My alarm goes off at 3:48am with the ring tone “Three Birds” by the legendary Bob Marley. The tune that always rings true “Don’t worry about a thing cause every little thing is going to be alright”. A cup of coffee is ready and I look forward to reading the good book. At 4:40am I get ready to head to the gym. I take my pre-work out meds, eat a couple of hard boiled eggs (egg whites only) and drive over to the gym. This is the routine I have adopted since August in preparation for my trip to Africa and climbing Kilimanjaro.
I have been working out with Jeremy Adams, a 30 year old body builder who is built very solid and is a great trainer. I had seen Jeremy around the gym for a while but I never considered working out with him. After I completed the Urbanathlon, I thought it might be worth working out with him. Well let me say that every 30-minute work out pushed me to physical and mental levels I couldn’t have got to by myself.
What makes today special is this is our last day of the heavy workouts. 6 miles, 4 full body workout sets and 30 minutes with Jeremy has been a huge commitment for the last 7 months. I feel I am in good shape, but I worry about the altitude on Kilimanjaro, as there is no real test as to who will be affected with altitude sickness. In my last trip to the Himalayas we went as high as 18,500 feet. I remember when I was at 10,000 how hard it was to move and to breathe. The good news is after a while I got use to it. Pacing and hydration played a huge part of acclimatizing.
Back in August I had a physical and I told the doctor what I was going to do in Africa to climb Kilimanjaro. He had worked at NASA and specialized in studying altitude effects on pilots. He said that Kilimanjaro was one of the worst mountains for altitude sickness. He said that folks go up too fast and there have been many fatalities as a result. He suggested that I go to Colorado to get in some altitude training within a month of leaving for the climb. He said that it takes about three days for a body to adjust, but that the acclimatization stays with you for 30 days.
With that in mind I plan a trip to Denver as part of my preparation. I’m also lucky that my wife is coming along to keep me company and to work out with me. The first day I get in 3 miles with some lifting and situps as I read in a magazine the day before to do only half of what you normally do. I am huffing and puffing and my wife is just cruising along and puts an hour of cardio like there is nothing to it. Later we drive to Georgetown where it snows big time but eventually we get there with the temperature around 19 degrees. We walk around the town that is about 8000 feet above sea level. The next day feeling pretty good, I put in 6 miles that felt more smooth and relaxed. After three days of altitude we head to the airport to get home. Hopefully, I will see some benefits from it on the climb.
At a dinner with some colleagues we come up with the idea to turn the climb into a charitable event. My sister, who has MS is confined to a wheelchair and requires full time care. Climbing Kilimanjaro isn’t something she will ever be able to do, as she would be happy just to take a few steps on her own. Our dinner discussion turned into “Climbing for the Cure” a charitable campaign to create awareness and support in developing new treatments and ultimately a cure for MS.
My good friends Rhenee and Isabel on their own time help develop a website, created a tee-shirt and a flag sporting the logos of 15 of our partners who are participating in the charity.
With 10 days to go, I have to say is that I am getting nervous as, I ask the question to myself “are you ready”?
Posted under General
This post was written by FJ on March 7, 2013