Saturday, 30 May 2009

The cost of staying healthy

I had an appointment at the doctors this morning to talk over what vaccines I was going to need for Tanzania. I hadn't been expecting a chat. I'd been expecting to come out feeling like a pin cushion but sadly no; things are a little more complicated than that.

Thankfully I'm up to date with most of the compulsory vaccines like Diptheria, Hep A, Tetanus and Typhoid but I'm lacking in Yellow Fever and a few other "suggested" vaccines. Sadly everything I need costs money as it's not available on NHS. I think they need to find a way to break this to you a bit more gently. If I just get Yellow Fever and Malaria tablets it's going to cost me around £120. If I add onto that all the vaccines that are suggested but not compulsory like Rabies, Cholera and Hep B then I'll be adding another £200 onto that.

I didn't realise doing something for charity was going to cost me so much money! Anyway I'll be able to stagger the cost but will almost certainly go for the additional Hep B (the most expensive of the optional vaccines).

In other news I only managed to get to the gym once last week but did do a 12.5 mile walk with Shruti at the weekend in the heat, culminating in some bruises because my boots were laced too tight and I didn't notice. I got to put into practice some of my newly acquired map reading skills and managed to not get us lost. I also bought a bike. I didn't really mean to buy a bike, I'd just intended to get the old one fixed up but it was going to cost me almost as much to fix it as get a brand new one so I figured it was worth while. Plus I now realise how rubbish the old one was. I'm now happily sailing around Crowthorne and getting in more exercise. This cannot be a bad thing.

I also got my race kit in the post for the 10k race at Bluewater on June 14th. It included a technical t-shirt which feels wonderful to wear but is bright orange. At least I'll be seen I guess. So this week the focus is on getting out on the bike and for a few runs. Also I need to get over my doubts about my fundraising capabilities.

I'm really having serious doubts about all this now...

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Let's try this again...

Brilliant news! Breakthrough Breast Cancer and Action Challenge have just confirmed that they've signed all the bits of paper, got their ducks in a row and carried out the secret handshake necessary for me to start fundraising again - about time too!

Needless to say (but I will anyway) I'm thrilled, not least because Shruti's now about £550 ahead of me. Got some catching up to do. Got lots of fundraising ideas up my sleeve and I'll probably be sending out lots of emails about various things. Going to need a bit of word-of-mouth help too. Feels pretty daunting at the moment, even though I'm in a positive mood today. So come on, don't let me stay in this disheartened state for too long. I've got the training covered so at the risk of sounding pushy I really need to start getting donations so it's not all in vain.

This is it, no more messing around. Now it gets serious!

Monday, 11 May 2009


Contrary to what Shruti thinks, I'm not walking "everywhere all the time". I just happen to have been fortunate enough to tag along on a couple of things. Anyway this week hasn'tr been quite so energetic; just the gym twice and dance classes. The weekend's wiped out with things in London but there are things in the pipeline.

I'm pretty keen on climbing the three peaks (not in challenge format) as part of our training. I'm quite surprised at how many people want to tag along. Snowdon will probably be the first because it's closest. This threatens to turn into a bit of an office expedition which is fine as long as people fit with our plans and not the other way round :) One of our badminton buddies has asked if he can join us when we do Ben Nevis and even offered to give me a crash course in map reading. Not that I can't read a map, just that it's been a while since I studied OS maps properly and I expect my skills are fairly basic.

The nice thing about having other people along is that by and large they are people who have done this sort of thing before. I would be lying if I said I wasn't nervous at the thought of my first climb being without any sort of guidance. I could do it, but I wouldn't necessarily be happy about it. This may surprise those of you who think I'm fearless.

But as with everything I'm super keen to get on with it. And once I've done the three peaks I may do some of the Welsh 3000's...

Still waiting on my new charity confirmation, grrr. Going to have some serious catching up to do if Shruti's funraising total is anything to go by!

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Earley to Henley

On Saturday I did the longest walk I've ever done. 18 miles from Earley to Henley. My friend Dave is doing a sponsored walk of 77 miles over 3 days from Maidenhead to Brighton next Bank Holiday and this was his training walk that I just hijacked. We both benefitted from the company :)

It was the first proper walk in my new boots; the only other wear they'd had was around the house and 2 miles round the block the day before. Thankfully they were comfortable and I only got a couple of sore patches that are now recovered. I did pfaff with the lacing a fair bit but it's all part of the learning process. The backpack was used again and although I didn't weight it, it must have been about 4kg with the water and spare pair of shoes.

The walk itself was great. We'd stolen someone elses route from RealBuzz and steered clear of major roads. Plenty of countryside, a fair bit of wildlife (rabbits, deer, squirrels, fowl and a rather disorientated mole), and a small detour / pub break. Another well deserved pub stop once we got to Henley, at the Angel on the Bridge then a few trains and a cab back to Dominos pizza and a film. Sunday featured badminton, and a couple of very short walks and bike rides. As a result I shall be refraining from exercise today. Back to it on Tuesday :)


I've been meaning to put up a post about all my kit for a while, with pictures so this is it, for those who are interested. Everything I have bought so far is pictured below with the exception of my duffle bag which I only just got. It's actually bigger than I expected and I am wondering when else I'll ever use it but hey... time enough for that later.

Above picture, clockwise from top: Deuter 22l rucksack (with flower hairband - ah bless), camelbak, petzl head torch, microfleece sleeping bag liner (sleeping bag already owned), lifeventure travel towel, vango compact sleeping mat, primus water bottle (in side pocket of rucksack).

Above picture, clockwise from top:buff, howies merino long sleeved top, Craghopper trousers, meindl boots, x-socks, howies merino long johns (sexy), Peter Storm zip off trousers.

Close-up of my boots because I love them so much and they coped so well with the 18 mile walk I threw them into yesterday. So there you have it.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009


Today I ache. A lot. I went for a walk on Monday afternoon with a group of friends who are doing a sponsored walk from Maidenhead to Brighton onver 3 days next Bank Holiday weekend. I thought this was a fine way to start practicing walking longer distances and try out some of my new kit. I was right but it also served to show me what my body is capable of. I made it round the 13ish miles but my legs started to complain in the last mile or two. The last time I covered that sort of distance was the Henley Half Marathon. Today the tops of my legs ache despite the stretches and hot bath last night.

Good news is that while my legs are knackered, my feet are fine. One small blister on my left heel and that's it. I put this down to the x-socks. I didn't have my new boots so I wore my old timberlands which usually rub a bit. Rucksack was comfortable (Shruti and I bought matching ones Saturday), camelbak worked a treat and trousers were very comfy too.

It was a lovely walk though, around Maidenhead and Cookham, taking in the scenery and Mayday Fair. Would do it again in a heartbeat which is fortunate as I'm going to have to be doing a lot more of that. I was lucky this time in as much as I didn't have to plan the route, someone else was leading but I've found that the AA website and Real Buzz have some useful route planning tools and pre defined routes with difficulty ratings, timings etc.

Not sure I'll get a good walk in next weekend but being hardcore I'm going to the gym tonight. I think my legs might just be able to handle it...

Oh and some news on the donations refund front which I'll email the people concerned about. Still no news on the new charity front but I'm hoping end of the week will bring good news. Peace out.