Q - Power

Indoor Rowing Team

Carolyn Gersh

Below: All smiles once the work is done

Hi, I’m Carolyn, “cgersh” on the C2 forums, and the lone American (so far!) in Q-Power.

I got my first taste of rowing while attending university in Vermont. I had always been active (and competitive!) as a child and teenager, but up until that point I had never been part of a team. The prospect excited meand I decided to try out. However I quickly realised that I was one of the smallest, weakest rowers there. The suggestion early in my career that I might make an excellent coxswain provided ample reason to dedicate myself to training. I worked hard both on the water and on the erg, and eventful four years followed as a member of the varsity team.

After I graduated I went on for more schooling - a masters and then a PhD, both in ancient Greek. On the water training became prohibitively difficult, so I decided to take up a new sport, running. I enjoyed its simplicity: put on shoes, walk out door, and go! Longer distances particularly appealed to me, and over the next couple of years I entered eight marathons and one 50 mile ultra race. My marathon PB of 3:03 is one I’d like to match on the erg. (Actually, all of my rowing PBs are still short of my running ones - I’d like to change that.)

Three years into my post-graduate career, my stint as a distance runner drew to a close. After dealing with a bone bruise, a torn meniscus, and several stress fractures, I figured my body was giving me a hint: I needed a new way to get my endorphine fix. So I decided to re-visit my old friend, the erg. Oh boy, was it ever slow-going! Aerobically, I was in decent shape, but strength and power lagged far behind. (They still do!) However I decided to stick with the erging,  at least until I could match my previous university times.

Gradually, improvements started to come. I entered (and won) local events in Chicago and Cincinnati. The latter experience, in particular, stands out for me because it was there that I met a RowPro Rower. She introduced me to the phenomenon of online rowing, and it was then that my circle of rowing friends exploded. I had people to train with at all hours of the day. It was glorious! I started to receive coaching, and my times continued to improve. I am especially proud of rowing a 100k in 7:53:37, which stood as a World Record for a few months, and for winning a bronze medal at WIRC in 2012 (7:31.9).

With my PhD now completed and the world of academia left behind, I live and work in Chicago with my better half, Jared. I am inspired by my fellow teammates in Q-Power and, with their support, I look forward to bettering my times and pursuing new records.

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