I might be 3 weeks behind schedule, that doesn’t take away from the fact that challenge 14 is well & truly finished. While it feels like ages ago since I finished it, I still have the calluses on my hands to prove that I went the distance: rowing 150 miles of the River Thames. OK, so truth be told, I didn’t actually get in a boat and physically row down the Thames (skills, resources, logistics, time & money would have made that a little tricky), but instead I covered 150 miles of it on a rowing machine, strategically placed in my cellar for the duration of February.
The first day went well covering a not too shabby 10.6 miles, especially considering that I’d only spent about 30 minutes on a rower in the last 18 months. I’d read about lots of people not getting the right position or technique and causing injury, so I had been You Tubing countless examples of how to do it like a professional. Whether or not I was, my technique definitely improved over the course of the month.
Whilst some of the less positive people in life decided to comment on the fact I wasn’t actually on the Thames itself, I don’t want anyone to think that this wasn’t a challenge. As with the cycling and swimming challenges, maintaining a constant across the course of a month is easier said than done. Still having to work & sleep took far too many hours out of my day. I have to admit that getting up at 05:00 to row for an hour before going to work, to then get back home and row for another hour, while trying to fit in marathon training, was less than my idea of fun.
My determination to succeed came from the usual places (Nick & Gill primarily), but this time I got some extra kick from some unknown lads; the recruits of 924 troop, training to become Royal Marine Commandos. In order to stave off the boredom of being down in the cellar morning & night, I took down my laptop & started watching Commando on the Front Line, a series following 924 troop through their 32 weeks training to earn the right to wear the coveted Green Beret – incidentally these guys started only a few troops before my brother did. Seeing what these guys were going through in their training both physically & mentally, kept me going when my back ached, legs cramped up, sweat poured in my eyes or hands got too sore to hold the bar.
I don’t care where you get your motivation from, as long as you have it; whatever it takes to push you further, faster & stronger.
13 days worth of rowing, 153.1 miles and more than 25,000 strokes eventually brought me to the end of challenge 14, all of which still seems like a bit of a blur. The challenge only started a week after the Dubai marathon, and in the middle of the rowing I completed Hell Runner, allowing little room to recover, train or even breathe!
Finally before I sign off from this VERY short news update, I want to reiterate one of the challenge project objectives. After challenging myself in support of my brother, 45 Cdo Royal Marines, and the rest of the British Armed Forces, and subsequently raising £10,000 for Help for Heroes, I want to inspire people to do their bit. It doesn’t matter how big or little that bit is, but if I can get even one person to get off their arse, get active, and challenge them self in aid of a good cause, then I’ll be happy.
And this objective was hit again during challenge 14, with the fantastic Sarah Shinnick challenging herself by joining me on the Thames, taking on the famous Oxford/Cambridge Boat Race.
And I’m pleased to say that in a very impressive 33 mins 24 secs, Sarah sped over the finish line (which incidentally was also the start line and her position throughout the race) to complete her rowing challenge. WELL DONE SARAH! I’m very proud and extremely happy that you got involved – this really is becoming a team challenge, and what a team we’re building!
A team that are so behind the project, the arduous work of the Armed Forces and vital work for Help for Heroes. GO TEAM !
Help for Heroes [21:21] Challenge