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Wisely Challenging Myself

on December 10, 2015

Yesterday morning’s rowing class workout called for rowing 600 meters, then jumping off to do 8-10 pushups and 20 penguins.  (Penguins work the oblique muscles.  You lie on your back, knees bent and feet on the floor.  Lifting shoulders slightly off the floor you reach with each hand toward your heels, alternating side to side.)  We were allotted between 1:30-2:15 to do the floor exercises.  If we didn’t use the entire time, we could rest a little before starting the next round of rowing.  The objective was to do as many rounds as possible (AMRAP) in 45 minutes.

I love rowing class and the all over workout it provides.  Great cardio and some strength building combined.  The trainer changes things up and challenges us.  Each week, I try to do a little more or a little better.  Like in this session, I wanted to go lower on my pushups and reach further on my penguins.  That kind of challenge is good.

But I wasn’t quite so smart on the rows.  On these machines, you can pull on the back motion with different amounts of strength.  Everybody is different, depending on where we are with our bodies.  I usually average between 115-125 watts of power when I’m in the groove.  I’ve pulled higher watts in short spurts before — even more than 200 watts for a couple of strokes in a sprint one day.  However, 115-125 is a pretty steady range and gives me a good workout.

Today, for some reason, I decided it was time to boost my average range of power.  From the first round, I tried to rip 135-150 watts of power with each stroke.  That first round, I was all caught up in my strength and the goal of pushing myself with the challenge.  The second round, I kept it up.  I concentrated on maintaining form, driving power with my legs and ripping those watts.  When I finished the 600 meters, I’d jump off the rower and go into the push ups, followed by the penguins, then end up with about :20 of rest time before starting the third round.  What a rush!

Mid-way through, I got hit with nausea.  Serious, “uh-oh-I-could-throw-up-right-on-this-machine” nausea.  The poor trainer stopped by my machine right at that moment to comment on the football game this past weekend.  I sort of held up my hand in a “Give me a second” gesture and squeaked out that I was trying not to hurl.

God bless that man.  Apparently, he’s seen it all in his sports and training career.  He very calmly told me to concentrate on my breathing and back off of the workout.  He also very reassuringly said that if I lost it, it wouldn’t be the first time and the floors were easy to clean.   I choked out something along the lines of, “Easy to clean, but not so easy to get over the embarrassment.”

I tried to gut it out.  I finished the round, working with far less power.  I completed the floor exercises.  I then got back on the rower and pushed for one more round of rowing. My stomach was jumping and my arms were trembling.   I knew I was done about half way through.

Thoroughly disgusted, I climbed off the rower.  Again, bless the trainer.  He told me that I had to listen to my body.  Unfortunately, at that moment I was listening to the voice in my head that was thinking “Workout fail”.  Some of how I was feeling emotionally must have showed on my face.  He said that I come to every class and work hard.  While challenging myself was a good thing, I need to do it in stages.

I probably felt lousy for another couple of hours afterward.  For awhile I wondered if I was actually coming down with a bug.  I wasn’t.  Gradually my stomach got over the upset.  It took significantly longer for me to get over feeling like an idiot.  Eventually, however, I could look at it with more logic than emotion.  It’s okay to challenge myself, but next time I need to do it wisely.

2 responses to “Wisely Challenging Myself

  1. So apparent you are your own wisest advisor. Listen to yourself!

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