Monday, August 21, 2006

Pah! Kilimanjaro in six days? I could do it in four.

...Just kidding. With Andrew setting me up to look like some sort of super-fit freak, I thought I'd give you all a little fright by way of an introduction.

I work with Andrew at The Motley Fool, so I obviously know him. We all know too much about him, including what underwear he wears. Still, he invited me on this great trip, so he can't be all bad. Ha!

I also know Jon, or 'Spider' as he's known at The Fool. He doesn't usually work in the office, so I usually communicate with him by email. The first ever email I received from him was a telling off for not using the discussion boards properly. Oops. Sorry again Jon!

I've already got an inkling about the rest of you from the blogs. By my count, nasty mean Andrew has taunted poor Steve no less than 7 times by implying he's a slacker. Eszter's clearly the good-goody, but anyone who wants to show up Andrew and Jon is alright by me. And Mrs M...apart from the good advice about gingko biloba (which will also help my tinnitus apparently. Is there anything it can't do?) I’m afraid I won’t be able to call you Mrs M. Not that there's anything wrong with the name; it's great. Problem is, my siblings and I call my mum Mrs M, so it's deeply weird. It stands for 'Mrs Mum'. (I told Andrew no prizes for guessing for what I call my dad. He guessed anyway. 'Mrs D'? he asked. Some people!)

Anyway, I have an unfair advantage. I’ve read about you, but all you know about me is that I'm some guy who has gate crashed your hike. So…I like to climb and walk (handy, I suppose). I don't get to do either as much as I'd like. I do wall climbing mostly and I went to Hadrian's Wall earlier this year, which obviously involved a lot of walking. Next year I plan to walk the length of the Wall. The tallest mountain I’ve scaled…drum roll…Snowdon. Wow! I don’t hear you all exclaim. I live in Kilburn, which is depressingly flat, but I'm near Primrose Hill and Hampstead Heath, so I can get some training down around there.

…And this is a great time for me to start training. I went to my first ever cricket match a few weeks ago, England vs. Pakistan, which England won. Moreover, I'm refreshed from a recent holiday. Plus, I learned a couple of weeks ago that I'm a godfather, as a friend gave birth to a girl called Seren - and a more deserving couple you can't find. So I'm full of life, enthusiastic and ready to apply myself to a rigorous training regime. After telling Jon this today, his comments: ‘Too depressing’. Teeheehee.

I thought of explaining in detail why I’d like to climb Kili, but anyone going on this crazy trip knows exactly why. To sum up: the incredible views, the walking, the challenge, the extremes, the endless walking, dizziness, panic, fear of failure…Hang on. Why are we doing this again?

But really, it’s going to be a lot of fun! I’m highly motivated to train. My main concerns are strengthening my calves and shins and, of course, low oxygen. I can't help thinking of that scene in The Simpsons when Homer is climbing the Murder Horn solo. You see him surrounded by seven or eight empty oxygen tanks, whilst he's furiously breathing into another. Then you hear Bart's voice: 'Er dad, don't you think you should save some of those for higher up?' The image pans back, and you see that Homer's only climbed about five feet. That could be me.

By the way Andrew, I’m very impressed with the 44bpm heart rate. Although Jon and I shamefully joked it was an early indicator of cardiomyopathy. Jealousy make man mean. Seriously though, glad you’ve got the all clear from specialists. Hypoxy-whatsit tests are probably a good idea for everyone.

I’m still working on my new routine, but it’ll involve a lot more walking (the fun part), plus I'll increase the cardio work I do in the gym (the ugh! part). I tested a circuit routine last week:

  • ½ hour/15km on the bike on a mid-to-difficult setting
  • 1,500 metres rowing in five minutes on the hardest setting
  • Ten minutes/2km running at 12km/hr (Eszter and Andrew are both right: running is tedious.)
  • Ten minutes/1km walking up a 15 degree incline (a climb of 144metres) at 6km/hr.

My first session went quite well, although by the end I certainly felt that I could have done with hiking poles. And possibly seven or eight oxygen tanks.


Blogger Jon said...

"Spider... He doesn't usually work in the office..."

Just to clear up any possible ambiguity, I work from home, as opposed to going into the office and not doing any work! ;-)

Jon (aka Spider)

12:10 PM  

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