April 9 (Day 216) – erg – erg!

Ok so yesterday I had a ton of stuff to do (today, too actually), so I didn’t get to the box. I went to my chiropractor and the only time he could see me was right in the sweet spot of when I could work out. Luckily, he’s right down the road from the box, so after my appointment I went over and just did some pull up practice (with the black band), “hanging” practice (from chin above bar to straight arm), and then just “skipping rope fast” (not double under, just practicing single unders, but fast).

The black band is such that when I use it, I’m still lifting 100 pounds of “me.” No I will not tell you what the black band represents ;-) You can figure it out ;-)

I did set up another set of chiropractor appointments for every other week (WHY do I ever stop – ?!?! I feel SO MUCH better after!) – so now I just have to contact my masseuse. I buy “packages” from them – and I have some to use! (Again, WHY do I stop? I ask you…)

So last night, we went out with some friends to use an auction “win” that they’d gotten of a wine/dinner at Il Fornaio. We drank TOO MUCH great wine. Even had dessert. (Yes I stayed gluten-free – found out my friend is also g-f, also because of Hashimoto’s.) We haven’t seen them in like – lord – has to be at least 5 years, and I’d forgotten how much fun it is. Best part is the guys got on fabulously.

This morning I was feelin’ every glass of that wine but went to the box anyway – funniest part was that 3 of the OTHER girls were in the same boat. Apparently there’d been a school fundraiser that all of them had been to and “though the food was terrible” the wine was flowing – so it was maybe even WORSE than my situation – they’d been “wining it up” but NOT eating!

The WOD today was:
Part A: 10 Rounds For Max Cal On Rower (20 Sec On 40 Sec Off)

Part B: For Time
20-18-16-14-12-10-8-6-4-2 – KBS 1P
1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 – Toes 2 Bar

There weren’t enough rowers, so Mikaela and I buddied up. This meant that we finished way later than everyone else (we did our last 3 sets side-by-side to save some time) – so when it got to Part B, none of the orange (0.75 pood) kettlebells were left. So I used a yellow (0.50) because I couldn’t do that WOD with the red (full 1 pood).

AH, you ask, what is a “pood”? According to Wikipedia:

A Pood (Russian: пуд, pud), is a unit of mass equal to 40 funt (фунт, Russian pound). It is approximately 16.38 kilograms (36.11 pounds) and is used in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.

(So there).

Since our bars, weights, and kettlebells are all metric (and the kettlebells are in “poods”), the “red-taped kettlebell” is about 36 pounds, meaning the orange is about 27, the yellow is about 18. (Hey, I know you were wondering.)

I wrote down how many calories I got on the row, and also how long the Part B took me – but I managed to lose the paper. I suck at this “logging” thing, obviously. I want to say that Part A was 63 calories. That sounds about right. Rowing for 20 seconds is like NO TIME AT ALL.

In Part B, I was doing “knees up hangs” and as I mentioned, scaled to 0.5 pood. Tracy-the-tennis-gal was back (YAY!) and she had an orange and a yellow next to her – so I stood by her side, and when she swapped down to the yellow (at the 12), I took her orange and swapped up. (Such a stud, am I LOL). She can do toes to bar like a champ, which was quite amazing, since she and I are pretty evenly matched in running, erg, weights, etc. But DANG she just whipped them out.

Because of the pull up/hang practice yesterday, my forearms were SHOT, and the hang/knees up were killing me. By the end I was sort of doing an “ally-oop” of one knee up to ‘get’ the other knee up. Yes, I do it from the floor, I just couldn’t do it from a full hang or I would have had to do them one at a time. My hands definitely were feeling it, so I came home and ordered The Natural Grip – the last thing I want is to start ripping.

Karen, one of our box athletes going to Regionals, came up to me when I left the erg to “yell at me” about my form. She is not as tall as I am, but close (I bet she’s about 5’10”) and she said I was “wasting” my leg length on the erg.

I KNOW that this is true. When I was rowing at Georgetown, we didn’t do much (read: any) erg work, so I know the cues and dynamic on how to get the most power out, but in general, it’s for “real” rowing. I do okay, but H always smokes me on the erg (which of course pisses me off – hey, what can I say!).

So Karen took time after the WOD to actually sit me down (her on the erg) and walking me through EVERY part of it. She had someone waiting for her, so this was AMAZINGLY nice. (Remember, she was the one who was yelling at me when I was doing the Open WOD with the row in it – this is what, I think, raised me to her “attention” considering she does the WOD with the other Regionals-going athletes designed for them, and I’m over the corner doing scaled stuff ;-) Trying not to get in anyone’s way :-) )

When I was rowing in Part A, we had the ergs outside facing the mountain, and everyone was laughing because each time I would pull the erg literally shimmied an inch forward. (At about round 3 Coach Anthony came and rolled the tractor tire in front of the erg to stop it – Makaela and I were laughing so hard, it was bad, ESPECIALLY as I was laughing and rowing!)

So here’s the cues:
1. I have always “stomped” my feet but K really talked me through that. At the most “squatted” portion of the row, the heels of your shoes need to really be in the cups of the shoe holder (and strapped down tight), so you can LIFT YOUR HEELS as HIGH AS YOU CAN at the “most squatted” position. Then, as you push, you stomp your HEELS down hard. This will sort of “raise your toes,” but they are strapped in across the widest part of the toebox of your shoes, which holds them in. So the “stomp” is NOT ONLY stomping the heels, but you are also sort of “lifting your toes” up from the cup (though they don’t actually lift, because they are strapped down).

2. Pull the handle back to just below your breasts – basically where the bottom of a jogbra would be. You can pull it anywhere, but this is where you want to pull it. Just do it.

3. Arms stay straight until legs are straight, then arms bend to bring the handle up to the jogbra.

4. Then WAIT TWO BEATS. The erg is “still moving” at this point, don’t start back, this is your rest. In “real rowing” this is the “glide” portion of the row, right before you feather and return. Do NOT LEAVE THIS OUT.

5. Your BODY STAYS STRAIGHT. Karen says this is the one thing you will see that’s the biggest difference between men and women. Your head should stay “level” through the whole pull. If you’re tall, there is NO NEED to reach your arms “forward” (as a very short girl will need to do, as she can’t “push back” as long with her legs). So don’t hunch, don’t bring your head down, don’t collapse your chest, STAY STRAIGHT. (You will to some extent “tip forward” when your arms go forward, but don’t “reach” forward, there is no need if your legs are long.)

6. Your body should be VERY STILL. We all know that the erg is a “leg thing” not an “arm thing,” but it is not a “body thing” either. It’s really just legs – squatting with heels up, pushing heels down and legs going straight, then sliding back.

7. Though you can get SOME extra power “pulling back” against the straps (which I’ve been taught), it’s better to “relax” back to the starting position. Don’t think about it until you get REALLY good at all the rest. However, the straps DO need to be tight, because that will be integral to keeping the power going backwards in the push back (see above).

8. Practice S-L-O-W-L-Y and at a LOW number on the erg until form is perfect. Think: STOMP (push/stomp) until legs straight, PULL (Handle to jogbra bottom), 1-2 (WAIT with handle up at jogbra – e.g. the “glide” to get the power out of the erg before you go back), RELAX (back to start – head EVEN, body STILL).

9. Trying to move FASTER is not important. It’s getting all the power “out of” the erg, and understanding how it works. If you start back before you’ve done the “glide,” you are NOT getting any more cals/meters “out of” the erg on the “return.” That’s why you want the “glide” – the erg is still moving in a direction that will give you more cals/meters. This is something I hadn’t really thought about, but that was a “lightbulb moment.” If you’re returning “too soon” the handle goes back, and you haven’t “tapped out” the power that the erg could “give you” for the pull that you just did. Again – think about when you really row. It’s pull-feather-GLIDE-push back-oars in, pull-feather-GLIDE-push back-oars in. Duh!

So I think I have to start going like 15 minutes early and work on this. I also think I have to just not run when running is programmed, and row instead. (This is what H has done for the last while – as running hurts his knee but rowing doesn’t – and I think that’s one reason that he’s surpassed me in rowing. Practice.) As Karen said – start with the erg REALLY low numbers, and go slowly.

Also spoke with Sera – we’re going to work on my 1 rep maxes in 2 privates, starting next week.

So there you go.