Shirley Godkin, known as "rowmyboat" on the Concept2 UK forum, is from Timaru, a little town on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand. She explains how her addiction to indoor rowing came about.
"Having never been a 'serious' sportsperson it puzzles me at times why I have become so competitive. Back in my school days it was basketball or small-bore rifle shooting with my Dad – come to think of it I was not satisfied unless I hit at least 100 (but only managed a small number of 100.10s).
Onto marriage with Tony and 3 lovely children (and presently 3 grandchildren) and we both played some badminton (rather competitively too, now I come to think of it) until it came time to spend with the children and their sports. Boxing, rugby and various horsey sports took over for some years and I was always there to pick up the pieces - there were many bumps and bruises along the way with those sports.
During those years we enjoyed many camping and tramping adventures and when the 'children' eventually left home we embarked on a few tramping trips overseas, Mt Kinabalu and venturing into the Borneo jungle being one of them.
We had made a habit of calling into the gym each night after work and eventually decided that biking could be an enjoyable exercise. We picked up the training on the bike and headed to Tibet about 12 years ago and biked from Lhasa down to Kathmandu – that was a total endurance test but so enjoyable.
About this time there appeared an indoor rower at the gym we attended and my rather lazy nature decided that some time spent on that was a little easier than doing circuits all the time. Of course no one was aware of the aim of this machine. I just used to extend the time I sat on it until I was rowing for about an hour. A chat with my chiropractor (there were many visits to him around this time with back problems) and I was made aware of the C2 website. Also around this time I attended a 12 week course on food and fitness at the gym. At the end of the 12 weeks we all had to have a challenge in place for ourselves and as the South Island Masters Games were to be held a couple of months later in my home town, I decided I would enter the indoor rowing. Pleasing results meant I was now hooked on attending any indoor rowing event held in NZ that I was able to. Tony had been very competitive with his boxing and followed that with many years of coaching so was more than happy to support me with my endeavours.
5 years ago Tony was diagnosed with cancer and I made the decision to close both our businesses so we could concentrate on his recovery. Unfortunately it was not to be, and 3 weeks later he died. As is the case for so many folk when this happens, my world was taking an unknown turn. The indoor rower was my "comfort" and with the support of my erging contacts (probably unbeknown for most of them) and the coaching direction I had taken, I was on the way to establishing a fairly serious attitude towards improving on my achievements. So much in fact that the family stopped complaining about the indoor rower in the middle of the lounge as they knew it was a sensitive subject to even contemplate moving it out.
When I was ready I relented and with the help of friends and family the previous boxing gym was emptied of horsey gear and vehicles and is now ‘my space’ where I venture whenever and for as long as I wish to. With -10C temperatures in the winter and up to 35C in the summer, I have managed to survive without bringing the erg back to the house (although it has crossed my mind a few times).
Together with my huge vegetable garden, orchard and newly established forest area, and long walks with the latest little addition to the family, I have enough to keep me busy, healthy and active but my priority lately is definitely the indoor rowing training. After having been to BIRC and WIRC (my first hammer win this year) and also to a Canadian event prior to Boston also this year, I have enjoyed the company of so many kind folk and seen so much of the countries I have been in and really appreciate the support that I have received.
It is an amazing sporting community actually, it never ceases to amaze me how, no matter what the age, everyone is so friendly and supportive. I look forward to seeing what can be achieved with this new training under Q-Power direction."