Kilimanjaro Challenge 2011

Welcome to my blog!

Follow the ups and downs of the biggest challenge I've ever faced. My friend Justine and I are climbing Kilimanjaro in February 2011 and are hoping to raise £10,000 for Naomi House Children's Hospice.

Thanks for visiting.



Wednesday, 25 August 2010

to gym or not to gym....

I'm feeling very virtuous this afternoon. I got up this morning, after a very sleepless night, and dragged myself to the gym for an introductory spinning class. I you've never done spinning before, it's basically you, an exercise bike and some sadistic git who makes you stand, squat, sit and lean in different postures whilst pedaling to music, most of it fast. Oh and you increase the resistance as you go so it gets harder. It kills! Really good for the legs though, and low impact so an ok exercise for my bad joints, although, my knees were a bit sore, I'm fairly sure that's just muscular ache.

I did enjoy it, definitely felt like I was doing good and Justine and I are going again next Wednesday, I hope I've had a bit of sleep by then!

To explain, this isn't just ordinary insomnia, this is insomnia sponsored by Baxter. My very small, very new rescue puppy who has enormous ears! You would have thought being so gifted in the lug department, he would have been sensitive to noise, but alas, he's only sensitive to noise he's not making. He has howled and screamed and whined and sung all night for three nights in a row and I'm just about ready to make him into a pair of gloves! It's just as well he's impossibly cute!
Our resident dog, Ludo, is starting to get used to having to share us and they're now playing nicely together, which is a relief. Justine has pointed out that it's good practice for me to have sleepless nights, since I'll be camping and cold halfway up a mountain in Africa soon enough, which are not conditions likely to be conducive to sustained physical exertion. I'm not sure going to the gym after being kept up all night by a fur ball compares.....

Baxter, all together now... ahhhhhhh (my what large ears you have!!)

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Take one dog, add a large hill....

Although it's been quiet on the blog front, we've been up to stuff in the back ground. Linz and I went to visit family up in Scotland and took the opportunity to do some hill walking as training for the big climb. We settled on Dumyat since it's close to where we were and we've been talking about climbing it for years. Dumyat (pronounced dum-eye-at) is 420m tall and rises above Stirling from the flat river plain of the Forth so we pretty much climbed the whole 420m. It forms part of the Ochil Hills and overlooks the Wallace Monument and down onto Stirling and surrounding towns. The image on the left is Dumyat taken from the old Devon Colliery.

The weather was changeable and we were grateful that we had the perfect sort for walking on the day of our climb. It was mostly overcast with a few breaks for sunshine, which came around pork-pie o'clock when we stopped by a little burn for a snack about an hour and a half or so into the walk.

Now,don't be fooled with how idyllic it looks, to get to this pretty little area, we had to walk through 6ft tall bracken which was alive with flies and spiders and all the sorts of things I don't like. Hence, for about the first 100m up, which covered about 2miles I did a little fly swatting jig all the way since I can't stand things with lots of legs.

After coming out of the bracken, we crossed a couple of burns and started to approach the summit from the back, which, let me tell you, was extremely steep! The last stretch up is quite challenging on the thighs, but this is exactly the sort of training I'll need to be doing. Once we were in the open ground, I became less convinced that I was being stalked by an army of horseflies and started to enjoy it a little more. The dog was fascinated by the sheep that graze on the open ground and there were lots of ruined farm buildings for Linz to take picture of, some mostly everyone was happy.

The summit was extremely windy so we didn't linger too long, but the views were spectacular!

We did a couple of other walks while up north, but mostly quite gentle ones. I wasn't nearly as sore as I was expecting to be after Dumyat, which is a good indicator that the training is doing something! The whole walk was over 6miles (since we got lost on the way back down) and we did it all in 3.5 hours, which is pretty good considering we stopped for snacks and rests along the way.

Given the height we're climbing on Kilimanjaro, I figured that Dumyat is probably about half of what we'll do in a day, which I'm now a little more confident about since I didn't think I was absolutely going to collapse at any time - although, add in some serious altitude and I'm sure it'll be a different matter!

Off to the gym this evening. A local gym owner has sponsored us by way of membership and training advice until our climb, which is very generous. I fully expect to make myself sore all over using the cross trainer!

See you soon,
k xx