant of CrossFit's fitness philosophy is "try new sports"...  I've taken that to heart!)

I am thinking I'll put in one longer row tonight at an easy pace, then I'll keep it pretty laid back the rest of the week.   Though I have to log a respectable amount of meters to keep up with my friends on the C2TweetCrew virtual rowing team.  Our 12-man team has logged more than 2 million meters towards the World Rowing Challenge!  Check out the impressive distances some of us have logged in the past month!




Description
Total Meters
Time
Pace/500m
Half Marathon (Thu)
21,097
1:39:36.0
2:14.8
10K (Sat)
10,000
44:56.4
2:14.8
Total for 2 Days
31,097
Meters to go
418,843

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

CrossFit Rowing

All of my rowing over the past couple days has been at CrossFit.   Monday's WOD had two sprints: 1000m and 500m at either end of a WOD that included double-unders and dumbbell snatches, and yesterday there were two 1000m intervals serving as bookends around a WOD that was 5 rounds of 20 jumping pull ups and 20 thrusters.

Rowing in a CrossFit WOD that combines other physical elements is a very different experience from rowing a 2K, 5K, or 10K piece.   It is very different experience from doing "normal" interval work on the rower (like last night's 6x500m CrossFit Endurance workout).   During a normal rowing workout, the erg is your sole focus.  And in my experience, the body fatigues in an "even" way with rowing.  By that I mean my legs, arms, core, and even my general aerobic capacity all seem to get exhausted at the same rate.  Granted there are some interval workouts I have done on the rower that seem to just destroy my legs, but certainly with 5K and up pieces, things seem to get exhausted at pretty much an even pace.

Not so with CrossFit workouts.   If you have never done CrossFit before, here is an example that will give you a taste of what this is like.  Set up to do 6x500m intervals.  Between the intervals, insert another exercise - like pushups - and do a tabata interval of that. (Tabata intervals are 20 seconds of work, then 10 seconds of rest for 8 repeats).  Throw in a 1:00 rest before getting back on the rower.


So your workout would look something like this:
500m row
8x0:20w/0:10r pushups
1:00 rest
repeat 5 more times...

When you get back on the rower, notice how much different the interval feels.   You would probably think you would be hitting a completely different muscle group on the pushups (triceps, pectorals) than you were using on the row.  However, engaging the core on the pushups is going to pre-fatigue the core for your next rowing interval.  What generally happens to me on these kinds of workouts is that I hop back on the rower thinking, "great, back to rowing!!  I'm gonna kick butt on this because I row all the time!".  But what I discover is that the row feels completely different because of the pre-fatigued core.  It is a totally different experience than a normal 6x500m interval.  My body has to cope with fatiguing in a different way than it is used to.  Rowing becomes slightly unfamiliar and more challenging.

It seems to me that my rowing workouts on days after a CrossFit WOD that incorporates rowing are better than other rowing workouts.   I will have to review my rowing logs to see if my performance backs up that feeling! :-)   But psychologically anyway, I feel better about rowing after a good CrossFit WOD that incorporates rowing.   Perhaps it is because the CrossFit rowing always feels so much harder, that if I can just row it is a huge relief.   Or maybe that unfamiliarity I am feeling durning the CrossFit WOD rowing makes returning to "normal" rowing kind of like a return to the familiar and somehow more comfortable.

I have also noticed that all the "normal" rowing I have been doing has improved my CrossFit WODs that incorporate rowing.   Seems like most folks at CrossFit dread the rowing - let's face it, nothing kicks your butt like rowing!  But I actually look forward to WODs with rowing in them.   I look forward to the place in the WOD where I can get back on the rower, get into my rhythm and, well, just row!  Even though physiologically it is unfamiliar because of the pre-fatigue induced by the other CrossFit elements, psychologically it is a return to something that I feel strong in.  My mind is telling me "you row 10Ks all the time, a 1K will be practically like resting".

Did I just say that a 1K row could be like resting?

Results from the last two days:


Description
Total Meters
Time
Pace/500m
1K (Mon - CF beginning of WOD)
1,017
3:37.8
1:47.0
500m (Mon CF end of WOD)
519
2:01.6
1:57.1
1K (Tue CF beginning of WOD)
1,000
3:37.1
1:48.5
1K (Tue CF end of WOD)
1,000
3:54.6
1:57.3
1K (Warm up CFE)
1,000
4:18.0
2:09.0
6x500m/2:00r
3,000
10:10.6
1:41.8
rest meters
228
-
-
1K (Cool down)
1,000
4:27.7
2:13.8
Total for 2 Days
8,764
Meters to go
441,176

Monday, April 5, 2010

Change of pace... so to speak

With the end of the March Madness 10K challenge, I have been giving myself a change of pace.  I've decided to take a few more rest days from rowing, and throw in some longer rows to test my endurance.  This has been an interesting challenge for me.    First, I really don't like to take rest days or to change a routine once it is established.   I think at some level I am afraid if I take a break I will lose momentum, or somehow not get back to the task.   This is an odd thing about me, but I know that it is deeply ingrained in my personality... once you start, don't stop until you are done!

Saturday I did my first 30K row.   I wanted to do something close to the full marathon just to see what it felt like to be in the seat for more than 2 hours.    This ended up being challenging on a couple levels.    First, just being in the seat that long proved to be difficult.  I had to stop briefly and stand up to stretch out.  I found a couple times that my right leg was getting numb - I believe this was from the my position on the seat.   Fresh bubble wrap will be a must for future 20K+ rows!   The second challenge to my longer rows lately has been dealing with a 9 month old dog needing to go out!   In the middle of my 30K row I had to stop to let Kira (the husky) and my other dog Cici outside... a 15 minute break I was not counting on.   Same thing happened on my last 10K row, though the break was not as long.   This is making my times look really anemic!  Clearly I'm going to need some new strategies to deal with the dogs so that I can row uninterrupted.  Either that or get myself to stop caring about what my split times look like! :-)

Kira loaded up for a walk.

 Last two rows from last week:


Description
Total Meters
Time
Pace/500m
10K (Wed)
10,000
50:38.8
2:31.9
30K (Sat)
30,000
2:37:28.5
2:37.4
Total for 2 Days
40,000
Meters to go
449,940

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

All I really want to say...

Its hard for me to believe that I turned 48 today.  It just seems impossible to believe that I am that old.  I certainly don't feel that old... though maybe this is what 48 is supposed to feel like!

This past month has been a busy one, and the last few days have left me with lots of fodder for the blog...
  • I passed the half-way point in my quest for a million meters. 
  • I completed the Concept2 March Madness 10K challenge.
  • The challenge netted me 250,000 meters for the month of March alone.
  • We finished the Zone Challenge at CrossFit Rochester and I dropped about 3-5 pounds and 1.5 inches off my waist.
  • I got a PR on the CrossFit workout "Cindy" yesterday - which is significant because it is my favorite CrossFit workout
  • And, we picked up the new puppy on Sunday... and she is a really lovable ball of fur!

So there is a lot to talk about, but as I hit 48 really all I want to do is say "Thanks" to all the great people in my life.  Old friends and new, family and people in my life that have been family to me.   I am feeling very blessed to know you all, and to count you as friends.   You have supported me and encouraged me as I have tried new things, and pushed the boundaries on my life.   You have kept me going on days when motivation and enthusiasm were hard to come by.   I am a better person for having so many great people influence my life.   And I appreciate all of you more than I can adequately put into words.  

Results from the last two days...


Description
Total Meters
Time
Pace/500m
10K (Sun)
10,000
45:48.2
2:17.4
10K (Mon)
10,000
47:55.3
2:23.7
2K (Mon)
2,000
9:22.3
2:20.5
Total for 2 Days
22,000
Meters to go
489,940

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Grid

The last couple weeks I have been wrestling with some pain in my right calf.   More precisely, in my achilles tendon.  This is an unfortunate result of too much running, too quickly in my Vibram five-finger shoes.   Last year I spent much more time easing into running in the VFFs and didn't have any issues at all.  But this year, with the weather turning nice, and my burning desire to try the KSOs in the indoor tri in March, I jumped right back into running after taking the whole winter off.  And my achilles tendon is paying the price.   Morales of the story... 1) Don't take the whole winter off from running again, 2) If you take time off from running, ease back into the VFFs...  Just doing CrossFit in the VFFs is not the same thing. 3) Occasionally check drivers license to remind myself of my age... these nagging injuries take longer to heal as I get older (which is totally unfair, and I plan on lodging a complaint as soon as I find someone who will listen).

That last part - about taking longer to heal - brings me to the main point for the day.   At my CrossFit Endurance certification class last year I was introduced to the trigger-point therapy tools made by Trigger Point Technologies.  Their tools are a collection of rollers and balls that are used to allow athletes to perform trigger point therapy on themselves.  (Trigger point therapy is a technique that applies deep tissue massage at specific body points to release tension and increase blood flow).  I have used the TriggerPoint tools with good success over the past year.  Recently they released a new tool called "The Grid" - basically a large foam roller with different textured areas on the surface.  I bought one a few months ago.

the Grid - I feel better just seeing it!

For me, one area that the grid has helped me address that the other trigger point tools, due to their smaller size, didn't hit as well was the upper hamstring area - where I am notoriously tight.   But since using it on my hamstrings I have started using it on my back and also on that nagging achilles tendon.   This has become my favorite home physical therapy device, and has worked wonders on my achilles the last week.   I wish I had discovered this thing (and trigger point therapy) years ago!   I highly recommend the Grid, as well as the other triggerpoint tools.

Been a bit behind on posting my rows... below are the results from the last three days.   Only a couple more 10Ks needed to complete the Concept2 March Madness 10K challenge!  I'm thinking that I'll hit the 500K mark this weekend, if I can fit another half-marathon in... among getting ready for a concert I am hosting tomorrow, and picking up my new running mate on Sunday...

Kira - my new running mate

Results:


Description
Total Meters
Time
Pace/500m
10K (Wed)
10,000
47:21.6
2:22.0
10K (Thur)
10,000
47:12.0
2:21.6
10K (Fri)
10,000
48:11.0
2:24.5
Total for Day
30,000
Meters to go
511,940

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Less than 4 weeks to my first Marathon

The "Row For The Red Cross" event is less than a month away!  That will be my first attempt at rowing a marathon and I have to say I am getting pretty excited about it.  Doing the half-marathon last week was a big confidence booster for me.  I'm thinking it will be exhausting, but am really looking forward to rowing with lots of friends at CrossFit Rochester.  There will be lots of people doing 5K's that day!



I'm still actively looking for sponsors for this fund-raiser.   Every little bit helps!!!   There is a link just to the right on the blog to my FirstGiving page if you'd like to contribute.   (If you are getting this via an RSS feed, the link is http://www.firstgiving.com/jeffrice )   Donating is easy and secure.

And I also want to encourage anyone in the Rochester area to plan on coming out to CrossFit Rochester for the event and show some support to all the folks rowing to raise money for the Red Cross!

Finally, a note to those who have already sponsored me in this event...  THANK YOU!!!   Your generosity will be helping a wonderful organization that helps save lives every day.  Your support is also gives me both a boost of confidence and motivation... I will be thinking of you all as I'm doing the marathon! 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Now those were some killer intervals...

If anyone is looking for some really challenging rowing intervals, you need look no further than the CrossFit Endurance site!  Since late last year I have been doing CFE workouts twice a week in addition to my regular CrossFit workouts (which I do about 5 days a week).   Since the start of the year, I have kept two CFE rowing workouts in the mix of my regular distance rowing.  And I have to say that nothing is more challenging than the CFE workouts.   After having done my first half-marathon row, I can honestly say that 20 minutes of these intervals is harder than an hour and a half of paced rowing!

Tonight's WOD was a classic example of some seriously challenging intervals.  If you are looking for a great way to push yourself on the Concept2, give these a try:  2 rounds of: 3x1:00row/0:30rest, 2x2:00row/0:45rest, 1x3:00row/2:00rest.   By the end of the first round, I was wishing I was done!  By the end of the second round, I was about ready to roll off the erg onto the floor in the fetal position.  (Sounds like fun, huh? :-))

On the plus side, I have to say that all these intervals have really helped my regular CrossFit workouts.  I find myself able to recover much faster mid-set.  When I am in the middle of a WOD and am feeling totally gassed, I am much better able to take a couple deep breaths and get back in the mix compared to 6 months ago.  I am very excited to see how this plays out once triathlon season starts in earnest.

Anyway, I really need to tip my hat to the folks at CrossFit Endurance for some awesome programming.  Can't wait for the weather to warm up again - we are in the midst of an early spring cold, rainy spell. I'll be giving the cycling Endurance WODs a go soon.

Results from the last two days:


Description
Total Meters
Time
Pace/500m
10K (Mon)
10,000
47:00.8
2:21.1
Warmup
1,000
4:20.4
2:10.2
2x[3x1:00/0:30r, 2x2:00/0:45r, 1x3:00/2:00r
5,582
20:00.0
1:47.5
rest meters
180
-
-
Cool down
1,000
4:30.9
2:15.4
2,250
2,250
11:16.4
2:30.3
Total for Day
20,077
Meters to go
541,940

Sunday, March 21, 2010

It has been a few days since my last post, and I really don't like getting behind on things.  This past week has been a busy one.

Thursday
I started the day with a 10K technique row.   Nothing too fast, just logging the meters and working on my stroke.  Knees together (always a problem), drive with the legs, pivot at the hips, relax on the recovery... repeat.   I feel like my stroke is getting smother and more "natural".  I don't catch myself making the same mistakes as often.  Probably time to video myself so I can take a closer look at things.

Then, later in the afternoon, my "Tweet Crew" teammate, Johan, tweeted that he just passed me on out team standings.  Well, I just couldn't let that stand, so I pulled a quick nightcap row to put myself 1 meter ahead of him for the day.  Hehehehe...  The advantage of living on this side of the Atlantic - I get the last shot in for the day.

And speaking of the "Tweet Crew" I definitely want to give them a shout-out here.  It has been a great way to connect with other C2 athletes around the world.  We've got some seriously good rowers on the team, and they are definitely keeping me on my toes and helping me stay motivated to get my meters in each day.  Thanks guys!!

Oh, and the rowing on Thursday took me past the 400,000 meter mark for 2010, so I'm 40% of the way there.  And I expect to hit 500,000 meters by the end of the month!

Friday
I decided that Friday was the day I'd tackle my first half-marathon.  Queue up a couple episodes of "The Unit" and dig in!!  It really wasn't as bad as I was fearing - which really seems to be the way it goes with most things that you fear.   The only hitch in the row was that at about 8000m in, I realized that I was about to "bonk".  I don't know how common that term is in the rowing community, but it is used a lot in the cycling world and describes what happens when you run out of readily available energy.... you "bonk".  So I had to hop off the erg and find some energy gel to get something in my system to get me through the next 13K.   Going to have to keep that in mind for future long rows - and particularly the marathon in April. 

Keeping gels handy is second nature to me when I'm on long bike rides.  Not sure why it didn't occur to me to do the same on the rower.  Live and learn.

Saturday
The combination of the half-marathon, and a couple really hard CrossFit workouts on Friday and Saturday morning convinced me to take the day off from rowing.   Friday at CrossFit we did a workout that involved, among other things,  lots of overhead lunges (take a barbell loaded to 65 lbs, hold it overhead and to 120 lunges).  My butt was totally fried by Saturday afternoon!

Sunday
I was featured on the CrossFit Endurance web site!!  They posted a link to my testimonial on the Concept2 web site where I talk about the benefits of using the Concept2 rower in a CrossFit Endurance framework for triathletes.   I am really honored that they put me up on the site.   There are so many CrossFitters that do CrossFit Endurance - most of whom are are fire-breathers that eat extreme endurance events for breakfast.  I marvel at the stories of the CrossFit Endurance athletes that get posted on the site.   I am humbled to be mentioned in the company of these amazing athletes!

Anyway, sore butt and all, I climbed on the erg and did my 10K this morning.   Still on track for the March Madness 10K challenge.   It had me thinking how many times in my life the days when I really don't want to get out of bed and work out, or when I can find every excuse NOT to do something, and somehow manage to do it anyway... those are the days when I have my best workout or best experience.  Funny coincidence that that's what Joe was blogging about on the CrossFit Rochester site yesterday.

So, I didn't break any records today.  No PR.  Nothing I'd care to rank at Concept2.  But it felt really good to defeat the excuses and do it anyway.  To paraphrase Michelle Toy's blog from last week...  It's in my DNA. :-)

Results:


Description
Total Meters
Time
Pace/500m
10K (Thurs)
10,000
46:35.1
2:19.5
Johan+1 (Thurs)
1,435
5:53.0
2:02.9
Half Marathon (Fri)
21,097
1:38:29.3
2:20.0
10K (Sun)
10,000
49:00.2
2:27.0
Total for Day
42,532
Meters to go
562,017

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Interesting Intervals

Tuesday this week was CrossFit Endurance week, and we had four of us taking advantage of the spring-like weather here in Rochester by moving the ergs outside for our intervals.  The format was 1:00/2:00r, but with a twist.  The one minute work interval was "pull your weight (lbs) in watts".  Then at the one minute mark you had to pull 8 strokes as hard as you could to get maximum wattage.

Two things came to light during the workout.  First, it is really, really difficult to pull a fixed wattage!  My strokes were varying from 170-225.  I could get close to my weight on average, but the standard of deviation was really high!   Guess I need to work on that.   The second thing I discovered was that even though the max effort strokes were limited, it still fried the glutes pretty well.   I guess it is a good sign that my power strokes were coming from my legs and butt rather than my back muscles.  I am definitely feeling like my form is generally pretty good - and that is a good thing with lots of long rows including a marathon on the near horizon.

Today was an early morning 10K.   Again, keeping on pace with the March Madness Challenge, and adding meters on for my World Rowing Challenge team. Go "Tweet Crew"!  (no, not the NASCAR Tweet Crew...)

Results from the last two days:


Description
Total Meters
Time
Pace/500m
Warmup
1,000
4:21.4
2:10.7
CFE Intervals
3,454
-
-
6K nightcap
6,000
26:24.7
2:12.0
10K (Wednesday)
10,000
47:19.5
2:21.9
Total for Day
20,454
Meters to go
604,549

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sometimes you gotta keep moving...

...even if you are sore.

Yesterday and today I am paying the price for not consistently running on the FiveFingers over the winter.   My calf muscles are extremely sore today!   This, for me, is the running equivalent of early spring saddle soreness that I get biking.  I've never had a lot of tolerance for riding a bike on a trainer so most winters I find myself mostly bagging it.  And most springs get kicked off a period of being really saddle sore until I get reconditioned to spending time on the bike.   I had hoped that doing all my CrossFit workouts in my KSOs would keep my calves pretty well conditioned through the winter.   Not so much...   While we do an awful lot of box jumps and jump rope work, it apparently is just not the same as actually running.   Live and learn.

So last night, after a pretty tough CrossFit workout of heavy deadlifts and double-unders, I managed to make myself row a 10K before calling it a day.  I was really, really sore - and tired.  But sometimes you gotta keep moving anyway.   As a result, I am still on target for the 10K March Madness Challenge, and logged my first 10K towards the World Rowing Challenge.   Making progress on both challenges made the effort seem worthwhile.

Here's last nights effort... pretty slow, but slow is better than DNF!


Description
Total Meters
Time
Pace/500m
10K (Monday)
10,000
47:42.6
2:23.1
Total for Day
10,000
Meters to go
625,003

Monday, March 15, 2010

RIT Indoor Triathlon

Sunday wrapped up a 60K week for me. It also marked (for me) the start of triathlon season with the first event of the year, the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) indoor triathlon.  This year I did the tri as usual with my good friend Michael Peck.  Mike and I started doing triathlons at the same time 4 years ago.  Each year for the past 4 years we've done 4-6 triathlons together. And four years ago, the RIT indoor tri was the first one we did together.

my good friend Mike and I at the start of the run.  Mike's also a FiveFinger fan.

This year my girlfriend, Laura, and our friend Ann also did the tri.  It was a first for both of them, and I couldn't be more proud of the way they did.  You would never have guessed it was their first time out.  I guess all the CrossFit they do gave them a solid foundation to work from.

For those unfamiliar, an indoor tri is typically set up as 15 minutes per event with two 5-minute transitions. You start off in the pool and swim as many lengths of the pool as possible in the 15 minutes. Then you have 5 minutes to make your way to the location of the spinning bikes, change any clothes and put on shoes. After spinning for 15 minute, you have another 5 minute transition before a 15 minute run around an indoor track.

love running in my Vibram FiveFinger KSOs!

This year I decided to do the run (and spinning) in my Vibram FiveFinger KSO's. This was the first race I've used them in. And while I have to admit that they didn't work really well on the spinning bikes, they were fantastic on the run as expected! I've been running in the KSOs for a while now, but this was my first opportunity to give them a go on a race - AND in a race where a quick transition was involved. My concern about using them in triathlons is wasting precious seconds in transition putting the KSOs on. They are somewhat more involved than putting on regular running shoes since you have to fit your toes into the little pockets. In any case, the transition went well and I am now thinking that I may actually be able to use them in an actual sprint tri. I think I'd be happy sacrificing a couple seconds in transition for the ability to run the 5K in them.

spinning in the KSOs... not so great, sorry to say... sneakers next time

Wearing the KSOs I was able to complete an extra lap versus last year. The "barefoot" shoes really help to force better running technique, which makes me faster with less effort. In fact, when I got done, one of the first comments I got from my CrossFit coach, Joe Celso of CrossFit Rochester, was that I wasn't pushing myself hard enough! He was right. I came of the track hardly winded.  I need to work on pushing harder on the run. The habit of running slowly is a hard one to break. I see a lot more sprint and interval runs on the near horizon! 

After the tri, I managed to get another 10K row in to round out a 60K week.  Still on track for the 10K March Madness challenge!

Weekend's rowing results:

Description
Total Meters
Time
Pace/500m
10K (Friday)
10,000
48:21.1
2:25.0
10K (Sunday)
10,000
44:38.4
2:13.9
Total for 2 Days
20,000
Meters to go
635,003

Friday, March 12, 2010

To row or not to row?...

That is the question.   As I have decided to take on the 10K March Madness challenge, I realize that I have only 6 days in the month of March that I can not get 10K worth of rowing in.   With an indoor triathlon coming up this weekend, I have to pick which day this week I will skip.   On the one hand, I was thinking about taking today off (those thoughts were particularly strong during yesterdays CrossFit workout!), but I also realize that I will certainly need to take Saturday off from rowing as it is the day before the race.

So, as I take a quick break in my day to post my rowing from yesterday, I am leaning towards getting a 10K row in this evening in order to "buy" myself a rest day later this week.

Decisions, decisions... guess you'll have to check back tomorrow to see which way it goes.

But for now, here's my 10K row from yesterday.   Another easy-paced row (as my early morning efforts tend to be)  Should pass the 400,000 mark next week.


Description
Total Meters
Time
Pace/500m
10K
10,000
49:30.2
2:28.1
Total for Day
10,000
 
Meters to go
655,003