Friday, 26 August 2011

Kick ass fundraising day on my last day of work

Today was my last day of work at UBS.  The flight to Rwanda is tomorrow morning and all is set.  All errands completed and it is just the matter of final packing preparations to be done.  On a side note it seems the baggage allowances these days are much more generous than they were when I used to fly frequently.  I am allowed to have 2 checked bags weighing 23kg each and 1 item of hand luggage weighing 10kg.  56kg of luggage sounds like an incredible amount to me, and I don't intend to take anywhere near that much.

As it was my last day of work I decided to remind a few people who mentioned they were going to donate about my fundraising campaign and to send them the url again.  By the end of the day 5 new people had sponsored me a combined total of £320.  This is fantastic news as it means I now am within sight of the finishing line.  I have £1,581.50 left to raise in order to meet the minimum target.  If I can sell the other 6 months of my Holmes Place membership that will leave around £1,000 left to raise.

It is a little sad to leave the people that I have worked alongside for 3.5 years.  They are all a great bunch, and there are plenty of interesting characters among them.  On the other hand Zurich is a small place and I will probably see most of them again next year.  If I was hoping to slip out quietly then I didn't really achieve that aim.

Now I only have things to look forward to and nothing to regret!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Painful cramps

This morning I awoke in a rather unpleasant manner, to a calf cramp.  It is strange as I haven't done so much exercise the last few days.  Somehow though the cramps come more when I am not doing so much exercise.  It was the same way when I stopped bodybuilding.  Only after I stopped did the cramps start coming.  Is it my body's way of telling me not to forget to get out there and run/ cycle soon?  Luckily it was not a full blown cramp because Anny is very well trained in cramp care now.  The moment I start shouting in pain she grabs my leg and stretches it out.  Then she massages the muscle.  Back before I had my cramp nurse (Anny) the cramps became full blown muscle tearing cramps, and the affected muscle would remain very tight and sore for a day or two afterwards.

This evening I had a Pilates class, my last till January.  I was a bit worried that the exercises would set off the cramps again.  There were one or two points in the class when they nearly did, but then I told my teacher and we switched to other exercises instead.  I  paid for 10 Pilates classes in advance and I still have 5 remaining that I can do next year.  I will return to Zurich in mid January and then I will most likely travel out to Morocco mid March (so that I have 2 weeks of heat acclimatisation before the Marathon des Sables).  So that's five classes I can do in 2 months, which is "fairly" regular.

Tomorrow I have a couple of errands to run, like buying farewell cakes for the team and collecting my day and night contact lenses, but if I can I will try to fit in a lunchtime run.  It is pretty hot at the moment but still okay to run without any real problems.  Then on Saturday morning I am taking my flight to Rwanda.  Most of my stuff is already laid out on the bed, and it is more or less a matter of shoving it into a suitcase.  Anny is already flying out to Rwanda tomorrow morning, so she will be there to welcome me when I arrive.  I was considering to fly out with her but then I decided another days salary would come in very handy and that it was better to fly out on Saturday instead.

In case you are wondering, I am planning to take my running shoes to Rwanda with me.  I think it should be perfectly safe to run in Kigali.  I don't intend to run in the DRC though.  Then I also don't intend to run up the Kilimanjaro in Tanzania either.  Running up Kilimanjaro would be cool but that would only be possible if I was already acclimatised to the altitude.  I will probably be running at 4,000m altitude in South America but that is different as we will be at high altitude for almost a month, so my body will have plenty of time to adapt.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Second half of Holmes Place gym and spa membership is now for sale on ricardo

As most of you know I recently sold half of the membership that Holmes Place kindly donated to me.  This helped raise over 500GBP for my fundraising campaign, which was great.   The other half I was planning to use for a prize draw.  The problem however is that at present there are no eligible participants.  Two people entered, but they claimed GiftAid on their donation, and I am not allowed to offer the prize to anyone that claimed GiftAid, as Giftaid can only be claimed when no incentives are on offer.

I could let the prize draw run and hope that more people will enter, but based on the current state of affairs I am not sure that would help me to raise more than 500GBP.  So I prefer to take the safer approach and offer it up for auction at a minimum price of 600CHF.  The link to the item on ricardo is below.  Again, if you know anyone who is interested in Holmes Place Zurich gym and spa membership at a bargain price feel free to pass it on.

Weekend of relaxing bike rides

I didn't do anything too strenuous at the weekend, but I did several bikes rides with Anny and her cousin.  Total distance covered over the 2 days was nothing to write home about (less than 50km), but still it was nice to do some relaxing bike rides with company for once, instead of always racing around on my own.  The only downside was that for a habitual cyclist, going out on a ride with 2 non cyclists, the pace seemed very slow.  At the end of the ride to Eglisau Anny was starting to do much better though, and if she was to start cycling regularly I am sure she would be fine.  The main thing that made the difference between the start and end of the ride was her improvement in gear selection and cadence.

The temperatures were pretty high, and this was a real problem for Anny's cousin, at least mentally.  I am sure her body can cope perfectly fine with temperatures in the low 30s, but some people just don't like to push themselves too hard and don't like to sweat.  Me on the other hand I love to be dripping in sweat from every pore.  The only downside is when it gets in my eyes and stings.  At least we had a dip in the Rhine to cool off anyway.