Funny little story.
Yesterday’s workout started as normal. Warm-up. Some guy jumps on, pretends like he knows how to row. I stretch, program the monitor, start rowing. Guy keeps on for a half-hour piece, keeps looking at my screen, seems vexed. You know, the usual.
Immediately after dude #1 jumps off, dude #2 jumps on. Three minutes later, I finish the first piece.
“‘Cuse me,” says dude #2, with a heavy foreign accent. “I see you look strong.” He points at the screen. “Can you help me make harder? Dees, dees is too easy for me.” He rows with just his arms.
I half-smile. “It’s in the legs. Push harder with your legs.”
“Okay, okay, I understand what you are saying. But dees is too easy. I want make harder.” Points at the screen again.
Internal sigh. I clear the screen from the previous dude #1. I point at the big average spilt. “Row 2:20 or less. That’s a strong number.”
Anyway, this goes on for two of my three minutes rest. I try to tell him to use his legs to row harder. To push harder off the footplate. I jump back on my machine and start rowing for the last 30 seconds of my ‘rest.’ He starts rowing. Wondering if he has knee problems, I ask him if he can bend his knees.
“What?” Dude #2 looks confused.
“Bend your knees.” I gesture to him to keep bending, bending, bending until his shins are perpendicular. “Now push with your legs.”
Time’s up. Piece is on. I put on the sideways blinders. The first six minutes of my piece are 16 strokes per minute. Dude #2 is clearly trying to copy and match pace. He rows about five minutes and stops. Fiddles. Rolls back and forth. A minute later, he rows a little longer. Maybe two minutes, tops.
For the remaining time of my piece, he’s clearly watching my screen and waiting for me to finish. It’s a 21-minute piece.
Piece is over. I row a lightly for a minute into the rest before getting water. He turns, stands, and thrusts out his hand.
Confused, I shake it. He declares, in his heavy accent, “YOU are a CHAMPION. Truly! Wow! A champion.”
I don’t know what to say, but an awkward thanks.
“You row a whole HOUR. I row twenty minutes, and whew.” He shakes his head.
Note: It wasn’t really an hour. A 10-minute warm up, and 2 x 21m x 3r. But sure, whatever. An hour. A middle-of-the-road workout, really.
“You a champion.”
I guess it’s perspective.