I’ve rowed enough on my erg to get decent times on the standard measure for rowing—the 2k. My best time is 7:43, which I consider good for lightweight 48-year-old guy.
I’m considering competing the U.S. indoor rowing competition—not to win, but for the experience, figuring I might do okay.
I looked up how lightweight men’s performances last year.
My category: lightweight men 40-49 years
In my category, I would have come in tenth.
Not horrible, especially for someone who didn’t row in college or competitively, though I have put nearly 2 million meters on my machine:
I’ve rowed for fitness, not competition. The advice I sought from experienced rowers was only for form, not to bring my times down. Actually, lately I’ve watched videos on lowering 2k times.
But I think I do what everyone does when they’re 48.5 years old in the 40 – 49 age group. I figure younger guys are getting the lower times. I’m pretty close to the next age group.
My category in 1.5 years: lightweight men 50-54 years
So I looked at the next age group, 50 – 54 years. Only one guy competed in it:
Holy cow! He rowed solidly sub-7. It seems age matters less than I thought.
I checked the next age group, also with only one guy competing.
Lightweight men 55-59 years
Holy cow! That guy, maybe a decade older than me, rowed barely above 7:
How much older than me do I have to go where I’d place okay?
I’d like to think that to some extent, I can guess some of these guys’ ability comes from having rowed competitively. Partly something from thirty years ago shouldn’t matter, but some of my ultimate Frisbee skills endure today, so I can’t simply dismiss past training outright.
Anyway, let’s look at the 60 and 65-year-olds.
Lightweight men 60-64 and 65-69 years
Three men rowed in each of these groups. Finally, groups I wouldn’t have come last in, though about fifteen or twenty years older than me:
In both groups I would have come in third, pushing a guy maybe two decades my senior back.
The trend continues.
Lightweight men 70-74 and 75-79 years
For the guys 25 years older than me, I’d still come in third, though with a bit more training, I think I could beat the second-place time of 7:37.
Finally when I get to the guys thirty years older than me, I could come in first. Not sure how much of a victory I could count it.
Lightweight men 80-84 and 85-89 years
I could solidly beat the guy competing in his early 80s.
Still, 8:36 is a solid time.
Last month I rowed an 8-minute 2k after another workout, meaning not at my best, so 8:36 I could do probably easily, but that 8-minute row drained me for days. Well, the workout before was a Tabata at full intensity, which probably did most of the draining.
With the 85-year-olds, I’d finish about a minute ahead of the next guy, though forty years behind in another sense.
Do you see what I meant by this post’s title? If guys can perform at this level at nearly double my age, I feel young. I can keep training and keep my form for decades.
Ready for some serious comparison?
Lightweight men 90-94 years
This guy, at least 90 years old, finished in under 11 minutes:
I see decades of youthful activity before me.
I’ve motivated myself this way for decades
By the way, I’ve been motivating myself this way for decades. I think it’s kept me active. I hear that people feel and behave how old they think they should, which varies.
Here is a decade-old post, On reading the 2010 New York City Marathon results, where I find similar inspiration.
I wrote about a 91-year-old marathoner in You won’t believe this marathoner about five years ago.
I wrote about an 85-year-old marathoner with a time mere minutes off my best, in my 20s in Redefining possibility: This 85-year-old marathoner runs faster than you.
And for the coup-de-grace, here’s the oldest finisher in last year’s indoor rowing competition, a woman between 95 and 99:
Ready to exercise?
Read my weekly newsletter
On initiative, leadership, the environment, and burpees