How does a person prepare to row across the ocean? It’s grueling, extremely physical, psychologically demanding, and a world of unknowns. Sitting on an erg is a typical way to train. An “erg” is short for “ergometer” which is an indoor rowing machine. Frequently, it’s a Concept2 machine, but other brands and styles do exist. With the exception of 5 mins here are there over the years warming up for a gym work out I’d never been on a Concept2 before just this year. Sugarray’s Boxing Gym generously agreed to support my fitness training. I expected to simply work on my strength and cardio while doing the toughest and more enjoyable workout I know, boxing. But, then Bob, the club owner, brought in a Concept2, just for me, to train on. I had to use it. It was the polite thing to do. And, afterall, I am training to *row*, so I’d better row. Up until that point the rowing I was doing was on the water on an Echo open water sculling rowboat. Rowing on the water is so amazing because it’s quiet, I get to visit many seals, eagles, and seagulls. But, then something happened and I became chained to the erg.
I became inspired to truly challenge myself on the erg. The outdoor rowing was nice, but I was limited in how long I could go for and despite being a water vessel, it doesn’t resemble the motion of ocean rowing close enough. On the erg I could go for a very long time. Bob gave me access to his gym so I could go even longer. Then I decided to buy one for my apartment so I could go even longer.
They say that rowing an ocean is predominantly a psychological challenge. From the moment I considering rowing an ocean, I’ve considered myself equipped for that aspect of the challenge: I’m patient, I don’t mind boredom, I like meditation, and I welcome challenges that require a shift of perspective. But, this idea of myself has never really been tested, not like an ocean row. I decided I needed to prove to myself that I could take on an extremely hard physical and psychological challenge. Plus, I don’t have a resume of adventures like some aspiring ocean rowers do. I don’t have a history of rowing or running marathons, climbing mountains, or hiking Antarctica. I decided to demonstrate what I was capable of.
Since starting to track my mileage in July I’ve logged over 1 million metres so far. The longest training session to date has been 13 hours. And I’ve been working up to those hours week after week. Looming ahead, just one month away is the challenge of indoor rowing challenges, the Longest Continual Row. The overall record currently stands at 80 hours. That’s 3 days and 8 hours.
I will be at the Vancouver International Boat Show attempting to beat that record. I start at 10am on Wednesday, January 20th and I’ll reach 81 hours at 7pm on Saturday, January 23rd.
In the weeks prior I’ll be putting in a few 24 hr sessions and probably test my stay-awake abilities, but what lies beyond that is totally unknown. I want that record so badly, and yet, I can’t help but feel the anxiety of the fear of failure and worry about what people might think if I don’t make it. But, then I remind myself of my Pacific Ocean Row’s team name: “Daring Greatly”. This is an excerpt from the Teddy Roosevelt speech that our name comes from:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
Succeed or fail, the most important thing is to try, to “strive valiantly”, to put in the effort wholeheartedly. And for now, I continue with my training, adjusting my errors, pushing past the shortcomings and come January 20th I will give it my all.
Please come to the Vancouver Boat Show to offer your support, drop off a donation for my Pacific Race Fund, or pass on a message of encouragement. Any contribution is greatly appreciated.
For my Pacific Ocean row I am raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada in honour of my father who died from leukemia. Currently ongoing is the fundraising to cover the costs of the ocean row which will take place June 4th, 2016. At that time, my charity fundraising will be the spotlight and I hope to raise at least $50,000 for the charity.
To help me prepare for this important event and ultimately succeed in my charity fundraising campaign, please go to my GoFundMe Page and donate what you can. Thanks! Wish me luck!