Rower P(row)file: Nora Consani

Meet Nora Consani, aka “Machine Nora.” She loves the erg and the effort it demands like no one else. Nora found rowing in college at LMU and continues to savor the pain of rowing at East Bay. 

When did you start and why?

I started in September 2016; it was my senior year at Loyola Marymount University. The Novice coach had sent a school wide email to all women offering them the chance to play a collegiate sport without any prior experience. I had always wanted to be a college athlete so I literally asked myself, “why not?” and the rest is history.

What’s the best thing you’ve learned from a coach (so far)?

“Rowing is like putting money in the bank.” Justin Price was the head coach at LMU and he always said this followed by “it’s all about how fast can we go on May 13th?” (May 13th was the WCC’s) The other thing he said only once or twice but has stuck with me is his kerosene and fire pit reference. In summary he said everyone’s hands are in the fire. And people slowly start to take their hands out because the pain gets to be too much. When the pain becomes too much and more and more people are taking their hands out, that’s when we pull out some kerosene from our pockets and pour it on the fire. Adding fuel to the fire until it is something else. Only then can we begin to think about taking our hands out. But we don’t because we want to be the ones who can take the pain the longest and ask for more when it becomes too much to take.

What’s your favorite EBRC story?

When McKenzie caught her foot on the rigger getting out of the 4 at Gold Rush and went face first into the water. My front row seat was awesome and her face was priceless!

What do you do when you’re not rowing?

After practice I either go workout at Orange Theory Fitness, go back to bed or watch tv. In the afternoons I nanny two kids. On the weekends I go to the farmers market and see a couple movies. I’ll see most genres, but if it’s a horror movie, you best be coming with me.

What has changed most in your life since you started rowing?

I have learned what a whole new level of pain is. I remember after either spring break or Easter training how much I hurt all over my body. Every muscle was sore and I was on my roommate’s floor complaining. She then asks if I regretted trying out for rowing. I said ‘no’ because despite how much pain and soreness I was feeling at the moment and throughout the week, I would not change a thing. I also consistently get up at 4:15 now without complaining. I do not like getting up that early, but knowing that I am getting up to go row makes it all worthwhile.

How old are you right now?

 24 years old

Port or starboard?

 Both. I prefer starboard but you won’t really hear me complain because all I want is to be in a boat and row.

Sprint or Head Racing?


Favorite or least painful workout on the erg?

My favorite workouts from school was the 5 x 5 x 5 – 5 minutes on, 5 minutes off, 5 times. Depending on which piece you were on, the rates changed every 2/3 minutes. By default you were meant to go faster whether you liked it or not. Also any pieces that are done multiple times like 2×4/5/6k or 3 x 2500 meters are fun too. The objective is to for the first piece be a base and then drop as many splits possible with each following piece. I’m also beginning to ‘enjoy’ the 1’30 on ’30 off  x 15. It is a challenge no doubt, but if I can improve with every piece, i’ll get off the erg feeling very proud of myself.

What’s your rowing snack/food of choice?

It is definitely those Muscle Milk bars we got at school! Those things were to die for. Unfortunately though they are made specifically for the Collegiate Athlete in mind and have not yet been made available to the public. So for now, you’ll see me snacking in the boat on either a chocolate or peanut butter chocolate Nugo bar.

Who’s your favorite rower celebrity?

I don’t have a favorite rowing celebrity, but I do appreciate all the help my JV coach Hanna Osborne gave me. Another novice and I needed more attention because we were the two newbies in the JV boat with varsity rowers. We had no idea what we were doing in the Fall semester, but Hanna would come over to help us out on the ergs and cheer us on for the last 300 meters. I also got to give a shout out to my pair partner Tam! She was a novice rower the year before, and was able to translate rowing terminology in a way that the other novice and I could understand. Leave it to the coaches to not teach us how to do the airstrike and slap drills so we have to frantically asks questions and figure it out in less than 30 sec. Also, being told a start sequence 5 mins  before a scrimmage without knowing what everything stands for and then expected to pull it off, not fun.

Why do you row?

I row because it has challenged and pushed me in a way that I never thought possible. There’s nothing like sitting on the erg or in a boat pulling as hard as you can during a piece and questioning why you are doing this to yourself and thinking that you need to slow down because everything hurts and you can’t breathe, but you don’t.
Rowing is the best kind of pain I have ever felt and I can’t get enough of it. Some days are harder and more disastrous than others, but I look forward to getting up and rowing. I thought getting up at 5 am sucked during school, but now getting up at 4:15 am sucks even more but I get out of bed because the thought of, “I get to go row” puts a smile on my face no matter how little sleep I have gotten.

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