January 30, 2013

Ok, we had kicked this idea around since January 9 (my birthday when I posted “in 3 years I’ll be on the Roof of Africa” and then decided/questioned WHY am I waiting).  And by we, I mean Chris and I (should I go, how much does it cost, when would I go) and Fran and I (she’s always been on the list to go!) and then Erin and I (because whenever I’d talk (via text) about it she was all “I AM IN!” and she was all for SOONER).

We decided we’d do some exploring on different guide companies and start to put together a plan.  Below is the list of questions we sent to 6 (I think?) companies.  I know we had 4 responses.  And all were satisfactory (well one wasn’t but they did respond) but we immediately liked one the best and continued our discussion after that.  But that’s another post!

The questions and my random “now that it’s 8 months later” comments in red:

Hello, I have a group of friends that are interested in climbing Kilimanjaro late this year/early January of 2014.  I know that some of my questions below are answered on your website but any information you can provide would be helpful.  I am working as the coordinator.  We have 2 confirmed people (myself and a friend) and another “almost there” friend.  We are all female ranging from 43-57 and have done trips such as Rim-to-Rim Grand Canyon (backpacking 3 nights), Yosemite, including Cloud’s Rest and Half Dome (backpacking 3 nights) and most recently South Rim to North Rim in one day, followed by North Rim to South Rim in one day at the Grand Canyon.  This has been a lifelong dream of ours and my 57 year old friend really wants to go now while we’re all healthy and youngish!  LOL  Thanks for Fran for not killing me for using her age in public!  And it’s not like I’m THAT much younger!!  

1)      Recommended route (and does it fit in with #2?).  Our preferences right now seem to be leaning towards Rongai (had a friend who did this) and Lemosho.  We like the idea of Barranco Wall as a “challenge” (see Half Dome trip above) but also like the quietness of Rongai.  Can you help us narrow this down (and seeing dates in #2 might help in that regard).  We were really pretty open here but definitely knew we wanted at least 6 nights for acclimatization and liked the sound of the “less traveled” Rongai route.

2)      Our preferred trip dates are leaving the US around 12/26 and being home by 1/10 – what trips fit into those dates and pricing for 2 people as well as for 3 for the suggested trip.

3)      Price for add-on 2 night safari – which park(s), accommodation choices would you recommend.  Because if you’re going to Africa, you MUST go on Safari!

4)      Price for hotel night upon arrival (additional) and night after safari/fly-out (dependent on flight times).  We are very interested in having the day before the actual hike as an “extra” day versus flying in late at night and departing the next morning.  This was KEY to us reading trip reports and knowing many flights got in late the night before

5)      Toilet situation on hike (we could want Advantage Series), can we add-on (price) if desired.  This particular e-mail went to Team Kilimanjaro, I tweaked this one (and a couple of the others) specific to each company and what I could find on the web.  Also, 3 women reading the trip reports ALL AGREED a toilet of our own was mandatory.

6)      Food – is there a “dining” tent (this would be in included in Advantage Series correct?).  Many companies offered this and were highly praised for having a place out of the elements to eat and relax.

7)      Size of party – we are completely open to hiking with others, do you arrange this and/or how big will you go with a group?  What happens if some of the group is not as fit as we are in terms of hiking pace and acclimatization?  If we end up with the 3 of us, could we share one tent?  Or would we have 2?  I think we’re open either way, just thinking we could huddle for warmth if 3 of us fit.

8)      Inclusions/exclusions of prices (airport/hotel transfers, tips, meals, etc.)  I think this is pretty well done at: http://www.teamkilimanjaro.com/prices.html so we’re just looking at extra night (front end) and safari (back end)

9)      Equipment list for rentals?  We think we’d like to rent sleeping bags versus carrying them half-way around the world.  And/or pads.  We have the majority of the other gear or would purchase and/or train with it this year.

10)   Vaccinations – answered on web

11)   Visa – answered on web

12)   Safety equipment and training for your tour guides.  Do they carry pulse-oximters?  I had an experience last year on Pikes Peak w/a hiking companion (who will NOT be coming on this trip) that had a blood condition and at 10,000 feet had his pulse-ox in the 70’s.  We got him on oxygen immediate (at Barr Camp) and off the mountain in the middle of the night.   It seemed to be an excellent “tool” to help really evaluate his status.

So, on the afternoon/evening of January 20, 2013 I sent this e-mail (with variations) to all of our companies.  And we waited, for about 12 hours!  Amazing response times and detail!!  Yet to come…..

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Saturday – training only

No real update except got in a nice trail run at Turkey Mountain:

Ran 8 (a 5 mile out and back and then a 3 miler and finished w/1 on the path).  The 3 miles were on the “blue” route which was WAY more technical (read: rocks) than the yellow.  LOVE it there.  Absolutely love it.


Have a I mentioned how I love Strava?  It has the best graphs that actually reflect the effort!

More trip planning tomorrow!

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Friday. 14 weeks to go!

See, not counting the days, just the weeks left, on Fridays!

Spent last night working on calendar and figuring out what’s on it between now and then.

Penciled in bleachers for every week (except cruise) and hills every other week. Only have 2 official events, Woolaroc 8K on Oct. 12 and Tulsa 1/2 & 1/2 on Dec. 15 (so far….). We plan to run the first 1/2 (13.1 trail run) and walk/hike the second 1/2 (13.1 on Riverside) as our finale in endurance training for the trip.


So, since I updated the plan I thought I should actually DO something on it today.  Welcome back hill running…

This hill is literally down the driveway from my house and too close to not take advantage of at least every week or so.  Add in a cool front and I was able to run at 10:30 am and finish the last mile into the wind and it felt awesome!

I run up the entire hill, run down, run up the hill to the bench (probably 2/3’s up) and then walk the rest, running down again.  Working my way up to full running all 10 times!

A quick snapshot of the calendar looking ahead as well:

Screen Shot 2013-09-20 at 2.47.33 PM

Have I mentioned my love of spreadsheets?  Oh, you’ll see A LOT of them in the months to come!  How do other people stay organized?!?

So I’ve done two things on my list from Wednesday.  Progress!  Seriously, every single thing I do helps me feel more ready and prepared.  Hoping for a long trail run tomorrow while the boys go shopping (Ha! That sounds so wrong.  Let’s make it CAR shopping, ok much better).  The trail run will help with endurance and preparation for the 1/2 in December.  Plus, temps in the 70’s (FINALLY), low humidity and a beautiful day?  Everyone should trail run tomorrow!!


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98 Days (I promise not to count every single day….)

Flights, checked.  All fine (for now).  Delta has lowered the Economy Comfort seating to $69 from $99 for the MSP-AMS and AMS-DTW legs.  Hmmmmm.  Most people say the extra legroom is way worth it for attempting to sleep.

Erin meets us in the MSP and has a 2 hour window, so we’ll plan on meeting her at her gate for a giant “it’s really happening” jumping up and down frenzy.  OMG.

I went to the United Way kick-off lunch today.  Sat next to a parent of another 10th grader I know.  We talked kids a bit and he asked about my next race (December officially, still considering Woolaroc next month) and I was telling him about the trail run and explained I was doing more hiking this fall to prepare for upcoming trip.  He causally asked “so where’s the trip” and I casually replied “Kilimanjaro”.  I swear his jaw literally dropped to the table!  ~cackle~  He said “well I was expecting Estes Park or something like that”.  Ha!  I told him how I felt the trip to CO this month really helped me feel ready and now it’s a state of “keep it up” until the trip.

I also went to M’s XC meet.  I love watching those kids run! They are awesome and the team this year is incredible!!  They are all mini-Pre’s!

Weekend plans:

Continue knocking off to-do list posted yesterday (got flights check, 1 thing done.  ONE THING!).  Hoping for a trail run while the boys go car shopping.  XC meet before that.  Hair appt!  Yay!  Not much else.  First weekend in September I really have no obligations.  Hope to be ultra-productive

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99! Ninety-Nine!!!

Somehow 100 days yesterday seemed like enough.  99 today doesn’t!  Especially because nothing got done yesterday.  I feel like something “has to” get done each day.  So today I’m focusing on a list of what to do in the short-term (1 week future):

1) Check on flights (have I mentioned Delta re-routed us from TUL-MSP-AMS-JRO to TUL-ATL MSP-AMS-JRO without a) telling us or b) providing transportation from ATL – MSP?  Got that fixed about 6 weeks ago.  Need to confirm our trip details and seats.  Both for Fran and me (booked together) and for Erin, booked from SLC-MSP, then with us.  We WANT to go through MSP since we’re meeting Erin there and if you’re going to be on planes for the next 8 hours/3 hour layover/9 hours, you want to be together!

2) E-mail Bianca at Team Kilimanjaro re: remaining amounts due and dates (somewhere about a month out, when I’ll be in the middle of the Caribbean), plus equipment we want to rent, plus hotel confirmations and all

3) Review packing list and update (it’s a spreadsheet, to be shared when reviewed and as we go forward)

4) Training plan: not worried specifically about doing anything but continuing where I am, but would like to get known events down (Woolaroc Road Race, ½ & ½ in December, kid events, etc.)

5) Put together a “to-do” list when doing the above.  Things like 1) get US dollars in newer bills and X amount, 2) call for Yellow fever shot in October, 3) decide on flu shot (I *never* get it.  NEVER), other supplies still needed (hand warmers).

6) Order a banner for display at the summit.  Figure out how to invite friends to participate with a message on the banner.  Figure out what to take to donate and/or how to include others that are interested (ideas welcomed!)

7) Write trip report for 14ers (and Rim-to-Rim squared last year).

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100 Days

100 days until we board our flight to Tanzania.  When I first started talking about this (this year, not to be confused with the 270,238,296 other times discussed previously), I promised I’d blog about the preparation.  Ummmm.  Well, I have 100 days worth of posts right? I mean, easily!  So, let the countdown begin…  Officially.  Again.  And stop freaking out about TOMORROW = double digit countdown!!!  O.M.G.!!

Things to be covered in the next 100 days:

  • Who we selected and why (we think why, can’t really report on that until AFTER)
  • What we’re packing
  • What we’re renting 
  • How we’re training
  • And, a recap on how we got here (flights, booking, plans, etc.)

So, immediate freakout session includes: haven’t done a thing about this trip lately because have been focused on Girl’s Adventure Trip 2013 (5 14ers!  FIVE!! In 3 days of hiking) plus a girlfriend’s fun trip to Portland.  Both trips over the period of the last 12 days with a whopping 36 hours at home.  

So, now I have time to focus on Kili.  Well, that and the family, who apparently need food (“can someone COOK a meal here?”) and stuff (posters and checks for tests and did I mention FOOD?) and things like math homework checked and rides to/from and from/to!  


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December 2 – First Trail Run. Ever!

O em gee! That was awesome! How did I not know/think of these before? I think it’s because my whole recent running life (2007 and beyond) I was focused on the half-marathon and getting that first marathon in. Once I did that, it relaxed me enough to think about what else was out there.

Add in my love of hiking, and I was prime to discover trail running. I’ve hiked Turkey Mountain before and knew it was a trail runner’s dream. But once Tatur.org posted an upcoming half-marathon there I got seriously interested. I ran 8 last week to make sure the legs could handle a half in 2-3 weeks and then set today as the day to attempt a run out there.


A friend and I went down and ran 8.5 miles. We talked, we giggled, we evaluated and we discussed how much easy this felt breath-wise (and we were huffing and puffing) and how occupied we felt time-wise.


I fell twice which I expect is normal. Luckily both were pretty “soft” falls and the worst part of both was hitting my funny-knee-bone. Which wasn’t funny!


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