Sunday, February 28, 2010

Brighton Burn Ergatta 2010

This was a fairly light week, distance wise.  But it was a great rowing week nonetheless.

First, I rowed my first 5K time trial in over a year and beat my previous PR by a significant margin (and cracked the 19:00 mark).


 Brighton Burn Ergata 2010

Second, I rowed in the Brighton Burn Ergatta at the University of Rochester today  The Ergata was sponsored by the UofR Crew Team, and it was my first rowing competition.  It was also my first 2K time trial - not sure how I've never done a 2K before.   My time was reasonable, but fell below my goal of 7:00.   Perhaps that was a tad unrealistic, but I actually feel like I could hit that on better rested legs (and on a morning that didn't follow a wine tasting party!)  I held my own for the first 1300m, but with 700m left to go, my legs just ran out of steam.  I just couldn't seem to coax any more power out of them on the drive, and the prior day's CrossFit WOD of body-weight dead lifts, burpees, and box jumps seemed to take its toll.   Lesson learned... next year, a full day of rest before the competition!!!

That's me fighting to keep the 1:44 pace going...


The Ergatta was a great event - well run, well organized and lots of fun.   Hats off to the UofR Crew team on putting on such a great event.   I'll definitely be back next year and plan on bringing a sub-7:00 game with me.

The third significant event for me also related to the Ergatta.  Three friends from CrossFit went with me.  My girlfriend Laura, my CrossFit Endurance partner Julie, and Ryan who has joined Julie and me for a few CrossFit Endurance WODs.   All three of them placed in the medals in their age groups!   This was the first rowing competition for all of them.   I couldn't be more proud of the way they did today!
Team CrossFit.. Julie: silver, Ryan: Bronze, Laura: gold!

Today's results from the "Burn"


Description
Total Meters
Time
Pace/500m
Warmup
1,000
-
-
2K "Brighton Burn"
2,000
7:10.8
1.47.7
Total for Day
3,000
Meters to go
750,090

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I love days when I get a PR!

Last weekend I had decided that I really needed to do a 5K for time.  I had last done one over a year ago at CrossFit and had a time of 19:30 or so.  It was time to see if I could beat that.   I mentioned that a 5K was in the plans to my CrossFit Endurance partner, Julie, earlier in the week.  Tonight's row had been making me nervous all week.   I was almost dreading the workout... and at the same time I couldn't wait to see if I could beat my previous time.  Kind of an odd internal tension between wanting to do it, and not wanting to do it.

The row went much better than I had expected!   Other than some breathing issues at around the 2500m mark (I had started thinking about my breathing and as a result started breathing "wrong" - started to get side stitches), I was pretty strong and consistent.  I maintained a 1:50 pace for the first 2000m or so but that dropped to a 1:54 by the 4K mark, which I managed to maintain, picking it up slightly in the last 500m.  My final time was 18:50.1  Around 40 seconds faster than a year ago!

My next challenge will be the "Brighton Burn" 2k competition this weekend at the University of Rochester.  Johan passed along a great link to some recommendations on preparing for a 2k time trial.  I'll definitely have to strategize around that.  I'm hoping to turn in a sub- 7:00 2K.  Hopefully that's within reach.  Honestly right now I feel like I could do just about anything...  I love it when I get a PR.

Tonight's results..


Description
Total Meters
Time
Pace/500m
Warmup
506
2:27.9
2:25.5
5K
5,000
18:50.1
1:53.0
Total for Day
5,506
Meters to go
753,090

CrossFit Endurance and Intervals

Yesterday was a rest day for me in the rowing department.  I still went to CrossFit in the evening and did some 5x5 Deadlifts and 5x5 shoulder presses (and my shoulders are feeling it this morning!)  Tonight I have a 5K time trial as part of my CrossFit Endurance workout.   I've been wanting to do a 5K again for a while.  It has probably been a year an a half since I've done a 5K for time.  I was just under 19:30 then and I am wondering if I can match that time... we shall see.

There has been a lot of tweeting lately about intervals among the rowers I am following on twitter.  And in general, I seem to be seeing more and more on blogs and in magazines about using intervals as a part of your endurance training plan.   For me this first came to light late in 2008 when I first discovered the CrossFit Endurance community.   I had been doing CrossFit for almost a year, and high-intensity, short distance running and rowing are a part of many CrossFit workouts.  But the intriguing thing about CrossFit Endurance was their assertion that intervals and short-distance work are the cornerstone to preparing for long-distance endurance events, when combined with consistent strength and conditioning work.   CrossFit Endurance (CFE) recommends doing the regular CrossFit workouts 4-5 days per week and supplementing that with 2-3 CFE workouts.   The CFE workouts are typically in a cycle of one interval workout, one tempo or time-trial workout, and one interval workout.   That's basically it.  No weekly long-distance bike/run/swim/row... just intervals and tempo/TT work.

Now, if you are preparing for a long-distance event, you will probably want to throw in some distance workouts in there too... if you are going to spend hours on a bike, or in the seat of a rower, you probably want to know that you can endure that for extended periods of time.  Similarly, on distance events you need to refuel your body, so it is good to know what foods you can handle on a long run/bike/row to keep from bonking and yet not lose your lunch along the way.   So as part of event preparation, long-distance workouts have their place.  But the CFE folks argue that those long workouts are not necessary on a regular basis to train your body to go long distances.

In fact, one of the arguments that the CFE folks make (and I agree with this) is that if you stick mainly with long slow workouts - consistently going for long distances in preparation for a marathon, for example - what you are really doing is training your body to go slowly... for long distances. (Duh!)  By focusing on intervals you are accomplishing two things.  First, you are training your body to go fast.  Second, you are training your body to recover quickly before it needs to go fast again.  By coupling those intervals with shorter tempo work you will build up the endurance you need to go longer distances.   So, for rowing that might be 2k, 5k, and 10k tempo or time trials, depending on what your target event distance is (10k would be for people targeting marathon or longer distances)

If any of this piques your interest, I'd encourage you to go to the CFE site and read what they have to say.   And even if you don't agree with it, the CrossFit Endurance blog posts some great interval workouts.  Lots of variety there - and you can use them for running, biking, swimming, or rowing.  Which is perfect for me because it covers all the endurance stuff that I do!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Barefoot Rowing?

I have to confess that I am a big fan of Vibram FiveFinger shoes, and have mentioned them a couple times in passing in my blog.  For those that haven't heard of these shoes, or followed the link on my blog, FiveFinger shoes are minimalist footwear.  They are shaped like the human foot (with pockets for each toe) and basically provide a thin but durable sole -- and not much else.   There are several styles, but the basic idea behind them all is the same: come as close to being barefoot as possible.

FiveFinger shoes are at the forefront of the minimalist/barefoot running movement that has been getting tons of press lately.   Much of the press has referred to the study by Daniel Lieberman of Harvard and to the book "Born to Run" by Chris McDougall.  One tennant of the minimalist running movement is that many running injuries are actually caused by current running shoes which encourage elongated strides and heel-striking.   Running barefoot - or as close to it as possible - encourages you to run "the way nature intended": on the forefront of your feet.   Vibram FiveFinger shoes do just that, and they help you build strength in the muscles and tendons in your feet and calves by - get this - forcing you to actually use them!

Last spring, after attending a CrossFit Endurance Certification class,  I decided to change my running technique.  As part of that process I have moved towards minimalist running shoes.  First to Adidas Adizero Pro's, then, after reading "Born to Run" I picked up a pair of Vibram FiveFinger KSOs.  I have been wearing the KSOs for most of my running workouts and for just about all my CrossFit workouts for the last 6 months or so.

But for some reason, I always put on other shoes for rowing long distances.  I've used the FiveFingers for rowing sprints, but I guess I have felt that I needed something more substantial for long rows, figuring that the straps would bother me in the more minimalist shoe. Unfortunately,  as I have started doing longer rows, I have found that every "normal" pair of shoes I have tried has caused me some irritation or minor blistering on my heels.

So today I rowed a 10K in my FiveFinger KSOs and to my surprise, there was absolutely no heel rubbing or irritation!  They felt great in the straps for a the longer distance.  My initial take: these are great rowing shoes! 

I am going to keep using the KSOs for all my rowing, and hopefully future long rows will feel as good on my feet as this morning's row did.  I'll keep you posted!

Did I mention that I'm a big fan of FiveFinger shoes?


Two rows today... I was really beat this morning after a hard CrossFit workout last night, so the 10K was pretty slow.  Here are the results:


Description
Total Meters
Time
Pace/500m
10K (morning)
10,000
45:30.2
2:16.5
Warmup
(CFE in the evening)
1,000
4:22.8
2:11.4
10x0:30/2:00r "uphill"
1,711
5:00
1:27.6
rest meters
214
-
-
Total for Day
12,925
Meters to go
758,596

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sunday: coaching and rowing

Last week was a busy one for me in the rowing department.  I logged 57,675 meters for the week, which is the most in a week I have done thus far.  I took today off from rowing and just did my CrossFit workout - which today was a combination of burpee-pullups and double-unders.  That was plenty enough exercise for the day!

One highlight of last week was teaching a rowing clinic at CrossFit Rochester on Sunday.  In one of my early blog posts I mentioned that one of the events that got me into all this rowing in the first place was attending a CrossFit Rowing Certification class back in November.   That class, which was done in conjunction with Concept2, really changed my approach to rowing and was a phenomenal experience.   Since getting that certification, I have been coaching several people at CrossFit on rowing technique.  Yesterday, after the 9:00 WOD, I did another clinic at the gym and had a total of 8 people attend!  I really had a blast doing it, and it seems that everyone got something out of it.  I noticed marked improvement in a few people, for sure!

Showing how to use the power graph on the monitor

My next goal along the coaching/teaching lines is to get my paperwork and video turned in for my Concept2 certification.   I'll be taking a video of my next coaching session so I have all the required footage for the certification.

 
Breaking it down...

 One of the people in the group asked me about my Vibram FiveFinger shoes... "are those rowing-specific shoes?"   No, but I have found that I really do like rowing in them!   I haven't done a long row in them yet, but need to do that soon.  I have found that every other shoe I have used on 10K rows is at least a little uncomfortable towards the end of the row.  Does anyone else have that problem?

Maybe I'll give the FiveFingers a try tomorrow morning...

Sunday's results (didn't count any rowing I did while teaching the clinic...)


Description
Total Meters
Time
Pace/500m
10K
10,000
43:52.9
2:11.6
Total for Day
10,000
Meters to go
771,521

Friday, February 19, 2010

A great Friday - and another RowPro session

It is amazing how energizing something as simple as a day off work can be.  This week my son had off school all week (mid-winter break) and I decided to take one day off myself.  No big plans.  Just a simple day off with the specific intention of not accomplishing anything in particular.  Kind of like the Sabbath day I blogged about a few weeks ago.  It was really a great day.  CrossFit, Starbucks, ran a few errands, spent some time with my son, got a 10K row in (and pulled another PR!)  Now, I think I'm gonna kick back and take in a movie.  Life is good...

But really, the thing that stands out for me about the day was the time I got to spend with my friends.  At the gym, at Starbucks, and later on the phone... I am very blessed to have such great people in my life.

As for the RowPro session... I did a 10K before dinner.   I started off at what seemed like a farily easy pace, but as I hit the 5500m mark, I realized that with just a little more effort I could break 41 minutes.  So the second half of the row I upped the intensity and managed to finish with another personal record... 40:48.6.   Next week, we may see the 40 minute barrier break...

I managed to get RowPro connected to my Concept2 Logbook (thanks for the pointers Johan!) but I think I did find a bug/quirk in the software.  It seems if I program the rowing session from the PM3 monitor, rather than set it up in the RowPro software, the session does not terminate correctly when I hit the 10K mark.   I'll have to try setting up the whole session in RowPro next time.   I am anxious to try setting up some more complicated CrossFit Endurance intervals with RowPro - there have been several that can't be programmed directly on the PM3 monitor.   More playing with the software this weekend.

Hey!  I still have a whole weekend ahead of me!!!  Did I mention that this was a great Friday?

Today's results:

Description
Total Meters
Time
Pace/500m
10K
10,000
40:48.6
2:02.4
Total for Day
10,000
Meters to go
781,521

Thursday, February 18, 2010

RowPro - first evaluation

I decided to give RowPro a try this evening... after I already did my CrossFit Endurance WOD of 10x0:30/0:30r sprints.  The software looks pretty good at first blush, but without having read any of the manuals or anything, I haven't figured out how to get it to connect to my Concept2 logbook to upload my workout.  I had to do that separately.  (If anyone knows how to do this, please leave me a comment.)

The graphics in the program are very nice, and the details of the data captured from the PM3 and displayed in real-time are impressive.  I may have to put on a heart rate monitor, just to see the graphs. 

I am anxious to figure out how to set it up to row against others on-line and to row against previous workouts.   Expectations are high.  I'll post a more complete review of the software as I experiment with it.  Stay tuned...

Today's results:


Description
Total Meters
Time
Pace/500m
1K Warmup
1,000
4:15.7
2:07.8
10x0:30/0:30r
1,576
5:00.0
1:35.1
Rest meters
210
-
-
5K
5,000
20:26.7
2:02.6
Total for Day
7,786
Meters to go
791,521

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

200K down, 800K to go...

After a 10K row this morning left me with just about 5K left to break the 200K mark, I just couldn't call it a day without getting that first 200K in the bag.  So I turned on the Olympics and started rowing while watching Shaun White work his magic on the half-pipe.  (That guy is to snow boarding what Michael Jordan was to basketball!) 

My intention was to shoot for a sub-20 minute 5K.  My PR on a 5K was a little under 19:30 last year during a CrossFit WOD.  But I found myself totally mesmerized by the snow boarding and my pace would slack.  Gradually my more aggressive workout turned into a fairly easy 5K.  Oh well...

But this leads me to the debate between watching TV or a DVD while rowing, versus not and staying totally focused on the effort.   Clearly my times are better when I am not distracted by the TV.  But staying focused on rowing on an erg for 40+ minutes is... well let's just say it's not something I excel at!  This is the same dilemma I face with winter bicycle training at home.   Riding on a trainer is just boring!  I find I really need a distraction to keep my butt in the saddle long enough to build up the conditioning on a trainer. 

With cycling, my outdoor rides are typically all-out.  So if my times durning the winter - when I am cycling indoors on a trainer - are not great, I don't really mind.  I can focus on technique.  Right now my CrossFit Endurance workouts on the rower are kind of like my outdoor bike rides... focused and aggressive.

Perhaps something like RowPro would be a good compromise for longer rows... interacting with virtual competitors might keep me focused on the effort, but also provide visual distraction for longer rowing efforts where I am really trying to get a PR. I'd be interested in hearing what others think about rowing with distractions versus not... and how they see it effect their performance.

Today's results that put me over the 200K mark:


Description
Total Meters
Time
Pace/500m
10K
10,000
49:07.1
2:27.3
5K
5,000
21:07.1
2:06.7
Total for Day
15,000
Meters to go
799,307

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Inspirational rowing

A fellow rower, Johan Hoeke, tweeted a link to a video Felix Bach, the of the winner of the CRASH-B Junior HW division.  He pulled a 5:51.8 2k in the finals.  Well, actually he pulled it in the heat immediately after the men's junior HW finals... you see, when he started in the actual final heat his first pull was so explosive it lifted the front of the rower off the ground AND broke the chain!!!  So they let him row in the following heat - the junior women's finals.  His finishing time was 20+ seconds faster than the second place guy!   Talk about an amazing performance...  

As I watched the video of him rowing, I was so impressed by his timing and form.  The whole race he is pulling a sub-1:30/500m pace, and he doesn't even look like he's trying hard.  It just looks effortless and natural.   Not until the last 200m or so does he look like he's working hard.  (And I have no doubt he is working his butt of the whole time... he just makes it look easy!)

Quite an inspirational row...reminds me that I really need to focus on form and rhythm on the longer rows.




My efforts today didn't break any CRASH-B records, that's for sure, but I did manage to get two sessions in - in spite of a headache that seemed to get better by the second row during my CrossFit workout this evening.   Getting very close to the 800,000 mark.  I may have to throw in a 15,000m row tomorrow just to push it over the top.   Guess I'll see how I feel in the morning.

Today's results:


Description
Total Meters
Time
Pace/500m
10K
10,000
49:07.1
2:27.3
3x300m (CF warmup)
900
3:12.8
1:48.1
Total for Day
10,900
Meters to go
814,307

Monday, February 15, 2010

New week, back to work

Tonight was a CrossFit Endurance workout that I also did about a month ago.  6x1:00/3:00r.  I noticed an interesting thing tonight in that whatever interval workout I seem to do, I think they are all about 15 seconds too long.   When I do 90 second intervals, at about 1:15 I am thinking to myself "ok, time to stop".  Tonight during the 1:00 intervals I was thinking that 0:45 would have been perfect!  Sigh...  Guess it wouldn't really be a workout if 25% of it didn't really suck! On the plus side, I did manage to pull 3 meters more than I did last time.  Not a huge improvement, but an improvement nonetheless.

I took today as a rest day from my CrossFit workout.   I woke up this morning just feeling too tired and sore from the weekend's workouts.   (See... I do listen to my body from time to time!)  I'll be back at that tomorrow - hopefully feeling a bit better rested, and a bit less sore than today.

Tonight's results:


Description
Total Meters
Time
Pace/500m
Warmup
1,000
4:20.0
2:10.0
6x1:00/3:00r
1,863
6:00.0
1:36.6
Rest Meters
126
-
-
Cool down
1,000
4:31.3
2:15.6
Total for Day
3,989
Meters to go
825,207

Last week's summary

I finished the week last week with about 42Km logged towards my goal of one million meters.  And while my intention was to hit another 50K week, my body was telling me on Sunday that rest was needed more than that last 8K.

Saturday marked the start of another Zone diet challenge at CrossFit Rochester.   These challenges are designed to provide accountability and support for eating clean and balanced.   For some, the Zone diet provides a structure around eating that will help them lose weight.  For me, it is more about eating intentionally.   I need to be more aware of what and how much I am eating to make sure I am getting enough food - and in the proper balance - to support all the physical activity that I do.   Too often I eat without intention.  I just grab whatever is available when I am hungry and don't really think that much about it.   Generally speaking I don't have any weight issues, but I have found that when I am not thinking about what I am eating I don't eat a balanced diet and as a result athletic performance suffers. 

Our workout on Saturday was "Cindy": 20 minutes, as many rounds as possible (AMRAP) of 5 pullups, 10 pushups, 15 squats.   Cindy is probably my favorite CrossFit workout.  Since I began CrossFit training two years ago, I have been shooting for completing 20 rounds of Cindy in the 20 minutes.  On Saturday I finally beat that mark (my prior best score was 19 rounds).  In 6 weeks, at the end of the Zone challenge we will be doing Cindy again and I am hoping to get 21 rounds in.

So, after my weekend of (rowing) rest, I'll be back at it tonight with a CrossFit Endurance workout... Some rowing sprint intervals.   I really feel that the rowing and endurance workouts helped me get that 20 round Cindy on Saturday.   Hopefully more of the same will get me to 21 in six weeks.

Friday, February 12, 2010

"You are crazy!"

I get that a lot.  Mostly it's in jest, but I am sure there is a hint of sincerity in there for some people who make the comment.  And some days, like today, I really have to take a step back and wonder... am I really crazy to do all this rowing and exercise?  After all, today started off with some seriously intense rowing intervals at CrossFit, and ended up with a rowing time trial for my CrossFit Endurance WOD.  Would a sane person voluntarily do that to him/herself?

Why do I do this?  Am I really crazy?

Gee, I hope not!

For me, one of the biggest reasons for working out revolves around challenges.  Some days, like today, are more challenging than others.   I like having some kind of a goal when I work out - and not just a simple or easy goal, but one that will push me beyond what I am comfortable with.  I like proving to myself that I can achieve something that at the onset seemed impossible or at least nearly so.

Truly one of the greatest lessons I have learned from doing CrossFit is that my body is capable of doing much more than I think it can.   No matter how difficult a CrossFit WOD may seem, I always manage to complete it (so far anyway!)   I get a real rush from proving to myself that I can go just a little bit faster than I thought, or lift a little bit more than last time, or occasionally get a slightly better score than someone who is 20 years younger than me.  And each time I accomplish this I am reminded that even at 47 years old, my body can still improve.  The difficult workouts also remind me that life outside the gym is no different from inside the gym.  I am capable of achieving more than I think I can.  Most of the barriers to success are mental.

Rowing one million meters is a goal that I am looking forward to getting under my belt.  And even though it seems like a lot when you look at it as a whole, it is fundamentally no different than a long CrossFit WOD.  You start chipping away at it, ignoring the voice of doubt that tells you it is too big, or too far and pretty soon you can see a light at the end of the tunnel (ok, that light is still 830,000m off, but it is 170,000 closer than it was a couple weeks ago...).  I am frequently reminded of the phrase, "the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time".

Tonight's time trial was one I did twice in December.  I have to be honest... it sucked while I was doing it.   I was still tired from this morning, and I felt like I couldn't get enough air for the last 5 minutes of the workout.  I came very close to bailing after 8 minutes.   I can remember thinking, "this is crazy!"  But somehow I was able to convince myself that it was only 4 minutes, and I can do anything for 4 minutes.  I finished the row and even managed to get a PR on it.  Mind over matter and another hurdle crossed.

Am I crazy? 

Gee, I hope not... because I really love doing this.


Description
Total Meters
Time
Pace/500m
6x1:30/1:30r
2,573
9:00.0
1:44.9
Warmup
1,000
4:22.9
2:11.4
12:00
3,182
12:00.3
1:53.1
Total for Day
6,755
Meters to go
829,196

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I think I may have a problem...

I am starting to feel a little bit like I am addicted to this rowing stuff... much in the same way I am addicted to CrossFit.   Today was a rest day, so I skipped my CrossFit WOD this morning and was planning on skipping the rowing today as well.  But by the end of the work day I was feeling restless, and had a lot of pent-up energy.  And was feeling pretty good physically (I don't need no stinking rest!)  So, I popped an episode of "The Tudors" in the DVD player, jumped on the erg and rowed a 10K.  I have a hard time taking a day off sometimes!

Speaking of "The Tudors", it makes me wonder how many other rowers out there watch TV while they row.  I only do so when I am rowing longer pieces (e.g. 10K).  But I am curious if other people simply row with no "distractions", or if they listen to music instead.

So with that I'll jump straight to the results.  Have to get up early for CrossFit tomorrow morning.


Description
Total Meters
Time
Pace/500m
10K
10,000
45:00.3
2:15.0
Total for Day
10,000
Meters to go
835,951

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

April marathon: Row for the Red Cross!

It is (mostly) official now.   The marathon in April will be used to help raise money for the Red Cross.  I am in the process of working out the details with the local chapter, but they are behind it.  I am very excited about it and am looking to get as many people involved as possible.   Hopefully I can hook up with some of the local high school and college crew teams and see if I can get any of them involved.  But even if it is just me and my CrossFit friends rowing, it will be (dare I say) fun, and it will be good to know that we are helping out a worthy cause.

I got a double-dose of rowing in today.  My morning 10K went great - I broke the 44:00 minute mark the day after I broke the 45:00 mark.  Somehow I think it will take me more than 4 more days to get below 40:00! :-)

This evening there were two 1K rows mixed in to the WOD.  With 50 burpee box jumps and 50 pull ups mixed in.   Gotta say that that last 1K row was a beast!

Two rowing workouts in one day...  a pretty good day, I'd say.

Today's results:


Description
Total Meters
Time
Pace/500m
10K (morning)
10,000
43:43.0
2:11.1
1K (CrossFit)
1,000
3:40.8
1:50.4
1K (CrossFit)
1,000
3:49.0
1:54.7
Total for Day
12,000
Meters to go
845,951

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

For the greater good

I've been thinking quite a bit about how to leverage my goal of rowing a million meters this year into something for the greater good.  One thing that I will be doing in April is rowing a marathon with Bethany at CrossFit Geneseo (along with some other CrossFit friends who will be joining us for segments of the row).  Bethany and I have decided to make that a row for charity.  As we work out the details, I'll post the specifics here.

But in the arena of working for the greater good, and thinking globally and acting locally, one person I have come across in the rowing community that I'm finding inspiration in is Michelle Toy.  She's planning a 100k row in June to raise $40,000 to build a school in Mozambique.  Michelle is knocking out long rows in training that make me tired and sore just thinking about!  What a great cause, and what a fantastic example of turning individual action into something that can positively impact so many lives.

If you'd like to follow her journey, I encourage you to check out her blog "I Go 100".  Good luck Michelle!!!

As for today's step on my journey, I did a 10K row this morning and broke 45 minutes for the first time.  My 10K times seem to be improving pretty organically - meaning that I am not really trying to beat a certain time on the longer rows... just pulling at a comfortable pace.  My comfortable pace seems to be gradually getting faster, which is encouraging.

This morning's row:

Description
Total Meters
Time
Pace/500m
10K
10,000
44:09.1
2:12.4
Total for Day
10,000
Meters to go
857,951

Monday, February 8, 2010

Crazy 8's and pimping my ride :-)

This morning at CrossFit we did a little bit of insanity called "crazy 8's".  Eight rounds of: 8 pullups, 8 pushups, 8 dead lifts (95#), 8 knees-to-elbows (a.k.a. KTE), 8 front squats (95#), 8 push press (95#) and 8 kettle bell swings (55#).   Not sure if that sounds like a lot of work to most people but rest assured, it is a workout that reminds me of the IRS... it takes every bit of whatever you have then ask you for more!

The entire workout I felt mildly nauseous.  Not fun...

And I felt spent just about all day.  That WOD really kicked my butt.

Thank goodness for that accountability thing I was talking about the other day, because skipping my row this evening would have been pretty easy to rationalize had my friends not been waiting for me at the gym for a little CrossFit Endurance workout on the ergs.  We did 10x125m, full effort with 1:00 rest between  intervals.  Surprisingly I did pretty well - managing to beat my time from back in December on the same workout by about a full second per interval.

As for "pimping my ride"... well, I decided I needed to personalize my Concept2 rower. :-)

 Got the custom decals from SignSpecialist.  I'm really happy with the work they did!  If you want some custom decal work, I recommend them.

Tonight's results:


Description
Total Meters
Time
Pace/500m
Warmup
1,023
4:21.3
2:07.7
10x125m/1:00r
1,250
3:40.5
1:28.2
Cool down
1,018
4:37.2
2:16.1
Total for Day
3,291
Meters to go
867,951

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sabbath

This morning I did something I rarely seem to do... I didn't wake up to an alarm clock.  I had thought about going to CrossFit this morning, but decided instead to sleep in.  To allow myself the "luxury" of rest.

Upon waking up I pulled a 10K - just to round out another 50K week - but it was done without the sense of urgency or "gotta fit it in to the day somehow" that I find often accompanies my workouts.  It was, in many ways relaxing!  Afterward, I made some coffee and had a nice quiet breakfast.  No distractions.  No feeling like I had to be somewhere.  It was a really great morning.

And all that got me thinking about a wonderful book I read a couple years ago called "Sabbath: Restoring the Sacred Rhythm of Rest" by Wayne Muller.  In the book, Muller talks about the origins of Sabbath - the day of rest -  and about how as a society we have gotten away from allowing ourselves to rest.  Our feelings that rest is a "luxury" denies our physical, mental, and spiritual need to rest.  As a society we are so driven by the need to fill every moment of the day with important "stuff" we don't allow ourselves space to see that the moments are what is important, and not the stuff we fill them with.  Rest (Sabbath) allows us space to do that.  To allow the mind, muscles, and spirit to recover and regroup.  To get ready for the next cycle of work and busy-ness.

I'm feeling like it is time to re-read Muller's book.  And to try and spend some time these last few months of winter simplifying, de-cluttering, and re-prioritizing.  Making more room in my day-to-day life for family, friends... and for rest.

This morning's 10K:


Description
Total Meters
Time
Pace/500m
10K
10,000
45:51.5
2:16.7
Total for Day
10,000
Meters to go
871,242

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Accountability

I don't know about you, but accountability is a huge factor in my exercise and fitness life. There have been countless times that I would so much rather hit the snooze on the alarm clock than drag myself out of bed at 4am to have my butt handed to me at CrossFit. But the accountability to friends who I know will give me grief if I miss a WOD makes me pull myself out of bed and get to the gym.

I have found this to be particularly true with regards to nutrition and diet. It is way too easy to let my diet take a back seat when I am not accountable to someone other than my impulses for what I am eating. When I have participated in Zone diet challenges at CrossFit, and am accountable to either a partner in the challenge or to others in the contest by having to post everything I eat, I find it much easier to stick with a diet. Saying "no" to cookies and other nutritionally vacuous foods (but mostly cookies... my kriptonite!) is much easier when I know I am going to have to "fess-up" later on a blog or publicly available diet log.

Which brings me to my row last night. My plan had been to row a 10K yesterday. But life and work conspired to keep me busy until much later than I had thought. I got home from a wonderful evening out at around 10:00pm last night (and had a fun dinner that contained more than it's share of food that was, well... not something I'd be proud to enter into a diet log).   I was tired and ready to call it a day... BUT, I had made a commitment to row 10K. And had even tweeted about it (and Concept2 re-tweeted it... Thanks!) I knew I was going to have to post something here on the blog in the morning... "I was too tired" didn't have a good ring to it.  I felt accountable.  So at 10:30pm I busted out the erg and pulled a 10K before bed. Didn't  break any records, but I did it. And some days, just doing it is the record you need to break.

As for today, I may take a rest day, or I may row again later this afternoon. At CrossFit this morning we did Fight Gone Bad which contained 3 intervals of 1:00 rowing for calories. I didn't feel like I had a lot in the tank after doing a 10K so late last night, but I had enough to get a PR (personal record) in the WOD. 288 - which is 10 better than my last effort on FGB. I am shooting for 300 by the end of the year.... stay tuned. And keep me accountable.

Last night's (almost) midnight madness row:

Description
Total Meters
Time
Pace/500m
10K
10,000
46:51.5
2:20.5
Total for Day
10,000
Meters to go
881,242

Thursday, February 4, 2010

500m intervals

Tonight was a CrossFit Endurance night.  We did 6x500m intervals with 2 minutes of rest between intervals.  So far that has to be one of my favorite rowing workouts.  The 500m distance is just about the right distance sprint for me.  Not too long, and not too short.  By the last 100m I am usually fighting to keep the pace I have set, and yet for the last 50 meters or still feel like I have enough in the tank to finsh the interval.  It is a little disheartening for me durning longer intervals when, towards the end of the interval, I feel like I am pulling as hard as I can and yet my pace keeps getting slower and slower... 1:50, 1:52, 1:55, 1:58... ugh!

It was also pretty cool tonight at the gym to have three separate groups working out at the same time,  Three of us doing an Endurance WOD, three people doing a trial workout, and another group doing the normal CrossFit WOD (which, after seeing all the burpees involved, I was glad I took a rest day this morning!)

Tomorrow should be a double-duty day: CrossFit WOD in the morning, and a 10K row in the evening. 

Description
Total Meters
Time
Pace/500m
Warm up
1,000
4:23.5
2:11.7
6x500m/2:00r
3,000
10:24.5
1:44.0
rest meters
126
-
-
Cool Down
1,000
4:41.5
2:20.7
Total for Day
5,126
 
Meters to go
891,242

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The first hurdle

My row this morning put me over the first 100K hurdle in my quest to row a million meters.  And while I am only a tenth of the way there, somehow knocking off that first 100K in less than a month has made the goal more concrete, and more achievable.

It reminds me of many of my CrossFit workouts, and of my experiences with triathlon -- and actually of many endeavors in life.  Before I begin, the task can seem insurmountable.   As cliche as it may sound, it really is true that the hardest step is the first one.  Just resolving to do it, and then taking that first step, that can be the biggest barrier to success.   Fear of failure, fear of pain or discomfort, fear of being out of my comfort zone... all these fears pull at my resolve to get started.   But one of the most valuable things I have gotten from all my CrossFit training is the knowledge that the pain and fear is fleeting; the pride of accomplishment is lasting.  I know that if I take that first step, soon I will be arriving at my goal and that step across the finish line is what I will remember. 

Typically there is a point fairly early on in these endeavors where I realize that that first step has turned into the first several, or the first mile, or the first 100,000 meters.  At that point I know that I will finish what I started -- that my momentum will carry me through.   I know that there will likely be some really sucky parts (like the last mile, or middle round, or perhaps the 42,000 meters I got talked into rowing all in one workout... eh-hem Bethany!)  but no matter what, my course is set, and I will finish.

Today was one of those early-on moments for me.  The first hurdle is behind me and there is no turning back.

Today's results:

Description
Total Meters
Time
Pace/500m
10K
10,000
46:36.5
2:19.8
Total for Day
10,000
Meters to go
896,368

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Log card - FAIL!!!

Tonight I lost all the data on my log card!   I was double-checking my workouts as logged here, versus what was on the card (and uploaded to my Concept2 logbook) and found some discrepancies.  I have corrected my data here so that it reflects what is logged in my Concept2 logbook since that is the official record.  But in the process, I attempted to allow the C2 Utility to correct errors it detected on my card.  I think these were caused by a row back in December during which I had the date on the rower set incorrectly.   In any case, the utility crashed during the re-writing of the log card, and I was unable to recover any data off the card after that.  I had to reformat the card...  sigh.

So, lessons learned:  1) back up the log card after every upload. 2) double-check the data in my logbook before entering the times here (that was a pain... glad I didn't discover the discrepancies in July and have 7 months of postings to correct!).

Bonus!

Turns out that Joe had some rowing in the warm-up for his birthday WOD, so I got an extra 600 meters in this evening at CrossFit. A nice little bonus. 3 rounds of 200m row, 7 overhead squats, and 7 push ups was the warm-up. The WOD was 38 rounds of 2 box jumps (26" box) and 2 muscle clean-and-jerks (95 pounds). Now that's what I call a workout.

Happy Birthday Joe!


Description
Total Meters
Time
Pace/500m
200m
200
0:41.3
1:43.2
200m
200
0:41.0
1:43.0
200m
200
0:39.2
1:40.0
Total for Day
600
Meters to go
906,368

Bumpy ride

Who knew that the choice of clothing could have such an impact on a rowing session?  I had an old pair of rowing shorts that I bought years ago as a substitute for unpadded cycling shorts.   I have a recumbent trike (truly the coolest Human Powered Vehicle - the Windcheetah!  Here is a great video of the Windcheetah in action) and normal padded cycling shorts just aren't comfortable on a recumbent...  Let's just say, the padding is in the wrong place!

So now that I've taken up rowing, I thought, "Perfect! I actually have rowing shorts!"   Unfortunately the shorts are made of some kind of a blend of spandex and cotton, and during my 10K row this morning I notice that the shorts seemed to be "shedding" tiny bits of cotton.   Hardly even noticeable until around 4.5K when the cotton fibers were accumulating on the beam of the C2 and the seat started to develop an annoying "thump, thump, thump".  At first I thought somehow the rollers were damaged.   But upon investigation I determined that the bumps were coming from fibers on the rollers.

So I had to interrupt the row at 5K and clean the beam and seat rollers.   I guess the rowing shorts will have to be saved for recumbent rides.

My 10K ride was therefore split into two 5K rows, with about a 4 minute rest in the middle to clean the rower.

In any case, I'm getting very close to knocking off my first 100K! It will be nice to see the "Meters to go" below the 900K mark.

Results below:

Description
Total Meters
Time
Pace/500m
10K
10,122
51:23.5
2:32.0
Total for Day
10,122
Meters to go
906,968

Monday, February 1, 2010

They all feel the same

Tonight's CrossFit Endurance workout was 4 x 5:00/3:00r (5 minutes rowing followed by 3 minutes of rest). This was more of a pace workout. The objective was to pick a pace that you could maintain for all 4 intervals and keep the overall distance rowed basically the same. I managed that pretty well with interval distances of 1304, 1301, 1308, and 1307. Pretty consistent.

An interesting thing occurred to me at the end of the workout. It doesn't seem to matter what the CrossFit Endurance workout is, I feel about the same level of exhaustion after all of them. It may be a bunch of short, all-out, 100m intervals, or a smaller collection of longer intervals like we did tonight. They all feel about the same in the end... It's that I-want-to-fall-off-the-rower-an-curl-up-in-a-fetal-position kind of exhausted. I have yet to finish a CrossFit Endurance rowing WOD where I felt like I left something in the tank. It seems to consistently take everything out of me.

I really can't say that any other piece of exercise equipment I've used has been that effective.

Tonight's results:


Description
Total Meters
Time
Pace/500m
Warm up
1,012
4:28.3
2:12.9
4x5:00/3:00r
5,286
20:00.0
1:55.0
Cool down
1,016
4:29.1
2:12.0
Total for Day
7,314
Meters to go
917,090