My head

10 things I’ve learned since I started training for Kilimanjaro

November 30, 2016

training for kilimanjaro

If you think that I’m learning about what a natural long distance athlete I am, you’d be sorely mistaken. I’m a short, sharp exerciser and this long distance shit is killing me slowly.

I accidently hiked 16km recently and I was kind of cranky about point number 6. I sold the hike as a quick 10km round trip to my hiking buddy but we realised I was a map ‘tard after the first 7.8km when we were only halfway.

That said, with only four weeks until I hit Kilimanjaro in all of my new fancy practical Kathmandu kit, I have realised a few things about this crazy trekking business.

1. Hiking boots really are exceptionally ugly shoes

When shopping for the shoes that will carry me to the “roof of Africa” was I initially looking for comfort? No. I was looking for the least ugly shoes on the rack. As it dawned on me that they were all as ugly as hatfuls of arseholes I started to get practical. The process was not easy for me. I am not known for ugly practical shoes.

2. Hiking is more than a sport with ugly shoes

I never gave much mind to hiking as a sport. It’s kind of like walking but in the bush (sporting fugly shoes), so I was surprised to find myself unwinding out there surrounded by the sounds of birds and the scent of the bush.

Someone recently asked my if I would continue once I’ve finshed the climb and I think I will… just maybe not as often or as far as the accidental 16k hike I underwent becasue I have no map skills.

3. Training on bin day sucks balls

As part of my training I’ve found a 1km stretch of hills in suburbia that I have to schlep up for an hour. Heaving in lungfuls of air as I pound up hills is hard enough on any given day, however bin day adds a whole new element of extreme sport.

You know someone’s bin is particularly pungent when you heave breathes through your mouth and you can taste their rancid bin juice vapour…. especially when it’s humid. I hear it’s quite good training as there are smells on the mountain. I expect many of them will be me.

4. Flies have a surprising chili burn when you inhale them

Does this require further explaination? I think not. I ate a fly. It burned. The end.

training for kilimanjaro

5. Backpacks squeeze your boobs into unsightly sausages

Can they not design a backpack with support straps that are flattering? What is up with the squeezy boob sausage???

One must choose between the lesser of two discomforts – sausaged baps or broken shoulders.

6. I can’t read a map

It’s probably not so much that I can’t, it’s more that I don’t. I’m have a lazy, lacadaisical approach to hiking which is find trail, and stay on it. But man, those forks in the trail can really fork you over.  Just ask my man who also walked further than I promised due to aforementioned shortcomings and had to listen to me threatening to eat his hindquarters should he die out there in the wilds.

He called me numnuts.

7. I refuse to snot rocket

I get a very runny nose on my morning 6km weighted hill trots. Is it the heat? Is the air? Who knows but never once have I remember to pack a tissue to handle the problem with decorum. Every time I think about the snot rocket (aka footy blow) but I simply cannot bring myself to do it.

That said I’m totes down with the hand blow and fling. Not as tidy or efficient as a snot rocket but feels somewhat less crass. I know I’m actually kidding myself becasue I’m really snotting on my hand and wiping it on my tee.

training for kilimanjaro

8. A 10kg bag is heavier than you think

I put the 10kg pack on and ALWAYS think ‘it’s not so bad today’ and then thirty minutes into my workout as sweat trickles down my back and my shoulders are crying I remember that I need to drink my water fast to alleviate some of that arsehole weight.

I also didn’t know that a pack makes your hips tilt as you walk up a hill and those muscles love to scream at you when you go out for dinner after your training session. Or cramp up during sex, making you look like you’re trying a sexy new move when you’re actually just stuck in hip spasm.

9. Stretching is recommended for a reason

I’m a non-stretcher at the gym. I go and smash out the weights or the class and I may fluff about stretching my hammys for show but I don’t actually sit and stretch and breath into tightness in order to alleviate oncoming pain.

Well, I didn’t. Now I’m that person who sits on the floor moaning, watching tv whilst rolling around on a ball that is akin to a torture device that bites into every sore bit you have.

10. I might look nuts but it’s a conversation starter

Hiking gear, running up brutal suburban hills – yep, I’d look at me wierdly too, but after seeing me pound the pavement a few times in a row most people get curious about this lumbering beast sweating in the morning sun….and then when I explain what all of this cray-cray activity is for they get it and today someone even gave me $40 towards the cause.

Have you made a little donation towards Rafiki Mwema to support me in my hike?  Please do, and I’m certain you’ll get 7 years good sex for such a good deed.

Here is my GOFUNDME page.

Big thanks to Kathmandu for my partial sponsorship that made my gear much more affordable…

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1 Comment

  • Reply dawnrieniets December 16, 2016 at 11:50 am

    You’re incredible, my friend. Best of luck on the climb I know you’ll smash it. XOXO

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