This is not particularly good news, as I never use a rowing machine, and I assume there is a ‘knack’ to being quite good at it. Fortunately I have made it my mission to perfect this ‘knack’ and now include a few minutes on the rowing machine during each gym visit.
I was chatting to one of the gym workers last week waiting for some water when he mentioned we had a new world record holder in our midst. It appeared that the guy stretching a few yards away had recently broken a world record at the recent British Indoor rowing championship.
I am a born competitor, and so this was too much of challenge to pass up. I made my way to the machine next to him, and after a polite hello, I popped in my headphones and began rowing whilst those nice Prodigy boys told me about how they had been smaking up their bitches.
It was easy to keep up with him at first, as being a natural athlete will always get you so far in any sport. Unfortunately, after about two minutes I started to fall back a little. He showed no signs of slowing, and with the steely-eyed determination of a true world champion he focussed on the window ahead of him and rowed ever onwards with strokes of increasingly monotonous regularity.
I redoubled my efforts.
It began to hurt. A lot. But I was warmed by the thought that I was giving a world champion a run for him money, at his own sport. If we had a keepy-uppies competition I bet I would kick his arse, and here I was, a complete novice, just a fraction behind him. I could feel the tension in the gym as I was sure people were watching to see who this guy taking on a world champion was. Of course, to avoid any embarrassing eye-contact moments, everybody paying attention hid their interest by going about their own workouts and pretending to ignore us. But I knew better.
As the five minute marker drew ever closer I gave it one last burst to see if I could get passed him. My lungs burned, and my legs began to feel like jelly, and I almost, almost made it.
There is no shame in losing to a world champion. In fact, there is a great deal of pride to be taken from giving him a decent run for his money. I got up off my machine to continue my work out by doing some lying down stuff. We shared a smile, and I vowed to watch his career develop with keen interest.