I’ve started to add a daily coping tip to the SQLServerCentral newsletter and to the Community Circle, which is helping me deal with the issues in the world. I’m adding my responses for each day here.
Today’s tip is to do something special today and revisit it in your memory tonight.
I’m going to pick something that I did a few weeks ago, but it was special to me. That night it was something I revisited, and even today, I’ve rethought about it a few times.
In graduate school, I rowed crew. For a year I was in an 8 man boat before I left to start my career and switching to a 4 man boat with some other older professionals. For three years, I rowed 3-4 times a week, mostly on the water. In the winter, I used a Concept 2 ergometer in the gym, and eventually bought one for home.
Rowing was the hardest sport I’ve ever been involved in. It’s hard, and tiny changes across every stroke add up to big changes across thousands of meters. I was in the best shape of my life when rowing every week. Over time, I used the machine less and less and it became a basement decoration.
During the last year, I’ve regularly gone to the gym for yoga, swimming, and weight lifting. I have used a stationary bike at home when I’m pressed for time. I used it during the initial weeks of the pandemic, but I wasn’t getting quite enough work in. I saw a few friends on Instagram and Facebook had been rowing regularly and even started a rowing challenge. 10k a day average for May. Do 9k one day, need to do 11k the next.
I’d never rowed 10k on land in one sitting, topping out at 5k most of the time in my sessions. I started rowing again a couple times a week, trying to force myself to work harder. I did some 3ks, then some 5ks, and even tried some countdowns from 30:00 minutes (usually getting in about 6700m).
One day I decided to take some advice from a friend and not aim for my old 2:00/500m pace from college. I’d been struggling with 2:03-2:05 paces mentally, and someone suggested I try pulling a 2:20/500m instead. I tried it, but after a few minutes, I was struggling to go that slow. Instead, I found a 2:08 pace was fine, and I switched after a couple minutes to a 2:10/500m goal. That’s easy to mentally compute on my 25 year old pace tracker.
As I went along, I got to 5k at a bit over 20 minutes and I decided to push further. I kept the pace, only slowing slightly as I got to 7k, then 8k, then 9k. I finished with a bit over 10k.
A personal best, a lifetime best, and something that felt very daunting to me. I haven’t gone 10k again, but the 5k rows have been easier. I’ll do another 10k again soon, with more confidence than I had the first time.