Mt. Kilimanjaro – Week 23: Training Mask & Team Hiking

Training Mask

As you read this blog post, how is your posture? Are you sitting on a chair or couch? Standing on the subway? Are you hunched forward or is your back straight and your sitting/standing at attention? Did you just adjust your posture? Haha! What about your breathing? Are you breathing fast or slow? Deep or shallow?

You really don’t need to think about breathing as you go through your regular day to day activities. It happens without you having to remember to do so. Isn’t your body amazing?

During my Week 15 blog post, I outlined a few exercises to help prepare for the higher altitudes we’ll experience on Mt. Kilimanjaro. For those who are not aware, Mt. Kilimanjaro stands at 19,341 feet tall (5,895 meter). At that height, the effectiveness of oxygen at that level is only about 9.9% (sea level the effectiveness of oxygen is approximately 21%…and on the other side of the spectrum, Mt. Everest falls at 6.9% effective). Due to the lack of oxygen at higher levels, the body increases production of the red blood cell to help carry more oxygen to muscles in order to complete your daily activities.

IMG_7957One way to train for the higher altitude (besides the breathing exercises outlined during the Week 15 post) is to use an altitude training mask. The mask restricts airflow, simulating higher altitude (up to 18,000 ft). I’ve been using it while writing this blog and to forces me to think about my breathing (very controlled, slow, deep breaths). While the other exercises are great for the moment you’re completing the task, it’s hard to run with a bag of potatoes on your stomach (haha!) so having the mask on while running will really force you to concentrate on your breathing. It’s a great tool to strap on when climbing stairs, weight training, running, and relaxing on the couch. Plus…it’s hard to eat cookies while wearing the mask….so it helps in more ways than you think 😉

Would I recommend the mask to other potential climbers? Yes. But don’t fool yourself in just using the mask. You need to train properly for several months before embarking on the Kilimanjaro journey.


Team Training

11053089_10155958636880402_442836720408800140_oAnother great weekend with some of my Kilimanjaro team members! Yesterday, nine of us completed a 7hr training hike at Rattlesnake Point and Crawford Lake. The weather was fantastic, everyone’s spirits were high, and the terrain was fairly close to what we’ll be experiencing on Mt. Kilimanjaro.

IMG_8240While our hiking speed may have been slightly faster than what we’ll complete on Kili, I think everyone did a great job. Everyone on the team seems stronger and ready for the challenge ahead! With only seven weeks to go, you can feel anticipation growing on the team. I love it!

IMG_8230Later this week the team will meet to review our packing and equipment requirements. We all need to ensure we have the proper gear for a successful and somewhat comfortable climb. Next weeks blog I’ll share some photos and the list for any future climbers 🙂

Save The Date

For those in the Toronto area, please save the date!

Date: Tuesday September 15th
Time: Lunch Hour (12-1pm)
Location: 199 Bay Street – CIBC Commerce Court – Outdoor Courtyard
What: Celebration of ‘Think Pink’ week in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and a chance to meet the climbing team plus a few other awesome surprises…. more details to come!



In addition to the my average daily walks of about 7K, this week I completed the below.

August 17-23
Monday: 4K run + Chest & Arm strengthening exercises (1hr 45 mins)
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 6K run
Thursday: Back & Arm strengthening exercises (1hr 15 mins)
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 7hr hike
Sunday: 3hr hike


Don’t forget – all the funds I raise are donated directly to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. I will be paying my way for the entire trip out of my own pocket (flights, climb costs, equipment, vaccines, etc.). The funds you donate are used by the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation for breast cancer research and education/awareness programs. If you have’t made a donation yet, there is still time! Help us hit our goal of $100,000 – we’re almost there!!

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 9.55.30 PM

Help us reach $100,000!!!


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