You will remember that my Journey to Kilimanjaro all started with a wedding invitation and initially to me that trip was simply about just that, the wedding and of course getting on a plane to discover another part of the world YAY! That was until I realized I would be flying into Kilimanjaro so I casually thought well why not climb Mount Kilimanjaro while I’m there. It’s very important that you understand how casually the thought occured to me because I must convey to you that I really had no inclination that Kilimanjaro was as tall as it was at the time of making the decision to climb.
It was just a simple hike, no biggie other people do it all the time. Even when I found out that it was the tallest peak in Africa, that still did not faze me, I mean Africa is not exactly known for its mountainous peaks, so no worries. When I eventually got around to it I initially was going with the metric height of the mountain which is 5895m and even then I thought, oh that’s not too bad it’s only in the 5000s. To be honest I did get a bit worried then but still not too much.
The enormity finally hit when I discovered the book Touch The Top Of The World by mountaineer Erik Weiyenmayer a good old American guy who spoke using the imperial system of measurements. It was then that the magnitude of what I had decided finally come crashing down. Like literally crashing , that sinking feeling in your gut when you realize OMG what the HELL did I say I was gonna do again?!
Thankfully I am blessed (and cursed) with what I will call a backwards, naive optimism. The kind that has you agreeing to do things even when you have no clue how to do them in the first place. Or choosing to continue on your quest to climb a 19, 430 ft high mountain before or after you’ve actually read how difficult a climb it is even for seasoned climbers. See I tend to more times than not say YES to any opportunity that comes my way, especially when I don’t know how I will accomplish it. I am seduced by unknown outcomes and funny enough never imagine them to go wrong. Thus even after finding out Kilimanjaro’s real height I somehow convinced myself that hey it don’t matter, we (me myself and I that is) can do it!!!!-Backwards, naive optimism.
That decision however has brought some true blessings thus far. I knew once I decided to climb Kili that I needed to get into shape, no big deal I’ll just get on the mat and start back my Pilates and walking, right?. Not so much, after reading some harrowing stories of people struggling to summit the mountain I knew I needed to up the ante. As the universe is wont to do I met a physical trainer at a networking event who had come to pitch a free boot camp that his studio was offering. The word FREE is always a little suspicious to me and sure enough the boot camp is essentially a loss leader to what they actually sell, a line of fitness and lifestyle products; said trainer assured me however that there was no obligation to purchase the products.
I believe that when you make the big decisions and pursue life with abandon the universe does indeed conspire to make your dreams come true. Here I was being offered at least 4 weeks of high intensity training, (just the kind recommended for a climb like Kilimanjaro) for FREE! Um YES you can DEFINITELY count me in!!!
It was a lovely sunshiny Sunday and so I decided to walk to the registration from the burbs into the city. It was a 4 hour walk in total and I literally stumbled in right at 7pm just as they were supposed to be closing registration. I walked in to an enthusiastic chorus of HELLO! from what seemed to be a gaggle of beings all on the floor stretching and contorting their bodies in some fashion. Turns out they were all trainers seemingly going through a last work out for the day. I was immediately wrapped into a warm cocoon of excitement as I apologized for being late and explained that I walked to get to their studio as I am training to climb Kilimanjaro. This immediately caught everyone’s attention and has led to a fascination that still today informs my training – taunts of ‘imagine you’re climbing KILIMANJARO Lucy’ come at me in the most inopportune moments when I am struggling to finish a particularly despised exercise move.
Of course the registration came with an initial schpeel about the products and how terrible my current eating habits were. I got weighed in and discovered that although I had been walking and doing my Pilates for the past month or so, I was still in rather dismal shape. My body age was 51 (umm Excuse me!!!!) and few other things were definitely not what I’d expected. Things were not all bad though, there were some numbers that weren’t too terrible and so there was hope for me yet.
I am now into week 3 of a 4 week intense workout and fitness challenge and I can honestly say that I LOVE /HATE LOVEEEEE it! The trainers are all quite umm hot and handsome which is motivation enough but more importantly of course, is the fact that my body is hating and loving every minute of it.
The workouts are exciting, and tough. I have 2 trainers and so my body is being challenged with a diverse mix of workout systems. Trainer J- who I sometimes imagine as the devil – tends to focus mostly on high intensity training – so things like suicides, burpies, mountain climbers and the like. Trainer S – who I refer to as Sexy Frenchy because his french accent is so thiick and hot- tends to focus on deep muscle workouts that incorporate a lot of yoga and Pilates movements.
No matter how many times I find myself cussing out a trainer -in my mind of course- or screaming out loud to get through another 15 push-ups, or 40 sit-ups, or stretch some unknown muscle into reality, I always leave that studio feeling absolutely amazing, energized and accomplished.
I have not missed a single session and though I have not yet purchased any of
the products, I can actually say good things about the Protein Recovery shake. I sampled it a couple of times after my workouts and it really keeps me full and feeling good.
I feel truly blessed on this Journey to Kilimanjaro as it is offering some amazing gifts at just the right moment in my life. In this moment I am rediscovering how much my body really loves to move and be challenged. Deeper still the life lesson that no matter how much the body hurts while doing those wretched exercises we are all made of some stronger, sterner stuff, comes through. The body recovers as in life no matter how difficult the challenge we may face we are built with amazing resilience that allows us to come out on the other side, stronger, toner more capable than we were before.
So I march on welcoming the gifts that Kilimanjaro brings, stretching and pushing me to reach beyond my perceived limits to a greater me.
What about you, have you taken up a big challenge recently? How is it changing your life? What are some of the lessons being learned along the way? Would love to hear from you, feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below
Some Pic s along my 4 hour walk….
Just in case you are not yet aware I am also climbing to raise awareness about a Woman’s Right to Her Body. Feel free to click on the image below to learn more.
Till next time I am yours always a Traveling Black Chick!