Mt. Kilimanjaro – Week 17: Hiking & Running with friends

Hiking with Friends

The last two weeks have been a blur. I can’t recall the last time I was this busy and I bet a bunch of you are in the same boat! Hopefully for you, it’s the ‘good’ type of busy, as it has been for me. I sometimes find that  these crazy moments are the best because you get to experience some amazing things in life, and these moments help inspire and bring forward opportunities you never knew were there!

When I travel, I enjoy travelling like a local. I want to experience new and different things most tourists would never experience. Some of you might know that I’ve been an Airbnb host for almost 4 years now all thanks to an experience I had back in 2012 with an Airbnb host in Prague. One night in Prague, my Airbnb host introduced me to their friends, took me out to a local pub and taught me all about Prague, the lifestyle, government, and told me all of the amazing hidden treasures in Prague most tourists would never find. It was that experience that made me want to become an Airbnb host and share the treasures of Toronto. Fast forward 4 years later, I’ve hosted over 300 people, given them the same terrific hospitality as my Prague host taught me, and I am now one of the leading hosts in the GTA.

Last week, I had the pleasure completing a Kilimanjaro training hike with an Airbnb guest (Alberto), another Airbnb host in the Toronto area (Asmi), a colleague (Kris), and my girlfriend (Jade). The exciting part about the hike: most of them never knew this hiking trail existed so close to the Toronto downtown core! This secret hidden gem in the city surprised Asmi and Kris (locals) and definitely wowed Alberto (from Italy).

Rest before our Stone Skipping Event

Rest before our Stone Skipping Event

No only did we get to enjoy the scenery, but we also were entertained along the way by the Pan Am Games Art Relay. Along the path we were greeted by art installations, live bands, and a few other wonderful surprises. When ti was time for a break, I took them to my favourite secret place to have a snack and rest before we headed back home. We spent an hour skipping stones, creating our own Pan Am “Stone Skipping” competition – haha! (Alberto had the winning toss 🙂 ).

 

Pan Am Games Morning Run

To help kick off the Toronto Pan Am Games celebrations this past Friday, I had the honour of running a 10K (which turned out to be 11K) with Canadian Gold Medalist Simon Whitfield!

A day before the event, I experienced a bad case of food poisoning. I wasn’t able to eat for about 24 hours, and could barely keep liquids down. The morning of the run, I knew I was in no shape to run, but just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to run with Simon. So I gathered all the energy I could and made my way to the starting line, only to find out Simon, himself couldn’t run due to a foot injury.

The moment he mentioned he couldn’t run, a sense of relief filled my mind, but within seconds quick disappeared as Simon agreed to ride a bike along side the runners (there were 15 of us). I took a gulp of my orange gatorade, and tried to find the energy to complete the run.

Jeff with Simon Whitfield

Jeff with Simon Whitfield

Simon was extremely friendly, down to earth, very encouraging, and interested in Mt. Kilimanjaro! While we completed our run through the streets of downtown Toronto, he was there, ensuring he took time to chat with all of us.

I won’t lie. The run was difficult, and I ended up having to take it a bit slower than the rest, but I think I held my own considering the circumstances the day before. My pace (5.45/km) was faster than my average pace (6.10/km) and I ran an extra 1K ‘just for fun’ – haha. (Thanks Shelley for your help during the last 2K!).

Who knows…maybe we’ll see Simon on Mt. Kilimanjaro sometime soon? 😉

 

 

Fundraising Update:

As of today’s date, I’ve raised $7,543 for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation! My team has collectively raised $75,268 for the foundation. We’re 25% away from hitting our goal of $100,000!!!!!

Training Update:

This coming week I’ll be taking some time away from the city and work and heading down to Chicago. While I’m away I will be focusing on my breathing exercises (to help the acclimatization process), and some cardio exercises.

 

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