“The biggest ‘unknown’ is how I will stand up to 2 months of continual and relentless physical activity”
Jamie shares what he’s been up to during October to prepare to row the Atlantic from 12 December to raise funds for NASS and raise awareness of axial SpA.
All donations will be split equally between the 2 charities, including NASS.
“The weakest link in this whole adventure is without doubt my own body.”
With my trusty Ocean Rowing Boat ‘Aoife’ (pronounced Eefa) now in the capable hands of the shipping agency, I now have to concentrate on getting as fit as possible in readiness for this extreme challenge.
‘Fitness’ I interpret as applying to both the physical and mental aspects of preparation. I know full well that having AS adds an extra whole layer to the challenge I face, but mental fitness is probably the key to a successful conclusion to the Atlantic row.
I now train hard every day on the physical aspect with a programme downloaded on an App by Ocean Rowing trainer Gus Barton, a seasoned Ocean Rower, based in London. He has designed a programme based on his own experiences and adapted to take into account my Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS). One day the emphasis might be on flexibility, strength on another day, and endurance on another.
“I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that my joints ache every day and I seem to live under a ‘cloud’ of fatigue.”
This may partly be explained by my age, I will shortly be 67yo, but mainly I put it down to my AS. The fatigue I can deal with using a bit of positive thinking (and the occasional afternoon nap!), but the aches and pains are an inherent part of this whole challenge.
Encouragingly, the more I work on the physical aspects of fitness the better the aches and pains. I will however carry a good supply of anti-inflammatories during the actual Ocean crossing.
The biggest ‘unknown’ is how I will stand up to 2 months of continual and relentless physical activity with accompanying pain, lack of sleep, discomfort, and the big mental highs and lows.
The answer is of course mental resilience and I do feel that I have an advantage here in terms of my age, but that’s not to say that you can’t train your mind to be resilient at pretty much any age.
I do think a lot about the challenge ahead but I have a laser like focus on that arrival at English Harbour, Antigua, sometime in mid-February 2024.
‘Never lose sight of your goals’ is a mantra I repeat over and over again.
Thank you for your support Jamie and we can’t wait to hear how you got on in your final month of preparation.