One climbers shared experience in summiting Mt kilmanjaro

Comment

One climbers shared experience in summiting Mt kilmanjaro

Below is a shared experience from a client Roger Garrett of the NZ Altitude Training Centre who with 28 other individuals as part of raising awareness and funding for the Mental Health association did a group trek to the top of Mt Kilimanjaro.

Roger completed a number of active altitude training sessions at the NZ altitude training centre combining both the treadmill and stair climber in his preparation while breathing reduced oxygen to mimic the effects of altitude.

Rogers story below.

We took 5 days to summit and 2 days to descend. A brief synopsis as follows

Day 1. A gentle 4 hr trek from the Rongai gate (1900m) to Simba camp (2600m). Moorland zone. Gentle start to trip and no real problems with altitude. Time and presence of mind to ‘smell the roses’ and enjoy the surroundings. Lots of jokes and laughter (huh - how things would change!).

Day 2. 5.00am start of gruel (porters called it porridge but that is a slur to porridge) and ginger tea (would eventually become the most awaited part of our meal schedule – made from local ginger). A step up in intensity today with a 9hr hike ascending 1200m to Kikelewa caves at 3800m. Some tired bodies today but a good dress rehearsal for summit day. Good day but fine dust getting everywhere. Haven’t had such dark coloured snot since tube days in London. Suspect I will be coughing up the dark stuff for weeks after the trip.

Day 3. 6am start. Shorter day with a 5 hr trek to the campsite at Mawenzi tarn (4350m). Many now starting to feel the effects of altitude with exhaustion and headaches the most common symptoms. Despite one of only 2 people not taking Diamox (pill to help with altitude) I have been lucky enough to avoid any signs of altitude sickness. Our medic says it is hit and miss – some are lucky, others less so. Actually I felt so good I spent the afternoon climbing a further 500m up to the face of Mawanzi. Most thought I was crazy – I didn’t disagree but the experience was quite surreal – peaceful, cathartic, selfish

Day 4. Rest day – so more exploring on my part! Duh!

Day 5/6. 6am start – 5 hr gentle walk to base camp at Kibo huts (4730m). Really dusty again – we are just 26 ‘pig-pens’ (from Charlie Brown) walking in the wilderness! Get a sense as to the size and majesty of Kili today – it’s huge. Landscape is stark and moonlike.  Today is a big day as we have an early dinner, hopefully a 3 hr kip before a 10pm rise for an 11pm departure for the summit. Most struggle to sleep as they mentally prepare for the big summit push. Altitude becoming an issue for many – headaches the most prevalent symptom but nausea starting to hit a few. Apart from a minor headache (Panadol fixed) I still thank my lucky stars that I have so far at least avoided any significant problems from the altitude.

So 11pm we head off, guided by our headlamps. It is snowing and the wind chill is significant. The pace is unbelievably slow (on purpose to help with acclimatisation). As we ascend probably 70% of group now in state of minor/significant distress – vomiting/extreme exhaustion/headaches. 5 people given steroids (including Mal Law who looked out for the count until then). Altitude not a problem for me although the piercing wind has frozen my hands (I hired gloves having left mine at home – big mistake as the hire gloves were shit – dangerously so). Estimates by the guides were that with the wind chill the temp was between -10 to -15 degrees.

However around 6am we finally make Gillman’s point (5685m) just in time for the sunrise .The hard part is over. After another couple of hours we finally hit the peak – Uhuru at 5895m – Pic 6. Wonderful views of Kili crater, Mt Africa, glaciers and some very tired and sick trampers. After lots of pics we finally descend (which proves to be a lot easier than first thought) making it back to base camp around noon. A quick lunch and a further 4 hr tramp down to Horombo huts (3700m) completes a very long and satisfying day. Those that suffered from altitude sickness showed a remarkable improvement during the descent and the mood of the party went from exhaustion to elation pretty quickly.

Day 7 – gentle (relative) 6 hr walk out through forest to Marangu gate and the promise of the first shower in 7 days. So with all the effort, dodgy ablutions, dust, altitude problems – was it worth it – HELL YES – new friends made, a strong feeling of accomplishment and a sense of camaraderie only a trip like this can generate.

Comment

Altitude Training For The Everest Marathon

Comment

Altitude Training For The Everest Marathon

3 years ago I saw a post of Facebook that I had no idea would change my life.  It was a friend of mine who had just competed in the world’s highest, said to be the world’s toughest marathon.  I followed his journey and what an incredible life changing trip!  I thought instantly that this is that ‘big life event’ that I’ve wanted to work towards.  I started talking about it, following the posts from the Everest Marathon team and then I starting telling everyone I was doing this.  Soon enough I was booked and paid.

A few months after my friend had returned from this event and I told him I was going to do this and he connected me up with another person who was attending Lesley Turn Hall.  Instantly we began sharing notes and ideas.  Lesley introduced me to an Altitude expert who also had coached many successful athletes along with supporting those who had been injured in their recovery.  I cannot thank Lesley enough for this because meeting Walter Thorburn at The New Zealand Altitude Training Centre was to be the best thing I did for what was ahead.

I walked through the door at the Altitude Centre nervous, somewhat unfit, slightly scared of the event in a years’ time and almost a sense that I didn’t belong with all of these incredible athletes.  Walter was so incredibly nice and really was excited for me about what was my goal ahead of the training.  He started the work out slow, which I was so grateful for.  I was on a good flow of oxygen to start with and a taste of what it would be like at a maximum setting.  What an incredibly amazing experience just feeling your muscles cramp and react to the lack of oxygen.  My body worked harder which very quickly paid off.  This was what it could be like at the starting point of my marathon – Everest Base Camp! 5364M

I walked out of that first training session motivated to improve fitness, reduce oxygen levels and Walter was a huge part of that boost in confidence.  Each session I attended from this day (roughly 2 per week, every other week) was even more inspiring.  Walter made me feel like I belonged and that I had what it takes to conquer this marathon in a years’ time.

I worked very hard over the year with a great support and coach Walter Thorburn.  Because of this I left my last training session in 2015 all ready to set off on a trip of a life time.  After the year I was able to train the full hour on the maximum setting and comfortably.  This is roughly 10% flow of oxygen.  All the hard work and expert advice meant I was injury free with a new frame of mind to achieve my goal.  What I didn’t know was what to come was going to test that mental strength I had gained from training.  Kathmandu and the Nepal region were struck by a deadly earthquake just a week prior to departure.  Thousands lost their love one’s and homes and villages wiped out with the devastation and danger raising the event was postponed. 

Mixed emotions of guilt, sadness for those in Nepal and just generally heart broken.  I felt the guilt of feeling so gutted I couldn’t participate in what I had trained so very hard for when so many suffered.  I took two weeks to get ready to make a decision.  I entered the 2016 Everest Marathon and continued my training then began fundraising which ended up being over $4000 to give back to the region.  Going back to see Walter and the Altitude Training Centre was almost like therapy for me.  I became more dedicated and determined than ever.  After another year of training and coaching from Walter I once again finished up the last session before the ‘big’ departure.

 

I arrived in Kathmandu and a few days later flew into Lukla.  The journey just to the start line of this marathon had to be the most challenging but the Everest Marathon team and guides were incredible at making everyone comfortable and took the trek easy to help prevent Altitude Sickness.  Sickness can affect anyone and this was the scariest part.  By the 12th day of travelling, trekking and staying in beautiful hospitable tea houses we were ready to run this marathon that’s for sure!

After two adventurous nights’ sleep or wake I should say at approximately 7am on May 29th the countdown began 4…3…2…1……RUN!  We were finally setting off for what personally I had prepared 3 years for.  I ran the full marathon 42.2km from Base Camp to Namche Bazaar in 9 hours 56min as the only New Zealand female this year to do so.   Each moment really digging deep and honestly had to be one of the most scenic and challenging events I had ever competed in.  This marathon was only my 4th marathon I had ever run and I was humbled to be surrounded by so many who actually celebrated this being their very first marathon!

I’ve returned with a new lease on life, wonderful new friends and most of all a new understanding of how you need to look after yourself and if you do put that dedication and preparation in with expert advice such as Walters you honestly can achieve anything.  As far as I’m concerned without Walter Thorburns words of wisdom, patience and expertise this marathon would have been almost impossible.  I am forever grateful and so hooked with how Altitude training improves my fitness and athletic ability that I’ve since returned to continue my training.  I recommend the New Zealand Altitude Training Centre to anyone of any shape, size or ability because achieving everything you want in life is for everyone.

“You cannot make diamond without a little pressure” Mel Fey

Thank you Walter for helping this diamond sparkle!

To see some of my journey visit my blog or Facebook page

https://melissafey.com

Motivation Endurance Learning (Facebook)

https://www.facebook.com/MELNewZealand/

Comment

Head Injury success story through Altitude training

Comment

Head Injury success story through Altitude training

Two years ago I suffered a serious head injury that effectively ended any thought,idea or ambition to return to any form of activity apart from walking and getting back to working a full day of work as a massage therapist. It has been a VERY long and hard road back.

I have known about the many benefits of altitude training, or IHT - intermittant hypoxic training as it is known from when I used to compete in the Ironman years ago. Now, I was mainly interested in the benefits altitude training offers for health and recovery. I decided to come and see what altitude training could do to speed up my recovery from a health perspective while also improving my fitness.

Knowing I could create the right amount of stress adaption without hard physical activity was something that was very important to me. I chose to walk on the treadmill actively while breathing in reduced amounts of air for short periods of time. I needed to take things slowly to build my confidence back up. Six weeks after first starting and with the support of Walter at the NZ Altitude Centre monitoring my improvement, I am excited about the changes that have come about.

There is a clear reduction in my heartrate by over 30 beats per minute under activity. I also have a better clarity of thought throughout the day. Sometimes I get forgetful, but then who doesn't. I have even joined my daughter in her karate classes and am working towards going for my first run in a few more weeks!

Grant Hopkins

Comment

Passive and Active - Intermittent Hypoxic Exposure (IHE) and Training (IHT) explained

Comment

Passive and Active - Intermittent Hypoxic Exposure (IHE) and Training (IHT) explained

The benefits of altitude training are for everybody, so the training protocols can be many and varied depending on if you are climbing Kilimanjaro to training for a triathlon or cycling event. Or you want to use IHT or IHE for the benefits of weight loss or reducing episodes of asthma. 

Once a consultation is booked we can then best recommend and prescribe an individualised programme that best suits your goals.

Comment

"Besides getting rid of my asthma, the Altitude taught me how to breathe properly."

Comment

"Besides getting rid of my asthma, the Altitude taught me how to breathe properly."

Training during a very cold, wet and windy NZ winter is never much fun, so having the option to replace 2 of my outdoor sessions with 2 nice, warm and dry Altitude sessions was absolute bliss. It is also much safer than trying to ride on Auckland’s streets during the day (getting up at 5am is no longer an option). Additionally, being a new mum, my ‘spare’ time was (and still is) very limited, the Altitude is a really great use of an hour – I honestly felt like I’d done 2-3 hours afterwards.

Comment

"For some weeks after an injury I did passive training and I was surprised at how well it maintained my cardiovascular fitness"

Comment

"For some weeks after an injury I did passive training and I was surprised at how well it maintained my cardiovascular fitness"

Altitude sessions have been great to use in recovery from an injury when you can’t train at normal loads/weight. With an injury I was able to do active bike sessions at lower loads, but still found that with the altitude I got the same benefits as if I have done a hard interval session. Both in training and racing it has given me an increase in power at a lower effort.

Comment

"As an asthmatic, altitude training has really helped me control my breathing - especially during a race when I’m under pressure."

Comment

"As an asthmatic, altitude training has really helped me control my breathing - especially during a race when I’m under pressure."

As a busy self employed, mother of three I wanted to use my time wisely, I knew it wasn’t only about running further….but smarter. As I didn’t have years of endurance base under my belt, I thought there must be better ways than just building fitness on the hard urban pavements.  I had heard about the positive effects of Altitude Running, did some online research and found what I was looking for in my local area. I had to give it a try!

Comment