Today, I’m 30. This commercial is 29. I don’t know how I feel about that. I also don’t know why Juicy Fruit felt the need to go with the jingle lyric “get your skis shined up,” but I wish I had found it sooner. Another testimonial to my age is senility that had me thinking the lyric was “get geared up,” which, being a catchy jingle, occasionally gets into my head when things are ramping up on either a micro or macro level. In this case, I was prepping to write a post about doing more speed work and race prep pieces.
Just before leaving, Pepa ran us through a VO2 test on the erg. While it wasn’t true for everyone of the GRP rowers, an interesting find was that many of us had substantial anaerobic capacities. Essentially, this means that once our body was moving into an oxygen deficient state and our energy systems were switching over to faster burning sources, we were still able to get a good amount of work done. This was notable to Pepa since many of her skiers at the peak of racing didn’t go this anaerobic and to Coach Roock since we were still out of season and hadn’t gone to a purposefully anaerobic training plan. Both observations had concrete answers. While there was plenty of benefit and crossover to our nordic skiing throughout the winter, our sport straddles both the aerobic and anaerobic abilities of the body. The pace you need to go in order to race 2000m only keeps you in a strictly aerobic state for a portion of it. Meanwhile, the efforts of skiers is much more aerobically based, and while they have sprint races, they have many races that are much longer than 2k.
As for how we grew so anaerobically trained without explicitly training for it, skiing provides the answer here as well for two reasons. One, although we grew more and more proficient at nordic skiing, we still do not have the ultimate proficiency and sport specificity to be truly efficient with our efforts. Consequently, what is an easy ski for a GRP skier is more than likely an AT workout for a GRP rower. Additionally, skiing inadvertently added some additional race workouts into our winter, base training. We competed in every Tuesday night race series we could and, as a result, added some intense racing to our “off season” training.
Full circle. The point of this is that despite having decent anaerobic capacities right now going to race pace still hurts. Earlier this week, we did 4 by 4 minutes at pace. Basically, go for four minutes as hard as you can. For men, this is just over half an actual race, and for women, it is about half. We did two from a start and two from a running start. Then, yesterday, we did 9 by 250 meters. Now, 250 meters is nothing, but it’s surprising how long it can feel when you attempt to cover it as quickly as possible. Interesting paradox. The 250 meters were supposed to be at 2000m race pace. Three from a start, three to practice the base or middle of the race, and three to practice the sprint. However, as competition would have it, many of the pieces if not all were done at sub-2k pace. Either way, both workouts served as rude (yet for our breed pleasurable) reminders of what racing is like. Acid build up in the legs, gasping for air, dangers of tensing extraneous muscles, etc.
This Sunday we head to Lake Lanier in Gainesville, GA. It was the site for rowing and flat water sports for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. We’re participating in the Lake Lanier Sprints. They are not of any consequence to us, and to be honest, our group will be the greatest source of competition for each other. Nonetheless, it will be a great forum to practice backing into stake boats, racing in lanes, and growing familiar with the 2000m distance. Some years in the past, I’ve entered the first National Selection Regatta (aka NSRI) without having raced at all. While that’s doable, it is far from preferable or smart. Get geared up.