Rowing by the Empire State Building

August 15, 2020 by Joshua
in Fitness

In my podcast conversation with Joe De Sena, founder and CEO of the Spartan Race, we talked about the difference between exercising indoors versus outdoors. He said we give more exercising outdoors.

I had been thinking for a while of bringing my rowing machine to my roof but hadn’t figured out how to get it up there since I don’t like taking the elevator. Joe carries boulders and tree trunks up mountains and I was planning to swim across the Hudson River, so I decided to carry the thing up the 11 flights to my roof. It disassembles into two pieces, which meant

  1. Carrying one piece up 11 flights
  2. Walking back down 11 flights
  3. Carrying the other piece up 11 flights
  4. Rowing 30 minutes
  5. Carrying one piece down 11 flights
  6. Walking back up 11 flights
  7. Carrying the other piece down 11 flights

. . . in other words, climbing 33 flights up and 33 flights down, twice each way carrying maybe 20–30 pounds of awkward, bulky weight. I’d guess I spent about an hour exercising. Since the average American watches five hours of TV a day, I figure they’re still five times more passionate about their habit of watching TV than I am about exercising—actually more, for their monthly fees while I didn’t pay anything for this.

Listening to Joe reminds me that the best parts of life don’t come through comfort and convenience. The Spartan Race mission is to get 100 million people off the couch.

If I’m exercising, why view carrying the machine up the stairs as a burden? Why view anything as a burden? What does developing the skill of making what others consider annoying fun do for my life? How much do I value resilience, fortitude, toughness, grit, and discipline? Where do I think they come from if not concerted effort overcoming resistance?

I carried the machine up to row once last month, then didn’t for a while in favor of running—actually plogging—in warm weather, which I prefer, but I did it again this morning. This time I brought a camera and staged a few shots. I like the ones with the Empire State Building in the background.

Empire State Building Rowing

After reassembling the machine in my apartment (and a business meeting with a partner in Europe) I did my morning calisthenics, took a cold shower, and ate breakfast. The start of another in a long series of great days.

Oh yeah, speaking of what made today great, I wrote a couple pages of my new book before starting everything.

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1 response to “Rowing by the Empire State Building

  1. Pingback: Watering my tomato plants means climbing 11 flights every day » Joshua Spodek

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