"You have to get a few more miles under your belt", Ali tells me. Ali is from Seal Personal training http://www.sealpersonaltraining.com/ and my trusted rowing coach. This is like rowing from home to Birmingham; a completely crazy idea!
Unconvinced I still promised I would give it a try. So at the weekend I set off to the gym equipped with my ipod and the latest soundtrack from podrunner http://www.djsteveboy.com/podrunner.html to see how far I would get. I noticed that the warm up alone is nearly 2k and began to wonder whether it would be cheating to count the warm up as part of my row to Birmingham?
A few more stretches and I off I went. It turned out that music as entertainment is completely useless. The idea is to let the mind drift away with the music whilst the body continues on its own but sadly, in my case, the body started drifting too and I eventually got so slow that I would not get past Sparkhill within the hour. So off came the headphones and the wondering how to keep my mind occupied continued with urgency. 10k is a long way on a rowing machine!
I counted strokes to check on the rowing machine's accuracy, tested how long I could avoid looking at the control panel, I tried mental maths: How many meters will I do in the next 2 minutes? What time will I finish if I keep going at the same speed? go faster? or slower? Eventually all these roads led to the same question: "Why on earth do you do this?"
I have a healthy, able body. It's easy to forget how precious this is until it is no longer there. Meeting Jan reminds me not only to be grateful for my plentiful health but more importantly to enjoy my bodies abilities. Jan is partly paralized since her stroke 17 months ago but she makes good use of the parts that still work. Although she needs help to get on the rower and can only grip the handle with one hand she started rowing herself. Even better, thanks to the generous donation of active hands http://www.activehands.co.uk/ she now has a special glove which means that she can now join me in rowing at the British Indoor Rowing Championships in Nottingham on March 25th using both arms.
Only 5 weeks to go now, about 15 more training sessions, over 50k on the rower and at least 200 more generous people willing to sponsor our rowing effort. Please be one of them!
Make your donation at https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=TTSDYLAW264E2
We are raising money to purchase equipment, not funded through NHS, that will help Jan regain movement in her left hand.