When an eight year old tells you to, “Suck it up, buttercup” between flights up a hill, it becomes a moment that is hard to erase from your mind.
These four words continue to ring in my head thanks to Heidi and her daughter.
Following last week’s blog post where I exposed some feelings of doubt towards the climb, Heidi was one of the first people to reach out and reassure me that all was fine.
Going back and forth via text, she reaffirmed the ‘suck it up, buttercup’ mantra while adding her additional “golden drops of wisdom” to guide me back into a positive space.
“Suck it up, buttercup” has been adopted as my official motto for the remainder of my training and for the duration of the climb.
I’m in a much better place than I was a week ago. It turns out that all I needed was four days of rest (read: sleep). My body was screaming at me to slow down, but I wasn’t listening to it.
I also took a break from training and focused on ways to get my body right. I saw Erin for some therapy on Sunday night. I visited my doctor on Tuesday and was prescribed a puffer that is helping with my breathing. I visited a travel clinic on Wednesday to get my final booster shots.
On Thursday I paid a visit to a naturopathic doctor, John Dempster, for a vitamin intravenous drip. It has been a while since I have had a vitamin IV drip, but when I’m really worn down I feel that it gives me the burst of energy that I need to get over the hump.
The combination of all of the above has reenergized me heading into the homestretch.
- SIGN UP NOW to join me for a #KiliHikeTO
- DONATE NOW to support the #Climb4Cord
With my newfound energy, I had one of my best workouts in months with Marshall, on Saturday. We blasted through our usual routine and even added some additional reps onto the final round of most sets. It felt great.
It also set the tone for a great long weekend of training and resting. I spent the weekend north of the city at a cottage. It also provided me the chance to check out a new trail and I was fortunate that Cosi and Cobi – who hiked with me in Week 12 – were staying at a cottage in the nearby area.
Sunday was my first truly warm weather hike since I started training. I have endured a lot of cold, snow, wind and, most recently, rain. But I have yet to complete a hike on a hot day.
We met at the top of the Sutton-Zephyr Rail Trail. It is an abandoned rail line that runs south from the town of Sutton for about 14km. Our plan was to hike for an hour and a half and then turn around. We estimated that we would be able to hike about 15km round trip over a three hour span.
As we entered the gravel trail, two things quickly became apparent. There was going to be a ton of bugs on this hike and people like to let their dogs shit right in the middle of this trail.
It would take three to four applications of bug spray to eventually protect ourselves from the pests and about a kilometre to rid ourselves of the shit. Once we got going, the trail became quite pleasant. It was surrounded by trees, farms and marshes. We practically had the trail to ourselves for the entire hike.
About an hour and 15 minutes into our adventure we hit a break in the trail. The marshes on either side of the trail had over flown and washed out the trail. The gap was about 10-12 feet wide and the water quickly dropped off from the edge of the trail.
We considered jumping across, but the chances of us landing short were high. Exacerbating the problem was that the opposite bank sloped back towards the water, so if we did come up short, we’d likely tumble backwards into the drink. The water was a cloudy brown and would have been waist high at the centre, so after a few moments of contemplation, saner heads prevailed and we elected to turn around.
Cosi and Cobi made for great hiking partners because the conversation flowed from one topic to the next. The one topic that stuck with me was Cosi’s query about what our last meal on earth would look like.
Cobi and I both threw out fancy suggestions like seared ahi tuna in a wasabi lime vinaigrette or foie gras. We then decided that we would settle on an 18-course tasting menu that would take us through a range of culinary creations. In my scenario, it would be topped off by sticky toffee pudding from the Rim Rock Cafe in Whistler.
Cosi, on the other hand, was content to scarf down a greasy burger and fries at a small town diner.
The irony here is that Cosi is an incredible baker and is known for her masterpiece creations. What I find astounding is that Cobi is able to live with her and resist the temptation of sampling each one of her baked treats. I would not have the willpower for that.
By the time we made it back to our cars, we had worked up a nice sweat and covered 14km in just under three hours.
I was asked this week by my colleague, Erik, about how many pills, vaccinations, etc. I would need for the trip. I had to take a moment and think about it, but here is my best guess about what I have had to do or will need to do for this trip (I am not a doctor, please do not follow this list):
New vaccinations required:
- Typhoid Fever (Booster)
- Hepatitis B (Booster)
- Diphtheria-Pertussis-Tetanus (Booster)
Vaccinations received in the past:
- Twinrix Hepatitis A & B
- Yellow Fever
- Flu Shot
- Diamox (for altitude acclimatization)
- Malarone (for malaria)
- Dukoral (for diarrhea prevention)
- Cipro or Zithromax (antibiotic)
I sat down with our Chief Information Officer, Charaka, on Friday and showcased all of the satellite tech toys for the trip. It is always fun to chat with someone who is equally interested in the technology and its capabilities.
We shared a laugh about how slow data transmits via satellite (approximately 13 minutes to transfer 1MB of data) and about the size of the satellite phone, which resembles something from the mid-90s.
Showing off the satellite gear also provided me a good excuse for a trial run with the phone and modem to send a test blog post and image to myself. It took about 3-4 minutes to send the post along with a 200kb image. It was faster than I expected.
As long as all the batteries stay charged while we are on Kilimanjaro, things should work out well. However, I have a couple of contingency plans in place if certain devices fail.
Given that we will be executing social media in abnormal conditions, having multiple backup plans in place is necessary.
I received a special package this week from Canadian Blood Services that contained my parka, toque, hat, water bottle, head lamp and official backpack.
It is hard to imagine that in one month I will be on a plane to Tanzania. It is also strange going through all my gear and seeing the juxtaposition between the down parka for the top of the mountain where it could be -15 and shorts and hats for +30 where I will be trying to avoid sunburns and mosquitoes.
On Tuesday, I’m heading off on a week-long road trip. ING DIRECT is partnering up with Five Hole for Food and we are travelling from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Vancouver, British Columbia to play road hockey and collect donations for local food banks. I will be on the first half of the trip and responsible for creating content for ING DIRECT.
Ten of us will be travelling by sleeper bus, so it will be a good test to stay on track with my training. The folks at Peak Centre have sent along a training plan that includes exercises for the days where I won’t have access to a gym. We are also planning to hike in Newfoundland this week and we’ll try and squeeze one in on Sunday when we are in Saint John, New Brunswick to keep the streak of Sunday hikes alive.
It is almost go time. And all the more reasons to suck it up, buttercup!
The #Climb4Cord features a group of business leaders who will be climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in August 2013 with the hopes of raising $500,000 for the campaign For All Canadians, which is dedicated to building Canada’s new national public cord blood bank. Click here to donate to my personal page or for more information on the campaign please visit: http://campaignforcanadians.ca/