As the trek up Mt. Kilimanjaro gets closer and closer, I have shifted some of my physical training to mental training. The more I read, the more I understand how critical it is to be as mentally prepared for the adventure as it is to be physically prepared. Some of my mental preparation has included walking up the hills 5 miles, walking back to camp and then turning around and doing the exact same walk again. This trip takes me 8 hours and let me tell you it’s brutal on the brain. I’ve done this exact 5 mile stretch 40 plus times and though it’s beautiful, it’s very familiar, the only thing that changes is where the Hartebeest is standing or whether or not I see a giraffe. To add to my mental preparation, sometimes I skip water for the first 5 or more miles, all of which are uphill, this gives me a nice headache which is a guaranteed addition to my Kili hike. I know I have it in me physically to walk the distances required to make it to the top of Kilimanjaro, what’s left to question is how my body will react to the altitude. Some people adjust well to the altitude, some people get very very sick and can’t physically continue up the mountain.
On the opposite side of my “negative” mental preparation, I have also begun my positive mental preparation. I often daydream about accomplishing my hike to the top of Africa and the celebration that follows. I have also installed an “Adventure” wall in my tent, which motivates me every time I see it. Though fear of failure is always on my mind, I try to balance that fear with the vision of success. I plan to be as mentally and physically prepared for this hike as I can be and the training continues to fuel my vision of success. In less than 60 days I will take my first steps up the mountain that I stare at everyday, I am giddy with excitement and grounded with respect for the task ahead.