Training to Conquer Mount Kilimanjaro

I wear my climbing boots everywhere to get ready for the climb

I wear my climbing boots everywhere to get ready for the climb

Two month ago Rajesh Durbal, the first triple amputee to complete the Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon asked me to be the “team doctor” for the first ever “Guts to Glory Expedition” to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro—the highest free standing mountain in the world.  Rajesh assembled 10 disabled amputee athletes to perform this first ever climb by such a group.  Thus began my new training for something I have never done before.

To prepare I have been climbing the stairs of the Cathedral of Learning here in Pittsburgh—36 floors high—taking the elevator down (to save my knees!) and then climbing again.  It’s amazing.  Initially one or two times left me exhausted but I am now able to climb the 36 floors 8 or 9 times at an average of 10-12 minutes per climb for a very hard and fast hour workout or so.  

Recently I have added a back pack with a 20 pound weight to increase the endurance—but it has increased my time! In addition I have continued to ride my indoor bike on my Computrainer which has been the greatest gift to cyclists.  A computerized device connected to my bike that allows me to “dial in” any of over 100 different races or bike trips.  The same one I used to train for Kona in my gym at home!

In addition I have been taking long hikes in the cold on weekends with my backpack.  This simulates the conditions near the summit when the temperatures can reach -10 to -15 below 0 Fahrenheit.  My diet essentially has remained the same as when training for an ironman distance race.  Generally a Mediterranean diet high in vegetables, fruits, fiber, lean protein and a little more carbohydrates than usual.  Overall I have also increased my calorie comsumption as well.

The various supplements include wheybolic protein, omega-3 fatty acids, turmeric, nitric oxide, CoQ 10, D-ribose and L-Carnitine. Climbing with 10 disabled athletes will give me little opportunity to complain.  It truly will be the ultimate demonstration of one’s altitude is determined by one’s attitude!  Wish us luck as we start climb on Thursday Feb 20th!  I hope to post daily pictures and blog notes, so go to frequently to follow our assent.