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From The Desk Of Clarence Bass

Rowing Follow-up: New PR, No Cigar -- Success Two Weeks Later


"Damn, so close," I wrote in my dairy. After a mini training cycle lasting six weeks, I made a new PR in the 500 meter row, but didn’t move up in the Concept 2 rankings; in fact, because of a new submission, I moved down one spot. I tied Malcolm Fawcett of York, England, who was No. 3 – until Robert Peterson of Spicewood, Texas, showed up with a time of 1:35.8, replacing Roger Bangay in first position, and pushing Fawcett down to fourth. My new PR of 1:40.1 put me in fifth place, tied with Fawcett. It was a little disappointing, but still a good effort – 8/10 of a second better than my previous best.

A new PR -- but not good enough to move up in the rankings.

My training went well. I was ready for 1:40 or better, which would’ve moved me ahead of Fawcett and (I believed) into third place. I broke the six weeks into three two-week phases, doing progressively shorter and faster intervals with work periods of two minutes, one minute and 30 seconds, respectively. I did the intervals at a moderate pace the first week, and then very hard the second week. Alternating from moderate to hard from  week to week and changing the work intervals worked well. It kept me fresh and shortening the work intervals every two weeks allowed me to row harder and harder without becoming aversive. I equaled my goal in each phase, beating my previous best interval times for two minutes, one minute and 30 seconds. I was primed for a new 500 meter best.

In the PR attempt, I was slightly ahead of my previous best all the way. I was hitting a 1:41 pace after five pulls, kicked it down to 1:37-39 and held it there through 400 meters. Unlike my previous effort, it felt like I could hold the pace all the way. But as I strained to stay under 1:40 in the last 100 meters, my hips came up slightly and I had to let up for several strokes to stabilize myself on the seat – if your butt comes off the sliding seat you’re in trouble. The few seconds of instability caused me to lose my rhythm and slow to about 1:42-43 in the final meters. The performance monitor registered 1:40.1, 1/10 of the second away from my goal. So close ..... Damn!

I’ll try again in two weeks.

Two Weeks Later

Success! I moved past Malcolm Fawcett into fourth place, with a time of 1:39.6. I’m now one second behind Rob Wilkes, who’s in third place.

 I did moderate 2-minute intervals in the first week, and then tried again the following week. This time it went better, I stayed on the seat and held the pace through the final 100 meters. I felt strong all the way.

Between pulls in the final 100 meters, still feeling strong 

When heavyweights in my age bracket are included, I’m now number 15 of 41. For lightweights of all ages, I’m 139 out of 298.

In eight weeks, I improved my time by 4.1 seconds – thanks to the Concept 2 rankings system. George Sheehan was right, competition helps us get the best out of ourselves.

Ripped Enterprises, 528 Chama, N.E., Albuquerque, New Mexico 87108, (505) 266-5858, e-mail:  cncbass@aol.com , FAX:  (505) 266-9123.  Office hours:  Monday-Friday, 8-5, Mountain time.

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