Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Training update

Before I begin, I would like to thank Rowing Canada, for providing me with a beautiful, bow mounted Hudson single (1x). Having my own boat to  train in makes a world of a difference, not only allowing me to be more efficient, but also enabling me to rig the boat to specifically fit me.

I couldn't have asked for a better first month of school or fall training.  The days have been beautiful and sunny, aside from the first hour of morning rows... which have been equally beautiful, only the sky is slightly darker an filled with stars.

The training sessions themselves have also been very productive, and therefor also very rewarding. I spent most of the last 6 weeks  in my 1x working on low rate endurance training and technique, in particular, balance, rhythm and catches. Making technical changes is quite difficult. There is nothing more frustrating than forcing your hands to tap down, trying to maintain that optimal blade height, and then crashing violently to port or starboard half way through the recovery. That being said, once you start to get a feel for balance and can feel the water gliding smoothly under the boat, all that frustration is 200% worth it.  I have been doing an endless amount and variation of pause drills, my goal: to be able to pause at half slide on the square on any stroke, on any day (when the water is relatively calm), and maintain it!

I am currently doing 13 training sessions a week, on top of my three classes at the University of Victoria (UVIC). The training sessions have this far consisted of ~20km on 6 mornings of the week,  another 10-12 km of intensive technique in the afternoon on 4 days of the week, and three sessions of weights and/or cross training on the bike. One of my favorite things to do towards the end of a training week is to take my boyfriends road bike, gatoraid, and some gels/snacks, and head out on a 2-4 hour ride anywhere on the Southern part of the peninsula.

I am looking into getting a road bike of my own, so I don't always have to steal my boyfriend's. The only thing standing in the way is my newly deceased laptop and my financial situation as a student athlete. I guess I'll have to get creative!

I'm going to end todays post with a quote from Pierre Lafontain, CEO and National coach, Swimming Canada. He recently spoke at the University of Victoria's "Vikes Championship Breakfast", and this quote really hit home:

" There are 1409 days until the next [summer] Olympics, which means there are 1409 different ways to get better"

Today it is 1408 days, and yesterday I got better by not getting frustrated with my shaky balance after a couple days off the water.

The world is full of opportunity!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

I'm back

Well, where to begin......
Following the U23  World Championships, I flew to Bremen, Germany, to visit my grandfather for one week. While there, I trained with the Runderclub HANSA von 1898 ( ), and had the opportunity to row in their 8+ for a training session. Following this short excursion, I flew back into London, Ontario, pulled a batch of tests on the ergometer for RADAR submissions (RADAR is a standardized week of testing on the ergometer, which includes a 60 minute test rate capped at 22 strokes per minute, a 6km erg test, a 2km erg test, a one minute erg test, and two max power tests at testing drag factor and max drag factor). RADAR allows Rowing Canada to rank athletes across the country, and is an important factor in determining invites to training camps and carding etc. There is also an on water time trail following the erg tests, which is an important factor in determining boat moving ability. For those of you who row, you probably understand how physically taxing this procedure is, for those of you who don't.... just take my word for it. Ask almost any athlete familiar with the system, and you will probably hear groans or complaints. There is something about getting on that erg and pounding out one test after the other, which often breaks people.... if not mentally, then physically. Regardless of your opinion (or mine), RADAR and other erg testing is something that most rowers encounter in their rowing career, which is why it is important to maintain a neutral attitude towards them. You don't have to love 'em, but hating them isn't going to get you very far either.
Whoops, I am getting off topic. Now where were we, oh yes, RADAR in London.... I managed to set personal records on all my tests, some of which were very marginal. They were best times nonetheless, so I was pleased.
I flew home to the small town of  Smithers, BC (population ~6000) the very next day (after testing finished), and had three beautiful weeks at home, spending time with family and friends, hiking, biking, and occasionally going on runs. For more information on my hometown check out  or,_British_Columbia . It was an amazing three weeks off, and gave me ample time to recover and reflect on the summer/re-evaluate my goals and figure out fall training plans.
Fast forward to August 20: I flew back to Victoria BC, to prep for the coming school semester and start up fall training. I was happily re-united with the 1x, time trialed on the 25th, started the fourth year of my microbiology bachelors degree, and am back into full time training for NRC's (the Canadian National Rowing Championships). I am only taking three courses this fall, to help with time management and stress reduction...... as training 20+ hours a week while working on school can be quite challenging.
...and the journey continues.....