human choroinic gonadotropin

Archive for October, 2017

10
Oct

Words from the Road: Belfast

   Posted by: admin    in Uncategorized

Note: I’ll be editing this post later tonight or tomorrow morning with a picture or two, but I’m not sure when I’ll have a chance and wanted to get something up now.

The plane was stifling as it taxied down the tarmac to Heathrow. The airport itself was much nicer, though the roughly eighty security checkpoints we had to go through were interesting.

The flight to Belfast was smooth, and short, and as we landed and stepped out of the airport, we were done and in Ireland at last. More than twelve hours of travel later, the shockingly green grass (is it cliche to say that if it’s utterly true?) was zooming along beside our car as I sat in what would have been the driver’s seat in Canada and drove on what I saw as the wrong side of the road.

We’ve seen of the city, since; the glass dome in Victoria’s Square was not only beautiful in and of itself, but also offered an amazing view of the entirety of Northern Ireland’s largest city – including, off in the distance, Belfast Castle, the beautiful manor we’ll be starting from tomorrow.

It has been stereotypically Irish weather today, ranging from heavy downpour to brilliant sun in as little as ten minutes; my shirt was soaked through in one sudden rainstorm but dry again twenty minutes later from the cool breeze and warm sun.

Time for us to go out and see a bit more – and stock up for our trip over the next few days! – so I’ll update a bit better either late tonight or early tomorrow morning.

10
Oct

On the Road

   Posted by: admin    in Uncategorized

Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains in the moon.
Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star,
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.

–J.R.R. Tolkien

We leave for Belfast today! After more than a year of planning, today’s the first big leap, right across the Atlantic.

Throughout our journey, we’ll be checking in several times:

  • On Friday, September 28th (that’s tomorrow!*), from Belfast.
  • On Saturday, September 29th, from Larne, Northern Ireland.
  • On Monday, October 1st, from Glasgow.
  • On Monday, October 8th, from Fort William.
  • On Friday, October 12th, from Inverness.
  • On Saturday, October 20th, from Perth.
  • On Monday, October 22nd, from Stirling, and finally
  • On Thursday, October 25th, from Edinburgh. It’s possible we’ll do a few updates after we’re in Edinburgh, but at least one saying we’re done!

For these check-ins I’ll be writing as much as my brain will let me – I get foggy when I’m as exhausted as I will be, and I’ll want to do a little site-seeing, too! – and posting a few unedited pictures, assuming all of my technology cooperates.

We’ll also have Twitter being updated by the wonderful Victoria, and Facebook should have our updates posted as well, so keep your eyes peeled.

For now, though, this is it – the last post I’ll be making from Canada until probably November. Looking back, it’s been a long 15 months, with some periods of super-steady daily ‘blogging and some periods of complete radio silence as other things took over. We’ve come a long way since the ‘blog started last summer, and we’ve still got our longest journey ahead of us.

Flight leaves at 6:55pm tonight. Wish us luck, and remember to tell your friends, your family, and your neighbourhood crossing guard to donate. We are still hovering a little under $16,000, and a shiny new number would be a great thing to long on to come October 25th.

It’s time to play the music.
It’s time to light the lights.

10
Oct

Mid-Week Training

   Posted by: admin    in Uncategorized

This morning I woke up at my usual time, had my usual breakfast, and then slung 65 pounds of metal over my shoulder for my hour-long commute.

With my unusual accoutrement, I expected the ride to be a lot worse, but people were remarkably polite about my hiking backpack and its accompanying knapsack. Having two bags designed to be worn on both shoulders may sound somewhat awkward, but the reality is it’s a lot awkward.

I’m going to have to find a better way to do this for next time.

For now, though, I have 65 pounds of armour – a chainmail vest, and steel gorget, pauldrons, bracers, greaves and cuisses, all ready to be strapped on for a 16km training walk tonight. Paul and I will be walking from roughly Yonge and Eglinton down to Front Street and back, handing out business cards and talking to anyone who would like to ask about the Quest (and my funny costume).

Care to join us? Check Twitter for our #QtfCTraining hashtag, or just keep an eye on our @QuestfortheCure Twitter account after 6pm tonight. We’ll be updating as we go!

Don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook as well, if you’re new to the site.

10
Oct

Join us tomorrow!

   Posted by: admin    in Uncategorized

Tomorrow we are doing our second public training walk, where you will have the chance to see how we’re training and how it will feel to walk one of the more-than-twenty days we will be walking just six months from now in Scotland (six months from today we’ll be approaching Scone, getting close to the last leg of our journey!).

We start at 9:00am at High Park subway station and will be walking east on Bloor from there to Dundas West. Most of our eastward journey will be across College and Carlton, taking the pedestrian bridge across the Don Valley Parkway and continuing along Gerrard. We’ll head north on Coxwell like last time and take a straight shot across Danforth and Bloor back to High Park to wrap it up.

Lunch will once again be taken at a pub along the way. We’ll be tweeting along the way to let anyone who would like to join us do so at a convenient time and place.

Rowan, War Dog extraordinaire

War dog Rowan has decided to sit this one out.

Remember the cautions from our last walk:

What should you bring, you ask? If you intend to be with us the whole way, bring comfortable clothing and good shoes – and make sure you’re wearing appropriate socks, too! Your feet aren’t the only part of you that will be sore by the end of the day, but they’ll be the worst off unless you’re very careful.

Bring a water bottle and some snacks – things like trail mix or even just peanuts are great. We’ll be stopping here and there on the way but we don’t want to make too many trips to convenience stores, since every trip will hold up the whole group.

Plan for the weather – if it looks like rain, bring a good coat and maybe a hat. If it looks like sun, a hat is still a good idea! Sunscreen is a good idea too, even though it’s still March.

Finally, bring money for lunch – you’re going to want to eat it, I promise! – and plenty of smiles and laughs. The best part of these walks is companionship, and we’re going to be spreading the word about the Wayfarers while we walk!

We hope to see you out and have a bit of a larger group than last time! Though I hear our vicious war dog will not be joining us this time, sadly…

10
Oct

A True Quest… Square Enix Style

   Posted by: admin    in Uncategorized

For April Fool’s this year, Google gave us a great gift – an 8-bit version of their phenomenal Google Maps software.

Half a dozen people pointed it out to us while it was on this weekend, but because of our training and other commitments we didn’t get to it in time to make something of it. Thankfully, our resources are endless… and my friend Brittany is brilliant. She pointed out that it was still possible to use if you knew the browser code.

Here is our Quest and the eight “levels” we’re going to be meeting: Belfast, Glasgow, Fort William, Culloden, Scone, Stirling, Rosslyn Chapel and Edinburgh. It’s listed at just under 500 miles because it doesn’t take into account things like the trip around Loch Lomond and walking within the cities – which will take us well over the 8-mile difference you see here.

So who wants to design us some 8-bit avatars to come on this journey with us?

 


View Larger Map

10
Oct

Bow hunting?

   Posted by: admin    in Training

She makes this look way better than I could have.

Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games has helped make archery popular again. (Photo courtesy Lionsgate.)

“How are you going to get away with carrying a bow?”

I look at him deadpan, trying to figure out where the joke is in his question. I blink, waiting for the punchline. Nothing.

“What do you mean, a bow?”

“For hunting,” he explains. The remnants of our lunch are collected neatly on a tray, and he points to it with a smirk. “You’re not going to be stopping at Subway when you’re over there, are you?”

Well, no. This is a more common question than I would have expected – with a focus on period-style tents and heavy steel armour, most people are only now realizing that we won’t have insulated coolers or a car to jet out to the nearest pizza shop during our trip.

Historically, my friend would have been right – we would have supplemented the less-than-appetizing rations in our packs with game like rabbits or squirrels. If we were especially lucky, we may have shot a deer, though that would have taken us the better part of a day to properly treat.

Brave is doing its part for the archery craze starting this weekend.

Brave, opening this weekend from Pixar, is said to be very realistic about shooting, but does it teach bow care too? Probably not.

Beyond the mess (and the time it takes to clean it up and turn a dead animal into dinner), taking care of a bow is a great deal of work, especially an accurate one. Oiling the wood, and keeping the bowstring as dry as possible; re-making arrows (with new fletchings if necessary); ensuring that the bow is safely stored when walking to make sure that undue strain was not put on the stave… suffice it to say, all things that would be unnecessarily difficult during our walk through rainy Scotland.

Thankfully we have alternatives. On our training walks we have been bringing bakery bread, hard cheese (specifically gouda, which is both delicious and doesn’t need to be refrigerated), and either beef jerky – good protein, long-lasting – or prosciutto, a dry-cured, thinly-sliced ham that lasts for days outside of a refrigerator.  We will be doing something similar in Scotland, possibly substituting some hard sausage for the prosciutto, and adding in apples, nuts, and berries to our diet to keep us going over six hours of walking every day.

Do you have any favourite foods that will keep over a five- or six-day stretch between cities? Leave them in our comment section below and let us know!

10
Oct

Training Walk: March 31st

   Posted by: admin    in Training

In two weeks’ time, we will be doing a Toronto training walk – and we are inviting you!

Here is your opportunity to see just what a training walk is like for the Wayfarers. Our route will be 28 kilometres (17 miles) long and will circle back on itself, so if you intend to stick with us the whole way you can park or subway to and from the same place.

We will be starting at High Park Subway Station, located at High Park Avenue and Bloor Street West, at 9:00am and will be leaving by 9:15am at the latest. We’ll walk south through the park and across the city on Queen Street, walking north at Coxwell and then back along Danforth. With one short fifteen-minute break after our second hour of walking, we will be stopping for lunch at the Court Jester Pub at 609 Danforth Avenue – just west of Pape Avenue – at around 1pm, aiming to leave again at 2:30pm for the last stretch of about ten kilometres.

Throughout our trip we will be posting to our Twitter account (@QuestfortheCure) to update with pictures and locations for anyone who would like to meet us partway.

What should you bring, you ask? If you intend to be with us the whole way, bring comfortable clothing and good shoes – and make sure you’re wearing appropriate socks, too! Your feet aren’t the only part of you that will be sore by the end of the day, but they’ll be the worst off unless you’re very careful.

Bring a water bottle and some snacks – things like trail mix or even just peanuts are great. We’ll be stopping here and there on the way but we don’t want to make too many trips to convenience stores, since every trip will hold up the whole group.

Plan for the weather – if it looks like rain, bring a good coat and maybe a hat. If it looks like sun, a hat is still a good idea! Sunscreen is a good idea too, even though it’s still March.

Finally, bring money for lunch – you’re going to want to eat it, I promise! – and plenty of smiles and laughs. The best part of these walks is companionship, and we’re going to be spreading the word about the Wayfarers while we walk!

Will we see you out this month? Let us know in the comments section below!

10
Oct

Trial Run

   Posted by: admin    in Training

Last night at about six thirty, I had an epiphany.

It was long-since dark, and I was walking along a stretch of Lawrence Avenue, a street that runs from one side of Toronto to another with a few minor interruptions. The snow that had blustered in that morning had turned to rain in the afternoon, coming down in a steady, light fall that was almost mist at times.

I had decided to walk long before I knew about the weather, but with my sweater’s hood up and my long, ankle-length coat done up fast against the rain, I was comfortable enough. My hands stayed in my pockets as I watched the traffic splash through the street, idly thinking about the trip I was, ostensibly, training for even then.

It wasn’t until about halfway through my four-kilometre walk that I looked at my phone, curious. My Weather Network app opened quickly and confirmed what I had thought: that very weather was the worst I was told to expect in Scotland. One degree Celsius. Rain.

And it wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t great, of course; my socks were damp despite my weatherproofed boots, and it was chilly. But I wore layers – fewer layers than we’ll have available to us in Scotland, no less – and wasn’t uncomfortable at all. My hood was keeping my head from getting wet, something I know makes me uncomfortable after a while. A pair of gloves was all I really wanted – and I added that to my phone’s simple list of things to bring with us to Scotland. Walking for four kilometres in that weather was no worse than walking it in any other non-perfect weather, and a fair bit better than walking it in the too-hot, sun-burning weather that I trained in all summer.

We’re coming for you, land of William Wallace and dreary skies. And we’ll be ready.

10
Oct

A Perspective on Training

   Posted by: admin    in Training

How far do you walk on any given day?

According to a study published in the “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise” journal in 2004, the average American takes between 5200 (women in the study) and 7200 (men in the study) steps in any given day – adding in average stride (2.2 feet for women; 2.5 feet for men), if you are an average woman you are walking a little over two miles a day; as a man you’ll walk, on average, a little under three and a half.

Say you take a walk during your entire hour-long lunch break – if you’re walking at a normal pace, you’ll add maybe three and a half miles to your total – you’re at six or seven miles, now. Not too bad!

This Saturday, the Wayfarers will be walking almost three times that. Going to a total of 17 miles, we will be doing an “average day’s walk” for our trip. We will take about five and a half hours of hard walking to do this, with breaks interspersed to make sure we don’t overextend ourselves and end up with an injury.

At the end of March, though, we will be holding a public training event – that’s right, we’ll be walking in the great outdoors on Saturday, March 31st and inviting anyone who wants to join us to come along. About a week before the date we’ll be posting our starting location, and during the walk we will be “checking in” on FourSquare and tweeting our location to the world-at-large to try to raise awareness!

Mark your calendars and learn your stretches – we would love to see you out!

10
Oct

A New Way to Train: Yoga

   Posted by: admin    in Training

Last week, I did something that a year ago, I would never have considered doing: I joined a yoga club. Two of my coworkers had been discussing doing yoga in the lunch room for a few months, and found a very good deal at Yoga Tree, for unlimited yoga for your first month for 40$.

I honestly didn’t know what I had really signed up for. I had heard that yoga was a good tool to relax the mind, and figured I would get some stretching done as well, which couldn’t possibly be a bad thing leading into the Quest for the Cure.

We signed up on Tuesday at the location closest to our office and saw that the 6pm Wednesday class (the most convenient one for us to do right after work) was a Reduced Heat level 2 class. We were informed that beginners could do level 2 classes, though we were likely to get tired at some points, but we could lay down on our yoga matt and rest while the class continued.

I rested often.

The reduced heat class was advertised at 28 degrees Celsius, but the thermostat in the room indicated 33 degrees Celsius, which is nearly the number that hot yoga was advertised at. Our teacher let us know that the biggest hurdle for beginners was that in level 2 classes certain pose names were announced, and it was expected the student would do the pose without instruction. Needless to say, I looked around a lot when we were told to do downward dogs and other – at the time – unknown yoga poses.

The class was 90 minutes long, and I believe only included one 15 second break before we reached the wind down time at the end of the class. Sweat dripped from my forehead as I strained to stay in difficult positions. I took many more personal breaks, but always tried to do every pose for as long as my strength allowed me.

I learned quickly that advanced yoga was not easy!

The next day, we went to a restorative yoga class. This class was much more relaxing, and likely the only thing my sore body would have been able to handle. The teacher had a soothing voice and told great stories, and I learned to control my breathing. Simply focusing on breathing can greatly reduce anxiety, something that will come in handy on a 500 mile journey. There was some stretching in this class as well, all of which I was able to complete.

On Saturday, we took part in a beginner yoga class. I learned how to perform a half sun salute (I may have the name of the move wrong), the child’s pose, though not nearly all the terms I had heard during my reduced heat class. This class was very informative, though I would have liked to have learned more positions at the expense of some stretching. It likely should have been my first class.

Work sent me out of town this week, so my next class will be a level 1 hatha class on Saturday. I hope to attend at least 10 classes before my unlimited pass runs out. Mixing in learning snowboarding on every Saturday this month, I believe that I will feel sore more days than not.

Yoga is not easy, but it sure is fun and relaxing at the same time.