May 5 2018
Apr 8 2018
No, the title of this blog is not a typo.
It was too windy to go rowing, so I went on a slow run. After 2km, I noticed this guy and took a picture.
A while later, I met this bunch:
Then I noticed that there were hordes of toads doing it in all kind of combinations. Pairs, triples, quads. I didn’t see an eight.
Otherwise it was just a run. I had some water from the well:
The collection of mugs is ever increasing.
Mar 31 2018
Hotel room in Phoenix. Up at 2:30. Spent some time reading emails, then decided it was time to hit the trails. On this trip, I was prepared. I had brought a head lamp and thus was able to fit in desert trail runs before dawn. It wasn’t particularly warm outside, about 9 degrees C, so I put a shirt with long sleeves over my T-shirt, got in the car and drove to the trailhead, arriving there at 5:45.
I saw a closed gate and was confused. Perhaps this part of the desert was closed for some reason? I drove back to the hotel, parked the car and started running, back to the trailhead.
When I arrived there, the gate was open, and I was able to see the sign saying that the trails opened only at 6AM.
Unfortunately, by that time it was time to run back to the hotel, take a shower, eat a breakfast and go to the office.
So no trail running on Tuesday. To-the-trail-running.
This time I was better prepared. I had discovered that the Apache Wash trailhead, a bit further away from the hotel, opened at 5AM. Same routine. This time I woke up at 3am. I did some email reading, some real reading, and then I got in the car and drove to Apache Wash.
It was a great run. It was pretty dark during the first 25 minutes, but the head lamp helped a lot. Better than trying to use the torch function on the iPhone.
Then, there is this moment when birds start to sing, and then the sun rises above the mountains to the east.
I was running on the Apache Wash (“AW”) loop, but from a quick glance at the trailhead map I estimated that doing the entire loop would take too long. I hesitated at a sign that said “Connector to AW”, about 25 minutes in, but then I continued, and after exactly 30 minutes, I turned around and ran back to the car.
Another “there and back” run. I tend to have a strong preference for loops, but on a new trail, in the desert, I didn’t want to risk. It didn’t matter much, because the experience was great. It’s also pretty much the only time I am outside. My company’s offices are bunkers without direct daylight, and I don’t count a quick run across the street to get lunch.
Up at 4:30 this time. Same routine. A bit of emailing with the team back in Europe. Then in the car for a 15 minute drive to the AW trail head, putting on the head lamp and run.
I took a second quick glance at the map and learned that that “connector” trail after 25 minutes would be ideal, and I would be able to run a loop!
Sunrises (and sunsets) are beautiful in Arizona.
This morning, I packed and checked out from the hotel. I had a 8AM meeting in Tempe, so there was no time to go running. (Also, I woke up at 5:30 today.)
My 8AM in Tempe was followed by a 9AM meeting at the Sky Harbor Circle office (my company has many offices in Phoenix) was lasted until lunch time. I had lunch with a colleague, and when he had to go to the airport, I drove over to the botanical gardens. That was my exercise for the day, a 2 mile strawl through the botanical gardens.
Now I am at the gate, an hour before boarding my flight to Heathrow. In Heathrow, I will connect to Prague, followed by a 2 hour drive to Brno, which brings me home late Saturday night. I predict that I will not be able to fit in a workout on Saturday.
Mar 11 2018
On Friday, I opted for no training. I did, however, go to the rowing club (another ride to break in my new Honda and get used to riding it before taking it into the rush hour traffic), and ended up helping the younger age group. The boys, including my two sons, were helping cleaning up the club house, carrying boxes with stuff to a temporary storage. I did the heavier boxes, full with old prizes, big glass bowls and other stuff.
I was a bit scared when I saw our youngest son carrying our “Rowing Mona Lisa”, a painting that was won by our 1942 eight in the Prague Primatorky race. This was probably the best 8+ ever produced by our club. They competed on the European Championships in Amsterdam, but then the war prevented them from representing their country.
Here is the crew that won in 1942:
You see the painting in the coach’s hands? That is the one my youngest son was waving around while carrying it down the stairs.
Luckily, it survived.
For Saturday, originally I had planned a rest day, because there would be a lot of work to do at the rowing club. However, the work wasn’t scheduled to start earlier than 11am, so I decided to go for a short run. Unfortunately, I didn’t check that my heart rate belt was pairing correctly with the Garmin Forerunner, so I didn’t record any heart rate data.
We went for lunch in Cafe ERA, another one of Brno’s “functionalist” buildings (also known as “white cubes”).
Built in 1929, the building was nicely renovated recently, and it is a great coffee house. The special occasion was that my daughter and her classmate had won the third prize in a contest for art by high school students, and the exhibition of winning art was in this cafe.
And to top off our cultural day, Romana and I went to the theatre in the evening.
The Mahen theatre was built in 1882, so in a slightly different style. See the picture gallery below. But don’t be fooled. In the light of modernism, this theatre was one of the first public buildings to be entirely lit by electric light.
We went to see the Brno National Theatre doing a very interesting ballet evening. They have an interesting choreographer, and the two hours flew by.
Here’s the trailer:
I am still rebelling against the training plan I wrote myself. Yesterday’s run wasn’t easy, but the weather was so beautiful that I decided to ignore the erg training that was planned, and go for a longer run. I started at the rowing club and ran along the lake, then up the hill and into the forest.
It was a great run, although in some parts of the forest the trail was a bit muddy and mushy. The snow has melted just recently.
The great thing about running in this time of the year is that you can really enjoy the views. In the summer, you are just running under the green trees. Now you can see the villages below.
The ice on our lake is melting fast. I am hoping to be able to do my first OTW session of 2018 in about a year from now.
I am adding some How-To notes to my training blog. People have asked me to create a how-to of how I am recording my trainings. I will do a winter version this week and a summer version once I am definitely rowing OTW again. On this training blog, I will just record brief notes, which I will then work out in more detail and publish as a separate blog post on analytics.rowsandall.com
- I recorded this run on a Garmin Forerunner watch which was connected to a Wahoo Tickr X heart rate belt through the ANT+ protocol
- After the run, I connected the Forerunner to my iPhone using bluetooth.
- I fired up the Garmin Connect app to get the run on Garmin Connect.
- In GC, I have set automatic sync to Strava, so a few seconds later, Strava alerted me that the run was done.
- For the pictures in this blog, I used the Strava “share on blog” function.
- I also downloaded a GPX to import in Google Earth
- The workout makes its way to SportTracks, TrainingPeaks, Runkeeper, Endomondo and Dropbox through tapiriik.com.
- On rowsandall.com, I use Strava Import to import the row and pair it to my training plan.
- For the running training, I look mainly at my heart rate vs time, plotting elevation in the same chart. I also use Stravistix to look at some of the additional metrics. Stravistix estimated today’s run to be an average of 190W, which is very interesting. In terms of how hard it was, it was comparable to a 190W erg steady state of the same duration (90 minutes).
Feb 18 2018
We woke up to the fantastic news that Ester Ledecka had won the women’s Super G. A total surprise, and she couldn’t believe it herself.
I managed to get in just a very short run from the rowing club.
Three reasons why I returned so early:
- It was extremely slippery. On one point, I had to stop because it was too slippery to be safe, and I couldn’t stop. This was on a slight downhill slope, and it was very hard to stop running.
- There was the assembly meeting of the rowing club starting at 10am, which I had to attend
- I was definitely in overload after the past few days of training so I gave myself permission for this to be just a short warming up of the muscles.
It’s a pity that it was so slippery. I did enjoy the slow run.
Before the rowing club meeting started, we viewed Ester Ledecka’s golden run again (and again – I think I have seen it more than thirty times now).
After a long meeting and a big lunch, we went to the Brno Fair Grounds to attend the Olympic festival. This is a great event. Every time there are Olympic (summer or winter) games, a few Czech cities organize a big Olympic park, where there are sports exhibitions, big screens to watch the events, food and drink, and mainly the opportunity to try out a few.
We tried out the curling, and it was great.
Now watching the Czech Ice Hockey team beat Switzerland 4-1 and qualifying straight to the quarter finals.
Feb 7 2018
Thursday. The final day of our week in the mountains. In the morning we had the “individual race”, men over 5k, women over 3k, on the loops below the hotel.
Originally, I was scheduled to be a “race official”, but I managed to reorganize the logistics plan, and free up a place for myself to race.
Conditions had changed a lot. There was a lot of fresh snow. I waxed my skis for Classic Skiing and set out to do a reconnaissance run, which doubled as “track preparation”. If you look carefully on the Strava map, you can see a place where I lost the course. It was difficult. At that point, there was just trees and fresh snow, and I had to remember how the 5k loop continued, and I made a mistake.
I realized it soon enough and backtracked.
Veronika did a similar prep round for the 3k loop.
Then it was time to race. I was the fifth guy to start (at 30 second intervals) and in the first turn, I passed the guy in front of me. After that, I was alone. It was pretty hard, but at least I had put on the good wax. Heart rate close to 180bpm on some of the climbing intervals.
I came in fourth.
In the afternoon, there was the team steeple chase run. We set out a flat track of 500m in one direction, 1k total. I manned the turning point and took pictures. Each team consisted of four skiers, and each team member skied 1k.
After the races, we hiked to Ovcarna for a final few drinks in one of the huts there.
In the evening, we had the prize ceremony. On Friday morning, we hiked to Ovcarna, boarded the bus and drove back to Brno. Travel/rest day. The travel was only 2 hours.
Feb 5 2018
Romana had to go to Ovcarna with one of the girls who was ill and was going to be picked up by her father, so I was responsible for slow, fast and intermediate groups.
I decided to have them go back and forth between the Praded junction and Svycarna. Conditions on Praded mountain were pretty bad. It was very windy and snowing, so visibility was pretty low. Most of the segment was shielded by trees though, so that was pretty OK.
I skied up to the junction with the fastest girls, then told them to do Svycarna and back to the junction twice. Then I returned to pick up the intermediates. I sent them off behind the fast girls, telling them to go to Svycarna and back to the junction, and turn around on the second loop when they meet the fast girls. I skied down Praded mountain again to meet the slow ones, which had broken up in two groups. So I sent Dominik and Vitek to Svycarna and back, then returned to meet the slowest ones. Robin and Tomasek. I told them to go until they meet me, then return.
Then I set off to chase the fastest girls.
Conditions were getting worse, so I was happy to send Robin and Tomasek home, but slightly worried about them going through the blizzard.
I am adding a few pictures from other days, just to capture the atmosphere.
In the afternoon, we ran on the loops close to the hotel. I did a 5km, then 2x a 3km.