[Rowing Machine] 2020: Week 19 {211.5} “Count While Rowing”

I’d forgotten about this since I moved and had to put the old rower into storage, but what I used to love doing was just counting my rows as I rowed. There’s a meditative quality to clearing out the space that would otherwise be cluttered with good or bad thoughts with something like counting rows. My rowing machine’s monitor records these stats so there’s no necessity anymore, but it’s nice, perhaps, for making rowing count.

Without something like that, rowing becomes almost meaningless.

Why do something if there aren’t tangible rewards? Rowing has been an enjoyable habit of mine for years, but even still, I tweet out my stats as a way to generate content and hold myself accountable for doing these rowing sets. Without that, I might let excuses seep into my reality where something or another would provide enough inconvenience to skip rowing. Currently, my rower is folded up as it was last week, so it’s easy to skip sets.

Finding the effort to fold down the rower is psychological effort.

If I’m having a bad day, then I’m more likely to skip rowing because I’d rather just escape reality, but if I can escape into that rowing headspace where positive and negative thoughts coalesce into a nothingness that can equalize my mood. This is part of why Murakami runs and those thoughts of non-thinking while rowing resonates with me.

To get there, I need a koan, of sorts: counting…?

One… two… three… and I forget about counting the numbers themselves as they just become part of the background noise of the flywheel politely spinning, my seat going back and forth on the monorail, and my breathing going in and out with the catch and release. …One-twenty is usually about where I land as I’m closing in on my five-minute sets.

I counted accurately this past set, completely by accident.

I’m usually off by a few rows, if I even worry about it much at all, because for me it’s not about getting the maximum amount of rows or effort possible. It’s just me going along. If the set goes better than before, that’s good, but the only thing I look for is better than zero. Did I put in any effort more than none? If so, then it’s a good set. I’ll comment on it being a good set if the set helped me feel particularly good, otherwise, not much difference to me.

I may start doing longer sets soon again.

I stopped doing longer sets shortly before I started getting my terrible and frequent mindbender headaches. Since I’ve been on the mend long enough where an occasional headache won’t impair me for much more than a day, I should be fine to up the number slowly. I’m probably not going to do ten-minute or thirty-minute sets immediately. If anything, I want to make sure to keep the twice-daily five-minute discipline first.

After that’s reinstilled, then I can move up the set times.

I still need to figure out a space long-term for my rower, because where it once resided is now my work-from-home area. Today they announced an extension on the stay-at-home state policy, lasting until at least around this essay’s publication, so maybe it will be extended out another month or two? My current option has been folding and unfolding my rower, which might scuff the floor and cause downward vibrations.

Long-term, I want a permanent spot.

I’ve thought about whether I’ll sell my old Concept2. It resides in my apartment-mansion’s second hallway I seldom use. If I sold it, then I’d have the space for the new rower, which I don’t mind anymore and might prefer because of quietness and with manual settings I can get a good resistance going, and I wouldn’t have to worry about moving it again in a year or two. Or if I get rid of many other things, I can free up that space.

Those thoughts exist outside of this essay’s intent.

Instead, it should be grounded in the notion of clearing out thoughts of hypotheticals and past actions, the good or bad, the past or future, what worked well or didn’t, so that after I return from that neutral zone, reality is calmer. When I let things linger longer than they must, they turn into acidic complaining sessions, which sometimes works well, but other times just dampens the mood.

I look at it like this, then.

As a writer, I have to build up a special immunity to criticism. Any sentence or word choice I publish is open for criticism. Artists in other mediums probably also get this as well, but everyone writes, so everyone’s a critic. I’m fine with this. In order to get into a mindset that is open to criticism, I have to be calm enough to hear the criticism and decide if it’s actionable and worth acting on.

When it’s not, especially vocationally, I have to accept the criticism politely.

If I don’t figure out ways to calm my mind, then I’ll be more likely to react with tense defenses rather than polite acceptance. Especially when it comes to management, it’s all a performance where one graciously receives the manager’s wisdom then balances that with what is actually possible to achieve a sort of middle ground. Without the sort of self-tempering of attitudes through physical exertion, then it’s more likely that I’ll slip in my true thoughts.

Vocationally, I try to be as tame as I can.

Avocationally, now that’s where I can release my mental frustrations that my physical frustrations didn’t release on the rower. By thinking of these concepts concretely, writing about them abstractly as I’ve done, I can better attune myself to where my problems lie. If I didn’t get out those frustrations, then I’d be more likely to say regrettable things, I suppose. That’s where counting has been helpful for me. Maybe I should count during frustrating conversations?

That would be like taking my rowing practice with me anywhere.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My fitness experiences.
This week’s weight: 211.5
Last week’s weight: 211.5
Difference: The pre-pee weight was the same. I’m happy with staying the same weight for one week. I’ve been more sedentary but less hungry as well, so I think that’s matched up well enough. I haven’t rowed in a while, but I’m focusing on resting my lower back, which has been hurting for the past few weeks. So as long as I don’t put on much more weight, I’ll be fine. I dreamt about my new body shape last night because I’m starting to notice myself thinning out in some areas. I like the feeling.
Inspirations: I started counting my rows recently then I realized why I was doing it. I’ve been coping with a fair amount of stress with this whole work-from-home situation. The work side of things has been a little more suffocating than it needs to be and the general stress of trying to be quiet has been another burden. I’ve been rather fatigued, too, since I can’t get outside to do things on a regular schedule.
Related: Past weekly column entries.
Picture: Even if unique pictures count toward having essays being more likely to be read, I don’t mind.
Written On: 2020 April 04 [From 12:07am to “I stopped” at 12:23am. From 12:34am to “so maybe it will be” at 12:39am. From 12:53am to “cause downward vibrations” at 12:55am. From 1:15am to “what worked well or didn’t” to 1:18am. From 1:21am to 1:28am. Gdocs.]
Last Edited: 2020 April 08 [Adapted from Gdoc, so, second draft; final draft for the Internet.]
My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.