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I Hate Rowing

by Meghann on May 1, 2013

We had a doozy at CrossFit this morning.


Yay for run! Boo for row. πŸ™

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I HATE the rowing machine. I hate it with passion. I try, I promise I try. I push with my legs, I let it go all the way back to starting position, and I do everything else they tell me to do, but it hasn’t clicked yet. Ugh.

This was a partner workout. We took turns doing each segment of the run or row. For example, my partner did the 100 meter run, then I did the 100 meter run. She ran 250 meters, then I ran 250 meters. etc. etc. Personally I was so excited to run that I failed to see the 800 row attached (<–ow).

I partnered with a girl who claimed she was a slow runner, but I told her that wasn’t a problem since I was a slower rower. As predicted, the run was fun. My partner held her own and I tried to make up time by giving it my all on the run portions. I felt fast, strong, and happy to be moving.


100 meter, 250 meters, 500 meters, 800 meters

Then we got to the rowing machine. This is the part where we went from being neck and neck with the other teams to falling desperately behind. I bonked on the 800 row. Really, really bonked. I was exhausted off of the run and not feeling it. Plus, 800 was the longest distanced I’ve rowed before at one time. Ever.


800 meters, 500 meters, 250 meters, 100 meters

The deeper we got into the rows, the farther we fell behind everyone else. On our second to last set I realized the rest of the teams were already done. They gathered around the rowing machines to cheer us on as I desperately finished the last sets. They were supportive, but man it was ugly. We ended up finishing two minutes behind the closest team.


There was a guy in class who said he just wanted to get the run over with so he could row. He loved to row, but hated to run. My completed opposite in every way. I love to run, but hated to row. I guess we all have those things that we love to do and hate to do, but we push through both to be better, well-rounded individuals.

I had a play date at Disney on Monday with some old friends.


Ash and Lew Plus 2!

I met Ash and Lew at Foodbuzz festival in 2010. Lew famously allowed me to smash a cupcake on his face.

IMG_6152.JPG IMG_6155.JPG

Yep. It was pretty epic.

We’ve kept in touch and randomly reconnected over the years.


April 2011


October 2011

The twins have gotten so big!


Anyway, Ash and Lew have both gotten into CrossFit lately and Ash has even competed in a few CrossFit competitions.


How badass is she?


Damn, girl!

CrossFit competitions have always made me a bit nervous in the past. Who am I kidding? They intimidate the hell out of me. But talking to Ash, she totally took the imitation factor out of it. She does the scaled competitions and does them just for fun. Talking to her about CrossFit competitions was like talking about road races. I know there are people out there who find running races intimidating, when they’re really not at all. Most runners are out there running just for themselves, just like the CrossFitters are there just competing for themselves. It’s fun. Plain and simple.

I have ZERO plans to do a CrossFit competition right now, but I’m not 100% ruling it out in the future. Definitely a scaled competition and definitely one where I’ll know a face or two to cheer me on. Oh, and rows aren’t allowed. That’s a rule too! πŸ˜‰

Have you ever competed in something outside of a road race or triathlon? I competed in a beauty pageant back in high school. Does that count?

1 Ashley May 1, 2013 at 10:39 pm

I randomly tried out for the novice NCAA rowing team at Michigan state and made it in college. Never rowed a day in my life before. Then magically I was this super fit rowing ( erging is the indoor machines to us) twice a day inside and out rowing tanks. Strength training 2-3 times a week with coaches …leg pressing over 400 lbs on one leg 7x…

I loved running because rowing was miserable even as a big ten NCAA athlete. I understand your hate lol

2 Chelsea May 1, 2013 at 10:49 pm

The last time I was on the rowing machines I got blisters, and when they popped I cried.

Moral of the story: I’m a total wuss, and way impressed with your rowing ability! πŸ™‚
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3 Jenny May 1, 2013 at 11:10 pm

Why don’t you post about food anymore? πŸ™

4 Jane @ Not Plain So Jane May 2, 2013 at 12:11 am

My gym is now offering underwater rowing classes. You even have to wear a snorkel mask. Ha, sounds interesting!
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5 Allie May 2, 2013 at 12:51 am

The only other kind of race I’ve ever competed in is your worst nightmare – I was a rower (4 years in high school and a year in college). If you think 800 meters is bad, you should try an hour of power (most meters rowed in an hour wins). Rough. But all you need to remember is this mantra – legs back arms, arms back legs.

Think of it like this: you’re in your catch position (all the way forward – legs bent, arms extended, your back is straight, not hunched, and leaning forward). First, without moving your arms or back, just straighten your legs. Now, your legs are straight, you’re still leaning forward, and your arms are still straight out. Next – back. Go from leaning slightly forward to leaning slightly back. Last – Arms. Pull your arms to your chest. You should almost hit yourself in the chest with the handle right at the bottom of your sports bra.

Then, reverse it. Arms go straight. Then you lean forward. Then you bend your knees and come up to the catch again. Legs-back-arms, arms-back legs. Practice it really slowly at first, and it’ll start to come naturally. And don’t worry – even rowers hate the erg (rowing machine).

6 Libbi May 2, 2013 at 1:09 am

i am also a hater of the row. I “think” you may be short (I am too). Rowing really is a power movement for people 5’7″ or above and for those of us who aren’t that height, it’s always going to be a struggle. I went to a rowing clinic back in November that made it kind of better, but of course I took some time off and now I’m dead in the water.

7 Ellen May 2, 2013 at 2:35 am

Yes: legs back arms, arms back legs!! Only one body part moves at a time. Really. Take it slow, focus on what part of your body you’re moving, and do it one step at a time. Once you get the feel of it (it feels jerky at first) start going a little faster.
Also, you can think of rowing as an explosive movement, like a clean. Try to push off your feet so that your butt lifts off the seat a little.
I think of running and rowing as taking similar mental effort. Just keep practicing with the rowing movement!

8 Ellen May 2, 2013 at 2:38 am

Also, rowing ability has nothing to do with height! Its like saying you can’t deadlift because you’re short. Doesn’t make any difference. Someone could even argue that because you’re short you don’t have to pick up the weight as high!

9 Chelsea @ Designs on Dinner May 2, 2013 at 4:55 am

I used to compete in spelling bees and even made it to the regionals of my state. But there I met up with people who studied the dictionary, which was my downfall. My good spelling came from reading a lot.

A beauty pageant in high school sounds interesting! I would have been terrified, though.
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10 Andrea R. May 2, 2013 at 5:10 am

I did my first crossfit competition last fall! I was a COMPLETE newbie and thought I would feel so out of my league… but it was great! everyone was so super supportive and cheering me on. They knew I was new, and even the other teams there (not from my box) were cheering me when I got a new Deadlift pr (eventhough it was like 100+ lbs less than the others!) and were excited for me anyways! it IS like running… just like runners like other runners out there working hard… crossfitters like other crossfitters who are pushing themselves and kicking A$$!! You should definitely give it a shot just to see how you like it!!

Also– being a runner myself— i want to KILL the rowing machine. i cannot express my hatred for it. Yet… i guess it is a Love/Hate. Because it NEVER FAILS to give me the greatest workout and make me panting for air and muscles scream!! ((it also seems to give me “butt burn” ?? anyone else get this??))
Andrea R. recently posted..Not a Collegiate Runner, and thats OK.

11 Danielle @ itsaharleyyylife May 2, 2013 at 7:35 am

I hate rowing too! It is so stupid. I’d run any day! haha. I’m not ready to do any competitions yet either. I can’t even do a WOD RX’d on a regular basis… so until then no competitions!
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12 Carrie @ Fitness and Frozen Grapes May 2, 2013 at 7:52 am

I survived my first mud run this past weekend–does that count? πŸ˜‰ In college, I took two semesters of Russian (not by choice!), and every spring, there was a “Russian Olympics” hosted at a nearby school. Let’s just say the atmosphere was a bit different than that of a road race or triathlon.
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13 Meghan @ After the Ivy League May 2, 2013 at 7:57 am

I recently tried the rowing machine at the gym for the first time, and I kind of loved it! I liked the whole concept of working your upper body but still getting cardio in, plus it made me feel badass as I imagined myself on a Harvard crew team or something hahah (totally would never happen but still). Running on the other hand…it’s something I’ve “learned” to love haha
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14 Emily N May 2, 2013 at 8:37 am

Hearing you talk about CF competitions make me realize that you are ABSOLUTELY going to do one in the future. You have talked the same way about an Ironman, just saying…
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15 Karen @ Runner Girl Eats May 2, 2013 at 8:42 am

I def see a CrossFit comp in your future πŸ˜‰ I love the rowing machine. LOVE. It is my favorite cardio after running.
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16 Karen @ Runner Girl Eats May 2, 2013 at 8:42 am

I def see a CrossFit comp in your future πŸ˜‰ I love the rowing machine. LOVE. It is my favorite cardio after running.
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17 Courtney May 2, 2013 at 8:43 am

I was a competitive gymnast for ten years, so I competed plenty with that, as well as competitive diver for a season in high school. After spending a decade teaching myself to land on my feet no matter what, diving ended up to be QUITE the challenge. πŸ˜›
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18 Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed May 2, 2013 at 9:07 am

I was a cheerleader (still coaching) so I’ve been to a ton of competitions. I was always SO nervous right before we’d take the mat, but then once I got on the floor and started, I just got into the zone and did my thing! It’s such a rush, I love it!

I just started CrossFit and I’m loving it so far. My box is so supportive and I love learning new lifts… but it’s also extremely frustrating when I can’t do something correctly. Very humbling πŸ™‚
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19 Holly May 2, 2013 at 9:31 am

I feel you on the rowing machine! I can’t seem to find a way to go any faster than I currently row. Unlike you, I don’t think I have the rhythm down yet with the legs, back, arms. We’ll get there!

I actually just participated in my first CrossFit Competition this past weekend. It was a team event and although I had no idea what to expect and was worried that I hadn’t ‘trained’ enough, I loved every second of it! It pushed me beyond my comfort zone and left me feeling an incredible high. It was also a great bonding experience with the teams from my box. It was also a great place to get new inspiration. Whatever your goals are, you’ll find someone who inspires you to reach them. I’d highly recommend it!

20 Karla @ Run, Karla, Run! May 2, 2013 at 9:40 am

I was a college rower. LOVED being in a boat on the water, HATED the erg. It’s a torture device. But keep at it and you’ll get the feeling of the stroke. It’s about leveraging the power in your lower body. Your legs do most of the work and your back and arms finish the stroke. It makes more sense in a boat when you have an oar in your hands that’s literally acting as a lever. But if nothing else, think of the CRAZY calories you’re burning on the erg!
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21 Amanda May 2, 2013 at 9:49 am

I used to show horses in high school and a bit in college. Luckily I had some great trainers/coaches to teach me the ropes.
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22 Ashley May 2, 2013 at 10:33 am

I was a competitive gymnast for ~15 years and I dove and played varsity tennis in high school. Quite the little athlete. Gymnastics meets were a lot like beauty pageants in that we spent hours doing out hair and makeup (and covering ourselves in glitter!) haha. But I love competition, always have, always will.
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23 Molly May 2, 2013 at 11:30 am

I go to Orange Theory and they incorporate rowing into every workout. I knew I wasn’t doing it right, and I knew I was forming bad habits…. that is until I watched the video Tina (CarrotsnCake) uploaded on her blog about proper rowing. It helped a lot. Especially the part that talked about starting out NOT strapped in. Totally worth the watch! Made me appreciate it more. Hope that helps!
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24 Beth @ Running with the Sunrise May 2, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Kudos to you for sticking through the row workout even after bonking. It takes a lot of mental fortitude to keep going in conditions like that. Dang, Ash is strong! Wish I could do that. πŸ™‚ I haven’t really done much competing athletically, but back in high school I was a huge choir nerd and did voice and show choir (yes, I lived out Glee before it was cool) competitions. And yes, a beauty pageant totally counts. πŸ™‚
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25 Natalie @ Free Range Human May 2, 2013 at 12:37 pm

I actually competed in a cooking competition that my town had a few years ago. That was fun! I also did a beauty pageant in high school, but let’s not talk about that… πŸ™‚
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26 Annette @FitnessPerks May 2, 2013 at 12:59 pm

AWwww those twins are so cute!

Way to finish the WOD though!
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27 Bethany @ Accidental Intentions May 2, 2013 at 1:38 pm

I played the trumpet from fifth grade through my senior year of college, and in middle and high school I was all up in the Solo & Ensemble scene. It was pretty low key in middle school, but in high school you could qualify at regionals to go to state, so it was a little more intense (emphasis on little haha). I made it to state my sophomore, junior, and senior years of high school (and actually had a pretty miserable experience at state each year haha). I guess S&E was really a lot like road races in that everyone is there to do his or her best — no one “wins,” and I feel like for most road racers, they’re more concerned with doing their personal best than being the best runner at the race. Although in road races, no one quizzes you on technique and form like they do at S&E…always my downfall!
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28 Courtney May 2, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Rowing in my nemesis! Damn these short legs!

(FYI: Heavier, taller people ALWAYS have the advantage on the rower!)
Courtney recently posted..Back in the Gym and Chicken Paleo Meatloaf

29 Jamie at Sometimes Healthy Living Blog May 2, 2013 at 3:16 pm

I haven’t competed in anything besides a plain old road race since high school! Back then, it was tennis meets, but those were hardly competitive. I became best friends with many of my opponents!

I was thinking of entering a cupcake baking competition…
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30 candice@hungrymotherrunner May 2, 2013 at 3:59 pm

I’m totally with you on rowing! I don’t mind short distance in rounds but anything past 500m is pushing it.
I remember reading janaes blog {HRG} did a rowing workout and went 10,000 m!
I would never… my back would hate me!
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31 Ashlee May 2, 2013 at 4:31 pm

You are too sweet!!! I had so much fun on Monday! One tip for the rower that helped me take 10 seconds off of my 500 meters: the entire time I row I think “legs, arms,arms,legs” at first it will slow you down but just keep repeating it in your head and you will get it! Maybe one day we can compete together!!
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32 Carissa @Fit2Flex May 2, 2013 at 5:06 pm

I dont love rowing either. How is it not boring! But when I’m trying to not run I have to and recently did a 5k 2 days in a row. I was proud…and bored!
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33 Becky @ runfundone May 2, 2013 at 8:38 pm

I’ve never been on a rowing machine, but I believe that I feel about pull-ups the way that you feel about rowing. Hate it. Hate. it. So much!
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34 Kaitie May 2, 2013 at 9:24 pm

I have yet to try rowing, but am dying to give it a whack. Oh, and in high school, I was totally a mathlete. And won several times πŸ˜‰
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35 Carli May 2, 2013 at 9:26 pm

I think crossfit is intimidating. Period. It might help if we had a box around here and I could actually see it. But reading about it on everyone’s blog makes me feel like it would be a little tough for me.
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