This time last year, I was preparing to take on the biggest challenge of my life so far, rowing thousands of miles across the Atlantic Ocean in a small boat.
As competitors in this year’s Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge rowing race get ready to leave this week from the Canary Islands and slog all the way to Antigua some 3,000 miles (5,000 km) away, I am reflecting on the lessons I learned from last year‘s event and assess how it helped me cope with lockdown.
There’s no question that preparing for Atlantic rowing competition is a unique experience. Competitors typically take 35-50 days or so to reach the other side of the ocean, and it’s an ordeal, albeit one that will include many incredible highs as well as some unbelievable lows.
Coping with severe weather and ongoing medical issues (like blisters, chafing, sea sickness, severe fatigue, and hallucinations), while managing running boat repairs, means that just keeping going is a constant challenge.