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I’ve Started a New Blog..

I’ve noticed posts on here are becoming more and more irrelevant to this project so I have decided to find a new home for them.

Anything related to Generation Y or really anything not related to the 7 Summits Project can now be found over at my new blog which I’ve titled Generation Y Musings.. (the Address is codyjay.info). I want to start discussing topics relating to Generation Y (of which I am a member) and our place in the world.

From now on I will be keeping posts on this site related to this particular project only. That will still cover treks and training, mountains, Nepal and education, since I’m still involved in all these subjects.

I will try and keep some good content coming, so stay tuned!

What the #@$% is a Stitch?

I had a pretty bad experience during a half marathon last weekend which brought about this post. Around 7km in, I developed a ‘stitch’, a sharp stabbing pain up under my ribs. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get rid of it, struggling through the last 14km without being able to push myself in any way. I probably dropped 15 minutes off the time I was expecting. Incredibly frustrating experience… 

Well, I’ve decided to do some research, both for my own sake (to prevent future incidents) and hopefully to help others avoid the painful ailment. 

Here is what I’ve found..

 

What is a Stitch?

“An intense stabbing pain under the lower edge of the ribcage that occurs while exercising. It is also referred to as exercise related transient abdominal pain (ETAP)”

“The pain usually eases within a few minutes after exercise has stopped, however some people experience some residual soreness for a few days, especially after severe pain. The Stitch seems to be more prevalent in activities that involve vigorous upright, repetitive movement of the torso.”

stitch

 

What Causes it?

“Scientists are unsure of the exact cause of stitch.” Look’s like we’re off to a good start here..

“For some time, stitch was thought to be caused by a reduction in blood supply to the diaphragm, a large muscle involved in breathing.  It was thought that during exercise, blood was shunted away from the diaphragm and redirected to exercising muscles in the limbs.  This theory has now lost favour with scientists.  Both the diaphragm and the limb muscles have to work harder during exercise so it is unlikely that an inadequate blood flow would be directed to them.

Another popular theory is that stitch is caused by organs pulling on the ligaments that connect the gut to the diaphragm.  Ligaments that support organs such as the stomach, spleen and liver are also attached to the diaphragm.  Jolting during exercise may cause these organs to pull on the ligaments and create stress on the diaphragm.

A more recent idea is that stitch is caused by irritation of the parietal peritoneum.   Two layers of membrane (peritoneum) line the inside wall of the abdominal cavity.  One layer covers the abdominal organs.  The other layer (parietal peritoneum) attaches to the abdominal wall.  The two layers are separated by lubricating fluid, which allows the two surfaces to move against each other without pain. 

The parietal peritoneum is attached to a number of nerves.  It is thought that the stitch occurs when there is friction between the abdominal contents and the parietal peritoneum.  This friction may be caused by a distended (full) stomach or a reduction in the lubricating fluid.” Source: ausport.gov.au

That’s the scientific version..

What is essentially being said, is that a stitch is predominantly caused by either solids or fluids that are being digested at the time of intense exercise. 

Due to the ‘pulling’ or ‘tugging’ motion described above, high intensity exercise, without an adequate warmup, may also be a factor.

In my own case, I ate a meal of fatty tuna and brown rice about an hour before I started running. Besides some light stretching, I also failed to warm-up properly. 

Stitch

Trying to avoid a picture being taken as I try to walk off a stitch. Photographer payed no attention..

 

How to Prevent it..

The consensus seems to be a combination of the following..

  • Drink plenty of low-GI fluid in the 24 hours leading up to the event.
  • Don’t eat large meals within 2 hours of intense exercise. (Particularly avoid fatty, harder to digest foods)
  • Avoid extremely sugary foods and drinks like fruit juices and soft drinks.
  • When consuming fluids during activity, drink smaller amounts at regular intervals.
  • Warm-up sufficiently before intense exercise.
  • Regulate your breathing- Slow, deep and controlled breaths provide more efficient blood-flow that short, gaspy breaths.

 

If you get a stitch anyway..

The common treatments seem to be

  • Stop, bend forward and touch your toes
  • Place pressure on the affected area with your hand/fingers.

According to Runnersworld, this is the solution:

“If you still get another side stitch, implement this strategy and it will go away in seconds (I promise). Slow your pace and exhale as the foot on the opposite side of the stitch strikes the ground. This doesn’t mean every time that foot hits the ground, but as you exhale, do so in sync with that opposite side. When you exhale, you use the muscles of your diaphragm. When this happens in unison with your foot striking the ground, the impact forces travel up the body and through your core (your side too) and exacerbate (piss off) the muscles in spasm creating that stitch. When you change the side of the landing forces to the opposite side, the tension causing the stitch releases. For example, your stitch is in your right side. You slow your pace, and exhale as your left foot is hitting the ground. Voila! Side stitch is history and you’re running without swearing once again.”

I didn’t stop for a good 2-3km after I got mine in the half-marathon, pushing through until I got to the next drink station. Very unwise move.. Next time I will be stopping immediately to deal with the problem.

 

There you have it. Hopefully that helps you out and you will forever be rid of the little painful bastard known as a ‘Stitch’. 

Life with a Restless Soul

It’s like living with a pressure inside you. A pressure that builds over time until you finally grant it release…

The relentless pull of life on the move becomes somewhat unbearable.

That internal drive that doesn’t allow you to settle for more than a few weeks at a time.

Then it’s off chasing the next adventure.. The rest of your time spent thinking, dreaming of the moment

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The limitless opportunity, the freedom, not only to do what you like, to go where you want to go, but to be whoever you want to be, it’s like a drug. And every bit as self-consuming..

Perhaps it’s the fear of missing out.. I’ve always been acutely aware of my own mortality, the limited time we are all granted. I guess it’s more so the fear of not making the most that time, of squandering it, wasting it..

We were all nomads at one time, wandering, drifting, searching.. we never settled. I think it’s a natural state of our being to explore, to seek adventure, something we’ve forgotten as the years have passed..

I  hope that one day that pressure will die down and I’ll be able to live contentedly, something resembling a normal life. In the meantime all I can do is satisfy this restless soul, giving in to the pursuit of perpetual motion..

The Quitter

I was captivated by one particular line of poetry as I was watching the story of Douglas Mawson, one of the greatest survival stories you’ve probably never heard. Mawson was a geologist & explorer during Antarctica’s golden age of exploration, sitting alongside names such as Roald Amundsen, Robert Falcon Scott, and Ernest Shackleton.

Douglas_mawson

During Mawson’s heroic ordeal, he had fallen into a crevasse, dangling at the end of his sled rope. He had no strength, he was thoroughly exhausted. There didn’t appear to be a way out. Just as he was giving up hope, one particular verse popped into his head..

Just have one more try — it’s dead easy to die,
    It’s the keeping-on-living that’s hard.

Mawson followed this mantra, pulled himself out of the crevasse and made it back to camp, nearly a month later. It would go down as one of the great survival tales and secure Mawson’s knighthood and even brief inclusion on the Australian $100 note.

I found it to be a truly captivating and poignant line, encapsulating no doubt, what willed Mawson to keep on moving, to survive and to live.

Here is the full poem by Robert Service, culminating in that epic verse..

 

The Quitter

Robert William Service [1874-1959]

 

When you’re lost in the Wild, and you’re scared as a child,
    And Death looks you bang in the eye,
And you’re sore as a boil, it’s according to Hoyle
    To cock your revolver and . . . die.
But the Code of a Man says: “Fight all you can,”
    And self-dissolution is barred.
In hunger and woe, oh, it’s easy to blow . . .
    It’s the hell-served-for-breakfast that’s hard.

“You’re sick of the game!” Well, now, that’s a shame.
    You’re young and you’re brave and you’re bright.
“You’ve had a raw deal!” I know — but don’t squeal,
    Buck up, do your damnedest, and fight.
It’s the plugging away that will win you the day,
    So don’t be a piker, old pard!
Just draw on your grit; it’s so easy to quit:
    It’s the keeping-your-chin-up that’s hard.

It’s easy to cry that you’re beaten — and die;
    It’s easy to crawfish and crawl;
But to fight and to fight when hope’s out of sight —
    Why, that’s the best game of them all!
And though you come out of each gruelling bout,
    All broken and beaten and scarred,
Just have one more try — it’s dead easy to die,
    It’s the keeping-on-living that’s hard.

Documentaries on Nepal: A Glimpse into an Unknown World

Nepal is a truly incredible country, filled with a rich cultural history, world heritage building, a diverse landscape & of course, the legendary Himalayas. Outside of the mountainous landscape however, the general population doesn’t tend to know a lot about Nepal and it’s people. I have been fortunate enough to experience a little of what the region offers and I wish everyone the opportunity to travel there and experience it for themselves.

I have put together a list of documentaries that hopefully provide you with a glimpse into what life holds in this mystic nation.. There is of course, a great deal of footage based around the Himalayas and what the mountains mean to the Nepalese people. Perhaps you will also discover another side to Nepal, away from the trekking and the tourism that it’s renowned for. A spiritual side, and a culture you won’t experience anywhere else. 

Introducing Nepal..

Nepal: In the Mountains Shadow

“Nepal, in the Mountains Shadow” is a compelling cultural documentary set in the mystic country at the heart of the Himalayas. Guided by child rights activist and orphanage director Visma Raj Paudel, the film explores the growing social disparity that exists throughout the whole of the country, as he struggles to uncover the truth behind the plight of the nations most precious resource–its children. The documentary weaves together beautiful imagery and gripping first hand interviews to create a rare look into modern day Nepal.”

 

30 Days in Nepal

“Three friends adventure across Nepal with the goal of trekking the classic Annapurna Circuit and the Thorong-La Pass at an altitude of 5,416m whilst stopping by for a visit with an old friend on the way.”

 

Sherpa

“The filmmakers set out to make a film of the 2014 Everest climbing season, from the Sherpas’ point of view. Instead, they captured a tragedy that would change Everest forever. At 6.45am on 18th April, 2014, a 14 million ton block of ice crashed down onto the climbing route through the Khumbu Icefall, killing 16 Sherpas. It was the worst tragedy in the history of Everest. The disaster provoked a drastic reappraisal about the role of the Sherpas in the Everest industry. SHERPA, tells the story of how, in the face of fierce opposition, the Sherpas united in grief and anger to reclaim the mountain they call Chomolungma.”

 

The Last Lost Kingdom

A king who lost his kingdom. A son who lost his father. At one time or another in life, every man is aware that his time is limited. In the very midst of life we know what never will come again, what irreversibly replaces a past that cannot be recovered. Three men journey to the forbidden kingdom of Mustang in the remote Himalayas in search of roots, to reconcile loss and anticipate the rise of modernization.


 

History of Kathmandu: My Diary

A fascinating look into what life was like before the influx of trekking and climbing tourism that exists in the modern day.

My Generation: Improving the Plight of the World We’ve Inherited

I hear & read constantly about how those of us considered ‘Millennials’ (born roughly 1980-2000) are spoilt, entitled, lazy narcissistic & lacking direction (as found on the cover of Time magazine). That description has also been used countless times in articles on the topic of Justin Bieber.. This criticism is nothing new of course, a message likely conveyed by the earliest of neanderthal elders to the bunch of misfits running around climbing trees instead of hunting for dinner. It’s a ridiculous complaint for starters, we are all the products of our environment. These set of traits are not randomly bestowed upon us at birth.

Our-Generation-Quote-Kelvin-1280x800

I believe it’s a misunderstanding of the Millennials however. We live in a time vastly more complex than any that have come before. We are only just trying to make sense of the world we have inherited and I strongly believe we will leave it in better condition than we found it (which let’s be honest, was not the best).

We are inheriting a world that is polluted, in a state of constant economic uncertainty and where humans are treated differently due to their race, gender or sexual preferences. Where a different species of animal goes extinct every single day, forests are becoming a fable of the past & where the prospect of owning our own home enslaves us with a debt burden that lasts an entire working life. And why is the world in such a condition? It’s due to the greed of those who came before us; an obsession with wealth, material possessions and a focus on self-interest at the expense of all-else. How else could we have reached the point where the world is home to over 3 billion people who go to bed hungry each night? By the way, those 3 billion people have as much wealth between them as the richest 62. Let that sink in for a moment. We are the ones left wondering how the hell all this could happen..

I believe the Millennials are different. Call me optimistic but I have high hopes for this generation and what we can achieve in the world. I think optimism is a necessity, we have a hell of a lot to overcome.

We are more accepting and tolerant of each other than any generation that has come before. We are more multicultural; people of every race, colour and creed intermixing without the racism and bigotry present for so much of humanities modern history. We value human rights; marriage equality and the acceptance of refugees being prime examples of issues long neglected that we are willing to stand up and fight for. The majority of us also realise there’s more to life than going to the grave with more toys than our neighbour and we want to give back more than we want to take.

While I agree we cerainly spend too much time on our phones & tablets, they have opened up communication & information sharing that is vital in promoting equality & giving all of the world's citizens a voice. (Perhaps giving everyone a voice is not always a positive.. i.e Mr Donald Trump)

While I agree we certainly spend too much time on our phones & tablets, they have opened up communication & information sharing that is vital in promoting equality & giving all of the world’s citizens a voice. (On second thought, perhaps giving everyone a voice is not always a positive.. i.e Mr Donald Trump & Jimmy Fallon)

I believe our heart and our minds are in the right place, we just need to ensure we take action. Let’s leave the world in a better state than we found it. If we all work towards a cause we believe in, the generation of the ‘Millenials’ will be remembered as the turning point to an improved world society.

 

If you need a little inspiration, check out this list of 100 Millennials who are “redefining the world as we know it”.