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It’s silly, but as soon as I see my first snowdrop, I convince myself that it’s Spring time and confidently expect the temperatures to rise immediately. And of course they don’t. This morning the countryside was covered in a thick layer of hoar frost and it’s distinctly parky out there still. All of which means that we are still deep into winter training which, as any fule kno, is hard on the body and harder on the skin.

Happily for you, I have a rather fabulous giveaway to make your winter training that bit easier. Nelsons arnicare Arnica Bath and Massage Balm should make your post-workout bath pretty heavenly, and if you massage some Nelsons arnicare Arnica Cooling Gel straight after your outing it should help to revive your legs.

If you’re an arnica skeptic, I hear you. I used to be, too, until a rather bizarre incident when my kids were small. In the middle of the night one of them was crying so I trotted into their room to see what the problem was. I didn’t switch the light on and, fumbling around in the dark, managed to whack my eye hard – really hard – on a sharp bit of metal protruding from the top of a table lamp (bad design, even worse coordination). You could have heard me scream a good few furlongs away. Perhaps you did. Anyway, the point is that I slathered some arnica on it, since that was all I had to hand, and slunk off to bed, whimpering softly and dreading the inevitable black eye. The next morning, though, my skin was perfectly peachy and unblemished. It was nothing short of a miracle. I was a convert.

Anyhow… to win these lovely products, kindly donated by Nelsons arnicare, follow the Rafflecopter instructions below. Don’t be put off by having to give your email or Facebook details; I promise I won’t start bothering you (unless you win, of course, in which case I will contact you right away!)

Nelsons® arnicare Arnica Bath & Massage Balm contains the natural properties of Arnica Montana which can help to soothe and relax you after a tiring day, while Calendula, Evening Primrose and Sweet Almond Oils naturally hydrate and nourish the skin. It is a unique dual purpose relaxing massage balm which also can create a luxurious fragranced bath to help ease aches.  Slow down and unwind with the sweet Lavender and Grapefruit scents which will help to melt away tension and clarify the mind.

Nelsons® arnicare Arnica Cooling Gel, is formulated to massage into tired legs post-workout. The natural benefits of arnica and its refreshing menthol and grapefruit oil leaves the skin cool and revives over-worked legs.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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I’ve been feeling pretty RARRRR! about sport the last few days. First there was the awesomely fantastic This Girl Can campaign launched by Sport England, designed to encourage women to get involved in sport. If you haven’t seen it, check out their video (and even if you have seen it, it definitely bears a second (and third, fourth, fifth) viewing).

Isn’t it brilliant? It makes me want to get straight out there and get sweaty. Heck, it even makes me feel like going on the erg (especially if it’ll make me look like the girl on the rowing machine).

Then there’s the news about Kevin Jorgesen and Tommy Caldwell achieving the supposedly impossible and conquering the mighty El Capitan in Yosemite Park. For generations it was thought to be a ridiculous notion, but they damned well did it. Alive.

Finally, yesterday I stumbled upon an inspiring article from last year’s Guardian about the fabulous Helen Glover. She talks about how everyone on the Sporting Giants programme told her she’d never make it as she was too small (even at 5’9″). So she decided to prove them wrong.

“I thought: ‘Right, if I’m not taller than you I’ll be stronger than you, and if I’m not heavier than you then I’ll row better than you.’ It’s led to how I row now. I was pushed in that direction because of the way my training group was.”

Wow. Where most people would have crept away feeling diminished, Helen rose to the challenge, not just magnificently, but Olympically. For a vertically-challenged rower like me, that’s pretty stirring stuff.

All of which has got me raring to get out there and kick some riverside ass. There’s just one problem: I’m still not fit. My rib is not healed yet and I’m still exhausted. Taking all this adrenaline and pumping it to training at this point would set me back further than ever.

Instead I’m channelling my new-found determination into getting well. I’ll be posting over the next few weeks about the various things I’m using to help me get better, and Operation Healthy is full steam ahead.

I might just set aside a little bit of it for my coxing, too. Don’t say you haven’t been warned, river-lovers.

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Sick teddy

New year, new you?

So, how are you all? Raring to go and feeling tip top and well rested after Christmas? Hmmmm.

I can’t say my new year has got off to the spiffing, sparkling start I’d have liked it to. Still coughing from a cold that began five weeks ago, I’ve managed to revive an old rib injury (sustained, improbably, at a village ceilidh some years ago – seriously, folk dancing is dangerous in the wrong hands). All this, coupled with a handful of other festive ailments and an exhaustion that won’t go away, is telling me one thing. I’m massively run down and I need to rest. Continue Reading »

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It’s customary at this time of year to look back on the last 12 months and reflect. There’s a lot about 2014, though, that I’d prefer to forget. As many of you know, it’s been a difficult year for me, with illness in the family that has kept me off the river more than I’d like. I’m not alone in this, I know – both amongst my shipmates and my friends at large there have been some tough times this year.

So rather than looking back (though I can’t resist a brief recollection of my first pot, which was a joyful and long overdue highlight), I’m looking forward to 2015. Looking forward to good health, lots of time on the river, rather less time on the erg (some things never change), some wins, a lot of laughs and, above all, plenty of time in the company of my excellent rowing mates, who have seen each other through the best and the worst of times.

Wishing you all a very happy Christmas, an excellent new year and a peaceful and healthy 2015.

Jo rowing her half marathon at Ilkley Bandstand

Jo rowing her half marathon at Ilkley Bandstand

You don’t have to read much of this blog to know that my relationship with the erg is less love-hate and more hate-hate. I erg only because I have to. Which is why when I heard about Jo Moseley’s rowing machine challenge I was beyond impressed.

Jo’s mum died of cancer (lymphoma) on 21st December 2013, and her dad has also suffered from cancer. Both received invaluable help from the wonderful Macmillan nurses. So Jo, who’s about to turn 50, was amongst the many who wanted to do something to thank Macmillan for their help. Continue Reading »

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BL Awards Highly Commended Blog Badge foil copy

We’ve all entered races we knew we had no chance of winning. When you find yourself against a boat made up of people half your age and twice your height, when you’re in a scratch crew that can’t even begin to sit the boat, when your opponents steam past in the warm-up looking slick and strong… All you can do is dig deep and row your heart out, hoping that at least you can console yourself with aching legs and the knowledge you tried your hardest. Continue Reading »

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So, I’ve covered the juniors and the women, and now it’s time for the men. I don’t know about you, but when it comes to Christmas shopping I find the men in my life impossible to buy for. Craft fairs and cute little local shops get the girls sorted by mid-November, but however good my intentions there’s always a last-minute dash to find something for the guys.

Happily, if the man in your life happens to be a rower that makes the whole thing easier. Here are five great gifts for the male rower in your life.

Christmas gifts for male rowers Continue Reading »

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There’s just under a fortnight until Christmas now, and I am starting to get a bit twitchy about my abject failure to get my Christmas shopping done. If you’re in the same boat and need something for a rower (or indeed a cox or coach) in your life, or if you just need some cheering up yourself, you’ll love this giveaway, generously donated by Rowperfect.

Prizes Continue Reading »

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I hope you don’t think it’s sexist to post different gift guides for male and female rowers, but our approach to kit and caboodle – at my club at least – does seem to be quite different. I’ve never, for example, seen a woman rower stripping down to her knickers to row because she’d forgotten her kit. And I’m fairly certain none of the men carry their stuff down to the river in an adorable fabric handbag (admittedly women rowers at other clubs don’t either, but hey).

Of course, guys, if you want to buy anything from this list for yourselves, go right ahead and kit yourselves out (especially if the alternative is rowing in your pants). I will have a gift guide just for you coming soon, though (and of course have already posted a gift guide for young rowers).

Untitled design Continue Reading »

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With the festive thang still going strong chez Girl on the River, I have more Christmas goodies for you! This time it’s a Crewroom beanie worth £12, and there are two up for grabs so you have even more chance of winning.

Crewroom beanie men cropped


I’m a big fan of the hat for winter rowing (and coxing, naturally). Continue Reading »

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