“At first an ordeal and then an accomplishment, the daily run becomes a staple, like bread, or wine, a fine marriage, or air. It is also a free pass to friendship.”
~ Benjamin Cheever, Strides

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

To climb a mountain...

As you all know, I'm on self-mandated injured reserve status with respect to most exercise until Bug is born.  (What????  8 months pregnant and I can't climb mountains, run marathons, compete in triathlons?  LOL!)

Soooo....instead I'm planning for the things that I will train for post-birth.  Yes, I know I will have to take off about 6 weeks to recover from birth.  Yes, I know that scheduling in my training will be a completely new challenge with a newborn in the mix...but I'm determined to keep up my crazy thirst for new adventures and challenges anyway and my husband is thoroughly supporting this madness.  Plus, if I start planning now, I'll feel obligated to follow through.  HA!  :D

The big thing that has crashed into my calender for next year is a highly technical mountain climb.  My family and I are planning for a climb of Mt. Rainier in Washington State in Summer 2012.  According to the RMI site (the guide group we intend to use for the climb), "Mount Rainier, at 14,410 feet, is the most extensively glaciated volcanic peak in the contiguous United States."  That just makes it more interesting!  Right?  

Oh - and the reason this has to happen this summer?  We're eyeballing a more challenging climb involving approximately 19,000 foot volcanoes in Ecuador for the following year. For that climb, the guides would require the climbers to have proved themselves on a mountain like Rainier. :)

Mt. Ranier, a picture from my brother's climb this summer.
The climb of Mt. Rainer that we would be doing from their site is the 4 day summit climb.  The first day is pre-trip orientation.  The second day is mountaineering school where packing will be finalized and skills practiced on the lower slopes of Rainier around 6,000-6,500 elevation.  Some of the skills that sound fun - cramponing, roped travel and ice axe arrest.   The third and fourth days are the actual summit attempt.  

As my Dad described RMI, the guide outfit, "They are not the best guide outfit for summitting.  They are the best guide outfit for getting you back down.  In other words, the best guide outfit for my kids to climb with."  In other words, their priority is your safety - even above making the summit.  If they do not think you can physically make it, they will make you turn around and return to base camp.  They are also the group that is famous for doing a lot of the rescues of other climbers on the mountain.

So, I'm working on a training program that would prepare me for climbing a mountain.  I do not want to be one of those that has to turn around after all.  And, to make it more fun, I'll be doing that while also training for a half-marathon scheduled for April 1st in Knoxville, TN.  Because why do one thing when you can do two, right? Right?

According to RMI, the best program will simulate the conditions on the last part of the climb.  Er. um.  Okay.  No real mountains in Ohio.  Looks like I will be making good friends with a stair-climber.  :)  I also will have to train with a pack - as I'll be expected to carry a 35-45 lb. pack during the climb.  Of course, they say that training on a stair climber is better than nothing, but not as good as extensive hiking/climbing.  Maybe I'll have to schedule a long visit to my parents in Colorado next summer.   Ok - twist my arm.  LOL!  My favorite quote about the training from one of their guides, "Training for mountain climbing should be neither easy nor comfortable because mountain climbing is neither."

Once I get a schedule more hammered out - I'll be happy to share what I came up with!  My half marathon training will definitely have to be more balanced with strength training and cross-training on stairs.  And, in general, more of my runs will have to involve hill-training because Knoxville is also rather hilly (although, it's no mountain.)

The real challenge will be training my lungs.

What will make this fun for all my friends - is that quite possibly, I'll be running with a weighted vest during next winter's MIT long runs!  Because why do a long run with just a jacket, when you can carry an extra 10, 20, 30 lbs as well.

Hmmm.  Maybe I'm not quite all that sane after all.

So, what crazy things have y'all considering doing/training for???  Go ahead give me some more crazy ideas!  :D

Editor's note:  And yes, for the curious, I am compiling an excel spreadsheet to compare different half marathon training schedules and mountain training needed activities to come up with the best way to sync the two ideas.

Additional Editor's Note:  I will have to lose all the baby fat plus an additional ~30 lbs in order to be in the right shape for this climb.  That is more than a little daunting.


  1. So, you are replacing the baby weight with a vest? You cray-cray. Ok, my crazy training desire is to do a tri. That's only crazy once you factor in that I cannot swim or bike. But other than that, I could totally do it.

    I'm dying to know your baby name. Dying.

  2. I think you can totally do anything you put your mind to. I want you to also remember to not get frustrated if it's harder to get your training in than you think. Your body and life will go through a huge change when the baby is born. We'll be here to cheer you through the ups and downs-and to babysit when needed! :) ♥

  3. LOL! I am cray-cray. But, although it sounds crazy hard....it also sounds crazy AWESOME. :)

  4. I too offer my babysitting services to you in order for you to train. And, like Sara, I am DYING to know what you two are going to name Bug!!

    I think it is sooo cool that you are planning on doing this. I love the mountains...what's not to love? My mom is over hiking in Switzerland right now for 3 weeks....rough life!!! :)

  5. I'm absolutely keeping a list of all my babysitting volunteers!!! I love y'all!

    We need to have another get-together so I can share the name thing. :)

  6. Mandy - this is awesome! I wish I could go with you - I soooooooooo want to climb a mountain someday!! This sounds wonderful!

    I have every confidence in you that you can get to where you need to be to climb these mountains - no doubt in my mind. at. all.

    This is amazing, friend. I hope I can have the opportunity to do the same one day. How did you first get into climbing and where would someone like me start?

  7. WHOA! Did you change your blog while I was typing?!?! Didn't this happen once before?!?!

    Anywhoodle, I LOVE THE NEW LOOK - totally awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. LOL @ change blog while typing! Yup! I'm playing with making it prettier and adding more stuff. I blame those of you with awesome blogs. :)

    I'll make another post about getting into climbing. Someone like you - would probably start in the same place I will be when I start this training. I'm getting pretty excited about it - I'm nailing down the details of my training plan!


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