It’s not been a great few months. It really hasn’t.
As of today there are 219 days left until the end of the year, until the point on Hogmanay where we ditch this quietly for ever or look back on a remarkable recovery.
I am sitting at the kitchen table today, on a bank holiday day off, and there is nothing from stopping me getting getting to the gym, out on my bike or plopping my arse on the rowing machine at the end of the bed.
But, it’s the getting started that’s the hardest part.
One of the main sources of inspiration for me over the last few years has been Niall Iain Macdonald, a guy of around the same age who has vowed to row across the Atlantic Ocean from New York to Stornoway.
When you see it written down, in front of you, it hits home – New York….to Stornoway. It’s so clearly a crazy ides it defies description really, and over all the years Niall Iain has talked about it publicly, he has put up with plenty of naysayers and no little mockery.
But yet despite that Niall Iain is, as I write, in New York, at the start line, ready to go. Like many, I harboured serious doubts he would ever get this far, but I am in awe of his achievement in even getting to this point.
If he has the steel and drive to get even to the start line he has already proved his mettle.
As the countdown to his cast off continues I have been following his blog more and more avidly and it seems he is pretty much mentally and physically ready. All he needs now is the weather window and, most importantly, the gumption to push away from the dockside.
For a few days I thought it might be a wizard wheeze for me to attempt to match his on-water feat by undertaking to match him metre for metre on my rowing machine back home here in Scotland.
I rationalised that matching Niall Iain’s cross-Atlantic challenge would give me a defined goal and I already know that the rowing machine can yield pretty spectacular weight loss with that kind of effort in a few months.
Then I figured out that if it takes Niall Iain four months (a hopefully conservative estimate on his progress) to cover the 3400 miles between New York and home, that will work out at rowing a very rough average of 28 miles or 45km every day. A marathon each and every day for four months.
I have only ever done half of that distance in one day, far less every day for four months. The very idea of setting aside four hours or so each day or so to rack up those metres while working, commuting and being a husband and father is just out of the question.
Not only that, but as I sit here at the kitchen table with my belly hanging out, even the very notion I would be capable of it seems ludicrous.
I won’t try to do a marathon on my rowing machine every day. I don’t have the stamina, health or time.
But nonetheless Niall Iain’s achievements are spurring me into action and I will be following every stroke he makes over the next few months.