2000m erg test: Classic and Too Conservative

Testing week. Today was the time for the dreaded 2000m.

I rowed the test in the afternoon. Spent the rainy morning, after a heavy breakfast, with the boys in Brno’s science centrum VIDA which was good fun. Having physics qualifications, I tried to fulfill my duties to science and society by patiently explaining the principles behind the experiments to the boys, but I am afraid some of my explanation was lost and they ended up running enthusiastically between the attractions.

Then a light lunch and some work preparing dinner. We’ll have my special “Turkey a la Duck” with red cabbage. Food that needs a lot of time to be prepared.

Lunch digested well enough, a quick espresso and off to my erg cellar. Did a full fletcher warming up without looking up the prescribed paces, just did the stroke rates as prescribed and let the pace come by itself. Some stretching and prepare for the main  event.

I wasn’t sure what pace to aim at. My PB being 6:58.something, but not having done a 2k in ages, I thought that a 7:02 – 7:04 (i.e. 1:46 pace) would be a good target.

Standing start, of course. Race start and ten hard strokes with eyes closed. Opened eyes, saw 1:37 on the monitor, and slowed down to 1:46 pace, doing about 30spm.

My check points would be 1200m to go, 600m to go, 300m to go.

Of course I checked average pace after 500m: 1:44.1. That was of course due to the first hard 10 strokes which, as every rower knows “are for free”. I continued to row my 1:46 pace.

With 1200m to go I decided to accelerate. I was doing fine and decided I could risk this. If I would die a few hundred meters later, I would probably still be able to hold a pace that would bring me in on target.

I didn’t feel the usual panic at 1000m, which was strange. Usually I have this panicky feeling:
“Is this half way? You can’t be serious! I will not be able to hold this pace for another 1000m.”

Today? Nothing. Half way. OK.

With 900m to do I started to see the occasional 1:46 and had to work a bit harder to get back to the 1:45 pace. My predicted end time was now between 7:00 and 7:02.

I sat up a bit more straight and focused on technique. That brought me to 600m to go. I kind of accelerated but it wasn’t entirely consciously.

Entering the last 500m I started to count sets of 10 strokes and saw the splits come down. With 300m to go I started my final sprint and saw 1:43 splits.

That’s the point when I started to be aware of my mistake.

This was painful but it should have been much more painful.

Predicted end time was showing 6:58. Shit. That’s my Personal Best (at least as a Masters). I tried to add some power and get the monitor to show a 6:57 predicted end time but unfortunately I was running out of water. Finished the 2km with the feeling that I could have done at least 10 more strokes.

Disappointed? Not really. This was much faster than I expected, and the fact that it was relatively easy is a big confidence booster.

I say relatively easy, because of course I was tired.

But no erg cough. No urge to lie down on the floor. And I definitely didn’t have that half way panic, and that feeling with 300m to go that you have to short slide and pray that you can somehow hold the pace, seeing it slip slowly in the final 100m.


Workout Summary - Nov 15, 2015
--|Total|-Total-|--Avg--|-Avg-|Avg-|-Avg-|-Avg
--|Dist-|-Time--|-Pace--|Watts|SPM-|-HR--|-DPS
--|02000|06:58.3|01:44.6|306.0|31.6|177.8|09.1
Workout Details
#-|EDist|-Etime-|-SPace-|Watts|SPM-|AvgHR|DPS-|Comments
01|00100|00:19.6|01:38.1|370.3|36.7|135.9|08.3|
02|00200|00:40.6|01:44.8|303.9|28.6|166.5|10.0|
03|00300|01:01.7|01:45.7|296.0|31.2|171.8|09.1|
04|00400|01:23.0|01:46.1|293.2|31.1|175.8|09.1|
05|00500|01:44.1|01:45.5|297.9|31.3|178.1|09.1|average 1:44.1
06|00600|02:05.3|01:46.1|292.8|28.3|179.5|10.0|
07|00700|02:26.4|01:45.4|298.6|31.3|179.5|09.1|
08|00800|02:47.5|01:45.8|295.5|31.2|181.0|09.1|
09|00900|03:08.6|01:45.1|301.4|31.4|181.2|09.1|
10|01000|03:29.5|01:44.9|303.1|28.6|182.0|10.0|average 1:45.5
11|01100|03:50.5|01:44.9|303.2|31.5|182.0|09.1|
12|01200|04:11.5|01:44.7|305.0|31.5|182.5|09.1|
13|01300|04:32.6|01:45.9|295.1|28.3|183.0|10.0|
14|01400|04:53.8|01:45.6|296.8|31.2|182.7|09.1|
15|01500|05:14.7|01:44.6|306.2|34.4|182.0|08.3|average 1:45.1
16|01600|05:35.6|01:44.5|306.4|31.6|182.9|09.1|
17|01700|05:56.4|01:44.2|309.3|31.7|182.8|09.1|
18|01800|06:17.1|01:43.4|316.4|31.9|183.0|09.1|
19|01900|06:37.8|01:43.6|315.2|34.8|183.0|08.3|
20|02000|06:58.3|01:42.6|324.4|35.1|183.0|08.3|average 1:43.7

The 500m splits are a OTW rower’s classic. Fast first 100m. Cruise the middle part. Then accelerate.

2km2 2km1

Did a 4km cooling down. Then looked up my PB time: 6:58.2.

0.1 second faster than today’s effort. Damn.

I wanted to do this again.

Took a shower instead.

Next 2km attempt I need a bit more “contempt of death” and perhaps I will be able to seriously improve my PB. That’s not a bad outlook, isn’t it?

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