My journey to reach the roof of Africa


My Kilimanjaro Gym Regime

gymMartine and I joined our local Virgin Active health club last weekend. For Martine exercise is one way that can help reduce the effects of the PSC related fatigue she suffers with. For me it’s about improving my cardio vascular fitness and general stamina to help me on Kili.

I had my induction consultation on Tuesday and they listened to my goals and came up with the following workout:

Warm Up

Rowing Machine – Moderate Pace, 5 Min

Cardio Vascular

Treadmill – Intervals (2min@ 5.5kph, 1min @10Kkh) for  12min total

Vario Cross Trainer – Intervals (2min @L4, 1min @L7)@ 90+ RPM for 12 mins total

Bike – Intervals (2 mins @4, 1 min @ L6) @ 80+ RPM for 12 mins total


Strength and Conditioning

Chest Press (2 x 12 reps) 20KG

Lat Pull Down (2 x 12 reps) 30KG

Leg Press (2 x 12 reps) 50KG

Lower Back Extensions (2 x 10 reps) 0.5KG

Plank (abdominal) 4 x 30 secs

I’ve since completed two sessions and been stretched but OK with most of the exercise except the back extensions and “plank”. My core and back are clearly not my strongest point – yet.  One of my sponsors commented on my training “the more you put in…” and every time I’m running out of steam or feeling the burn I’m reminding myself of that. Better to be hurting in the gym a little than failing to get up Kili due to a lack of preparation.


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A Rivington Ramble

rivington-pike-stepsLast Saturday the 5th Jan saw 3 of the 4 “Team Killimattjaro” members get out on the hills together for the first time. Jeff, our fourth team member is just playing himself in as he breaks in his new boots and custom insoles; he’ll be ready to rumble with us soon. I’m really looking forward to getting the whole group out on a walk as soon as we can.

The weather on the day was  unexpectedly mild, dry with sunny spells and light winds as Paul, Debbie and I enjoyed our 9.5 hike around the West Lancashire Pennine moors near Rivington,  close to my childhood home of  Chorley with the local Ramblers walking group (who made us very welcome – thanks folks). I recorded the hike data on my phone’s Cycle app – you can see the results here.

This was the first time that I tried my new walking poles – they’re ace, super light and easy to stow on my day-pack but a bit of nuisance to adjust whilst walking. I really felt the difference during steeper sections as they allowed me to share some of the load with my upper body and use my arms to help pull me along. During descents they act like a second set of feet so you can always keep multiple points of contact with the ground and take some of jarring off your knees. That said I had a few traction control failures  much to Paul and Debbie’s amusement but I did just about stay upright – without the poles I suspect I’d of been flat on my ****!

I drank my 2 Litre hydration bladder dry during the walk – I’m seriously now considering going for a 3 Litre one. As Paul subsequently said” you don’t have to fill it completely if you don’t want to”. I think I’d like the flexibility to carry more drink.

My post-climb recovery seemed very good with no pain or stiffness, just a little “tightness” in the legs to remind me I’d been out the day before. I was able to exercise the day after no problem. Feels like progress in the fitness stakes but as ever there’s plenty more to do ahead. I’m off to the states next week so it’s some hotel gym action to try and fight off the jet lag.

I’ve quite a bit of travel on over the next few weeks but hopefully I’ll get another hike in before the end of month.

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Motivated by (raising) money – and your support.

200px-HP_logo_2012.svg This week I received an email from HP’s UK employee social club with an offer to fund match employee’s charitable fundraising up to £150 for any activities that promote the employees’ health and well being. Well dropping a few stones and improving my fitness to drag myself up and down Kilimanjaro qualifies me nicely. Anyway, one online form submitted at the start of the week and on Thursday I get the confirmation my application is accepted. That’s an extra £150 raised then – thanks HP.

In fact the last week or so has seen a number of donations made to PSC Support in sponsorship of the climb. I emailed my LinkedIn contacts over the Christmas break to tell them about the climb and why I’m doing it and the response has been both remarkable and heart-warming. Colleagues, professional acquaintances and friends have been remarkably kind in their comments of support and generous in their donations. I really have been taken aback. I’m going to take a list of everyone who sponsors up on the mountain with me – whenever I get tired or need a motivation kicker that list of amazing individuals will provide it. Thanks to each and every one of you, I’ll make sure I repay the faith in me you’ve shown by giving it my all!