(Picture: Graphic kindly provided by Rick Shema – Weatherguy – of Roz’s route so far, and wind conditions. For a larger view, go to Roz’s Smugmug gallery and click on Sea Scenes and double click on the graphic. To get to Smugmug, click the icon above right – the little black box with a green grin.)
When I am in London, I often stay with my friends Sam and Ella. I’ve known Sam for nearly 20 years now, since our days at Thames Rowing Club, and during that time he has excelled at all kinds of sports, including sculling (Diamond Sculls at Henley), marathons (sub 3-hours in this year’s London Marathon), triathlons, 4-man luge, and motor car racing.
Near their front door, they have this poem hanging on the wall in a frame. I haven’t actually asked Sam if it inspires him in his athletic endeavours – but I know it does the trick for me!
If you think you are beaten, you are. If you think you dare not, you don’t. If you’d like to win, but don’t think you can It’s almost certain you won’t.
If you think you’ll lose, you’ve lost, For out of the world you’ll find Success begins with a fellow’s will. It’s all in the state of mind.
If you think you’re outclassed, you are. You’ve got to think high to rise. You’ve got to be sure of yourself before You can ever win a prize.
Life’s battles don’t always go To the stronger or faster man, But sooner or later the man who wins Is the one who thinks he can.
Obviously I’d prefer a more gender-neutral version, but then it wouldn’t rhyme or scan. But the point remains that self-belief is an amazingly powerful attribute.
For my first month on the Atlantic I was beset by doubts. What on earth had I been thinking? What had made me think I could do this?
And then I realized that, despite all my doubts, I was 1000 miles into it and actually yes, not only COULD I do it, but in fact I WAS doing it.
And of course now, having done it once, I’ve got reason to believe that I can do it again.
My point is that the first time you do something new and challenging, it’s a leap of faith. You’ve got no reason to believe you can do it, because you’ve never done it before. But there’s only one way to find out if you can – and that is to try.
As we’ve already invented the word “justdoitiveness”, maybe what I’m describing here is “justdoitosity”!
Position at 2140 21st July Pacific Time, 0440 22nd July UTC: 24 34.231’N, 134 56.615’W.
This morning I crossed the halfway point. 1304 nautical miles down, 1304 still to go. For myself, I’ll feel more like celebrating when I can cross off 140 degrees West on the list of numbers on my whiteboard. That will be the line of longitude halfway between San Francisco (122 degrees W) and Oahu (158 degrees W). Then I will really start to feel like I’ve broken the back of the journey.
I find it hard to believe that I am nearly in the tropics. For the last few days the weather has been overcast, windy and grey. But the good news about this is that it has reduced my water consumption, which almost doubled during the hotter, sunnier weather.
Even though the winds are now helping me, I need to push on, so am still rowing from 7am to 9pm every day. The rowing has been tough and rough, rowing across the waves, which regularly crash against the starboard side of the boat, splashing over me until my left side is encrusted with salt, and on occasions today eliciting some very bad language!
Thanks to all for the comments and messages. A special hello today to Noelle, Rob and Jasper in Australia. Thanks for spreading the word about my row, and I can’t wait to see you in Oz. although I’m not due there until 2010, so we have plenty of party-planning time still left!
With love and best wishes to all.
Click here to view Day 59 of the Atlantic Crossing January 27 2006, Cheerfully Miserable.