Saturday, November 20, 2021

That Far...?!?

 Well...I’ve never rowed that far before. How about that?!

Given what I’ve named before, it’s not surprising that I got curious about the Let’s Row challenge invited by Annie Thorisdottir last week.

Two sessions/week for six weeks, aiming to PB a 2000m row time (PB=personal best). Given the length of my legs, rowing is a bit in my wheelhouse (as we say). W
hy not?, I thought to myself. The first wko of 4 intervals, 500m, minute rest between, seemed easy enough when it landed as wko1. The second workout I was sure was a typo: 6 intervals of 2000m each? 4 minutes rest between? Surely she meant 200m. But alas, no, and so this morning, I actually rowed further than I ever have before. Just get better, right? This post is to name some of what I’m learning. Writing offers that bit of accountability for myself too. 

Folks have been posting in the Facebook group cool pictures of their rower’s screens, nicely marked intervals/splits, etc. I’m a techie-luddite--have no idea how to do any of that on either the CrossFit Dedication gym’s rowers or our water rower here at home, homage to House of Cards days my husband enjoyed.

So my own scores are given below in script. At least they’re not in longhand/cursive or sun-dial terms, right?

wko1 (4 intervals 500m, 1 min rest in between): 214.3, 213.3, 212.4, 2:10.2. I knew I could push harder, but I also didn’t know what the pacing would feel like. I always have a deep body fear of ‘comin out too hot’ or ‘not having enough.’ I got to do this at the gym after a “fun Friday morning” wod of box jumps, situps, and slam-balls. Good enough, I felt. Wko2 would prove I could push harder, particularly when I was focused on endurance, not a sprint.

wko2 (6 intervals 2000m, 4 mins rest between): 9:10, 8:40, 8:33, 8:37, 8:32, 8:29. The /500m pace was anywhere between 2:04 to 2:12. Not sure how this compares with the first wko, to be honest, as it was on the home water rower, with questionable damper-measure. This wko was much more interesting for me, at least in the learning and listening I could do. There was no place else to be, after all, so...listen and learn, listen and learn, repeat.

Strokes/minute is a new category I’d never paid much attention to before. I started out with the numbers saying 29/30, again sure that 19/21 strokes/min rate suggested had to be a typo. (Are we perceiving a pattern yet? I’m not the quickest adapter around :)).

By interval three, it dawned on me that I could try to slow the pulls/minute down, toward the 19-21 suggestion. So I did. It then dawned on me the strength of pull was the focal point. Oh! I thought to myself. How do you keep the /500m rate at a consistent number with only that number of pulls? 

To be fair, coaches at the gym have taught me this before, but the experience of rowing with fewer pulls touches more anaerobic stuff in my body than the easy, slow-steady aerobic cardio-endurance stuff I thrive in. Given I was going to be at this for so long, I did finally find a breathing, slow-steady, cardio-and-strength combo that felt good in my body. I’d even say restful, here amongst CrossFit interested folks. (I usually get blowback in my larger life when I talk about that. CrossFit has taught me how to rest in sustained activity, but most of my overly-cognitive, highly verbal, highly-body-dissociated life hasn’t had that physical experience. Yet, we might say). I found a place I could both ‘exert myself’ sufficient to keep the /500m rate and sustain it over a period of 8-9 minutes at a time.

Functional movement is another area I played around with, rowing for this long. (CrossFit video helpful here). I remembered the ‘curvature of the spine’ recommendations from the CFL1 seminar. Keeping the back in healthy shape while focusing the power through hip extension and then delayed pull. I know if I lean back, again given how long my legs are, I can get more power in a pull. If I pull the handle slightly above my sports-bra/mid-chest line, I get a little more. 

I remember once at a bootcamp session at the gym, we did a series of 20/cal row/minute, with then a minute rest OR however many burpees to makeup the calories not rowed in that minute. If you only got 18 calories, then you had 2 burpees to do during your ‘rest’ minutes. I forget how many rounds of this we did, but I was determined to not do any burpees. I would lean all the way back and pull the handle close to my chin. Not good form, I later learned, with stress on the wrists, etc. But...burpees? The last round, I thought I was gonna have to do 1 burpee, but blessedly, the rollover graced me and we cheered. So...burpees or bad form for short time? I chose leaning back and pulling up to the chin. For 12000m, however? I decided on functional form…

So...glimpses on the journey. Not sure I’ll have access to a rower for the next week as I travel to be with family. I’ll be smiling with all who post and enter into whatever’s next. My bum doesn’t even hurt that much! Perhaps yet, we might say. (And tip: do not Google images for a sore bum!)๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†

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