August 13, 2006

body progress entry

numbers below the cut, no photos

June 24
1" below shoulders: 39.0
Upper arms, flexed: 11", both sides
Waist: 28.0"
Hips: 36.0"
Upper thigh, flexed: 20.0", both sides
Middle of calf, flexed: 14.0", both sides
I'd call it progress, but I think the loss of weight and what's probably fat in shoulder and thigh probably has more to do with being sick forever and having no appetite for a week or so last month.

June 24
1" below shoulders: 39.5
Upper arms, flexed: 11", both sides
Waist: 28.0" - YAY!!!
Hips: 36.0"
Upper thigh, flexed: 21", both sides (it's hard to know where to measure to be consistent!)
Middle of calf, flexed: 14.25", both sides
So actual progress this month, yay again!

May 27
weight:128.0 (but this is the heaviest point of my cycle - April's same weight wasn't)
1" below shoulders: 40.25
Upper arms, flexed: 11.25", both sides
Waist: 28.5" - rats, still no change
Hips: 36.5" (that counts as progress, at least)
Upper thigh, flexed: 21"
Middle of calf, flexed: 14.25"

April 8:
1" below shoulders: 40.5
Upper arms, flexed: 11.5"
Waist: 28.5"
Hips: 36.5" (that counts as progress, at least)
Upper thigh, flexed: 21.5"
Middle of calf, flexed: 14.5"

Posted by dichroic at 09:43 PM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2006

rowing and more rowing

Rudder and his men's doubles partner have won their first medals of the regatta; they came in third in the Men's Lightweight double, C age category. It must have been a hard-fought race; they were only fifteen hundredths of a second out of second place!

Another of our local rowers should have rowed her race now, but the results seem to be lagging behind - in a phone clal home this morning, Rudder mentioned that there was supposed to be some wind today, so maybe they've had to stop the races for a bit. She-Hulk and I were discussing the times yesterday and clearly there was a considerable headwind then.

Meanwhile, I've done my share of rowing without ever leaving home - I erged a half marathon this morning (21097 meters, 13.1 miles). The sore throat had me worried a little yesterday because it was only on one side in the morning and was on both by the time I left work, but thankfully it apparently yisn't a harbinger of returning disease. I had just a trace of it this morning and obviously am eeling all right otherwise. My fingers hurt, though - one ide effct og half marathons is that after pulling on the grip for two hours, my fingernails always hurt because the rest of the finger sort of gets pushed againsts them several thousand times. This was my first half-marathon for this year, and I spent so much time not working out much because of being ill recently that I'm really happy I was able to do it without a break. On Monday, She-Hulk and I will take a double out. It will be nice to get back on the water!

A few minutes later: antother local, the one with whom Rudder's rowing in the mixed double, has just won her singles race. Not a big surprise - she's a former Olympian from Bulgaria and generally does win by a wide margin - bt she takes her racing very seriously and makes a point never to take winning for granted nonetheless. I'm keeping an updated list of results on the Outlaws website.

Posted by dichroic at 03:03 PM | Comments (0)

August 04, 2006

Fare you well, Sunset

This morning I rowed one lap then packed up my boat for good, or at least for a while. Depending on what adventures come our way, she will spend the next 1-4 years hanging from the ceiling of my in-laws' garage. This is not a happy place for the boat; there's NO WATER there. (At least, not unless something is very wrong.) My boat loves the water. Whenever I leave her at the side of the beach without oars holding her down she tries to run off to sea. I don't think she will enjoy life in a garage, grateful as I am to my in-laws for hosting her.

We had one last lap this morning before unrigging and loading her up. I kept thinking, "the last time" - the last time I'd move her from the rack to the slings, the last time I carried her to the lake, the last time we set off from the beach, went through the bridges, made the turn, came back in. I'll row her again someday, but it's likely to be in another place entirely.

She is a Hudson Elite single, a better boat than my skills deserve; her stablemates race at high levels, including for the US and Canadian national teams, in regattas like the World Championships and the Olympics. I've let her down a few times, coming last in some races, but she's never let me down. There was an ugly race in Long Beach a few years ago, when I watched videotape of myself flopping around at the finish, losing focus from fatigue, when I swore to myself that however I did in my races I would never watch videotape like that again. I might finish last but I would finish strong and controlled, rowing hard and focused and never giving in no matter how the race went. I've kept that vow; there have been races since when I finished last, but never one I was embarassed to have rowed. I feel I've lived up to my boat a little, in that time.

Under the wide and wind-wracked sky,
We scud along, my boat and I.

We took delivery of Sunrise and Sunet, my boat and Rudder's, in July four years and a week ago.

The boats are patterned after the Arizona state flag. My boat is a little smaller than Rudder's and is distinguished by stars on the deck, in the shape of the Big Dipper from the Alaska flag - we had just returned from Alaska when they arrived. Together, we have rowed under starry winter skies before subrise and under the clouds that Arizona hides in the dawn, that disappear as the sun climbs. We're rowed on mirror-smooth water and in waves rough enough to splash over the deck. We've seen hundreds of sunrises and a couple of sunsets, watched egrets and pelicans fly over, rowed by seals in Mission Bay and a beaver than somehow found its way to Tempe. We've rowed together in Tennessee and Arizona, Louisiana and Oregon, California and Nevada, done races of 300 meters and races of 26.2 miles. We've worked through distance training and speed training, changes in technique and uncountable drills, hard practices much too early in the morning and relaxed daytime paddles. We've been out in 32-degree frosty mornings in the dark and under 100-degree Arizona sun. There have been dents and dings for both of us, blisters and paint chips and sore muscles and fiberglass repairs.

“Of all sports, rowing offers the least to outward seeming. It is hard work unleavened by variety. Worse, a man attending to business can't see where he is going. The pleasure compensating for this madness is at once simple and subtle. A need of men, generally denied, them, is to feel a part of something which works smoothly and well. In a mated crew the ideal is reached, the feeling of perfection passing back and forth from the individual to the team like an electric current. Until exhaustion breaks the spell, there is no more to be desired.”

--from "Silverlock", by John Myers Myers, a man who clearly know his way around a shell

Rowing shells are fast but fragile. The elite boats are not forgiving of bad form, but reward each improvement of technique with another bit of speed. They don't deal well with rough water, high wind, or rocky beaches and a rower can't see where she's going. A kayak is much better for exploring, but on flat water a rowing shell can leave a kayak far behind. Their stiff fragility and the care they need means that rowing shells don't last long unless they're well-cared for.

Tomorrow, Rudder leaves to drive to the Masters National Championship Regatta in Seattle. (He's borrowing She-Hulk's single to race in.) On the way back he will leave my boat and his double at his parents' house in Oregon. I can't really complain to Rudder, not after his boat was totalled in a freak windstorm last week. I can't complain at work, where I really don't want to explain why we're sending the boats away. But I will miss my Sunset on the water in the sunrise.

Posted by dichroic at 11:36 AM | Comments (2)

July 26, 2006

storm damage

Rudder's boat is totalled.

We had a hellacious storm last night, tons of rain (over an inch at our house - very rare in the desert), thunder and lightning right there. I didn't notice a lot of wind, or at least I couldn't hear it from my bed. I didn't get up to look out. But apparently there was plenty of wind at the boatyard. It knocked over a whole rack of oars into the rack where his boat is stored. He went out to row this morning, fdound the damage, and asked me to stop by with a camera on my way to work.

His single and the one above it are both bent. Boats are not supposed to bend. Each boat sits on two arms of the rack, spaced about six or eight feet apart, with the cockpit (the area with the seat and foot stretchers) between them. The section of Rudder's boat and the one above it from the rear rack on back to the stern is bent downward at a sharp angle, with shards and corners of fiberglass bulging out. Just to add a final insult, Rudder's boat came down onto the one below it (which appears undamaged) and that boat's skeg has pirced deep into his boat.

It's very painful to look at.

If it had to happen, this is almost the best time, since he was planning to take the boats up to his parents' on the way back from Masters Nationals, since our sojourn abroad is beginning to firm up. The only problem, of course, is Masters Nationals itself. The double and my single are undamaged, which is ironic, since I've decided not to go to Masters Nationals. A couple of people have already offered to loan Rudder a boat for the race, including She-Hulk, whose single is nearly a twin to Rudder's, so he has options. But still, it always hurts to see something as beautiful as a rowing shell ruined.

EDITED TO ADD: Yes, the boats are insured. Rudder's just hoping the insurance guy agrees that the boat is totaled and doesn't think it can be repaired. (It probably could be repaired to look OK, but it would be heavier, less balanced and not nearly strong or stiff enough for competition - or possibly for safety.)

Posted by dichroic at 08:33 AM | Comments (6)

June 24, 2006

fitness- actual progress, what do you know

Numbers and pics below the cut, not of general interest, go away.

1" below shoulders: 39.5
Upper arms, flexed: 11", both sides
Waist: 28.0" - YAY!!!
Hips: 36.0"
Upper thigh, flexed: 21", both sides (it's hard to know where to measure to be consistent!)
Middle of calf, flexed: 14.25", both sides
So actual progress this month, yay again!

May 27
weight:128.0 (but this is the heaviest point of my cycle - April's same weight wasn't)
1" below shoulders: 40.25
Upper arms, flexed: 11.25", both sides
Waist: 28.5" - rats, still no change
Hips: 36.5" (that counts as progress, at least)
Upper thigh, flexed: 21"
Middle of calf, flexed: 14.25"

April 8:
1" below shoulders: 40.5
Upper arms, flexed: 11.5"
Waist: 28.5"
Hips: 36.5" (that counts as progress, at least)
Upper thigh, flexed: 21.5"
Middle of calf, flexed: 14.5"
Just for perspective, I need to say again that I'm only 5'2".

It actually does look like there's been some progress - in order, these photos are from May 2005, April 2006, and today:
When I put that bikini on today, I noticed that it's a size XL. That means I bought it in the girl's section. (Why Abercrombie was marketing string bikinis to people who are meant to be shopping in that size range, I don't want to think about.)

Posted by dichroic at 11:41 AM | Comments (0)

June 19, 2006

North Tahoe Rowing Regatta

This entry is long, so in case you're in a hurry:
Regatta report, short version, just to spoil the surprise:
Old Salt and Dr. Bosun won - they were the mixed double on the short course, but they set a course record.
I won(!!!) - first of three in the Women's Maas Aeros on the short course.
Rudder came in fourth, out of a very competitive field of about 13, in the Maas 24 in the long course.

Long discursive version:
Lake Tahoe is a gorgeous, gorgeous place to row. For once, Rudder and I didn't have to drive; Old Salt, his wife the Artist, and Dr. Bosun not only drove the van, not only loaded it without our help (of course we offered, but they said they didn't need us) but actually loaned us the boats. Rudder rowed Old Salt's Maas 24 and I rowed his Maas Aero. Old Salt and Dr. Bosun rowed the double. Rudder and I got in to our hotel at King's Beach late Thursday night; looking out the window, I saw our room faced the hotel parking lot. It wasn't until the next morning I saw that what we actually had was a view of that beautiful lake. We met the other two there to get our boats off the van and went out for a morning row to get used to the boats. I had only rowed the Aero once before, in about 1999, but it's a really nice boat to row, friendly and eager to please, as long as you're not in a hurry. It's made for open water rowing, so is more stable and less speedy than flatwater boats like my Hudson single. We just did a short row that morning, out to the point that was the first turning point for the short course I'd be racing.
After that, we went to the coffeeshop next door to pick up breakfast. While there, a book jumped into my arms and said, "Can I come home with you? Pleeease?" I own and like a bunch of Will Shetterly's books, but had been a little reluctant to try Dogland because it's different from the others - not fantasy, mostly. But there it was in a large-format softcover with a $1 tag on it, sitting under a sign that said something about a book swap. I think the cashier was a little startled when I wanted to pay for it, but I only had two other books with me and I didn't want to leave either in its place. As it turns out, though, if I had bought a copy for full price it would have been well worth it.

Rudder and I were supposed to meet up with the others at their campsite for dinner, so we decided to spend the afternoon being tourists. We drove all the way around the lake, stopping at the scenic points to clamber over rocks and take photos. Lots of photos - I'll post the best to Flickr, once I've downloaded them. We finished at the campsite near Tahoe City, where Dr. Bosun cooked up a big spaghetti dinner for all of us (now including two of the Old Salt's and the Artist's grown children and the girlfriend of one). By the time none of us could eat any more and the Old Salt was trying to alienate nearby campers by playing us David Allen Coe songs on the van's stereo, it was time for us to head back to the hotel and get some sleep.

Race day had weather just as perfect as the day before (and the day after). It was extremely convenient having the race staged out of our hotel; the boats were stored on and launched from the beack about two minutes' walk from our room, so we could even go back and use the bathroom after the race meeting. They launched the racers ont he long course first, in several waves: first the doubles, then the men's faster Maas 24s (Rudder's race), the Men's Aeros, then all the women. Next they launched the short course: first the double (Old Salt and Dr. Bosun) and the flatwater racing shells, then all the women (including me) then all the men. The race categories were by boat design, so while all the women launched together, I was only competing against those in Aero like mine.

One woman shot ahead from the beginning; I knew she was in a 24. Another was a little ahead but pulled away from the rest of us slowly; I hoped she was in one also. Another dropped behind the rest of us and the remaining woman and I stayed close all the way down the course. The first buoy was visible from the starting point, so the first leg was easier to steer, though my turn wasn't as good as it could have been. I couldn't see the next buoy from the first turn at all, and it was out in the middle of the lake, not near any any landmark I could sight on. This being open water racing, I had both a compass and a GPS, but the latter didn't work at all - it neverswitched from the starting waypoint to the first turn, let alone any later turns. The compass was only semi-useful; it's a hiking one, where you're supposed to turn the bezel to match the needle's north, which of course I couldn't do while rowing. The compass was taped to the boat, so of course the bezel turned when I did. It was a little bit of help, because I could at least estimate where my course was, for instance by knowing that an 89-degree course would be roughly at right angles to the needle. That's not precise enough to help in a race, so most I steered by watching other people until I was finally close enough to spot the buoy. That would have worked better if I'd known which other racers knew where they were going. I was a bit faster than the woman close to me, but she steered a better course, so she'd pull up to me than I'd catch up once I sighted the course. (At the time, though, I had no way of knowing if she was on or off course.) I finished only three seconds ahead of her, still not sure if she was in my category.

Since the long course took much longer to row, and since my boat was so stable, I decided to risk the camera. I paddled into shore, and got it from the Old Salt's daughter, who had most intelligently figured out which backpack was ours, gotten the camera out figured out our camera, and taken pictures of the double and of me coming into shore. (All of which I'd have asked her to do, but she wasn't there yet when we launched for the race.) I slung it over my neck and shoulder and rowed back out to the finish to take pictures of Rudder finishing.

After the race there was a wonderful lunch for the competitors and spectators. Once we were all too full to eat any more (which takes some doing for rowers right after a race) they announced the winners. They gave out water bottles instead of medals. (I'd have liked a medal - it's hard to hang a bottle on your wall.) For each event, they gave out awards to both the winner in raw time and to the winner after adjusting the time for age handicaps. Rudder was fourth in his race, but his was very competitive. Most of the people who beat him were ones he knew, some of the fastest rowers from along the California coast whom he's always pitted against at our bigger regattas. Old Salt and Dr. Bosun won, of course, being the only boat in their event, but they also set a record for the course. My jaw dropped when I was told I'd set the initial course record for my category, mostly in surprise - I knew that others had raced in that category in the past, so couldn't figure out why there wasn't an existing record for me to break or (more likely) not. It also puzzled me that I'd won with a time 13 full minutes slower than Dr. Bosun's winning time fromt he previous year. She'd been in a faster boat, but not that much faster - 13 minutes over 7000 meters is a whole lot. I won my race, but the woman I'd finished just ahead of won with the handicaps, so we both got bottles. What made me even happier was that I'd beat most of the men in the Aeros, along with a couple of people, both male and female, in the faster boats.

For the rest of the day, Rudder and I stayed in the room and did our best impressions of vegetation. Eventually we went out, had some excellent pizza two doors down from the hotel (this really was the most convenient set-up), then walked along the beach and watched hang gliders land. Coming back to the hotel we went and looked again at the race times, now posted, and found they'd been corrected. Apparently they'd used the same start time for all waves to launch on the short course. It didn't affect the results of each race, but all of our times were significantly faster. So that made it more sensible; I did still beat a couple of the men in the Aeros and even one guy in the faster boat, but not more than half of them. I pointed out to the organizer that, since the results from last year she'd posted for comparison did include someone in my category who had rowed the race faster, so I really didn't set a record. Apparently she'd just missed it, not surprising in the flurry of race planning. She also commented that the buoys might not have been placed quite correctly this year, so between that and the six minutes that the adjustment shaved off my time, it was all a lot more reasonable compared to last year's times. And of course, I still won my race!

The Old Salt kindly left the boats by the hotel for an extra day so that Rudder and I could take one more row on Tahoe on Sunday morning. We joined a whole flotilla of rowers setting out and went past the point where my race course had turned, over into Crystal Bay. We were going to row to a beach we'd spotted (possibly Sand Harbor, not sure), but that bay is deceptively large, and by the time we were finally starting to get somewhere close to the beach, my hands and bladder were all saying maybe it was time to turn around. (Also, when you're rowing across the middle of a bay, the scenery doesn't change the way it does when you're closer to shore and rowing around a point.) When we got back to shore, we found the Old Salt and Dr. Bosun had stopped by. (This is getting annoying. One of these days I may just give up and use first names.) We were very glad to see them, because the original plan had been for them to come by in the afternoon, after we'd left, and load up. This way we got to help.

After eating and showering, we had to check out of the hotel, but we still had an hour or so to kill. We used it up walking around Truckee's small but nice old downtown area, which provided the final surreal moment of the trip when I spotted the sign for Jimmy Bean Wool. I hadn't even known they had a brick-and-mortar store, but they have a big web store and are often one of the first to come up when I search online for a yarn. Apparently they have two stores; the other is in Reno. Of course, we went in. I restricted myself to a couple of skeins of sock yarn, because I had to be able to fit anything I'd bought in my backpack. We also visited a few galleries and an old-fashioned soda fountain who'd apparently never heard of chocolate soda before (at least, not without ice cream). The excursion used up just about the amount of time we needed to use before heading off to the airport, the trip back was smooth and we got home early enough to go out for Cajun food and get to bed almost on time. (It would have been in plenty of time if somebody hadn't refused to take the standard post-race day off from rowing practice this morning. Husbands. Humph.)

So yeah, beautiful place, good company, well-organized regatta, time to sightsee. Good weekend. And did I mention I won?????

Posted by dichroic at 03:19 PM | Comments (5)

June 08, 2006

extremely mixed double

Rudder and I rowed together in the double this morning, not a usual thing. The plan four July 4th week is to spend a few days with his family, race on Saturday in the Rural Henley, a small race at Klamath Falls, OR, drive to Sacramento (6 hours) immediately after the race, where we'll meet a bunch of other Outlaw rowers, then race there on Sunday and drive home on Monday. Since it will be just the two of us and a small race, we plan to race a double together. We've never raced a small boat together and in fact today was only about our third time in a double together. (We have raced in the same boat often, but usually with me coxing and him rowing in an eight. Not at all the same.) It went very well, I think better than either of us expected. It helps that we've worked with the same coaches and have critiqued each other and row in the same style. We were actually pretty fast, certainly faster than I'd have expected. Today's planned workout was to do three laps of our lake, including warm up, 4 ten-minute pieces each consisting of 4 min at a rate of 28, 3 min at 30, 2 at 32, 1 at 34 and a cooldown. Rudder went a little easy on me, at least; we did the first piece at rates from 22 to 28, the second from 24-30, and the third and fourth from 26-32. For the two of us, rowing at 34 strokes per minute is clearly a little silly - that is, we could do it but on the recovery we'd be hauling ourselves up the slides instead of letting the boat move under us. It was good though, smooth and coordinated and with only minor issues. We did well at correcting any problems. It was much better than a usual third row with a new partner, but I suppose you could say we've been working on matching our rhythm for a long time now.

I'm tired still. (Though not as tired as I'll be after two back to back races and all that driving!)

In other news, in the sweater I'm knitting, I've gotten as far along as I was on Sunday when I had to frog the whole thing. (Sort of a standard knitting joke; frog because rip-it, rip-it.) This time I am sure i's not twisted. (Of course, I was pretty sure last time too. Still not sure how that happened.) Also, I have a bunch of tiny jasper stars, one larger jasper star, one moon bead made of some kind of black sonte (maybe a different sort of jasper) and a shard of jasper that reminds me of a comet that want to be something together. Problem is, I'm not sure whether they want to be earrings, a necklace, or maybe even a barrette, and then what shape they want to be in. (I think the little stars want to dangle, though.) I may just wait a bit and see what other night-sky beads I come across (if I wait for November I'll have a meteorite bead!) and what ideas flutter by.

Posted by dichroic at 02:25 PM | Comments (0)

June 06, 2006

getting ready for Tahoe

This Lake Tahoe regatta in two weeks is going to be interesting. As of last weekend, Dr. Bosun dumped me; she was very apologetic about it, but she called and asked if I'd mind rowing the single while she and the Old Salt rowed a double instead, because she didn't think we (she and I) were enjoying rowing together. It's true we had a lot of adjustments to make but we'd already done all of that so now I feel like we wasted our time. On the other hand, it's also true that she's a bit annoying to row with (and I think she was politely trying not to say that the converse is true as well). Also Rudder had a brilliant idea: She-Hulk had been hoping to row in Tahoe as well, and hadn't yet found a boat to borrow, so his idea was for her to row a double with me. I broached the idea to her and she was enthusiastic. So for this regatta, we will have Rudder in a single, Dr. Bosun and the Old Salt in a mixed double, and me and She-Hulk in a women's double.

The other interesting aspect is in the nature of the race. Apparently LakeTahoe counts as open water, rougher than the flat lakes we normally row on. There are two courses, a long loop of 8.75 nm and a short loop of 3.75 nm (16.205 and 6.945 km respectively). Rudder's racing the long course, the rest of us are saner. Flatwater boats (that is, our normal ones) are allowed to race the short course; only open-water boats (wider, usually with self-balers) are allowed to row the long course. All boats are required to carry a PFD (personal flotation device = life jacket). Normally rowers are not required to carry a separate PFD because our oars are Coast Guard-approved flotation devices. Also, they encourage everyone to carry a compass and/or GPS. I'm trying to encourge Rudder to carry one; he keeps making the point that he won't be able to see it while rowing, but my point is that it might be handy to have in case he gets lost enough to be willing to stop. The short course is in sight of land all the way, but I think I'll take a compass. (Actually, the long course is too, it's just a little further out.)

The thing I regret most about being in a double with Dr. Bosun is that she's done the race before and seems to think course-finding will be no issue. She-Hulk hasn't, and I suspect she'll be a little more nervous about it - and since she prefers to row bow, she'll be the one steering. We'll manage, though. On the other hand, we've raced together several times and are pretty comfortable rowing together; she's a chameleon who follows whatever her stroke (person in stroke seat, i.e. me) does. The down side to that is that she adapts no matter what I do so I won't necessarily improve; a couple of Dr. Bosun's comments actually were very helpful, pointing out things I needed to correct not just in our double but in general. But She-Hulk is more comfortable to row with, and over nearly 7 miles, that will be a good thing.

Posted by dichroic at 02:18 PM | Comments (0)

May 27, 2006

fitness - progress or lack thereof

Time for progress photos and measurements again. Last time I did this was April 8; that entry, with pictures, is here. My stomach looks much better in the current set, but that has more to do with sucking it in to the point of discomfort (because I was originally going to use these for the portrait project) than to actual progress. (Also, today's photos were taken shortly after a gym session).

weight:128.0 (but this is the heaviest point of my cycle - April's same weight wasn't)
1" below shoulders: 40.25
Upper arms, flexed: 11.25", both sides
Waist: 28.5" - rats, still no change
Hips: 36.5" (that counts as progress, at least)
Upper thigh, flexed: 21"
Middle of calf, flexed: 14.25"

April 8:
1" below shoulders: 40.5
Upper arms, flexed: 11.5"
Waist: 28.5"
Hips: 36.5" (that counts as progress, at least)
Upper thigh, flexed: 21.5"
Middle of calf, flexed: 14.5"

So the legs are a trifle smaller - I think I gain weight from the center out and lose it from the extremities in, with the gut always being the first to gain and the last to lose.

Posted by dichroic at 04:47 PM | Comments (0)

May 24, 2006

training for Tahoe

Lots of meetings yesterday and today, so not much time to update. I'm trying to train pretty hard, but after a while it just gets to be too much - for instance, I'd rowed Friday, Saturday and Monday, including extra distance on Monday, and gone ot the gym yesterday. Today I was planning to row, but had a 7:30 telecon, so I decided to erg instead. There was at least a possibility of waking up at 4 (well, waking up at 4 when Rudder got up was a given, but getting out of bed was a possibility) or 4:30 so I could get some decent distance. I was definitely starting to feel burned out and just plain tired, though. Instead I slept until 5 and only managed to get in 5K on the erg. I'm going to take tomorrow off completely, row Friday, and go to the gym on Saturday. That will be similar to last week's pattern, which worked fairly well in having me feel strong and energetic for the last several rows.

Next week Rudder will be off traveling. I need to not slack off while he's gone, but rather hit the training pretty hard, because the week after that I can begin s slight taper for the lake Tahoe race. It's a bit of an anomaly, though, a longer race at a time in the year when we're usually doing sprints. I'll be rowing it in a double with Dr. Bosun. We went out last Saturday in the double belonging to Old Salt that we're intending to row in; we had to make a lot of adjustments to both the boat and our rowing, but it felt much better toward the end. We only rowed at a light pressure, though. We're going to row again in Rudder's double next week to see if it feels better, and I hope we can row a bit more at race pressure.

Dr. Bosun tends to do a lot of coaching while rowing; I don't think she means it as "I'm better than you and am telling you what to do" but as "this is what I see in your rowing, please tell me what you see in mine". I think some people have tended to assume the former rather than the latter and to get annoyed, but she was eager to hear any feedback I had for her, and in fact one of her comments was a useful change for me to make in my single as well as in our double. Fortunately she said it in a way that worked for me. If she had said, "You should begin pulling your arms too late" I would have assumed it was only a style difference and might have changed it in the double but not in my single. What she said, though, was, "I feel a check in the boat; I think it happens when you start bringing your arms in." A check in the boat's forward motion is always a bad thing, no matter what style you use, and when I tried bending my arms sooner she said she wasn't feeling the check anymore. That's something that's a big deal for me in training: saying the thing in the way that makes sense to the student. There is no one right way of training, because there is no one way of learning that works for everyone. For me, in rowing, I'm only going to listen to you if what you're saying makes physics / biomechanical / physiological sense.

At any rate, I think this race is more about a chance to go out rowing in a beautiful place than about any fierce competition. Still, feeling you did your best is always a good thing and winning a medal is even better.

Posted by dichroic at 11:51 AM | Comments (0)

May 09, 2006


Now that's seriously cool. Because we had so many regatta pictures that were good enough to share, I decided to start using Flickr. I knew it was a good way to share photos and that I could make a little photo "badge" to show tiny thumbnails in a blog (like the one here, in the right column) and let people click it to see the photos in a more visible size. What I didn't know was that if you scroll to Additional Information and click on More Properties, it shows precise data about how the photo was taken: camera type, exposure, aperture, date taken, focal length, metering pattern, flash, and on and on. This seemed especially improbable because the photos went through a few programs: I downloaded to iPhoto on the Mac, exported them in the size I wanted, then used Flickr's Uploadr tool. It turns out, according to Flickr, "Almost all new digital cameras save JPEG (jpg) files with EXIF (Exchangeable Image File) data. Camera settings and scene information are recorded by the camera into the image file."

I wonder if all that is saved even if I postprocess in Photoshop? Probably. Anyway, way cool.

I've also been goofing around honing my chartmaking skills playing with graphs from the race data. My main conclusion is that I definitely need to race Antgirl more often - she's a little more consistent and has a faster final sprint, but otherwise we're much closer than I'd have thought.

Posted by dichroic at 01:27 PM | Comments (0)

May 08, 2006

weekend portraits

Here are my favorite pictures of us from the weekend. Me in the quad after our race:
I cropped it, lightened shadows and played with the color balance a smidge.

And Rudder with his men's doubles partner - they look so commanding because I was lying on the ground and was too lazy to get up. No post-processing at all except to scale down the image:

There were lots of good pictures, though; you can see more of them here.

Posted by dichroic at 09:29 PM | Comments (3)

Gold Rush

The regatta weekend was fun, and now I'm sitting here wishing I was back in it instead of here at work. I'll try to combine the weekend's the stories with a chronological order.

I left work at noon. This was a bit difficult since my boss two levels up (henceforth BTLU) had put together a big meeting of people from all over the country. I was supposed to present, we were running an hour late, and though I'd discussed needing to leave with both my old and new bosses (pre and post last week's reorg) I wasn't sure if anyone had told BTLU. I finally broke it to him; he looked surprised (I found out a few minutes later that he had been told - probably wasn't listening) but we did manage to work it out so I got to do my preso. And didn't get fired for leaving. Then I snuck out, picked up Antgirl (well, she needs a nom and that's what she studies) and sandwiches, and went home, where Rudder was packing the last bits and pieces into the Hummer. We drove to Frazier Park (north of LA, just past the Grapevine), spent the night there and then drove the rest of the way to Sacramento on Friday. After unloading the boats, Rudder and I had dinner with his grandparents, who live just on the other side of town, and his parents, who came in for the weekend.

We now have cafeteria envy. His grandparents live in one of those care centers where you have an apartment of your own and then can get the increasing levels of care you need as you age (well, at least in theory - it's not working out entirely as planned for them). They have a large dining room, nicely done in an Arts & Crafts / Mission style, with very good food - not institutional-ish at all and nothing at all like any of the work or dorm cafeterias I've eaten in. We wish we had one like it, so we didn't have to cook and plan all our own meals. Why should we have to wait until retirement? Also, it was a very good pre-regatta meal - roast beef or salmon, several choices of veg, pasta, salads, desserts, and served early in the evening. I want one!

On Saturday, I had four races, and Rudder had six or so. The race seemed to be less well-attended than other years, but the level of competition was higher. (This may be because they moved it from Memorial Day weekend to earlier in May, luring fewer more casual competitors.) We didn't get a ton of medals this time around. In the quad, we won a bronze medal - and even better, we came from behind and passed another crew, so that was very satisfying. (In this race, they handicap for age by making younger crews start later - we had an 8 second handicap.) I finished not only last but DFL in both my singles races (sigh) but was felt like I was pulling strong, cleanly, and at full-out power in both. I'd have been extremely happy with my races, if not for that pesky part about being way behind the other competitors. Sigh. On the other hand, I did have a 16-second handicap, while the youngest other competitor had 7 seconds and most of the others had 0-2 seconds. These women may have been older (the oldest was 55) but they were buff! The woman starting at the zero mark - that is, the oldest one in the race - looked much more like 40 than 55 from where I was sitting, 13 meters away. Good reason to keep rowing.

I did make lightweight with no trouble - in fact, I was able to weigh in with jacket and shoes on and be just a fraction under the 130 lb cutoff, so that was good. I think I may have to lose a few of those extra pounds for real, but my weight fluctuates so much normally it's hard to tell. Also, there's a fine balance between staying properly hydrated and not having to make pit-stops every hour, so I probably was a little dehydrated all weekend.

Rudder got fewer medals than usual for him. He didn't do well in his singles race - well, there was a lot of competition, with about 10 people split into two heats, and he did make it to finals. that he was 5 of 6 in the finals, based on results in past races, tends to indicate some national-caliber competition which in fact there was. He and our other male rower did win silver medals in their men's doubles and men's quad races (The quad was with two guys from San Diego). This year, Rudder didn't race lightweight at all, and he and She-Hulk decided to race in a mixed quad rather than their usual double. I think they regretted that. He raced the 300m dash this year, and of course I did because it's my favorite race, but this year, the fast people stayed until end and neither of us did well.

Cubemate, who's only been rowing sculls (two oars rather than one) for about a month and Antgirl did fairly well in their double - 4 of 6, very good considering this was the first big Masters regatta for both of them.Antgirl also came in third in her single - her first single race except for a small local one in horrible conditions - making her the only female Outlaw to achieve "clinkage". (Our term for multiple medals.) She-Hulk didn't do well in her single, her least favorite event, but did better in her double with a rower from San Diego, finishing just a few seconds from a medal.

I think everyone had a good time. Every Outlaw went home with at least one medal, and though some of us might have wished to do a little better, we all had races that felt good, that we can be proud of. We have lots of video so we can spot our flaws, and largely thanks to Cubemate's fiancee, our Pit Crew Extraordinaire, we have lots of great still photos. I've only seen them on the camera's little screen so far, but if they look as good blown up as they did there, I'll be posting a couple here as part of my self-and-Rudder-portrait project and sharing the rest on Flickr. (I'll post a couple no matter what, and a few more on the Outlaw website but it looks like there are a lot of good ones.)

Antgirl was going on to meet her brother, who lives in the Bay Area, so it was Rudder and me on the drive home - we enjoyed her company but it was nice to have the alone time too. And then as usual it was down to the two of us unloading. We were a boat-moving machine, getting four boats and accompanying parts unloaded in the boatyard in under half an hour - also as usual, a half hour well past our usual bedtimes, so we had incentive to be efficient. We might be groggy, but we have this stuff down to a fine science.

The main thing wrong with this weekend is that now it's over. But we get to do it again at a race on Lake Tahoe in June and then in back-to-back races in Oregon and back to Sacramento in July.

Photos soon.

Posted by dichroic at 04:13 PM | Comments (1)

April 08, 2006

progress and lack thereof

Some pictures and measurements below the cut, mostly not of general interest.

1" below shoulders: 40.5
Upper arms, flexed: 11.5"
Waist: 28.5"
Hips: 36.5" (that counts as progress, at least)
Upper thigh, flexed: 21.5"
Middle of calf, flexed: 14.5"

December 19
1" below shoulders: 40.5
Upper arms, flexed: 11 1/8"
Waist: 28.5"
Hips: 37"
Upper thigh, flexed: 22.0"
Middle of calf, flexed: 14.5"

Setember 28
1" below shoulders: 41.0
Upper arms, flexed: 11.0"
Waist: 28" (minor progress, but I'll take it)
Hips: 37"
Upper thigh, flexed: 21.0"
Middle of calf, flexed: 14.5"

August 25
1" below shoulders: 41.0
Upper arms, flexed: 11 1/8"
Waist: 28.5" (drat)
Hips: 37"
Upper thigh, flexed: 21.5"
Middle of calf, flexed: 14.5"

May 25.
1" below shoulders: 41.5
Upper arms, flexed: 11.5"
Waist: 28.5" (eek)
Hips: 37"
Upper thigh, flexed: 21.5"
Middle of calf, flexed: 15.5"

I'm including this picture in clothes to demonstrate why I'm still a bit uncomfortable with the recent increase in boobage (best guess is that it's due to a change to supposedly lower-dosage birth control pills), after having been a 32A since puberty.

Posted by dichroic at 01:09 PM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2006

regatta writeup

How was the regatta?

Cold. Very cold. Also wet.

The Old Salt and I came in last in our Mixed Doubles race, due largely to the fact that he had no desire to get to the finals (there were enough entrants in that race to have heats and finals) especially as we knew that, while we might make finals, we weren't going to beat some of the other crews out there. In my Women's Open Doubles race, we won and the row felt so good that I think we'd have won even if the only other crew in that race had bothered to show up. (Especially as one of the women in the no-show crew was one I beat last fall.) My last race of the day was against Dr. Bosun. We've rowed against each other enough to know how that goes (she wins) and it was late in the day. I wanted to go home, and she had another race very close to ours, so we mutually decided to scratch and cancel that race.

I think Rudder won two medals on Saturday, probably for the Mixed Quad and men's masters Single. After races we tried to change into dry clothing, but it didn't help. They were making singles and doubles launch at a boat ramp, reserving the dock for the bigger boats, so wet feel were inevitable, because my waterproof socks have begun to leak. It was just not possible to put on dry cothes and keep all layers dry, hard as we tried. And layers there were: I had on fleece socks, "waterproof" socks, rowing shorts, fleece tights, fleece pants, waterproof pants, a tank toip, a long-sleeved Coolmax shirt, an expedition-weight underwear top, my fleece-lined rowing jacket and my Goretext jacket, a hat and mittens. (To race, I wore shorts, fleece tights, waterproof pants, a tank and a long-sleeved top.) There was someone out there taking photos of every race (I'm impressed both at his endurance and the fact that he's even got them all online already) and I think he summed up Saturday very well in this photoof me and Dr. Bosun cheering on one of our crews.

Sunday was better, cold but dry. Rudder had the brilliant idea of wearing our wellies, which I'd totally forgotten about because we hadn't worn them since Antarctica. Pity he didn't think of it a day earlier, but at least on Sunday I had dry feet, even when helping boats to launch. Sunday I was reasonably comfortable with 4-5 layers on top and bottom. Since I didn't have any races Sunday I didn't have to take anything off or get anything wet. Also, the regatta was slated to run only a half day. We got to leave before noon and join a bunch of rowers at a local brew pub. I think Rudder won two more medals Sunday, too - a better experience all around. Still, brr.

Posted by dichroic at 10:49 AM | Comments (0)

January 23, 2006

training solution

My (very) local training expert, Rudder, has come up with a brilliant solution for me. Or possibly, it's not so much that his plan is brilliant as that I'm an idiot for not thinking of it myself.

I've been contemplating the Winter Olympics. While I don't love them as much as the summer Olympics (no gymnastics, no rowing), I'm still fond of them. I have good memories of vegging out in front of the TV with my Dad when the Olympics were on as far back as '76, with housemates and friends in 1988, and with Rudder more recently, and I watch them as much for those memories as for themselves. The problem was that evenings in front of the TV are not terribly compatible with a workout schedule that requires waking up at 4 or 5 AM on weekdays (going to bed late and just getting less sleep isn't really an option if I want to be at all useful at work the next day; Rudder and I both find that more exercise requires more sleep).

His brilliant solution? Erg at night in front of the Olympics instead. It's not perfect, because erging after eating dinner isn't ideal, but it means I can watch the Olympics until 10 (not later, because of still having to get up for work at 6.) I'll either bag the weight lifting in favor or more erging or do it after work before the Olympics prime time coverage starts. And of course, when not erging I expect to get a good bit of knitting done, in addition to reading during the sports I don't care about.

Yesterday I took my cubemate out in a double - it was her first time rowing a scull (two oars) instead of sweep (one apiece), so for a lot of the row only one of us was rowing, with the other balancing the boat. We did get to row together some, though there were a few nervous moments. It's definite a different though related skill. My back was hurting a little by then end. This morning I did my first real race workout in a very long time: 6x 500 meters at a 2km race pace, with 2 minutes rest between. (I confess I lightened up a little on the last two.) In all the marathon training, I never did anything faster than about a 5K pace, and since I wasn't going for time, I confess I went easy on my estimate of a 5K pace. Either from this morning or from yesterday, I'm definitely moving slower and more stiffly today, but I figure I need to do this in case I cave in to the peer pressure to do a 2K erg race in two weeks.

Posted by dichroic at 02:33 PM | Comments (0)

December 19, 2005


No idea if these changes are good or bad - I have a Tanita scale to check bodyfat % but it seems to be very erratic these days.

Oh yes, and:

Holiday Challenge: DONE!!
Thankful for: well, duh.

1" below shoulders: 40.5
Upper arms, flexed: 11. 1/8"
Waist: 28.5"
Hips: 37"
Upper thigh, flexed: 22.0"
Middle of calf, flexed: 14.5"

Setember 28
1" below shoulders: 41.0
Upper arms, flexed: 11.0"
Waist: 28" (minor progress, but I'll take it)
Hips: 37"
Upper thigh, flexed: 21.0"
Middle of calf, flexed: 14.5"

August 25
1" below shoulders: 41.0
Upper arms, flexed: 11 1/8"
Waist: 28.5" (drat)
Hips: 37"
Upper thigh, flexed: 21.5"
Middle of calf, flexed: 14.5"

May 25.
1" below shoulders: 41.5
Upper arms, flexed: 11.5"
Waist: 28.5" (eek)
Hips: 37"
Upper thigh, flexed: 21.5"
Middle of calf, flexed: 15.5"

Posted by dichroic at 12:05 PM | Comments (0)

December 13, 2005

Boat Parade pics

Here are the pictures from the Boat Parade. And Rudder corrects me: we've (actually he's) won the human-powered division all 5 times.

Barge Fully Decorated
Posted by dichroic at 05:41 PM | Comments (2)

November 14, 2005

marathon roundup

I am being brave and trying prepackaged cafeteria sushi. It's cooked stuff (krab) but still, if I don't show up to write tomorrow, you may all blame the sushi.

Slightly later: Bleah. No better than you'd expected cafeteria sushi to be, but with the added bonus of Extreme Wasabi. I have a reasonably high wasabi tolerance, but this stuff was painful, so much so that I actually wiped some of it back off my sushi. (With my finger, which I hope won't be a problem eight hours and several handwashings from now when I remove my contact lenses.)

So, the marathon report. It was a very good weekend, possibly not quite as much fun as last year when we had both an extra day and She-Hulk with us, but very good nonetheless. We had several things go wrong and several right; the former were (ultimately) fixable and the latter pleasant.

First, when I checked into security, they confiscated my rower's wrench. This thing is about six inches long, 1/8" thick aluminum, with an open wrench at one end and hex-shaped holes in it to act as wrenches in other sizes, and is about as innocuous as a small piece of metal can be. Apparently there's a "no tools" rule, though, so security had to take it just in case I figured out how to commit mayhem with it. (Tweak someone's nose, maybe?) Meanwhile, apparently bringing on sharp metal knitting needles is not a problem. The next issue was minor, but annoying. When Rudder and I got on the plane, I realized that I'd forgotten that on last weekend's trip I'd finished out the skein of yarn on the cabled scarf I'm knitting, and hadn't brought any more. Fortunatley, I'd brought the Telecon socks as a backup project, so I did have something to knit on the flight and the drive, but the scarf is intended for a present and so has a deadline, and it was disappointing to miss out on all that knitting time. At least now I know what to do in this weekend's flight to Philly.

We got to the airport in Houston just as the Old Salt and family were getting ready to leave their son Stevie Mo's place to come get us, so didn't have too long to wait (cell phones make complicated trips so much easier). They picked us up, then we went to get his girlfriend, who lives in the Rice Village, which is pretty much the coolest part of Houston. (She's a grad student and bartends at our former favorite pub there, even.) The drive to Louisiana was fairly uneventful. Once we got there, we went straight to the race start, to unload and rig our boats. This is an extremely well-organized event; one aspect of this is that the race organizers, Northwestern State University, have students camping there overnight to make sure the boats are OK. While unloading, I was standing on the van's driver seat, and went I went to get down I slipped, hurtnig my hand as I grabbed the van on the way down. It left swelling and bruising on the fleshy pad below my right thumb, a it worrying with 26 miles to row the next day. When we began to rig, we ran into the next snag, the most serious problem of the trip: in the fuss of packing, the Old Salt had somehow managed to leave the foot stretchers for his double back home. The foot stretchers are the shoes and the assembly that braces them and connects them to the boat, and it is not possible to row without them, because rowing shells have sliding seats, and the feet are the fixed point. We were terrified that after three days of driving, the Old Salt and Dr. Bosun wouldn't be able to race.

We took a two-pronged approach, after much discussion and throwing ourselves on the mercy of the locals and anyone who'd brought a trailer. The Mobile Monet, Dr. Bosun, Stevie Mo and his GF went to a hardware store, where they bought various chunks of wood, tools, nuts, bolts, washers, and anything else they could think of to construct some sort of substitute foot stretcher from scratch, while the Old Salt went with one of the local crew's students to their boathouse to see whether they could find anything to borrow that might fit. During all the talking, Rudder and I had finished rigging our singles, so we rode with the Old Salt and the students. We were in the back of the pickup and it was glorious: rolling through a rural Lousiana sunset on a warm November evening. All we needed were a couple of beers to make it perfection, though of course on the day before a marathon, we wouldn't have been able to drink them on the day if we'd had them. The college crew didn't have any spare doubles that weren't racing, but someone at the boathouse had the brilliant idea of borrowing the stretchers from the bow seats of a couple of their more beat-up old eights, because the boats are narrowest at the bow ends. The students couldn't have been more helpful, and as a result of the Old Salt's appreaciation there will now be a coupole of Arizona Outlaw hats sported in Northern Louisiana. After drilling out the attachment holes to make them into slots and a little work from the fancy new Leatherman tool Stevie Mo had fortuitously brought along, we were able to get the footstretchers to fit well enough to work for the race, a huge relief for everyone.

The next issue was that the PortaJohns didn't show up when they were supposed to before the race. When you're about to spend 3-5 hours in a boat, believe me, you want to empty out a bit first. Thhe truck finally showed up, naturally, right after Dr. Bosun and I had given up and found a couple of bushes.

The race itself was painful, of course, but no more than expected. I tried to pay attention so I'd remember the whole experience, but I mostly remember it in flashes. There are some gorgeous houses along Cane River Lake. The weather was much better than last year, so there were a lot of people sitting out on their porches to watch the race go by; since I was in a single this year it was reassuring to think there were people around in case I'd had any problems. Since I was rowing harder than last year, no pee breaks were required, which of course helped my time a lot. The high point of the race for me was when a men's four from my old club in Texas went by. I yelled "Go, BARC!" and they hollered back over. Their bow rower was in a men's eight that I coxed and Rudder bowed for a few years, so we know him well. As they went by me, he called to his crew, "Let's give Dichroic a hip hip hurrah. Hip, Hip!" The other rowers responded, "Hurrah!" "Hip, Hip!" "Hurrah!" "Hip, Hip!" "Hurrah!"

There were some gusty headwinds that made it impossible for me to maintain the splits I wanted the whole time, though otherwise I wasn't too far off. As the Old Salt said, the most frustrating thing was that just as you'd come around a turn that should have changed the wind into a tailwind, it would die down.
My back and butt hurt afterward, and though I was able to slide out of the boat, I needed help standing. The worst injury was my hands. I think it was because I did a higher percentage of my training on the erg than on the water this year that they weren't as tought as they should have been; there were not only the expected blisters, but also heat and tenderness in the rest of my hand, in areas that don't even touch the oar all that much. Fortunately, the bruise form the day before didn't cause any problems. I put my gloves on at ten km into the race, took them off at 20, put them back on at 30km and kept them on from there out; the gloves themselves cuased a few extra blisters in odd spots, but rowing with them didn't hurt nearly as much as rowing without them. Even so, I rowed the final ten km trying to figure out how to row without touching the oars with my hands. I'd get a hold in a position that was just tolerable, then have to readjust to minimize the pain again after every stop. Final tally: sore butt, sore lower back, sore elbows, hip joints that felt inflamed (better by that evening), about 5 blisters per hand, and glowing red, sensitive palms. Not too bad for five hours in a boat.

I didn't quite make my goal of finishing under 5 hours, and I think the hands were the reason. I had more power in my legs, but just couldn't apply it to the oars. Still, I finished in 5:02, which is pretty close, and it's a full forty minutes faster than in the double last year. Rudder didn't quite break the course record, and the double finished in 4:17 and change, More importantly, Rudder, the Old Salt and Dr. Bosun, and I all won our races! That's four Arizona Outlaws, four gold medals!

Granted, that's because I was the only one in my race, but I'll take it - and after rowing a whole marathon in a single, I feel I earned that medal no matter who was or wasn't there. Plus. I came in ahead of quite a few other boats, not only the eights who started way after me but also some singles who should have started around when I did, so I'm waiting eagerly until results are up to see all the other times.

After the medals ceremony, Rudder and I went to our hotel room to shower and lay down and recover. Having taken the whole course at a much higher speed, he was feeling worse than I was despite having been off the course for two hours longer. After an hour or so, I decided to go for a walk to stratch out. Almost as soon as I left the hotel, I ran into the Old Salt and Dr. Bosun, and walked around with them for a while. We made sure to see the Natchitoches Walk of Fame, then headed home to meet everyone else for dinner. We met a couple of rowers from Los Gatos (a club in San Diego) for dinner at a pub down the street, and enjoyed conversation and beer over po'boys and etouffee. This is a pub the locals hang out at, not just for tourists. The row of them out front as we entered and left made sure we knew it, too. "We like tourists. We hear they taste like chicken!" I answered, "Reassuring that you only know from hearsay!"

The ride back to Houston was OK, and I did manage to finish my second sock (Despite not having the ends woven in, I'm wearing them now, in fact.) Though we got to the airport unreasonably earlyl again, somehow the wait there wasn't quite as excruciating as it was last year, and the flight home wasn't too bad. Fortunately the seats in the van, at the airport and on the plane were cushy enough not to abuse our still-sore butts. I'm enough better by now to be sitting on my usual Swiss Ball/office chair; the joints are all fine, the palms are better, the back is only a little stiff, and the blisters have deflated.

And did I mention I won a medal??

Posted by dichroic at 02:33 PM | Comments (7)

November 10, 2005


I didn't realize anything was going on when I noticed I'd gained back a pound or so after thinking I'd lost a couple (and by the way, how do people report such precise weight gains and losses? My body can lose two pounds overnight, and there's also a noticeable monthly cycle - any weight I ever mention is no more than a rough average). I'd normally be on the heavy end of my cycle now anyway. Then this morning, even thoughI'd erged about 6km, I caught myself bounding up the stairs instead of plodding. You know what this means? This means glycogen stores! This means the taper I've been gdoing is working well and I'm storing energy for the day after tomorrow's marathon.

I'm sad that She-Hulk isn't able to go this year. She's prioritizing wisely, babying a back injury so it will heal completely and dealing with family issues, but last year was such a blast that I hate to see anything change, and of course Rudder and I both enjoy her company. I told her yesterday that I'll dedicate a thousand meters in there to her. Maybe I'll make it toward the end of the marathon, so I can make it a fast(er) thousand without having to worry about burning myself out. It probably won't be quite as much fun as last year, anyway, because last year we took an extra day to sightsee in the area, whereas this year we're just going for the race. Still, I'm looking forward both to the marathon itself and to the company on the trip there and back. The weather is predicted to cooperate, and there will be big Gulf shrimp to reward me at dinner after the race. I'm excited!

And I get two weeks off training after this. I'm excited about that too. Then the Philly trip will include getting to reprise JournalCon with a few of my favorite people from there, dinner with an old friend and a chance to see the progress on restoring his hundred-year-old house, getting to see another couple of friends' new house and to meet the new wife of their son (who I babysat as a pre-schooler, and of course a chance to catch up with family and hopefully to rest. I'm still working on a couple of other fun possibilities in the area, too *cough*Baltimore*cough*.

Posted by dichroic at 10:11 AM | Comments (2)

November 09, 2005

I wost my special widdle boddle, wah

Not that I usually mind a trip to REI, but twice in one week is a little excessive. I went on Monday, bought a dry bag so I can take my cell phone along on the marathon in case of emergencies and a whole slew of other stuff because, well, it's REI and I'm like that. Then I got home and realized I couldn't find my water bottle anywhere. My best guess is that it got overlooked in a pile of stuff on Sunday in Newport.

*pout*. Not that we don't have shitloads of water bottles around the house, but this was my special bottle. My special blue bottle, highly customized. Basically, it's a flexible Nalgene bottle with its top cut off and a mountain-bike top put on instead, in a holster originally designed for another brand of bottle. (I gave up on the original bottle in that holster, after it came open unexpectedly a couple of times.)

It holds more water than a standard bottle, which is important both for normal summer practices and for this weekend's marathon, but isn't as fat as a regular 32-oz bottle. This is important because I have small hands and because when our hands are full carrying a boat, rowers tend to shove our water bottles into the back of our spandex shorts for hands-free carrying. I really don't want a bottle that's so big my shorts will fall down, or one that pulls them out so far my whole butt is on display. The mountain bike lid allows me to drink with one hand, which is important while managing two oars in a tippy boat, and the flip top keeps sand out of the mouthpiece if I drop it on the boach. The holster protects the bottle from punctures, makes it easier to see and grab, provides a belt clip in case I need to hook it on to something, and probably feels better when shoved down shorts as described above.

Or to put it briefly, I am NOT happy about losing this bottle. I was able to buy a new soft bottle at REI today, plus another bottle with a mountain-bike lid I can use on it (Rudder just had a mtn-bike bottle fail aftrer years of use, so the extra bottle won't go to waste. Unfortunately, though, they didn't have the holster. At least it's still available on the website.

What I may do for the marathon, anyway, instead of taking the two separate bottles I'd need, is just to throw in a Camelbak instead. One container, 100 oz, and the tube should make it easy enough to drink from while racing. We are not shy on hydration-related gear in our house.

Fluids in the bottle will consist of diluted Gatorade: not too sweet, but it seems to work better for me than plain water. I will also bring 2-3 Luna bars, energy gel (Gu or similar) and possible Clif Blocks, which are sort of like solidified Gu. Tasty, huh? No worries, though: between the big Creole shrimp with heads on that seem to be common in Natchitoches, and the gumbop they'll serve us after the regatta, I'll make up for it.

Posted by dichroic at 01:30 PM | Comments (0)

November 08, 2005

getting ready to row really far

I had better not be coming down with a cold. Germs can have their way with me on or after November 26, but they are not allowed to have any effect before.

I'm optimistically choosing to believe that I woke up with sinuses fuller than usual and swollen tonsils because of the change from coast back to desert weather, or a pressure change or something. My tonsils and sinuses do often react that way, so it's more likely than not true.

After work today I'll be meeting the Old Salt, his wife the Mobile Monet (she paints in the car on long trips, as well as while stationary on an easel), and Dr. Bosun to load up our boats. (Rudder will get there late, because he's got a telecon with Japan.) They'll be driving out to Houston; we'll fly there on Friday, meet them and their son who lives there plus his girlfriend, then all ride together the rest of the way to Natchitoches. The Old Salt and Dr. Bosun will be rowing a double in the marathon, while Rudder and I wil be in singles.

A lot of Rudder's and my rowing gear will be going with them, so I don't have to carry it on the plane. I've been making a list to make sure everything I need makes it into either in their van or my suitcase; it worries me a bit that I'm up to 21 items and I haven't even gotten to clothes to wear while not racing, just stuff I need during or just before the race. However, it's not as bad as that sounds. Some items are small, like band-aids and first-aid tape; some are things that hold other things, like the bottles to hold water and Gatorade or the dry bag to hold my phone for emergencies; some are things I may or may not wear depending on the temperature or will take off right before I get in the boat.

We all have goals for our race. Ironically enough, Rudder's and mine are similar; we both hope to beat our time in our respective mixed doubles boats last year. Of course, the specifics are a little different: he and She-Hulk set a course record in their category, while the Old Salt and I were slower than everyone except a few of the canoes and kayaks. Actually, I'm hoping to break 5 hours, and I think I have a good shot at it, but failing that I'd be happy enough to beat last year's 5:42. The Old Salt and Dr. Bosun have been doing a lot more training than he and I did last year, and they're hoping to break 4 hours. It's what the corporate types call a "stretch goal" for them, as is Rudder's, but they should be doable. I cheated a little; my own goal only requires an average split of 3:30, including breaks. I hope to row at a split of 3:00 or not much slower, so as long as I don't take as many breaks as we did last year, I'll be good.

Also, an artifact of yesterday's drive home, coupled with an NPR story on short poetry and something I'd been thinking about a while back:

Or, The View From My Office Parking Lot

It's always a perfect sky, he said,
It's always a perfect sky.

Where the earth has been ravaged
Where Nature is savaged

Wildflowers plowed under
And trees torn asunder

The land has been paved,
And no beauty is saved,

Look up! to a still-perfect sky.

Posted by dichroic at 12:42 PM | Comments (0)

November 07, 2005

three down, two (or three?) to go

Well. Three down and either two or three to go. JournalCon was great, as squee'd about here, and even the only part I was a little nervous about, the solo drive to and from San Diego, was enjoyable. (How characteristic is it that I was nervous about two 6 hour solo drives and maybe a touch about finding my way through San Diego, but not much at all about spending a weekend in a hotel partying with near-strangers? Of course, once you've read someone's diary for a few years, they're not really strangers at all.) Last weekend's regatta went better than expected, since dock traffic was light enough that working as Dockmaster didn't tire me out for my race and I missed winning my race only because of another woman's age handicap. This weekend's races weren't quite as good, but I got to practice survival in adversity and Rudder got to win some spousal brownie points.

The weather was perfect for both days' races. At Marina del Rey, the race course actually is through a huge marina, and it's not possible to see more than a tiny bit of the end of the race. Instead of sitting around all day, I asked the race's Dockmaster if he could use a spare pair of hands. That was my big mistake.

He was glad to have the help; launch for that race is from a couple of cconnecting docks. The biggest one is not generally used for rowing, because there's a big supporting post and railing sticking up from the end of it. Normally in launching a racing shell you get in, then use your hands to push yourself down the dock, starting to row only once the oars are clear. On this dock, the railing would be in the way. Maybe this will help:

Direction of motion would be toward the top of the diagram. Anyway, for races they do have to use this dowck, so someone needs to be on it to push boats out and away from the dock so their oars don't get stuck on the way out, and to help pull them in, reaching out if necessary to help pull them in around the pier. It doesn't feel like hard work while you're doing it, but apparently it wears me out far worse than even racing does. It probably didn't help that I didn't drink any water while doing it. I was fine while working and even during the post-race breakfast, but got progressively tireder as we drove to our hotel and unloaded, then more or less collapsed and slept for a while. (I'm not a napper, and usually when I do there's something wrong.) By the time I woke up, I was feeling generally lousy. I tried to eat and drink some of the food we had with us, but it didn't help much. At that point, too, I was driving myself frantic with worrying about all the things ahead: the race, the next much longer race, the week-long stay at my parents. (Not that they're horrible to be with, and I'm looking forward to both the holiday dinner and to seeing friends, including a mini-JournalCon reunion. But a stay in a one-bathroom house is anxiety-provoking when you have IBS and one of the residents of the house has colitis.) I think for me that kind of squirrel-brain worrying that goes around and around and feeds on itself is a symptom and also a contributor to illness or exhaustion. I finally had to tell myself to slow down and stop thinking about it, that of all the things coming up I only had to deal with one at a time.

Rudder likes to eat a lot of protein before race days, so we picked a restaurant and I scraped myself off the bed and out into the car. By the time we got there I still wasn't feeling great. We elected to sit outside since the restaurant was on the beach, but asked to be by a heater because we're from Arizona. Unfortunately the heater smelled of gas and I think that was the last straw. Nothing on the menu sounded good. We discussed our options; I tried to tough it out and just have a salad, but as Rudder and the waitress were discussing the merits of twice-baked potatoes, I felt worse and worse. I asked Rudder to ake me home after all, which he did with no complaint or argument. (That was the point at which he won serious husband points.)

Right after we got back to our hotel, someone from one of our local rowing clubs called to tell us they were going out to dinner, in case we wanted to join them. Rudder decided to go, and I had some pasta with a little olive oil and garlic from the Italian place next to the hotel. I was still feeling off in the morning and was considering scratching my race entry. But I had some motivation to race: I needed to get in a little rowing, preferably at an intense pace but ont too much volume (distance) as part of my taper for next week. Also, I'd ordered a new two-piece uni for the marathon. The maker had messed up the order, but had the fixed version ready to give me at this race. So this would be the perfect time to try it out before wearing it for 26.2 miles next week.

By race time, I did feel a little better so I went out. I began feeling better as I rowed out to the start, a row just a bit less than the race distance. I had no trouble staying at the pace I expect to use next week for the marathon during this warmup. I wouldn't say I was rowing at my hardest race pressure. On the other hand, even at the top of my form I wouldn't have been able to beat the other woman in my race, so it wouldn't have made a difference. Also, I beat my time from the last time I'd rowed this race by over two minutes. Looking at the time of other racers makes it clear that conditions were better and faster overall yeesterday, but not enough to account for that much difference. So while I don't feel great about this race or this weekend, I do feel pretty good. I survived exhaustion and managed to race the next day. Rudder dealt well with me falling apart. I got to test my equipment for next week, I didn't acquire any new blisters, and even while feeling a bit off I had no issues rowing nearly a quarter of next week's distance, half of it near race pressure and all of it at or above marathon pace.

Three things down. Now I have the marathon, the family visit, and possibly a short race in LA a couple of weeks afterward. I can do those.

Posted by dichroic at 02:52 PM | Comments (0)

November 02, 2005

More rowing and some politics

Drat. I hate when blisters rip off. Actually, this was more of a fossil blister - no fluid inside any more, just an unconnected layer of skin - so the skin under it is healed. But now the remaining flap will harden and want to rip back and back until it hits the part where it's still attached. I'm going to try and see what Neosporin (or equivalent) and a band-aid can do to prevent that.

We're definitely going to Philadelphia Thanksgiving week - I've emailed the dates to some of the people I hope to see there. If you're in the area and I didn't email you, please assume that I'm having a premature moment of senility or that I had an old address for you, not that I don't care to see you, and let me know if you're available.

I've just put my rowing / boat-packing / traveling schedule for this month on my white board, and it's scary. From now to November 25, there is no span greater than 3 days during which I'm not packing or unpacking boats, traveling, or racing (some of the last week of that is traveling around to see friends while we're on the East Coast).

I have one more rowing story from last Saturday's head race thatI'd forgotten to tell, until just now when I included it in an email to a friend. At the regatta, they had Yosemite Sam announcing. (For the first few years of regattas here, he used to be Dockmaster. There was a lot more screaming than when I do it.) The sound system this year was very good, and he could easily be heard from the launching area and even from on the water. It was unfortunate when he claimed that competitive rowing goes back 300 years (more like 2000), but I could have lived with that - after all, maybe he just meant in the (future) US. That would have been OK, but then I got to hear him announcing my race as I came into the finish. Few things are more dispiriting than coming into the last 1000 meters of a 5K race and hearing, "And here's Rudder's wife...."


He also told the crowd, "You know, Dichroic's only about 5'1" and 110 pounds, so she's real proof you don't have to be big to row."

Frankly, I could happily deal with having my height and weight announced to the whole freaking crowd (even though he got both wrong), if he'd only started by introducing me with my *name*. I'd have even been fine with it if he'd said, "Here's Dichroic .... you saw her husband Rudder in the last race with the same boat, oar, and uni design..."

GRRRR AGAIN. (I have mentioned this to the race organizers.)

I've been watching the mourning for Rosa Parks with interest. I have mixed feelings about her lying in state in the Capitol. I'm glad that she's been given the deserved honor, but I'm appalled that she's the first woman to receive that honor. (That was unclear, sorry. She is worthy of the honor, but I think it sucks that apparently no other woman has been deemed worthy of such respect.) I think it's an odd decision, considering that until now the Capitol has been so used only for Presidents and high-level political figures, but if this is the start of a new policy in which people who have had a great force for good in this country are paid an attention usually only bestowed by politicos to those in their own game, then that's a good thing. The worst thing about it, though, is that this honor implies that there's no controversy around Rosa Parks, that she is a bloodless icon, the relic of an earlier period in history on which we can now shut the book. Nope, sorry. I'm glad Miss Rosa lived long enough to see how things have changed, but she surely also had a front-seat view on what is left to do. You don't get to pay honor to a legendary fighter unless you're part of continuing her fight, not shoving it into the attic and pretending it's yesterday's history.

Posted by dichroic at 03:34 PM | Comments (4)

October 30, 2005

I sort of won!

I would say that yesterday's race went swimmingly, but I don't want to give the wrong impression. It went well. I was Dockmaster for the first three hours or so, bullying people in and off the dock to make sure there were no collisions or other problems, then went offshift to rest up before my race. (Last times I was dockmaster was for a local juniors race. Lots of the coxes were novices, I had to help most of them on and off the dock and I was exhausted by the end.) This time the coaches helped out more and there were just fewer entries, so I wasn't too tired. My race was one of the last ones, starting at 11:30. It was a bit hotter than I'd have liked by then, enough so that passing under the bridges was a welcome relief from the sun and so that by the last thousand meters or so I was getting that flushed-face not-unpleasant leaving-my-stomach-behind feeling I do get when working hard in the heat. Still, I was pleased that I was able to keep my speed up and my exertion level reasonably constant. Whenever I was tempted to slack off, instead I'd up my stroke rate while pulling less hard, so that my splits didn't drop.

I did slack off in the last ten strokes or so, for heavage-avoidance purposes, and did in fact have a few small dry heaves just after the end of the race. That's a good place for them. I think it was more about running nose and post-nasal drip than any upset stomach, but it reassures me that I paced myself well and rowed as hard as I was capable of over that distance.

And here's the exciting part: in raw time, I WON!!!!! That is, I finished the race in less time than either of the two women I was racing against. Unfortunately, I didn't win technically: it was a Masters race, with age handicapping. I beat one woman by about 8 seconds, but she is ten years older and had a 40 second handicap on me, so she won the gold medal. (#^%$@ cheapskate regatta only gives medals for first place, no silver or bronze.) The other woman is in her fifties and has about a minute and a half handicap, but I beat her by plenty of time so officially, I came in second. Still: whoo-hoo!!

On the news level of dog-bites-man, Rudder won both of his races, both the Open and Masters singles, so two more medals for his collection. He's one of the fastest rowers on our lake, and his times even beat most of the fours and eights.

Next week's races in Newport and Marina del Rey should give him more challenge. I'll be acing in Newport and am a bit reassured after yesterday; that is, I expected to have my ass handed to me, but I'm reassured that I'll only lose, not lose embarasssingly. Head races aren't too embarassing anyway; rowers start one at a time and race agasint the clock, so only the final times show who won.

Posted by dichroic at 05:39 PM | Comments (2)

October 26, 2005


You know that lancing a blister is the right decision when you stick a needle in (low on the side, as recommended) and the fluid inside squirts out. Ow. (For those of you who might be new here, welcome to the world of rowing.) No idea why I got such an ugly blister this morning; granted I was doing intervals, which are harder on the hands, but I didn't get anything like this either during the last two weeks' interval pieces or the half-marathon I did Saturday before last. It's worrying me a bit, since I plan to row tomorrow and race this Saturday.

JournalCon was, for me, the kickoff to the usual hectic fall. Next weekend is the local Hothead Regatta in which I'll be racing a single and acting as dockmistress. The weekend after is the back-to-back regattas in Marina del Rey and Newport. Rudder will be racing in both, but I'm a weenie and will only race in Newport. The weekend after that (are you keeping track here?) is the Marathon Rowing Championships in Natchitoches, LA, which I'll do in a single this year.

After that I'll take off not quite two weeks, then plunge into my fourth or fifth Concept II Holiday Challenge, which entails doing 200,000 meters on the rowing machine from Thanksgiving Day to Christmas Eve. This year it will actually be easy, compared to the mileage I've been doing during the marathon training. It varies every year, according to the number of days between the two holidays, but this year that comes out to 6,666 (!) meters per day. I've been doing 10 or 12 (or 15 or 21) km five days a week, so even if we go to Philadelphia for Thanksgiving (still under consideration) and maybe somewhere else for Christmas (we have lots of use-it-or-lose-it vacation), the distance should be no problem.

Posted by dichroic at 12:11 PM | Comments (0)

October 15, 2005

some more attempted muscle pics

Pics below the cut tag of me attempting to show off my muscles and also that stuff obscuring them. If you're thinking the definition doesn't look that impressive, well, it doesn't. I'm pretty pleased with the size and firmness of my arms, though.

Can't decide which of these is better - but I like the way my hair came out in the outdoor photo!
Please ignore the face - no one has ever called me "photogenic".

And a bonus picture of Rudder:

My stats: 5'2", 128lbs, 28% bf according to the Tanita (note: both times I've been immersion-weighed, years apart and at different facilities, it's shown a bodyfat percentage 6-7 points below the Tanita). This weight is after rowing a half-marathon this morning, but also after eating and hydrating post-row.

Posted by dichroic at 02:06 PM | Comments (2)

October 11, 2005

getting easier

Odd. Despite going out with Rudder to drown my sorrows last night (translation: burgers and one beer apiece, yes, we're lame) this morning's training piece went well. Fifteen kilometers and reasonable times on a weekday morning and I didn't even feel awful coming in to work. I'm feeling reasonably confident about the upcoming marathon except for my hands and forearms. I've done most of my training on the erg and the main difference between the erg and the boat is that on the erg, you just pull the handle straight in and let it go straight out, whereas in a boat you have to feather the blades, that is tuen them so they're parallel to the water so they don't catch on the recovery. (This is what the sheep was telling Alice to do in the rowboat scene in Through the Looking Glass. "Catching a crab" when when your oar gets stuck in the water when you didn't mean it to, or gets sucked downward because the blade wasn't quite vertical, and can result in a flip.) I intend to spend the next month correcting this with more water taime. I'll row tomorrow and Friday and do a half-marathon on the water Saturday. I won't be able to row as much the next week because of JournalCon but I'll race locally the week after that and possibly in Newport the weekend after as well.

I hate to say this, but I'm getting to the point where erging is almost fun. My body feels strong and capable while I'm moving up and down the slide, and able to go on for hours. The movies have helped as well: Hidalgo, about a horserace across the Sahara in the 1880s; Without Limits, about Steve Prefontaine, the runner; xXx, with Vin Diesel (or his stuntman?) doing outrageous stunts. This morning was Daredevil, which is a little too conflicted to be an ideal erg movie, but not too bad. We have Catwoman next, then I think I need to go to the video store if I have any more long erg pieces. I may not, since I need to move those to the water and since next week really begins my taper.

Hopefully I'lll only have two more flying sessions, one with my instructor and one more checkride, and then I can concentrate fully on the rowing. That will make things easier.

Posted by dichroic at 03:09 PM | Comments (0)

October 03, 2005

because when a blogger does something embarassing, she tells everyone about it

This morning I did my first duathlon: rowing and swimming, the latter involuntarily. (Technically, I had "fallen" in once before, but that time I did it in the middle of summer, in broad daylight, specifically to practice getting back into the boat.) It comes to all rowers eventually, usually much earlier in their rowing career - often in their first time or two in a single scull. After fifteen years of rowing during which I always managed to keep the dry side up, today I flipped. Actually, the boat didn't, but I did; in my first thousand meters this morning, I hit a buoy hard (not even a new one but one that's been there as long as the lake has) with my rigger, couldn't hang on to my oars, and went over. The boat stayed right side up, which was a very good thing since I had my flip-flops with me and carrying the boat up barefoot would have been painful.

I had to swim the boat away from the buoy before getting back in or I'd have been trapped. Looked at from overhead a single looks like a plus sign with a short and crooked crosspiece that points in the direction the boat is going. Rowers face backward (which is wy I bumped into the buoy); the boat in the overhead view in the bottom right of this picture would be heading to the left. I had to move the boat and oars far enough from the buoy that I wouldn't just slam back into it. I was able to get in without too much trouble, thanks to that one practice session. My shoes and water bottle stayed in the boat. My seat came off its tracks and went into the water; it floated and I managed to retrieve it without falling in again, but I lost my seat pad and one of my lights. I can get a new light easily enough at a local cycle shop, but the seat pad is rowing specific and the company has gone out of business, so that may be tricky to replace. I carry the boat on top of my head and use the seat to pad my head, so I really need it.

It may be October, and dark now at 5:15 AM, but it's still Phoenix. It was 70 or so this morning, and the water felt warmer than the air, so the ducking was only an inconvenience. (It gets down to freezing here in December at dawn, so falling in two months from now would be far more unpleasant.) After rowing to shore to empty out all the water that had somehow gotten into my boat, I went out for another lap. I'd have liked to do a bit more distance and I had some time, but I came in after that lap because I was getting a little uncomfortable - wet, some of me warm from rowing, some cold. Being warmer after carrying the boat back uphill to the boatyard, I stretched and waited a while for Rudder (having told him I'd fallen in when he rowed past) but finally gave up on him and went to the gym to shower.

Some time standing under hot water followed by coffee when I got to work helped. I'm all right and my boat has only a slight scrape. I've always known this was coming some day and have tried never to be cocky when others have fallen in. (Rudder has, several times, like most people who row singles.) Still, it's the end of an era, and of a fifteen year record.

Posted by dichroic at 01:55 PM | Comments (1)

September 28, 2005


Actual progress - a teeny bit, at least. Numbers behind cut. I thought about posting a picture again but it's too dark to take pictures without a flash (not good, when you're taking it in a mirror) and I can't really see much change, anyhow.

1" below shoulders: 41.0
Upper arms, flexed: 11.0"
Waist: 28" (minor progress, but I'll take it)
Hips: 37"
Upper thigh, flexed: 21.0"
Middle of calf, flexed: 14.5"

August 25
1" below shoulders: 41.0
Upper arms, flexed: 11 1/8"
Waist: 28.5" (drat)
Hips: 37"
Upper thigh, flexed: 21.5"
Middle of calf, flexed: 14.5"

May 25.
1" below shoulders: 41.5
Upper arms, flexed: 11.5"
Waist: 28.5" (eek)
Hips: 37"
Upper thigh, flexed: 21.5"
Middle of calf, flexed: 15.5"

Posted by dichroic at 07:29 PM | Comments (0)

September 24, 2005

marathon survived

Marathon completed, in 4 hours 13 minutes. That's 7 minutes faster than last year: part of that is because last year, with the erg marathon in our garage, we blew a circuit breaker (we had lights, two TVs, a VCR, and two fans going) and I had to go flip it; partly maybe because this year it was air-conditioned, since we were able to have it at Rudder's work in their big break room; and maybe I'd prepared a little better.

We had seven participants today, plus another two who couldn't make it today but did their marathons earlier in the week. The funny thing is that when I logged it at Concept II, they wouldn't let me post my time in the Rankings section without emailing them first to get a special code, because it was in the top three times logged in my age/weight category (30-39, lightweight) and so they wanted to verify it. This of course is not because I'm fast, but because oly one other person in my category has logged a marathon time at all this year. (For the record, her time was an hour faster than mine.)

Posted by dichroic at 04:15 PM | Comments (2)

August 29, 2005

workout entry

Monday, 8/22: 15,000m on the erg: 5k at marathon pace, 5k at 10km pace, 5k at half-marathon pace.
Tuesday, 8/23: Supposed to fly, ended up with ground lesson due to crosswind.
Wednesday, 8/24: 10,800m on the water. 1K warmup, 2x 2K at 5K pace, 3K at marathon pace (well, almost 3K, the last time around). No blisters, yay.
Thursday, 8/25: 9000m on the erg: 3k at marathon pace, 3k at 10km pace, 3k at half-marathon pace. Good speed - the half-marathon 3K was faster than the 10K pace one either on Monday or last week.
Friday, 8/26: 12,000m on the erg. 1.5K warmup, 3x 1.5K at 5K pace, 2K at marathon pace.

Saturday: Half marathon, 21097 meters. Third weekend in a row. FOUR minutes faster than the two previous half-marathons, due to both increased speed and NO rest breaks! (I have no intention of doing the marathon either on the water or on the erg without rest stops, but it's still good to increase the time I can go without stopping.

Total 67.9 km for the week.

This morning: 9000m on the erg: 3k at marathon pace, 3k at 10km pace, 3k at half-marathon pace. The bottle of wine we consumed last night really didn't help the workout, but at least I did finish it, at not too bad a pace.

This week is the end of this cycle, so I'm only scheduled to do 50km - there's a light week at the end of each cycle. I will probably only manage 30-40 km, because we're flying (as pilots) to Oregon on Friday, returning Monday, weather permitting.

Posted by dichroic at 01:30 PM | Comments (0)

August 24, 2005

more training stuff

So far so good on the training. The tricky part now will be to keep going when life interferes without either getting to anal about making a set of arbitrary distances or letting things slide too badly. We're flying to Oregon Labor Day weekend (mostly me doing the flying, because I need the hours more than Rudder does), then there will be a bunch more flying as I finish off the rating in mid-September, then there will probably be a trip to LA for a pair of regattas in late October. I may be racing in one, in a double with She-Hulk. I wasn't this worried about distances in my training last year, but then I was starting out with a much better base. I had been doing some racing and was only just starting the flying lessons. I think I did a reasonable job maintaining my fitness, since I'm on my third week of this and the long pieces aren't feeling too bad, but I'm still slower than I was last year.

I would really like finishing the marathon in less time than we took in the double last year, though not taking 6 pee breaks will definitely help. It would also be nice to finish the erg marathon Rudder has set up at the end of September in less time than last year, but I have less hope of that.

This is all leaving much less time for my knitting, on which if I'm lucky I do one row a day, and for reading, though I've just ordered a new batch from Amazon courtesy of a nice little R&R bonus I received at work yesterday. I do read some of course - I can give up knitting or most other hobbies with no risk to my sanity or even my mood, but that's not true of reading. I think if I gave up all forms of exercise I would get crabby and a little jittery, but wouldn't feel damaged, as I would if books were off limits. At any rate, I'm finding the Pooh books much funnier than I remembered, with little asides and one-liners that generations of adults reading to their children must have stored up for use at work or to friends the next day.

Posted by dichroic at 01:01 PM | Comments (0)

August 23, 2005

biometric data

What seems to be happening is that the tide of fat is receding from my extremities toward my midsection. Which isn't surprising; my gut is always the first place to store it and the last to lose it. Only problem is, I didn't think I actually had much fat on my calves or upper arms. Either I was wrong or possibly some of this is muscle loss. The body-fat measuring scale remains mum: it hasn't registered any noticeable changes in rane of weight or fat, either way.

Edited to add: I checked with a couple trainers in the gym this morning, when I went there to shower after rowing; they seemed to agree that it was more likely a case of fat loss (and fat does tend to use a LIFO - last-in-first-out - queue) than muscle loss. They did say I still ought to be doing some weights, because trainers never understand about jobs and other timesucks, but conceded that rowing is at least resistance training.

I put the numbers behind the cut tag to spare those who don't care. I think I'll try to do this every month or so.

Current data
1" below shoulders: 41.0
Upper arms, flexed: 11 1/8"
Waist: 28.5" (drat)
Hips: 37"
Upper thigh, flexed: 21.5"
Middle of calf, flexed: 14.5"

Previous data, May 25.
1" below shoulders: 41.5
Upper arms, flexed: 11.5"
Waist: 28.5" (eek)
Hips: 37"
Upper thigh, flexed: 21.5"
Middle of calf, flexed: 15.5"

Posted by dichroic at 08:36 PM | Comments (1)

workout entry

So far, I'm doing OK at combining rowing and IFR training. It's a great life, if you don't weaken.

Monday, 8/15: 9000m on erg: 3K at marathon pace, 3k at 10km pace, 3k at half-marathon pace
Tuesday, 8/16: 7750m on erg: 1K warmup, 2x alternate 1.5K at 5km pace, 2K at marathon pace (was supposed to be 3 sets, but I ran out of time).
Wednesday, 8/17: 11,250m on the water - 4K at marathon pace, 4K at 5km pace, rest at half-marathon pace. Then Wednesday evening, 1200 on the erg to warm up and lifted (a few) weights.
Thursday, 8/18: flew
Friday, 8/19: 8,000 on the erg - 1k warmup, 2x 1.5k at 5km pace, 2K at marathon pace
Saturday, 8/20: Half-marathon. 21097 meters in 120:12. That's about 40 sec faster than the pervious week, but I only stopped twice as opposed to three times the week before. So better on endurance but the actual speed was probably slower.

Monday, 8/22: 15,000 on the erg, and then even survived work. 5k at marathon pace, 5k at 10km pace, 5k at half-marathon pace.
Tuesday, 8/23: Supposed to fly, ended up with ground lesson due to crosswind.

I think I'm set to finish the IFR somewhere around late-mid September, weather, health, skills, and aircraft mechanics permitting.

Posted by dichroic at 02:47 PM | Comments (0)

August 20, 2005


After erging a half marathon this morning I stretched, showered, logged my meters at Concept II and went to the store, with no rest periods in between any of that. And then I was able (if barely) to lift our largest cooler, containing five bags of ice and two sixpacks of beer (other people are bringing the rest of the beer) out of the bed of my truck, and to get it into the house.

I guess all this exericse crap actually is paying off. Off to eat lunch now - time to replace some of those 1084 calories I burned on the erg.

Posted by dichroic at 01:36 PM | Comments (1)

August 19, 2005

"Pooh.... WHy that's Me!"

The worst thing about watching cartoons in the morning is being earwormed with their themes for the rest of the day.

I'm doing pretty well with my training otherwise, though. If - no, when - I do my half-marathon tomorrow, I'll have 59 km (PLUS a quickie weight workout!) for the week. The training schedule calls for 60, so I'm pretty much on track. It's periodized: I build up to 65km next week, then down to 40 or so for a "rest" week, then build up again for three weeks, down for one, etc.

I haven't decided whether to join in on Rudder's annual erg marathon at the end of September. I'll definitely participate, but I could opt to do a half-marathon. I did the full marathon last year. It hurt. In fact, it hurt much more than the actual water marathon in November. Of course, I also finished an hour faster.

Tomorrow I get to go fly, then erg, then get ready for a party. Or I could erg Sunday, but then I have to erg again the very next day. On balance, I'd rather be tired during the party. (It's all Rudder's work people, anyway.)

Posted by dichroic at 01:29 PM | Comments (0)

August 17, 2005

swamp rowing

I went rowing this morning on actual water, more or less. The conditions were beautiful: enough breeze to dry my sweat without ruffling the water, cool enough that I was thinking about my rowing instead of how much I hate overheating. The sky was still dark that I could see stars as I carried my oars down, with the Hunter bringing the first harbinger of Fall.

There was only one problem. If you had seen me, your first thought would probably have been, "How is she rowing on sod?" I mean, really, it's bad when you can hear your boat cutting through the vegetation; at one point I thought I could just get out and walk back to the beach.

It's probably best illustrated by a photo I took of Rudder last Friday:
(More photos here.)

I saw something this morning I'd never seen before: one guy was out in a single, sinking, but slowly, so his boat was under all the vegetation and his body was above. It looked as if he were sitting on the grass. I never did get the whole story about that, but someone in a safety launch was coaching him and got him out before he'd even gotten entirely wet.
Other than that it was a good row, and I even got in more distance than I'd thought I would. 28K for the week so far, and if all goes well, I should just about double that this week. Another half-marathon Saturday, oh joy. The last one took most of the weekend to recover from. This one I can either do Saturday late morning after flying and then have to be lively enough for the get-together we're hosting for RUdder's coworkers that night, or do it Sunday morning after the get-together and hope I'm coherent enough for work Monday. All things considered, including Monday's erg piece, it's probably better to do it Saturday and have Sunday to recover.

Posted by dichroic at 02:37 PM | Comments (1)

August 15, 2005

workout entry

Because I really should start doing this again. Don't worry, I've been working out 3-4 times per week all along; I'm not going into these kinds of distances cold. I just haven't been recording them here.

Monday, 8/8: 9000m on erg: 3000 at marathon pace, 3000 at 10km pace, 3000 at half-marathon pace
Tuesday, 8/9: 11000 on erg: 1km warmup, 2x 2000 at 5km pace, 3000 at marathon pace
Wednesday, 8/10: 1500 on erg to warm up, including 1x20 at low rate high resistance, then weights.
Thursday, 8/11: flew
Friday, 8/12: 6000m in the single, then met Okie in launch to photograph duckeweed on the lake.
Saturday, 8/13: half-marathon on the erg.
Monday, 8/15: 9000m on erg: 3000 at marathon pace, 3000 at 10km pace, 3000 at half-marathon pace

Posted by dichroic at 01:51 PM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2005

to train to

Cross posted to Gymrats on LJ - I don't there there's much crossover in readership.

As I close in on finishing my IFR, I've begun to train harder again. We'll see how it goes, but last Monday I began training for the Marathon Rowng Championships in November (despite the name, anyone can enter). I did it last year, but had a better aerobic base by now. Still, I completed a half-marathon this morning on the erg (rowing machine) so I ought to be all right. (One coach I know claims the erg is 20% more effeort than a boat). I'll just be shooting to finish, not going for speed. Right now I'm building a lot of my distance on the erg; it lets me sleep longer (as opposed to driving to the lake, getting my boat out, carrying it down, rowing, carrying it back up, washing it, putting it away, and driving to home or work, whereas I have an erg int he spare bedroom) and it's still pretty hot here. As we get closer to the race, I'll shift more and more to the boat, to work on form over that long a time and to toughen up my hands and seat.

When you're on a machine for that long, two hours in my case, what you watch is important. I can do short pieces watching the news, or 10K pieces watching watever catoons Disney and Nick have on at 5AM. For this longer piece, we had borrowed a copy of the documentary From the Earth to the Moon, and it was perfect. (Caveat: I'm a space geek, of course, but I think it would be good for anyone with an interest in space exploration.) Parts 1 & 2 took me through all but the last 1500 of my 21097 meter piece. The whole thing is 10 hours so it will last for a lot of erg sessions.

So far, we've found that action is good, anything where you have to concentrate is bad, anything very quiet is hard to hear, and comedies aren't great because it's hard to push it while you're laughing. Things that have short exciting or inspiring sections are great because they get you to ramp it up, or you can tell yourself that you won't take a water break until a given space mission makes it back safe, or whatever. Music documentaries can work, if they're about heavy metal so you have music clips for those power 10s. Action movies that aren't too serious, like Lethal Weapon, can work well. The Harry Potter books on audio worked well for me too. Anyone got any other good movies or audiobooks to suggest for training?

Posted by dichroic at 11:47 AM | Comments (1)

August 12, 2005

doubled reflections

Mechaieh prompts, "things that capture reflections... other than mirrors and eyes". That seems appropriate: I spent part of this morning at a photoshoot (I was photographer, not model). Our lake is now 15-20% covered in duckweed. It's reputedly nontoxic and reputedly harmless to fish, water birds, and the single beaver who live there, but it's annoying to row through. It adds resistance. Worse is the emotional trauma: pity a poor rower pulling her little rowing heart out, only to find that her distance is declining and her split times are going up due to foliage wrapped around the StrokeCoach impeller. Yes, of course I'm exaggerating - but it is annoying not to know accurately how fast you're going compared to other practices.

So this morning, Rudder and I arranged to meet the lake coordinator at sunrise, so that he and I could take a launch out and photograph the layer of green on top of our water and Rudder carving a path through it, in the sunrise light. I had to be careful to include some uncovered water in all shots, so it didn't look like I was just photographing sod. Still, annoying as the duckweed is, it's a pleasant way to spend a morning, riding around on a lake taking pictures of the water, the lake surroundings and sky, and of Rudder with his flag-designed boat, oars and uni lit up by the dawn. Photographing water: double reflections there.

I did row a lap first, which puts me up to about 37 km for the week. I'm supposed to erg 18km soetime this weekend, and may, if feeling either particularly gung-ho or especially fatalistic, turn that into a half marathon instead. Once you've rowed 18 km, you might as well row 21. My weight hasn't gone down, but I think I'm jiggling a little less, and a new mail-ordered pair of pants that were a little tight in the waist a couple of weeks ago were comfortable Wednesday. (Which might also be due to not washing them between wearings. They're in the laundry pile now, so I'll see.)

Posted by dichroic at 04:16 PM | Comments (0)

August 08, 2005


Since my last regular post here, I have erged a total of 14km, rowed 10km, and passed the IFR written test. Not bad for one weekend. I've also done an unhealthy amount of cramming pretest, begun rereading The Once and Future King (I need to go see if I have a copy of the standalone version of The Sword in the Stone though, because I like it much better than the abbreviated version in TOaFK), knitted a little more of the rowing-rearview-mirror-cozy Rudder requested, helped Rudder a little on the first 1/4 of the installation of our new reverse osmosis system (it's being obnoxious and he's regetting buying it instead of just changing the filters on the old one, even though the old one was having other problems) and had breakfast Saturday with the Old Salt.

He made my day at that breakfast - made my weekend in fact, and possibly my entire month, because almost the first thing he said was, "My God, you're buff! What have you been doing, lifting weights?" So that was nice, especially because he's blunt enough that you know he means what he says, complimentary or not.

I guess I've officially begun training for the November marathon. Last week I put in 30km for the week, for the first time in ages (most weeks last year I did 30-40km), or timesliced another way I've done 39km in the last 7 days. Rudder found a training plan online that has you building up to 80-110 km per week, and today I did my first workout from that. It's been a long time since I've done a real planned workout piece, not just a "go out and row/erg". I can't say I enjoyed the way I felt when I got to my desk this morning, and tomorrow's piece is worse. The thing is, it's a 26-week program, but because we've been rowing all along and because of when the regatta is, we're starting at week 13. Rudder has himself and She-Hulk doing his own plan based on the peridicity of this one, the 100 km version, but with weights added and other fiendish changes, because he's a little twisted that way. I'm on the 80km version, because I haven't been training as hard and because I only want to finish the marathon, not set a record. It's a lot more distance than I've been doing, but only about one more workout per week (I'll mostly drop the weightlifting, as I did last fall) so it shouldn't been too much strain on my body. As he says, I may not adhere to it strictly, but at least it's a framework. Hopefully I can get my IFR finished within the next month, and then I'll have more time for training and more money for everything eles. Or more likely, for saving.

Posted by dichroic at 01:31 PM | Comments (1)

July 28, 2005

world masters write-up

I just don't feel like posting a blow-by-blow account of the World Masters Games, so I won't. I think Rudder will do that on the Outlaw website (so far, he's got the saga of the trip there) and he's got results up there already, as well, so if you want the full history, go there. I'll just write up some of the high- and lowlights I remember, instead. There are more high points than low ones, but there's one big downer I want to vent about first.

The worst part of the regatta, for me, was that pit crews don't get no respect. I spent five days working my butt off (literally - my pants are a little looser this morning) fetching oars and collecting shoes, watching races and running back to bring shoes and take oars to get the boats off the water more quickly and make things easier for the racers, but when you're not the one racing, nobody talks or listens to you much. It's largely unavoidable; after an all-out race, of course everyone wants to talk over what they did, didn't do, and should have done, what they should do next time, and so on, and for decisions like where to go for dinner, the athletes' needs need to take priority. Still, I had this little fantasy where Rudder and co. would buy one of the medals they had for sale in the merchandise tent (flashy things, not like the real medals for winning races) and present it to me for being the Best Pit Crew Ever. They didn't, of course. I don't think it all has to be about me, and I certainly don't mind catering to other people for a while; it's just that five days of it get to be more than a bit wearing. I tried to make it clear that there was a problem back when it was still soon enough to do something about it, but I wasn't able to be clear enough (because having other people say they appreciate you after you've told them to isn't quite the same) and Rudder was braindead enough (due to not enough food or sleep) that it didn't help, and the two days where I just gave up and didn't talk much didn't make much impact. We talked the matter out yesterday, and I think he understands how serious the issue was for me. I confess, though, because I'm not a nice person, that I provided him a gratuitous object lesson in which .... it's difficult to avoid TMI, but in general terms I walked away at a time I'd normally have snuggled in and didn't let him provide retributary services, so he'd be the one feeling abandoned and devalued for once. (It actually says a lot for him, I suppose, that I even think that sort of thing would bother him. Some men would think of it as a bonus.)

One of the best things about the race was that the city of Edmonton (and the suburb Leduc, where the regatta was) did an incredible job of recruitment and publicity for the World Masters Games. They had plenty of volunteers everywhere, and everywhere we went, people were incredibly nice to us (I think some of that is national character, as well).

The biggest respect in which we screwed up was in not taking more time, to sightsee and to see other sports. We did see a little of Edmonton's downtown and also some of the West Edmonton Mall, which contains an amusement park, petting zoo, and water park and is second in size only to the Mall of America. Unfortunately I got deathly ill as soon as we walked in, I think partly from the noise, lights and number of people and partly from having waited too long and then eater too much and too fast earlier) and spent much of the time we were there trying to stay in range of a bathroom. (At least I wasn't queasy; the IBS is so much better than it was in my late teens and early twenties.) The others didn't want to just leave, because it was a bit of a drive to the hotel and because we were supposed to meet some people for dinner. Fortunately I felt a little better once we got into the restaurant where it was quieter and where there was a clean bathroom with no waiting line. Unfortunately, that all meant I didn't get to see the waterpark (Rudder and She-Hulk did take a quick run over) or buy the Canadian versions of the Harry Potter books I'd wanted.

The weather was lovely and cool, though unpredictable. Races in the afternoon of Day 2 had to be canceled due to too much wind. On Day 3 we all froze, but then a bunch of us got into the building they were using as Regatta Central and piled like puppies on a sofa, which was nicely warm in terms of both heat and cameraderie. On Day 4 they had to postpone the races for a while when a storm blew in, but it blew through quickly - meanwhile we lowered our canopy and all scrunched under it to stay dry, inviting in everyone else in range. It felt a lot like being a kid with a tent consisting of a blanket over the dining room table - fun.

The people at Telford Lake clearly had no experience in planning or holding a regatta; the venue is new, and is planned to be the site for many large events in future. Now they've worked the bugs out, those future events should all go well. It's a very nice venue. The first day, there were enough organizational issues that the regatta ran until about 6:30 instead of 2 as planned, with the unfortunate result that by the time we got to the Opening Ceremonies, we saw only about the last half hour. Rudder's pictures of the event came out brilliantly, though (I'll post some later). Things ran a bit more smoothly each day, and by about Day 3 they were running the races four minutes apart with almost no hitches. Each race takes about 4 minutes, and this is much closer than usual so they sometimes had two races on the course at once, which is nearly unheard of. There were something like 1300 participants, and the races couldn't run late both because of people's airfare and because the canoeing and kayaking events are on the same course, starting today, so the tight schedule was necessary to get everything in. It was made more complex when they have to make up races due to the weather stoppages, so some later races skipped semifinals and had just a couple winners of the heats go straight to finals, but everyone did get to race.

One planning issue was the food. For one thing, apparently no one realized how much rowers eat, and there were some issues with supplies and power as well. The grill shut down after about 15 minutes the first day, and they ran out of food on other days as well. Again, they learned over the course of the regatta, and an additional food truck was brought in the last few days. Another issue was the type of food: hamburgers are not an ideal food to eat before racing, They ought to have had bananas, and protein bars, nuts, peanut butter, nongreasy sandwiches, bagels, and so on. Also, since Rudder and She-Hulk had all those travel issues, they only got in late Thursday night, an hour or so before I did, so had no time to shop for food. Between that and all the schedule changes, everyone had a hard time getting enough to eat. The races ended so late each night that several times we couldn't get to dinner before 8:30 or 9 at night, which is a problem when you have to race early the next day. This got a little better once we'd gotten some fruit and sandwich materials. With all the physical activity - even I, who wasn't racing, was walking and running enough to be dead tired and sore each day - we still needed big dinners, and I'd gotten in at 1AM the first night and the others not much earlier so it took a while to catch up on the sleep and food deficits. Again, I think the locals learned enough over the course of this event that their next one should be smooth as silk. I just wish we hadn't been the guinea pigs. Still, there were things that were spectacularly well done - the number of volunteers, as I've mentioned; the number of athletes they'd gotten from all over the world; the shuttle service and the extreme niceness of the drivers; the signs all over the city that made us feel very welcome. I imagine that other sports, whose organizers had more experience, went a lot more smoothly, and the whole thing should be a huge and well-deserved boon to the local economy: no need to spend thousands, as with the Olympics, many more athletes (though there must be fewer spectators) and those athletes older and mostly better-heeled than most Olympians.

The best part of the whole thing was getting to socialize with rowers from all over. We cemented existing ties with the San Diego Rowing Club, hung out and rowed with people from Samammish RC in Redmond, shared shelter with Canadians and Kiwis, met Brits and Russians and Germans. Also, we got to spend some quality time with people from our own area; our local four-time Olympian (she competed for Bulgaria) usually only rows a single, but this time she rowed a double and a quad with She-Hulk and though in the past she's seemed to be expecting others to take care of her, this time she really went out of her way to pull her weight even off the water, setting up tents and chairs, making breakfast for She-Hulk when the latter was racing and she wasn't, and even doing a load of laundry we all contributed to. When was the last time an Olympian washed your socks? She also brough along her 14-year-old son; we'd known him for as least the last five years or so, but this was the first time we really spent much time talking to him (he hadn't come to "away" regattas with us) and we enjoyed his company greatly. Four other men showed up, two for a double early on (made semifinals, didn't make finals, promptly left) and two for several events on the last couple of days, so we got to talk to them and their wives. (And in one case, an adorable three-year-old, who learned about the whole concept of having your foot fall asleep after I sat him on my shoulders to watch his daddy race. Oops. I think he's used to a broader platform, seeing as this is his daddy.)

Another really nice thing about the trip was that the regatta was so absorbing - I was tired running to help all our racers! - that I totally haven't thought about work for almost a week. And now I only have two days to the weekend, and a nice, cool trip to San Diego to pick up our boats. She-Hulk and one of the other women we row with keep telling us we need to make this a nice romantic weekend. I keep pointing out that I'm going with Rudder, who isn't exactly the Master of Romance. His comment was that at least it could be a relaxing weekend, but I pointed out that he's not much better at that. He answered, "I think I can do that after this regatta!" But he'll have two days rest, so I doubt it. Still, it will be a nice drive together with time to talk (car rides are good for that) and lovely coolth on the beaches, and there's still stuff in San Diego we haven't seen. We might even get to go sailing, if we're lucky.

Posted by dichroic at 03:44 PM | Comments (1)

July 01, 2005

a JHC maneuver

Awright, time for a little clarification here.

First, I have lived in this body for thirty-eight years. I know it well. I know what it can do, what it doesn't want to do, and what it should be. I'm moderately fond of it, but there's no denying that it does have some annoying flaws. (IBS and a natural lack of endurance are two examples.) And I know how it can and should look, and how it should perform. Unless you have seen me naked and had extensive discussions about my athletic performance, you don't. I am not the fittest person you know, just possibly the one who talks most about training. It's not the same thing.

Possibly I was misleading when I used the word "overweight". What I meant to say is that I weigh a lot for me. Some of that is good because it's muscle from weightlifting. Some of it is not good, because it comes from not doing enough cardio.I would like to remove the latter weight but not the former; I could happily weigh ten pounds more if it were all functional weight.

Further, I have seen my body change since l I deemphazized training to work on my flying. Not only am I more jiggly, but a year ago I could sit down on any given day and erg a half-marathon. Last year I rowed a full marathon. I don't think I could do either of those right now. Also, I know women who are much fitter who weigh twenty or even fifty pounds more. However, I am not only 5'2" but also small-boned, so as LA commented, a little bit of weight makes a big difference on me. Also, I have a fairly rectangular shape: no defined waist, relatively small bust and hips. Women with an hourglass shape can put weight on and just exaggerate the hourglass effect, but When I put weight on it goes straight to the gut, which is just not an attractive look.

I am trying to get back to where I was last fall, more or less; I'm not trying hard, because training is still not a priority, but I am trying to work out a little harder when I do work out, not to eat when I'm not hungry, and to go easy on the soda and fried foods. I don't think those steps qualify as "obsessive". I may sound obsessive when I write here, but that's mostly because this is the place where I talk about myself and I often work things out for myself as I talk or write. Believe me, I do not go around thinking, "OMG I'm hyoooge!" But I do really hate when clothes that fit well last year are tight.

Second: yes, I am being judgemental. I try not to judge individuals, but I do still judge people in the aggregate. I would prefer more people not to be fat because there are some associated health risks; I want people I like not to have health risks so they'll be around longer and I want everyone else not to send up insurance rates. For similar reasons I'm not thrilled when my friends smoke. Several of them do; I don't bother them about it because they have a perfect right to make their own decisions, but I don't have to be happy about it.

Now, I'm not assuming fat people are stupider or lazier or less sexy or of less worth as human beings. However, what they do have in common is that they weigh more. Ignore for a moment the studies that say that weighing more contributes to heart disease, diabetes, cancer and all that. People argue with all of those, and it's true that weighing too little can also strain some body systems. As an engineer and an athlete (more or less) I tend to look at things from a functional viewpoint. If I'm fat, I have more weight to haul around. That's OK if it's tissue that helps do the hauling (i.e. muscle) but not otherwise. More weight per muscle amount means more to haul over distance when you're walking or runing or cycling or rowing, and it means a lot more impact on land. Force on joints is mass times acceleration. Further, it's an impact force, so the time in question is very small - F = m * dv/dt. dv is the change in velocity - when I walk, my leg goes from whatever speed it's moving at to zero in a fraction of a section, so it's a noticeable change in velocity divided by a very small change in time. It's a lot of force on leg and feet joints, is what I'm saying. Also, if you're fat, you are bigger. There's more tissue to keep oxygenated, so your heart and lungs have to do more work for the same level of activity. Therefore, fat people are likely not to be able to do as much stuff, or to have the stuff they do take a bigger toll of their body. This is why I tend to think it's a bad thing that so many people are fat in the US.

On the other hand, some fat is needed to provide energy to keep the body running and to provide a little padding on the sharp edges. A little reserve seems to help the immunity system, as well - when my weight was too low (the summer I was a camp counselor, some parts of college) I got sick a lot more. This is why overcompensating with strenuous diet or excessive exercise is also bad.

Finally, that 77% weight percentile I mentioned yesterday is by age and height, so it takes by the droopiness of age and my height into account. If it weren't by height, I would expect to have an even lower percentile just because I'm short. If I thought most other American women worked out, I could figure that many of the ones who are heavier are just more muscular. In fact, it's almost certainly true that some of them are in this category, but from general observations, probably not most.

In my specific case, extra weight gained has to be hauled along in a race. It slows me down. Also, I have flat feet and weak knees, so I don't want to increase the imapct on them. I don't plan ever to be a runner, but I have a lot of sightseeing left to do, and walking is a good way to do it. I want my clothes to continue to fit so I don't have to spend lots of money on new ones. I need to retain enough fat to supply energy for long or strenuous workouts and so I get sick less often. I need to be able to work out a lot both for the feeling that I can do anything I want, physically - lift heavy things ro go on for long distances or run fast when I want to - and also because it seems to help a lot with the IBS. I know my operating parameters, is what I'm saying.

Posted by dichroic at 11:22 AM | Comments (0)

May 26, 2005


I omitted one pertinent piece of information from the previous entry: if I stand really, really straight, I am 5'2" and a half. If I were 6 feet tall and built proportionately, I would be very happy with that 28" waist measurement; as it is, not so much.

Posted by dichroic at 11:35 AM | Comments (0)

May 25, 2005

benchmark data

For training reference.

Don't look; not a pretty sight.

1" below shoulders: 41.5
Upper arms, flexed: 11.5"
Waist: 28.5" (eek)
Hips: 37"
Upper thigh, flexed: 21.5"
Middle of calf, flexed: 15.5"
I seem to be reasonably symmetric, so have't listed both arms and legs separately.

Obviously, the pictures are with everything sucked in and flexed. (Well, maybe not obvious to look at, but how else would you take a photo in a bathing suit?)

Posted by dichroic at 09:05 PM | Comments (0)

of yarn and food

You know what my town needs? A local yarn store, that's what. Not that there aren't several in the metro area, but the nearest is half an hour or more away. I want one in Tempe or Chandler, that I can stop at on the way home from work. (The one of the three on this side of town that I like least isn't entirely unreasonable for an after-work stop, but... well it's the one I like least. So why bother?)

I've been meaning to write that for the last week or so I've been trying to log what I eat and my exercise on Fitday. I was curious how many calories I consume. It isn't terribly accurate, because I have to estimate quantities and guess food equivalents, so I'm always trying to picture whether what I've just eaten would fit into an 8-oz measuring cup, and I entered today's work-cafeteria Mexican Lasagna as enchiladas. I ate about half of a 4" square and decided arbitrarily it was equivalaent to two enchiladas. That plus the Coke I had with it sent today's calories way up, but giving it my best guess as to portions, apparently most days I eat around 1400-1600 calories. According to Fitday, I burn about 1900 cal just from basal matabolic rate and normal activities, and lots more on days I work out. I've been told that calculator isn't terribly accurate though, and given that my weight is staying constant, it must not be. So the reports aren't extremely helpful, but watching the food has been interesting. I would have guessed that I eat 1800 or more calories; I'm suprised how low the actual number is, though of course I coule be underestimating quantities or forgetting foods. What I've learned is if I'm ever worried about making weight for a lightweight race, I need to skip the cafeteria Mexican food and avoid soda (which I should do anyway, for bone-density reasons). I think I've dropped a pound or two, and would like to get rid of a bit more fat - Rudder's away tonight, so if I get to fooling with the camera I may post a photo I can use for a benchmark. (I seem to have a lot more time in the evenings when he's not home.)

Posted by dichroic at 03:24 PM | Comments (1)

May 23, 2005

the regatta that wasn't

No, we didn't win.

That would be because seven hours into the 12-hour drive to Sacramento, we got a call that the regatta was canceled.

...more detail soon...

Posted by dichroic at 12:14 PM | Comments (1)

May 19, 2005

Mom's workouts

Ick. They're predicting highs of 112 here by Sunday, ourfirst really hot days for the year. Good weekend to get out of town.

I was talking to my mom the other day about her exercise program. She's not really erging any more, but that's OK because the reason is that she's taking some exerciseclasses in things like Jazzercise and Pilates. My mom is (or was) one of the most unathletic people I know. Her balance and flexibility aren't great - I mean, for working-out purposes; they're fine for daily living. Until recently I'd never seen her get any exercise other than walking (she shares her brother's ability to sightsee all day without getting exhausted) and the not-incidental amount you necessarily get in raising two kids. But she's been going faithfully to the gym for the last couple of years now. I'm impressed.

I give the credit to the gym, mostly. (Well, to her of course, for doing the hard work, but to the gym for providing an environment where she's comfortable and welcome.) It's a JYC, and that J is important to her. She's becoming even more active in her synagogue than she used to be, and is learning more about Judaism, so a Jewish community center feels like a homey place to her. Also, she's one of those who is motivated mostly by making connectins to other people, so a place where she can walk in and everyone knows her is perfect for her, and so is working out in a group class.

I love seeing older women being or becoming active and athletic. They're my future. Especially in this specific case: I've always figured that anything Mom can do, I can. And of course I'm liking the results the gym and synagogue classes have been having: they've made both her mind and body stronger and more active and alert. She feels better and is more interesting to talk to.

Posted by dichroic at 12:23 PM | Comments (0)

May 18, 2005

small victory

I'm grinning like a fool this morning. I don't suppose the story will have quite the same impact after all the necessary explanation, but bear with me anyhow.

Saturday is one of our biggest races. Before a big race, you do a taper for a week or two (or a month, if you train at Olympian levels) in order to build up energy for the race. Current recommendations are to decrease volume and maintain intensity, meaning you row hard but not as far. There's a particular workout Rudder has devised, in which you do three sets of one minute on, one minute off, rest five minutes after doing all three, then repeat. The catch is, you use those three sets to simulate the beginning, middle, and end of a 1000m race piece, so for the first set, you do a racing start, for the second you just row at race pace, and for the third you finish with a sprint. For a usual practice he does this about three times; for tapering twice. It's a fun workout. This morning, he and his doubles partner were doing this one and had also roped in another male double, a male pair (one oar each instead of two as in the doubles), and a female double.

The female double was two former collegiate rowers: one a couple years older than I am, one a decade and a half younger, both very strong and much larger than I am (though not all of that "larger" is muscle, not by a long shot). I'd been talking about doing this race with the younger of the two, but told her my feelings wouldn't be hurt if she fund someone faster, since I'm not training hard, and she did.

I should have known they'd be doing that particular workout because it is the last practice before a race; I figured it out just because they were doing such short race pieces. They were a little behind me on the lake after their first three sets, had rested, and were coming up behind me ready to do it again. There was enough separation to not have them run over me, so I started a 300m race piece (my second of the morning) as they started their first set. I kept all four boats behind me, and noticed that the pair and the female double hadn't picked up much distance on me. I paddled lightly to recover, and let them come up on me.

I started level with the other boats or just a little behind and took it up to full power as they did. The two male doubles pulled way ahead, as expected, but the pair didn't gain too much, and I stayed right with the female double. (I wasn't sure exactly what variation of the workout they were doing, and how long they were going for, so I took the power down a little before they did and let them get ahead then). But I stayed with them.

That's not really supposed to happen - two of them, one of me, both much bigger. Or in other words:

Nyeah, nyeah, nyeah, nyeah nyeah nyeah............

But the one of them who was steering kept looking over at me. I hope she noticed the big grin.

Incidentally, the grin was supplemented a little later when I was stretching out at the gym and noticed a shirt that read, "Motorcycles: helping ugly people have sex since 1901."

Posted by dichroic at 01:43 PM | Comments (1)

May 17, 2005

getting ready

No barking last night, thank goodness - either someone else filed a complaint of the dog's owners dealt with it on their own.

My week has begun an accelerating spiral toward the weekend. I need to pack today or tomorrow. We get out of work early and leave for Sacramento Thursday evening - we'll go as far as Frasier Park, north of LA, that night and then finish the drive on Friday morning. We'll go see Rudder's grandparents that night, the race is all day Saturday (it gets longer every year), then we'll drive the whole way back on Sunday. Then I have a full week of work followed by another long weekend for Memorial Day - I suspect that one will be devoted largely to lounging and laundry.

I am planning on competing, but only in the 300-meter dash they hold at the end of the day every year. This year there are so many races that won't happen until 8PM, so I may skip i if I'm too exhausted or if they want to pack up the boat I'm borrowing by then. She-Hulk is out of the race too, because she's had some back issues and is trying to be careful and get ready for World Masters Games in July, but she's doing a lot of organizing for this race (a lot more than she planned, actually, as the city person organizing has been dumping on her without exactly asking first, and some of the people he's coordinating tend to want their widdle hands held and their races spoon-fed to them. (I expect that from juniors, but grownups ought to take charge of their own damn races.) Anyway, at least it makes her feel involved, so she doesn't seem to mind too much.

Posted by dichroic at 11:48 AM | Comments (0)

April 14, 2005

internal debates

About JournalCon, it occurs to me to wonder: how good a time to normal people have there? Most of the accounts I've read of it have been from people like Weetabix, people who get hundreds of hits and pages of comments each day. Is it as much fun for those of us without a huge following? I'm picturing myself walking around the Westin in San Diego wearing a big DICHROIC badge and trying to look cool, as people pass me, their eyes sliding off to the badge to my face and then off into the remote distance while they school their expressions to "Nobody home here," and walk on. Kind of like a bad day in junior high school. $169 a night is a bit much to pay for that. (Of course, if people I know end up going, things might be different. Not saying I need to be babysat or that I mind hanging out with strangers, it's just weird knowing no one when everyone else is greeting old friends.)

I think I may need to change my workout. I've been doing a hypertrophy (muslce-bulking) workout on the advice of the rowing coach we've been working with: sets of 5, 5, and 3 with the heaviest weights I can lift on the rowing specific exercises: lat pulldown, low row, dead lift, seated leg press, as well as 2x20 on some other stuff for balance. Problem is, it's sort of working. Between less aerobic exercise and doing the heavy short sets, I'm becoming a heavy short person. It's not all muscle, but it's not all flab, either. I'm sitting here in a fitted (fortunately stretch) button-down shirt that's clinging to my arms from shoulder to forearm like a desperate toddler around her mother's knees. I've had this shirt forever, and the arms were always snug, but this is annoying. I have similar issues with the legs of my jeans. Worse, if I gain much more weight I wouldn't be able to row as a lightweight, which is not so much a problem for competing even if I were racing (not all events even have lightweight categories) but which would require some serious mental adjustment. (Let's just say it's to where a doctor looking only at my BMI and not at my body would tell me to lose a few pounds.)

On the one hand, there is an actual reason to do the hypertrophy workout "due to the positive relationship between muscle size and muscle strength" (from the UCSD webpage). On the other hand, any unnecessary muscle I gain is something extra to drag around in the boat, and of course flab is totally useless. I may race in the Gold Rush regatta at the end of May: not sure yet. Otherwise I probably won't compete until at least fall, which makes this my off-season, a logical time to build strength. I think what I may do is hold the hypertrophy stuff to not more than once a week, do sets of 2 or 3x10 on the rowing-specific stuff as well as the other exercises if I make it to the gym more than once a week, and maybe try to get in a little more aerobic work, without taking the exercising to the point where it stresses me out. (Since I'm still working on the IFR and sm just switching to another flying school.) This week I've been good: I erged Monday, lifted hypertrophy Tuesday, rowed yesterday, and lifted again today. I'll also row a bit on Saturday as we're doing a video/critique session then.

For purposes of reference, today's workout was:
Warmup: erg 1km
Squats on Smith machine: 3x10, with the last set at 90lbs.
Assisted pull-up: 2x10, with the last set at an assist of 30 lbs.
Assisted dips: 2x10, with an assist of 60 lbs.
Seated leg press: 2x10 at 175 lbs
Calf raise: 2x10 on leg press machine, 275 lbs
Leg Abductor: 2x10 at 120 lbs
Leg Adductor: 2x10 at 100 lbs
Bench Pull: 3x10 ending at 75 lbs
Vertical Press (Bench Press on a machine): 2x10 ending at 60 lbs
Assorted abs and back, on a ball

Posted by dichroic at 02:05 PM | Comments (2)

April 13, 2005


Somebody tell me why I row again? Actually, the problem isn't so much rowing as that I haven't been rowing and then not only went out this morning but did two thousand-meter race pieces. Well, sort-of race pieces. Not quite half-assed but maybe three-quarter-assed or at least enough to leave my ass and other assorted parts feeling it. There are blisters on my fingers, it's taking me several minutes to stand up, I'm walking like an old lady, and my lungs are announcing their presence instead of placidly inflating and deflating without fuss, as they normally do. You know about the lungs if you're an athlete or were one, or if you weren't but remember gym class vividly. This is where the lungs get annoyed at being forced to work hard and, apparently, cover themselves in a productive layer of gunk which I will now be coughing up all morning. When it gets really bad you can't take a deep breath without coughing and you then have exercise-induced asthma, whose only redeeming value is that it's not as scary as real asthma. It seems to get worse the shorter and more intense the piece you do is: I once pulled 500 meters in 1:58 and was coughing for two days.

The sad thing is that the faster of my two pieces was only 5:00.2. Not only is that not a time to beat other people, but even I can do considerably faster when I'm in training. I think I was hoping that getting a bit more rest these days would somehow magically make me faster when I got back in a boat.

Posted by dichroic at 11:18 AM | Comments (0)

April 07, 2005

crew classic photos

Here are some pictures I've been meaning to put up. First, the dog-puke felted bag - slightly blurry but you get the gist:

Next, some from last weekend. Here's how you put a boat in the water (this is the local women's crew:

Here's how you get in (the men's crew):

Here's the finish flag, looking down the race course:

Here's Rudder's crew finishing their race, just after the race, and then on shore after recovering:

Here's a future rower, playing in the sand while waiting for his dad's boat to come back:

And here's what my truck looked like when we got home. All the rain this spring made for an EXTREMELY buggy drive. Unfortunately the windshield was very nearly as bad, despite cleaning it off every time we stopped for gas.

Posted by dichroic at 08:43 PM | Comments (1)

March 22, 2005

workout entry

First: if you missed it yesterday, go read about the contest we're having. (Also, go see the pics of knitting I finished on our trip.)

I've been awful about logging workouts here - I haven't done it all this year, though I have logged them on paper. So below is the pitiful record of my workouts for all of 2005.

At the regatta Sunday, we got to talk a bit to the coach we'd worked with at her Masters rowing camp in January. She recommended that Rudder and She-Hulk deprioritize aerobic work for the next couple of months and work on heavy lifting, with sets of 3-5 reps and trying to work to failure. When I asked her about a maintenance workout schedule for me while I'm on semi-retirement, she said the same thing would work. I partly took her advice this morning and did sets of 5,5, and 3 reps on the rowing-specific exercses (lat pulldown, low row, leg press, dead lift) while still doing 2 sets of 10 on my other exercise. Since her camp, instead just waiting a minute between my sets, I've been cycling around the gym doing one set at a time then moving on, to let each muscle rest at least 3-4 minutes while I work on something else. That still worked fairly well with the mixed shorter and longer sets today.

My mind has been feeling better and less stressed with the semi-retirement thing, but my body is getting noticeably flabbier and I don't think it's a coincidence that my hip joint issue started in January, and then after getting better for working with the chiropractor, has been a little worse this last week when I was sick and not working out or stretching. Maybe I can keep a balance if I try to keep to 4 workouts a week, using the erg instead of rowing on weekdays because I get to sleep an hour later.

Another issue is that if I do 3 weight sessions and 1 rowing or erging as the coach recommended, and I'm lifting for hypertrophy, I'm likely to gain a couple of pounds, which if I don't drop the couple extra of flab I'm carrying would push my weight to never-before-seen levels. (Like, 130.) That would take a bit of mental adjustment, but as long as my clothing still fits I guess I can live with it and if I see the flab diminishing I'll even be happy.

One more note: I only write down what weights I've lifted occasionally, if I haven't been fr a bit or I've just increased a weight. If I don't list something, that didn't mean I didn't do it. The usual core lifting workout is lat pulldown, low row, shoulder or bench press, leg press, calf raise, hip abductor and adductor, plus erging for warmup and stretches and crunches afterward. (I should do the crunches first, but I tend to forget.) Sometimes I'll add something or change it around to work the same muscles in a different way.

Tu 1/4: Erged 5006 meters in 28:04.
We 1/5: Erged 1541 in 8:49 to warm up, lifted weights.
Su 1/9: Did a max watts piece. Wmax= 332, did a total of 1189m in 6:19.

We 1/12: Erged 6102 in 35:49, average excluding cooldown 2:54
Sat 1/15- Mon 1/17: Rowing camp, total approx 7000erg, 18000m on the water.
We 1/19: Erged 1400 including 2x10 to warm up, lifted weights.

Sa 1/22: Lake reopened. A week or so later it closed again. 5K on the water.
Tu 1/25: Erged 7009 in 40:39.
We: Weights. Warmup erged 1458 in 8:11.

Su 1/30: Erged 6008 in 34:07.
Mo 1/31: Erged 1517 in 8:07 to warm up, lifted weights.
Tu 2/1: Erged 5015 in 28:11.

Sa 2/5: Approx 8800 on the water.
Tu 2/8: Erged 7013 in 39:40.
We 2/9: Warmup: 1012 in 5:37. Weights: low row 70, leg press 155, biceps/triceps 17.5.
Fr 2/11: Erged 5010 in 29:36.

Mo 2/14: Erged 6010 in 34:55.
Tu 2/15: Erged 1011 in 5:43 to warm up, lifted weights.
Fr 2/18: Erged 2012 in 10:46 to warm up, lifted weights.

Mo 2/21: Erged 7010 in 41:09.
We 2/22: Erged 7011 in 42:02.
Fr 2/25: Erged 1009 in 5:28 to warm up, lifted weights.

Mo 2/28: Warmup: 1048 in 5:49. Weights: squat 90, inclined leg press 140, hammer strength row 60, hammer strength inclined press 30.
Tu 3/1: Erged 5016 in 28:43.
We 3/2: 7500 on the water, drills and racing starts.
Sa 3/5: Erged 8019 in 44:15.

Mo 3/7: Warmup: 1105 in 6:02. Weights: pulldown 120, shoulder press 45, leg press 155/175, calf raise 275, hip adductor 130, hip abductor 90, biceps 17.5, triceps 17.5.
Tu 3/8: Erged 5022 in 29:57.
Fri 3/11: 10000 on the water, 9 racing starts.

Sick week of 3/14.
Fr 3/18: Erged 1011 in 5:40 to warm up, light weight workout. (Light workout, not light weights.)
Su 3/19: Peter Archer regatta. Didn't race, but lots of walking/jogging as usual at a regatta.

Tu 3/24: Warmup: 1009 in 5:34. Changed weight workout partly due to Patty's advice. Sets of 5-5-3 trying to get to failure on last set on lat pulldown (150), low row (100), dead list (100 - should be more), leg press (215). 2 sets of 10 on calf raise (275), hip adductor (130), hip abductor (90), shoulder press (40), biceps (17.5), triceps (17.5).

Total YTD: 151873 meters.

Posted by dichroic at 12:38 PM | Comments (1)

March 21, 2005


Were looking for slogan ideas for Arizona Outlaw T-shirts - we want something that gets across the ideas of Outlaws in the Old West as well as rowing. Double entendres are fine - just not anything that will get us arrested, hurt, or picketed if we wear the shirt in public.

Contest will be decided by consensus among hte Outlaws. Winner gets an Outlaw logo hat or a handknitted iPod/MP player cozy, your choice. There will be an extra prize (to be decided) for accompanying graphics. Email slogan ideas to me here.

Posted by dichroic at 02:05 PM | Comments (1)

Long Beach regatta report

The Peter Archer regatta at Long Beach this weekend went well - She-Hulk is going to write it up for the Outlaws webpage. The regatta wasn't until Sunday, and she had some issues with her car that needed to be taken care of, so we didn't leave until 11 on Saturday morning. Rowers sleeping late - what a concept. While we were getting ready on Saturday, Rudder had the idea of bringing the iPod instead of hauling our usual 3 packs of CDs. (Not that we'd really need that many for a total of 12 hours driving, but you never know what you'll want to listen to on the road.) So we loaded up a bunch of his music onto the iPod (because most of mine is to mellow for him while driving) and made an emergency electronics run tot he Apple store to get a car charger and a gadget that plays the iPod sound through FM radio. I was surprised and pleased at the sound quality. I still love being able to shuffle all the songs on there (though when Rudder was driving back at night I had to skip through anything too quiet) and it was wonderful to have one small object instead of several bulky ones rolling around the passenger footwell.

I drove most of the the way up, except for the last leg into LA. I'm not crazy about driving the Orange Crush (Rudder's Hummer) or about driving long distances, but we talked the whole way up and it went surprisingly fast. Rudder had asked me to drive so he could sit in back and work on the entry packet for an upcoming junior regatta here. I don't think She-Hulk was entirely happy to be displaced from her usual comfy back-seat nest, but she manned the iPod and it was actually kind of fun, with us all putting the words of the packet together as he typed. We were all sharing a room this time, in our usual pink ghetto-fabulous hotel, which turned out to be a mistake. It's not so much that I mind the peeling wallpaper, or the cracking ceiling, or the heat lamp in the bathroom that has no switch to turn it on, or even the odd lumps on the woman at the front desk (we're guessing branding, becaues of the raised area's symmetry) and it seems to be clean enough. I don't even mind being in the handicapped room even if some things are too low. (But only some - I'd hate to stay there as an actual handicapped person. It's just that when you get a room with two beds there, the beds are miniscule. They didn't even seem like double beds, though they were bigger than twins. Also the pillows were both thin and hard. I'm spoiled, I know. I just need to start remembering to at least bring my own pillow.

We got there in time for our usual pre-race Crab Shack dinner, which is probably not the best place to go when people are wanting steaks for race fuel, but none of us had the energy to decide on another place. Anyway, I like the food and I like eating while looking at the boats outside. They've added some entertainment since we were last there: every hour they make an announcement and all the staff line up to dance around the room. They're obviously choreographed and rehearsed this, but it's still a little strange. The first time it was to a sampled version of Saturday Night Fever, and the dance involved some of Travolta's moves and the Hustle but all at an oddly slow pace. None of the staff were anywhere near old enough to remember disco dancing in its original incarnation, but they made it look much more draggy than I remember it. The second time around they did something called the Windy Windy (or possibly Whiney Whiney) that was mostly about winding around the room in a train. Other than that, though, She-Hulk and I were enjoying the music, which was all about flashbacks to our youth. Rudder's comment on the dancing was that the last time he'd seen anything similar it involved the removal of clothing and the giving of ten-dollar tips.

I woke up sore from the minibed. but we managed to all get showered, fed and out to the lake for the 7AM regatta meeting which turned out to be figmentary. However, they'd condensed schedule so the 5-hour wait we were expecting before our first race turned out to be just a couple of hours to rig and relax. Even better, our last race was just after one, so we got to leave much earlier than expected, which is a welcome change when you have a six-hour drive home. The weather was changeable, but the threatening rain never actually came and it never got too hot or too cold.

Rudder and She-Hulk each raced a single and then had two doubles races together. Despite having hardly any time to recuperate between races, from four races they brought back four medals. (Actually 8, since each got a medal for both doubles races.) The most gratifying was the Men's Open double, where they wasted their much larger, younger, male-er opponents, especially after they were told by a referree that said opponents had been joking about them at the start.

The regatta was not well attended; the lanes were full in She-Hulk's singles race but only because they'd combined events. She was racing against only one other person, with all the others being open or lightweight. All three of the other races had only two or three competitors. (Which isn't to say they wouldn't have done as well even with more competition.) (And if She-Hulk wants a new nom here, she's welcome to suggest one. Ahem.)

This was more of a practice race for them than a priority one, especially since we've had lake closures for so much of this year. We did get a chance to talk to the coach we worked with at January's camp, and she's given us some tips on what to work on in training for the next few months.

The races were done just after 1, and we've got packing down to a fine science. (My tactic is mostly to stay out of Rudder's way as he turns into a packing, strapping, fitting-in machine.) I finished the sock I was working on just before we left, and will post a picture when I can upload it from the camera.

I need to remember that the Subway we usually stop at as we leave the Marine Stadium does not have bathrooms! (Isn't that illegal or something?) I bought a Coke at another cafe so I could use theirs and we were on the way. The drive home was uneventful except for a traffic jam outside Phoenix, and for another FO. I had some yarn left from the sock, so after eating my sub I cast on for an iPod cozy, because in only a few days it's gotten several scratches from being carried in the tote I take to work. No pattern or anything, and I "measured" by putting the iPod in my newly-finished sock and pinching it together to see how many stitches were extra. I used a K2P1 rib so it would pull together but be subtle, 1x1 ribbed the top inch and added a flap to tuck in at She-Hulk's suggestion. (Easier than adding on a buttonhole, and it seems to be secure. ) It fits perfectly. I'll post a picture of it, too. We also came up with slogans for Outlaw T-shirts (I'm considering a contest - will post details here if we have one) and put together some words for the official regatta report. Best of all, thanks to the compressed schedule we got hom in time to get to bed by 11, instead of 1AM as it would otherwise have been, which probably explains why I'm coherent enough to write all of this.

Posted by dichroic at 12:49 PM | Comments (0)

March 02, 2005

rowing report

I did end up rowing this morning - still sore but less so than when I started. Rudder's still away so She-Hulk and I did a couple of laps (well, a lap and a half) together. The water was perfect and flat (until Yosemite Sam stirred it up with his launch) and it wasn't too cold out at all. I ended up wishing I'd left my overjacket up at my car because it's so hard to cram into the little bit of space in my boat.

However, it was an extremely frustrating row, esepcially in the first lap when we were working on technique. It's really not a great idea to go to rowing camp, have the coach change your stoke considerably (more vertical body, hands come in higher, elbows in to body, different hand position, getting weight forward before moving uop the slide, slowing down at the end of the recovery, greater compression - LOTS of changes) and then perforce take a month off the water. Lots of work ahead for us.

The second lap, where we were working on racing starts, was a little better but with all these changes my catches and finished are sloppy and not what they should be.

I have been good this week; Monday in the gym, yesterday on the erg, today on the water. Tomorrow I plan to take off and Friday I'll go to the gym again. I may row Saturday with Rudder if the weather is nice.

Posted by dichroic at 03:46 PM | Comments (0)

January 18, 2005

what I did in camp

Rowing camp was good. The coach explained things nicely, in biomechanical sort of terms so everything made sense to me and I understood why she was telling us to do what she was telling us to do. She had some things to tell us that I'd never heard before, or possibly had heard but hadn't understood in those terms, and was able to find lots of problems with my stroke.

This is a Good Thing: my stroke is fairly smooth and my form is reasonably good, but no rower is perfect. It's been very frustrating on many occasions to have a coach tell me "Oh, you're form is great, you just need a little more power" or whatever. I know there are things I need to improve, and moreover I can fix form issues, whereas I'm not likely to grow a foot and sprout large muscles. Patty filmed us and then went through the video frame by frame to find the smallest technique issues, including some she swears will yield us big dividends in speed. Also, she promises that if I fix a few things (hand position, earlier catch, more upright body, more compression) in addition to the rigging changes we made that will allow a higher stroke rate, I can be a lot faster despite my size, without having to do the sort of training that's not compatible with having an actual job and an actual life. No one has ever told me that before, ever ever ever.

I'm not sure I'd want to work with her fulltime; she has a belief in the inalienable rightness of coaches that I don't share, having spent too much time working with bad ones. (On the drive home I came up with my definition of a Bad Coach: anyone who can't spot problems with my stroke; anyone who tells their rowers to do different and conflicting things on different days; anyone who tells their rowers to use a style that doesn't make good biomechanical sense; anyone who, even if they know how to do things right, is unable to communicate it to rowers.) People who like being in unquestioned authority tend not to like working with me. I usually have a lot of questions and though I try to ask them in a respectful way, very authoritative coaches / teachers tend to get a little upset. Patty handled my questions well; her answers made sense and if she just wanted us (it wasn't only me!) to shut up for a bit she had no comunctions about saying so.

So yeah, I'm a little pumped up about rowing right now. Unfortunately the lake is still closed and will be until this weekend. And I think I'll still stay semi-retired until I finish my IFR, just because of finite discretionary time, but I'm definitely feeling the urge to get out on the water and play with some of my new technique.

The four of us (me, Rudder, She-Hulk, and our friend S) stayed in a comfortable condo right on Mission Bay, and there was a lot of laughing and talking involved. The best part was when we had everyone in the camp over Saturday night for a spaghetti dinner (planned and catered by She-Hulk). There was garlic involved. There were beer and wine and scandalous stories from two continents and from many regattas. There was gossip exchanged about mutual acquaintances. There were rowing tips passed on. (And J, maybe even some right-place-right-time-right-with-the-world tingles.)

I like Mission Bay - the beach and the water and the glorious weather and all the classic SoCal sights - surfers and seals, sailboats, shorts and spaghetti straps in January and the odd stuff you wouldn't see anywhere else, like the ferocious game of water polo we saw being played in kayaks. Along Mission Bay drive there are little groceries and nightclubs, sops where you can buy wetsuits and longboards, and one of the highest densities of tattoo parlors I've seen. There are prime people-watching opportunities on its sidewalk. From our condo living room with its big window facing the bay we should watch joggers and cyclists and walkers along the path fronting the bay. What it's lacking is the acrid, tawdry aste I always seem to get in at least some parts of LA. I could definitely live in San Diego.

Oh, and also, I proved that it is in fact possible to do a headstand in a rowing shell. I'll see if I can get that picture scanned in.....

Posted by dichroic at 02:11 PM | Comments (1)

December 20, 2004

200,000 meters, year 4: done

I nearly forgot. As of yesterday....
Holiday Challenge: FINISHED!
Thankful for:That.

Posted by dichroic at 03:54 PM | Comments (1)

December 09, 2004

running ahead and behind

Thank goodness, I finally got some extra sleep last night and now I feel a bit less like that mentally retarded guy in he book you read in 8th grade, who got smart and then dumb again. (Or I would feel less like him, if I could only remember his name or the book he's in. Algie?)

In athletic news, I am now a little over halfway through the Holiday Challenge just about on schedule, with fifteen days down and fifteen to go. I thought I had 109800 meters to go so did 10K this morning instead of the usual 8, but it turned out I'd added wrong, so now I actually have just 92100m left to do now. Also, and even better, I have COMPLETED! my 1000 mile goal for this year, having covered the distance with a combination of rowing, erging, and walking. (I don't wear a pedometer so only walking for exercise and some of the extra distance I cover at regattas counts for walking, not just the every-day mobility.) I'm still amazed to have done more than 200 miles more than last year. It's all Marn's fault, of course.

One unfortunate consequence of the brain fog is that Chanukah sort of snuck up on me this year, and I have hardly any small gifts for Rudder. I haven't gotten my usual basket full of things from REI or anything. Maybe I can stop there on my way home. (I do have his birthday gift and we have planned buy a bed (headboard and footboard, I mean) for our mutual Xmas gift.) I have a couple stocking-stuffer things I picked up for his parents and may just give him those instead. Oops.

Posted by dichroic at 12:50 PM | Comments (1)

Workout Entry

Took two weeks off working out after the marathon, so I haven't posted a workout entry for a while.

Tuesday, 11/23: Went to the gym. 1521m on the erg, lifted weights.
Thursday, 11:25: Thanksgiving - began Holiday Challenge on the erg. 7001m.
Friday, 11/26: Did half of my recommended daily eg allowance, went off to do stuff, and never came back for the other half. 3009m, avg split 2:45.5.
Saturday, 11/27: making up for Friday, 10014m, avg split 2:54.2.
Sunday, 11/28: 10687m, avg split 2:48.7, avg Watts 72.9.
Monday, 11/29: 8009m, avg split 2:49.5, 71.9 W.
Tuesday, 11/30: 7432m.
Wednesday, 12/1: flew.
Thursday, 12/2: Did 2004m warmup, then 6x1000m pieces. Best piece was in 4:27.9 min, with an 145.6 average Watts.
Friday, 12/3: 8015m.
Saturday, 12/4: 4013m then had to go do errands.
Sunday, 12/5: Did a 75 minute piece for a total of 14442m, 2:35.8 average split, 92.6 avg W. Within piece, set a PR of 11562m in 60.0 minutes. Also, 1620m for warmup and cooldown.
Monday, 12/6: 7623m, 2:57.5 avg split.
Tuesday, 12/7: 8014m, 2:45.6 avg split.
Wednesday, 12/8: flew.
Thursday, 12/9: 10018m, 2:50.6 avg split. I thought I needed this many to finish out my first 100km, but when I entered it on the Concept II website I found I had added wrong and have now done nearly 108000m.

Total: 1617.7 km - I have met my 1000 mile goal for the year!!!!!

Posted by dichroic at 09:00 AM | Comments (1)

December 03, 2004

the roll of the year

Until I decide whether I want to retire or not, I need to keep training as if I won't. I'd want to finish out the Holiday Challenge anyway, because I'm far too stubborn to stop in the middle of it. It will be an easy one for me this year, because I'm neither traveling during part of it nor worrying about whether I can do it - this is my fourth time around so I know I can. I do have to compensate for missing one day a week when I fly instead (I fly twice a week but the other one is a weekend day) but to compensate there's more time between Thanksgiving and Xmas than in some years.

This is really the beginning of the rowing/training year, when we lay a foundation built of meter upon meter of solid distance. For this month, I don't have to do long distances; my focus is on doing it every day, or nearly, though I will do a half-marathon or two just to shorten the time to completion or get in a little extra meterage. Rudder, who trains a bit more seriously, is laying his foundation on the water as well as in the gym and is getting in his erg meters in long bursts.

Once I've completed this challenge, I will move back onto the water to augment the plain stonework of distance with the tracery of technique, and into the gym to bolster it with strength work from weightlifting, like adding in steel rebar. Next I'll start varying my workout with intervals, like laying a pattern in my brickwork. The periods of the intervals will grow shorter as I get through an early local race and move toward the time of my bigger races, until I'm doing pieces of 300 to 1000 meters in May as I prepare for the Goldrush, where I race those distances. Then I'll either take a week off and just try to maintain for a while, or train more intensely, concentrating on 1000m pieces, if I decide to race in the World Masters Games. (We're going anyway, because Rudder is racing; it's just a question of whether I race or only watch.)

In fall we move into longer pieces for head race season. I probably won't be doing head races because I just don't like racing over the longer distance, but it's possible that I'll be doing the marathon in a single, in which case I'll be doing lots of half-marathon pieces in the boat and on the erg, or coxing at the Head of the Charles again, in which case I need to prepare for that. Also, if we go to Austin for the PumpkinHead I may race it, just because I like their course very much. Or maybe I'll just play pit crew, helping Rudder and She-Hulk and any others there with their boats.

The training year is like the rotation of the season, the long slow beat of winter quickening to the staccato of summer then lengthening out again in the fall. The changes make training more interesting, and though the pattern is the same every year, like the seasons each year is just a little different, as we try to find the ideal training plan.

Maybe I won't retire. Whatever would I write about then?

Thankful for: a holiday season to look forward to, with parties and gifts and (best of all) visitors and time off from work to enjoy them. Also, since I forgot to do this yesterday, for a body that, which it may not be fast, is strong and healthy and lets me do anything I want to, at least at some level.

Holiday Challenge: 137829 meters left

Posted by dichroic at 09:23 AM | Comments (1)

November 30, 2004

retirement age?

Yesterday morning I was driving to work when my biological clock went "Bong!" No, not that alarm. This was a sudden realization, at a time when I wasn't thinking of much but traffic, that maybe it's time to retire from rowing, at least for a while. Or perhaps it was something in the air, since the same realization seems to have hit both Matthew Pinsent and James Cracknell somewhere around the same time.

Though I've never trained anything like the 5 hours a day Cracknell and Pinsent have done, I've been rowing more or less seriously since about 2000, and a bit less so for all but about three or the years since 1990 when I first learned. I've done the Marathon. I've completed three Holiday Challenges. I've competed in Masters Regionals and Masters Nationals, and in eights, fours, quads, doubles, and singles, as well as in the coxswain's seat. I've won quite a few medals and come in DFL lots of times as well. I've beat other people even in singles. There's not really much left for me to do except win race in singles and doubles and that will probably not happen even with much more intense training, and the simple fact is that I have no desire to do much more intense training. (Actually, Egret and I did win one gold medal in a double, come to think of it, but it was a small regatta.) I don't have the size or strength to be national caliber even at the Masters level, so it's always an uphill fight, even more than for most rowers.

Also, I really, really hate waking up at 4AM and going to bed at 8PM.
Also, I always said I'd want to pull back from rowing for a bit while working on my IFR. I haven't really, so far, but I also haven't done nearly all the studying I should.

On the other hand, I love my shiny pretty boat and I've worked awfully hard to get a certain fitness level. I'm not particularly worried about my weight (on Thanksgiving Day after two weeks off I weighed 117.5; now six days into the Holiday Challenge I'm back up to 120) but it's difficult for me to gain endurance and I'd hate to lose ground there.

Also, there are sunrises over smooth water and me with my boat and oars whose design echoes the rising sun, and there's the sweating satisfaction of pushing harder and faster and faster yet.

No matter what I decide to do, I know three things. Barring accident or injury, I will finish my fourth annual Holiday Challenge, since I've already started. I will go to rowing camp in January, since I've already signed up and it should be fun and educational, and I won't retire forever. The wonderful thing about this sport is that you can compete at any age so I never feel I have to rush to get all the good out of my "good years". If I stop now I'll come back to it, either sooner or later when I can compete another age bracket up. I just don't know. It sort of feels like time, but it sort of feels like I shouldn't stop. At any rate, I'll be erging until Christmas, so there's all that time to think about it.

Thankful that: my alma mater has a dog in this fight. (Actually, Penn's law school is apparently not part of this suit but has brought a separate suit challenging the Solomon amendment, as has Yale.) This has been an issue on campus almost since the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy was instroduced. I'm proud of them.

Holiday Challenge: 153880 meters to go.

Posted by dichroic at 11:15 AM | Comments (1)

November 16, 2004

workout entry

Wed, 11/3: 12.1 km in single
Fri, 11/5: 12.1 km in single
Sat, 11/6:8 km in 2x with Old Salt
Mon, 11/8: 5012 m in 30:19 on erg
Saturday, 11/13: approx 43 km - the Marathon Rowing Championships plus rowing to the start and in from the finish.

YTD total as of 11/15: 1508.5 km

Posted by dichroic at 01:19 PM | Comments (0)

November 15, 2004

Marathon report

One marathon completed: check.

I don't feel too bad, actually. My hip joints are still a bit sore, and every once in a while I get twinges from my elbows. The elbows were hurting every stroke for about the last 5 miles, actually, and were very sore that night, but the two Motrin Rudder talked me into taking seem to have solved that problem. I'm still a bit groggy from all the traveling and racing, but fortunately I've got some nice routine work to do today.

I had a great time on the trip. D and his wife R (who will henceforth be referred to as the Old Salt and the Mobile Monet) and Dr. Bosun drove out with the boats; on Thursday Rudder, She-Hulk and I flew into Houston where they picked us up, then drove 5 or 6 hours to Natchitoches, Louisiana where we checked into our wonderfully cozy hotel, the Church Street Inn. That night we had some of Natchitoches' legendary head-on Cajun shrimp. (Well, legendary since She-Hulk and another rower were shocked, last year, to find their dinner staring back. Apparently the other woman burst into tears and Rudder and Old Salt's son gallantly removed the heads for both women.) This year, She-Hulk bravely removed her own shrimps' heads. I did the crustacean decapitation for myself, but then I'm a veteran of both shrimp in all forms and Cajun food in general. They were good but, I'm told, not quite as large and succulent as last year's.

We got to play tourist on Friday. First we went to the Courthouse Museum, where we learned about the Louisiana Purchase in general and about an 80-mile natural logjam on the Red River, whose existence is the reason Natchitoches is the oldest permanent settlement in the LA Purchase and whose removal (in the early 1800s) is the reason it isn't a city today. Outside the museum we ran into a couple of rowers from California who went with us on a carriage tour, during which the guide pointed out just about every B&B in town and every location that was significant in the movie Steel Magnolias. (It is not possible to remain in Natchitoches for more than an hour without being told that Steel Magnolias was filmed there.) Next we visited a local fort where some very small men in period costume were preparing deer and coyote hides and showing us how easy it wasn't to start a fire with flint and steel. (In fact, that was the only place we visited that day where we didn't hear about Steel Magnolias, presumably because the film and its subject material don't date back quite as far as the fort. However, one of them did tell us that a hollowed-out stump with a five-foot-long wood club resting in it was a "mortar and pedestal" used to grind corn. Next we went out to tour Melrose Plantation where the tour guide Lori Tate, a middle aged woman in glasses that made her look sort of like an alien, began with "Does anybody recognize me?" Apparently she played the groom's mother in Steel Magnolias. (I refrained from mentioning that I've never even seen the film, out of fear I mght get lynched.) Later on she told us that slaves had been locked up when they first arrived, "until they became domicile". Mrs. Malaprop is alive, well, and living in northern Louisiana, apparently. I did like the resident peacock, who was hanging out in the house waiting for Southern Living. No lie - we'd run in to their photographers in our hotel that morning and In fact, here's us as taken by their photographer:

I think he thought we wanted him because he was a pro, but the truth is it was just so we could all get in the shot. (D's wife R is missing because she was on the phone.) Apparently they were due out at the plantation to shoot Lori and the peacock that afternoon. So the photos below are my scoop on Southern Living:

After that we rigged our boats, headed to the Italian restaurant down the block for pre-race pasta. One of the best things about our hotel, besides the down comforters, was that it's right in the middle of old town near all the good restaurants, and right by the finish of our race. Our honorary Outlaw from Colorado and Old Salt's son Stevie Mo drove out and joined us in town that night.

On Saturday we raced. Don't tell anyone I said this, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Mostly, this is because of Old Salt and the easy pace he set, not to mentin the four pee breaks, the several water/Gu breaks, and the innumerable short stops for everything from a branch only a few feet from our oars to a passing eight he wanted to let by. We finished in 5 hours and 42 minutes. I'm fairly sure I could do it faster in a single (I did it on the erg in 4:20) but this wasn't a bad way to do my first marathon. And Old Salt is a salty and funny man, good company for nearly 6 hours in a small boat, so even if it turns out to be my last marathon it was a good way to do it.

The biggest luxury was having Mobile Monet and Stevie Mo there. Not only was she the one who wanted to go in the first place (partly to spend time with the son, who lives in Houston) , which meant we could get our boat there, but they were pit crew par excellence. When Old Salt and I came in, between them and Rudder and She-Hulk, who had finished two and a half hours earlier(!) breaking the previous course record they'd set last year, we didn't have to do anything but roll out of the boat. Actually, I felt good, though, and had no trouble getting out and standing up - I kept trying to tell people I was OK and could carry my own things, but I don't think anyone believed me.

Results in brief: we all finished. Rudder and She-Hulk broke the course record int heir event, the one they had set themselves the previous year. She-Hulk was particularly eager to do that, because last year we were still racing under the club banner - she wanted the Arizona Outlaws in the race records. They won a gold medal, of course, as did our honorary Colorado Outlaw. Dr. Bosun came in third in her race, only about 5 minutes slower than the time she'd aimed for. (Five minutes over twenty six miles is negligible.)

In other trip results, the Arizona Outlaws are again a winning crew, I ate good Gulf shrimp every night, the scarf I was knitting in eyelash yarn is now hopelessly tangled and waiting for enough time and good light to be salvaged, the trip back was enjoyable but a bit quieter, and no one is permanently crippled. I think everyone had a good time, and the company was by far the best part of the trip. Watch for an Outlaws page, coming soon. Meanwhile, here are some more pictures.

The Outlaws' official "Before" picture, with a cannon borrowed from the fort: She-Hulk, me, Rudder, Dr. Bosun, Mobile Monet, and Old Salt.

Outlaws after the race: that's me in the center, then clockwise from left She-Hulk, Rudder, Dr. Bosun, Old Salt, and Stevie Mo, our pit crew, at the bottom.

Here's Rudder and She-Hulk - look how well that boat is balanced.

Dr. Bosun and the Colorado Outlaw:

And here's me and Old Salt. During the race:

And after:

Posted by dichroic at 04:22 PM | Comments (3)

November 14, 2004

Marathon Rowing Championships

5 hours and 42 minutes, but by God, we finished it.

Posted by dichroic at 09:04 PM | Comments (4)

November 10, 2004


I know wishing my life away is a bad thing, but I do wish it was Sunday already. Then I'd know whether I survived Saturday's marathon regatta. (Well, or maybe I wouldn't, if I didn't.) We're off to the races tomorrow morning - we fly into Houston, get picked up by the Oldtimer, who's driving the boats down, drive six hours to Natchitoches for the regatta, spend Friday being tourists (it's supposed to be a very nice old town), race Saturday, and drive and fly back Sunday. Or in other words, expect this site to be quiet until at least Monday. On the plus side, I'm told by those who went last year that there are extremely large Cajun shrimp to be had there.

Posted by dichroic at 02:47 PM | Comments (2)

November 03, 2004

the glove heresy

You know that winter season we supposedly don't really have in Arizona? Well, at 5 AM we do. It was cold this morning - the forties, I think. (Those of you in places like Detroit, Minnesota, or Maine, quit laughing. They stop rowing for the winter in your area when it gets that cold.) Also, it's dark for the entire practice and you start to think about just how narrow and tippy that boat really is.

I feel a little silly actually. When people look at my callused or blistered hands or when I coach beginning rowers, they often ask about wearing gloves. For years I've taught, said, and rowed by the same mantra: "Rowers DON"T wear gloves."

This morning I did wear gloves. It's true: for all normal purposes, rowers DON't wear gloves. Marathon regattas, however, are not normal purposes. Last weekend I bought a pair of batting gloves to take to the marathon so I have them there if my hands start to shred. It's a bad, bad idea to wear anything to the marathon that hasn't been previously tested or broken in. The first year Rudder rowed it, a few people from our old club wore gloves for the whole thing. They hadn't practiced with them on, and as a result their hands were raw by the end of the race.

I plan to start without the gloves and wear them only if I need to; oar grips are made to be gripped by skin. I still need to keep my hands as tough as possible. This morning, I decided to wear the gloves for my first lap, partly so I'd have them on while I was warming up and partly in case they were hard to get on after my hands got sweaty. I can't say I ever got that warm, but the gloves did work fairly well. Batting gloves were recommended to me because they're thin and fit tightly. I'd gotten the best-fitting pair of batting gloves (Youth Medium) with the fewest seams I could find, with no padding on the palm and breathable material on the backs of my hands. I had good oar-feel, no bunching and only a small problem with a seam near the wrist that I was able to fix. Also, they kept my hands from getting numb.

It's time to bring out the waterproof socks next. By the end of practice I couldn't feel my feet. I still don't plan to wear gloves regularly, but I may dig out some pogies for when it gets even colder.

Posted by dichroic at 01:52 PM | Comments (0)

November 02, 2004

workout and race entry

First, some photo links from the Head of the Charles.

Here's a great shot of Rudder, and another I like of him and others (he's on the bottom right. Here's the four I coxed. Here's one of me looking around, just so you can see my face to prove I was really there, and here you can see just why I was looking.

Apparently I haven't blogged my workouts since October 11. Of course, I've also skipped quite a few since then due to travel and so on. So from earlier to later:

Wednesday, 10/13: 2 km on the erg (I think I wasn't feeling well.)
Friday 10/15: Coxed for the City.
Saturday 10/16: 8 km in the double with D.
Sunday 10/17: 21000 meters on the erg.
Monday 10/18: 8.4 km in the single plus 2.4 km walk
Tuesday 10/19: 1.6 km walk
Wednesday 10/20: 12.2 km in the double with She-Hulk
Friday through Sunday, 10/22-24: walked a estimated total of 21 miles = 33.8 km (I estimate the distance by figuring how many times each day we walked the whole length of the racecourse. And I even bumped the estimate down a little.)
Wednesday, 10/27: 9.5 km in the single
Friday, 10/29: 14 km in the double with She-Hulk.
Saturday, 10/30: 11 km in the double with D.
Monday, 11/1: She-Hulk and I planned to row the double (because Rudder was still sick) but it was too windy.

YTD total as of 11/1: 1428.4 km or 89% of 1000 mile (=1609 km) goal

Posted by dichroic at 01:37 PM | Comments (0)

October 25, 2004

Charles report

Boston: back from. Did well - Rudder came in 13 of 55, and just barely squeaked in to next year's race at 4.97% behind the winner - 5% and under gets you an automatic entry to next year. (Clear? I mean, his time was 1.0497 times the winning time.) Local clubs: one came in 11 of 40 or so - the first time they've actually justified their coach's prerace comments, but in general it's a much nicer crew than last year so I'm glad. The other local women's boat didn't do as well but it's their first time there. The local junior crew didn't do too well at all - third from last, and one of the boats behind them had massive penalties and another scratched.

My boat? Did I ever write the story of that? Someone we sat by on the plane out of Masters Nationals last summer turned out to row for Rocky Mountain, where we know a few other people - Rudder and She-Hulk (Dammit, I thought I came up with a better nom for her but I can't remember it - once again I should stress she's not *that* big, but was rowing with a bunch of us tiny people at the time) - anyway, they have rowed composite boats with people from Rocky Mountain at several races and will again in Atlanta in two weeks. Anyway, there on the plane this woman asked me to cox her crew at the Charles. She didn't end up going but mentioned the idea to other women at her club, the ones who we knew anyway, and they recruited me in, so that's who I coxed for. We did OK - just 10 of 15, but I don't think they trained all that hard this year. And the boat we borrowed is a heavy one, an older one with a lot of wood bracing. (Newer boats are all fiberglass). But it felt good, they rowed hard, and they actually gained a couple of places in the last half. And since I may as well not pretend to modesty in my own diary, I can say that I NAILED that course. I deviated from a perfect course in only two places I know of: once unavoidably, where we had just passed another crew and I had to allow them some room (interference penalties were fierce this year) and once wher I decided to take the right arch of a bridge rather than the center one. The right arch is just as god a path; it's just that I decided a tiny bit later than I should have. Not too much later, though, because we beat the 22th place crew by only 0.08 seconds in a fifteen-minute race. I would have been annoyed with myself if they had beat us by that amount.

My crew was very happy with me right after they saw the race, which is what counts. I hope they still were after seeing the results.

Chilly weekend. Wndy, too - they decided to use the short course, so we only raced 2.3 miles instead of 3, to spare us rough water in the usual starting area. Actually, it wasn't bad when I saw it Sunday, but I suppose they have to decide early. This has only been done a few times in the regatta's forty years. And incidentally, how cool is that, to be racing in the fortieth anniversary race?

I'm kind of glad I did it, I guess. I was very nervous - there are a lot of cautions given to coxswains about this race and we saw one horrible wreck against a bridge abutment - but it went well. Still, it was hectic and we had no time for sightseeing this year. On Friday, I had a Coxswain's Course Tour in the afternoon and then the Clinic (given by former Olympic cox Yaz Farooq, whom you have probably heard announcing rowing events at the last few Olympics) in the evening. Then we had Rudder's race Saturday and mine Sunday. It was fun to be there, though, with the whole city ecstatic over their Red Sox.

And now back home and to the new job tomorrow. Coherent? Not yet, obviously.

Posted by dichroic at 03:59 PM | Comments (1)

October 11, 2004

a good slot

Thank goodness. They've posted the bow numbers for the Head of the Charles and it looks like I've got about the easiest job possible. We're #16 of 16. The boats start 10 seconds apart and then the next race is 16 minutes after, so I won't have to worry about them. I don't have to worry at all about being passed. I only get to pass others, and in that case they have to yield to me - passing boats have right of way. So all I have to worry about is getting re-passed. I'll just have to make sure that doesn't happen :-)

I'm a lot more nervous about that race and the marathon than my new job, actually.

Posted by dichroic at 03:19 PM | Comments (0)

workout entry

Mon 10/04: 12.2 km in the single
Tues 10/05: 1.7 km on the erg (includes coaching Mom a bit) plus weights
Wed 10/06: 12.3 km in the single
Thursday: flew
Friday: coxed
Saturday 10/09: 6.1 km (one lap, with frequent stops) in the double with D
Monday 10/11: 12.3 km in the single

Total YTD as of 10/11: 1304.5

Posted by dichroic at 10:29 AM | Comments (0)

September 30, 2004

workout entry

Workout entry:

It's been a while since I did this but I think I've reconstructed accurately. I'm working out a little less frequently now because of coxing practice and flying lessons and have had to cut some practices due to early meetings, but have added in some longer pieces, like last Sunday's COMPLETED MARATHON (and the crowd goes wild!).

Wednesday, 9/15: 14 km in the single.
Friday, 9/17: 8.2 km in the single.
This is making it really obvious which days I had early meetings.

Saturday, 9/18: half-marathon (21097 m) on the erg.

Monday, 9/20: 8 km in the single.
Tuesday, 9/21: 1605 m warmup, weights, 1000 m cooldown on the erg.
Thursday, 9/23: 7 km on the erg.
Friday, 9/24: Coxed instead of rowing, but did walk 2.4 km.

Sunday, 9/26: Marathon! (42195 meters or 26.2 miles)
I took Monday and Tuesday off due to vertigo after that.

Wednesday: Rowed 6.1 km - only one lap because the wind and waves were rough, and , 9/29walked 2.4 km.

Thursday, 9/30: Slacked off, after spending Wednesday evening in bed whimpering due to rejuvenated vertigo.

Year to date: 1268.0 km as of 9/30

Posted by dichroic at 11:23 AM | Comments (0)

September 26, 2004


Just finished erg maarathon....and yes it s the same distance, 26.2 miles, 42195 meters....can't walk....can't type...everything hurts.

But I did finish!

Posted by dichroic at 02:18 PM | Comments (1)

September 17, 2004

dolphin illusion

Very sleepy. Unfortunately, 1:38 is a bit too early to go home, even on a Friday afternoon.

As I was rowing under a bridge this morning before sunrise, when the dawn was only just lightening, I saw the usual ROTC cadets jogging across the bridge and someone else walking the other way. I was facing into the eastern sky, so I saw them all only in silhouette. This person seemed to have a low ponytail, was walking with his or her head down, looking at the ground, and was wearing some sort of backpack that stuck out at the bottom. At a certain angle as I rowed away, the bowed head, smooth line from the head down the back, pack sticking out, and legs hidden behind the bridge rail made him or her look just like a porpoise, standing vertically with the head forward, curved back, and fin.

It's not often you see a porpoise on a bridge over you.

Posted by dichroic at 02:45 PM | Comments (0)

September 16, 2004

what did I just do?

There is a strong possibility that I am a masochist after all. Witness the following series of emails between me and my prospective doubles partner in the marathon (his are indented):

Any decision on the double in the Natchitoches marathon?

What with working on an instrument flight rating and getting ready to cox at the Head of the Charles, I need to know how much of a slacker I can be on my rowing :-) Also, Rudder's planning his annual ergathon Sept 26 (it was the 25th but I asked him to change it because of Yom Kippur) so I have to decide if I should actually do it this year or if I should just be the designated movie changer.

Sorry but I won't really have time to train which wouldn't be fair to you. Plus I have only been in a double a couple of times, so I probably wouldn't make a very good partner. Why not row a single?

Because I'm not a complete masochist! Actually, if I were all that worried about training I'd have found someone to train with, like Rudder and She-Hulk. I just need to do a little training on distance because I am NOT naturally a high-endurance person. I want to do the race in a double because (a little known fact) doubles are less effort to row than singles, not to mention faster, and I asked you because I wanted to do it at a leisurely pace rather than with someone who'd want to do it at a race pace.

So maybe we should try rowing together and see how it feels. Though if you want to stick with the single just to see if you can beat your previous time, or if you just flat prefer rowing a single I understand. Either way, I'll be there, whether I row or spectate.

Dam, you are far too logical, what you say makes a lot of sense in spite of my creeping feelings of old age onset machoism. I am presently planning on doing an open water race on October 3rd, so I will plan on getting together with you after that weekend and we will take the double for a test drive. For a change it will be great to share the public humiliation.

I keep telling people what someone told me an older woman runner says about coming in last in every 10K she enters, "But I'm miles ahead of the ones who stayed on the couch!"

Right, It still sucks!!! Oh yeah you are in charge of determining crew uniforms and all travel accessories and lining up corporate sponsors and working with the media.

I think crew uniforms translate to "comfort first". And come to think of it I may not want to wear a uni because I'll warn you, I cannot go 5 hours without a bathroom (or bush) break.

I think we should be sponsored by Energizer..."still going, and going, and going..."

What a Sissy, I only stopped 3 times last year. I know all the key bushes and overhanging trees. I'm thinking like running shorts which I usually row in. I need to buy a new pair anyway. The beauty of the double is you can take several changes of clothes and a barbecue.

Oh, I think a barbeque is way too heavy. But we've got a good camp stove....

So yes, I just talked myself into several hours of pain and suffering I could easily have avoided, not to mention the chance to slack off this fall. But at least he'll keep me entertained during the marathon.

Posted by dichroic at 05:32 PM | Comments (0)

September 12, 2004

workout entry

Thursday, 9/2: 1K warmup and 1K high-resistance low-rate on the erg, weights (1 set of 20, added more stations), another 1K on the erg.

Friday, 9/3: drills in the single, 9200m. Walked 1600m.

Saturday, 9/4: videotaping in the single, 8500m.

Monday, 9/6: pick drills and readjustment of height at the finish on the erg, 3143 m.

Tuesday 9/7: 1200 m on the erg plus shortish weight set. That evening, did 1110 in 5:53 on the erg - got Rudder to observe and coach.

Wednesday, 9/8: two laps in the single, 12200 m.

Thursday, 9/9: 1K warmup plus 200m cooldown plus 2x10 on erg - 1508 in 8:58 min plus extended weight session.

Friday, 9/10: 11000m in the single.

Sunday, 9/12: 12,200m in the double with R, plus 9008 in 53:12 on the erg to finish out the half-marathon.

Total YTD distance as of 9/12: 1154.0 km.

Posted by dichroic at 02:50 PM | Comments (0)

September 01, 2004

small workout entry

Thursday, 8/26: only 3K on the erg - I had the headache that led me to believe the ensuing dizziness was due to a sinus thing.

Friday, 8/27: Rerigged the single after its journey back from Tennessee and rowed one lap, about 6km.

Monday, 8/30: Rowed 2 laps, 12.2 km.

Tuesday 8/31: took the morning off because Monday like to killed me. (Rudder rowed FOUR laps Monday. Showoff.)

Wednesday 9/1: At Rudder's nagging suggestion, did a railroad bridge-to-railbroad bridge time trial, which was about 5300m in 28:41.6, avg split 2:42. Total distance 11,200m in about 70 minutes.

Total to date as of 9/1: 1080.4 km. The good news is that even with being a little behind because of the racing, I'm only 3km off where I ought to be for the end of August. Maybe I'll row 3km tonight just for the heck of it. Or not.

Posted by dichroic at 09:40 AM | Comments (0)

August 30, 2004

a Very Big Deal and a rather small conundrum

Eep. I really may be coxing in the Head of the Charles. If you are not a rower or not from Boston, let me just say this is a Very Big Event. Last year they had 300,000 spectators watching 7000 participants. And it's a coxswain's race; the river is very winding with narrow bridges followed by tight turns. There can be 75 boats in each event starting at 10-second intervals. And just to make it more complicated, I might not get to practice with this crew at all ahead of the race. Yikes.

However, I can pick the brains of Yosemite Sam and any of Coach DI's coxswains who have done this race, as well as Rudder who did it in a single and so had to both row and steer. I may be able to get in some coxing practice on one or another of the local crews, as well. It's still not definite because so many people apply that not all crews get in the race. The supposedly-random draw will be in the first week of September.

And at least I'll have no trouble exceeding the 100-lb minimum coxswain weight!

Meanwhile, a knitting conundrum, since I know several knitters read this. I want to make this poncho, which just requires a 16" by 55" square "of any yarn, any stitch". I have about 500 yards of Henry's Attic Monte Cristo, a bumpy undyed cotton yarn (boucle?). If I'd been smarter, I'd have gotten something with some wool content so it would stretch. The Monte Cristo information says it knits up at 4.5 st./in. on 7 needle. I currently have needles in sizes 5, 8, 11, and 15. What I need is advice on what stitch and needle size to use.

I want something in an open lacy knit, to let whatever I'm wearing show through and keep it cool enough to wear out here. I'm envisioning an earth-mother effect rather than anything delicate or dressy. I tried doing a small swatch of Diagonal Eyelet pattern on the sz 15 needles, but after a couple of rows it just looked like a jumbled mess and so I ripped it out. So do I need to find a tighter pattern, use smaller needles, or just stick with it longer and trust everything will look all right in the final product?

Posted by dichroic at 01:33 PM | Comments (0)

August 25, 2004

workout entry

Drat! The last workout record I can find ends August 10. I didn't leave for the races until over a week later on the 18, and I'm pretty sure I didn't take the whole previous week off. What must have happened was that since my paper rowing / erg log lives in my gym bag, I never got around to writing down Wednesday and Friday's rows. I'll have to estimate distances using some very vague memories and a knowledge of the workout schedule.

Tuesday, 8/10: Did 1200m warmup and then a 1K test piece, because a) it was far enough before the races not to hurt, b) I'd missed the previous Friday, and c) I wasn't thrilled with my 1K time the week before. 1K time was 4:27.2, my best in a couple of years but not best ever.

Wednesday, 8/11: Rudder's schedule said to do 3 1K pieces on the water - I usually only do 2 laps to his 3 so decided to just do 2 pieces, on the theory that anything more wouldn't really be tapering for me. (That's one of the very vague memories referenced above.) I'll guess about 9000m for the row.

Thursday: No gym, due to tapering.

Friday, 8/13: 3 sets of 3 x 1' on, 1' off, with the "on" parts of each set simulating the start, middle, and end of a race. Best guess is about 7000m. That day we loaded the boats on the trailer for Nationals, so I didn't do anything the next week.

Thursday 8/19 - Sunday 8/22: I'm estimating 32 km over the race, including rowing to the start, warmups, racing, rowing back in, and all those many many walks from the peninsula back to the boats.

Wednesday, 8/25: On the erg, 1K warmup, 1K with resistance at 10 and rate under 14. On weights, 1 set of 25 on each exercise with as little resting as possible.

Total distance for year as of 8/25: 1048.7

Posted by dichroic at 01:23 PM | Comments (0)

August 24, 2004


Here's what I posted to the Boathouse LJ Community:
Masters Nationals are done - loads of fun. Thusday was the worst, weather-wise - so hot and humid we were all wiped by the end of the day. Friday and part of Saturday we had some rain, but fortunately no thunder (well, only early Sat., well before the races) and Sunday was cloudy so those days were all nice and cool. Competition seemed to be at a higher level than last year, but of the five who went from my lake we came home with medals for one of the mixed doubles (bronze), one of the men's doubles (bronze) and the W1xD (gold), and I got to row finals in all my races (two went straight there, one we had to race a heat). We also got to see old friends from other clubs and hook up with a few nonrowing friends who came out to watch, so it was a good time. Did anyone else here go?

PS: Any of you juniors who want coxing experience, that may be the place to get it. There was one kid, I think from Long Beach RA, who coxed 18 events over the 4 days!

Some other things I didn't mention there:
The regatta site has sort of an inlet into which boats are lauched, with a peninsula in front of it where we sat to watch the races. (There are photos here.) That meant that every time one of us was in a race, I'd walk around to help them put in, walk out to watch or videotape the race, then walk back to help them get the boat and oars out. Lots and lots of distance covered. (Speaking of which, I need to figure a rough estimate of distance covered to post over at Fivehundred.) It was interesting to see what happened to my body in four days during which I was mostly either rowing or walking. Depending on whether you trust the regatta scale or my Tanita scale at home, I lost either two pounds or none but about 2% body fat. I'm inclined to believe the latter partly because I know what I originally weighed on it but also because one day there I ended doing a lot of running, braless*. One calf began to hurt from running in flipflops but the adipose tissue didn't ache at all, oddly enough.

*Stupid regatta rule: we found out after we got there that all crews except composite ones were sternly required to wear matching colored shirts. Apparently they think this is necessary to tell crews apart "because it's too hard to see the bow numbers". Since we didn't know this before hand and didn't want to wear the same uni two sweaty days in a row, and because one of the local clubs had borrowed one of my unis and lost it so I didn't have one to match what She-Hulk was wearing that day, I had to buy a navy top. Since all my unis have built-in shelf bras, I didn't have a spare sports bra along. At least rowing is low-impact. I'm not sure why I think it matters to write this all out, but anyway.

I'm definitely a bit squirrelly, being back to the desk job. I was tired enough to be able to sleep on the second half of the plane ride yesterday -- we spent the first half getting acquiainted with and then talking about boats for future regattas with the rower across the aisle -- but now I've rested I'm definitely not in sitting still mode. I do wish my job were a bit less sedentary (while still reasonably challenging, lucrative, and satisfying - the above definitely feels like one of those "be careful what you wish for" statements).

Oh and speaking of challenging, one possible result of yesterday's airplane discussion is that I just might end up coxing a boat at the Head of the Charles in October, a prospect to strike fear in the heart of any cox with skills as rusty as mine. If so, I'm going to pick Yosemite Sam's brains and get in some practice on local crews. I think it's likely to come to nothing, especially as I was honest that I thought she could get someone with more relevant experience. Still, it might be fun, if scary to be in that race, and it would be fun to cox a strong and nonwhiny women's crew, as this one appears to be. That would make planning my fall training interesting, if I ended up doing both that in October and doing the marathon regatta in November.

I'm waiting until tonight to make the obligatory "Mom, we're back" call, in hoipes she'll have talked to my uncle by then. I'm curious to see what he thought of the whole thing. We did get to spend a lot of time talking to him and I think he enjoyed a few of the characters he met there. Unfortunately we had to be running around a lot while Mechaieh was there and I think she was feeling a bit groggy, but at least she got a nice cool day to sit back by a lake and watch the boats go by.

Yes. Definitely fidgety. Two meetings and about three hours until time to go home. Tick tick tick tick.....

Posted by dichroic at 02:11 PM | Comments (0)

August 23, 2004

pour l'amour ou pour le sport

I can report that it is a lot more fun to compete in the Masters National Championship Regatta, even when finishing DFL, than it is to be a spectator. And I didn't only finish DFL, either. Of my three I got into finals in all three of my events. The two singles races didn't have enough competitors to force us into heats, but in the doubles race I rowed with She-Hulk, we did have heats races. There were four competitors in our heat, so we'd have only had to beat one boat to advance to finals, but one boat scratch so all three of us were in. (We still had to race, but nobody was pulling all out since it didn't matter.) We've have been in anyway, though, because we beat one of the other boats in the event. Just to prove it, we beat them again in the finals race on Sunday.

(Er, were you all paying attention there? WE BEAT A BOAT!!!!!!!!)

Rowing's infrastructure is inherently different that footballbasketballbaseballhockey. The people in it are playing for passion, not money, and most of the people watching will be rowing in the next race or the one after that. I mean, I'm not particularly fast. In golf terms, I'm a duffer. I compete at local Masters events; this was my first Nationals. And yet, piddler that I am, I've been coached by Olympians, including a gold medal winner. I was sitting next to a National team member (and his father, a former Olympian) this morning at breakfast before catching the plane home. They're not different species to me, the way a pro baseball player is to a Little Leaguer. I can see the continuity and the clear path from me to them.

I think it's the same in a lot of the other obscure Olympic sports - even in the two semesters of fencing I took in college, I was coached by an Olympian. I think sort of thing may be true in soccer in some countries - there are local kids clubs, and local adult clubs and then there are better and better ones so that there's a continuum from the kid learning to play to the Olympians. People are in their sports for passion, not money, and they're performing for themselves and for all the others who share their passion, not putting on a show for a disinterested audience. None of which is to say it wouldn't be nice if the top rowers could make lots of money. The only sports I can think of that combine the continuum with the big money at the top are golf and tennis, where everyone knows where they rank and how much better they'd need to do to play with the big boys and girls - and even there, the women's winnings usually aren't nearly on a par (er, sorry) with the men's. It makes the sports a lot more interesting, at least to me.

It was a good four days. I got to hang out with my uncle and Mechaieh, who came out to watch. We did a lot of networking with people from other rowing clubs (important so we can put boats together for other regattas). We met a 70-year-old woman rower from Alaska, who was there on her own and was delighted to find a group to be adopted by. I got critiqued by a four-time Olympian (Bulgaria, 1970s and 1980s) who rows on our lake but not usually when we're out there: "Your form is good but you need to train harder." (Sigh.) She-Hulk and I came in only 5 seconds slower than she did in another doubles race with a (much bigger) woman from another club. And we beat a boat!

Posted by dichroic at 05:48 PM | Comments (0)

August 16, 2004

regatta, mostly

OKsonorowingtodayortomorrowandthenweflyouttoOakRidgefortheraces. Yeah, I'm tapering, can you tell? That's about the way I feel: no spaces between words. It's not too bad at the moment; hopefully the nervous energy will get much worse and I'll be dying to do something by the time of my first race on Thursday.

The weekend involved sleeping, finishing the purse, getting two and a half stripes into my Gryffindor scarf, and watching much Olympics including lots of artificially inflated drama. The low point so far in that respect was in the men's beach volleyball: "And he's got sand in his EYE!! Will he be able to get it out???" Ye gods. Ye Greek gods, in specific. Perhaps a thunderbolt or so would help?

Schedule for this week is as follows:

We fly out Wednesday. I've got one heat each on Thursday and Friday mornings and then one race that goes straight to a final on Saturday. If I come in in the first three in a heat, I could have an additional race on Saturday or Sunday. Rudder has about three races each day and I fully expect him to make it into all of his finals. If you really really care, you can watch the results in almost real time at Racetrak We will be racing under the name "Tempe Junior Crew" (TJC) -- it's a long story -- or you can email me if you want our actual last names so you can tell which of us is which. And on the weekend, we've got friends and relations coming in, so it should be lots of fun all around.

Posted by dichroic at 01:20 PM | Comments (0)

August 09, 2004

workout entry

Saturday, 7/31: 1600m erg plus weights. Since it was later in the day and I wasn't groggy, I was able to do increased weights on almost everything.

Monday, 8/2: 12 racing starts with high 15, first three with bungee. Total about 11000m and I was wiped at the end. Very hot.

Tuesday, 8/3: 1600m erg plus weights. Did a pretty good job of keeping the higher weights from Saturday.

Wednesday, 8/4: Erged 3K warmup, 3K race piece, 1K rest, 2K race piece, 1K rest, 1K race piece, 1K cooldown. Set PR for year to date on 1K, 4:31, but have done better previous years. I think slides slow me down.

Thursday, 8/5: 1800m erg plus weights -- my usual erg wamrup, but then two women asked us to show them how to do it right. They were on for quite a while after and seemed to really like erging.

Friday, 8/6: Bad girl. Didn't row due to IBS, tried unsuccessfully to go back to sleep.

Saturday, 8/7: Tinkered with boat - swapped in new slides, oarlocks, small vent, connector for larger vent, and seat wheels.

Monday, 8/9: Very *very* hot. Boat equipment worked well, but I did have a catastrophic equipment failure. As I was heading back east on my first lap, doing racing starts, I stopped to swig some water only to find (quelle horreur!) my new water bottle's top had come off and all my life-giving water was swirling around the bottom of the boat. Oh, no! What to do? There was no way I'd survive rowing without water on a day that hot. I thought fast, and rowed slowly. At first I contemplated just doing one lap and only 6 of my planned 12 starts. Then I had an idea! I was just coming up on the new marina, which has actual flush toilets, and I realized that meant it probably had water fountains too. Was my wild surmise correct? I had a struggle to find out! First, that dock is supposedly designed for rowing shells but is very difficult to land on. Second, for some reason there's no direct path from the dock to the facilities. Yet I persevered, crossing a wide stretch of cement, gravel, and grass in my bare feet, luckily without encountering any sharp objects with my tender soles. My efforts were crowned by success! There was a drinking fountain - in fact there were two! I was able to fill my bottle, recap it firmly and continue on my way, after once again hazarding my feet on the way back. To be sure, the water was unfiltered, meaning it tasted bad (we have terrible water here and no one drinks it without filtering) and was chunkier than water really ought to be. Still it was wet and presumably safe. My practice was saved!

Short translation: I had a bit of equipment trouble but managed to get in 11 starts, about 9000m.

YTD distance as of Monday: 986.5 km.

Posted by dichroic at 02:07 PM | Comments (0)

July 30, 2004

workout entry

Thursday, 7/23: erg 1600 m plus weights

Friday, 7/24: 4x3'2'1'2'3, 2 with bungee at rates of 24, 28, 32, 2 without at 26, 30, 34. Dratted wakes make those high rates difficult. Total distance approx 13, 500m.

Monday, 7/26: steady state erg 12000m

Tuesday, 7/27: erged 1600m plus weights plus erged 2000m

Wednesday, 7/28: rowed 5x500m race pieces, with 5' rest between - total about 10000m.

Thursday, 7/29: needed sleep!

Friday, 7/30: 750m, 6' rest, 500m, 4' rest, 250m (actually, that last 250 was 125 and 125 because I had to stop in the middle to help another rower who had flipped figure out how to get back into his boat). Total about 9500m.

May go to the gym tomorrow to make up for missing Thursday.
Total for year to date: 951.1 km.

Posted by dichroic at 04:35 PM | Comments (0)

July 23, 2004

something I may live to regret

Uh-oh. I just did something I may live to regret.

I asked one of the local rowers if he wanted to row a double in the Natchitoches marathon this year. Oops. It just sort of slipped out.

In my defense, this is not a competitive sort of guy. He did the marathon last year in his single and finished in about 6 hours, twice as long as Rudder and She-Hulk took. Apparently he stopped a few times, to rest, chat with the locals, and use their bathrooms - just a leisurely weekend row down a pretty river.

Er, for twenty-six miles.

Still, if we take it easily, I ought to survive it. I've done many a half-marathon on the erg - I can do those in under two hours, though everything takes a little longer in a boat. And as I told him, with two of us in the boat, we might be able to break five hours. With bathroom breaks of course.

We talked about this only briefly, because he was heading out on the water as I was coming in, but later She-Hulk, who came in just after me, told me he'd had one more idea. We have five-pointed stars in the middle of our oars, because they're painted like the Arizona state flag (so are our boats and unis). He suggested that he an I replace those with six-pointed stars, the Star of Davi, because we'd probably be "the only Jew boat in Louisiana". Probably not true, given Tulane's student demograpics, but still pretty funny.

Twenty-six miles, with Jewish stars. Vey is mir. (Not so much the stars as the miles. )

Posted by dichroic at 12:58 PM | Comments (0)

July 21, 2004

workout entry

Friday, 7/16: tapering for race, so did a 1K race piece, racing against Rudder and She-Hulk. In near-perfect (but hot!) conditions, my time was 4:40. Total was about 4500m.

Sunday, 7/18: Raced in WLt1xB, W2xB, Mx4xC in Southwest Masters Regionals. Total, with rowing to start, from finish and warmups, about 8000m.

Tuesday, 7/21: We unloaded the boats, washed and rigged them.

Wednesday, 7/22: Erged 2 x 4'3'1'2'3'4 at rates of 18, 22, 26, 30 and then 20, 24, 28, 32, plus 1K each warmup and cooldown, total 9008 m.

The fivehundred website hasn't been working right this month, so I'm going to list my total distance for the year in here as well to keep things straight. My goal is 1000 miles for the year. Ergs and boat computers (Strokecoaches) measure in meters, so I'm recording kilometers instead of miles - 1 mi = 1.609 km so the goat is 1609 km for the year.

I googled up at saved version of the fivehundred page and found I had a total distance for year was 847.3 km as of 7/2. The previous workout entry brings it to 879.3 km as of 7/15, and I've gone back and put these totals in that entry (along with a reasonable guess as to what I did on the Friday before vacation, since I didn't record that anywhere, but I'm sure I rowed). As of today, 7/21, my total for the year is 900.9 km. That's 56% of goal, pretty much on track - I need 58% by the end of this month and there are four rowing and three gym days scheduled between now and then.

Posted by dichroic at 11:21 AM | Comments (0)

July 20, 2004

sixty- eight years and forty two seconds

There are a lot of songs about aging couples who gently dance their way into the sunset of their lives. (If you haven't come across any, you may be listening to the sort of music that celebrates only young love. This can be depressing as you age, so you might want to branch out.) In the songs, they always sound like such gentle people, swaying leisurely to a private melody.

The couple I met this weekend wasn't anything like that. Winnie and Dave may dance, for all I know, but when I met them they weren't being particularly gentle or leisurely. What they were being, was fierce and full-bore alive. No gentle wasting into the sunset here.

She is 68, and he's in his 70s. I know her age exactly, because that's what determined her forty-two second handicap in our lightweight women's single race. Mine is only about two and a half seconds, so in our race she got a 39 second handicap over me - not to mention a silver medal.

He was racing too. One of their races was a double together. Being married for 43 years and still racing together is no small achievement, or maybe it's more accurate to say that racing together and still staying married for 43 years takes some doing.

When you look at them you see wrinkles, but you also see muscles. They were out there for fun, all right, but not the sort of fun where you just play around to see what happens. They were in those races to compete. He won his raceand they came in third in the double (of four boats) so they had two medals apiece -what She-Hulk likes to call "clinkage".

They're not unusually old, for the world of rowing. Kearney Johnston competed into his 90s. I hope they have a few decades ahead of them. I hope they keep charging on, out on the water in the sunrise, rather than fading out into the sunset in a gentle waltz.

I hope I can grow up to be like them.

Posted by dichroic at 04:54 PM | Comments (0)

July 19, 2004

regatta report

None of us (me, Rudder, She-Hulk) were particularly enthusiastic going in, what with one thing and another, but the regatta yesterday, whose official name is the US Rowing Southwest Regional Masters Championship, actually turned out to be a surprising lot of fun. The clubs from our area were friendlier than usual and the annoying people stayed well away from us (instead of of mooching our canopy and chairs as usual). We did have a few people sharing our shade but they were all very nice and were trying to make sure they weren't keeping anyone out of a chair. Some of them weren't rowers, just spectators, seeing a regatta for their first time, and some were people who are just starting to get really competitive. Also they helped pack up at the end of the day, which is always nice. Even better, we have people coming over to talk to us from other clubs all over, who have raced against us or hung out with us at other races. That was not only lots of fun but gave us the chance to set up a few extra boats for upcoming races and to get our boats on someone's trailer to our next race.

She-Hulk had the first race of the day, only her second ever in a single. She came in fifth overall in the official results, out of seven, but that really doesn't tell the whole story. She was fourth before they adjust for age handicaps, and since they'd combined several age categories some of the handicaps were substantial. It's not linear; the handicaps get steeper with age and she's near the inflection point, shere people only a few years older get nearly a second per year. She's still not entirely comfortable racing in a single, yet she came in (in raw time) only 4 seconds behind one woman who has won Masters Nationals, so it was a good race for her.

Next, she and I had a doubles race. We've been in a boat together exactly once since our last doubles race. This race had four entries and we tied for third. The man running the regatta doesn't like giving out medals unless you beat someone, which technically we didn't, but I think it's fair to argue we realy did earn that third, with the tie. Luckily for us, he was off somewhere and the funny and down-to-earth woman handling the 'hardware' made a command decision and gave us our bronze medals. We can't race in her age category because I'm too young or race lightweight because she's not lightweight. The former is just as well, since the C age group was actually faster than B, and we can't compare times for the latter because they didn't end up having a women's lightweight doubles race -- probably no entries. I talk about real vs adjusted time a lot, because I really believe US Rowing needs to fix their handicapping system. Clearly it's necessary to give older people some time advantage in competing with younger people, but once into the fifties and on up, the system they use is way too steep. Above a certain age you almost always win races against younger people, because the huge handicaps are just not surmountable without a gross inequity in skill. Maybe the system worked once, but these days there are too many older people who are in great shape, who have rowed for years and have great finesse, who have slowed down only moderately from their younger days. Actually, what I expect to happen is that they'll fix the system right as I reach an age where I would have benefited from it.

Rudder pretty much kicked butt in the Men's Lightweight Single, coming in first by a second in the official time, 7 seconds in real time. He usually races heavyweight also, but this time the races were too close.

I only saw the beginning of his race, because I was already on the water heading out to the start of my singles race, in which there were three boats. I got to beat someone this time! Granted, she was 68 years old, so when you add in her forty second handicap, she ended up second and I got third (and hence no medal since there was no fourth) but I was still happy that I beat her by 27.5 seconds. She's another of those who's in great shape and whose form she's had years to perfect.. The other woman came in way, way ahead of us, but since she's a national champion on the erg I'm not int he least bothered by that.

Since Rudder's usual partner in the men's doubles didn't come out for the race, he and She-Hulk decided to race in the Men's Lightweight Double as well as in the Mixed one. Unfortunately the only other boat in the Lightweight event scratched, so they got moved into the Heavyweight event, and into a younger age category. (They did get the handicap, after some discussion, but it only amount to less than four seconds.) They came in 5 of 6 in real time in a close race, only 1.1 seconds behind the third place boat, and then won third place after the times were adjusted. As you might imagine, this did embarass some of the actual men's boats in the race, especially when one rower from one of our local clubs yelled over, "Good for you beating those guys!" right in front of two of the guys involved. (Hee, hee, hee.)

They came in second in their Mixed Double event, by 3 seconds. One of their usual fiercest competitors lost a skeg and had to leave the course right before the finish - when it came off their boat turned 90 degrees) but I think they'd been ahead anyway.

Finally, I got talked into a Mixed Quad in the last race of the day. I really didn't want to do it, as at leat one of the people involved was one I don't have much opinion of, but it turned out to be fun. It was about the most bizarre lineups you can imagine, put together at the last minute: me in bow, a medium slightly pudgy 58 year old man in two seat who learned to row back in his youth but these days is a bit short on endurance, a 30-year-old woman about twice my size (almost literally) in three who rowed at a high level in college but is still new to rowing with two oars instead of one, and another 58-year-old man, medium height and stringy, who rowed in the Olympics for Russia in a distant past. The guy in two, who had assembled the crew, set the strategy and it was a bizarre one, involving a start without the usual ten high-speed strokes to really get the boat moving, a sprint for the entire last half of the race instead of the last 200 meters, and a rate so high that I doubt the bigger people in the boat could get full strength into each stroke. But for all that, it was still fun; a quad moves much faster than the single I'm usually in and if we were rushing too fast at least we were together and set reasonably well. We came in a full half minute behind the other boat in our race, but the nice thing about last-minute crews is not having to take them seriously. Then we found for some some reason the official finish didn't include our handicap time. I was going to protest, until I realized it wouldn't make any difference since it would only have been 12 seconds or so.

So all in all it was a fun race. Rudder, She-Hulk and I shared a hotel room which always feels odd - I'm sort of past the age and payscale where that's just normal -- but she's a good and considerate roommate, and none of us snore or hog the bathroom so that's all right. We talked so much in the car on the six-hour drives that we never did put on any music or the lecture CD we'd brought. I did realize the one impediment to my strategy of learning to knit so I could do it in the car on long trips, and it's rather a big one: night. It was about 5:00 by the time we left. Then we had to grab subs for dinner and then it took me three or four tries to cast on, figuring out the right length of yarn tail to leave and how many stitches I'd need for a 6" wide piece. The latter involved knitting a couple of rows and having to pull the whole thing. By the time it got too dark to see, I'd only gotten about three rows done. But I did finish the dishrag on the way in Saturday, so by Rudder's grandmother's scale that's a one-dishrag distance, at least more me at this level of skill. It has a few flaws, but looks much better than the last one.

Posted by dichroic at 01:48 PM | Comments (1)

July 15, 2004

workout entry

Monday, 6/28: 10 1K pieces on the erg. Best piece was 4:34, about 10 sec above my PR, but then again I wasn't feeling great and ended up taking a sick day.

Tuesday, I more intelligently skipped my gym workout.

Wednesday, 7/1: workout log says 9600m in the single - I htink this is the day I tried Rudder's single, because I wanted to see if I could race it instead of mine in Masters' Nationals, in case it would be easier to have fewer boats to transport.

Thursday, 7/2: erg and weights.

Friday, 7/3: 12000m in the single, but I'm just guessing because I didn't record it at the time.

Tuesday, 7/6: We went to the in-laws' gym, which turned out to have brand new Model D ergs. I did my usual 1600m warmup, weights (that equipment was much less impressive) and then an extra 1500m afterward.

Wednesday, 7/7: Did a yoga class with my MIL, then another 1K on the erg while waiting for Rudder to finish his erg piece.

Thursday, 7/8: About a mile walk in Newport, OR. (OK, actually we walked to the restaurant, then out to get a bottle of wine. But it was at least a mile.)

Friday, 7/9: Two-mile walk on the beach. That jetty was a lot further away than it looked.

Saturday, 7/8: One-mile walk on the beach.

Tuesday, 7/13: Usual erg piece plus weights. Pleased to find I didn't have to go lighter on any weights after the break.

Wednesday, 7/14: Couldn't row due to lightning.

Thursday, 7/15: Make-up row, tapering for race. 3 time 3 x 1 min on, 1 min off. On each set, first piece simulates start of race, second piece is steady state (middle of race), last piece is final sprint.

Total distance for year was 847.3 km as of 7/2. This brings it to 879.3 km as of 7/15.

Posted by dichroic at 10:46 AM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2004


I recently remarked in an email to someone that I think any healthy person should be able to walk a couple of miles without breaking much of a sweat - for clarity, I'll stipulate this is on relatively level ground (I mean, not climbing up a mountain, though some slope would be OK), on a comfortably cool day, and not carrying more than, say, a light daypack or purse. In my view, someone who can't do this has some sort of health problem, though of course the specific problem could be anything from heart disease to back trouble to paralyzed legs to bad asthma to just being terribly out of shape.

By that definition, I'm in decent shape. (Of course -- would I make up a test I would fail?) It got me thinking, though, that I might not be in good shape by other people's standards. On any given day (well, any day where it's not too hot) in the shape I'm in this minute, I can go climb Camelback Mountain (about a mile up and a mile down, nearly 1000' elevation gain) or hike around Usury Peak (7 miles, ups and downs). I can row 15 km in a boat (well, I might get blisters, not having been on the water for a week) or erg half a marathon (21,097 meters) or bike 10 miles (on my mountain bike on flattish trail or pavement). But could I run a mile? Maybe. Probably yes, but it would be a slow jog and I wouldn't enjoy it much. I could do the run-walk thing for a couple of miles, I think, but by the end it would be more walk than run. Could I swim a mile? I have no idea. I'm sure I could if I can vary my stroke, by which I mean if things like floating on my back and kicking count as "swimming". I don't think I could crawl-stroke that distance without really hating it. Yet my mother-in-law does 50 laps three times a week. I'm sure there are people for whom a mile in the water is the minimum definition of "fit".

At any rate, my body doesn't keep me from doing the things I want to do, at a reasonable level (meaning, assuming I just want to be in a race, not win one) so I suppose I count as fit enough by the only standard that's important.

Posted by dichroic at 05:27 PM | Comments (2)

July 02, 2004

workout entry

Monday, 6/28: 10 x one thousand meter pieces on the erg - fastest time was 4:34. (About 10 sec below my PR :-( but I was still dealing with dehydration and ended up going home sick that day.)

Tuesday, 6/29: walked 1 mile.

Wednesday, 6/30: Rowed about 9500m in the single.

Thursday, 7/1: 1613 m on the erg, the usual gym piece, plus weights. Also walked 1.5 miles.

Friday, 7/2: 11 racing starts with 5 min rest between, about 10500m, in Rudder's single. (To see if I'd be able to race in it at Nationals, so we'd have one less boat to take.)

Posted by dichroic at 10:09 AM | Comments (0)

June 25, 2004

workout entry

Monday, 6/21: Rowed 12,600m in the single; 80% at low rate with 8x7on, 7 off at each end of the lake. Also walked approx 1 mile.

Tuesday: Gym. Usual erg piece at 1612m in 9:43, plus erged 2017 in 10:57 after weights. Took leg press up to 175, calf raise to 235 or so.

Wednesday: Rowed 10,500m in the single - drills and starts. Didn't download start data, but several start times got into the 1:40s for splits - fastest I saw was 1:43.

Skipped Thursday - tired and had 7AM telecon.

Friday: Telecommuting so could row longer. 14,100m in the single - 3x4'3'2'1'2'3'4'(5) at rates of 20,24,28,32,28,24,20. This puts me over 500 miles for the year -- halfway to 1000 mile goal with another week left in June!

Posted by dichroic at 10:15 AM | Comments (0)

June 19, 2004

workout entry

Tuesday, 6/15: erg and weights. Usual erg piece, 1620 in 9:34, plus an additional 2207m after lifting.

Wednesday, 6/16: 12 racing starts in the single, with bungee - approx 11,500m.

Friday, 6/18: double with She-Hulk. 3 sets of 3x 1'on, 1' off, start, middle, end of race sets, 5' rest between sets.

Saturday, 6/19: erg and weights: 1500m + 2x10 for a total of 1819 on 10:16, plus extra weights because of having more time on a weekend day. Also, walking hills in Jerome.

Posted by dichroic at 10:00 PM | Comments (0)

June 14, 2004

workout entry

Friday, 6/4: 14000m in the single, including 12 racing starts with bungee on the boat.

Monday, 6/7: 12, 200m in the single.

Tuesday: 1651 in 9:18 on the erg - the usual warmup for weights, 1K + 300 cooldown + 2 x 10 erg squats -- then weights. Pulled a thigh muscle.

Wednesday, 6/9: 11000 in the single, 4x11, first two with bungee on, 3,2,1,2,3 min at 22, 26, 30, 36, 22 spm, then 24, 28, 32, 28, 24 spm. Second two without bungee, 24, 28, 32, 28, 24 spm then 36, 30, 34, 30, 26 spm. Difficult to handle the high rating with launch wakes messing up my set.

Thursday, 6/10: 1614 in 9:28 (usual warmup, then weights, then 2012m in 11:13.

Friday, 6/11: HALF MARATHON! 21097m in 2:12:35.6.

Saturday: Sawed down trees on the property.

Monday: 12, 500m in the single, 80% at slow rate. Average split 2:53.

Posted by dichroic at 12:51 PM | Comments (1)

June 03, 2004

for the strivers

Writing an online journal is generally a mental sort of activity but this entry is a paean to the purely physical. People who like long distance workouts keep telling me they get their body moving and just zone out. I generally don't (one reason I don't do endurance well) but yesterday during my second lap I came as close as I ever have to that state and I can see the appeal. I was working hard, feeling my body move in rhythm, thinking desultorily about other things while I corrected details of my stroke, feeling strong and fluid and controlled. I could get to like that.

I rarely read about adults, especially women, who are not just working out but who are doing more than trying to look good or even feel good, who are striving to do something with their bodies rather than to their bodies. So this entry is a shout-out to all those who are trying to get faster or stronger, go farther or do better, those who know what it's like to push and try and sweat and sometimes see results. It's for all those women who regularly kick my butt in races and show me how much better I can be, and for all those athletes in college and high school who are young and enjoying their strength and skill -- I hope they grow to be old and still building skills and enjoying the rhythm and strength of their bodies. "There's nothing quite like six across and flat out" -- and knowing this is what all that training was for.

It's also for those who aren't trying to win any races, but who push their bodies so they can enter into the world outside, to see and feel and be and do what's out there, what's over the next mountain or around the next corner. And mostly it's for me and all the other bodies out there striving, seeking, sweating, and trying not to yield.

Posted by dichroic at 02:54 PM | Comments (2)

workout entry

Friday, 5/27: 12.2 m in the single

Monday, 5/31: Memorial Day -- no work so I did three laps instead of the usual two. Yay me!
Tuesday, 6/1: ... but then vegged out on Tuesday's workout. The gym opened later because of the holiday anyway.
Wednesday, 6/2: 12.2 m in the single, with a bungee on the boat to add drag for the first lap.
Thursday, 6/3: Gym, erg, weights, more erg. Been getting up at 4:30 instead of 5 for the gym and it makes a big difference: about 12 exercises instead of 8, plus abs. The usual 1609m erg warmup (1K plus 300 cooldown plus 2x10 erg strength) plus another 2600 afterward: one min each at 2:50, 2:40, 2:30, 2:20, 2:20, 2:30, 2:40, and repeat.

Posted by dichroic at 01:11 PM | Comments (0)

May 27, 2004

age is relative

The following is verbatim from the ergfreaks community at LiveJournal:

"You were born in 1990? Good LORD! I feel so old! I was born in '84 and my little brother was born in '90. Of course now he's almost as tall as I am, but the point still stands."
I graduated high school in 1984. I realize someone out there is probably reading this and thinking, "She think's she's old??? I graduated high school / had children / was working for a living before she was born!" It may comfort you to when I say that no, I don't think I'm old at 37. If that 20-year-old collegiate rower stays with the sport after graduation, in a few years she too will be a masters rower and will look forward to aging because she'll get better handicaps.

We compete by age category, so if you're say, 45, you are a C and compete against all the other Cs. However, if a regatta doesn't have enough people in a category to run a separate race -- which happens more and more as the age increases -- they'll combine categories and handicap by age. In that singles race I lost on Sunday, the 2nd place finisher was a woman in her fifties who had a 19 second handicap over me. I could do much better in races with a 19 second handicap, and I hope that eventually I will.

There is also the common tendency to feel freer to speak out as one ages. I'm not especially looking looking forward to that, because I've been speaking out all my life. What I am looking forward to is having it be expected of me and more accepted in me.

I don't like feeling I'm becoming conventional and over-civilized; it's something I watch for in myself. It's a balance, though; being weird for the sake of weirdness is silly and being rude because you think you're too special to be bound by conventions is crass. The nicest thing Rudder has ever said to me was when he tried to describe me in one word and came up with "free-spirited". I keep thinking of Richard Thompson's "Beeswing" and its portrait of a free spirit grown old:

And they say her flower is faded now
Hard weather and hard booze
But maybe that's just the price you pay
For the chains you refuse
She was a rare thing, fine as a beeswing
And I miss her more than words could ever say
If I could just taste all of her wildness now
If I could hold her in my arms today
Then I wouldn't want her any other way
The woman in the song gave up love for freedom. I don't want to go that far. I've chosen the chains of love, not to mention the boundaries of stable employment. If not for the former, I'd have been out of Phoenix long since; instead I'll be here until I convince him to leave with me. (There are worse places.)

This is one reason I like rowing: I can do it as long as I'm reasonably able -- we've seen rowers as old as 91 not only practice but actually compete -- and it rewards age with the handicap system. I refuse to regret aging (though I may regret some of the physical symptoms). An integral part of that, for me, is making sure I don't bore myself as I age, that I season and maybe even mellow but don't retreat from living. For me that means I need to keep a bit of a feral spark under whatever veneer or actual refinements are required for daily function.

I will take my motto from Shakespeare: "Though she be but little, yet she is fierce."

Posted by dichroic at 03:16 PM | Comments (2)

workout entry

Been a while since I did one of these - races, what with the tapering and the traveling and the recuperating, really throw my training out of whack. Of course, it's also what my trianing is for.

Monday, 5/17: Began taper for race. Three sets of 1 on, 1 off, 5 min rest between sets. About 10K total.
Tuesday: I think I skipped the gym.
Wednesday 5/19: 2 or 3 300m race pieces. ABout 6K (one lap) total.
Thursday: Load boats on Hummer.
Fri-Sat: Drive to Sacramento.
Sunday 5/23: 1K race in single, 1K race in double, 300m dash in single. I figure about 10K on the water, along with more walking than I do all year, as is usual at regattas.

Monday 5/24: drive home.
Tuesday: much-needed sleep.
Wednesday: rig boat, row 1 lap (6K), touch up chipped paint.
Thursday: Back into it. Usual erg warmup (1K plus 300 cooldown plus 2x10 erg strength), weights, then an extra 3K. Coach Rudder thinks I should do less lifting, more water and erg time, since endurance is my week point.

Posted by dichroic at 01:35 PM | Comments (0)

May 14, 2004

workout entry

Tuesday, 5/11: Slept in.
Wednesday, 5/12: a total of around 10K in the single, including two 1000m race pieces. Faster one was 4:42. Got a duck egg!
Thursday, 5/13: Gym, 1.6K on the erg and weights to failure on just a few machines - tapering for race. Also walked about 3K.
Friday, 5/14: About 10 K in the single -- 10 racing starts with 4 min paddle and rest between. Leapfrogged with double. Also walked 2.4 K.

Posted by dichroic at 03:00 PM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2004

workout entry

Rudder was away for work but I was a good girl even without having his alarm waking me.

Tuesday, 5/4: Gym. Erged 1600m (1K + 300 cooldown + 2x10 'erg squats'.

Wednesday, 5/5: Two 2000m race pieces and yes I did both. I let off a little in the first half of the second one, concentrating on smoothness, but I gave up and just pulled hard when Yosemite Sam and his damned launch took off just ahead of me providing wake for the whole last half.

Thursday, 5/6: Slept in. (See Saturday)

Friday, 5/7: Two 1K pieces, 4:40 and 4:39, and a 300m race with She-Hulk. She beat me by about 10 seconds, which was disappointing -- I'd hoped to be within 5 for that short piece.

Saturday: Went to the gym to make up for Thursday. Usual erg piece and then because I had time I went to town and did every weight I ever even look at normally: angled leg press, plie squats, seated leg press, leg abductors and adductors, 45-degree donkey calf, leg curl and extension, pulldown, seated row, 2 pullups (unassisted, thank you very much), triceps dip, bench press, shoulder press, trunk twist (whatever that's really called), bicep curls, skullcrushers. I did each with one light set of 10 and one set to failure, except the plie squats and the trunk twist (too easy to get hurt). FInished with the usual back extensions, crunches, and stretches. Surprisingly unsore on Sunday.

Monday, 5/10: 12.4 km at 80%, low rate. Way too hot by 6AM.

Posted by dichroic at 02:47 PM | Comments (0)

May 03, 2004

workout entry

Wednesday 4/26: erged instead of rowing -- got a late start, got all the way out to the lake and decided my stomach still wasn't settled enough. Instead of doing starts as planned, I did 1Ks -- I'd been needing to before the races. 1K warmup, 1K on (4:28.9!!), 2K off, 1K on (only about 4:48), 1K cooldown.

Thursday: We both decided to sleep in and skip the gym. Snuggling in your sleep is good for the soul, if not the biceps. Walked 2.7K at lunch.

Friday: Did those starts I missed on Wednesday: 1: start + high 10; 2: start + high 10, settle for 10; 3 through 7: start + high 10; 8 through 12: start + high 20 because that's the start I'll do for the 49er Dash (300 meters) at the Gold Rush. Downloaded and plotted data. Walked 2.4K at lunch.

Saturday: Dug holes for some more plants. Some of our soil is NOT cooperative!

Sunday: Mall walking. Carrying shopping bags, of course.

Monday: 4x300, with long rests between, for a total of 12,200m. Walked 2.4K at lunch.

Posted by dichroic at 01:29 PM | Comments (0)

April 27, 2004

workout entry

I last wrote up workouts last Wednesday...

Thursday 4/22: Decided I needed sleep more than exercise; slept until 6 but did do the erg part of my normal gym workout: 1600 km including a 1K, 300 cooldown, 2x10 erg strength

Friday: got moving too late, went back to bed. Did walk about 1 mile at lunchtime.

Saturday: We had rented the launch and scheduled a videotaping session, only to find the roughest water there I'd seen in a while. I was afraid we wouldn't be able to tell much about technique, but we went out anyway -- it turned out to be kind of fun, in a rough-seas pirate kind of way (Arrr!) and and a good challenge to keep any kind of form in those waters. We were afraid it would only get worse, so (the very rusty) T2 went first -- that turned out to be a mistake, as She-Hulk, who was last, had much calmer water. I was in the middle, and and was on the water for the worst of it, though it might have been a trifle calmer during my actual filming. There is still that weird shoulder wiggle, but my blade depth is much improved and catches are only occasionally a little late now, so that's good. The wiggle will have less influence on speed than the other things, anyway. Ended up doing 9200 meters and my forearms and abs felt *quite* worked out in those waves. It would have been a great day to kayak, and some people in ourigger canoes appeared to be enjoying themselves.

Sunday: Rudder and I planted about 12 plants of varying sizes and filled in the trench behind them.

Monday: Had an 8AM meeting, damnit. Rowed 9500 meters with a couple of starts. Logged it as 10K on Marn, I adapted my weight sets. But I don't entirely trust that article because it's one of those patronizing ones that starts off assuring women that they won't get all buff and overgrown like those big rough manly men. Screw that -- I'm not going to get upset at any musculature that shows up here, and I can't imagine there are any women who are the least interested in fitness who haven't by now heard tht message. (I know a few who don't believe it, but that's another story.) So I compromised: On each exercise, I did one set of ten well within my limits (e.g. 70 on a lat pulldown, 115 on a leg press, or 70 (80?) on the outer thigh machine) and one at a weight where I would hit failure in that 8-12 rep range (turned out to be 120 on the pulldown, 155 on the leg press (I did a few at 175, too), 110 on the outer thigh. I also did shoulder presses, low row, bench press, calf raises, inner thigh, bicep curl and skullcrushers -- should probably have written all down at the weights where I hit failure.

Posted by dichroic at 09:59 AM | Comments (0)

April 21, 2004


First day back on the water after being sick. 9500 meters, working on technique.

Gym. Erged 1K + 100 cooldown plus 2x10 at high resistance low rate + another 100 cooldown. Basic weight workout.

Didn't feel well so I erged instead of rowing. Did Rudder's scheduled workout: 5x5'on, 8'off. The 5' on were 2'1'1'1' at rate of 26, 28, 30, 32. Ended up with about 10200m.

Warning: TMI below cut tag. Incidentally, I weighed myself after waking up, and again while waiting for the shower to hear up, after bathroom and erging. Lost 1.5 lbs in the process, and that's with drinking water during the workout. Let's just say I don't think it was due to sweat - no wonder I didn't feel well! IBS is just so much fun.

Posted by dichroic at 02:40 PM | Comments (0)