Great Twitter Row Race: Week One

MPC_RowRaceThe wall is in your head.

Surely you’ve said it before during physical challenges, “I hit the wall!”

Today was the first 2000m component of the Great Twitter Row Race for My Peak Challenge prep program 2016. Kim has a bye today because she’s doing the Princess Half Marathon at Disney this weekend, lucky duck.

On Tuesday she beat my 1000m time by a full 54 seconds. I knew that I was going to win by default today, but that didn’t seem to do much to ease my mind. I went in thinking “Kim is going to win anyway, so I’ll just do what I can.” This is backwards positivity. Yes, I can only work within my own limits but I basically started today’s challenge having already given up.

For the majority of the 2000m I was able to keep pace with my time from Tuesday, but suddenly just before the 1500m mark…I hit the wall.

The wall feels physical – a sudden onset of extreme fatigue, muscle pain, laboured breathing, energy running on absolute fumes. For me, my only hope of pushing through hinges on what is happening in my head. Today, my mind was working against me. When that moment came I thought, “I can’t” and it was my kryptonite.

I watched as 38 strokes/min dropped to 20, my estimated 10:05 finish time jumped to 10:30, 10:40, 11:00 and continued to climb – I completely gave up. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, only something to improve from.

2016-02-18 18.50.48

Final time: 11:30 (Yikes!)

I kept saying to myself, “If this was a powerlifting competition, I would own this!” – but it’s not. It’s The Great Twitter Row Race. The whole point is about taking the absolute weakest part of my overall fitness and pushing myself past my comfort zone to improve it and doing it with my friend Kim, who not only challenges me but encourages me.

I can, and I will. I may not be the fastest, but I’ll still be there at the finish.

The one about a challenge…

MPC_RowRaceCombining fitness with collecting charitable donations has long been a regular activity for me; whether it’s Run for the Cure, Relay for Life, the Terry Fox Run and many others.

A relatively new event is breaking the boundaries of the more traditional fundraiser, creating a challenge that is individual to each participant while bringing together people from around the globe.

My Peak Challenge was created by actor Sam Heughan, along with his trainer and good friend John Valbonesi, as a way to raise money for Bloodwise, a UK-based blood cancer research charity. The concept is simple – choose something that challenges you and reach your peak potential. It could be fitness or weight loss related, or just be something in life that participants have put off for too long and need to check off their list.

More than £100,000 ($145,060 USD) was raised for Leukemia and Lymphoma in 2015. Now entering in its second year, My Peak Challenge has raised the bar, putting out a formal fitness and nutrition prep program to help guide participants along the path to personal success while continuing to raise money for charity.

MPC has special significance to both myself and special guest blogger Kim. We each have a family member that has been afflicted by a form of lymphatic cancer, so joining this challenge was a no-brainer. With solid foundations in training and nutrition, we both joined the prep program as a way to contribute to Bloodwise and maybe get a few new ideas to amp up our current training but really felt there was room to push ourselves further.

Enter: The Great Twitter Row Race.

Living on opposite sides of North America does make it a bit more difficult to come up with a team style challenge. Starting next week, Kim and I will utilize social media as well as the space here at Fatty to compete in a rowing based race. We will row twice each week, 1000m one day and 2000m another day and log the time. At the conclusion of the MPC prep program at the end of March, the person with the fastest total average across the weeks wins prestige and a whole lot of bragging rights. To keep things fair and account for the natural ebbs and flows that come with performance, we will each get a bye – a free week where we don’t have to row.

Kim has a much stronger cardio background than I do, since as readers know mine has mostly been in power/strength based sports, so I know for me I’m really looking forward to seeing how I’m able to improve week over week. Many more updates are to come as we get this fun, web-based challenge put together. Check this space for updates from both myself and Kim as we put our internet money where our mouth is and go head-to-head for charity.