Friday, June 30, 2006

Keeps on rolling

I went back to check on the previously injured Ultimate Olympian, and found that he is very much back in action and in the swing of it (yes, he's tackling tennis... sorry for the pun!!!).

My wife has a new challenge and blog following it - Lone Sculler.

It seems summer is reaching a peak of new activities... I really must find myself one :o)

Thursday, June 29, 2006

8's demons

Took a slot in an 8 last night to try to exorcise some of my big boat demons... I got plonked in stroke which helped. For a somewhat new crew it came together very nicely, and I got to relax a bit and feel the balance and run of the boat. Trying to feel where and who was doing good and bad things behind me. It was excellent experience and a good workout.

I feel more relaxed again now about getting back in an 8 :o)

Training otherwise this week has been haphazard... did a goodish erg and ROWperfect session on Tuesday, and might be on the water tonight. Cycling to and from work in top gear is getting easier and I think my leg length is still improving - if only my shoulders would follow suit :o)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Training Plan B

I think I need to do more rowing specific training and the key word there is specific... I need a plan... lets call it "plan B".

One thought for plan B is to train in the morning before work, a time when I am mentally fresher and can relax into sessions. I have yet to decide where to do these sessions, the work gym costs a small fee for every use, whilst as a member of the rowing club their gym is free. Facilities though not crash hot at either, are probably better in work... but as the point of the plan is specific then I guess the club is the logical choice.

I have only now to work out the whys and whens... I hope to incorporate some use the ROWperfect machine in regular sessions...

Monday, June 26, 2006

Ironbridge Regatta - Racing angry

The weekends regatta in Ironbridge was great, fantastic organisation, great camping, good company, great weather... all the way around fab.

My problem came with the frustrations of racing, it was my first regatta in stroke so I was already putting myself under-pressure.

Mentally I caved in over the course of the weekend... the first race I felt good and confident, so much so I felt like winking at the cox as if to say "got this covered" on the start line. We won that race well.

The second race on the Saturday (second round), I was almost as relaxed and confident, but the other crew were too much in my thinking... off the first three to four strokes the other crew moved off better and the call for "ten big" came two strokes too soon - all my mental prep had been on the first six and transitioning into the ten - this threw me and from there I wasn't in the right mind frame. Plus I hadn't realised there would be no go for it at 200m call, realised afterwards that kind of call should be down to me - lift the stroke and rate and see if I can get the crew to move with me. Sum total - we lost.

Confidence a bit dented by that and not seeing my I / we had done wrong, left me too reflective and sensitive.

A noisy disturbed nights sleep on the campsite didn't help at all, I was at one point in the night moved to shout at the top of my voice at idiots clattering our tent... the anger didn't really subside... I was almost too determined to chill, to the point that if anything won't let me it had a very opposite effect.

Sunday morning, I was not prepared to race from a mental point of view... the visualising from the previous week was standing me in good stead still - but too much other clutter had entered my head. I was ready this time for the ten big call too come early, but the start still wasn't clean... we were down, I had decided to take it home independently of call before the race, but didn't know the course well enough to time it... apparently we looked neat and were closing - not a great consolation [my technique was getting a little more ragged according to my photographer ;o) ].

Sunday afternoon brought the 8, the blackmail 8, the stupidly arranged scratch 8... the I should have said "no" 8... much political rubbish before hand and a pair of shoes that was so much in my thinking that I didn't row like I can... we competed and were half a length down on the line, but I didn't enjoy it at all... the shoes had been taped up before hand and were barely in one piece, during the race they stretched an inch or more..... after the finish line I snapped and tore my left shoe out of the foot plate with an angry tug.

After that I was beside myself with - "why did I do that?" - it didn't make a bad row any better... I felt awful. Some strong self questioning and hours later, I confessed my actions to my wife, coach, crew and vice-captain. I had settled upon the decision that if this kind of out-burst happens again I am taking myself out of racing, I have put myself on a two - four regatta probation.

I am a quietly competitive person, not used to being able to compete... my early experience of competing in school was to have the joke or excuse worked out even before failing. My fitness rejuvenation in later life, lead me back into competing and competition (based on physical / technical ability)... and whereas my body is in better shape than it has ever been - my brain has some catching up to do.

You live, you learn, you use knowledge, you live better... I hope I learn fast in this particular endeavour.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Ironbridge - what a nice place for a race

Ironbridge is a fabulous place to go racing (I went and watched last year), it's a picturesque place... though no we don't race under the famous iron bridge (featured in the image I ripped from a website below)...
To see the image in its original web location and to read all about Ironbridge go see Enjoy England - Ironbridge and enjoy ;o)

Personal bests & slimming down pages

I am gonna "play" with my blog-template and remove some of the stuff like the personal bests and adverts... back to basics in a fashion...

For the record the personal bests were / are...
10 k run = 57 min 2 sec
5 k row = 19 min 8 sec
2 k row = 7 min 18 sec
I'll update if there is any progress with them :o)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Worries and nerves

With the next regatta coming this weekend I am decidedly worried... it is my first outing as stroke. I am nervous about which version of me will turn up, the calm detached me, or the nervous overly aware of others me. I would like to believe the first one will show up, given that more and more in training it is happening... I just hope that it isn't only a home water phenomena.

My other worry is fitness, I still haven't completely shaken a cough and should have been back to the GP by now. Also I am worried about burning myself out by running around too much in the run up to and at the regatta. Last time I was all things to all people and suffered the price big time. I intend to leave as much of the running around to others, although I worry that that will appear aloof, lazy and arrogant. I don't really care as long as I put up a good performance in the stroke seat, for the crew and also to show all those who mutter about the state of my technique!

I will let you know how it goes, the draw is out and the size of the job is clear, four races Saturday potentially and three Sunday... sporting ambition is a new phenomena to a formerly unfit person... I am so very keen to realise this new found area of ambition in my life... "Come on Llandaff!!!"

Monday, June 19, 2006

The next regatta cometh...

The next regatta is nearly here, I am watching for the draw (Ironbridge Rowing Club)... and waiting to see what we will find ourselves up against and what time we will have to get out of bed.

[Think I will have to add regatta pages to my sidebar menus, d'oh!!]

Llandaff Rowing Club website

Well it seems like the Llandaff Rowing Club website is moving along quite a bit more than it was doing. There has been a change of "web-head" or "web-master", which has lead to the webcam and also a refreshed approach to the pictures from events pages [A few of our own pics have snuck into the collections]. **

It doesn't take a lot of fresh material to keep the pages interesting, just a freshness to the content... the ability to find recent events and current links... the only thing lacking is a forum / message board (even a blog :o) ).

Still its a better place to visit than it once was ;o)

**A further revision of the website occured in June 2012, which saw event pictures no longer part of the public site. A link to the old pages was removed. Further to my original comments the Llandaff Rowing Club website going from strength to strength and is far more useful / useable than when I first commented here in this post dated 2006.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Top Gear !!

Well when it comes to being on the run there are certain little victories along the way that to anyone else mean very little... my little victory today was peddling my bicycle (mountain bike) in the biggest gear all the way to work.

What this means to me? - well it might (if repeated) suggest that my leg strength has improved to the point the the bigger (top) gears of my bike are getting easier and easier.

These little things spring from little things like getting on your bike and promising to ride it as much as possible. I ride to and from work every day, rain or shine... from that little thing comes little mental rewards (like today), and better still physical rewards (like being fit enough to do such things).

Top cycling :o)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Webcam at last :o) ...not the most reliable as yet

At last the Llandaff Rowing Club has a webcam covering the landing stage and the lower part of the river, you can see the bridge. I have enjoyed a couple of images before it unexpected hung up, I hope that it is just new system teething trouble.

The link is**

Enjoy viewing the goings on on the water at Llandaff... watch out for the odd double doing unplanned capsize drills ;o)

** ammendment 14-6-2012 - The link above is no longer active, visit to enjoy its replacement.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

When there is no "team" in "team"

It seems that even small teams (crews) can get tugged around a little... as far as I can tell no one in our crew of four wants to compete on a day when one of us is missing (for fear that a win might advance three us and leave the other behind)... I am very happy that we only ever this season compete as four... but we don't seem able to communicate any of this among ourselves.

There are external factors that come to put some pressure on us, though really it shouldn't... others have watched us and placed a bunch of pre-determined mantles on our shoulders... they are pushing to progress the crew as fast as possible. One reason I believe is that they would like us to progress such that one (and possibly two) of our number can then more readily be 'poached'.

We are lucky that as a crew we have bonded pretty damn good, and have worked really very hard together through the winter to all our benefits... I really, really hope the unit can stick together and find our own destiny this race season.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Rant and rest ;o)

Its not like I didn't know the answer to yesterdays World Cup vs. Wimbledon vs. World Rowing Championships question... it did come across as a little bit rant like... the kind of vitriol I might usually reserve for 4x4's or badly run railway networks, heheheh!!!

Today is a rest day, not that work is allowing me that joy completely ;o) Can't easily remember the last day I didn't go out on the water, all of the activity has done wonders for my rowing muscles... I can only hope it did something for my technique... although I can't judge that one myself obviously.

I am off to rest and fill in my sweepstakes form for the World Cup if I can find it, d'oh!!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Coverage conundrum

Well this summer as most is a feast of TV sports... the question is how much telly time will these three get?

1) Soccer World Cup - 9th June - 9th July.
2) Wimbledon fortnight - Last week June, first week July.
3) World Rowing Championships - 20th - 27th August.

Well as one of the biggest sports on the planet you would expect soccer (okay, okay I'll be lazy British - football) to get the most coverage. But when it comes to the other two, taking a British perspective - sadly the one which is a world event and that as a nation we have success in will likely be barely covered - yes, rowing.

I am not looking at the numbers, but pound for pound, in terms of British people taking part in the two sports, I would guess that rowing isn't a long way behind in terms of numbers of the public regularly pursuing them... and I believe we have many more international athletes in rowing than tennis...

So the conundrum is this - Why will there be so little coverage of the Rowing World Championships????

Answers on a postcard please :o)

[Feb'2011 - links to the events were removed as they no longer linked active sites] 

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Well tired - under water rowing

I have now rowed / sculled for 8-10 days straight and I am feeling really pretty tired. My hands are in bits from all of the blade work, though I am oddly proud that the sore patches and blisters have moved over the week to be on the 'right' spot for holding the blade the correct way!?!

Yesterday saw my first submergence, we rolled a double scull over when both stroke side blades crabbed and left us so unbalanced as to fall in... it was an odd sensation in as far as it took what seemed like ages for us to finally overturn. We managed to get back into the boat and row back to the landing stage... all in all we learnt a number of invaluable lessons and also had our first capsize drill! :o)

I am hopeful of a day off the river on Tuesday, I had never thought I would get to the point that I would look forward to one. I love rowing so much... with the weather as nice as it is I will probably find myself rowing Tuesday anyway ;o)

Friday, June 02, 2006

Summer, summer time, summer time...

Aside from my poor attempt at transposing the lyrics of a Will Smith song into my blog title it is indeed and very actually summer... hence the reason why I haven't blogged with enough regularity of late.

The evenings are brighter, I am rowing an awful lot more than I was, at Llandaff rowing club at least 5 nights out of 7. I have been switched into the stroke seat of our coxed four, I am enjoying it it has done a lot of good for my actual rowing action (I think at least, hehe), though it does come with extra responsibility. I am doing okay with the rhythm setting on the whole and am getting the feel of changing pace and effort (although some of that experience is coming through doing some sculling).

We are currently setting ourselves up for a regatta in Ironbridge at the end of the month. It'll be the first sat in the new seat arrangement, but we are hopeful of good things :o)