A Cup of Tea


Thanks to all who replied with such enthusiasm and support for the Pumori climb. I was touched deeply when you shared stories of people you knew who have walked the breast cancer path. I kept their names close in my mind as I did each push-up, walking lunge, and abdominal crunch this week. Thanks as well to those who have already pledged donations. The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation Atlantic office is hard at work designing downloadable pledge forms and an on-line donation option to make contributing to Pumori: Climb for Awareness quick and easy.

The week passed quickly given my teaching and training schedule. It was my fourth week of training for Pumori and I noticed some changes in my body. My hockey shot is harder and wilder (evidence of gaining strength), the head of my quad muscles are taking a new form (evidence that walking lunges and step classes are tasking my legs in the right way), and my appetite is increasing (evidence that I’m training hard). I read a book this week where the author differentiated between training and exercise. He said training was more intent and purpose-filled. I know it’s true for me. When I am training and I can hold the vision of what I am training for in my mind, I push a little harder or run a little faster.

People in the field house have begun to stop and ask me, “What are you training for?” I guess it shows…either that, or no one in her right mind would choose to do burpees for fun. You may have experienced burpees in physical education class–basically, you start standing, bend over and put your hands on the floor and kick your feet out to push-up position, then bring the feet back towards the hands and spring up into a jump. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. I have no idea why they are called burpees (as no one would ever even consider eating before doing them). They leave me winded after a few, and gasping for air after fifteen. Over the past four weeks, I’ve worked my way from six at one go to sixteen and from a total of twenty to eighty-five.

I’m using a very simple strength-training plan these days. I’m basing it on the website: hundredpushups.com. Three times per week, after skipping for ten minutes, I consult the chart and do the requisite number of push-ups it calls for. I added burpees, walking lunges, and abdominal crunches to the mix and after an hour of all this, I’m soaked in sweat having made another deposit in the training bank. Training in the summer means lots of sweat so I got my hair cut very short to promote heat loss and easy drying. I refer to my new hairdo as “my summer shearing.”

For cardio training, I’m running, going to step class with a pack, biking, and hauling a large pack up and down the hills surrounding St. John’s. I’m grateful to WOKies Diane and Marian for keeping me company (and pushing me to climb faster and sweat harder). I’m also using the Go2Altitude system again for both training and pre-acclimatization. I’ve often loved the saying that “Saltwater cures everything: sweat, tears, and the sea.”

These days I feel like I’m getting plenty of the first and last. I’ve been out in my sea kayak and hiking near the sea several times a week. Unfortunately, all the sweat hasn’t cured my dental/jaw infection. I’m on my fourth course of Clindamycin and we added Flagyl to the mix this week as well. I spoke at a conference for public health inspectors this week. They were the first audience that could identify the slide of Giardia that I show. Several of them came up to me and encouraged me to get tested to make sure I wasn’t a latent carrier so when the dentist offered Flagyl I accepted since it is also a treatment for Giardia. I bless my intestinal flora every time I send a pill down the hatch and am eating yogurt like it is going out of style.

I ran the Tely Ten this morning to support my hockey teammate, Tara, reach her mountainous goal of completing the ten-mile race. I’ve been offering training suggestions for several months and WOKie Wanda joined us for the race. We told stories of Kilimanjaro and I pointed out every motorcycle shop on the route (I had done my second road lesson the day before and had visited two shops in search of learning more about buying a bike). Sometimes, in order to get over a physical/mental hurdle, all is takes a bit of distraction.

I remember summit morning being called the front of the climbing line on Kili. “TA, we need you up here,” was urgently called out. “Oh no!” I thought and beat it breathlessly up the hill. When I got near the front, the group said, “We need twenty questions.” I sighed in relief that nothing serious was wrong and proceeded to lead a game to distract the group from the pain of the climb. This morning I was telling Tara the story of summit day/night on Kili and when I stopped for a second and she said, “You can’t stop there-keep telling the story.” Sometimes we all need someone who can tell us a story to get us over a hard spot on the mountain, in a race, or when going through medical treatment. Congrats to Tara on finishing the Tely Ten!

I remember when my friend Deb was going through breast cancer chemo. I made a point to get to every treatment and tried to find a fun card to bring along to lighten the mood. I would come and tell stories and listen and, though hating the reason we were there, came to see what a wonderful gift it was to me to support someone else. It important sometimes to enable and accept the generosity of others, to allowed ourselves to be cared for, and then to extend that care and support to others along the way.

That is why I am so grateful to have you in my cyber community of support for this climb. As I sit down each week to write to you, I imagine sitting across the table from you sharing a cup of tea and stories of our week. People often think I am inundated with responses to these updates but generally only a few folks each week drop by my in-box with words of encouragement or to let me know what’s on the go for them. So don’t be afraid to pull up a keyboard and have a “cup of tea.”

I hope to have the logistics lined out by next update to let you know how to send your support for the Pumori climb. Until then, have a wonderful week and take care,


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