A 2000 meter race. Just the thought strikes fear in the hearts of indoor rowers. As sprinting on the SkiErg grows in popularity it’s likely to do the same for indoor skiers. Fear not, intrepid athletes! With a good SkiErg strategy, hopefully paired with a strong training plan, the 2k ski is an entirely doable distance for most people.
As always, before attempting a sprint of this distance you will want to be sure you’re warmed up. Give yourself 1000-2000 meters to warm up, either on the rowing machine or the SkiErg. Once you’ve got a sweat starting to roll, switch to the SkiErg if you’re on the rowing machine and do 1-3 practice SkiErg racing starts.Follow the 1/2, 1/2, 3/4, full stroke formula followed by 10 strokes at race pace, then ski easy for a minute. Do this no more than three times.
Stretch and hydrate, and don’t forget to visit the restroom if you need to.
For the actual sprint, try this strategy. Optimally you would practice it and see how it feels before you do your “official” race. But even if you’re doing this without the benefit of rehearsal, this is a solid plan that should get you through in fine fashion.
2k Skierg strategy
Here’s a SkiErg strategy to try: Set the monitor for a 2000 meter piece (Select Workout>Standard List>2000m). Do a racing start followed by 10-20 hard strokes and then hold your pace. Take a hard 10 strokes to stay focused every 500 meters. With 250 meters to go, give it all you’ve got!
Ski easy for at least 3 minutes when you’re done to give your heart rate a chance to come down. Once you’ve caught your breath, get off and stretch.
Record your time in your Concept2 logbook and pat yourself on the back for a job well done!
Have you tried the Concept2 SkiErg yet? Maybe your first SkiErg sprint introduction is coming this weekend with Concept2’s annual event, the SkiErg Sprints?
Don’t let that scare you! Short-distance pieces and sprints on the Ski Erg are some of the best ways to get comfortable on the machine. It’s a great way to get your blood pumping, and a nice change of pace from a lot of the other equipment in the gym.
Given that gravity is in play and that the Ski Erg is atotal-body machine (with an emphasis on the torso and arms), the SkiErg definitely gets your heart rate rolling quickly.
4 keys to a spectacular skierg sprint
Warm up properly! As we say in our trainer tips, the shorter the workout, the longer the warmup needs to be. To ski a 500-meter piece, for example, you should plan on at least a 10 to 15-minute warmup on the rowing machine, jogging, or on another piece of cardio equipment. Don’t be afraid to break a sweat before you start your sprint.
Have a target split: Once you’re warmed up, jump on the SkiErg for 5 minutes or so to get comfortable before you do your actual sprint. Easy rowing here, but throw in a couple of rounds of 10 hard strokes. Watch your split on the hard strokes, that will give you a sense for what target you might try to hit during the actual sprint. Write your target split on a piece of paper taped where you can see it during the sprint, or set the pace skier on your monitor.
Use a sprint start: Whenever you’ve got a dead flywheel to deal with, the best thing is to take a few short strokes to get it moving. It saves your back AND gets you to your target split faster. Perfect.
Have a race plan (See below): Even on a short sprint, it’s helpful to plan how you’re going to cover the distance to your best advantage. Decide what you’re going to do for each segment of the piece, or have a split you’re determined to either reach or beat. Whatever it takes for you to stay on target, especially once the going gets rough. Once you have it in mind, write it out if it helps and tape it to your SkiErg.
Skierg tips for a fast 1000m
Beginners and Intermediates:
If this is your first attempt then keep that thought front and center! Remember the beauty of the challenge and being a beginner (or even us old experienced dogs) is that if you’re not happy with your time you can do it again, after some rest. The challenge takes place over 3 days. Do it Friday, recover Saturday and repeat Sunday if need be.
A 1K blast is just that…a BLAST! Cardio, strength and heart rate to the max once you find your technique and confidence to go hard.
The goal on your first one really should be just to get it done! Learn from the experience. With your monitor set for 1000 meters you can go back into the memory after and see where you felt you could have done better. You can see your split/500, SPM and heart rate if you wear a HR monitor. All helpful to plan your strategy for the next one.
The best strategy is to train for this so that you are prepared. It is a mental as well as physical challenge, and the only way to learn is to train and test yourself against your own time, and then your age group. However, if you just want to do it this weekend there’s no reason not to just jump on and go. The beauty of the erg is if you go out too hard you can always back off and hold or come back.
The start and strategy:
The flywheel is dead at the start so it’s always a good idea to take a few short strokes and gradually lengthen out from there. The first minute of any sprint is exciting and an adrenalin rush so breathe! Short strokes to your pace then lengthen and hold. Watch your split and end time. If you’re on target stay there. If you need mental pick-me-ups take a hard 5- 10 strokes every 250 -300m. HOLD ON! Last 300m dial in your CAN-DO ATTITUDE to the finish!
Plant the poles about eye brow level, drive to your pockets, chest up, hip extension and flexion but not so you kiss the flywheel! And use your legs as shock absorbers. This is not just upper body and if you isolate just your upper body to do the work you will risk a best effort with poor technique and also potentially burnout too soon and not finish. You should feel this total body when done. Watch the technique skier in your monitor under information for a reminder.
When done do not fall off the machine gasping! Please stand up and take all intensity off for at least1 -2 min. Let that HR recover then slip out of the handles and walk around and get some water.
Bravo you did it!
We sometimes see people break out in a cold sweat when they think they have to do a 5k their first time out on the machine. That’s not necessary! You should ease into skiing the same way you work your way into rowing, a few minutes at a time.
Give the flywheel a chance to work its Zen magic, and use that time to get your technique right, too. Concept2 has a great SkiErg technique videothat will get you started.
Once you’ve got some skiing experience, short sprints are an excellent way to test yourself on the machine. Concept2 also offers SkiErg challenges several times throughout the year, and this weekend’s Sprints are no exception. They’re a great chance to set a goal to work toward, and compete against other skiers around the world.
If a sprint piece (like 100, 250, 500 or 1000 meters) is on your workout agenda, we’ve got some tips to help you nail it. Read on.
Here’s one way to attack a 500-meter piece. You can modify it for longer distances, too. Begin with your sprint start of a few short strokes, gradually building to the full stroke. Follow that with 10-20 hard strokes, then settle in to your race pace. Don’t “fly and die,” keep your adrenaline under control and stay steady through the middle of the piece. Then, with 100-200 meters to go, fire the afterburners and empty the tank!
NOTE: Never stop completely after a hard effort like a SkiErg sprint! Keep moving slowly for a few minutes and let your heart rate come down. Grab a big drink of water, stretch out, and log your meters and time in your Concept2 logbook. Well done!!
watch how we do a Ski erg sprint start
Try this strategy and let us know in the comments how you did! Got questions? We’ll answer those, too. SKI ON!
Want more rowing or skiing workouts?
Our Meter Monster and Flywheel Frenzy workout plans are designed to help you stay consistent with your workouts and give you a plan to follow, whether you row solo at home or the gym, or you teach rowing class. Both plans are available for immediate download now, but only until Sunday, Nov. 10 at midnight EST. After that they go away until next year.
We can always count on our friends at Row2k to come up with good indoor rowing playlists. When winter ice arrives, on-water rowers move inside whether they like it or not. So each year, Row2k is only too happy to oblige with crowdsourced music to make the indoor meters go by a little easier. Bonus for those of us who like to row indoors all the time. We’ve tested this year’s Winter Erg Playlist 2015-16 in our own rowing workouts, and we like it!
The whole playlist runs 50 minutes, just about right to get through your 10-12k piece or teach an indoor rowing class. The list starts with Dillon Francis’s Get Low, which is a great warmup tune – a good bass beat with nice intensity. Other favorites from the list include Fall Out Boy’s Centuries, Demi Lovato’s Confident and Imagine Dragons’s I Bet My Life.
WHAT’S ON THE LIST, WHAT’S NOT
One notable absence: Where is Walk the Moon’s Shut Up and Dance, 2015’s song of the year? Or Tiesto’s Let’s Go (Technically 2014 but still very popular last year), one of our favorites for starting off a HIIT interval workout? PS: Yes, Row2k’s list leans pop (although certainly not exclusively) so if that’s not your thing we understand. All good, no judgement.
Actually not everything on this playlist is our cup of tea, either. We’d skip right past Gas Pedal, for example, and we’re getting tired of Fight Song, sadly. We’re optimistic we’ll love that one again if we give it a little rest and we stop hearing it in TV commercials for cars. In general though, we think this is a good addition to the rowing playlists category, and certainly easy to call up and play on Spotify when you want grab-and-go rowing playlists.
The post on Row2k includes great comments on why people submitted their fave songs, and you can play the whole list straight off Spotify here. One note: Any time you’re working with rowing playlists you didn’t make you should preview them first. The lyrics that are appropriate for one group may be beyond uncool for another. You don’t want to find out you’ve made that mistake when you’re strapped in on your erg trying to guide your group through a minute on-minute off workout.
Here’s the song list:
Andy Grammer – Honey I’m Good
Demi Lovato – Confident
Dillon Francis – Get Low
Dorothy – Wicked Ones
Elle King – Ex’s and Ohs
Fall Out Boy – Centuries
Flo Rida – GDFR
Galantis – Peanut Butter Jelly
Imagine Dragons – I Bet My Life
Pegboard Nerds – Emergency
Rachel Platten – Fight Song
Sage the Gemini – Gas Pedal
Shinedown – Cut the Cord
The Struts – Could Have Been Me
Timmy Trumpet – Freaks
listen to it here
What other songs would you like to have seen here? Post them to the comments, if we get enough submissions we’ll do our own best-of indoor rowing playlist and share!
When your indoor rowing workouts call for a larger number of meters, or you’re trying to hit a big number in the Concept2 online challenges, how do you keep it interesting? By breaking the workout up into smaller chunks and changing it up. Longer indoor rowing workouts don’t have to be boring. You just need to have a plan that brings variety into the mix.
Below we’ve given you 10 ways to kill 10k in your indoor rowing workouts, plus one bonus workout. You’ve got options that will take you from an easy row all the way through, to a calorie-torching blast. It’s up to you, pick the plan that works for you based on how you feel that day. Do one round or put several of them together for a monster meter rowing workout.
As always, if you’re new to indoor rowing get your doctor’s OK before taking on a rowing workout like these. Listen to your body and decide if it’s a good day for higher volume. If you’d rather do something shorter, check our indoor rowing workouts pages for more choices.
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10 Ways to Kill 10k (+1)
Set the monitor and go: Find your happy place — that point where you’re sweating but you know you could keep up this pace for a long time, and row. Put on some good tunes and lean in to the Zen of the flywheel. Use this workout to find your steady-state target pace. You should be able to talk but prefer not to, and feel that you could stay at that pace for a long time. To easily set up the workout, from the main menu hit New Workout>Standard List>10000 meters.
Steady–State With Power Bursts: Row 10,000 meters at the pace you found in the workout above. Drop in 10 or 20 hard strokes every 500 or 1000 meters. Aim to drop 10 seconds or more off your split every time you do the power strokes, but always return to your base, steady-state pace.
Rolling 1000s: Warm up through the first 2-3000m, then row 100 meters hard, 100 meters easy for 1000m. Paddle for 1-2 minutes and repeat for 3-5k. This is also a great way to get used to harder effort on the rowing machine.
Power Intervals: Like the rolling 1000s but longer intervals. For example 250 hard meters every 750 or 1000 meters.
Negative Splits: Start out at a fairly easy pace and aim to drop your split per 500 meters every time over the course of the piece. Using the split window on your monitor, aim to drop it progressively over the course of the rowing workout. For example take 5 seconds off your warmup split every 2000 meters. Use the last 500-1000m as your cooldown.
Stroke Play: Vary your strokes per minute (SPM): 2 minutes at 22-24-26-28 SPM, with the same amount of paddle rest, 2 minutes. Do this until you have completed the 10k. Bonus points if you can do rounds 18 and 20 spm (Hint: sloooow your recovery).
Rolling Intervals: Row repeating cycles of 3 minutes at 22 strokes per minute, 2 mins at 25, 1 min at 28. Paddle in between if you need a break, or challenge yourself and keep on row-ling.
Watch the Watch: Row rounds of 1:00 on with effort/1:00 off, 2:00 on/2:00 off and so on up to 5:00 on/5:00 off, then work your way back down. Increase your intensity as you come down the pyramid. Continue until you have completed the 10k.
Vary the Intensity: Use this one to practice adding more intensity to your workouts. Row intervals of 4:00 on, 2:00 off, keeping your stroke rating the same (we suggest 24-26 spm) but varying your intensity through the 4-minute intervals, from sustainable to highly intense.
Salad Bowl: Mix it up and choose up to 5 of the options above. Do something different every 2000 meters.Example: First 1k: Warm up
1k-2k: Steady-state, half pressure
3k-5k: Rolling 100s
5k-6k: Steady state
6k-7k: Hard 1000m
8k-9k: :30 on / :30 off. 26 spm on the work, 22 spm on the rest
9-10k: Cool down
BONUSROW-SKI for those with access to a SkiErg. Use the undefined rest feature on your monitor to keep both machines going without having to reset. If you’re a complete badass (and in our book you are if you do this), switch the row and ski numbers so you ski more than you row.
Which one did you try? Let us know what you thought in the comments, or if you have a question about endurance rowing, in general, let us know!
Candy-crazy season has begun, it’s time for a Halloween workout! You can’t walk into a grocery store without seeing row upon row of delicious-looking treats, all of them perfectly packaged with Halloween shapes and colors, and in tantalizingly small servings.
Those fun-size Snickers bars and Reese’s pumpkins couldn’t have THAT many calories, could they?
Well, not if you only eat one or two, but who does that?? We’re more likely to “parent-tax” the heck out of our children’s Halloween candy stashes, sneak two or three or four pieces every day, day after day, and before you know it we’re full-on into the Holidays and it’s Christmas candy calling your name.
We’re not saying don’t eat the candy (ok maybe don’t eat ALL the candy), but a Halloween workout featuring candy that also makes us think first? We’re down for that!
Stop the Madness! GRAB THESE HALLOWEEN WORKOUTS
Below we offer two variations on candy-themed Halloween rowing workouts. One can be done as an individual rower or with a group, the other is a partner workout. Both will help you burn off a few fun-size bars, or fend off overconsumption with good reminders of how hard torching those calories really is.
Prep the Halloween Workouts
For both workouts you’re going to need some Halloween candy wrappers. Either use the wrappers themselves or tape them on a piece of paper. That way you can make multiple copies, particularly useful if you’re doing this with a group. Then you can cut the paper in strips and write the calorie count on each one.
To help you plan and time the workout, know that a 10-second change in 500m split is equivalent to about 100 calories per hour: A 2:30 split is about 650 calories per hour, while a 2:10 split works out to about 850 calories per hour. A fun-size Snickers has 160 calories, so it will take about 15 minutes to burn at 2:30 and 11 minutes at 2:10.
NOTE: As we’ve mentioned before, we don’t usually like to use calories to track our workouts. That’s because we don’t want our athletes thinking that the number they see on the screen is an exact reflection of the calories they’ve burned. We also don’t love focusing on calories as a measure of whether a workout has been done well.
For athletes who want a more accurate read on how many calories they burn in their rowing workout, Concept2 has an online calorie counteryou can use.
Halloween Workout #1
Pick one or two pieces of “candy,” either choosing them blind or grabbing your favorites. Total the number of calories in each piece, then row to that amount on your monitor (press the “change units” button on the monitor until the screen shows calories).
When you’ve hit the calorie target, get off the rowing machine and do:
10 push ups
Repeat the above for 2-3 additional rounds if you want more work. Obviously you can vary the off-erg moves, too, depending on how much variety and challenge you want.
Halloween workout #2 – partner rowing workout
Partner A chooses 1-2 pieces of “candy,” and rows to the total number of calories (Hit “change units” on your monitor until it shows calories.). While Partner A is rowing, Partner B does a series of moves for a total number of reps that equals the number of calories. For your fun-size Snickers you might do:
40 air squats
40 jumping jacks
Or if you want to ramp it up you could do:
40 air squats
30 push press
Sounds fun, right? And it should certainly help people think carefully about how much candy they really want to tear into.
Try the workouts and tell us how you did in the comments. Did you do them as prescribed, or make up your own variation? We’d love to hear, too, if you have another favorite Halloween workout.
It’s time to give you guys a new workout! We thought it would be fun this time to dive into how the workout is put together so you get some insight into how we approach rowing workout programming. A good row workout balances the effort on the machine with any off-erg moves, taking into consideration the fact that the machine works the whole body.
We’ve said before that we love birthday rowing machine workouts. There’s just something about a special occasion that makes people willing to step it up. It’s a chance to try something a little different, have fun with a theme, and showcase your athletes and clients. When we found out it was Master Instructor Chad Fleschner’s turn to blow out the candles, we couldn’t resist putting together a special sweatfest just for him. Read on, and then we’ll explain how we put it together.
CHAD #2 (HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR. AWESOME)
Warm up well, then do 4 rounds of the following:
Row or ski 43 calories (Hit “Change Units” on your monitor until calories come up as your unit)
Chad was turning 43, so of course that became the centerpiece of the workout. Sometimes we get that done after the main part of the workout with finishers, like 43 sit-ups, air squats or push-ups. This time though, we wanted to include it in the main event. So four rounds of work for four decades of life, with exercises that total 43 reps, distributed among 4 things (picking up on the four decades again). The extra three reps went into the easiest movement: Hollow rocks for the win!
The exercises were ordered this way: An upper body move (push presses), a lower body move (front squats), a move that works in a break for those muscles you just worked (hollow rocks), a move that ties it all together (wall balls). The idea was to provide enough load that the various muscle groups would get a good workout, without taxing them so much that the athletes wouldn’t be able to perform the moves properly (Safety first, always!).
So a balanced, total-body effort that’s designed to leave people able to function. We’re big proponents of “good sore,” where the next day you know you’ve done something, but you can still get out of bed and wash your own hair. As an instructor it’s better that your students ask you to work them harder, than it is for them to say you worked them too hard or that they got hurt doing your workout.
We hope Chad’s feeling really special right about now because we almost NEVER do a rowing workout using calories. We know, some of you are appalled: “Workouts for calories are AWESOME! What better way to track your calorie burn than to do it on the monitor?”
Hate to burst your bubble, but even on a rowing machine it’s still not really accurate. Yes, the rowing machine is an ergometer, and therefore it responds to how hard you’re push/pulling, but it still doesn’t really know how much effort you’re putting into that 2:00 split. On one day 2:00 might be your warmup, on another it could be your hard effort. The monitor doesn’t know the difference, and therefore doesn’t adjust your calorie burn accordingly.
There’s another reason we don’t especially like the calories option for rowing workouts: You can’t program a workout using them as your target (the monitor only allows you to program workouts for time or distance). So, on this one we didn’t get to do it our favorite way, by setting the monitor up for four rounds with undefined rest and letting it rip. It worked ok though to restart the monitor with every round and row up to the desired number of calories.
make this workout your own
Obviously there’s no exercise magic behind the number 43 so if you wanted to make this workout more generic just drop it to 40 calories and 10 reps of each move.
You could also boost the calories if you like, for example to 50 or 60. If you do that, just check in with the off-erg work and see if it needs to be adjusted down to compensate for the increased rowing or skiing effort. In addition, if you decide to try increasing the number of exercises you should look at making them simpler to allow for the added work volume. Add another bodyweight exercise like a push-up, for example, and drop out the compound move of the wall ball.
BOTTOM LINE: Never give your students a workout you haven’t first tested yourself. What looks good on paper may be an ugly mess in class. Try it, then make any adjustments to fit your athletes’ needs.
So there you have it, a new workout, a workout template, and a bonus of the thinking behind it. Boom! Try it and see what you think, then let us know.
Oh yeah, if this workout is Chad #2 there must be a Chad #1, right? Yes, in fact there is, and we use it often in our instructor trainings to teach about damper setting. You can try it yourself if you like find it on our UCR2 basic rowing workouts page.
Got questions? Ask and we’ll answer them in the comments.
The Concept2 Dog Days of Summer Challenge has begun! This one starts out easily, with a goal of only 10,000 meters total skied or rowed in the whole week. Easy peasy compared to the 40,000-meter target you have to hit in the last week of the month. As with all of Concept2’s online challenges, it’s a good idea to have a strategy for how you’re going to approach the month.
Intrepid rowers/skiers and long-distance/rowing endurance fans may like to hit the goal all at once. And really, why not try a marathon or half-marathon during the month if you’ve got a good base? This is also a challenge that lets you count your on-water or on-snow meters, so if that’s an option for you definitely take advantage … and send us pics!
But if you’re a rowing instructor with classes to teach or you like more variety in your SkiErg and indoor rowing workouts, try splitting up the distance over several workouts. Here are a couple of sample workouts we’ve done at the UCanRow2 Bodyshop during the first week of the challenge. Obviously you can increase the distances or add more workouts to meet the goals of subsequent weeks.
Let us know what you do, and we’ll share more of ours, too!
Row, SkiErg or mix 3 rounds of 1112 meters (use the undefined rest feature on the monitor)
In between do:
15, 12, 10 reps of:
Row/Ski/Mix 4 rounds of 834 meters (with undefined rest)
In between choose 3-4 of the following exercises, and perform them in descending reps:
12, 10, 8, 6 reps of:
What’s your challenge strategy or fave workout? Tell us in the comments, we’d love to share it with the world!
Yessss! It’s been too long since we last offered our indoor rowing certification in Florida. It’s high time we fixed that, and we are! Thanks to our kind hosts, Villages Indoor Rowing in Summerfield, we’ll be offering both our Indoor Rowing Basic Course and the follow-up Programming Intensive the first weekend in December – December 5 & 6 to be exact.
The Basic Course is your rowing instructor starter kit, and it’s the course you’ll need if you want to add your name to the growing list of certified rowing instructors around the US and the world. The Programming Intensive, meanwhile, is a deeper dive into the fine art of programming classes for athletes of all ages and stages. If you don’t have a lot of background in teaching rowing classes, or if you’re going to be working with seniors or weight loss clients, for example, this course is for you.
You’ll need to take the Basic rowing certification before you can sign up for the Programming Intensive but they don’t have to be taken the same weekend. We don’t offer the Programming Intensive very often, so if you’re interested you should dive in!
(This article, first posted on April 8, 2015 and updated Jan. 19, 2016, is the first in a series of occasional blog posts by UCanRow2’s Terry Smythe. Terry was diagnosed with mucosal melanoma in November, 2013. Exercise, especially on the Concept2 SkiErg and indoor rower, have been fundamental to her path of recovering from cancer.)
Recovering From Cancer: Fighting My Way Back to Me
Just over a year has passed since I had major surgery for rectal mucosal melanoma. I was diagnosed with this very rare and aggressive cancer on Nov. 5, 2013, with surgery on Jan. 9, 2014 and immunotherapy at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute beginning in August, 2014.
It’s been a roller coaster couple of years, with a background theme of questions: Frequent thoughts of WHY, HOW DARE IT, WHY ME??? I have spent my life, like all active and athletic people, doing the best I can to take care of myself so that my body can perform. I was a US national team rower, for heaven’s sakes! Then come the thoughts of WHY NOT? Cancer does not discriminate. Why am I better than anyone else? Why should I deserve a pass with a cancer diagnosis? Am I that special? I am human and therefore subject to the same as anyone else, but I don’t like it. There is anger hidden behind the game face that I am so accustomed to putting on.
The difference today as I look back on this year is the realization that came to me during a recent conversation with my business partner. She said, “You’re mad, you’re pissed off because cancer picked you when this is not how you have lived your life. You have worked your whole life to not have this happen and you went and got it anyway.” Well put.
(Good thing this a blog because not only am I a multi-tasking, 5-things-going-at-once kind of gal, but cancer treatment has added to my challenges with focus, especially when I have a lot to say. Pardon my randomness and I will work to get better as I blog.)
To get to recovering from cancer let me begin at the beginning:
My cancer required a full APR (abdominoperineal resection) since my cancer extended from my vaginal wall through the anal-rectal canal and into my butt!! YES! Doesn’t that SUCK? I was essentially fileted from my belly button to past my butt and I woke up with a permanent colostomy! “WHO AM I NOW?” screamed in my head.
Jan. 9, 2014 I lay in pre-op at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA with my sister and my best friend since age 11 at my side. My original surgery date was Jan. 7, but pipes burst in the hospital compromising all operating rooms. You have no idea the prep I had to do for the 7th, then be there at 5:30 AM for surgery at 7:30 AM, only to watch the clock tick past my time and sense the urgency of “something is WRONG.” Then a nice lady walks up and offers: “There’s no easy way to say this but we will discount your parking. All surgeries are being rescheduled.” OMG! Breathe and let that this-cannot-be-happening-to-ME feeling pass. Being the amazing person she is, my surgeon, Dr. Sarah Russell, called shortly after and assured me this would be OK and not to worry. Ha! But I trusted her and she took good care of me.
My sister gave me socks to wear into this cancer war that said, “I am Amazing” and “I am Strong.” The surgical staff appreciated our attitude and promised to remember who was on the table. I remember feeling scared, but confident that Dr. Russell would get it all. I also remember completely focusing in my head that at that moment I was lying there fully capable of doing a 100-mile bike, any kind of row, Crossfitting, skiing etc. … and that in a matter of hours my life would NEVER be the same. I had to be brave, I had to dig deep into all I had ever overcome in life to crawl back to me. Not only did my family and friends EXPECT this of me, I DID.
I thought to myself, “I have my army of support and my awesome medical team and I will prevail. I will not let that expectation down.” Honestly, I wanted to curl up in the fetal position and just cry; I wanted to be Dorothy in Oz and wake up from a bad dream with Hazel Bear (the UCanRow2 dog) licking my face as if to say that life was just fine and the same as always. I did not.
Let the Healing Begin
My surgeon assured me she had gotten it all and that now was all about healing. Easy to say and HARD to do. Healing is a big word and the definition is cancer’s roller coaster of emotions, phases, treatments, doctors, family, friends, everything that gives you joy, a lot of what you hate, and it changes daily.
How my life has changed since Jan. 9, 2014. From daily visits to the gym I have gone to working out whenever I feel up to it and sometimes-daily visits to the hospital. Still, I am lucky: 5 -10 years ago the odds were not good for survival past a year but there was hope. Today there is more hope and I do cling to the thought that with each passing day more is discovered about how to give me more options to live a strong life.
We row on.
My first workout back at my Bodyshop gym was a far cry from what I’m used to, but a good fit for where I was: Rebuilding my strength after major surgery. I lasted just 15 minutes on the SkiErg, at a pace slower than 3 minutes/500 meters, close to a minute off what I’m used to. Afterwards I needed a three-hour nap. So be it. I did it, and that’s what matters. Cancer, and recovering from cancer, changes everything when it comes to fitness, too. Even for an athlete like me. Especially for an athlete like me. I have progressed from where I was that first day but I am still learning to be ok with the ups and downs of the good days and bad days. When I feel good I push myself as hard as I can. On my less-good days I am working on being understanding and forgiving. It’s a process.
If you would like to read more about Terry’s journey please visit her CaringBridge page. If you have questions or comments for her, leave them in the comments here. We would love to know what you think!