ST&BF Indoor Row Group (IRG) Completes Eighth Season!

ST&BF Indoor Row Group (IRG) Completes Eighth Season!

Survive, Thrive & Be Fit has offered a wide variety of physical activities and opportunities for cancer patients and survivors that has changed throughout the years. Currently, the most popular activities include: Survive, Thrive & Be Fit at the Christopher Farm & Gardens, Gentle Yoga for Cancer Survivors, Steps to Survivorship, and the Indoor Row Group.

The ST&BF Indoor Row Group got its start in the Fall of 2015 through a simple challenge – to gather interested cancer patients/survivors to train for and complete a relay-style crossing of Lake Michigan. No... We don’t actually row a boat on the waters of Lake Michigan in March (or any other time for that matter), but we row a distance equal to crossing Lake Michigan using rowing ergometers in the Lakeview Center of the Sheboygan YMCA! Even though we have more rowing ergs available to us in the MOA/SCBS 2nd Floor Conference Room, we appreciate the Sheboygan YMCA welcoming us each year to allow us to accomplish this challenge in a public setting! It has remained our “signature event”!

A Bit of Trivia: This year’s Lake Michigan Crossing included four survivor-athlete/rowers who participated in our first crossing (2016) as well as three who completed the crossing for their very first time. The fourteen survivor-athlete/rowers in this year’s Crossing had a combined total of 63 crossings – avg. 4.5 crossing per participant! That tells me that those who participate find both the event AND the training involved to be enjoyable and worthwhile!!! We’d LOVE to have you join us next year! Those of us who have been doing this for a while are getting older... and gaining a greater appreciation for the saying that “Many Hands Make for Light Work!”

This year we completed our eighth Lake Michigan Crossing about an hour and fifteen minutes faster than our first crossing in 2016.

Lake Michigan Crossing HISTORY

2016 – 10:03:49 (8th)

2017 – 9:30:02.6 (7th)

2018 – 9:17:05.6 (6th)

2019 – 8:48:52.7 (4th)

2020 – 8:34:21.2 (1st) BEST TIME!

2021 – 8:59:20.4 (5th)

2022 – 8:40:02.1 (2nd)

2023 – 8:48:43.1 (3rd)

Although our time was about fifteen minutes behind our all-time best finish, we were pleased with our finishing time considering some of the disruptions and setbacks several of our team members experienced throughout the season (sometimes life just gets in the way).

Another highlight of the season was the 2023 Concept2 Virtual Team Challenge. Presented by Concept2, this monthlong challenge is based on the total meters rowed by participating teams in January. The Indoor Row Group accumulated 2,443,210 meters (which is the most meters our team has ever rowed during any similar monthlong challenge) and placed 121st out of 761 teams from around the world while placing 1st in the “Medical Facility” division! Participating IRG members included: Linda Ansay, Cindy Becker, Mike Brachmann, Kathy Burch, Rachel Darling, Michelle Fink, Lisa Glander, Bob Hartig, Leah Heusterberg, Jennifer King, Maryellen Kloiber, Tim Renzelmann, John Seaman, Tom Strojinc, Cindy Walvoord, Rae-Ellen Weber, and Sue Zalewski.

But the greatest accomplishment of this (and every) IRG Season is the fun we experience along the way!

The Indoor Row Group is different from many of our other ST&BF activities in that it is much more of a “team sport” or activity. Team sports allow individuals to come together as they work towards a common goal. Like many other team sports, the focus of IRG is not on the individual performance but on the collaborative effort of the group and involves cooperation, socialization, accountability, commitment, and support... all while having fun together! Consider these comments from two of our IRG survivor-athletes:

“It is fun rowing in a group to visit with old friends and make new acquaintances. The meters go by quickly rowing at the clinic as we discuss, laugh, and joke with each other in casual row sessions. But some row sessions can be competitive as in biathlons, team challenges, or striving for personal “best” times. The exertion level & distance is always a personal choice, and a good workout whatever you choose to do. We cheer each other on just for showing up to row at whatever level, and I love that. Thanks to SCCCF for providing us this opportunity to improve our health.” – Maryellen Kloiber.

“I enjoyed rowing in-person this season. It was a lot more fun rowing with my fellow enthusiasts rather than seeing everyone through Zoom. There were always great conversations to pass the time. I especially liked participating in team rowing workouts and challenges. They gave me the incentive to push myself to go a little faster!" – Sue Zalewski.

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