Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Resurrection of St. Blaise

In my June 27th post, I mentioned that my good friend Blaise volunteered to be my hiking buddy and on our first outing he tripped and broke two ribs.  Well, being the good soul that he is, Blaise is back for more abuse. This past weekend, Blaise and I did a 20+ Kms hike on the Niagara Escarpment, from Rattlesnake Point to Crawford Lake and back again.  I am pleased to report that no one broke a thing.  There weren't even minor scrapes or bruises.  Whew!!!  And I guess the training is paying off, because it was really no big deal at all.  I could have kept going. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Did I Mention Sheila McCarthy Is My Training Buddy?

I sure hope not, because that would be a lie.  Sheila McCarthy has no clue who I am.  That's not entirely true. If you showed Sheila McCarthy a picture of me, I am pretty sure she could tell you that we work out in the same gym, usually at the same time.  Occassionally, we even get in a "Hi, how are you?" at the start of our respective workouts.  More often than not, she ends up on the eliptical or treadmill beside me, which means I benefit from a tougher regime.  I am constantly checking out her speed on the digital screen, so I can try to keep up. The woman is fast as hell and she can run forever. 
Thanks for unwittingly helping a guy out Sheila.  Maybe one day we will run into each other when we aren't huffing, puffing and sweating.  If we do, I'll tell you the story and thank you in person.

You know what?  Next time I am going to just lie and say Sheila McCarthy is my training buddy.  lol.

25 Days and Counting

The prize is almost in sight!  25 days until we leave and only about a week and half of training left. Sorry to be scarce over the last month.  There were vacations, travel, my wife Agi getting a nasty cut on her forehead as well as a concussion, and the whole basement getting flooded with sewage thing.

Through it all I have kept training.  I'm going to hit the gym as soon as I finish this post.  Since it was a hot summer, and I was in the Carribean for part of August, I have been training mostly indoors.  One thing I now know is that training indoors is much easier than training outdoors.  I can do 7 or 8 kilometres on a treadmill or eliptical and feel like I am just getting warmed up.  A 5 kilometre run through Toronto's ravines still kicks the crap out of me.

It was quite unexpected, but I found scuba diving in the Carribean to be a helpful addition to the training regime.  It really made me focus on my breathing and heart rate, in a way I hadn't before.  On my first dive, I sucked through my tank of air in less than 40 minutes.  I actually borrowed my diving buddy's octopus (reserve regulator), so I wouldn't cut everyone else's dive short.  By the end of my 8th dive, a tank was lasting me about an hour.  Now when I am running or hiking, I try to get into an almost meditative state where I am relaxed, breathing slow and steady, and keeping my heart rate down. I'm hoping that I can translate that experience to something useful at high altitudes, so I am making the best use of less oxygen.

What else is new?  Last week, fellow climber Kerry Freek and I visited the Stormtech showroom in Markham, Ontario.  We picked out some pretty high-tech gear (i.e. appropriate clothing) and we are getting it embroidered with the Kilimanjaro Climb For Life logo.  So Kerry and I should look pretty swank for photo opps, but more importantly, it will be a nice reminder of the trek for years to come.

In terms of fundraising, I am delighted to announce that I am up over $15,000.  For those of you keeping track, that is triple the amount of my original goal.  And there are still a few outstanding pledges to come in.  I am so grateful for the tremendous support everyone has shown.  Over 600 people in East Africa will now have access to clean water and basic sanitation FOR LIFE as a result of the generosity of my family, friends and colleagues. It seems so simple, but providing those basics means better health, more education and well-being for a community. Thank you so much everyone. 

Going forward, I am going to try and do shorter blog posts from my Blackberry.  I need to practice, so I can keep you all posted on what transpires in Tanzania.

Ciao for now.