[Rowing Machine] 2017: Week 45

Rather than strictly for weight loss or “looking good,” fitness should be about maintaining one’s body. Exercising should help us practice our muscles and detect possible issues. After getting fit (burning off 60 pounds, thanks to rowing), then fat (gaining 30, then 65), I sustained a hamstring injury that I carried with me for years. Over the last few months, I finally started to maintain my body again, and massaged that injury away. Rowing is my maintenance inspection!

    • My Weekly Stats:
    • Wednesday Morning: time 5 minutes, 171 rows at a solid pace. Drank water too quickly before rowing; felt that minor discomfort, otherwise, good set!
    • Wednesday Evening: time 5 minutes, 185 rows!! I would’ve stopped at 133 except for this public accountability and knowing I’d be ripping myself off.
    • Thursday Afternoon: time 5 minutes, 163 rows. My mind was in too cerebral of a place, pensively planning things out, and stuck. Now I’m going forward.
    • Thursday Bonus: time 5 minutes, 174 rows. My breathing technique was off so I ran out of breath at 60 rows in. A few big gulps of air later? Good!
    • Thursday Evening: time 5 minutes, 177 rows. A had a strong pain hit me at 83 rows in, it dissipated slightly. Kept going. At 160, I shed that pain.
    • Friday Afternoon: time 5 minutes, 162 rows. Great pace until the 100th row. Stretched and kept going. Slowdowns at 130 and 155. Wanted a good count!
    • Friday Night: time 5 minutes, 182 rows. I felt like I was going at a rather slow pace for the first 100 rows. After 150, I picked up the pace.
    • Saturday Evening 1: time 5 minutes, 183 rows. I thought I’d pass 190 with the pace I started out with, but my knees did start aching at around 150…
    • Saturday Evening 2: time 5 minutes, 165 rows. Minor pang at 35, kept going at a slower pace until I had to stop at 155, sweaty and tired. Kept going!!
    • Sunday Morning: time 5 minutes, 162 rows. I haven’t been rowing in the mornings lately. Advantages: I’m more limber. But! I can exhaust myself. (If I row too hard in the mornings. Then you have to go about your day with just a bit of fatigue going.)
    • Sunday Evening: time 5 minutes, 206 rows!! Kept a solid pace until 130, shifted breathing gears to 180, increased the pace to beat my [former] best: 192.
    • Monday Morning: time 5 minutes, 164 rows. My breathing pace felt off around 24, recovered, and kept a solid pace until 150, then I pushed harder!
    • Monday Afternoon: time 5 minutes, 176 rows. Tweaked my lower back on the 18th row just enough so it’s slightly stiff. Extra stretching is helping.
    • Monday Evening: time 5 minutes, 162 rows. A month ago, I would have stopped at the 100th row. I kept going after catching my breath until 162!!
    • Tuesday Morning: time 5 minutes, 158 rows. Steady pace throughout, with a few points where I felt fatigued; nothing big. 5 minute sets are great.
    • Tuesday Bonus 1: time 5 minutes, 173 rows. Ever sit in such a way that the tag of your shorts dug into you? It did at 36 but was only a mild sting.
    • Tuesday Bonus 2: time 5 minutes, 161 rows. Tried a new breathing technique relying more on my nose. Made it to 102, rested, 136, pause; kept at it!
    • Tuesday Bonus 3: time 5 minutes, 178 rows. Kept a solid pace until 153. My back said No More as I was returning to the catch. After a brief pause..
    • Tuesday Evening: time 5 minutes, 152 rows. Jumped back in too soon. Had to rest at 46 and 102. The hardest part of the set began at 140 rows in.

    [Skipping the chart this week.
    I’ll need to look up better ways to represent the data.]

    • Weight: 245.4 pounds (up 1.8 pounds)
    • Liquid Consumption (my goal: >1 gallon of water):
      • Wednesday: 5.25 liters (1.39 gallons) of water, 1.75 liters of coffee
      • Thursday: 7 liters (1.85 gallons) of water, 1.75 liters of coffee
      • Friday: 7 liters (1.85 gallons) of water, 1.75 liters of coffee
      • Saturday: 7 liters (1.85 gallons) of water, 1.75 liters of coffee, 2 cups of tea
      • Sunday: 7 liters (1.85 gallons) of water, 1 liter of coffee
      • Monday: 7 liters (1.85 gallons) of water, 1.75 liters of coffee
      • Tuesday: 5.25 liters (1.39 gallons) of water, 1.75 liters of coffee, 2 cups of tea
    • Vitamins: 13 of 14
      • I’ve been using a spatial memory trick for remembering to take my vitamins. Since I usually eat oatmeal twice a day, I put the vitamins on top of my oatmeal. I didn’t eat oatmeal this time and went to bed, so, oops. Better luck next time.
    • Last Week’s Goals:
      1. Weight: [failed] The 1.8 pounds from last week was after being dehydrated and I didn’t eat much that day, so this is a soft failure, like my willpower if I give myself a pass, so I get a red failure this week for this section. I’ll just have to row more.
      2. Calories: [succeeded] I’ve overall been more careful not to accidentally take in too many calories. There can still be areas for improvement, of course. Instead, let’s focus on our tiny victories on our path to gradually getting better.
      3. Consistency: [succeeded] Maybe part of it is that rowing, at some point in the past few months, turned from an obligation to something I want to do. Maybe it’s been the response I’ve been getting on Twitter? Maybe it’s getting easier?
    • This Week’s Goals:
      1. Weight: no weight gain
      2. Calories: keep at it!
      3. Frequency: Three set minimum?
    • From Good to Better
      • If I haven’t said it in previous column entries, the change from 50 rows to 5-minute sets was probably the single best change I could have done. Instead of casually rowing, now I’ve shifted into high gear, and it’s wonderful.
      • My stamina and pain thresholds have improved significantly, so I’m able to do more, and have overall felt less tired. I’ve also been talking to folks on Twitter about rowing that could have gravitated toward my rowing narrative tweets.
      • I’ve noticed that if I don’t achieve my 1 gallon per day goal, I don’t feel as limber or cognitively quick as I do after I get in a few liters. If you were to consider this option, start off slow, and see if you notice a difference. Ask your doctor, too.
    • Sober Living
      • There are times I feel guilty about my sobriety counters because there’s still one deeply ingrained addiction that’s possibly even stronger than alcohol or cannabis: masturbation. I don’t know if I’ll start a No Fap counter, however.
      • As something I see as mostly harmless, other than wasting time, I’ve been indulging daily for years. I’m interested in seeing if my irritability levels increase, as they have in the past, now that I have rowing and writing stress outlets.
      • I last masturbated on Thursday. It’s Tuesday now, and though I’ve had pangs throughout the week, I’ve been doing well. Stress levels are moderate to low. I might keep this up, at least, until I find some porn worth breaking the chain.
    • Confronting Cortisol Circumstances
      • The biggest stress of the week was probably a conversation I had with someone where I wasn’t fully “on my game.” My mind was stuck in an anxious state, still there and cognitive, however more pensive and scattered than normal.
      • I hadn’t eaten enough that morning, nor gotten enough sleep the night before, though it did break my late night cycle that I’d had for the greater part of the past month, and the conversation turned out well, I suppose, overall.
      • There were other minor stresses that might have taken me down years ago. Similar to rowing, where last year, 22 rows was all I could muster, and even last month where 50 rows was all I could do sometimes, now I’m taking it all in stride.
    • Disengaging from Stress
      • I felt better shortly after that stressful conversation. Still anxious, though less overall. Maybe it was anticipation? I had a float tank session to iron out every wrinkle of the situation and determined I was just uncharacteristically nervous.
      • I’ve been averaging 3 days ahead of schedule for my writing, which has alleviated my deadline-based stress. I know it’s silly having that sort of self-imposed hard deadline. It’s helped remove the inhibition of writing perfect prose.
      • I’ve perhaps written about this over the week, in passing, is that I’m trying to not take stressful things so seriously. That dampers its power, eventually leaving me feeling like I’m looking at this absurd situation rather than soaking it all in.
    • Title and Photo
      • I’m switching title formats. No point incurring stressing by trying to figure out a good title every other week. It’s the 45th week in 2017, though I should have just went with “Week 33,” since this is the 33rd week of this weekly rowing column.
      • The seat of my rowing machine started to rattle a little during two of my sets. The first time it happened, I casually hand-tightened the top bolt. The second time the seat rattled, I went in with a wrench and socket to tighten a little more.
      • This maintenance inspired the introductory paragraph and photo, which is of the wrench and socket “tightening” the bar of Colossus’s barbell. To clarify these random photos, I’ve started to include the ROW tag in the lower left corner.
My big goal is to write. My important goal is to write "The Story." My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame a fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. Let's strive to be better everyday. (Avatar)