Countdown: Three Weeks

Three weeks from today I will be settling into a sleeping bag on Mt. Kilimanjaro, gazing at what I think will be a billion stars overhead. But… back to today. I was supposed to go back to Mt. Washington to hike again, but the Auto Road was closed, my hiking partner Mary is gone in Montana all week (hiking) and… it’s a long way to drive up and back–about 6 hours that I don’t have right now.

But training continues!

I dusted off my Orbea Diva racing bike and took it for a 12 mile bike ride, thinking of Barry Haarde and thanking him for reigniting my love of cycling this year. Quite frankly, I am afraid of my bike. I’m used to the heavier hybrids, where you can really pump hard and fast, standing up even. But this thing.. it weighs about 3 pounds, is light and super fast, but moves when you do. The bike was shaking for 10 minutes when I realized it just feels every vibration in me. It has clip-in pedals, which also takes some getting used to. I survived and really enjoyed it!

My trainer, however, says the bike isn’t enough. Not enough cardio. Ten minutes with my trainer and I feel my heart bursting and pounding, just like it did on Mt. Washington. I see him twice a week and it’s made a huge difference. Dan suggested I increase the incline on my treadmill (what a concept! I’ve had it for years but never do that!), throw a ten pound weight on my back, lace up my boots and walk it. Sounds easy, but within 10 minutes, I was sweating and got the heart pounding again. This is a good thing. Eventually, someday, it will get easy. But not really before Kili.

As important as the training is what I am eating. Previously, I had fallen into a pattern of carbs, carbs, carbs, which gives me lots of energy. But also gives me points in the day when I am totally depleted. I’ve switched to a high protein diet, with minimum carbs. It was kind of hard at first, but now I am slowly losing my cravings for any carbs. This is great because not craving them allows you to think about what you are to eat, not just react. The protein helps repair the muscle tears (plenty of those) and carbs give you energy. This past week I ate so few carbs I found myself really depleted. After an hour with Dan, I went to run 4 miles, made it 2.5 and crawled the rest of the way home!

On Friday Tara, her friend Julia from Ohio, and I went on a whale watch out of Gloucester, or “Glah-sta” as they say in Boston. The trip was five hours at sea, on a hot and brilliant day. We saw lots of whales! I was as hungry as one, as my metabolism is really picking up. Tara watched me at one point and said, “You’re freaking me out, eating a cheeseburger.” I don’t think she has ever seen me eat a cheeseburger as I am mostly vegetarian. And I never eat red meat. No longer. All the working out has raised my energy levels, and I feel like a machine churning away calories! It seems I can’t eat enough, but I am slowly losing weight.

And tonight, Tara and Julia, despite the horrid heat in the daytime, stoked up a lovely fire in our outdoor oven and made s’mores. I haven’t had one of those since 1983 I think. The treadmill says I burned off about 400 calories; how much could one little s’more cost?

Seriously, I’m learning so much about eating right, and exercising for maximum effect. (And seriously, I did eat a s’more) If you want to learn about being fit, getting fit and raising your standard of life, check out the icon next to this blog, over there on the right! Bayer has a Living Fit program that might be of help to you!

On Saturday I went shopping at REI and bought sleeping bags, day packs… a ton of stuff you need for six days on the mountain. We will start in tropical weather and end (hopefully) in winter weather with the temperature dropping to the 20 degree mark! It’s really getting exciting, now that the big day is coming!

Consider a sponsorship! I still need to raise more money. Go to www.saveonelife.net and click on Donate Now. Then click Kilimanjaro and follow the directions. Let’s raise it for Africa! Asante Sana!

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