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Switching over – Climbing Kilimanjaro Blog Post # 6

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I find that my priorities are beginning to shift.

While I will still continue to include lots of education posts in my 31 days of blogging, more and more of my mental and emotional energy is going into the immense physical challenge of getting ready to climb Mount Kilimanjaro with Dream Mountains.

I took this challenge on as a way of starting retirement and I guess as a way to rewire (or reprogram) myself after 31 years of working in the education world.

What is important to me is that in doing this climb, I have pledged to raise $6000.00 for the Senators Foundation – a charity that does lots of important work in and around our school community for our families.  I wouldn’t be doing this if this was a bucket list thing, I’m not interested in projects that don’t tie into my former school community.

I was fortunate to meet up with Shawn Dawson who leads the Dream Mountains Foundation.  Shawn is a very accomplished climber who is giving back to his community every year by recruiting and training 20 non-climbers to take on the challenge of a lifetime.

In the years Shawn has run these trips he has raised close to $1,000,000 – in fact, we will break this barrier very soon as we raise money for our different charities.

dream-mountains-clipular-1 The training for this experience is brutal – probably some of the most challenging training I have ever done. It comprises walking up more and more flights of stairs in a 31-storey building.

Our ultimate goal is to do 10 stories in 10 minutes per set.  Right now, I am at 8 stories completed in under 13 minutes each.

I have a way to go.

We change things up by hiking an 8.5 km trail  that quickly ascends 310 m.  This past weekend, we did this ascent in 55 minutes – a good pace!

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The group at the top of trail – great group to hike with

These hikes serve many important purposes – the main objective is to get to know your fellow climbers – these are the people who you will depend on during the climb and it is important to know who has your back on an arduous climb. The climb also gives you the opportunity to try out your equipment – a constant experiment and most importantly at this point, it gives you a chance to test your fitness level.

For me, I realize I have work to do, but that’s OK – this is January 16, and we don’t leave until the end of March.  There is something wonderful in focusing on your physical fitness – it is so rare in this society that we have the opportunity to do this. After 31 years of working as an educator it is a very welcome change!

I am loving every minute of this experience – the training, the hikes, the constant learning and the team building.  There is lots more to write about – especially how I hope to share this experience in real time as much as possible, but that is for a future post.  Lots of time now to write.

Today, recover and get ready for another assault of the stairs.