Monday, June 23, 2008

Your genes are not your destiny

I thought I'd send out this post from Mark's Daily Apple. It's about a study of early prostate cancer patients who, "on personal grounds unrelated to the study," decided to forgo conventional treatment. The study saw them improve their diet, exercise, and practice stress-reduction (yoga, meditation, visualization). After a period of time, their 'disease-fighting' genes showed an increase in activity, while the 'disease' genes showed a decrease.

I think I've mentioned it a few times before in this blog. You can do a lot for yourself just by eating well, moving around, and chilling out! (Not to neglect the rather important role of chemotherapy in my case.)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

2850 riders, $14 million dollars for cancer research

Here's the Saturday night update on the Ride.

Jim, the boys and I saw Lisa and Jodie off at 7:30 this morning. Around 12:30, we all met up again at the finish line in Niagara Falls, including Mom and Sheila and Rick (Jodie's mom and step-father). We were well positioned to see Lisa cross the finish line about an hour later, with Jodie only a few minutes behind.

For me, the best part of the weekend was seeing cancer survivors cross the finish line. Survivors were identified by a yellow flag flying behind their bike. Each time one went by I got a little choked up. The other best part was seeing the bike storage area Saturday night, with all the yellow flags poking up amongst a sea of bikes.

By the way, I should mention that I registered for the 2009 Ride to Conquer Cancer. I have to pick a fundraising goal. I'm thinking, maybe $10,000.

Here's a few photos from late Saturday and Sunday.

Lisa at the Saturday finish line.

Sam showing his colours.

Jodie (blue) and Lisa (yellow) at the Sunday start line.

And they're off!

Mom, Lisa and me at the finish line.

Me, Jodie, Jamie and Sam at the finish line.

Riders head the last few yards to the finish line.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

On the Ride

Lisa's on the Ride right now (10:40 am). She just called to say she'd left the lunch spot, which she thinks is half way. Yves and I saw her off at 8. There was no sign of Jodie, just a sea of yellow jerseys. Yves and I then headed off for breakfast at a Smitty's in Mississauga. After a quick bite to eat, we went to the first cheering station on Erin Mills Parkway. We were there for no more than 2 minutes when Lisa rode along. Considering she started off literally at the back of the pack, she had made great time, passing a lot of folks. But she said it was just starting to clear out at that point. That was about an hour ago now.

I'll throw down a few pics, then I have to run off to the finish line. At the rate things are going, I may or may not beat Lisa there. We assume that Jodie is somewhere far ahead.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Blogging from Ride Central

Lisa with her Ride to Conquer Cancer jersey.

Tomorrow is the big Ride to Conquer Cancer! Lisa and Jodie have raised $6732, over $1000 past their goal! I'm staying Friday night with Lisa and Yves at their house in Toronto, ready to go out for Thai dinner. Lisa's just returned from dropping her bike off at the CNE. I'll be blogging through the weekend with updates from the Ride, including photos from the public cheering locations both Saturday and Sunday. The ride starts tomorrow morning at 7 am, and finishes at Mohawk College in Hamilton, then picks up again at 7 am Sunday, finishing in Niagara Falls.

This weekend will be the big finale for Never Felt Better. I hope you've enjoyed the 'ride' (more than me!) and thank you so much for your support! Keep checking in throughout the weekend for updates from the Ride course.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Bug bitten and loving it

Nikita and I just returned from a two day canoe trip into Sunrise and Blueberry Lakes. I had planned on being out for four days, but the bugs were horrible, rain was coming, and I'd accomplished what I'd set out to, so we paddled back home last night. On Wednesday Anna dropped us off at noon on Cassels Lake. We headed into Sunrise Lake. Sunrise used to be in the middle of a huge old growth white pine forest, but it was intensively logged in the 1970's. Now there's a remnant ring of huge pines hugging the shoreline.

My task was to find and reopen the portage from Sunrise to Tucker Lake. At Tucker I would meet up with a portage reopened two weeks ago by my friends Neil and Murph. With the two portages reopened, it will be possible to travel from Sunrise to Blueberry Lake. Thanks to my friend Mike at Ancient Forest Exploration and Research, Blueberry is famous for its hiking trails through old growth pines (the loggers never made it that far), but in the past was a dead-end trip. Now it will form part of a loop, hopefully making it more popular.

The portage landing was easy enough to find (even had a lost water bottle from Camp Kilcoo). But the trail quickly petered out, indicating to me that people have been trying to use this route but could not find the trail. The portage does show up in Hap Wilson's book Canoeing, Kayaking and Hiking Temagami.

Woefully short on flagging tape, Nikita and I started off. The first part of the trail was easy to follow, as it tracks up between two steep hills. Once over the saddle the trail was more difficult to find. Flagging the whole route was a matter of following old blazes, finding patches of the original footpath, and using intuition to connect the dots.

I work at a pace of about 100 m/hour, so after a few hours of work on Wednesday, we camped on Sunrise. After dinner (steak and red wine) we paddled around the whole lake to escape the bugs.

Thursday dawned sunny, and after a few more bug-bitten hours, Nikita and I were through and on Tucker Lake. We lingered on Tucker, thankful for a breeze to keep the mozzies at bay. Neil and Murph's portage to Blueberry was easy to find, but it was obvious that they had done a tremendous amount of work to push a trail through. They used a similar technique, using axe blazes and bits of footpath to recreate the original trail through thick, thick bush. Unfortunately, they did not have a saw, so had to leave quite a few 4-6 inch diameter trees in the middle of the trail. That makes portaging a canoe extremely difficult. After getting my canoe to Blueberry (often sideways to squeeze between the spruces), I spent another two hours just sawing out trees with my little handsaw. It was backbreaking labour.

Now Nikita and I were on Blueberry Lake, bloodied and beat, but triumphant. To my knowledge, that was the first traverse of this route since the 1970's, just after the Dept. of Lands and Forests stopped maintaining portages and campsites. It was 6 pm and we could have stayed out another night, but the bugs and the gathering storm clouds convinced me to head for home. We portaged back to Cassels Lake. I ate dinner while drifting across Cassels, a light east wind at my back. Never had red wine and smoked mussels tasted so good.

Now I would never advocate drinking and boating, but I downed a half-litre of merlot and lazily paddled the 10 km back to Temagami in the gathering dusk. If I ever develop Alzheimer's disease, just sit me down in front of a TV playing an endless loop of Temagami shoreline passing by at paddling speed.

What's the point of this long, rambling post?

After my winter-from-hell, there's nothing better than getting out in the bush, getting my hands dirty on some much needed portage maintenance, and spending some quality time with my doggie.

I've put a few photos from the trip here.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

A few recent workouts

Just because the photo shoot is over doesn't mean I'm stopping the healthy living. Went for a sauna today (the first in awhile) in New Liskeard, and did this workout this afternoon:

Run 10 km 58:32

That's the first time I've done that specific workout for time, so now I have a benchmark the next time I do it.

Other recent workouts include:

June 4 - 10x 135# Squat cleans and 50 situps, then 8/40 6/30 4/20 2/10 (10:22)

June 1 - 5 rounds for time of 25x 40# dumbbell swings, 25x 45# good mornings, 25 knees-to-elbows (29:29)

May 31 - 10x 135# thrusters and 50 double unders (aka double skipping), then 8/40 6/30 4/20 2/10 (14:50)

May 30 - 100 pullups (7:05)

I've also been taking some ashtanga yoga classes in North Bay. It isn't the same as the hot, sweaty yoga I took in Portland, but I'm still loving it. (I see now that I didn't blog about my Maine yoga experience. While there last month, I dragged my brother-in-law Peter out to a Power Yoga class at a studio run by his brother. He'd never been. The room was about 25 celsius and 60% humidity. The class was 90 minutes long, and by about the 20 minute mark I was sweating buckets, as were the other 49 people in the small room. My naturopath would be proud.)

I think we're going with a back shot

Photo proofs formerly posted here. I removed them after reflecting that if all 12 firefighters posted their proofs on the web, that would take the wind out of our calendar's sales. Sorry if I disappointed you, but just think of all the fun you'll have when you buy the whole calendar!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Boring, please

You have probably noticed that I do not post here as often as I used to. This is because I am trying to make my life more boring than it has been recently. Life is not boring when you have cancer and you get your wife pregnant using frozen sperm. Certainly, there's other things going on in our life right now. Those of you close to us know of another major life change that is coming in the near future, which we will post about here when the time is right. But all in all, I'd like life to calm down, thank you very much, and soon. Enough earthquakes!

Today was the photo shoot for the firefighter's calendar. I'm working on posting some of the proofs here, but I want to clear it with the photographer first (you know, copyright). The shoot went well though. It's amazing what you can do with shadows. Makes me look like I have a 6-pack, when in reality I only have a 4-pack, and that's only if you look at just the right angle, in just the right light, when I'm flexing in just the right way. Seriously, if you actually want a calendar, post a comment here or drop me an email and I'll make sure you get one. They should be out in August.

I've been getting back into the CrossFit workouts, as well as attending more yoga classes in North Bay. Also looking forward to my first canoe trip of the year next week. Anna will be away, so I'll have no excuses to not get out!

Jodie and Lisa have surpassed their team fundraising goal of $5700, however Lisa still has $61 to go to meet her personal goal of $2500. We can't let that discrepancy persist, now can we? I'm looking forward to the trip down to Toronto and Niagara Falls in 2 weeks to watch them ride.

Considering that my life is about to get extremely boring (I HOPE!) I want to tell you now that I will probably stop posting here after Lisa and Jodie's Ride to Conquer Cancer.