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80 Opens New Challenges

Training to maintain is a bad idea for most people; you soon lose interest and stop training all together.

To stay motivated and be your best you must keep challenging yourself. (Hard to do when you’ve been training for your entire adult life.)

The challenge must be something reasonably doable. Pie in the sky goals are a prescription for failure. Failure breeds failure. Success breeds success.

I’ve been doing interval sprints on the Concept2 rower and Ski Erg for some time, and have pretty much topped out. I needed new goals—meaningful goals—to get going again.

As I turned this over in my mind it dawned on me that my age opens up a new field of competition. I’m now in the Concept2 80-89 age category and eligible to compete with a whole new crop of people from all over the world.

Nearing the end of my time in the 70-79 category I focused on 100 meters and one minute—new events added in the last few years—posting times in 2015 and 2016. Nothing last year; I pulled my shoulder on the Ski Erg and my hip was acting up.

Checking out the competition it appeared that I would once again be competitive in the sprint events. I decided to concentrate on rowing. My shoulder still doesn’t like the fast starts on the Ski Erg, but I can use it for conditioning between workouts and time trials on the rower.

Another plus is that the 100 meters and one minute events are similar to the 20 and 30 second sprint intervals I’ve been doing—but just different enough to present new challenges. Start the wheels of progress going again. Exercise physiologists call it SAID, specific adaptation to imposed demand.

I zeroed in on a man from Florida as my first challenge. He’s in the middle of the pack and close to what I can reasonably expect to do in both sprint events. Much like the young woman collegiate rower I wrote about in Lean For Life. She gave me reason to raise my sights and go for a new PR at 2500 meters and move into the top 25 percent in the 50 to 59 category. She was my rabbit then and this guy is my rabbit now. A challenge to help me get the best out of myself.

 Carol took this photo during the 2500 meter PR inspired by the young woman rower.


That’s what makes the Concept2 rankings so valuable. You don’t have to be number one to be a winner. You can almost always find someone (man or woman) to spur you on in the competition with the only competitor that really counts—you.

Early Success and New Challenges

My first row for ranking was at both 100 meters and one minute, knowing that the one I did first would produce my best time. While it was, the second effort turned out to be my best move for ranking purposes. I fell short by 4 tenths of a second at 100 meter, but bested my target by one meter at one minute. My calculations were right on; this man was a real challenge in both events. I was happy—a little ahead in one event and a little behind in the other. The game was on.

My next effort was two weeks later, beginning with one minute where I felt sure I could do better. I did, going 265 meters for an improvement of 7 meters. My 100 meter time was only 2 tenths short of my first attempt. That made me happy, because it suggested that I could move up next time by doing 100 meters first.

That’s what happened. Two weeks later I improved by a tenth of a second, still three tenths behind my target. A tenth of a second sounds like nothing, but it's a substantial improvement in the 100 meter dash.

In the meantime, another fellow moved up behind me, improving by over a second—a huge move at 100 meters. So, I’m now sandwiched between these two guys, with one a fraction of a second ahead and the other a fraction of a second behind.

I also added one meter at one minute, even thought I did 100 meters first. Appears that I'm good for more if I start with one minute.

An Aussie is 13 meters ahead of me at one minute. I should be able to close that gap next time around.

The battle is now engaged on several fronts.

I've barely begun. No question that I can keep improving.

That’s what I plan to do.

I’m back in progress mode.


April 1, 2018

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