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!
Well, this is it. A trip of a lifetime! We have decided to climb Mount Kilamnjaro in Tanzania, departure set for August 14, 2012. The average person thinks we’re crazy and some moutaineers say, “it’s really no big deal.” But it’s a big deal to us for many reasons; phrases such as “third world country,” “mega-distance from home,” “offspring abandonment” and “mucho monetary committment” are the very first that come to mind. But yes! It will be a physical and mental challenge for us. But we’re doing it anyway, refusing to live the safest life possible, for many reasons (not necessarily in order of priority):
1. We love the outdoors. We especially love mountains. It’s the feeling you get when you’re out in the middle of nowhwere and you just completely download from life. Do you know that feeling? We live in one of the largest metropolitan cities in the U.S. (Dallas/Fort. Worth, TX) and you can feel overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle around you. That is why we like to travel get outside to where we can immediately feel still in God’s presence.
2. We want to go on a spiritual journey. Mount Kilamnjaro is a really a metaphor for mountains that need to be overcome in our own lives. Everyone has them, and we are certainly no different. We are Christ followers who are active in our faith, and we believe God will be working things through us in preparation for and during our expedition. As we have prayed, it has been more and more clear to us what he wants to do in us individually. More about this in future posts.
3. We want to help others. Our participation in this trek will allow opportunities to help a bigger cause. We’re headed to one of the poorest areas on our plant, and we can’t contemplate traveling there without pouring our hearts out to them. We named this blog, “Will Climb 4 Food” because we want to raise funds for families in need of the very basic necessities in life. It’s hard for us to imagine not being able to provide the very basics for our children such as food or water. Could you imagine? We live in the land of the plenty, and we are so sheltered from all the famines that are currently going on in other parts of the world. So from now until August 2012, we have a goal to raise $10,000 for the animal and agriculture fund at World Vision. We will talk more about this in future posts, but do check out our fundraising page and help us start with a generous donation. 🙂
4. We want to defy our age. We both turned 40 this year and sarcopenia is already setting in. That basically means the same workout regimen today will not yield the same results as it did yesterday. This trek will give us just the push we need to take our fitness to the next level. We’ll use Angela’s nutrition expertise to maximize our results.
Our hope is that anyone who reads this blog goes on this journey with us in some or all of these areas. What is the mountain in your own life? I know you have at least one. We will be writing very candidly about the physical challenges in training, and also the emotional and spiritual challenges that we seek to overcome as we trust God on this journey. Will you join us?
Answering the call,
Jeff & Angela <><