Thursday, July 30, 2015

Looking Back: Summer 2015

As crazy as it seems, summer racing is over. When I left off, I was headed up to Princeton to race at World Championship Trials. If you didn't follow the results, we placed second, just 1.37 seconds behind the Riverside boat.

Our goal as a crew was to break 6:30, which we did, with an awesome time of 6:29.47. But, just like PanAm trials, we learned that wicked fast wasn't going to cut it anymore.

There were a lot of emotions, many of which I still haven't identified. I am super excited by our performance. I am disappointed to have not made the team—but less disappointed than I expected, which is confusing.

Whatever the emotions, we didn't have much time to process, as we headed back to the race course the following morning for the US Rowing Elite National Championships. All four of us tripled up, racing the light women's single, double and quad. (We were the only lightweight quad entered, so we raced in the open weight women's quad final and received our own medal.)

Overall, it was a great race. I placed 3rd in the single, then turned around and won the double less than two hours later. We came in second in the open quad race, but got a gold medal for being small! I came home happy but exhausted and in need of some recovery.

We had a taco feast:

Made some mojitos:

And ate veggies from our farm share:

And a week later, I got back in the car and went back to the swamp, a.k.a. Washington, DC.

Let me explain:
In April, US Rowing held the first National Selection Regatta, where I raced the open women's single. At the same time, the lightweight women's doubles raced. My doubles partner and I had only just tried our combination a week prior, and were not able to make weight for the race, so we didn't enter.

At that race, Devery Karz and Michelle Sechser won, and earned the right to race as USA1 at the World Cup 2 or 3—a series of summer races leading up to the World Championships. If they placed top 4, they would qualify automatically for the World Championships for the USA. Otherwise, the boat would go back to trials in early August.

Since Devery and Michelle elected to race at World Cup 3, in mid-July, we decided to practice the double in preparation for Trials.

Morgan and I raced and won the light 2x at Elite Nationals.

I headed down to DC on July 7th and got to work.

DC is hot and rainy, and exhausting. Practices were at 6am sharp—and parking was gone by 5:30am. The afternoon session started at 5pm most days, to avoid the hottest part of the day. But it was always hot.

We practiced and raced for a week, and by the 12th, Devery and Michelle had placed 3rd at World Cup 3 and I was starting to plan my drive home.

I'm disappointed that Morgan and I didn't get a chance to race our line-up. It would have been a great check point going into fall and winter training. However, I'm really excited that Devery and Michelle are going fast—we need them to place top 11 at this year's World Championships to qualify the US for the Olympics next year.

I'll write more about my upcoming plans in the next few weeks, but for now I am back in New Milford, sleeping, eating and recovering to prep for the next long training block.

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

What I Ate Wednesday

I'm never sure whether that hashtag is "what I ate this week on Wednesday" or "what I ate one day this week, published on Wednesday". I thought the former would be more honest: I couldn't choose the most conveniently healthy day of food from the week.

So, without further ado, here is what I ate yesterday. 
Bran flakes, nuts, raisins, soy milk and black tea at 5:30am, watching the sun rise from the Potomac Boat Club. 

And then I was still hungry so I had some blueberries.

Snack during the row. We did 75 minutes at a medium pace.

Post row snack. Coffee, banana and liberally applied peanut butter. 

Aaaaand another small snack around 10am as I was starting work.

Lunch, finally! Around 11:30 I had a salad with brown and white rice, spinach, snap peas, hummus and spices.
Warning: food in photo is tastier than it appears. 

Never forget dessert.

Another snack! English muffin, peanut butter, frozen blueberries and a banana with more peanut butter. I would say I'm eating an unusually large amount of peanut butter, but I've seen how fast my weight drops when I cut it out.

I had another one of these during my afternoon lift, along with some nuun. I would have preferred something else, but I really struggle with what to eat for the pm workout. A smoothie would maybe have been a better option? I'm not sure. Crackers could also have worked, just to change things up. 

And finally, dinner! The lifting session was long and ran late so I threw together this quick dinner when I got home. Sautéed carrots, peppers and apples with kidney beans and brown rice, topped with a white wine-mustard sauce and sesame seeds. And a glass of wine. 

Phew. That is a lot of food. I'm sure there are places I could do better, but I'm generally pretty happy with my diet.

I eat a lot of fruits, veggies and whole grains. I got in almost all of the colors yesterday: blue berries, red grapes, green apple/spinach/peas, orange peppers/carrots, yellow banana.

But I'm also not crazy restrictive. I eat chocolate and drink some wine. I don't count calories. 

I should probably diversify my peanut butter consumption. Maybe some almond butter. ;)

What did you eat on Wednesday?

N.B. This post was composed on my phone so apologies for any strange formatting.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

World Championship Trials

If you followed results from PanAm Trials, you may have noticed that the lightweight women had a dominating performance. Many congrats to Mary Jones in the light women's single and Sarah Giancola and Victoria Burke in the light women's double for pulling such fast times.

I was eliminated in the semi-final round. It was definitely disappointing, but it was a 10-second PR in the single for me, so I was still really proud of the result. There were a lot of mixed emotions to process—I knew I'd gotten a lot faster, and that was correct, but it turns out everybody else got a lot faster, too.

After a week of processing, I travelled down to Washington, DC to train with three other lightweight women out of the Potomac Boat Club. All four of us raced the singles at PanAm Trials, and have been spending the last few weeks trying to mesh as a crew.

On the drive up to Princeton

Starting this evening, we'll be racing in the lightweight women's quad at World Championship Trials, alongside Riverside and Vesper crews. For the last two years, there have been only two quads and a lot more singles racing at trials, so it will be fun to have a competitive three boat final.

It's been really fun to watch the depth increase over this Olympic cycle, even if it means working harder to get where I want to be.

Racing begins today with a late evening time trial that will determine lanes for Wednesday's final. The winner of the final will earn a spot on the 2015 US National Team for the World Championships.

Also starting on Wednesday are the USRowing Elite National Championships. Our quad will be racing the open women's quad (no weigh in!) because there were no other lightweights entered in the quad. We will also be splitting into smaller boats and racing the light women's double and light women's single.

More information about Trials.
More information about Nationals.

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Trials for PanAm Games

The GMS crew is in Princeton racing at US Trials for the 2015 PanAm Games. We've got two open women's singles, two lightweight women's singles, a lightweight women's double and half of a composite crew in the lightweight men's double.

The time trials went down to the course last night. Heats and repechages are today. Heat sheets and results can be found here:

In the lightweight women's single, there are three heats, and the top two in each heat progress automatically to Tuesday's semi-final. Everybody else races in one of two repechages this evening, where the top boat in each rep advances.

There are definitely huge advantages to only racing once today! The semi-final rounds are usually very fast, and having fresher legs is important.

Another note: this is elimination style racing—there are no B and C level finals. If a crew doesn't progress, their regatta is over. The first crews will be eliminated tonight during the repechage.

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Friday, May 8, 2015

2015 Race Schedule

Life for the last 6 months has been super busy, between an increased workload and an increased training load. We're starting to settle into a good spring/summer rhythm. Lots of sunlight means lots of time to get stuff done.

So, at long last, an update.

After a long, but productive, winter season, we headed down to Sarasota, Florida for some water time. We were there for 3.5 weeks, and ran and swam and rowed and biked as much as possible.

All this to prep for the first National Selection Regatta. Unfortunately, US Rowing changed the format of racing this year, eliminating the lightweight women's single from the NSR program.

This year, doubles were emphasized at the first NSR, but GMS is a very small club. That makes finding a partner difficult. We had used NSR1 in the single to help us find appropriate doubles partners. Without that option, I was without a partner.

Guenter (my coach) and I decided that focusing on the single was the best option. The open weight women's single was offered at NSR1 (although doubles were given higher priority). With only 7 entries (four of them lightweights!!), it was a good, low-pressure race to start the season.

Racing the time trial at the 2015 NSR1

And the results were a great starting point:
The two Potomac athletes are also lightweights.
My racing schedule for the summer is not yet finalized, but here are the domestic races I hope to attend.

PanAmerican Games Trials, May 17-20, Mercer Lake, New Jersey - Lightweight Women's Single
Senior I/U23 World Championship Trials, June 21-24, Mercer Lake, New Jersey
US Rowing National Championships, June 24-26, Mercer Lake, New Jersey

Notice that they are all in New Jersey? Currently all national team trials and most elite level regattas are held on Mercer Lake, just outside of Princeton. If you know anybody in the area willing to host a rower, let me know! Hotel costs add up quickly over the season (and hotels don't have kitchens).

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Visiting the Farm

If you follow me on Twitter, you've probably noticed that I've mentioned getting produce from "our farm". No, we didn't buy a farm. Instead, we signed up for a CSA box!

"Our" farm
In Oakland, we tried a CSA share, but didn't find it worthwhile. Our local grocery store had better prices on local, organic produce and was half the distance (super important when you're biking up hills to pick up groceries). Heading out to Connecticut, I expected things to be a bit different, so I researched local organic farms.

Boy, was I wrong. Things here are WAY different than California. All of the vegetables in grocery stores look like caricatures of their original—the colors are too even, the shapes too regular, the flavor quite lacking and the prices astronomical. We could hardly afford vegetables, let alone organic veggies. Local was definitely out of the question—the going rate for ZUCCHINI, which grows like a weed, was $4/lb at our local market.

So in late spring, just a week before the first shares went out, we signed up for a seasonal CSA. It was a bit of a gamble, but it looked like a good group of guys running the farm, with a nice selection of vegetables.

And fortunately, I was oh-so-right!!

Visiting the farm!
Our CSA so far has been a marvelous experience. We pick up our box every Thursday about a mile from the rowing center. When I can, I like to ride my bike to pick up our veggies.

The farm is located about 20 minutes drive north of New Milford. It's a 30-acre, all organic farm. They grow a bunch of different things—greens, tomatoes, sunflowers, potatoes, radishes, beans, peas, blueberries and more! We get a nice variety in our box each week.

Coming from California, there haven't been any new vegetables. Still, it's been fun to get back some of the variety we'd had out West. Daikon and turnips have both made an appearance, as well as some fun shelling beans and very sweet snap peas.

Knowing that we eat a lot of veggies, we talked to the farmers and decided to get a full share instead of a half share. We could certainly eat fewer vegetables, but when we put our minds to it, we easily finish our full share each week.

In fact, we've also been supplementing our CSA share with veggies from our garden.

I'll write more about the GMS garden later, but we're slowly establishing a 30ft x 30ft vegetable garden just outside the house. So far, we've gotten a good harvest of mint, lettuces, zucchini, beans and cucumbers. It's definitely a work in progress, but it's fun making zucchini bread with veggies from the backyard!

Expect more updates through the late summer and fall, as we experience the full season of the CSA and continue to make progress in the garden.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Two Years

In two years, the Rio Olympics begin.

It feels so far away, both in time and in the things I have to accomplish to make it. But in considering the margin between where I am and where I want to be, I remembered where I was two years ago!

It has been a little bit more than two years since I started training with the California Rowing Club. In early May of 2012, I went 8:12 over 2km on the erg, struggled after 10km, and felt the burn after 100 squats at 45 pounds.

The past two years have made a world of difference. I trained at the California Rowing Club for 18 months and established a really solid base. With cycling to and from the boathouse, and lots of 20-24km rows in the single, I was hitting 800-1000 minutes of training each week.

Although my scores didn't improve much in California, when I came to GMS I reaped the benefits of that base with massive improvements. Now, I pull a 7:22 on 2k, can row 22km without snacks, and squat 3 sets of 100 with 50 pounds.

Of course, improvement isn't linear, and I expect every further second I gain will be hard fought. Still, to be where I am and still improving after only two years is very encouraging. Now that I've really found my training groove, this next six months will be my best yet—and this coming fall and spring season should be an absolute blast.

Cheers to dreams!

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