Saturday: L2 Waterfall 1x

Friday:  We came back from the Cape Thursday evening.  Friday, I had an appointment with the eye doctor, and I had a lot of running around to do to take care of some car maintenance.  I never got around to working out.  Part of it was dreading a session on the dynamic erg.  I need to get rid of that thing.

So, it was a rest day.

Saturday:  We were up late, so I decided to sleep in a little instead of rowing out in Worcester.  I got up around 8:30 and decided to go row in Newton in my neglected Fluid.

It was a hot, humid morning.  Overcast with very little wind.


  • L2 – Waterfall (3000, 2500, 2000)
  • ~5′ rest
  • Stroke rate target: 25 spm
  • Pace target: 2:15

I was bummed out that I couldn’t find my speedcoach in my rowing bag.  I’m wondering if I forgot it down the cape.

So, I just had RIM in the boat.  So, basically, just a way to see the start and end of each interval, the stroke rate, and a very rough idea of pace.



        Workout Summary - media/20170819-160532-93720o.csv
Workout Details
01|03000|13:23.7|02:13.9|000.0|25.1|165.6|178.0|08.9 - down
02|02500|10:54.8|02:11.0|000.0|24.9|170.9|181.0|09.2 - upstream
03|02000|08:38.0|02:09.5|000.0|26.6|171.8|182.0|08.7 - down

I was very surprised by the paces.  The display on RIM was showing between 2:15 and 2:20 most of the time.  But, I’ve always felt the live display was a bit on the slow side.  But looking closely at the GPS data, there is a lot of location jitter.  I am wondering if that is causing the distance logged to be further than actual distance, and thus showing a faster pace.

Screen Shot 2017-08-19 at 2.41.57 PM.png

This was a tough, tough workout.  I felt like I emptied the tanks on each interval and I needed a bit more than 5 minutes rest after each.  It ended up being closer to 7 minutes, I think.

I steered a reasonable line.  In the 2500m interval, I saw a kayaker over my starboard shoulder and it looked like I would clear her easily.  Then, while my back was literally turned, she decided to cross in front of me and misjudged the distance.  I clipped her stern with my oar.  That’s the pace and rate glitch right around 7000m.  She’s lucky I didn’t smack her in the head.  I try to keep a good watch, but when I’m 20 strokes from the end of a 2500m interval and my heart rate is around 180, I get tunnel vision.  I need to be more careful.

Tomorrow:  Hopefully head out to Quinsigamond.


Thursday: 4 x 1000 / 5′ Open Water

Weather:  Sparkling sunshine, perfect temperature, around 70F.  Light wind from WNW which built from nearly calm when I launched about 9:15 to about 10mph by the time I finished.  This was a cross wind.

Screen Shot 2017-08-18 at 10.13.23 AM.png

The tide was ebbing.  This was against me on the odd intervals and with me on the even intervals.


  • 4 x 1000
  • 5 minutes rest (roughly.  I paddled 500m and took a drink.  I didn’t actually measure how long the rests were.
  • Stroke Rate Target: 28spm
  • Pace target:  I wanted to be faster than the 15×3′ session (2:34)

I rowed out to Buoy 10.  This seems to be a good starting point for these kinds of workouts.  I did some 10s and 20s to get used to rowing at 28.  My hip/back felt a bit tight and sore through the warmup, but seemed to be loosing up by the end.

I got lined up and started the first interval with 2500m on the speedcoach.  Doing these intervals in a Maas Aero is a different experience from doing them on an erg.  On an erg, they are over in a about 3:30-3:40.  In an Aero, it’s a lot closer to 5 minutes.  So, I found that I had to pace myself a bit more.  There is also a lot to think about.  Steer a good course, react to the waves, look for boats, row with good form (especially, clean finishes and getting good clearance o recovery).

I felt like I was pushing hard, but my HR was lower Thursday than it was on Tuesday.  Not that it mattered much, this was a good workout.

Screen Shot 2017-08-18 at 10.24.22 AM

Screen Shot 2017-08-17 at 3.52.14 PM.png



        Workout Summary - media/20170817-194615-Greg Smith 20170817 0919amo.csv
Workout Details
03|01000|04:59.4|02:29.7|000.0|28.0|164.6|175.0|07.1 - not sure what happened here

I was pretty tired when I finished, and I took it easy rowing back to the beach.  I took a couple pictures of the beach where I launch.

Later Thursday, we headed back home.  We might head back to the cape this weekend.  On Friday, I think I will do an L4 maybe 60 minutes or so.


Wednesday: 40′ L4

Tuesday:  Rest Day.  I was in some pain.  I have a pinched nerve in my lower left back / hip.  I’ve had this injury before.  I can row with it, but it is very painful to get up to a standing position, and doing something like bending over slowly to touch my toes is really painful.

Wednesday:  My hip was still quite sore.  Late in the day, I decided that a short L4 session might help loosen it up.

  • 40′ L4 format
  • 168 / 172 / 176 / 180
  • rate / power
    • 16 / 155
    • 18 / 175
    • 20 / 195
    • 22 / 215


       Workout Summary - media/20170817-0055250o.csv
Workout Details


My plan worked.  I felt a lot looser after the session.  Nice low HR too.

Monday: 15 x 3′ / 1′ Rest (Open Water L3)

Weather:  I launched in the late afternoon.  There was a light wind from the southwest which was kicking up some chop.

Screen Shot 2017-08-15 at 5.23.49 PM.png


  • L3: 15 x 3′ / 1′ rest
  • Stroke rate: 25 spm
  • pace:  Good question
  • Heart rate:  Maximize time in Threshold.



        Workout Summary - media/20170815-210759-Greg Smith 20170814 0356pmo.csv
Workout Details

Screen Shot 2017-08-15 at 5.21.22 PM

I launched from the bottom of our stairs.  This was a bit of a challenge, but I managed to get both oars in, and backed away from the steps without flipping. I warmed up rowing up toward Wellfleet.  When I turned around, I noticd just how bumpy it was.  The head wind was a bit annoying too.  I decided to row into the lee of the Island and do the intervals back and forth there.  I could do 3 intervals in a dog leg around the island, and only the end of the last interval would be exposed to the chop.

This workout is one of my very favorites.  You end up digging deeper and deeper as the intervals keep going.  By the time you get to the tenth interval, you tend to start them with very light pressure.  In that way, it’s good head race practice where you want to use a reasonably high stroke rate and light, consistent pressure.

Even in the lee of the island, it was a lot easier rowing with the wind that against it.  I noticed it most when I was rowing into Loagy Bay.

When I finished, I was totally spent.  I was trembling.  It was pretty awesome.

Today: A rest day!  Finally, I feel like I deserve a rest day instead of being forced into it by circumstances.



90 minute bike ride

I was planning on a L3 open water session, but when I woke up this morning, I saw my daughter’s fiancee dressed up in his bike riding gear.  I asked how far he was going to ride.  20 miles.  I asked if he wouldn’t mind some company.  He didn’t.  So off we went.

We live about 2 and a half miles off of the Cape Cod Rail Trail.  The first mile is loose sand, sharp gravel and washboard dirt road.  After that, you cross the salt marsh, cross a rickety wooden bridge and then you’re on a real road.

This video gives you an idea of what it’s like

It was grey out again this morning, but the forecast called for it to clear up.  That did eventually happen, but before that we had mist, drizzle, and light rain.

The Rail Trail is beautiful.  Wide, smooth and flat.  Originally, we were just planning to ride until we hit 10 miles, and then turn and come home, but about 6 miles in, I remembered that the ride to Rock Harbor in Orleans was about 20 miles round trip, so now we had a real destination.


I took the lead on the way down.  I don’t ride much, and I hardly even ride with another person, so I’m not really sure what the etiquette is in terms of pace.  I would keep an eye out, an if I saw that I was dropping him, I’d slow down, and if I saw him up close, I’d pop it up a gear and speed up a bit.  Then we swapped and he led on the way home.

Despite the rain, it was a really nice ride.



Tomorrow:  I was supposed to do an L3 today.  I’ll do it tomorrow.


An easy 90 minutes on a grey morning.

Weather:  Overnight a front came through.  You can see the sharp change in the dew point around 4:30am, and then the spike in the wind around 6:30am.  Since this is vacation, I was blissfully asleep while this was going on.  I got up around 8:30.  It was really cloudy, but the rain seemed to have stopped.  I debated just doing an erg session, but it seemed so nice and flat out on the water. I decided on heading out for a nice long easy row.

Screen Shot 2017-08-12 at 5.28.37 PM.png

Of course, it started raining again as soon I was outside loading my boat.  But I hung in and it stopped by the time I had driven over to the beach.  It was close to low tide, but there was maybe 6 inches more water today  than yesterday, so no trouble finding a channel out to deep water.

The plan was to do a nice easy row.  I wanted to do most of it as UT2, and it turned out that way.  It was one of those mornings where my HR was pretty stubbornly low.  I can never really figure out whether that’s because I don’t feel like working hard, or if it’s some kind of after effect of a hard session the day before.

I went out without a firm plan about where to go.  I ultimately decided to head out to Billingsgate Island, and then back up to Wellfleet inner harbor.  All together, it was about 16km.  I took one break, about 2 minutes when I got up to  the harbor.  Other than that, I just rowed.

Screen Shot 2017-08-12 at 12.48.55 PM



Workout Summary - media/20170812-164441-Greg Smith 20170812 0922amo.csv
Workout Details
01|02600|14:57.7|02:52.6|000.0|18.5|123.6|138.0|09.4 - beach to buoy10
02|02700|15:24.7|02:51.2|000.0|19.5|139.3|143.0|09.0 - buoy10 to buoy8
03|03800|21:24.3|02:49.0|000.0|21.5|140.6|145.0|08.3 - buoy8 to buoy10
04|03100|17:26.6|02:48.8|000.0|21.3|139.6|145.0|08.3 - buoy8 to wellfleet
05|02365|13:35.2|02:52.3|000.0|21.6|140.7|144.0|08.0 - wellfleet to buoy11
06|01460|07:54.7|02:42.6|000.0|21.4|143.0|145.0|08.6 - buoy11 to beach

It was a bit choppy out between buoy10 and buoy8, but other than that, it was just tasty smooth water.  The tide was slack at the beginning, but by the time I did the last leg back from wellfleet, it was pretty strongly against me.

Tomorrow:  L3.  Probably open water.  I think I will do a row from the wellfleet breakwater out to buoy 8.  That will be 1.87+3.17+2.98 = 8.02km.  Roughly 40 minutes.  I will aim at a stroke rate of 24/25.

Screen Shot 2017-08-12 at 5.52.50 PM


What a blast…4 x 2k / 5′ – Open Water

Weather:  Broken overcast.  About 70F.  Wind started nearly calm and built up to about 5-6mph from the ESE.


  • L2 – 4 x 2k / 5′ rest
  • Rate Target: 25 spm
  • Pace target:  I have no idea.  Just row hard and see what happens.

Unlike rowing on the twisty section of the Charles River, there is no problem finding a perfectly straight 2km course down here in Wellfleet.  There are other challenges though.  Specifically shallow water, tidal currents, wind and waves.  I was looking forward to those challenges though.  It might keep me from focusing on my own heavy breathing.

I launched very close to low tide, and I was a bit worried by what I saw.  All of the boats moored off the beach were aground and the channel was close to the narrowest I have seen it.  But, I was here and I had a plan, so dammit, I was going to launch.  It worked out OK.  I could see the bottom and my oar blades were guide.  If I hit bottom on starboard, then I steered to port.  If I hit on port, I steered to starboard.  If I hit on both, I hoped for best.  And it worked out.  I puttered along until I cleared the tip of Lt Island, and I was home free.

I planned to row between 2 buoys which mark the channel into Wellfeet inner harbor.  This is 2.4km.  I figured I would row 2k, then paddle to the end and turn around for the next one in my 5 minute rest.

Screen Shot 2017-08-11 at 1.50.15 PM

After I got to deep water, I did an improvised warmup with some 10s and 20s at my target stroke rate.  And I maneuvered over to the red buoy that marked my start point.

I paddled until the speedcoach clicked over to 2700m, then I brought it up to 25 spm and steered a course of 200 degrees.  I counted strokes.  25 strokes a minute, so by counting strokes, I was also keeping time.  I checked the distace rowed.  I was taking just about 62 strokes to go 500m, aha, so the whole piece would be 250 strokes.  That bit of simple math kept me occupied for a little while.  I enjoyed rowing  this piece.  The water was pretty flat and the wind and the tide were behind me.  The Maas is very nice to row.  It feels heavier than my fluid, but it is responsive and fantastically stable.

I knew that there was a green can buoy along my path, but I was having trouble finding it while rowing under pressure.  All of the sudden, there it was, about 30 meters ahead of me, maybe 10 meters to my port side.  I had two thoughts.  First, wow, I almost hit that.  Second,  great job steering!  I clicked along through the rest of the interval.  It was a tough row, but I didn’t push it to the edge.

I paddled along for 4 minutes, then spun the boat, took a drink and set off on interval number 2.  This one was a lot more work.  The wind had built a little, so I was dealing with a bit more chop.  It was good because it forced me to row with my blades farther off the water during recovery.  If I didn’t, I smacked the wave tops and it slowed me way down.  The wind was on my port bow, and it really didn’t like the heading that I wanted to be on.  A few degrees more to the west, and things worked out a lot better.  I gave up on trying to go straight to the red buoy and opted for the easier ride.  The chop was substantial enough to fill my footwell by the time I got through the piece.  I opened the self bailer while I paddled and headed back in the direction of the Buoy.

The third interval was basically the same story as the first.  The wind was on my starboard stern.  It was easier rowing, but I was still getting splashed a bit.  It did keep me from getting too focused on the effort going into the interval, and counting strokes helped a lot too.

As I set up for the fourth, I noticed that I was running a bit short on time, so instead of aiming back for the red buoy, I set a course that would bring me closer to the beach when I finished.  This also had the advantage of putting me closer to the windward shore so the chop was much smaller and there was less wind.  I just counted strokes and made sure that I wasn’t going to run into anything and before I knew it, I was done.

And I was tired.  This was a lot of work.  But I’m really happy with how it went. I guess that’s the advantage of not having any real expectations about pace, and knowing that the wind and current will make the pace pretty much meaningless anyway.  I could just focus on rowing hard enough to be in the upper part of my threshold HR zone and do the session.  No real chance to “race my training” today.

Screen Shot 2017-08-11 at 1.35.44 PM



Workout Summary - media/20170811-172143-Greg Smith 20170811 0855amo.csv
Workout Details
01|02000|09:46.2|02:26.5|000.0|25.6|165.2|175.0|08.0 - w/ tide
02|02000|11:06.8|02:46.7|000.0|25.2|170.5|179.0|07.1 - a/ tide
03|02000|10:08.9|02:32.2|000.0|25.2|168.8|178.0|07.8 - w/ tide
04|02000|11:13.7|02:48.4|000.0|24.9|172.5|181.0|07.1 - a/ tide

Tomorrow:  Plan calls for an L4, I will substitute a 90 minute open water “easy row”.  HR limit around 150.

Flying blind – 44 minutes doing something on the erg

I had an 8am meeting at work today, so not enough time to do an OTW session.  I decided to do a short recovery session at the fitness center at work.

I discovered that the erg at work is still non-functional.  You can pull the handle.  The fan still spins smooth as silk, but the PM5 is blissfully unaware that that fan is spinning.

So, a rational person would have stood up, walked over to the elliptical trainer and worked out.  I, however, am not a rational person.  I decided to do a recovery session.

The plan.

  • 40 minutes (I decided to add on 4 more minutes while I was working out)
  • Stroke rate 18 (by counting strokes per minute)
  • Heart rate cap at 150.  Adjust stroke pressure to stay at cap.

Well, it all worked out just fine.  I had a lovely time and around the 30 minute mark, I decided to add 4 minutes at 20spm at the end with no HR cap.



Tonight I’m driving down to the cape.

Tomorrow:  L2 – 4x2k / 5′ rest.  This will be an adventure.  I’m going to do it in my Maas.  So the pace will be slow, and the intervals will be long.

Wednesday: 8 x 2′ / 2′ 1x

A beautiful morning.  Sunny, warm, dry, hardly any wind.


  • Long warmup to re-acclimate to higher stroke rates
  • 8 x 2′ / 2′ rest
  • Stroke rate target: 26 (head race rate)
  • Pace target: better than 2:15 (a pretty easy target for this workout)
  • Do work sections in line down the river, do not avoid turns
  • Technique work after

The basic thing I was trying to do today was to row at Head race rates and slightly higher than head race pressure to start getting my head wrapped around what I need to accomplish over the next 9 weeks before the HOCR.

I was really happy with how the workout went.  I am liking the new smoothies at higher stroke rates.  I feel like the softer shafts are helping me manage the drive better and the extra length is providing more stability on recovery.


Workout Summary - media/20170809-133817-Greg Smith 20170809 0633amo.csv
Workout Details
01|00456|02:00.0|02:11.7|247.1|26.7|154.4|167.0|08.5 - vs current
05|00479|02:00.0|02:05.2|236.8|26.7|161.3|175.0|09.0 - w/ current

A few metrics plots.  I held things very consistent throughout.  Lifted stroke rates on purpose in the last interval and allowed it to creep up in the turns.

Tomorrow:  I have an 8am meeting, so no OTW.  I will try to squeeze in an erg session during the day, but it might not happen.


Tuesday: 80′ L4 1x

It was so nice getting back in my fluid that I stayed out extra long.  I did over 18km in the session including warmup and cool down.

The plan was to do an L4 session, adapted for OTW

  • L4 format
  • 10′ sections
    • 4′ at 16 spm
    • 3′ at 18 spm
    • 2′ at 20 spm
    • 1′ at 22 spm
  • Take 1′ breaks when I needed to turn, roughly every 14 minutes or so.
  • No HR limit
  • No target pace or power to just set a marker for future sessions.


Workout Summary - media/20170808-154104-Greg Smith 20170808 0642amo.csv
Workout Details

Average by stroke rate:

  • 16: 2:39.8, 134W
  • 18: 2:34.7, 149W
  • 20: 2:28.8, 157W
  • 22: 2:24.6, 179W

A few fun charts.  The only insights I got from this was a gradual reduction of effective length as I got more tired.  This was caused by my wash getting bigger.