The Big O Mountain

Happy Summer Olympics to All,

I haven’t had a chance to watch much of the Olympics as I don’t have a TV capable or receiving a signal but I’ve been following them some on the Internet. It is an intense time in world sport watching, to quote the tagline line of “Wide World of Sports” the sports show I was raised on, “The Thrill of Victory, The Agony of Defeat.” I remember being a young girl glued to the television on Saturday afternoon dreaming of being an athlete on the world’s stage. Through such shows, I came to understand how much athletes sacrifice when they train and compete at such levels.

When I first training for Denali, I remember equating that journey with the Olympics. I said, “This is my Olympics,” as I knew most likely I would never reach the games as an athlete. (I did learn to race a luge in advance of the Calgary games and have thought about trying to play for the German women’s hockey team.) Like Olympic athletes, many mountaineers train hard, make many sacrifices in their daily lives, and spend many a mountain of money in pursuit of elusive and uncertain goals. Standing atop any mountain requires that training, weather, snow conditions, health, intense effort, and some luck all come together in the right moment. I think the same can be said of a trip to the podium in Beijing. Though the Games bring questions of politics, human rights, and cheating to the fore, they also remind me of the indomitable human spirit and the power of striving for dreams.

I had a great week in training. I went into the week tired from a weekend of hockey camp but pushed through that fatigue to get in three strength/power sessions, a few step classes, more hypoxia training and two fabulous training hikes. I’ve moved my pack weight up to 45 pounds for both indoor and outdoor training. My legs are doing fine with it and my lungs are working hard to catch up to the new demands. I’ve wrapped up my training with the six-week program of onehundredpushups.com. I moved myself from 60 to 200 pushups and have appreciated the increased upper body strength. I will now move back down to 100 and incorporate a whole variety of pushup techniques (diamond, vertical, on the medicine ball, off a therapy ball, etc). I have about four more weeks of intense training before beginning to taper for the mountain. Kilimanjaro taught me the value of going to the mountain rested and relaxed so I’m committed to putting that lesson into place.

There are other clues that the climb is getting closer. I placed a big order with Mountain Equipment Co-op for the gear I need for Pumori. I’ll have a new base camp tent to call home. A brighter headlamp to replace the one that was stolen and some new climbing slings also made the shopping list. I will begin soon to select out the gear that makes the cut and gets to go on the climb. I often use my living room as a staging centre for expedition preparations. The couch is a great organizer for clothes and the mantle for small supplies. Just like Santa Claus’ list, mine will be checked at least twice if not three times.

Thanks to all who made contributions to the climb this week. I’m meeting with Paula tomorrow to get the first update on how the fundraising is going. The downloadable form should be on my website this week and there is also now a “Donate Now” button on the sidebar that takes you directly to the donation page. The money goes directly to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, none of it goes towards climb expenses. Please pass on word of the climb to anyone who you think might be interested. Click here to donate to the climb.

About a month ago, I was asked by a national speaking bureau for some video of one of my presentations. I hadn’t had any time to even think about producing such materials but I happened to have had a presentation that night. I packed my video camera to take with and hoped I could find someone to run it. Unfortunately, the thing was out of battery power and my digital voice recorder was in the same state. I had to tell the Lavin folks that I couldn’t produce and they said they had to move forward on their timeline and couldn’t wait. After I handed in my grades for the semester, I set to work to edit a few pieces so I wouldn’t miss another invitation like that one. Some of these speaking vignettes are now up on my website, my Facebook Pumori group, and YouTube if you’d like to see me in action (and see my summer shearing).

Thanks for all of your encouraging words. They move me to train harder and I appreciate having your support. Have a good week.

TA

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