Author Topic: Mount Kilimanjaro lockdown run and hike  (Read 763 times)

WhitstableDave

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Mount Kilimanjaro lockdown run and hike
« on: 14:54:01, 21/01/21 »
Ever since we bought our first treadmill at the start of lockdown last year, I've wanted to attempt the iFit video workout programme called the Mount Kilimanjaro Summit Series. This week, I finally felt I might possibly be ready for it.



This is the description:
Quote
Welcome to the Mount Kilimanjaro Summit Series in Tanzania with iFit Trainer Zac Marion! You’ll run and hike up to Uhuru Peak on Mount Kilimanjaro, getting closer to the summit with each workout. You’ll move from camp to camp until you reach the very top, then you'll recover with some downhill runs. Push hard and enjoy the incredible views from the tallest peak in Africa!
Zac Marion is one of my favourite iFit trainers. He's a top ultramarathon runner, having recently won the multi-stage transalpine race (mixed pairs), and his beginners' and intermediate running programmes have really helped me start to think of myself as a runner - as well as a walker of course! He's also great company on the workouts; he talks about physiology and technique - as well as the surroundings - in a relaxed, laid-back way.

Although the Kilimanjaro programme is designed for a treadmill / incline trainer, the actual distances, speeds and ascents are pretty close to the real thing, making this an amazingly immersive trek. The programme comprises 18 video workouts averaging around 40 minutes each, and the total treadmill distance covered is almost 39 miles. On a treadmill that can incline to 40% (such as ours), the total elevation gain is about 13,400 feet, which, like the distance, is similar to the Lemosho route that we're following. It's true that neither altitude nor temperature extremes are serious issues in Whitstable though...  ;)

I've completed 5 workouts so far, which I'll describe briefly here, and I'll add more later in similar-size batches.

1. Londorossi Gate to Forest Camp Part 1:

I found this to be a challenging start! It was a 4.5 mile run along a mostly level dirt track, with the final half-mile rising 250ft. I was well out of my comfort zone! The track passed through lush tropical forest. I was looking out for monkeys, but I didn't see any.



2. Londorossi Gate to Forest Camp Part 2. / 3. Forest Camp to Shira Camp Part 1:

I did these two workouts back-to-back. Workout 2 continued through the thick forest on a single track thick with porters(!) and was a 50/50 mix of running along the level-ish parts and hiking up the steeper bits, where the incline reached 34%. Workout 3 was steeper still, with about 90% being hiking and with only occasional short running sections. Along the way, there was a sudden change of landscape as we left the forest and entered scrubby, bouldery moorland. For this pair of workouts, the total distance was 4.4 miles with 1,880ft of ascent.



4. Forest Camp to Shira Camp Part 2. / Shira Camp to Moir Camp Part 1:

I did this pair of workouts back-to-back this morning. The first began with some very steep climbs that reached 40% incline with the final third of the way levelling off and allowing a 'recovery' run. The second workout was mostly running as the inclines were far more gentle. In total, I covered about 5.8 miles with an elevation gain of more than 1,200ft. Now we've left the forest behind, the landscape of rounded boulders and short, scrubby scrub allows a fantastic view of Kilimanjaro a few miles ahead!



I'm absolutely loving this programme and can't wait for the next session...  :)

BuzyG

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Re: Mount Kilimanjaro lockdown run and hike
« Reply #1 on: 21:00:43, 21/01/21 »
For an enhanced experience you need to put your ruck sack on. Then adjust the heating as you get higher. Oh and get an oxygen tent to reduce the O2 as you climb. 

WhitstableDave

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Re: Mount Kilimanjaro lockdown run and hike
« Reply #2 on: 15:24:33, 22/01/21 »
For an enhanced experience you need to put your ruck sack on. Then adjust the heating as you get higher. Oh and get an oxygen tent to reduce the O2 as you climb.
A running vest isn't really necessary, but I mostly wear the right gear (for lower levels anyway) - including my new inov-8 sweatband (see reflections in last two photos!). I already switch the heating off, open the window in front of the treadmill, and have several fans blowing! Perhaps I'll also open the conservatory door as I get higher...  ;)

I did another two workouts this morning...  :)

6. Shira Camp to Moir Camp Part 2. / 7. Moir Camp to Lava Camp:

I did these back-to-back and they totalled 1 hr 36 mins. There were a few spells of running when the terrain allowed, but most of the time was spent hiking - gaining 2,000ft over 5 miles. The landscape has become very lunar, being mainly lava fields. It's also getting noticeably colder - I know that because Zac was wearing a jacket and gloves as we left Moir Camp and headed to Lava Camp!



I'd love to be able to show what I see as we head up the mountain, but my attempts at taking photos of the screen are never any good. I can't keep my phone still on the moving treadmill, and there are reflections that aren't noticeable in real life but which are always in the photos. I tried a few photos today to give some idea of the view, but they're not great...





(I'm taking the day off tomorrow to do a virtual 10K run.)

BuzyG

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Re: Mount Kilimanjaro lockdown run and hike
« Reply #3 on: 18:31:07, 22/01/21 »

I already switch the heating off, open the window in front of the treadmill, and have several fans blowing! Perhaps I'll also open the conservatory door as I get higher...  ;)


I was thinking more you should turn the heating up and keep the windows firmly locked to get the humidity up. On the higher levels yes cool things a little. But lower down it should surely be hot and humid, or your not even trying to experience the jungles of Africa.

WhitstableDave

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Re: Mount Kilimanjaro lockdown run and hike
« Reply #4 on: 10:09:20, 23/01/21 »
... But lower down it should surely be hot and humid, or your not even trying to experience the jungles of Africa.
With the Lemosho Route starting at an elevation of around 2,500m, it's unlikely to be very hot. In fact, today's weather forecast is for a high of about 14C near the start.   ;)

WhitstableDave

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Re: Mount Kilimanjaro lockdown run and hike
« Reply #5 on: 15:27:16, 24/01/21 »
I did a virtual Niagara Falls 10K run yesterday. I hadn't intended to do a Kilimanjaro workout as well, but the run was on very flat terrain and my next mountain session was a short acclimatisation climb, so I did that straight after the run.  :) ...

8. Lava Camp Acclimatization:

Having arrived at Lava Camp, which is around 15,000ft, some acclimatisation was required. So this activity was a simple matter of walking 600ft up a nearby mountainside trail and back again the same way. Just 1.6 miles!

This morning was nearly all about climbing - I don't think there'll be much more running until the descent!

9. Lava Tower Camp / 10. Lava Tower Camp to Arrow Glacier Camp:



I did these two sessions back-to-back. They were short, but very tough!

Next to Lava Camp is a high, rocky tower (left above - a lava neck or volcanic plug?) and the first workout was about climbing it to admire the views, rather than to make progress up the mountain. Perhaps it was another spot of acclimatisation. I attempted to take a couple of photos - the first just about shows Lava Tower on the left as we head towards it, while the second has us scrambling up over the icy rocks...



By the way, the 40.0% on the screen in the scrambling photo is the treadmill's incline!

This first workout involved climbing 535ft in 0.5 miles and was followed by a 1.1 mile hike with 1,021ft of ascent. This probably doesn't sound a great deal, but it was steep! My wife took some photos...



The two workouts only took about 50 mins, so I thought about continuing with the next one. I soon changed my mind when I saw that it was another 2,300+ft in just 1.5 miles and so I did a jog to the Taj Mahal instead to reach my daily steps target! Perhaps tomorrow...

(One more thing. It can be seen from the photos that Zac Marion is wearing trail shoes rather than boots and during today's second workout he talked about footwear and how grip was the priority, while warmth could be achieved by layers of socks. I've previously done the Kilimanjaro climb with a top mountain climber named Jake Norton and he wore trail shoes, and fabric boots near the summit. Just saying...  ;) )

WhitstableDave

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Re: Mount Kilimanjaro lockdown run and hike
« Reply #6 on: 12:49:26, 25/01/21 »
This morning's session was very definitely the toughest of the entire trek!

11./12./13. Arrow Glacier Camp to Crater Camp Parts 1,2 & 3:

I did all three workouts back-to-back. The total ascent was 4,062ft, which took 95 mins (parts 1 & 2). Most of that time was spent slogging up an extremely steep incline, which included a solid 30 mins at an unrelenting 40%. When we finally arrived at Crater Camp, there was a gentle 10 min cool down stroll to see a glacier (part 3). The climb was 2.8 miles and the cool down was 0.5 miles.



We set off in the dark because this section is dangerous in daylight due to rocks falling when the overnight ice melts. At first, we made our way up by torchlight. After about 30 minutes, it started to get lighter, but because the sun was rising on the other side of the mountain the rocky ground remained very icy throughout the climb.

The Crater Camp plateau was mostly covered in several inches of snow, although the ground was bare below the glacier. The glacier was quite a sad sight because there's not much of it left.

There's not far to go before we reach the summit - and then it's all downhill from there!  :)

WhitstableDave

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Re: Mount Kilimanjaro lockdown run and hike
« Reply #7 on: 12:43:28, 26/01/21 »
Today was summit day!  :)

I did three very different workouts this morning. First was a brisk walk around the rim of the crater, then there was the final climb to the summit, followed by a long downhill run.

14. Crater Camp / 15. Crater Camp to Uhuru Peak / 16. Uhuru Peak to Mweka Camp Part 1:



The brisk walk around the volcano crater was 1.4 miles with just 387ft of ascent and it served extremely nicely as a warm-up for what was to come next.

The climb to the summit was tough! It began with a fairly level walk across a snow-covered plateau for about half-a-mile, before the very steep ascent to the summit. The elevation gain was more than 1300ft in one mile, with some long 40% inclines.

But it was all downhill from then on. I ran the first of the three descent sessions - 3.5 miles at an easy pace. It was brilliant! We started the descent in falling snow, ice underfoot and poor visibility, and finished in sunshine and no ice anywhere. I probably shouldn't admit this, but I really liked running past hikers...  ;)

(One more thing... During the final ascent, I passed 30,000ft total ascent for 2021.  :) )

WhitstableDave

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Re: Mount Kilimanjaro lockdown run and hike
« Reply #8 on: 14:26:55, 27/01/21 »
This morning, I finished the Mount Kilimanjaro Summit Series!  :)

17. Uhuru Peak to Mweka Camp Part 2 / 18. Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate:

I did the two workouts back-to-back, running a total of 6.3 miles down the mountain to the 'finishing gate'.

At first, the landscape was scrubby plants and very rocky ground (as in the first photo below). As we descended, the paths got smoother and the vegetation changed to lush forest.



And that's it. It was a fantastic virtual adventure that lasted about 12 hours, and covered nearly 39 miles with 13,400ft of (sometimes very steep) ascent. I don't know what the walk/run balance was, but in terms of distance covered, I reckon it was about 50/50, although in terms of time far longer was spent walking than running.

Slowcoach

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Re: Mount Kilimanjaro lockdown run and hike
« Reply #9 on: 14:45:13, 27/01/21 »
As they say these days “awesome” What a great piece of kit. I particularly like the way the footbed van raise to 40%, mine only went to 12%.  How fast does it allow you to run? One if the factors in choosing mine was being able to run at sub 5 minute miles  ( used for interval training) and to run steadily at sub 6 minutes.
Sold it when we moved. It depressed me having it and not being able to run on it.
It's all uphill from here.

WhitstableDave

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Re: Mount Kilimanjaro lockdown run and hike
« Reply #10 on: 15:02:57, 27/01/21 »
As they say these days “awesome” What a great piece of kit. I particularly like the way the footbed van raise to 40%, mine only went to 12%.  How fast does it allow you to run? One if the factors in choosing mine was being able to run at sub 5 minute miles  ( used for interval training) and to run steadily at sub 6 minutes.
Sold it when we moved. It depressed me having it and not being able to run on it.

Our previous treadmill could only go to 12%. I did a similar workout to this one on it last year and I thought that climbing Kilimanjaro (virtually) was quite easy. Doing long sessions at 40% is a very different matter though!

Our machine can go at 22kph / 13.7mph. That's completely academic for me though - I'm working on distance rather than speed!  ;)