Pumping Up the Volume

Happy Solstice to All,


After an intense month, this week was indeed much lighter and I look forward to the return of more illumination day by day over the next months.  I always enjoy celebrating the two solstices but somehow always wish that the Summer Solstice was in August instead of June. 🙂


Air Canada got us home on Monday and even fed us along the way!  I’m grateful to our neighbours, Brian and Mona for keeping an eye out on our place and shoveling out the car and sidewalk after a big storm so we didn’t have to come back to a daunting pile of the white stuff.  Marian’s daughter, Maaike, kept the plants alive and I appreciated the many sympathy cards waiting in the mailbox.  It was good to get home and be surrounded by friends.


Much of my week was spent getting back into the swing of training.  As I look back over the past six months, I can see that many factors have conspired to keep me from training too hard or too long.  It’s time now, however, to pump up the training volume and become a “lean, mean climbing machine.”  I’ve been working with several folks to both create and support my training.  In designing my program, I’ve been keeping in mind the constellation of strengths and skills I will need.


Over the next twelve weeks, I’ll be working hard to further develop, sharpen, and strengthen my aerobic endurance, anaerobic endurance, upper, lower, and core body strength, respiratory endurance, flexibility, hiking with a pack, and mountain skills.  It’s a tall order but Everest is an even taller one!  Having been on the mountain, I have a better sense of the demands and challenges of both the terrain and the altitude.


My aerobic endurance will come through step aerobics classes with a pack, some incline treadmill hiking with a pack, and outdoor hiking with a pack.  My pack will become my almost constant companion as I’ll always be carrying one on the mountain-it is also a way to increase my workload without running (each week the amount of weight in my pack will increase by a small amount–right now I am carrying 25 pounds).  Challenges to my anaerobic endurance come through ice hockey and incline treadmill intervals developed by Dr. Fabien Basset at Memorial University of Newfoundland. 


Body strength will be build through a combination of weight training and functional fitness training.  Respiratory endurance will come through training hypoxically using the Go2Altitude system as well as by using the Spirotiger to strengthen my diaphragm.  Finally, I’ll continue to coax flexibility out of my tight tissues through some yoga (Have I mentioned that when they were giving out hamstrings I was at the back of the line and got a very short set).   🙂 


I also realize that having honed mountain skills makes me faster and therefore safer on the mountain so I’ll also dedicate some training time to knot tying, fixed rope ascension, ladder practice, rappelling, and tire pulling.  I did my first tire pull halfway up Signal Hill this week–it such a good workout and reminds me constantly of the absolute humbling that high altitude hands out.  When pulling the tire, I am moving very slowly, almost breathless, and on the verge of vomiting–just like climbing the Khumbu icefall.


This week I also had the pleasure of catching up with Phil Alcock at the Core Health Spa (http://www.corehealthspa.ca.)  We worked out together yesterday and I was reminded of the intense functional fitness workout that Phil can dole out.  If you’re in St. John’s and need someone to pusher you harder, he’s your man!


All this hard work will tax my body to the max so I have a team of folks who will help me both avoid and treat any training injuries that may occur.  I’ll introduce that team in next week’s update.  Thanks again to all for your support and care this past month (and beyond)–it’s meant so much to me.  I would ask that this week you keep my Oma in your thoughts and prayers as she had a small stroke and we’re hoping she’ll continue to be able to live independently.


Enjoy this holiday season in whatever way you celebrate it.






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