When wrote my New Year’s fitness resolution publicly on The Huffington Post, I forgot about unintended consequences as well as “The Secret.” Putting my New Year’s resolution into the world, obviously started a cascade of Oprah Winfrey-class Intention-Power! The Universe woke up and had its way with me.
My resolutions were pretty simple. One of them was just “get back onto my erg.”
As a lark and to make myself more accountable, I invited a couple Facebook friends to start a virtual rowing club, Team Grotto, populate a virtual 4-man boat, and sign up to compete in a virtual regatta, the 2013 Virtual Team Challenge.
Now, just a couple-few weeks into the new year I was putting in at least 20 minutes and 5,000 meters into the logbook with the goal of logging 10,000 meters every single day between January 1–31. And I, myself, was the weakest link in what turns out to be a fantastically strong (albeit virtual) boat.
One of my teammates, who goes by Stephen Dee, turns out to be a rowing monster. He routinely gets on his “Model D” Indoor Rower (we call them ergs, or rowing ergometers) and pulls an “HM” (half marathon), a 21km, or even a FM (full marathon), a full 42km!
I have jumped from the frying pan into the rower!
It has become the only thing I have scheduled for my day’s down-time. I eat for rowing, I schedule my rowing, and I get a heck a lot of ribbing — and I feel a lot of guilt and responsibility and quite like the runt of the litter as a result.
Simply put, I started out just not remotely as strong as my three teammates — and I am actively going for someone who hasn’t really erged for years (yes, I have the rower, but it was basically a very expensive place to hang things, no matter how cliche that may be).
So, between starting dusting off my rowing machine on January 1, reaching out to Stephen, recruiting Douglas and Quintin, and then starting the race. It required me to blow out my rowing cobwebs, reconnecting with the all-powerful and important “stroke,” and then building up strength, cardio vascular endurance, and generally letting my body get used to this new daily abuse — all in fewer than four-weeks!
Just like that. Like with absolutely no forethought at all. Yikes!
So, how did we do? Team Grotto ended up being 79th place with a combined 1,291,378 meters and an average of 322,845 meters-per-rower — I think that’s pretty great, though I am sure that Stephen is frustrated by our ranking.
It would have been much better, I guess, had I not gotten so bloody sick with sinusitis! So, I really did bungle the second half of the race. That said, it’s a life-marathon and not a sprint, right? As we go, I am getting stronger, more efficient, more comfortable, and definitely evermore vulnerable to chiding, guilt, encouragement, and camaraderie.
(Let me let you in on something: I am much more preface, forward, and introduction than chapter 1, so I think I am seriously surprised to suddenly find myself in a virtual boat on a virtual river in a virtual regatta rowing the longest and most persistent global race before I even was ready to commit to anything. Again, yikes! PS: Check it out, that’s me at 19, rowing for GW, my alma mater — glory days!)
There is no way I would have been able to self-motivate with this ferocity or commitment — and for that I am grateful and amazed. That said, I will also be much more careful the next time I put something like out there. Or not. If I have learned anything, hopefully not. Or, maybe not. Maybe if I knew what I was stumbling into I either wouldn’t have done it or I wouldn’t have done it just yet — until I was ready, prepared, fit. Maybe something that would never happen. So, while I highly recommend this level of team-accountability to anyone, I also warn you: if you take the leap, you had better be willing to row your talk.
If you need a quick kick in the pants, feel free to join our virtual rowing club over on Facebook, Team Grotto Virtual Rowing Club, whether you have a rower or not. If you have a Concept II, please feel free to join our open team, Team Grotto — I am happy to upgrade to an 8 or more; you’re welcome to use the log the rowers in your gym, and, when you’re ready to commit, hit up Craig’s List as there’s always a used Concept 2 for sale in your area; or, of course, just head over to Concept 2 and order one of your own (or you can wait until loads of cheap, lightly-used Concept2 Model Ds, come up for sale after the upcoming 2013 ). World Indoor Rowing Championships
But, you are officially warned — you know what you’ll be in for.
Abandon hope all ye who enter here.