It’s been over a week since the Vancouver International Boat Show ended and I set the world record in my class – female heavyweight (>135 lbs), 40-49 yr olds – for Longest Continual Row on a Concept2. I made it 26 hours, beating the previous world record by 2 hours!
I feel nearly 100% physically recovered and I took a bit of mental break before completing this update.
There’s definitely an element of disappointment following my unsuccessful attempt to keep going for 81 hours. I understand that that was a rather lofty goal, and some might say an unrealistic goal. But, I trained hard, it’s been done by others, and I wanted to try. This is how I do things, I leap, then I learn.
Learning about myself and what I’m capable of has been an important part of this process. By “this process”, I mean the whole ocean rowing endeavour. From the moment I made the decision to row an ocean the process began. I began with zero experience in fundraising, rowing, and I’d only ever gone 5 minutes on a rowing machine before last Spring. Understandably so, this is where people’s skepticism comes into play. I am not an elite athlete or even have much experience in endurance events, but, I still try. And the cool thing, is that I’m not blindly trying and falling on my face. I’m trying and I’m doing. I rowed for 26 hrs continuously. That’s a huge accomplishment.
I couldn’t have done it without my support team. All in all there were 12 of us working together to make this happen. From set up to social media updates, from keeping me fed to sorting out my music, and talking to passerby about what I’m doing and why. It was a challenge in and of itself to hand over the scene to the support crew. Once I started, I was totally occupied and couldn’t focus on sorting out the display, food, or anything, really. But, I tried. I couldn’t give up control that easily. Rowing back and forth I gave instruction and direction to the crew on how I would like things done. Using only words, they did their best to follow my instruction. And once I got a few hours into the challenge, the correct words did not always come so easily. The team was great: so patient and helpful. In the end, having everyone there to help me achieve this goal was the best part of the experience.
The Boating BC Association that put on the Vancouver International Boat Show were the ones that agreed to have me at the show and they were amazing. I was located right by their office and they were so accommodating and supportive. It really made the whole experience. I wanted to keep going just for them, but, I did my best. After I stopped it was good to be available to chat with everyone about what I achieved and the upcoming Great Pacific Race.
Another significant supporter was the Vancouver Rowing Club. I had a long standing arrangement to borrow a rowing machine from a gym I frequently attended and because of a miscommunication that rower was no longer available for me to use. Luckily, I have my own that I bought recently that I rowed to the world record, but the fun part about doing this in public is to get people to sit beside you and row with me in support. After one phone call the Vancouver Rowing Club generously loaned me one of there rowing machines for the Boat Show. The most significant use was right at the end. I was about 4 hours past the point of wanting to stop and I had friends and family rowing beside me and keeping me going when the going was toughest.
Special thanks to my current Sponsors: West Bay Sonship, Redtree Dental, and Elemental Gardens. These businesses have financially contributed to assist in covering part of my race fee for the Great Pacific Race. I’ll be calling on more businesses to help me out. As soon as I have my fee covered, then that’s when the charity fundraising drive goes into full force. Check out all the individual contributors on the Sponsors page right here on this website.
I’m also super grateful to “GelSport” for supplying the most amazing seat pad that I use all the time for training and will take with me on the ocean as an extra layer on our already cushy seats. If you follow ocean rowing, then you’ll know that bums are a frequent topic, so I’ll spare you my bum report until the next big event. Also thanks to NewGrip for the ever important hand protection.
I consider this world record challenge to be a resounding success. I broke the record for my category which you can view, for as long as I remain champion, on the Concept2 world records page for Longest Continual Row. I’m already thinking about the next attempt to either break my own record or regain the crown if someone beats me while I’m preparing and rowing across the ocean. A reflection of this success has been the fantastic press that I’ve gotten in the past couple of weeks, and more coming up.
Below is the list of press to date and a few photos by Graham Spence Photography.
For now, it’s time to prepare for the next big challenge, rowing to Hawaii. I’ll keep you updated. Thank you everyone for all of your support.
Go! on Shaw TV Vancouver:
Radio-Canada video segment: (in french)
The Province print article:
The Vancouver Courier Newspaper:
The Vancouver Sun video segment:
CKNW with Shane Foxman: (audio and follow up article)