9th November – James Bond week

Monday out in the 8 ghost rowing – loved it – the concept of pushing with the legs and doing nothing with the arms is doing wonders for my blisters, or complete lack of new ones – going to stick with this!!

Tuesday on the ergs, horrible weather, horrible 2km pieces, 3 of them…….

Had a shocker. The first was fine. Rating 24 for 1000m and 26 for 1000m. The second I couldn’t breath at 1000km (at 26), stopped, cried and after some friendly encouragement pulled it back together for the last 1000m (at 28). The third I managed 1000m at 28 and some at 30 before again my breathing went haywire, missed about 10 strokes getting by breathing back and then finished – I was amazed – I finished before quite a few people, so if I can sort out my breathing and keep up that pace I’ll be pretty chuffed with myself.

So, not much to celebrate about rowing, but I did get my work visa for another year, so was allowed out for chocolate cake :-)


Wednesday – I slept in for a whole hour….. woke at 6:20am thinking it’s a bit light outside and sure enough it was. Quick text to my coach stating the obvious – I’m late! It was a mad dash to get dressed and drive into town and to training. I arrived at the club to find all the ergs full, so was sent on a 20minute run (here) while the others finished what they were up to. When they did it was my turn – all by myself (totally my own fault) – 40/20s 3 lots of 10 – it was HARD. The others had looked broken by the end and they had each other for company. It was a good exercise in not letting myself talk myself into quitting or taking it easy – no point in getting up late, coming to training and not doing it properly – may as well have stayed in bed for that.

Thursday – really enjoyed today. We started with a fun abs session – all 10 of us got to pick our favorite abs thing to do and we did it for 2mins, high knees in between! Then we had a really great team chat about race plans and how things are going to work going forwards before getting into some erging putting that plan into action – hard work, but fun – I love chats like that, made me feel really excited about rowing and it’s always good to remember why we’re doing all this training!

Friday – rest day, but also James Bond Day!!!!!!! As a fundraiser for the club we sold tickets to a special screening of the new James Bond film, Spectre. Was at the Penthouse in Brooklyn, nice arthouse-type cinema, v comfy seats and free wine :-) Really fun, but with a 7am start was home straight afterwards for an early night

Saturday – 7am start but rowing in Petone so a quick cycle and I was there – early – early enough to make me double check facebook to check I’d got the time right as no one else was there…… We had rather a rough row in the 8 (the waves not our technique (so much)). I was on bow side (my less favorite side) and have discovered that the feeling I’ve been getting of ‘catching’ the water before I put my oar in properly and I’ve been trying to correct is what I actually should be feeling (it’s called getting backsplash). Good to know if slightly frustrating to have been thinking it was wrong all this time…..

The afternoon was given over to the important job of cider tasting. A magazine (Capital) had got in touch with our coach and wanted to know if he could find 10 women who’d be prepared to try about 20 ciders….. he wasn’t short of volunteers! It was a really fun afternoon of tasting, commenting and trying to think where we pictured ourselves drinking these ciders, what landmarks or personalities did they remind us of……. we got better as time went on – some were really yummy, one or 2 were certainly not, but I’m now a firm fan of berry ciders – yum

Sunday – erging – it was hard, I wanted to give up, we did 3 sets, only a short way into the 2nd and I was willing to give up and go home, but talked myself through it and somehow held on through the 3rd. Next week is peak week….. help!


At the river

Feels like a short week after camp

actually a long week though……. it’s 13 days

Tuesday water – race starts – with Nina, packed away in record time

Wednesday water – power strokes – fun with Joe

Thursday – recovering from kidney bean poisoning

Friday rest day

Saturday Petone Regatta – 4 – shelly B, novice 8 win, quad cancelled, no sunburn – v stressful being stroke in a 4, the first time I’d been in one since we last raced in Porirua. Went ok, we didn’t die or fall out (just about didn’t anyway…… – the horrible 8 we had at Corporate – Shelly B, crab-a-rama, but awesome cox, nice and calming and we got there to a win!

Sunday – up stupidly early to watch the All Blacks, snooze, 10am on water working on the legs

Monday 6am start “gentle run” and then sprints on the ergs

Tuesday 2km test – I knocked good 3 seconds off my last time, again an awesome cox who kept me going – getting closer to being under 8mins – I WILL get there

Wednesday – can’t remember – something inside – certainly on the ergs……..

Thursday on the water in an 8……. need to keep up with this blog……

Friday boat loading

Saturday, up at 5:30 to head to the Manawatu for the day. Row, BBQ breakfast, more rowing – amazing, lovely flat water and lots of time to work on technique – loved it. Somehow managed to burn the back of my legs though……

Early morning Wellington
Early morning Wellington

At the river
At the river

Sunday – weights and watts – really enjoyed it – not done weights for ages and really pushed myself with the arm work. Not worked out the watts on the ergs yet – managed 308 need to be closer to 400…….

From the drive home

Week 10 – swim test and Wanganui Camp

Monday – water – arms only fast, arms and bodies fast – feet out – hard!

Tuesday – on the ergs – 5 rounds of 10x 40-20s (40 seconds hard rowing/20seconds rest) then a swim test. I nearly passed out at the end of the 2nd round, was pleased there was only 2 more to go then realised we were doing 5…. not a fun night. Was some concern about the swim test – we’ve all seen the jellyfish in the water……

The water was freeeeeezing cold, had to be in for 5 minutes brrrrrrr

Wednesday – water?

Thursday – boat loading

Friday – Drive to Wanganui – it being a long weekend, we delayed leaving until gone 7pm, but it was windy and rainy, we didn’t get there until around 10pm. People were just settling down – we were staying at the Union Boat Club in their club room. Had an awesome mattress to sleep on, it just needed blowing up – v noisy in a v quiet room…….. amazing sleep though!

We had 3 rows on each full day of camp- 2 hours on the water, 2 hours off. We mostly worked on our catches and finishes – amazing to row so much and felt massive improvement – I actually like bow side now I’ve done it a bit more.

Saturday – The Novices had the early start – 6am – out on the water for 2 hours before getting back to get some breakfast – went shopping with some of the boys to get poached egg materials – yum!!!!!  3x rows, 1x floating cow, pasta dinner, blisters, nappy cream

No idea what this row was – might have been me coxing for the novice men – just proof we were there!

Sunday – late row – 8am start! 3x rows (2nd row 3rd row), 1x cow, sheep, more blisters, BBQ, John visited, bed by 9:30

Monday – 6am start – 1x row, no animals, 1 more blister, wash everything down, pack up, drive home and unload – absolutely shattered……

From the drive home
From the drive home


neil finn

Week 9 – erg-a-thon

Monday – evening run, gentle 30mins

Tuesday – on the water – swapped for another rower via the coach boat – we had tickets to see Neil Finn :-)

neil finn

Wednesday 6am – got a lift into town so a bit of a lie-in – on the water again – so still no idea what 40-20s are……

Thursday – water again and a run to the station……

Friday – rest

Saturday – erg-a-thon – in town at 7am for 8x 15mins of rowing – teams of 6 (or 5 in our case) rowing for 10 hours (about 100mins each) Managed a good pace, 24 strokes/min rating under 2:10/500m until my knee couldn’t take it any more, rowed the last couple of sessions with 1 leg – was still fun though!!!!

row a thon

Sunday – weights session – was meant to be 8am, but delayed until 5pm to allow for the rugby! Knee still pretty sore, not happy standing up or sitting down (coach advised to do neither……) still managed the 2hr weights circuit though, just didn’t do any erging


Week 8 – 2km test week and our first regatta

Plan 151005

Monday – we did a deal – rowing this evening (usually when we train by ourselves) for a lie in on Wednesday – the water was great, so who were we to turn down an extra row and a lie in??

I loved this session, we worked really hard and had the honour of being coached by Dick Joyce. He’d already spoken to me when I was warming up on the ergs, but I had no idea who he was, but thankfully happily listened to his advice!

Tuesday – 2km test day…… last month was my first test and amazed myself by getting on the leader board. Now I wanted to do it again…… so did everyone else! Told to hold my stroke rate at 26/min, 500m split of 2min for first 1000m then go for it in the 2nd half of the row. I was good for the first part, fell apart a bit in the middle*, my splits heading towards 2:10….  but pulled it back together to manage a time of 8:08 – so 1 second off (better) than my previous time, but not enough to get back on the board……

*the coach watching thought I was about to give up, so did I, but happy to have overcome that and kept going, and a second is still a second……

Wednesday – a lie in!!!!! But still managed to fit in a lunchtime erg

Thursday – I honestly can’t remember, but I imagine it was erging……..

Friday – only some people were going to get out on the water first thing this morning, but another girl was going to erg/weights and I said I’d join her at 6:30am – so many reasons why this was a silly idea – 1, I had the day off work, I could have slept in. 2, it was meant to be a rest day. 3, with a regatta on Saturday the rest thing was important. 4, did I mention it was my day off?????

We did some erging, then a bit of chatting and I was home again before anyone else in the house had woken up!!

Saturday – Regatta Day – Porirua Goodwill – erghh an early start to be in Porirua for 7am. The regatta was pretty delayed due to the wind/waves! We found a sheltered spot to sit out of the wind and eventually began to warm up as the sun came out. Our first race was the Novice 8 – not sure if this will work this should – but we won!!! There was a worrying moment when the referree boat came over to check we were Novices and all women…. apparently they thought there might be a man in the boat…… I don’t think my short hair helped….. it was suggested I should ‘get them out’ but thankfully it wasn’t needed…… We came 2nd in the Open 8 – might work? will work. We were split between 2 boats for the Novice 4s – the first boat rowed a storm coming in 20sec ahead of everyone else!!! Our boats wasn’t so fast, but think we came 1st in our heat…… here

The regatta was in Titahi Bay, where the sailing club is, and as it happens there were people there so popped along to say hello – they were selling a safety boat, the rowing club needs a coach boat – it was a match!

With all the delays we didn’t leave until 4:30pm – the sun that was warming in the morning had burnt a lot of us – lesson learnt – learn to love the shade (and get a hat)!!

Sunday – team chat – this was good, the coaches Nina and Joe sat and outlined what was on the horizon for us. Rowing camp on Labour Weekend is going to be the start of stepping things up for Nationals. After camp they’re going to have 1 2 1s with us and tell us where we are in terms of ability etc within the squad, what we need to do to improve etc. We need to be ready to tell them whether we’re committed to training towards Nationals or just want to learn to row – either way is fine, just so everyone knows where they stand.

We also had a chat about behaviour – turning up on time, making availability known, when we arrive at the club, get organised, coach boat out, oars out, boats etc. Once on the water listening to coach/cox/stroke for instructions, not chatting when you’re not rowing, but listening/watching/balancing the boat.

I really appreciated this, I hate all the faffing around that goes on, people wandering off etc. Also finally knowing that if you commit to training for Nationals you will go and you will get to participate – went home feeling much happier

climbing happy

Week 7 – such a fun week

After peak week this felt like a week off!

220 Capture

Monday – I went rollerskating with a friend!! As covered here I had a small accident, but otherwise all was fine and dandy and we covered a lot of ground

Tuesday – first time on the water in aaaaaagggeees – other than that I can’t remember what we did, as I’m writing this over 2 weeks after we did it……

Wednesday – on the water again :-) in the morning this time…….

Thursday – As a treat we all went rock climbing – I learnt how to do this many moons ago and still have my shoes (shipped out form the UK) I’d forgotten how painful they are though, and rediscovered that I still don’t like heights……

There was a rope suspended from the ceiling where we went that some of the girls managed to climb – I didn’t even bother trying, but in my sleep last night I managed to do it with ease!!!!

climbing happy

Thanks for the photos Joeclimbing stern

Friday – Rest Day

Saturday – out on the water twice! It was meant to be a regatta today, but the weather wasn’t great. We managed to find 2 windows to row in though :-)

We also discovered that the regatta was called off on Sunday, so meant many Saturday nights out were suddenly planned!

Sunday – meant to be a bit of erging, but due to the previously mentioned Saturday night out, I may have skipped this session……..


I got told off…….

I was in trouble yesterday with Nikki.

In fact I’ve been in trouble with her since Saturday.

Roller skating without protection is my crime…….

It was all fine until I was attacked by an evil lip at the end of a bridge…… the skates swooped out from under me as I tried to jump/step/skate over it and I landed on my right hand, elbow and bottom with great heaviness and much attention from those around me.

I was mostly fine, no head bumping, slight amount of blood on my hand and  having refused all offers of help, I managed to get back up on my ‘feet’.

Once the small crowd had dispersed I may have admitted to a small amount of pain, but it was all good – although I’m never skating over that bridge again!

Stopped off at the rowing club to wash my hand and remove a couple of loose chunks of skin. It was deserted when we’d passed about 10mins before, but when we arrived the deck was covered in people and there was no hiding my injured hand or my ‘old school’ skates or the fact I almost could have put an end to my rowing for a while……

We headed off in a safer direction – away from people/dodgy surfaces and on to Oriental Parade. Much better, I had a chat to a man who referees Roller Derbys, picked up some skating pointers from him (he was under the illusion that I was just learning to skate…… no my friend, I have a good 35 years of experience)

Then, and far more excitingly, I spotted a shiba inu – a what? you may ask? only one of the cutest dogs ever!! They’re fairly rare over in the UK where I was lucky enough to have 2. Over here, it’s the first I’ve seen since I’ve been here. But chatting to the guy who owned her, there’s a breeder in Christchurch.

Murphy dog, he had a peaceful life
until this one came along – Maple
But they were good friends
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Murphy on his favorite chair in the days before Maple – so handsome

Of course, I had to sit on the floor and have a cuddle, she licked my hand better and cleaned my face and then it was time to say goodbye – she goes for a run and tows her owner behind on his skateboard!

So, should I be wearing protection? (well, probably yes) My friend had wrist and elbow guards on, but that wouldn’t have saved my hand or my bum….. Do I listen to my very wise friend Nikki, who points out that just because this all didn’t exist when I was younger doesn’t mean I shouldn’t wear it now…… or compromise and wear pads, or do what she wants and wear a helmet which feels like over kill, but if I bumped my head would keep me much safer?


Week 6 – no training plan – probably as it turned out to be peak week!

It’s Tuesday already and no official training plan yet

Coach/Masters/Tertiary (the uni folk) have been away in Twizel (as in a Johnathon Ross ‘trying/twying’ not ‘twizzle/swizzle’ for the uninitiated – Kiwis laugh if you make that mistake….). Still making the long journey back and so we’ve been unsupervised!

Monday – with Mr Moonboot unable to go to bootcamp and me needing to do 2x 35 minutes of steady state I thought I’d take advantage. So, 6am, freezing cold, howling wind, pouring rain, Petone waterfront – was fun to be back, but I didn’t work as hard there as we do in our normal training sessions – it’s hard to when you’re partnered with someone, you’re so reliant on them to work super hard too. I left feeling like I’d worked out, but it certainly wasn’t 60mins of steady state….. Thankfully Sam had texted by the time I got to work and we agreed to meet at lunch for an erg session (hurrah for my key). She had a plan…..

4 mins 18 strokes/min

3 mins 20

2 mins 22

1 min 24

5 mins steady around 20

1 min 24

2 mins 22

3 mins 20

4 mins 18

Was good fun and hard work, and certainly felt like a good workout

Tuesday – was a bad training session for me.

More erg stuff, this time endurance pieces. 2km, 2.5km and 3km

I managed to 2km piece easily – we were rowing at a few seconds over our 2km times and it felt really good. Then we rested while another group did theirs then back on for the 2.5km and something happened to the left side of my back/shoulder, massive amounts of pain, I stopped a couple of times to stretch it, but it didn’t help, powered on through to the end but knew something wasn’t right. More stretching, sat down to do the 3km piece but was told to go do step-ups instead…….

Wednesday – terrible weather so coach mixed it up with a weights circuit session

Really good fun and despite my back/shoulder still feeling not right there was plenty I could do, so felt much happier, although still annoyed

Thursday – a sunny evening, so after 20mins warming up on the ergs we went to do some hill sprints – not exactly my happy hurrah, but it was good to be outside!

This is where I love my garmin – you can see the 2 sets of shuttles up and down the hill, the 2 runs up the hill and then the 2 last sets of shuttles before the journey back to the rowing club (in a car) so one of the other girls and I could get in our ‘power strokes’ before heading to the train station!

The shuttles were hard and the hill ridiculous, but as ever, we do what we’re told and it is kind of fun………

Friday – rest day!!!!!!

Saturday – no training as we’re saving ourselves for tomorrow (promises to be a lovely day) so I went roller skating for the first time in years (and I really do mean years). It was really great fun, but hard work once I was back in the swing of it and lovely by the sea.



Sunday – out on the water for the first time in ages!!!

It was a beautiful sunny 8am morning, the water was so flat it was incredible – we could see the bottom of the lagoon (and all its seaweed), out on the ocean when we got round by Oriental Parade we could see all the starfish on the bottom, lots of little ones and some big ones – normally the water has been so churned up you see none of this – we were a happy bunch out in our 8 – we even rowed all 8 of us together!

Very happy until we were made to stand up in the boat – it’s a practice piece – you put your oar in the water, feel it ‘connect’ with the water and then pull yourself up against the oar


Clearly this isn’t us, but this is the idea, although we did it in pairs rather than all 8 of us…….

We were back at training at 4pm, but in the mean time I ended up ‘playing’ tennis – I say this in the loosest sense – there were rackets, there were balls, there was one rally when all 4 of us hit the ball over the net, but I’m fairly sure there was only one….. There was a lot of running to try and hit balls or after balls we missed…..

So, 4pm, bit windier than it was, but still sunny and this time we were in Quads – the boats where you have 2 oars each – not my favorite – find it very hard compared to sweeping (what we were doing in the morning). But I learnt a lot, still getting there, but again we managed to row all 4 together (which means no one is balancing the boat with their oars – we all balance by getting our hands at the right height….)

Was tired by the time I got home and I think have caught the sun – I think finally summer is on the way!!!!

Regatta next weekend – will be the first time wearing a club vest – very excited

Another week another training plan


So this week we’re ‘building’ – I assume on the ‘base’ we created last week

Monday – mixed it up a bit today, instead of running with Sam at lunchtime we did 15min ergs and weights. I tried to row with my feet not strapped in – think I’m getting the hang of it…… Was such a lovely day we did the weights outside, trouble with a sunny day is that a lot of tourists are out overlooking the rowing club, and therefore us, we will be in a few holiday photos I think!! Little circuit of 15x dorsal raises (with a 10kg weight), 15x leg throws, 15x 8kg bicep curls, 15x 30kg deadlift and 15x 10kg ‘lawnmowers’ – knee and hand on bench, leg on floor, hand hanging down and pulling back to ribs like you’re starting a lawn mower…….

Was a good workout, but really warm in the sun!!!

After work, with more steady state to do I was planning on a run along the seafront with my bf…. he wanted to go up Mount Victoria and run, not sure why, but I agreed. Mount Vic, as the name should suggest, is a small, steep hill – any run at the top of it can only go one way…….down….. it has mountain bike trails, so lots of lovely steep bits….. and what goes down, must come back up…… we did this finishing back at the car, and then realising we may as well go to the top, we ran up a few stairs (for fun) to the peak – beautiful views

Tuesday – I was tired….. we had to run around the overseas terminal to warm up, then 3x 2km at 22/23/24 strokes/min – then I was shattered.

Our coach wanted us to do a bit more cardio, another 20 minutes of it. I’d had enough and decided I’d run to the train station…… not quite what he’d had in mind, but all that was left in me

Wednesday 6am – It was too rough to row. Asking us to be there for 6am usually means we’ll be out on the water, so we were all v quiet and just sat on the floor waiting for our coach to arrive.

We had to run to the police boat and back – took us slower ones 12 minutes.

On the ergs we were split into 5 teams of 3. We were split by our 2km erg times, so in theory the teams were all equally balanced – best time with worst time with a middle person.

As a race we took it in turns to row

100m arms only, then

200m arms/bodies, then

300m arms bodies half slide, then

500m row, and collapse.

We then did some sneaky power strokes disguised as fun – 3x row 250m in as few strokes as possible, push super hard with your legs and then crawl back up the slide so you get as much distance as possible from each stroke – our coach can do it in 11 strokes – me? 13, 12 and 12

To round everything off? Run around the lagoon and then Te Papa

Done – so tired, sat at work zombie like until I had some crystalised fruit and the sugar kicked in!

Thursday – I now have a key to the rowing club – I’m very excited by this!!

I trained at lunchtime today – have a school performance to attend this evening so can’t make training. Texted the coach to tell him this morning and ask if there was anything I should focus on – one word back – ‘strength’ – to some of my friends I’m ‘freakishly strong’ but there’s always room for improvement!

I had a fun warm up on the ergs, repeated what we did on Wednesday 100m arms etc, but with no breaks and then some power strokes trying to get my number of strkes to 250m down below 12 – it wasn’t to be – but it’s good to have a number to aim for, makes you try so hard as it’s so close within my grasp… but still so far. Then arms, abs, a jog back to work and done until Saturday!!!!!

Friday – a rest day – bubble soccer doesn’t count right?

Hmmmmm, not so much of a rest day – had to sprint for the train in the morning and bubble soccer is exhausting – running around inside a plastic bubble is harder work than you think…… 4 quarters of 7minutes each = a lot of hot v sweaty workmates + partners.

And as it turns out 1 bf with a broken 5th metatarsal…..

Saturday and Sunday – hop-a-long (complete with crutches and moonboot) threw a spanner in the rowing this weekend – barely able to walk, he needed a chauffeur/gopher/cheerleader/someone to round up his 2 girls (it’s like herding cats at the best of times). Ended up sneaking in a couple of runs while they were all occupied and unlikely to cause each other too much harm – miserable weather, windy, rainy, cold.


An impromptu day off – Lyall Bay, a seal and snowy mountains

Last week my bf and I decided we’d take a random day off work – was the perfect day to chose – beautifully sunny – and as we both do early morning exercise on a Wednesday we made the most of the day!!

If you read my rowing posts then you’ll already know that I was on Wellington waterfront with this as my view as the sun rose.


After meeting back at the house and cooking the most amazing breakfast (we were hungry) we decided to head out to Lyall Bay – not sure how to describe where it is, so here’s a map!!


It was a crazy windy day in the Bay – the seagulls were struggling to stay stood on the seawall. The spray coming off the waves kind of shows the wind, but I loved it – it’s great when you’re wrapped up against it with the sun shining.

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Even better of course when you take refuge and watch it through a window with a yummy coffee! Lyall Bay has an awesome cafe with an incredible view – Maranui Cafe – go if you ever get a chance – you can book a table, so get one by the window.


We decided on another walk along the beach before lunch, and lunch can only come from one place in Lyall Bay – Seaview Takeaways – in the Top 10 of fish and chip shops for Wellington (this isn’t because there’s only one place to eat in Lyall Bay, just it’s the best). A word of warning, their portions are HUGE – I asked for fish and got the equivalent of 2 battered fish compared to where we normally go.


Amazing and fresh and way too many, but it did seem a shame to waste them on the seagulls.

To try and work some of the food off, we took a drive (yeah, I know) round the coast for a look. We were chatting about how beautiful Wellington was and whether it had caught up with my love of Taranaki yet….. I was repeating my usual response of ‘yes, but it doesn’t have a mountain’ when we came around a corner and the bf announced ‘but how about that?’

The view was breathtaking and isn’t really at all captured in the photos, but you could see all the way to the snow-capped mountains on the South Island – beautiful.

If you click on the image, you can spot the mountains on the horizon!

So just for an afternoon, maybe Wellington was up there with Taranaki…….

He deserved a kiss for that (not that it was planned, just happened to be a clear day and he spotted them at the perfect time!!)

We stopped a bit further on to get out of the car and take a proper look. More photos of crashing waves and mountains

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Then who should we come across but a seal?!


I’m still not over the fact that you can just see seals here – he was really cute, but all alone and with those big eyes looked sad – we wondered if he’s lost his friends. I wanted to take him home, but wasn’t allowed :-(

Did get this photo to remember him by, now my wallpaper on my computer at work


Turned out we were right by the road to Red Rocks – somewhere everyone talks about for spotting seals (so it shouldn’t have been a surprise, but I had no idea where we were – cue another map.)

this time with Google Earth - even from up there you can see the waves
This time with Google Earth – even from up there you can see the waves

Was a lovely day, a struggle to go back to work, but Thursday was rainy, so really a day to be indoors and dream about the next day off