Kettlebell hell

I think its important when you are five weeks out to re-think the whole training schedule and add random high degree of difficulty training items, throwing out your whole ‘other’ schedule due to body aches and pains in muscles you never knew you had.

Last week I started out with an easy Monday at the gym – one hour on the cross trainer and one hour on the stair machine, aiming to prove the ‘if you can do 1 1/2 to 2 hours on the stair machine you can climb Kili’ theory. I nearly died of boredom. Even with a bank of televisions in front of me and my phone / ipod pumping tunes into my ears and the occasional sneak peak at Twitter (only in the compulsory warm down sessions enforced by the 20 minute time limited machines of course) it was so so boring.

I happened to mention this on Facebook – boring – and a ‘friend’ invited me to come to her gym the next day and do a kettlebell session, promising there would be no boredom.  I guess I have to give her that – I wasn’t bored.

I have done kettlebell training before – as part of an overall session at the gym with a trainer, not as the whole session in a little specifically designed torture chamber with hundred and hundreds of brightly coloured torture devices lining the walls.

‘Its so great’ – she said ‘Twice a week, we love it – girls only class, too fun’.

The Tuesday session was upper body & the Thursday session was legs.

There was no running (or even a slow walk in the boots) on Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday or Thursday. In fact on Friday morning I contemplated canceling Kili and trying to get my money back as I didn’t think I would ever be able to achieve forward motion with my legs again without significant pain involved.

However I pushed through it, did a 20 minute warm up and a five kilometre shuffle that I felt every step of the way through every muscle in my body. At the end there was no Paula Radcliffe message or cheering from my Nike app to say ‘Congratulations, that was your best time for five k’s’ – because it wasn’t, it was my absolute worst time.

But, I am not trying for a best time for five kilometres, or ten or twelve (longest run so far), I am trying to get up a mountain and for that I will probably need strength in all those muscles the kettlebell found. So tomorrow at 8am I will return to the torture chamber gym, I will pick up that pretty pink kettlebell that weighs 10kgs and we’ll see what happens from there.

ONE MONTH TO GO TODAY! ****insert many expletives here******

Thank you to all those who have donated and those that have asked how – I have created a new page How to Donate to remind everyone how to do it & how easy it is.

Wrap of the week

Exciting things –

Someone found this blog by searching the term ‘mountain climbing vomiting’
This means I am not alone in my fixation or my concern of this phenomenon.

Have worn my boots nearly every day this week – including to a fifth birthday party and a grown up birthday coffee morning.
I have suffered ridicule from many quarters for this and it is tough to match hiking boots to any kind of reasonable outfit but have to report no blisters or rubbing, think they are ready for their next big walk.
Perhaps more importantly they have begun to show some small scuff marks and so are very very slowly moving towards looking a teeny tiny bit worn in.

I did my fastest time for 10kms! I know this because Paula Radcliffe told me via my Nike + iPhone app.
Unfortunately it was running (if you can call a slightly advanced shuffle that) and on the flattest course I can find in my little suburb so perhaps not likely to assist in my climb. However I am very happy to claim it towards training time.

Other moments of interest

Email from the OAC
‘Went for first hike this morning and reached an elevation of 47.6m’
I’m thinking that’s probably OK if the hike was 20km or so, which it probably was.

Phone call from LDL
Me ‘ Hello’ (slightly puffing)
LDL ‘Hello, did you call me?” (slightly puffing)
Me ‘No’ (could not use further words – not willing or able to exert the energy)
LDL ‘Where are you?’ (suspiciously)
Me ‘On the stair machine at the gym, where are you?’ (out of breath – can no longer speak)
LDL ‘Walking up a hill’ (just still with the slightly puffing)

Our main mistake here, clearly seen by any South African is the use of extra words. If we had truly assimilated into the country and its language nuances we would only have had to say ‘Where you?’ thereby saving time and energy. Next time!

44 sleeps to go……

How’s that training going?

What kind of question is that – except one designed to inspire fear in the mind of the person barely six weeks off going up the hill?

I’m a bit of a reader – I like to browse through stuff from different sources to get my head around a picture of what other people think and then put it all in the mixer of my mind and come out with an opinion. There are many many many resources on the internet discussing training for hiking Kilimanjaro, after all 22,000 people attempt the climb every year with apparently around 10,000 making the summit. Hmmm not liking the odds. (more on those another time)

Some of my favourite tips from the sites with training plans and suggestions are –

‘There are training regimens on other operator’s sites which entail strict, extensive, cross-training programs, featuring hiking, running, biking, swimming, weight training, etc. Do not be alarmed by this. Those programs are excessive and unnecessary to sufficiently prepare for climbing Kilimanjaro’
Yay – that’s what I thought, sorta. OAC take note.

Same site later says
‘….or if you can walk on a stairmaster for 1-2 hours, at 30 steps per minute while carrying a 20 lb pack, then you’re probably ready for the real thing.’
Say what? Is this standing up the whole time, or are you able to lean over the top or rest on the side bars as is standard at my gym? What speed is this at? Should we be going for the LDL‘s setting of 12?
If so I think the 10,000 who make it annually is a grossly overestimated number.

‘It is imperative that during Kilimanjaro training, you wear the boots that you intend to climb with so that they are sufficiently broken-in (to prevent blisters).’
Good point – first day I wore my shiny new boots, did a quick seven kms around the neighbourhood and got a massive blister on one heel/ankle, knew I should have gone with shoes. So many people have since helpfully pointed out I perhaps should not have attempted such a distance on my first outing – you don’t say!
I feel older and wiser already.

‘Additionally, you should wear the day pack you intend to carry so your shoulders/back/hips get used to the points of contact and weight (to minimize chafing and soreness).’
And that would be me looking like a total fool round the ‘hood.

‘Start drinking 4 to 6 liters of water a day EVERY DAY! This will help your body get used to drinking all of the time… a necessity when you are climbing at altitude.’
If someone could do this and get back to me – very helpful. My bladder fails at about 3 litres a day – then I can’t even spend the time in the car to get to school to pick up the kids and back without requiring a bathroom break.
Nice idea but – WHO ARE YOU KIDDING?

‘If you can run 4 to 5 miles in 45 minutes you can get up Kilimanjaro’
Whoa there Nelly!!!! Is it 4 (6.43kms) or is it 5 (8.04) because I scrape into one category and looking closer to the hour for the other in the great outdoors, but, on a running machine in the gym – with 0% gradient – maybe we can revisit. Who says this? Why is this the arbitrary magical cut off mark?
File under – too little information, disregard.

I can find sites pushing a two year preparation program, six months, three months, two months but none for the magic seven weeks I have left – am guessing its best to stop dithering around and get those boots back on.
I look forward to the commentary from the school car park as I trek across it every day.

Who’s coming?

I can’t be doing this kind of thing by myself. I may not make it if I don’t have people to moan to about how hard it is, how my feet hurt, how much I smell, how I lost a sock and now no longer have perfect pairs.
Let alone ask the magic question ‘Are we there yet?’.

When we signed up- the person that will be known from this point as the Other Aussie Chick (OAC), the gorgeous Genevieve and I were offered two options – go it alone with our own set of porters in the manner of honeymooners, or join a group already climbing the same week we wanted to go. Of course we chose option two – we do enjoy each other’s company immensely and do love spending time together but lets face it, more people mean more conversation topics, along the lines of ‘they seem quite weird, nice, superfit, crazy, perfect climbing companions, freaks, why did we decide to climb with them again…..’
You never know they may even have something to contribute to the conversation.

In a manoeuvre typical of me (if you knew me in real life you would just assume) the first thing I did was check out the name of the other person / group organiser given to me by our climb operator on Facebook and Google. Don’t tell me you wouldn’t have – you know you would. By as much as I could see (she does have some security savvy, not an open fb profile) she seems like a normal person, no horns, only one head, although I couldn’t tell if she had any extra legs (which could make keeping up with her a bit tricky) – that is if the photo posted on her profile is actually really her. We will only find out in September when we meet to start the big walk –
For now we will have to forget about her and her party of five and hope for the best.

So let me expand on my other companions, OAC and Susan the Leggy Dutch Lady (LDL) as they will be the ones bearing the brunt of my moaning and groaning and fretting for my iphone signal, or at least they will be after their own ipod batteries run out.

The OAC is one of my very bestest friends. I have known her since the second year we moved to Hong Kong and we met just as she was moving to Shanghai (insert sad face here). However as luck would have it for me – Shanghai wasn’t a perfect fit and soon she was back, in the same apartment complex and the same hockey team as me. She was also in Team SNAK-en (long story will try for one sentence – Sarah, Nikki, Amanda & Kerry – only Kerry got pregnant so she couldn’t come that year so Gen stepped in and allowed us to call her Ken for a very short period of time) as I did my first team GreenPower 50km event.

Organising to climb with OAC is testament to how far I will go to spend time with other Australians on this continent. I could digress here and tell you about the time I ran breathless across a rugby pitch to speak to someone in a Waratah’s jersey- but it turned out while he was Australian, he was only visiting – or that’s what he told the crazy Aussie chick who dragged at him from behind and asked if he lived locally. Australians are few and far between here in Durban – they tend to not live in this part of South Africa, as I am told many many times – South Africans move to Australia not the other way around. Anyway its reassuring to be going to do the climb with one of my own tribe and a fab friend in the bargain. My only concern is her super fitness. Gen is a girl who can run a marathon before breakfast, play a game of hockey after lunch and then go out for a few drinks, home by 2am up by 7am to ferry various small ones to mini-rugby, hockey whatever. I only hope she can slow down long enough to make it. Apparently the super fit struggle to slow their pace to those of us with ‘medium’ fitness, bizarre as it sounds. However I don’t believe I have ever met someone so dedicated to achieving goals she sets herself, so if I need to slow her down I will just lasso her from behind and she can use her fitness and super strength to pull me to the top.
She can have a back op when she gets home to sort that out.

Joining us more recently as a climber is Susan, the LDL – although sadly (for me) I recently worked out we are the same height its just that our different- umm builds – that make her look much more ‘leggy’ than I do or ever will. Susan is part of the secret Dutch society – in that there are actually multiple Dutch people who live in Durban and they are very supportive of their own tribe, but not at all in an exclusionary way to those of us who are also expats but not from Holland. So really what I am hoping to get out of this whole exercise is an entree as an honorary Dutch person, which includes access to the secret Dutch phone book so I can have my own tribe here too. It may take a little longer to work on the tribal language though – but who knows, once upon a time I also spoke German – Dutch may not be beyond the realms of possibility.

The LDL also is fairly fit, I would place her in the ‘above average’ fitness category. I say this because when we were discussing the lack of hiking and altitude in our immediate area we talked about the stair machine at the gym and at what setting we use for our sessions. Susan uses setting 12 – run off now, I dare you to do more than 3 minutes on 12 without leaning all over the top of the machine or completely passing out. Respect for level 12. In an effort to rise to those dizzying heights I did two minutes of level 12 in my last stair session – but obviously not consecutively. Susan also has other impressive sporting endeavours – like the most amazing ‘eagle’ I have ever missed (I’d say seen but I didn’t see it) from the fairway of the 10th hole on our local golf course. We looked for that ball for ten minutes after our fairway shots until someone found it – in the hole! Other qualifying characteristics for the climb include ability to drink sufficient amounts of wine and dancing on bars.
Don’t you love her too? Aren’t you glad she’s coming? I am.

52 sleeps to go ladies – start your engines – or at least do a grease and oil change now in preparation for our big adventure!