Monday, January 7, 2008


In keeping with Dimity’s post about her pooch, I’d like to attest that you can teach an “old” dog new tricks. I’m very excited about a technique-breakthrough I just had on the rowing machine.

I fancy myself as very fit and fairly strong, but the rowing machine (a.k.a. “erg”—or should I say “GRRRR-erg!”) has always been my nemesis. To me, an erg is torturous on so many levels—mentally, aerobically, anaerobically, butt-wise (my arse gets SO sore from sitting while using glutes!), and emotionally. I’m not terrible at erging, but I’ve never been able to live up to my true potential on an erg. I always believed there was some secret to success on the erg but I’d missed the memo.

Then last Saturday, my rowing coach, Kalle, sat down on an erg next to me. A tone of defeat seeped into his voice as he began discussing the problems he saw with my stroke. Not a good start: My usual optimism flagged. My dreams of a shared-secret started to crumble—maybe I do suck. Kalle said I wasn’t utilizing my height (I’m 5’ 11”—I only look like a pygmy next to dear 6’ 4” Dimity!), especially my long legs. He wasn’t sure whether it was muscle tightness, technique, or what that kept me from literally reaching my potential—he just knew I needed to fix it.

He talked a bit more, and then I started erging again. Kalle’s words were ringing in my ears. I sensed he felt as discouraged as I did. But then fortune smiled down on me, and something clicked. All I had to do was think about trying to get the handle as close as possible to the front of the erg on each recovery and—bingo—my 500-meter splits were suddenly 10 to 15 seconds faster with no real extra effort. At last, the secret is mine!



Nancy Mize said...

Congratulations on that erg breakthrough--it is a lovely reminder that good things happen when we least expect them to!
(I had no idea you & Dimity had your heads in the clouds as you do--I'm a mere 5'5"--it makes my legs feel short & sturdy just thinking of running beside either of you!

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