Today I received this helpful advice from Steve Moore of the Royal Navy. He works at the Institute of Naval Medicine in Gosport, where I go for regular physiological testing.
From Annex C of Chapter 3 from MoD's Joint Service Publication 539 entitled "Climatic Injuries in the Armed Forces - Prevention & Treatment"...
"52. Anecdotal experience suggests that patients may improve if, once their acute injury has fully resolved (by 3 months after injury at the latest), they rewarm their feet each evening using a foot spa. The aim is to immerse the hands and/or feet in water maintained as close to 40?C as possible for 20-30 minutes, following which feet should be placed in insulative but slightly loose bed-socks. Patients should perform this when they are able to relax, and additional vasodilation may be aided by no more than 50 ml of their favourite spirits, such as whisky, consumed at the start of rewarming."
Footbaths and tots of whisky - sounds like my kind of a cure!
It would be especially welcome as I am now back in Woodside, and my spirits are suffering from the wet and squelchy winter weather. After spending much of the last two months in pristine snowy wilderness, it seemed strange as I drove south to return to weather that would seem more at home in Britain than in California - pouring rain and dank chilliness. Yesterday in the gym I overheard some people complaining how cold it was. "You should try Northern Minnesota," I thought...
Or how about Antarctica? I spent yesterday working with an editor to create a showreel to show future clients how I perform as a motivational speaker. I was introduced to Minette by Alison Levine, who has been writing a highly entertaining blog from the bottom of the world.
"There is a saying that no one who goes to the Pole comes back unchanged. I truly believe this. I can already see some changes in myself. I went out for dinner last night and when the waiter put bread and butter on the table in front of me, I ate the butter straight up -with a spoon. Instead of drinking Evian at home I now prefer to melt ice from my freezer in order to get my water. I don't plan to wash my hair anytime soon. I can wait 43 days again. Maybe 44 just to see if I can break my record. I plan to wear a ski mask during the day - all the time now, and not just when I am robbing banks. And of course I plan to lobby the Miss Universe pageant officials in order to convince them to allow the first contestant from Antarctica to compete."
Click here for more...
[photo: Alison Levine - although in the future I hope I might have a similar photo!]
Where did January go? I was getting that alarming feeling, and I suspect that I may not be the only one, that life was speeding up like a runaway train, and if I didn't jump into the cab and take a firm hand on the controls the next 12 months were going to whizz by in an ever-accelerating blur.
And that blur might not be taking me where I wanted to go.
Mixing my metaphors horrendously, I was reminded of the saying that "A sailor with no destination never has fair winds", meaning that if you don't know where you are going, how can you expect the universe, Lady Luck, fortune, God, the law of attraction - whatever you want to call it - to give you a helping hand?
So I spent much of yesterday working on defining my goals for the next 12 months. A fun way to do this is to cast your mind forwards into the future, and imagine yourself in 12 months time. 21st January 2009. What will my day be like? How will I feel when I wake up? How will my body look? What good news will my emails bring? What will my workout be? What friends will I spend time with? And so on. This really opens up the scope for some blue-sky thinking without the constraints of what might be feasible. Just daydream.
Then, figure out what needs to be done, day by day, in order to get to that ideal vision. By this point I was feeling inspired and enthusiastic about this dream day, and this fuelled my determination to make it happen. So I broke it down into its elements and put them in a spreadsheet, with columns for dependencies and deadlines i.e. is there something else that needs to happen first? and when am I going to achieve this by?
Of course, some elements of my daydream are outside of my control - I definitely need a helping hand with those - but by writing them down and putting out a powerful intention that I want these things to happen, i have just improved my chances that they will indeed come to pass.
If they really DO all happen, it's going to be a heck of a year. I'd better hang on tight to those train controls - it's going to be quite a ride!
[photo: blue sky thinking - a photo I took last month in the Badlands of South Dakota]
There is a quote that was brought to mind by my recent bout with frostnip (plus other residual bodily damage - bruised shins, toenails falling off after last September's hike of the West Highland Way, muscles sore and aching due to start of punishing new gym regime, etc etc).
The quote goes: Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body. But rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO-HOO what a ride!"
(I actually prefer the "martini in hand" version, but bearing in mind my younger readers I thought it best not to encourage consumption of alcoholic beverages, which obviously is something that I would never dream of doing...)
But back to the point of the quote: my poor long-suffering 40-year-old body certainly takes a pounding from time to time. I use it and abuse it and largely take it for granted that it will continue to serve me well, if given regular exercise and fed a nutritious diet.
Life is not about sitting on the sofa watching TV, because "it's dangerous out there". Life is for living, and living up large. A little collateral damage may be inevitable from time to time, but this is infinitely preferable to wrapping myself in cotton wool and quietly dying of boredom. I am proud of my bruises and battle scars, because they show I've put myself out there in the way of adventure - and if adventure occasionally leaves me feeling as if I've been run over by a truck, then so be it - provided I live to tell the tale.
I have been assured by various palm-readers, psychics and wise people that I am destined to lead a long life. I do hope that they are right. Whether my life is LONG may be largely out of my hands, but whether my life is HEALTHY is largely within my control - so that is what I am focusing on.
[Thanks for all the notes encouraging me to write a book of motel-room recipes. Alas, this is not high on my list of priorities right now - I have the Atlantic book to focus on, a speaking tour of New Zealand coming up, plus the Pacific row to prepare for - plus various other projects such as an educational section for this website and a documentary about my Pacific row. But I will keep the idea on a back burner for future reference - just as soon as I have a quiet moment, maybe in about 2015?!]
[Photo: for the dog-lovers out there, here is a shot of the Inuit husky dogs that we used on our dog-pulk trip. They have thick double-layered fur, and thicker footpads than domestic dogs, both of which help keep them warm. They drink little water, getting most of the hydration they need by eating snow. All in all, they are much better suited to the cold than I am! Click here for more information about the Wintergreen dogs.]
Road trips are huge fun, but it can be hard to stick to a training program. However, having spent most of yesterday listening to Jon Benson's M-Power series extolling the virtues of a healthy body, there was no way I was going to skip today's workout.
So I paid a bit extra to stay at the Comfort Inn last night, purely because it had a 'Fitness Room'. I got up early this morning to train before I hit the road, but I was TOO early - the fitness room was not due to open until 7am. But I wheedled and cajoled and the receptionist relented.
As we walked along the corridor he commented that it was nice to meet someone who looked after their body - that he used to work in a mortuary, which was full of people who had failed to do so.
This was further motivation, if any were needed, and I breezed through my cardio workout, riding high on a wave of inspiration and enthusiasm for a long and healthy life.
Now it's time for my super-healthy breakfast of oatmeal with nuts and dried fruit, soaked overnight to convert the nuts from acid to alkaline (healthier), plus flax meal, wheatgrass powder and, of course, beansprouts.
I could just about write the book on meals made with no cooking utensils other than a motel room coffee-maker...