Having signed up to this challenge in January, I’ve had so many questions from the people I’ve told about what the challenge is. Questions such as, what will it be like, how are you preparing, how are you funding it, are you mad, and the most common question… ‘but why…?!’ I’ll be honest here, it hasn’t been easy to articulate the answer to this, but what I do know, is that as soon as the opportunity presented itself, my
answer was always yes. Yes, in the face of the pee bucket, the bum blisters, the shredded hands and the dehydrated rations. But it really took some reflecting to understand why I was actually excited to go through all of this just for the privilege of being able to say, ‘I rowed the pacific’.
My motivation is really about proving my own capabilities to myself. Right at the beginning of this journey, when I told my parents what I was signing up to do, my dad said, ‘you know you don’t need to do this to make us proud of you, we are already proud of you.’ To which I quite sternly responded ‘I’m not doing this for you, I’m doing it for me…’ I understood where my Dad was coming from but recently I’ve realised that the only motivation you can rely on is the one that comes from within. Putting your
motivation outside of you opens the risk of it going away. And especially for a challenge like this, relying on others for your motivation will likely leave you on the land.
Growing up in a sporty family with two sporty sisters, who were a lot more "naturally" sporty than I was... body shape, ability etc. (and I don’t mean to devalue their achievements here, I know that they have both worked excessively hard and made countless sacrifices to achieve the things they have) I kind of took a back seat. I would meet people and tell them about myself, and then I would tell them about the rest of
my family. If I had a pound for every time I heard ‘and I thought you were sporty!’ I would probably have enough to buy us a boat already (maybe not a boat, maybe a life raft, but you get the idea). I was okay being kind of mediocre and soon felt that the only reason to take part in sport was to compete and to win. I was referred to by my mum as the "fan club"; for my sisters on more than one occasion. Which yeah... I love supporting them, but I never really liked that. I didn’t want to be the supporting character in
someone else’s story. And about four years ago or so, I decided that I didn’t want to be on the side lines. I wanted to be doing the stuff that tests you, puts you in situations that are uncomfortable, helps you find your limits, helps you push your limits and find out what really is at my core when shit gets tough and you can’t tap out. I started taking on small challenges and discovered that I was far more capable than I realised. I remember my Dad saying, "I find it amazing how you're always kind of... okay". I didn’t much
care about the winning, it was simply doing the thing that lifted me.
For me, sport moved away from being about performance and changed into something that was about self-care, building esteem, and pushing my own barriers. This challenge isn’t just the physical or the mental. And it doesn’t start in May 2020. It started in January this year and it's honestly the project of a lifetime. It's already pushing me out of my comfort zone. Sharing things about myself on social media, asking for things from people, and so many other things. The more I do, the more I find I can do. I began
to expand my comfort zone and found that the confidence and liberation you gain from taking on any challenge and completing it is nothing short of exhilarating and it’s an opportunity that everyone should get.