Archive | February, 2013

Train Hard : Two Bridges Run

26 Feb

The usual for training this evening – the two bridges run from the club, up and over Hammersmith bridge, coming back through Fulham and over Putney bridgr to the club.

Pretty good time, and remembered to actually set my phone to record before leaving the club!

Two Bridges Run – February 26, 2013


Eat Well : Gluten-Free Fudge Bars

26 Feb

Best eaten straight from the freezer! 🙂



  • 1 cup of pecans
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cacao powder
  • 10 medjool dates – pitted and chopped
  • 3/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup orange/apple/coconut water or water
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut



  1. Using a food processor, blend the pecans until finely ground. Add the cacao powder and mix well.
  2. Add the dates, almond butter, juice, honey and vanilla – pulse again until the mixture becomes dough-like.
  3. Line a baking tray with parchment paper, and roll the dough into golf-ball-size balls, placing them on the tray. Put the tray in the fridge and chill.
  4. Store the balls in a plastic container in the freezer.


Nutritional Info per Power Ball:

  • kCalories : 180
  • Fat : 13g
  • Carbohydrates : 18g
  • Protein : 3g
  • Fiber : 4g

Handy Hint:
If you can’t get hold of almond butter, hazelnut butter works nicely, and failing that, peanut butter works just fine too 🙂

Race Hard : Hammersmith Ladies’ Head Race – Part 3

25 Feb


I know I shouldn’t be saying this, but my arms ache!

Rowing is all about the legs, but with conditions like those we had today, it was harsh out there!

The row to the start line:
As we left the club and headed to Putney to turn, we rowed past last week’s rivals London, and gave them a friendly yet competitive smile!
I was keeping an eye on them as we made our way to the marshalling area!

This felt like forever!
Marshalling is when you are basically waiting for your turn to start in the race. This race had 110 boats, and we were 73rd, therefore there were a fair few boats ahead of us to wait for!

The idea is that a boat should start every 10 seconds – it’s a time trial. However in conditions like that, with a strong stream and winds, boats often get pushed around and getting in to position to start the race can be awkward when navigating other stray boats!

I think we were sat there for at least half an hour. Frustratingly, all that warmth built up on the row down soon disappears, and we found ourselves sat waiting with snowing falling down around us!
To keep us from floating off and getting in the way, 2-seat; Hannah and I were left to hang onto a tree by the bank!

The race:
So after a long enough period of marshalling, we were told to get into place and so started the maneuver to get up to the start line.

Prior to the race we’d had a few problems with our cox box – a mic that the cox wears and it connects to the speakers in the boat so we can all hear the commands.
Before the race we were told we had been given a brand new cox box, and that we should be problem free … haha!

We turned the boat, and our cox Marie announced ‘attention all crew … Go!’ – this was the call for us to build up our pace to the starting line, as time trials are done with a rolling start.

We were building up, and the balance and speed were all coming together with Marie’s efforts to get our momentum moving, however just as we got level with the race start officials and heard them shouting boat 73 to start, the cox box died!!

Being at the back of the boat – the furthest from the cox I couldn’t tell what was going on! I thought I could hearing Marie talking, but didn’t know whether we were having speaker issues, or if it was simply her new tactic for racing?! We thought perhaps she’d decided to stay quiet to let us focus and see how we do without!!

Those couple of minutes though before the box was working again, felt like the longest minutes ever! It’s funny how much you come to rely on certain people, and the way we’ve been trained we’re very much programmed to act, not think!

Anyway, once we got Marie back on our case, we got our heads down and got on with the race.

The stretch from Chiswick Bridge to Barnes Bridge felt great. We were all in time, and the boat was moving at a great pace. However as soon as we got the other side of Barnes Bridge, it was like someone had put the brakes on, and the water was awful. It was so choppy, with waves smacking hard against the boat. The hardest part about rowing in choppy water is trying to get your blade in without catching crabs – which is why my arms ache today!

We kept moving as best we could, but it was a struggle. Frustratingly, prior to the bridge, Marie had called that we were only a boat length and a half from London’s boat. Obviously keeping eyes in the boat, and facing away from the opposition we had to rely on Marie’s calls to be able to work out how close we were, and if they were getting away from us.

Our aim was to beat London, having beaten them 3/3 times the Sunday before, and obviously to win would be great, but given the definite change in pace as we hit the rough water, it’s hard to tell how we did. We’ll just have to wait for the results to come out later … TENSE!

Race Hard : Hammersmith Ladies’ Head Race – Part 2

24 Feb

So, we’ve just had our outing, and feeling pretty positive.

The water out there is pretty rough – not going to lie, I’m not looking forward to the conditions!

Back in to warm up, change and feed before the race.

The race kicks off at 2.30pm, however we have to get down there and be ready and marshalling for it – means leaving the club at 1.15pm to get down to the start.
It’s pretty cold out there – not particularly looking forward to sitting in the marshalling area for half an hour or so! 😦

Race Hard : Hammersmith Ladies’ Head Race

24 Feb

So here we are, prepping for the race today!

The coaches gave us a lay in today, as the race wasn’t to start until half 2! Win!

10am at the club for rigging of boats and checking everything over ready for the race. The usuals, seats, footplates and shoes, riggers and bow ball … It’s far to cold to be fiddling with boat bits!

Just of out for our last outing pre race to warm up and get together

Train Hard : Post 5km Testing

21 Feb

So, I was a little too exhausted, and strangely excited after last nights’ testing to manage to report back!

However, I’m rather pleased I managed to smash my previous time and got myself a split of 1m57s09ms – total time 19m39s 🙂

The last 100m hurt a lot, and I could feel all of the food I’d rammed down yesterday starting to move back up in a bid for freedom(!), but I managed to stay on the seat and keep it down, and one of the lovely novice lads Ross was on hand with bottles of water and jelly babies to revive us all once we’d finished!

Our coaches, Ralph and Jacqui were a great help all the way through it – a little frightening at times with their bellowing and screaming at us, but it helped with concentration!

Once you’re ‘in the zone’, its easy to let something slip for focussing too much on something else.
The software display for our machines contain so much information, and you have twenty minutes to focus and smash it – its quite a lot for your head to deal with, especially after a long day of work!

I found myself focussing on the distance left, watching it chug down, (wishing I could find an extra foot of legs or arms to make it go a little quicker!). The problem is, focus on that over everything else, and you can find your stroke rate shooting up!

For our testing we have a set average stroke rate to stick to – this is to make it fair for everyone testing, to have a constant to measure by.
The stroke for this test was to be between 26 and 28, average across the 5km.

Now in theory, this means you have the space to go crazy in the first few strokes to set yourself a good split, however it’s all about pace in a 5km – going crazy for too long means you can burn out earlier than you’d like, so it’s a tough judgement!

I did get my rate up to the high 30s for the first 10 strokes but made sure to quickly drop it back down and watch my average stroke rate lower over the remaining 4500m.
And having Ralph shouting ‘stroke rate, Charlotte’ was enough to remind me to keep an eye on that – anything over 28 would be a test fail and would not count!

Anyway, it’s sessions like this that I wonder if I’m wired differently to others!
I do love the pressure of having to perform in a fitness capacity like a RowPerfect test!

There were 3 rounds of testing last night, and my group were lucky enough to be the first to go, which meant we got it over and done with without little time to sit and worry about it!
And in good team spirit we stuck around after a bit of stretching (we attempted a jog around the block to warm down, but it was far too cold and soon gave up on that!) to watch the others complete theirs and cheer them on! It’s nice having people to push you when you feel like you’re dying – it’s something I find really helps, so I like to be able to return the favour 🙂

Train Hard : Testing Time!

20 Feb

So, tonight’s the night!

The final 5km RowPerfect testing this evening for the girls of the novice squad.

I’ve eaten so much today in prep for it!

Porridge for breakfast, some popchips as a mid-morning snack, chicken jambalaya for lunch, persian turkey for mid afternoon, followed by a banana. And several cups of coffee to keep me awake and kicking!

The last testing I did was the 5th of January, and my split was 2m.00s.03ms, giving me 20m.03s.05ms for the 5km test.


My aim is to break a 2 minute split – something that 5 months ago I would never have believed possible!

I remember sitting on one of the ergs in my gym a couple of days after my intro session to TRC, trying to pull an 8m.50s 2km, and getting 8m.48s – but that was hard! So to pull a 5km with a split of less than 2 minutes, I’m pulling almost a minute faster over 2km!

I may be at least 6 inches shorter than most of the big-pullers in our squad, but what I lack in height I aim to try and make up for in fitness and sheer determination!


I’ll be back later to let you know how I get on!

Be Happy : Instagram – 14th February 2013

14 Feb


Train Hard : DOMS – the what, when, where and why!

14 Feb


As mentioned before, DOMS is the muscle pain/soreness/stiffness that is felt between 24 and 48 hours after a strenuous workout.

Most often felt when you being a new program, change a routine or dramatically increase the duration or intensity of exercise. This also applies if you have been resting, or simply not exercising for a period of time.

It is due to microscopic tears in the muscle fibers. The amount of soreness depends on how hard, how long and what type of exercise you do. Generally speaking, any movement or exercise that your body is not used to can leads to DOMS, however ECCENTRIC muscle contractions seem to cause the most soreness. (I will explain this further later – keep your eyes peeled for ECCENTRIC vs CONCENTRIC Contractions)


Generally, between 24 and 48 hours post exercise.

Not to be confused with acute pain felt immediately during or after exercise – this would be an injury such as a strain or sprain that occurs during activity and can cause swelling. In this case, rest should be taken immediately, and follow the RICE procedure to avoid causing further injury.


In the muscles 🙂


And lastly, Why?

DOMS is the body’s way of adapting to movement.

Although often alarming and distressing for those new to exercise – this is one of the most common reasons for the January gym-goers to stop going! – it is simply the muscles response to unusual exertion in an attempt to lead to greater stamina and strength as the muscles recover and build. Also known as HYPERTROPHY.

So, despite the pain and trauma it causes people, DOMS is actually a good sign of the body working, and developing.  It’s getting stronger and adapting to change.

This is where the phrase you often hear ‘No Pain, No Gain’ comes from. However please make sure that the pain is not felt during the exercise – as I have mentioned before – as this is more likely to be injury, and requiring medical attention.

Terminology : DOMS, DOMS, DOMS

14 Feb

So, here we have it – DOMS.



And so what does this mean to the average Joe? :

Delayed onset muscle soreness is the pain felt 24-48 hours after exercise due to an increase in intensity or your muscles simply being unprepared for the work they took on.

The cause of the pain is due to the muscle suffering micro tears during the exercise.

DOMS can be increased during the eccentric phase of muscle contraction. This is generally known as the lowering phase. For example the lowering of a weight during a bicep curl.

Eccentric contractions have 3 to 4 times more effect than concentric, and therefore a workout consisting of eccentric muscle work is likely to cause increased chance of DOMS.

And why am I explaining DOMS on a Thursday morning??

Well, the workout at training on Tuesday has taken its toll!

Being a huge fan of forefoot running doesn’t do me many favours either! I’ll come back to forefoot running later, as there are actually plenty of benefits to this style of running – if done with care, and with a proper warm up and warm down!

So right now my calves are my worst enemy! Wearing heels today is the only option to gradually stretch them back out!


More on DOMS later today 🙂

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