I'm not the kind of person who rows the Atlantic...

What it feels like to be just a few weeks from the start line

By Susan Ronaldson on November 7, 2018

Ever since that moment at the pub back in June last year, when I googled ‘Atlantic rowing race’, I’ve known that we would make it to the start line. Of course there have been worries along the way - funding, family health, aches and pains – but my belief has never really wavered. So I find it slightly odd that, three weeks from our flight to La Gomera, I have this nagging feeling there has been some terrible mix up. Because I’m not the kind of person who rows an ocean. Am I?!

Before last year, I hadn’t been to the gym for 15 years and even then I went once- to match the once I went 10 years before that. I’ve done a little bit of travelling but never really been on an adventure and certainly not an expedition or voyage. And I’ve never done much about making my dreams come true – the kid who dreamed of winning an Oscar never so much as joined an acting club or class.

The prizes

But none the less here I am, on the edge of something truly epic and it feels really quite strange. Will I be up to it? Will I cope with the physical demands and discomfort? Will I manage the inevitable fear? Will I be ok being cut off from family? Will I manage being in a small space with the same 2 people for nearly 2 months?? The last few months have hurtled by incredibly quickly which makes the impending start line even more butterfly inducing. The last month has definitely been the most stressful – we’ve had lots of rowing time lost to the windy weather, and spent the majority of our time purchasing and packing everything we need before the boat gets shipped this week. It’s been hard work and there have been fewer of the highs and new experiences that helped us through the rest of the year.

The prizes

When I told a friend we were all tired and stressed she said how interesting it was that social media nowadays presents everyone as happy but behind that the reality can be quite different. Maybe we don’t say enough that this is really hard! This month I’ve definitely been more grouchy and I haven’t always managed that at all well.

But you see, when we label ourselves as three ordinary women, we really are! And taking on something like this – the organisation, the physical transformation, the actually rowing a whole ocean – without any previous experience, including of rowing, well that is really, really tough. But it is also pretty awesome! So while I am quite grouchy, I am also tremendously proud. I am so proud of myself for having got this far and really, really proud of my team mates - they have worked so hard and each is so brilliantly talented. I mean we disagree, get frustrated and occasionally fall out in the moment – but we laugh, sing, hug and console each other, pick each other up, drive each other on. And the fact is, the reason I have become a person who will row an ocean is because I’m doing it alongside them.

Working out who's captain

We set off to La Gomera in just 3 weeks! The net proceeds of our row will go to the Marine Conservation Society so please support us in supporting them.

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