04 nov 2012: the row must go on

last night was our regular family dinner, and i cooked up an italian feast consisting of antipasto, spaghetti marinara and tiramisu. the beers and wine flowed as well. i had every intention of doing a full session at the gym this morning, sweat out the “bad” stuff and give myself a great start to the day.

when i woke at 3:45am I knew exactly what i was going to do; it was time to hit another milestone, it was time to put in my first marathon row!

i took it easy right from the start, having done a 30km row once before I knew I’d need to keep something back for the last quarter. there really is nothing to report for the first 30km or so, i mostly held a pace of around 2:35 per 500m, sometimes a little slower, and was as comfortable as can be expected. i had my music playing, and alternated between meditating (i.e thinking of nothing in particular) and chewing over a few things that popped into my head.

in the final 10km, i started to feel the physical side effects of the row; my arse muscles complained, my neck, shoulders and back were nagging. i kept these things at bay by rolling my shoulders, occasionally shifting position and rowing through the discomfort to the point where things eased off again.

With 6km Ieft i was all but ready to stop – for a short period my pace dropped down to over 3 minutes per 500m, my butt muscles were really starting to get uncomfortable (the left side in particular) and I was literally just trying to get 1 stroke in at a time. i was close to quitting for sure, but as i looked at the readout on the machine i reminded myself that i’d been rowing for over 3 hours, had done more than 35km and would never forgive myself if i packed it in now.

i started thinking about how it would feel to see that distance counter click down to 0. i started to imagine what status update i would post to facebook. in essence, i began to visualise crossing that finish line. suddenly i was back up to 2:30ish per 500m and the cloud lifted. from that point on the physical discomfort never went away, but the will to finish won the day. when i finished, and for the last few hundred metres I was doing more like 1:40 per 500m.

then the distance counter hit 0, i had done it and it felt every single bit as good as i had imagined – i slapped the rowing machine in celebration, took a sip of water and then just sat there for a while, wondering how the hell i was ever going to stand up!

a little bit of slow (3.5km per hour) walking on the treadmill and some uncomfortable stretching eventually helped ease the butt muscles, allowing me to head home, tuck into a good brekkie and then rest a little.

oh yes – i rowed a fecking marathon. get in you beauty!


Time got up (today): 03:45
Mood (1 to 5):
Morning 5
Lunch 4
Night 5 (mood was great; physically very very tired)


03:45 – small piece of turkish crisp bread, glass water
04:00 – gym session (see below)
08:45 – berry smoothie, 2 eggs, bacon, 2 slices toast, orange juice
09:30 – shower and rest
10:30 – cup of coffee
12:00 – chicken & salad roll, bag of popcorn
15:00 – apple, cup of tea
18:00 – few pre-dinner nibbles, pork stir fry, slice tiramisu, 1 beer and a glass of red wine
21:00 – orange juice, bed

gym session

5 mins bike warm-up

42.2km row – 3:36:57

slow walk on treadmill for a few minutes


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