Training at Sea Level
How do you physically prepare to climb a 19,00-foot mountain when living in an area like Dallas, Texas that is flat as a pancake? Good question. That is definitely something we have asked ourselves. Unfortunately, we do not live in Colorado where we can go climb 14’ers on the weekends (although we do plan on doing one or two trips out there before August). We have no idea how either of our bodies will respond at very high altitude levels. There are some people in superior physical shape that experience high altitude mountain sickness every time they ascend while others do just fine. We’ve both climbed to 14,000 feet and seem to do ok, but those 5,000 extra feet are a big difference. The best thing we can do to prepare to conquer this African mountain is to be in the best shape of our lives.
I would consider both of us in pretty good shape for 40 years old. We can get out there and run 6 miles without any problem. But how will we do climbing for several days straight with 20 pound backpacks on our back, traveling through all 7 climate zones and then summit day being the hardest day yet? We both know we have some physical training to do in order to be prepared. That is why we joined a gym and hired some personal trainers this weekend. I am not overly excited at the thought of becoming a gym rat, but I know that I need to pack on at least 5 additional pounds of muscle weight to have the stregth to endure this climb. Last week we received the 27-page training and condition guide from our expedition group, Mountain-Vision Expeditions. Yikes! Reality is sinking in. We need to get our butts in gear — now.
On an inspiring note, we had the pleasure of following the expedition of Mission Kilimanjaro through their blog posts as they ascended a few weeks ago. If you have the time, you should watch the story the Fox Atlanta news did on Kyle Maynard, a congenital quad amputee, made it to the top! So many people that we come across that find out that we are doing this trip say there is no way they would attempt this challenge. I say, check out Kyle’s story. This is one man who did not let any obstacles stand in his way. I also say, also check out Francis Chan’s analogy of a life and a balance beam. These are the things that keep me inspired. Taking chances by getting outside your comfort zone really allows you to learn life lessons you would not have otherwise. Our Africa trip is going to be so much more than the climb – we want to meet the phenomenal African people and culture, experience God’s creation there, get to know our guides and fellow climbers and meet our World Vision family there in Tanzania. There are so many life lessons to be learned on this journey that we will bring back to our family. You may not be inclined to climb a large mountain or head to a far off land, but ask yourself — how do you need to challenge yourself this year? How do you need to branch outside your comfort zone for God, yourself, your spouse and/or your family? Face that fear head-on so you can get to that next level of life. You won’t regret it!