Row Row Row a Marathon 1-4

As you know last Saturday I rowed my marathon for the Changing Faces charity. The post describing it can be found here. When I first started my rowing journey I started keeping a blog over at blogger (I know- sacrilege!), but I ended up not updating it after post 13 because I couldn’t tear myself from WordPress (see WordPress – it was always you). Now that the row is over those 13 posts are troubling me- lost & lonely over at Blogger. So I’m bringing them here  -4 in this post, 4 in the next &…um ah yes …5 on the third. That way they can make friends with the Bravetank posts ( like that moment in Sybil when all the split personalities come out to meet each other)  & Blogger & I can part company (he can keep the garish orange wallpaper, I get to keep my name -perfect).

So here goes- Row Row Row a Marathon Posts 1-4

Post 1: And here we begin

Those of you who might follow my other blogs (Bravetank at and Anything BUT the Weather at will find this blog slightly different (which may or may not be a good thing I suppose!).

This blog is going to chart my journey to row a marathon. I’ve long wanted to do a marathon but I really dislike running & I  fear I would turn into an insane feral gibbering wreck at the end of running 26.2 miles. Not a good look in the pictures. But I really like rowing (although usually I just row 40-50 mins 3 times a week). So I thought-  why do you never hear of marathon rowing (I’ve since googled it & it does happen but not as much as marathon running). Then I thought – why don’t I row one? This incidentally is what my thought processes are like. Why don’t you ever hear of robotic cats? Why don’t I make one? Usually something then stops me (husband warning me that if I do such a such a thing it will be the last straw- that kind of thing – he was very much against the robotic cat idea). But this time the people I have spoken to (including husband) have been – after initial disbelief and horror – very supportive. It seems like this could work.

I also want to do it to raise money for the charity  Changing Faces They’re a charity for people and families who have been affected by  disfigurements.  I think the importance of what this charity does in terms of changing lives in the support they give to those affected and changing minds in other people’s attitudes to disfigurements cannot be overstated. So they are the charity for which I will be raising money. I’ll talk more about this in subsequent posts.

I’m not sure how I’m going to pull it all together. I need the gym to agree to me using one rowing machine for the actual event – however long it takes  (could be days at my pace). I need to get in touch with  Changing Faces and explain what I want to do. I need to do the actual training (much as I think I am a born rower I think my body has other ideas – it thinks it’s a born TV watcher). I need to do 5 X rowing sessions a week – around 5 hours a week in total (I think- really I need to find a good rowing marathon training plan or radically adapt a running one  … and I mean radically – for a start it will be done in the sitting position). I need to ensure I take the right fuel into my body (not something I’m historically good at).  Lots to do.

But I’m so excited. It’s a goal to strive for. It’s a cause I support. It’s something I really want to do. It’s something I think I could do. And by committing myself in writing here I am committing myself to doing it and not letting the charity down.

So progress so far- well I woke this morning & discussed it with my husband. It was a little early & that perhaps explains his rather flippant response that I should go all out and do 100 miles. This evening I went up the gym for my first session and did 6.2 miles in 1hr 9 mins. Before you judge my pace remember – this is all about distance & duration, distance and duration.

I just need to the above another 4.5 times this week (or thereabouts) & I’ll have done the mileage. Then I just need to train to do it all in one sitting. Easy peasy.

Sitting by the way is the operative word & the one I think in which my main challenge will lie – to put it bluntly my bum hurts. It started hurting tonight at 40mins. My husband is a trained aromatherapist & has said on the day itself he is willing to  massage  the affected area at regular intervals…hmmm. Not sure how that will go down in the gym. Quite possibly a bag of ice will be better (at least before the watershed).

But anyway first training session is down. A million to go.

It feels good.

Post 2: Sore

Ok second day training. Same time. Same duration. Posterior hurting more though (see how polite I am). Discovered you can buy a seat pad so that’s on my shopping list.

Listened to a selection of podcasts as I rowed – I gave them 7-14 mins each then changed so I could have the maximum exposure to lots of different subjects. I am an extreme multi tasked. I’ll be learning a foreign language as I row next.

Listened to Richard Herring interviewing Charlie Higson (fantastic), Scott Johnson discussing Flatliners on Film Sack (oddly enough I saw that film again a few days ago ….what’s the chances of that (rhetorical please….statisticians put your calculators away) and Melvyn Bragg introducing me to Clausewitz  (not personally but you get the idea- I’m not as up on Prussian military leaders as I should be) which gave me am idea for a future Bravetank blog post. Can’t say it all made the hour fly by but I certainly left the rowing machine knowing lots about some very random  things (which always pleases my husband – tend to tell him about them at 2 in the morning when I can’t sleep).

Diet wise it’s been relatively good. Had nut clusters for brekkie, Quorn pepperami light bread sandwich & oatie breakfast bar as snacks, egg salad with wrap & apple for lunch, vegetable curry with light bread & low fat strawberry meringue desert thing for tea, Also half a chocolate club biscuit after tea & a chocolate lime sweet when I got back from the gym. May have some toast and a biscuit for supper. Oh yes and a smallish short cake biscuit earlier in the day. Actually putting all that down not sure how good I’ve actually been!! Vegetable curry was bloody tiny though (ready meal!). And I did burn off 500 cals at the gym. And the thin bread is really low cal (use more eating it). And…and…oh I’ve run out of excuses. I was hungry.

Post 3: Obsessions

Ok third training session done & dusted last night.  Went well & I knocked 1 minute off my time (one measly paltry minute- but it saved my backside 1 second longer of soreness so I’m not really complaining).

Was starving afterwards & it’s boiling here at the moment so we took a nice stroll (not that nice actually- I wore new jazzy flip flops & they hurt my toes) down the pub to have some stuffed potato skins & salad & a blackcurrant & soda. Yes I live the rock and roll lifestyle.

Woke up early this morning (4 ish!). Crazy excited about my stats for my Bravetank blog. Posted a link the other day on Reddit & the result was unbelievable! But I get too obsessed about these things & it’s not healthy. In fact I seem to swtich by the minute from one obsession to another – my Bravetank blog and it’s stats, my rowing marathon & the need to increase my duration, my diet & the fact I’m not losing weight (it’s all muscle everyone tells me because I look quite small – but the scales still mock me). Then I’m back to obsessing about my other blog that has very little traffic (poor thing), then the jobs that need doing around the house, then the chaotic nature of my WoW account (alts on too many different realms), then the variety of podcasts I need on my iPOD for the rowing. Aaarrgh. It’s crazy. You might have guessed by now I have OCD and it’s truly exhausting. I won’t even get into the matter of crumbs and fluff & my hysteria when confronted by either of the two – it’s not pleasant.

Oh well- hopefully all this rowing will release so many endorphins I’ll become a different person. Can only hope anyway.

Post 4: Dizzy

Merging two into one here- Sun & Tuesday work out. Tried a speed session Sunday. 2.30 fast, 30 sec recovery slow. Was exhausted but did 7k in 40 mins and was under 30 mins for 5K. Was well chuffed until the next day when I was dizzy & lightheaded all day. Now I do have some health problems – I have restless legs syndrome & periodic limb movement disorder in the night- for which I am on medication. I also appear to have sleep apnoea due to narrow nasal passageways & a tongue set low in my throat (lovely – means I’ll never be able to touch the tip of my nose with my tongue – damn!).The sleep apnoea in particular plays havoc with my sleep (thank god really- it means my body is waking me up to breathe- if it stopped doing that I might be in a bit of trouble). So I put the dizziness down to that & the rowing, although everyone also said that all the diet food I’m eating isn’t giving me enough energy so I had to order a pizza – I didn’t need telling twice.

Cut to today- woke up still as dizzy as hell with yet another broken night’s sleep. This time I was tired & tearful (like an exhausted toddler). Took the day of work & went to the doctors. Phoned up first for a walk in appointment – is that not a contradiction in terms? Anyway – explained the lack of sleep to the Dr. She was sympathetic but said she couldn’t give me anything to sedate me until we know once & for all if it is sleep apnoea- if it is the sedative might be too effective & I’d never wake up. We both agreed that wasn’t the desired outcome. I then asked her if she thought my spasms etc might be early onset Parkinsons ( have read all the forums on this –  I’m a keen self diagnoser). In response she made me march up & down for a bit (she did it with me so we could both look stupid together) & then we had to move our hands side to side a few times. She then told me the fact I could do these repetitive movements indicates it isn’t PD (and that I’d make a good soldier and house painter). I’m going to hold her to that.

I had a nap in the afternoon & some pasta for tea and started feeling about 75% myself again. This was enough for me. I persuaded husband to drop me up the gym so I could do an easy 30 min row focusing purely on technique.  You see I’ve also had a bit of an eye opener today on  Fitocracy. I should be doing 18-22 s/m- I do 34-36 ish (38-39 when pushing it). I should be doing 10K in at least 50mins. I do it in 1.08, although  Sunday would have been around the 50 mark. There is clearly something wrong with my technique. So I tried to reduce my s/m this evening, while getting my split times down to 2mins. No luck at all. The lowest I could get my split time was 2.54ish  but it preferred the 3.04 mark, and my natural stroke was at 38. Oh yes I also reduced the damper from 10 to 4. I tried driving with my legs, finishing with the arm pull & slight lean  back at the end, keeping lower back straight etc. – everything I’d seen in the video they linked from You Tube. All the messing round slowed me down so it took me 32 mins to do 5K. I left the gym lightheaded and dizzy again. I’m doing something wrong.


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