Race Night!!

As night follows day, Race Day is followed by Prize Giving!

We all decided to go out for dinner before prize giving – all v sensible as it was to be BYO and there was talk of tequila from the coach…….

We went to Bin44 and I had my first experience of Wellington on a Plate – an amazing burger with matched beer – fancy!!


We gave our coach a bottle of whiskey and a T-shirt bearing our (winning) indoor rowing times as a thank you for all his hard work – you can just about read it in the pictures, but he was so busy showing it off he wouldn’t stay still!!

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Prizegiving was fun – we got a name check for winning all the classes at the indoor competition – but no trophy :-(

We already knew who had won the men (OMV), women (PWC/Spark) and mixed (Opus) races but the overall winner – between the 6 crews who won the heats was unknown. Was likely to be between Comcom and OMV men. Was 1.5 seconds in it, our coach was convinced we’d won it and as ever he was right!


So happy for the guys, totally deserved it.


The rest of the evening was spent drinking, dancing and downing shots of tequila*…



Happy days

*Just like to add I think there was something wrong with the lemons – most of us felt pretty rough the next day


What have I done??

After being very insistent that this was not going to happen, it did.

I’ve signed up for a Novice season of rowing……

This essentially commits me to another 6 months of training 6 times a week in the run up to the NZ Rowing Championships in February.

Novice rowing is a whole over level to our Corporate Rowing (we had 2 erg sessions and 2 water sessions – if the weather was good)

This is the schedule I landed myself with


-And even that was an under-estimate, I walked into my first training session on Tuesday evening – warm-up* run for 30 minutes (*warm up??? it’s the furthest I’ve run since the 10km last month!), then we did a whole lot of erg work, rowing at 20 strokes/min but pushing hard every time, then another 20 followed by 22 – it’s harder to push hard when you’re going slowly – but my 500m splits were better than they ever were when I was doing Corporate and rowing at those speeds – it’s like something has finally clicked! Then it was just another run to cool down…….

Wednesday 6:30am – warmed up on the ergs, then 15-7s – these were good fun, you take 15 strokes pushing as hard as you can with your legs then you have you have 7 strokes to recover and repeat – the trick being to take those 7  R E A L L Y S L O W L Y – we were good at that bit!

Thursday evening it was a short warm up – run round the Overseas Terminal – about 1km, then back for a weights session – lovely evening so we were out on the deck, then on the ergs as we had another 30mins of cardio to do – I did 15mins erging, ran to the train station and then ran home!

Friday was a rest day – amazing but ache ridden

Saturday we were out on the water – my first experience of ‘skulling‘ – must watch this sometime, and this – completely different to sweeping – which is what we did for Corporate rowing, but still did ok, I was in bow seat – behind someone who knew what they were doing – did mean I had to help row us out of the lagoon, a daunting task as I’d never taken a stroke in a skulling boat before and here I was in charge of it….. I’ve learnt I need to put my feet in different place, I need tighter clothing so the oars don’t get tangled up in my top and to cut my finger nails short – when hands get tangled, nails did in and I bleed……

Sunday was a massively early start*- we went to the Manawatu River for the day!


Was a fun drive up, towing the coach boat and chatting with my new rowing friends! Was a lovely day there, river pretty flat, and out in a quad – the proper name for a skulling boat with 4 people in (a sweep boat with 4 people being called a 4)

Skipping over the part where the coach, reversing my car onto the river side to unload the coach boat, managed to lock the car with the keys inside and the engine running (thank goodness for AA membership) it was a great day – 2 sessions of rowing, more stuff clicking into place and I got go at coxing

So I survived my first week……

*it was 6am at the rowing club. But my partner’s youngest had had her birthday sleepover on Saturday night, they were still running around and talking at 1am – they were determined not to fall asleep, so it wasn’t the most restful night to then have to get up and row…….

Rowing back after winning the semi-final

Race Day!!!!

And what a day it was!!

I got picked up at 7:15 to be at the rowing club for 7:30 – got there to discover the entry code had been changed and no cars could get in!!

After that minor stumbling block we were in and getting boats rigged for the day.

We were introduced to our extra rower, Karen, from the Masters squad. She’s only rowed one race before so not sure whether that inspired us as she was pretty much on our level or made us more worried as she was as inexperienced as we were…..

The structure of the races were that the winner of the first race for men/women/mixed is the overall winner of that category. Then there’s a semi-final where the remaining boats re-race and the winner of that goes into the final. The final has those 6 boats in and whoever wins that wins the overall prize.

Also there is a handicap procedure – you get a certain number of seconds added to your time for each experienced person you have in a boat – this was anyone who had done a Corporate Season before or someone who rowed as a Club or Masters member. This meant we got a handicap for Karen. It also means that even if you cross the line first you may not win the race – all depends on how the handicaps affect the overall times

First round of racing

As stroke I got to pick our boat – Shelly and our lane number – 2

Our coach described the Shelly as ‘adequate’ and we soon discovered why – it was designed for tall skinny school children – not all of our crew (including myself) are the skinniest – the boat is rigged very low so we discovered that our legs got in the way when trying to get the oars out of the water unless the boat was perfectly balanced. Also the boat was narrow – there were hip/thigh issues when trying to reach the front of our strokes……

However, we made it as a crew to the start line (our cox was Tim, one of the guys from our Men’s team – he had no ‘cox box’ (microphone/loudhailer) which we came to realise made  a massive difference.

Once all lined up and ready to go (you get shouted at from the shore to straighten up/move forwards a bit until everyone is level) we were off! It was crazy, not being able to hear the cox I just had to set the pace and hope for the best. We were racing just over 500m – not far you might think, but it hurt, a lot. Karen’s feet came out of their straps which caused us a bit of drama, but we held it together and carried on. We heard the hooter and relaxed – over the line!! Er, no, we weren’t….. after much screaming from the shore we realised and we had to row another few meters before the hooter went for us

Embarrassing and painful experience – after handicaps we’d lost the race by 1 second (we lost to a lovely team though). Lesson learnt, we moved on, got coffee and watched the men’s race. They raced so well, but again missed out by 1 second (to an awesome crew – was great to come so close to them)

Next up was the mixed as a team the decision had been made to put our ‘best bet’ in one crew and then others in the other. I was in the best bet and we went in the first heat (not that we knew it but there was to be no semi final, just the winner from each heat that went through). Coach had warned Tim in stroke that we girls weren’t going to be able to keep our ratings as high as the men, so we agreed to turn it down a notch (for the boys anyway!) We had a great row, but we should have gone at a faster rating – we all finished feeling like we could do it again but faster and were planning that for the semi-final (the one that wasn’t to be!!). The second crew had an awesome race – rowed their hearts out – helped by having Nick in stroke seat who has no control of his rating/timing and just goes as fast as he can….. it paid off as they came first and so were through to the final (there were 3/4 other crews with equal times to us but as we won our heat we got through)


Boats for this round were decided by Joe who was in charge for the day. His method was based on ‘who had done nice things for him that day’. We were lucky as I’d carried his coffee back for him when we’d got ours to save him waiting. It meant we got 2nd pick and a much much better boat. We also managed to get a cox box so could hear Tim shouting at us!

The row was amazing, the boat was balanced, we rowed together, Tim encouraged and we rowed our hearts out. We finished to massive cheers from the land and with a lead of over 20 seconds!!!!! So proud of us we sat, laughed, breathed, whooped and watched the other crews row towards us and finish – such an amazing feeling.

A snapshot of our row – v close to the end – it’s our coach you can hear

The men also had a great row and finished first in their race too.

This meant we could have 3 boats in the final, but not enough of us unless we cloned the rowers of the mixed race. It was an easy decision all round to agree to scratch the mixed boat and row as our men and women teams in the final.

The finals

We drew lots again for boats and lanes – somehow I managed to draw Shelly again and almost cried when I had to tell my crew…… Our coach was great and as we’d had feet falling out issues swapped our boat with the men’s boat (they had the 2nd worse boat!!)

We had to find a cox for our boat as Tim was racing with us. Finally we found a lovely girl whose name escapes me for now, but she’d coxed for us before when we practiced at Petone. ERIN!!!! I remembered before finishing typing this post

Not sure what happened to us between the semi- and the final but we S U C K E D

We couldn’t balance the boat at all, it felt that we were on a rollercoaster for the entire race, just couldn’t get it together, timing was terrible, balance was non-existent. We came a very poor last, were very glad that our coach had coxed the men and so he hadn’t seen our performance……

Once we were back on land everyone was asking what had happened, we told them we’d hit a seal! A lovely lady from the OMV crew said we’d be surprised after the handicaps etc were applied how well we’d done, but our coach was extremely honest and said even then we didn’t stand a chance!!

The results of the race weren’t to be announced until the prize giving in the evening but we knew it would be close between the men’s crews – handicaps would decide it.

Final race of the day

Was a ‘fun’ eights race. I was so glad we got to do this as our finals race had been so horrendous – the whole team in the boat together – couldn’t think of a better way to draw things to an end.

Once we’d worked out who was sitting where we climbed into our boast – the first time we’d been in an eight for ages – it felt so spacious – we laughed at how scared we’d all been back in May climbing into one of these for the first time, how wobbly it felt, but now it seemed so stable!

Back to the start line and we were off. We had our coach as our cox, so there was no slacking and no time to think how tired we were. I manged to catch 3 crabs on the way (my only ones of the day). We crossed the line and it was a dead heat…… I felt so bad, if I’d not messed up we’d have beaten them. If I’d only got 2 instead of 3 crabs we’d have won. The elation of joint first against a far more experienced crew was completely lost on me. We rowed back and our coach made the comment of ‘if it hadn’t been for catching those crabs we’d have won’ (although he denies he put it quite like this, it’s what I remember!!). He meant it to have been an encouraging statement about how close we’d come, I just took it as ‘if Emma hadn’t been useless and caught those crabs…..’ That was me in tears, so disappointed in myself…… We got out of the boat and I was carrying oars to the club, tears still rolling and a lovely lady (whose name I have to admit I never knew, but we’d always chatted) took them from me and told me to breath!! What a donut (me, not her, obviously).

And that was that, racing over, Corporate Challenge done- what an amazing experience it was

Rowing back after winning the semi-final
Rowing back after winning the semi-final

Our last erg before race day

After the victorious evening that was Monday I still turned up to lunchtime ergs with the Masters squad on Tuesday – either I’m crazy or not trying hard enough but I felt ok.

The row we did though was H A R D

6 min 20 strokes/min

5 min 22

4 min 24

3 min 26

2 min 28

1 min 30

With much breathing I made it through and kept my 500m splits below 2:10, but exhausting!

On Thursday I had a PT session rather than ergs – love them and this time my bf joined us. He pushed himself far too hard to begin with and looked close to collapse until he realised that was just the warm up and needed to take it down a notch to survive an hour!! He was very pleased to discover he can bench press and deadlift more than me!

No really relevant photos – but here are us girls comparing animal hats…..


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Team Commerce Commission (still searching for our extra person at this point!)

Indoor Rowing Competition

Monday, the day after Sunday…..

Monday morning dawned – time for the last erg session before the indoor rowing competition! We had to carry the rowing machines upstairs into the function room of the rowing club ready for the evening and then we proceeded to practice/work out how we were going to do this…..

The competition was to involve each team of 4 rowers to row 4km – we could cover that distance any way we wanted, so each row 1km each, cycle through 500m at a time, row for a minute each and swap etc

We decided to see how long we could maintain a decent speed/effort for – after a good warm up, we gave it a go and after about 45 seconds things started to drop off – so that was to be our approach row as hard as we could for 45 seconds and then swap

But how to swap? Basically throw yourself off the machine and to one side, giving the handle to someone else as you do so and get out of the way! At the same time 2 team mates loosen the straps holding your feet, grab the handle (and keep pulling it!!) hold the seat for the 4th team member to lower themselves on to, tighten their feet, give them the handle and off they row – easy!!!!

Ignoring the fact we didn’t have a 4th team member we were ready for the event and really looking forward to it.

Evening arrived and along with it our team vests and I was officially adopted into the Commerce Commission (it’s where the rest of the team work).

Team Commerce Commission (still searching for our extra person at this point!)
Team Commerce Commission (still searching for our extra person at this point!)

Our coach found us a lovely lady called Claire to row with us, she’s just started in the Novice squad (also racing, but for fun) and so would be racing against her team mates!! We all warmed up, practised falling off the machine etc and we were ready as we were ever going to be……

In rowing, races start with ‘Attention’ ‘Row’ – that’s it and we were away!

I was on first followed by Luana, Anneliese and then Claire – the atmosphere was crazy, screaming, shouting, encouragement coming from all corners, everyone looking at everyone else’s monitors to see who was in the lead. The first round of rowing was fine, but as we came through the second, into the third and then the forth the pain grew and recovery time seemed not to exist! We rowed our hearts out, but there was a cheer from one team meaning they’d finished, but we came in second and were super happy at that. The coach then came over and revealed that the novice crew had finished first and they weren’t in the competition so we’d won!!!!! The elation was unbelievable – we were so happy, excited and couldn’t quite believe we’d done it, oh and tired!!

Too tired to stand - our victory photo!!
Too tired to stand – our victory photo!!
Demonstrating the falling off technique
Demonstrating the falling off technique
In action
In action

Next up were the boys who now had not only the desire to win, but to make sure they won do we couldn’t gloat!!

Needless to say they stormed it! They rowed like machines/mad things – so proud

Next question was were we going to race the mixed race? I was so full of adrenaline and excitement that I wanted to and managed to persuade 3 others to row with me – did we win?? Of course we did!!!!!

We were so happy, our coach was being congratulated by everyone – all our hard work, early mornings and blisters paid off.

Trying to bring us down to earth our coach reminded us that ‘ergs don’t float’ but, for the evening we were too happy to care

Well deserved beer
Well deserved beer
blisters braille

What an eventful time we’re having…….

As I type, race day is 2 days away, in less than 48 hours it will all be over – but for now I’ll tell you about the weekend.

The women’s team have been panicking that we’re going to make fools of ourselves come race day. We’ve only all raced together once, on the river at Manawatu and it was a disaster….. well, it wasn’t good….

With Anneliese given the ok to row again after her blood poisoning our coach really kindly offered to give us 4 rowing sessions over the weekend – 2 on Saturday and 2 Sunday – we all leapt at the chance – the more time we can get on the water together the better. On Thursday one of our team, V, announced they were ‘too busy’ to make training on Sunday…. annoying to say the least, but at least we have Saturday

Saturday dawned and we gathered excitedly, the whole women’s and 3/4 of the men’s team (the men’s team are essentially race ready – damn them – and had borrowed a rower from another team to make up their 4). It wasn’t the best weather, it was cold, we got rained and hailed on, but there were also moments of beautiful warm sunshine and a rainbow. We were out for a good hour, wasn’t a perfect row, but we were moving and our racing starts were mostly not too bad……

Back on land, freezing cold we washed the boat down, put on some dry clothes and headed to Karaka Cafe (can’t recommend their ginger slices enough) to warm up.

Warming up in the cafe
Warming up in the cafe

This is where the weekend started to unravel. Three of us went for coffee and V went home for a shower (we had a 2 hour break, so fair enough). We watched the videos our coach had taken of us, saw our technique – realised that even when you think you’re doing something right, you’re not! We were chatting and it turns out that words were exchanged between 2 of our team – one person, L, thought they were offering a bit of friendly technique advice (our old friend – balancing the boat) as she was moving her hands opposite to the way she was meant to. But this was not taken that way and extremely rude words were thrown back. L apologised as soon as they were back on land and thought the matter was over. We chatted with our coach and he suggested that if we have any issues to address them through him – him asking us how we thought things were going and us telling him…….

Our second session was shorter as hands were blistering and the weather was still pretty miserable. We did some race pieces, practising starts and rowing for a good 500m at speed – was great fun and we were going pretty well. The passing comments through the coach seemed to be working – balance issues as ever, and for me (sat in stroke seat) people rushing up their slide was meaning that I could only get half a stroke in……

We ended in pretty good spirits – coach even managed to persuade V to come for the first coaching session on Sunday with the promise of being off the water at 9:30.

Sunday – I woke to a text from the coach saying V had pulled out of the team. After checking whether he meant today or entirely, it was entirely……. I was shocked, but I guess not surprised. Apparently she wasn’t happy that L had spoken to her, the way I’d spoken to her (I’m guessing last weekend, but that was the entire boat, nothing personal) and the way the coach spoke to her (I mean WTF????? That was the worst bit, he’s a great coach, always constructive critisism, encouragement with grumpiness generally when we’re not balancing the boat!) but also she has an exam coming up and doesn’t have the time to row with us (again WTF?? she decides this now, one day before a competition? Grrrr)

Anyway, we had to decide whether we wanted to try to persuade her back or find someone else. After much discussion, especially around the fact our indoor race was tomorrow, but also that she had been really rude to L and not apologised, we decided we’d give her the opportunity to change her mind, but we weren’t going to beg her – the coach assured us we’d find a spare for tomorrow and would come up with someone for race day – we also had several offers from various men to shave their legs and don wigs for us!!

The row itself was tricky – one of the men rowed with us and another was our cox (that wasn’t why it was tricky!) – the wind was blowing over 20 knots and meant the boat had a permanent lean to it meaning even more extreme boat balancing was needed!!!! We stayed mostly in the most sheltered bit of the harbour, it was hard work, but a good lesson in balancing, lots of starts and long rows – apart from being a team member down I think we all left feeling that we weren’t going to make fools of ourselves come race day (Saturday….)

Sadly our attempts to contact V got no response and so by default we were on the hunt for a new team member

erg crab

The week where I lost it with my team mates……

We’ll come to my minor melt down soon, but first

Saturday 1st August – what a great way to start a new month

We rowed from Petone/Northend this weekend, beautiful day. Should have been 6 of us there, but 3 didn’t show….. so in the end there was me, 2 of the guys and 1 man from another team to make a 4 and the coach came with us as cox.

I wasn’t impressed that the other 2 women who were meant to be coming didn’t – still only rowed once as a 4 and there’s 1 more weekend until race day.

I got to sit back in Stroke seat and once we were out on the water it was all good. We rowed really well as a 4. No major balance issues, some timing issues – you have to be in time – oars in together, out together and sliding up to the front to take another stroke together – if not and people are too fast, then the stroke can’t get to the front of the slide (to do with physics, boat moving in water etc) and 1, it’s really annoying and 2, it’s wasting a lot of potential power. Once we got that sorted we were doing racing starts and getting a lot better at them.

The coach then challenged the other boat out on the water to a race……. they stormed ahead of us across the ‘line’ but we pulled them back, over took them and then I caught a massive crab – was left hanging onto my oar with one hand (cue me looking for a picture of what ‘catching a crab’ looks like…… have ended up starting a Pintrest account and saving loads of rowing pictures……)

This was me, but I was left hanging on with only my right hand. Rule 101 - never let go of your oar....)
This was me, but I was left hanging on with only my right hand. Rule 101 – never let go of your oar….)

After much laughter (and me now owing the crew a round of coffees) we headed back to the boat shed for a well-earned rest.

This was the best row I’ve had so far – really felt like I could row – yes, made mistakes, but as far as keeping the boat balanced, being generally in time, it was great – such an awesome…. or should that be oar-some feeling!

Sunday dawned as not such a great day, it had rained overnight so got a wet bum cycling to the boatshed – does anyone know why my garmin can work out that I’m at sea level when I’m on my bike, but not when we’re rowing – it puts us at over 500ft?

We finally managed to get 3 of the ladies crew out in a boat together, the 4th being Emily, from another team who’d kindly agreed to come row with us while our 4th team member is still covering from an infection (although she did come down and cox for us so was good to be all out together).

Needless to say we were terrible, couldn’t get the boat balanced even when we were sat still – this is where I lost it, I was fed up with their lack of commitment – one didn’t turn up the day before as she was running late and the other had managed to make a magical recovery today from being too sick to come the day before. I waggled my oar up and down rocking the boat and told them to get it balanced. I was told I was the self nominated drill master, which caused me to ask ‘if we can’t balance the boat how are we ever going to row together? We were taught this week one, it’s ridiculous…….’. Things took a turn for the frosty, then the coach arrived in the coach boat and told us off for not balancing the boat…… I felt truly justified and much better……

By the end of the hour we were better, but still not great, rowing all 4 together was still a struggle……. people would just stop rowing if something went wrong (another of my pet hates – just keep going, stopping won’t win us a race).

My mood was not helped by us, as we were coming into shore, heading straight for another boat – no one did anything to try and prevent this (living up to the name of Princess as our coach seems to have dubbed us), so I ended up jumping out into the water to grab our boat and stop it…… grrrr women, useless.

Monday saw us back on the ergs. Some people’s enemy, but I like them, you get lost in the rhythm of things, it gets painful, but you just keep going……

We did a 20 minute warm up, 3x 3.5mins at 24 strokes/min, 2 min rest and then a 1km go as fast as you can thing.

I beat my previous 1km by 3 seconds – 3 min 58 seconds – was very happy with myself!

erg crab

No lunch time ergs for me on Tuesday – I think it’s the first one I’ve missed since starting, but instead, in the evening I had a PT session with Sean. Last week I requested more boxing, and he did not disappoint…….. We did 10x 3 minute rounds – exhausting. Then a circuit of 12x Arne lifts (bicep curl, squat, shoulder press, arms back down to finish bicep curl), lunging and twist with a 10kg medicine ball along the area we were working in, 1x pressup followed by 1x crab crawl sideways across the area we were working in, high knees into a boxing pad back along the length of the area and then 30secs of pounding a boxing pad on the floor…… repeat 2 more times but adding (after the pounding) throwing the medicine ball back along the length followed by 12x deadlifts……

Knocked 30 seconds off my time each time….. what was I thinking?

Then a quick abs session, 3x v sits – lying flat, arms straight, legs straight, lift arms and legs, touch toes and repeat until exhausted, then dropping to bent legs……

Then, just for fun, a bit more boxing until I could no longer speak

Then stretch……..

Which brings us to Thursday (and immense ab pain just around my breastbone).

Out on the water in the rain – first time getting into a boat in the wet – you get cold and soggy before you’ve even started – I got even wetter getting out of the boat as I was in a really deep bit of water and had to duck under my rigger to get to shore – water was too high to climb over!

Anyway, there were 4 of us, 3 ladies and Kade – it wasn’t too bad but a lot of rushing up the slide from the bow pair (I was in stroke seat) making it tricky to take full strokes. We practiced a good few racing starts, we’re getting there, slowly……

Good news though, our 4th lady has been given the ok to row again!!!! So, our coach  has very kindly offered us girls 4 rowing sessions at the weekend 2x Saturday and 2x Sunday. We should all be there on Saturday, only 3 of us on Sunday, but hopefully it will be enough to at least not make total fools of ourselves come race day……….

The first week racing was properly mentioned

Saturday’s row was out at Petone (great for me as that’s where I live!) we’re either in Wellington CBD or ‘North End’ as they call Petone depending on the wind direction/where’s more sheltered. We also had the pleasure of an 8:30am start – a lie in compared to in the week.

Due to sickness/skiing/rugby there was only 5 of us there to row plus our coach. The 2 more experienced boys went off in a double (a boat for 2 where you have 2 oars each) and the rest of us went out in a cox-less 4 – where stroke seat does the steering with their foot. Needless to say, steering was a bit of an issue – I’m amazed we didn’t get dizzy!

I found it hard (mentally) rowing today – the coach was sitting behind me (=I feel total stress that he’s watching my every move – which he is. He’s great in that he’s always correcting technique, but there’s a lot of technique to still correct and it felt like nothing was going right!) and the guy in front of me was not great at keeping time, so as I’m rolling forward on my stroke, he’s thundering back towards me – the spacing in the boat means there’s not room for someone to be rolled all the way forwards and someone all the way back – you meet in the middle and it hurts.

We, as ever, worked on technique, timing, technique and timing. Right at the end we did a couple of practice ‘racing’ starts – getting the boat moving as quickly as possible from stationary to fast – you take a 3/4 then 1/2 then 3/4 then full stroke – it all seems to happen very quickly and we really need more practice!!!

It was a beautiful morning to be out though – bit chilly but sunny, so as long as we were moving it was warm

Monday morning 7am saw us back on the ergs (rowing machines). After a good warm up we did 3x 3:30min rowing 3 min rest at 24 strokes/min – felt like hard work, but managed to stay under 2:10min/500m so I was happy, if somewhat shattered, and no amazing sunrise this morning either. This morning was the first time we’d discussed what pace we were likely to be rowing at during the race (the whole reason for the training) – we’re going to aim for 24 strokes/min – a decent pace where we should be able to hold our technique for the entirety. Any faster and we’ll tire, lose technique and then the boat will be going no where fast…..

Tuesday lunchtime – erging with the Masters. I enjoy these sessions, they’re hard rowing but always with good banter – these guys have more ability to talk and row than we do! We did our ‘normal’ pyramid

4 mins 20strokes/min

3 mins 22strokes/min

2 min 24strokes/min

1 min 26strokes/min

2 min 24strokes/min

3 min 22strokes/min

4 min 20 strokes/min

By the time I was back to 20strokes/min my back felt like it had a stitch, only made slightly more comfortable by slouching….. in no time at all I was shouted at from someone sat behind me to ‘sit up straight’ cursing them for catching my poor technique but pleased at the same time that they’re keeping an eye on me too!

Thursday morning had us at the Rowing Club for 6:15am. We had to rig the boats before we could put them on the water – rigging is putting the metal bits that the oars sit on/in onto the boat (they come off for easier transportation)

boat rig


With one of our teammates still out with blood poisoning we ‘borrowed’ a girl from another team and had an all ladies 4 . We’re still having issues with all 4 people rowing together – fine in mixed and matched pairs, but all 4 means it falls apart…..

Was a nice morning to be out, but to be honest frustrating that we still can’t row well together – we cope, but it must look awful.

What I had forgotten was that I had a PT session in the evening (thankfully I was too engrossed in work to make it to the lunchtime ergs!). I had been doing ‘Get Pumped Fitness’ Boot camp 3x a week 6-7am before the rowing started, but as I couldn’t really do that and the rowing I’ve started having 1 PT session a week instead. The boot camp wasn’t quite as intense as BMF, but PT with Sean is equally as hard as with Jel back in Finsbury Park and Brent in New Plymouth.

Last night we did what felt like a whole body workout – boxing, weights, abs, legs, more abs, more weights and a few more legs….. then some stretching! The boxing we tend to do as a warm-up but I’ve requested extra boxing for next week. The weights are all dumbbell/bar bell things, including a bit of ‘kettlebell’ work – brought back happy memories from the kettlebell course I did back in FP. Also did a fun squat up against the wall while holding a 10kg medicine ball in my arms and rolling up and down a medicine that was between me and the wall.

Was shattered by the end – no balance left for stretching which is why I think after the first attempt the rest were done lying down…….


Another week of rowing

I’m loving this rowing thing.

I never used to be an early morning person, but slowly got used to it training/running in the UK and now I have no choice!

Before - was like someone had drawn a red line accross the sky
Before – was like someone had drawn a red line accross the sky
After - we stopped our cool down to look at this
After – we stopped our cool down to look at this

The great thing about NZ is the sunrises, in Wellington where we row, our sunrise happens over Petone and the Tararuas beyond – this was our view before and after training (on the rowing machines) this morning

Last Saturday we spent the day on the Manawatu river (just south of Foxton). This was a scaled down version of the training camp the rowing club normally run. Wanganui, where it’s usually held, had massive floods recently which washed away the boat ramps that are normally used. We had 2 rowing sessions – the first 2 hours out in 4s (boats with 4 people) and it was the first time we had rowed together as a 4. It was a steep learning curve, something odd going on in terms of boat balance and just as we were seeing some improvement one of the bits that holds the oar snapped, we had to row back with only 2 people rowing and we were a boat down for the second session. We left the boat feeling rather downhearted and cold (and very wet – it was pouring with rain by the end of it).

Thankfully our coach has a beach house we could all go back to and warm up in and with a boat down we shared the 2nd session with the boys. They went out first while we stayed back at the house to catch them up later on. Was really good to have a bit of time to bond – up until now we’ve only really seen each other briefly before getting into a boat and then while putting them away.

It was an hour well spent as when we got back on the water it was like we were a totally different crew. Not perfect, but we had some good stints of all rowing together, so much happier ladies left the water by the end.

Amazing Annotated Picture
Amazing Annotated Picture

Monday morning saw us at the rowing club for 6:45am for a session on the water. This time we were in an 8, all the ladies at the front and the men at the back so we could row in our separate crews. Had a different coach watching us and hopefully he’s got to the bottom of why the boat was so unbalanced – both of us on stroke side (see amazing annotated picture (not actually taken on Monday)) are leaning over too far at the front of our stroke – fingers crossed on Saturday we can see if we’ve fixed it.

Tuesday lunch time is erg time ie on the rowing machine. I join in with the Masters rowing session (Masters are the rowers that like rowing but aren’t as crazily committed as the competitive rowers, train something like 5 times pw rather than 12!). This was the hardest session I’ve done so far

24 strokes/min
2 min rowing 2 min rest
3 rowing 2 rest
4 rowing 2 rest
5 rowing 2 rest
4 rowing 2 rest
3 rowing 2 rest
2 rowing 2 rest
Rowed over 5km and kept my 500m split time down below 2min9sec the whole time (was v pleased with this)

Which brings us on to this morning – more ergs (but amazing sunrise)

We did a 1km, go as fast as you can, row. Spent 20 mins warming up which I’ve come to realise I need – it takes me a while to get my 500m splits down – they start around 2:30 and slowly head to 2:20 then to 2:10 and with the final bit of warm up (generally where we go from an 18/20 strokes per min to 22 then 24 the 26 and this morning 28 for 10 strokes).

The final bit of advice we had from our coach was to stick between 26-30 strokes per min to get a good time……. I’m really pleased with my time of 4:01 – 2:01 for the 1st 500m and 2min for the second. A massive improvement from when we first started in May of around 2:36/500m. All us ladies finished within a few seconds of each other which is great.

We finished with a nice gentle cooldown which was abruptly halted when the sunrise was spotted with amazing rays of the sun – our coach made us get off the ergs for a look and who were we to complain!

Next session on the water 8:30am Saturday ……