Sarah’s underarm hair should be pretty close to plaiting by now and, as I read through her daily blogs it brings back memories of my own hairy moments at sea!
There’s something about ocean rowing that leaves you fascinated by the weird and wonderful workings of your own body. Be it the abundance of scabby sores that spring up on arms and legs, bruises that blossom on hip bones and knees or even the donut shaped and surprisingly painful salt sores that festoon your fingers.
The inner workings of your bowels become a subject of daily chitchat, even if it’s only with the fish. As something orange (yes orange!) drifts off into the waves you’re more than a little amazed that you’ve managed to produce anything at all! The alarming lack of dietary fibre truly justifies the number of gastro-intestinal medicines required in the medical kit.
Being British we’re all a little squeamish about this kind of talk, certainly not in polite company anyway. But on a personal level the row helped me reconnect with my own body, a bit like spending a weekend dismantling a car engine before putting it all back together again. I was able to intimately discover how everything worked, or perhaps more importantly which bits didn’t! As the fat I’d so conscientiously stored began to melt away exposing ribs and angular hips, I began to appreciate how amazingly resilient and affective my body was. I gained a newfound respect for its ability to survive in the most inhospitable of conditions.
So now, as I find myself existing in a little bubble where everything fits neatly within my comfort zone, I feel a little pang of jealousy for Sarah’s adventure. She will return home probably a lot slimmer than when she left, but all the wiser to what she can achieve mentally and physically. It’s an incredible experience and the knowledge she will gain is wisdom many will never obtain.
So as you read about her adventure, and probably say to yourself “I would never do that in a million years!” think about booking out some time to go and dismantle your own engine, it’s amazing what you can discover. But however you choose to do it consider this, becoming a true survivor makes you strong, not pretty and any scars you gain should be worn with pride. Finally, if you do decide to try your hand at ocean rowing take the suppositories, you’re going to need them!