Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?


Episode 213 The January Challenge - Staying Connected

We just completed our January challenge. This is the fifth year for our family participation in this event. And for the fifth time we lost. "The Big Dippers" once again will receive the cherished T-shirt emblazoned with the logo of being champions in the world wide annual extravaganza. The race was monumental in that each team reached over 500,000 meters in distance. We lead for the entire race up until the last hour. That is when our 15 year old granddaughter in Alaska stayed at the oars until the very last minute. We went to bed thinking we had won only to wake to different story. One with which we are all to familiar.

This is Retirement Talk. I’m Del Lowery.

Concept 2 is the name of a company and the name of a rowing machine. I read about it in a column from an exercise expert in Alaska many years ago. He is a medical doctor so his opinions carry a little extra weight with me. He wrote that this machine was probably the best overall fitness machine he had ever seen and used. We bought one. My son bought one. Then my daughter bought one. We now agree with his opinion.

There is over one thousand miles separating each of us. She lives in Sutter Creek, California. He lives in Anchorage and we are sandwiched right between in Bellingham, Washington. Every January we enter into friendly competition. It is the January Challenge hosted by the Concept 2 Company. It is a virtual competition.

We all row in our respective residence and then post our results on-line at the Team Challenge page on their web site. There are four on each team. It’s the Alaskans, The Big Dippers” against “The Outsiders”. It is friendly but yet competitive. We post our results every day and it seems like we move in tandem. Among hundreds of teams listed our two seem to be tied together by some invisible elevator as we move up the number of meters rowed.

The best thing about all of this: it gets us started. It gets us started into each new year and at the same time is so very good for our health. The experts seem to agree that is easier to sustain a workout regime if you have a partner or friend in the endeavor. This virtual challenge seems to fulfill that need. Even though you row alone you compare numbers and cheer each other on each day. The reward for your effort is very public and earns a response instantly.

The month seems to evaporate as we constantly move right along with the numbers. I spent a lot of time trying to talk my grandkids in Alaska to just let the rowing slide. I kept telling them to take the day off or go skiing or go do some homework. They never suckered into such talk. I guess they learned something about their grandpa. They don't fall my old tricks.

The rowing challenge is a good way to start the year. It helps maintain good habits of exercising on a daily basis. How valuable is that? It always amazes me when I read of some such disease or illness and the recommendations on how to combat whatever it is. Exercise is always high on the list; if there is anything that seems to be the elixir of life that is it. Perhaps other companies that produce exercise equipment or gear also sponsor these type of challenges. Seems like you could run your own with biking, running, swimming or almost any exercise. Just set up a place to post results on a daily basis and start the challenge. You might get your family and friends to jump in.

This years race was a real challenge. January sickness struck both camps. One good thing about athletic competition is that you learn to suffer and preserver. Challenges come in different forms; common colds, flu, headaches, achy joints, blisters, etc. You just learn to do your best. That's all you can do and that is all that is expected. But it is expected that you will do your best. There is something to be said for that. You depend on others and they depend on you. It is the kind of stuff a family is made of.

Staying connected as a family is something most of us desire. Even in retirement you can find your contributions valuable.

But next year - I want one of those shirts.

This is Retirement Talk.


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