Thursday, 31 May 2012

And the Winner is.....

Alright, just a quick update on seat racing results: The 1500m pieces were done despite the strong crosswind in the first half of the course. Each partnership/race was a gong show for the first 750, where we were bobbing up and down like rubber duckies in a three year olds bath tub. The second half of each piece was much better, as that part of the course is sheltered from the cross wind. I managed to zero on all the pieces, meaning that I won each race (there were a total of three). Unfortunately one of our strongest girls was sick and nearly lost on her side, which makes interpretation of the results difficult for the coach. We are having a meeting tomorrow to discuss the results and figure out who, if anyone, is getting sent home. The starboards were at all 1-2 seconds apart....which again, due to the crosswind, makes for difficult interpretation of results.
Phew, I am exhausted!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012


I think I will give up trying to keep you updated on the selection process. Realistically, I haven't a clue what is going on. Which I guest doesn't really matter because I will still have to go fast regardless of whether I know the method behind the madness or not. What I do know is that we are seat racing in three pairs this Thursday. The two girls that came in today are not included in the matrix due to the fact that they just arrived.... well, last night. So it will be the six of us who have been here for over a week. Rumor has it that only two girls will be sent home this week. Oh, I almost forgot....I got the "go ahead" from physio.YAY!
Next week entails blood work and lactate testing for those of us who make it past this round of selection.

Monday, 28 May 2012


It looks as though we will be doing a round (possibly the final round) of selection this coming Thursday. Seat racing consists of three 1500's....which means that one starboard and one port are being left out of the matrix. I am a little curious of who this may be, but am assuming this would be Christine and Susanne, as they have pretty much already secured their spots in the boat. Although, if my rib keeps acting up it may be me. I have to get the go ahead from physio tomorrow if I want to seat race on Thursday (just to play it on the safe side). Last week we were instructed to complete our workout in the biggest wind storm I have ever rowed in. It was great mental prep, but the 2.5km row back to the dock took us well over 20minutes and left me with a little residual tightness in my ribcage.  I can only say one thing..... never before have I done my physio exercises this religiously! Fingers crossed that everything is fine.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Recovery Part 1: Nutrition

Before I begin.... The information I am presenting here is mostly a combination of what I have learned from the amazing nutritionist out at PISCE in Victoria and what I have learned from reading the section on nutrition in "Rowing Faster".
I have also taken a Nutrition course at Uvic, and some of the more general things (such as the actual food ideas themselves) I have learned from other athletes.
I will hopefully be doing a series of recovery posts and am starting with nutrition because it has helped my training. By changing even a few things about how and when I fuel my body it has enabled me to get so much more out of my training sessions. Here goes....

Pre-exercise and During Exercise Nutrition:

How ironic that recovery nutrition actually begins before you even start your workout. According to the Nutrition section in "Rowing Faster", it can be very beneficial to eat a small (~ 100kcal) snack shortly before your training session and then every 30-45min throughout. The ideal ratio is about 25kcal of protein and 75kcal CHO (Carbohydrates). This improves the muscle protein balance and overtime helps prevent muscle mass losses. Keep in mind, feeding during a training session is meant for longer sessions ( in and around 1.5 hours or longer). Sometimes I will utilize it for slightly shorter sessions as well, say for example if we are doing two really intense 2k tt's I will have a gel or a couple of chomps (sports energy chews) after the warmup and will definitely feel the benefit by the time the second 2k comes around.  There are many products available for this type of fueling. There are "GU" gels, "Power Bar" gels, "Cliff" gels etc. These companies also usually sell some form of gummies that you can take if you aren't a huge fan of gels. Most of these products don't contain much protein, but I find they are quite useful. The only setback is the cost, so I have composed a small list of things I have taken in the boat or have seen other athletes take in the boat:
1. dates
2. Those fruit to go bars.... but the thick ones (I usually take 1/2 a bar after 45minutes of training)
3. a couple almonds and a date or a couple almonds and a couple pieces of dried fruit
4. I once took a chewy dip granola bar...but that didn't sit too well. My cupboards were empty and I was desperate.
Things to keep in mind:
It will take about 15 minutes for the CHO's to be digested and useful. Take them 15 minutes before you want them to work. Also, don't try something like this for the first time during a really important training session. It is important to play around and see what sits well and makes you feel good and energized. Finally, it is best to keep it simple and quick. Pulling out a full scale picnic in the middle of the training session most likely won't impress your coach or teammates.

*Also......ELECTROLYTE DRINKS! these are extremely underrated, especially if you are a salty sweater. When you sweat you also lose salt and other ions. These are important because they help the water you take in stay in your bloodstream. If the brain notices that the concentration of salt and other ions is too high in the bloodstream, it will make you feel thirsty to maintain the proper balance of ions to water molecules. This is all part of something called homeostasis. Long story short, it is important to replenish electrolytes especially during activities that are longer than an hour, on really hot days, and if you are a salty sweater.

Post Exercise Nutrition
Unfortunately this section will have to wait for another day, as my bedtime is fast approaching. As we all know, sleep is another very important part of recovery.

I hope that someone finds some use out of this.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

seat race details

Genvieve and I won over Megan and Elise by just over 9 seconds and then Elise and I won over Megan and Genvieve by just over 7 seconds. No cuts will be made because the matrix only had two boats. More seat racing will occur next Monday. I am unsure whether or not I will partake in this or not, as this is another preliminary round, and our coach indicated that she does not want some of the girls taking part in all three rounds, while those girls coming in later only have to partake in one round. In total there will be two more rounds of seat racing, and starting next week people will get sent home. If I thought tensions were high this week..... just wait until next week rolls around.
Just a side note for my teammates back at Uvic, I am gathering some information and will do a little post on recovery stuff sometime this weekend.


First off, I am excited to see that I have four followers :) Thanks guys!
I managed to win both my races today. I am not sure by how much, but will post an update as soon as I know

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

A Matter of Opinion

Tensions are high, and pre-seat racing injuries are also in the rising. With girls this translates into pretending to get along while taking stabs at each other when the other girls aren't looking. Oh how I miss my male housemates, at least they say it to your face and you know where you stand. That aside, one of our ports has a pretty serious rib injury, and we are now down to five girls. Our coach has decided to have Christine sit this one out, and have the remaining four of us race. Tomorrow it will be Elise vs Genvieve on starboard and Meagan vs myself on port. I will race with Genvieve first and then we will switch partners and I will race with Elise.
Now, to the "matter of opinion" part. This morning I overheard one of the girls exclaiming how she doesn't want anyone to get sent home yet. Naturally, I agreed before thinking about what exactly I was agreeing too. Competitive sport isn't some fairytale where we all make the boat and row happily ever after. At the end of the day somebody has to get sent home, and one thing is for certain. I am not getting sent home without putting up one hell of a fight. As my coach at Uvic would say, "Lets get our ducks in a row here ladies" or in english, lets cut the crap and get to the chase. I think I can speak for everyone who has ever attended a selection camp when I say that no matter how nice the other person is, deep inside our corrupted souls we want to beat them so we can stay.
Time for me to go spin and roll out my legs. After all, tomorrow is a big day with an early start!

Saturday, 19 May 2012


Some things are better left unsaid..... I will say it anyway. Unfortunately one of the blisters on my right pinky finger became slightly infected. I am now blessed with a pulsating pinkie finger the size of a small breakfast sausage. Do not worry mom, I have a hot epsom salt pinkie bath in a paper cup and some prescription strength antibiotic ointment. 

Friday, 18 May 2012

Seat racing

I nearly forgot to mention that next Wednesday we will endure our first round of selection and seat racing. There are six U23 heavyweights currently training at the center and we will race in a pairs over a distance of 1500 meters. Following seat racing we will be ranked, and depending on the times, two athletes may be sent home. Two more U23 girls will show up for tryouts at the end of may. They are attending University in the USA and finish slightly later than the Canadian schools.

A Day in the Life...

A typical training day at the Training Center in London, Ontario goes something like this:

6:00am- alarm goes off
6:03am- fall back asleep while taking my resting heart rate (all time low last week was 38bpm) *I don't mean to fall asleep, but I set the snooze just in case...
6:15am- Snooze goes off and I finally get up, make my bowl of awesome oatmeal (complete with steel cut oats, chia seeds, almonds, and goji berries), do my mobility exercised and wait for the Rowing Canada van
7:10am- Van shows up and we all pile in and head to practice
7:30am- Row1: Anywhere from 16-20km and this row usually has pieces/hard work (yes, rowers do hard work too)
10:00am (ish)-  James place restaurant for breakfast! mmmm we get to order pretty much anything on the menu and only have to pay $1.25 for a tip. Thank you Rowing Canada supporters and James place!!!!
11:00am- Second row. This is usually a technique session with a couple hard strokes and ranges from 8km-12km
12:30pm-Head home to Fanshawe College residence
1:00pm - Lunch/roller session/NAP TIME! 
3:00pm- Weights with strength coach and guru Ed McNeely (who can roll a frying pan up with his bare hands)
4:30pm- Head back to the residence for the night, shower, laundry, prepare recovery snacks for the next day and pack my bag.
5:30pm- Dinner and downtime..... the rest of the evening is spent reading, watching TV with my legs up against the wall, foam rolling, doing my various physio exercises, going on walks, working on my "Immunology of Lyme disease" directed study..... the list goes on
8:00pm- Bed time snack: bowl of cereal with fresh strawberries!

...and there you have it. A training day ranges from two to three sessions. Weights are three times a week. and on non-weights days we usually have a sixty minute cross training session in the afternoon. Perhaps you can see why I decided to title my blog

Thursday, 17 May 2012


Thursday is a great day. Largely because we are now past the half-way point and Sunday is but a mere two and a half days, or five training sessions, away.  Sundays are our days of rest where, aside from the optional  60-90minute recovery spin on the bike, we are allowed to do as we please all day long. Which means that we sleep in until about 7:30 am (8:30 on a good day or after an extremely exhausting week) and then tend to our various aches and pains. Oh, and eat copious amounts of food in preparation for next weeks training. OK, Ill admit that I am exaggerating a tad. We also go grocery shopping, or window shop downtown with a frozen yogurt in hand, or even sometimes go see a matinee at the movie theater. Sundays are for recovery and team bonding.... and I love them!
I have managed to lose track of my original train of thought, and am unsure what I originally set out to write. I guess I'll finish this post with a little training summary an by clearing up some rowing jargon. Today we did some short 250m all out sprints in the 4-. The first six were a bit of a disaster, but we managed to get our stuff together for the last two. We've been struggling a little these past days to mesh as a crew, but hopefully a couple days of being split up into pairs will help us come together better in the 4- next week (given that we even go out in the same combination again). At this point, we are rowing in various combinations to essentially see who is fast and who isn't. I imagine that sometime in the near future our coaches will let us know what boat class they are looking to send oversees (2-, 4-, 1x etc) and then we will seat race for how ever many spots are available. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the notation in the previous sentence. The number (1,2,4,or 8 ) pertains to how many individuals are rowing in the boat and the - and x stand for how many oars each person has. An x means each person has two oars (sculling) and a - means that each person has one oar (sweeping). So, a 2- is a boat with two rowers, each with only one oar. It is called a pair. The - also means that there is no coxswain steering the boat. If there is a coxswain, the notation would be a + as in an 8+.
That is all for today.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Training photos

1. 4- bow to stern: Elise Hoffman, Meghan Robinson, Christine Roper, me

2. Christine and me taking a break while rowing in pairs during a technique session.

3. This one I posted solely for Carlene's enjoyment. Yuck! rower hands

Sunday, 13 May 2012

The Journey so Far

I arrived at the London, Ontario training center for the Canadian Women's National team circa three weeks ago. My purpose: Make a seat in one of the boats headed for the U23 world rowing championships in Trakai, Lithuania. I have been rowing for nearly four years now with the University of Victoria "Vikes", and loved nearly every minute of it. As any athlete knows, competitive sport comes with ups and downs, peaks and plateaus, setbacks and advances. Hence the "nearly". The most recent setback I suffered was the reoccurring rib injury. These come in multiple forms amongst rowers, ranging from muscular strains to broken ribs, and are all too common.

Long story short, I am trying out for a spot on the U23  team after being unable to row for nearly 9 weeks due to a  mystery rib injury that failed to heal properly. Why? For the same reason that I spent countless hours every week on the stationary bike and, once I was given the go-ahead by physio, riding all over the back roads of the greater Victoria and Saanich area on my boyfriends road bike wearing a combination of clashing bike  attire from various roommates. Come rain or shine; the bright red shorts, pinstripe leg warmers, and sky blue jersey were not to be missed by any of the cars, pedestrians, turkeys or cows I encountered on my many expeditions through the city and neighboring farmlands.... I guess it's because I'm competitive, goal oriented, and slightly insane.

So here I am, training two to three times a day; sometimes alongside the Olympic crew headed for London 2012. It is both extremely tiring and inspiring. Tiring in a sense that by the end of the week I would rather sell my soul to the devil than walk up a flight of stairs, and inspiring because I get to see firsthand the motivation and dedication it takes to become an Olympic champion.

Lookout games of the XXX Olympiad! These women are fast!

May 13, 2012

Ahh, Sunday....
The perfect day to start a blog. Before I begin the journey of "blogging" (trying to navigate this foreign world of posts, blegs, and pingbacks) I would like to note that this blog was created to update my family and friends on my whereabouts and thereabouts as I attempt to navigate the wonderful world of competitive rowing. For those of you who haven't been updated recently, I am currently attending a selection camp for the Canadian Under 23 (U23) rowing team. The camp runs from May to mid June (?), and U23 World Rowing Championships will be held in Trakai, Lithuania from July 11-15.  I am hoping to attend.... with a little luck and a lot of good hard work (or as we like to say, "a little blood, sweat, and tears")!
For more info on the U23 World Rowing Championships check out the following link:

I hope you enjoy the updates. Unfortunately I have to move dorm rooms today, as they are moving all rowers from the first floor to the fifth floor of the residence where I am currently living. This means that I have to temporarily terminate my blogging, and finish this update another day.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!