I rowed 100k (60 miles) in 22 days. Memento Mori.

December 20, 2019 by Joshua
in Fitness, Habits, Stories

The manufacturer of my rowing machine, Concept2, created its annual holiday challenge. In honor of anyone rowing at least 100,000 meters between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, they would donate to a climate charity of your choice.

Something got into me to do it.

26 days meant five of my workout cycles (day 1: lifting, day 2: Turkish Get Up (TGU), day 3: rest, day 4: cardio, day 5: rest). I worked out to make my cardio days a 10k row and to add another 10k row on my TGU days.

My only concession was to use lighter weights on my lifting days. I still did my twice daily burpee-based calisthenics, cold showers, and everything else.

This morning I finished my tenth 10k. Here are my results (under 45 minutes per row, meaning under 2:15/500m, dropping a couple minutes over the 10 rows).

100k challenge

I wrote memento mori in the title because rowing 10k is like running 10k, about a lap of Central Park. I used to run laps like they were candy. More importantly, the day after running a lap, I could run another without a second thought. I might not notice the next day any difference if I ran three to five miles.

At 48.5 years, my body takes longer to recover. I can’t do anything about it. On the contrary, I woke up many times in the middle of the night from body aches.

I feel mixed about aging. I can’t deny the degradation, nor can I do anything about it. On the other hand, I’m impressed with two things.

First, the day after a 10k row plus TGU following a lifting day, I feel spent. It’s a fair amount of exercise, but nothing compared to years ago. Despite the exhaustion that day, the next day — that is, the second day — pleasantly surprises me that my body recovers. Well, I’m still beat, but it recovers enough that I can row as well as before.

Second, I like my discipline to start each time despite the fatigue. Since I grew up without much discipline — I watched a lot of TV — I attribute the skill I developed to practicing nearly a decade daily with burpees, calisthenics, etc. Whoever thinks discipline leads to exercise confuses it. I find it the other way around: exercise develops discipline.

So I feel exhausted but happy at my achievement. Some online forums showed people going for 200,000 meters, which Concept2 will pay double the rate to charity for. Maybe next year, but I didn’t want to aim that far beyond my experience.

In the meantime, I’m pleased to have practiced ten 10k rows, giving me a feel for longer rows, even if shorter than rowing a marathon. I brought my finishing time around a minute. I’ll try a 2k again soon and predict I’ll drop a few seconds from it.

EDIT: On the 23rd I rowed another 5k after seeing last year’s results, including 22 people rowing over 1 million meters. Many people rowed exactly 100k, which motivated me to dig a little deeper.

Here’s my certificate from Concept2:

Two Million Meters

As it happened, during the challenge, my erg crossed 2,000,000 meters, a round number.

I think noticing I crossed 1,900,000 meters in November prompted me to consider taking on this challenge more, to hit two million by the end of the year.

In the roughly ten years I took to reach two million meters, I only oiled the chain and dusted the machine for maintenance. If you’ve thought about buying an exercise machine, I recommend the Concept2 rower.

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2 responses on “I rowed 100k (60 miles) in 22 days. Memento Mori.

  1. Pingback: What rowing 2,000 meters for time feels like » Joshua Spodek

  2. Pingback: Would you describe these abs as chiseled? » Joshua Spodek

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