Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Two days of rowing

Sunday I rowed, and was in the recreational single.  The Wintech (named Grace O'Malley) is the same one I rowed in last time that I felt like an absolute snail.  For whatever reason, I didn't have that feeling at all.  I wasn't speed racer, but it felt good.  The one sad thing is the pontoons that go on this boat are now permanent, you can't row without them.  This makes me sad because I don't need "training wheels", balance is actually one thing I can do really well.  However, it turns out you can raise them, so it was my goal to make sure they never touched the water, and based on how clean they were when I got out, I don't think they ever did.  Sunday was interesting because R.C. had just come back from a sculling camp put on by Calm Waters Rowing, and she said her mind was blown, and she was scared about what came next.  It turned out that everything she had ever believed about technique was essentially changed.  The straight back arms-body-legs in proper ratio rowing style isn't what is used by elites anymore.  Curved back and slouching -was- poor form that caused pain and injuries.  R.C.said using their method of curved back rowing (accompanied by videos of Olympians winning with the same technique) didn't result in any pain, and her constant tendinitis didn't flare up.  We were told to go sit on the couch and practice slouching.  She said we will never hear the word "ratio" again,  and pretty much all of our drills are gone (like the pick drill that I described in a previous post- picking up arms only, arms-body, arms-body-legs).  Now when we scull, we use the lower abs and the glutes to roll our body through the stroke, pushing our arms with us.  She apologized to me, being new, that this was going to be really hard to adjust, but honestly, I think that it will be way harder for the people who were very used to the other way.  I wasn't exactly good at that, so this will just be something different to master.  It does require a lot more lean back, so I'm going to have to get some abs...  But overall, I'm pretty excited to see how this goes- especially if it is more likely to be injury free...

This morning, I woke up at 4:45, out the door by 5:00 for practice.  It is very difficult to rig a boat in the dark!  I was in the Invictus double (sculling) again with Barb.  Today I learned I have LONG legs, as I need to set my shoes almost in the middle of the stretcher.  Originally, I had been setting them near the front, basing it on the fact that it is a men's boat, and at 5'0", I am very very short by a man's standards...   But twice during the practice R.C. had me stop and push them further away.  She also highly complimented my rowing with the new technique, saying something about how really good scullers have to really think about using the curve back and how I'm just naturally rolling right through the positions.  I don't think it is that I'm good at this, so much as I was really bad the other way!  What's really nice is that my hip flexors, which have really been bothering me while rowing didn't hurt AT ALL today.  I don't know if that is due to the change in shoe position (I don't think so, because they hurt in the rowing tank, and you can't adjust the length of those) or due to the new style of rowing.  R.C. did say she was surprised I was having hip flexor issues, because she cross country skied and realized she had totally under developed hip flexors, so she doesn't think rowing uses them, but I've since read online articles that talk about hip flexor flexibility in rowing.   Right now my middle back does hurt mildly, but it is tough to say if that has anything to do with rowing...   Barb and I match really well as a double, though I still have steering problems and she has stroke problems.  I don't think switching our seats would help though...  My steering issue is that I correct on almost every stroke- it seems like we are headed to shore, so I call to adjust, then we are too far in the middle of the river, and we have to adjust again, etc.  Her stroke problem is that she likes to just stop when she wants, and forgets to call to warn me, or she isn't always even in her pace, so it can be difficult to match.  But overall, I just love sculling.  I haven't had a bad partner in the double yet.  I really hope I can try a racing single before it gets too cold- but afternoon practices are always really crowded, so I don't know what the likely hood of that is.

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