People ask why do you want to do it. Why beat yourself up with all that training, only to beat yourself up even more with 50 days of non-stop rowing across the ocean? Even worse, why would you risk it?
It’s a hard question to answer, especially to people unfamiliar with endurance sports. How do you give a short response without sounding crazy? If you say “I like to challenge myself” you are clearly a masochist. If you say “it’s a spiritual journey” they think you are one step away from joining a religious cult. Here is how I answer the question. The challenge is when your glycogen gets dangerously close to “E” and your body starts messing with you to get you to stop, cramps, fatigue, twitchiness, fluctuating body temp, and an ego ready to throw in the towel- it’s not fun.
But the truth is that it will be the defining part of the row for me. When you push yourself through this barrier, moving forward despite everything your body is signaling to stop, you learn to trust your will. You find, on the other side of all of the pain and self doubt that you are far more courageous than you thought. In a nutshell, that’s really it.
What lies beyond the challenge is what defines all of us. By overcoming your own perceived limits, you face the undeniable truth that you are stronger than you thought. It’s not always a conscious thought, but it’s always there. It’s what will get me through each mile I row and every minute I spend away from my children.
Pat Hines, March 15, 2015