Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise funds for improving education and literacy in Africa.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Looking forward to my Sand Hiking trip.

On my way once again for some adventures in the desert ;-)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Getting ready for a 12 day hike in the desert.

Looks like the temperatures are not bad this time of the year. 40-90 degrees is not bad when it is going to be snowing and freezing cold here.
Just got a new 3 L hydration pack. My previous one had started leaking a day before our final summit attempt. Then for the rest of the time I had to use Nalgen bottles. So, anyway I needed a replacement. ;-)
This time around I am carrying my "good" camera as well as the one I had taken with me to Kilimanjaro. Still have to get some mandatory hiking gear in order. But all is good so far.
Wish me luck :)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Getting ready for another adventure......hopefully

Planning on doing a 10 day sand hiking in the desert...i.e. if the logistics work ;-)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Solio saved me!! Thank you Solio!

 To document our adventure, I had with me my Panasonic camera with a few batteries and my iPhone. There were some location (GPS enabled) apps that I was using to track my progress to the summit of Kilimanjaro. The full trip was over 10 days and I wanted to make sure that I have enough "juice" to power my camera and my iPhone. So, I had taken two Solio Classic chargers with me. These chargers were life savers. Each camera battery lasted for about 300 pics and I was taking about that many each day. If I did not have the Solio chargers I would not have been able to take pictures after day 3 and would not have been able to plot our position using my GPS apps. I would absolutely recommend these chargers to anyone who is going to be without power for over a day. The capacity of these chargers is much much better than any other charger currently available. Not kidding you, but on one charge of Solio, I could fully charge two camera batteries and my iPhone from 65% to 95%. Show me a charger that can beat that.
Having said that, I believe Solio has come out with a new model - The Bolt which claims to charge itself faster and also charges devices faster. It is also said to have just one standard (USB) connection instead of the previous models that had various adapters. I have not yet tested it but I plan to use it on my next expedition - Sand Hiking in the Thar desert. I am sure there will be plenty of sun for this adventure ;-)
Here are some pics of me with my Solio. Enjoy !!!
Solio getting ready for the day
Solio on a dusty trail
Solio on a cloudy day
Solio at rest
Finally.... Solio on the Summit of Kilimanjaro
Solio at the end of a long day

Here is a link to the Solio site.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ok. So here are some pictures from our Kili trip

Sorry for not posting any updates since we got back. Times been pretty busy.
Did not want to wait until I have captions/description on all pics and videos.
Here they are anyway.
PS: If you need any high-res copies please shoot me an email.

Below is the Columbus team: Dwight Smith, Curtis Jewel, Tally Wolff, Tanny Crane and yours truly.


September 4th

Enjoy and feel free to leave your comments

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Back home safe

A BIG thank you to all of you for your thoughts and prayers - all of us have returned safe and sound to the US of A. Once in a lifetime experience with all the new people we met and the proximity of being so close to nature and experiencing the force that no human can control.

Just arrived home. Thanks Renee and Dwight for dropping me home. Ray left the group to continue with his Tanzania plan (safari), Robert/Gabrielle, Tally/Tanny were with us until Amsterdam, Debi was with us till New York and finally Curtis, Dwight and I were together until Columbus.

Currently copying all my pictures to my PC. Will be posting some soon.

Thanks again to all of you for your good wishes and prayers.
Now....on to planning for next year ;-)

Made Summit 9-12-2011




Made the summit today.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Update posted - http://on-top-of-africa.blogspot.com

Made it to summit 2 days back. Leaving Tanzania in 4 hours.

Made it to summit two days back.

>
> Made it to summit two days back. Leaving Kili today.
>

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fwd: Fw:

Fwd: Fw:

Fwd: Fw:




Camping here tonight. Karanga Camp. Curtis was not feeling well so he had to go back.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Update posted http://on-top-of-africa.blogspot.com/

Currently camping at 15200 feet. Climb was a little rough, but all is well. Entire Columbus team is doing fine.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Update posted http://on-top-of-africa.blogspot.com/

Began climbing. Currently camping at 12500 feet. So far no allitude sickness. Everything on schedule.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Updated Post http://on-top-of-africa.blogspot.com

Heading to the start point to the base of Kilimanjaro.

Update Posted http://on-top-of-africa.blogspot.com

These are the type of huts we are going to stay in.

Update Posted http://on-top-of-africa.blogspot.com

Did a few hours of nature walk. Saw elephants, giraffes,warthogs,and a bunch of zebras and some locally found animals. Slept at Ndarakwai Lodge. Height 4,193 ft. Tonight is breezy and cool. In canvas tents under thatched roofs. We start real hiking tomorrow. Most of us are having to remove stuff from our duffle bags since they are over 33lbs. :(

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Last post from home before I leave

Last few days have been very exciting. Finally the day has come. In the next few hours I will leave for the airport and on my way to Kili.
I want to take a moment to thank my family, friends and neighbors for all their support - spiritual and moral. Also for supporting our charity by making generous donations.

Please keep us in your prayers and wish us success and safe return.

Will be in touch soon.
Ciao.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Send off dinner by Renee to the team - at Cafe Istanbul @ Easton

The team (Dwight, Curtis, Tanny-John, and I) were treated for dinner at Cafe Istanbul by Renee. Was awesome to get together and go through the check list. Everyone had already finished their packing many times over and here I was with everything just lying around in my living room. Any way, it is done now.

I will be taking my camera, Quik Pod (Thanks Wayne for sending me a few models to take to Kili and see how they work), a bunch of GU electrolyte tablets (Thanks GU Labs for sponsoring me), and a couple Solio Chargers (Thanks Solio for sponsoring me).

My packing is now almost done... probably will be lighter when I give some chemical warmers to Dwight and Curtis. And some honey stingers too. And then I also will be leaving my iPad, charger, etc down at the outfitter office so this will lighten the load too.

Cannot wait...

Less than 48 hours left!!!!

Am I a little nervous? Not little....but a LOT. Have not been able to sleep well just thinking about it.Am I excited? Absolutely. Who would not be. Feels like when I started sky diving a few years back, but just the anticipation is much longer. Well...we are there now.

Trying to figure out how are we going to keep this blog updated with our status. Dwight has the SatPhone but we will use it only for emergency. Probably I will text my cousin who will send an eMail to my blogger address that will get published real-time at the same time sending a link to my FB status. So, probably no pictures until we get back to Amsterdam on our return flight. Well, maybe a summit picture if we have a signal. No promises.
You will not believe this - I have not yet packed. Everything is spread around on the floor. Kinda looks like my office desk ;-) But I still have time tomorrow morning and evening. No worries.
Tonight - Sendoff dinner to the team by Renee
Tomorrow - Lunch at J.Gumbo with a dear friend
Day after - Off we go!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

4 days to go. Yeah!!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

10 more days and we will be on our way!!!!!!

Last few days have been really exciting.... now it is for real. There is no going back now. Reality has sunk in. Am I really doing this? Do I really want to do this? Absolutely YES.
Cannot imagine what a big difference it is going to make to all the kids. We (all of us and our friends who have contributed to this cause) can be proud of ourselves that we are doing our part to help get a better life for the under privileged.
Dwight and I sincerely thank all of you for your generous donations, good wishes and blessings for our successful climb. I will be emailing my updates to my blog as and when we have cell coverage. One of us has a satellite phone but not sure if it will do eMail. I am planning on using my iPhone over Vodacom network for txt, voice and data. As for power for my iPhone and my camera batteries, that will come from my Solio solar charger.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Exactly 4 weeks left... counting down :)

My physical therapy is done. Stress fractures have healed. Final visit with the doctor on Aug 10th.
Training will continue for another two weeks and then will start tapering down.
Waiting on a couple more companies for sponsorship. Submitted my sponsorship form to GU Energy. Not sure if they will sponsor me. Lets see.
Trying out QuikPod (Explorer) version. First looks - it is absolutely awesome. Love the product. Not yet tried the iPhone and basic QuikPod products. Still working on the Digital SLR QuikPod. Too soon to document my experience with it.
For now... Peace out. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Exactly 40 days left.

I am doing my physical therapy exercises hoping to get back on my feet and ready for Kili on time. Have a visit with my Doc on Aug 10th for a Go-NoGo decision. Right leg looks pretty healed. No pain at all. Left is still healing. Hope to get better ASAP. ;-)

Last few days have been very very warm. Heat wave has engulfed the mid-west. So cannot even go for a bike ride. Hopefully will clear next week.

Take care all Y'all.

Friday, July 22, 2011

My Uncle - My inspiration on Jay Leno

video
The gentleman in yellow shirt shown hiking and then rappelling on ropes over the valley is my 91 year old uncle. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Count down begins.... 59 days to go.

Last month doctor confirmed stress fractures (looking at the bone scan). So I have stopped running since last couple months. Next week probably he will put me on some Vitamin D supplements. I am allowed to walk 8-10 miles this week for every other day. Next week will be doing a little more. This morning did a 11.4 mile walk. Legs do not hurt at all but need to take it easy until the fractures are all healed so I can summit Mt. Kili in Sept. Packing has started..but slowly. Trying out various GU gels. Seems like the GU chomps are working out good. Used them at the half marathon in May and they worked  like a charm. Will probably get more of those for Kili.
Getting a little nervous about the climb. No running water for over 10 days. No shower etc for 10 days. Looking for substitute wipes that I can carry. Have not yet got my Diamox and Lunesta. Have to do that soon. Checking on a bandana. Using soft inserts for shoes and they are working perfect with the Merrill shoes. Now I know why my brother (Sunil) will just wear Merrill and nothing else. ;-)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Done with running for now....at least until I am back from Mt. Kilimanjaro

Last week May 8th, participated in the Capital City Half Marathon. When I registered (4 months prior) I had hoped to finish it in 2 hours 30 mins. I was using Smart Coach (iPhone App) for training but 4 weeks before the race I developed stress fractures and had to stop my running. But I did go crazy on the day before the race and was determined to finish it. Did it in 2:21 and now am nursing my legs again. I know I know...it is stupid. But well I did it. Lets not talk about my stupid.

Then this Saturday went to Pitts to cheer my cousin. Could not believe the crowd. 18,000 people. Race start was absolutely amazing. They had kept distances between each Coral. That helped. All along the course they had groups of people entertaining and cheering the runners. Actually they had a $1,000 prize for the best mile marker entertainment (I think). That made it much better. Everything was just awesome EXCEPT the organization at the finish line.

I was expecting the finish to be like our finish in Columbus where the runners are greeted with a medal and then they could walk in open space with food etc..where the family members could greet and take pictures. But in Pitts the family members were not allowed anywhere after the crossing of the finish line. A big area was fenced off for the runners to rest and get refreshments after which they came out of that area (after like 20 mins after the finish). So that was a bummer.

One thing I would like the CapCity Half to do next time is have some competition on the course and give prizes to the best entertainers and cheer leaders.

Now I am back to starting my training for Mt. Kilimanjaro. Hopefully my legs will get better soon.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Saturday, April 2, 2011

One of the best days !!

Hiked nearly 8 miles with back pack. Started at around 7am. Temp around 32C-32C. Misty and cloudy. By the time it was around 8 o'clock it had started to rain. Continued the hike. Tested my jacket. Works good. Ended hike around 9am.
Then was at the office gym from 11am-1pm. Did the stair-master for 40 mins with mask. Then 20 mins on BOSU ball and ended with a 2 mile slow run.

Feeling really good.....hope I feel the same tomorrow.  ;-)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Good workout this morning...

Hiked 9.6 miles with my backpack (30 lbs) with temperatures between 28-32 F. Started pretty cold then it warmed up a bit. After the hike swallowed a foot long subway....well not literally but you know what I mean.  ;-)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

One of those days where I feel I need to get paid more...

Very busy day in office....but the good part is I still worked out at the gym. One hour, 15 degrees incline, 600 calories with mask on. Then BOSU ball. Feel gooooooood!!!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Wow!! Saved another $15 just by making one phone call

So, a few weeks back (6-8 weeks) I was browser shopping for stuff I need to take with me to Kilimanjaro. I was browsing the Cabela's web site. They specialize in outfitting stuff. I saw a warmer pack combo for $24.99 that was on sale. So, I just added it to the cart and thought I will checkout later. Then I forgot all about it until today. But unfortunately when I went back to the web site, it was no more on sale. Now it was priced at $39.99. So, I call customer service and start my sweet talk... bottom line, the lady gave me the sale price.
Amazing customer service.... Wish everyone was like this. No no.... I forgot. Everyone IS like this. Well everyone I call is nice to me and they give me good price.  ;-)

Workout today was 2 miles of walking, tried running but ended up crawling. But that is ok. At least my legs did not stop working like last time.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Did another 3 miles at the gym this afternoon

Wow!! Trained this morning at Sharon Woods 2 hours 30 mins and now at the gym with my mask. 12 degree incline, 1 hour covered 3 miles.This feels really good.... feels like I am floating in the air now that I have removed the mask. Overall the training for Mt. Kilimanjaro is going good. Unfortunately the training for Half Marathon has had a major setback due to my shin problems. But not a big deal. Worst case I will just walk the marathon. If you are reading this blog, make sure that you send good wishes for my successful summit and that I return safe and sound. ;-)
Now a few friends are coming over this evening. We will be watching some movie and after a long time will be eating some nice pizza hopefully. :)

~~ OAO ~~

Hiked nearly 9 miles this morning and feel good !!

Got up early this morning and left home at 6am. Hiking started at 6:30. Hiked for about 9 miles with my backpack (about 30 lbs) and my hiking shoes. On the way we saw a bunch of turkeys all showing off and all. Took this picture before this dude(t) thought of attacking. Also saw a few deers, blue birds, wood peckers, etc... Overall it was a wonderful morning. Finished hiking at about 9am. Shoes are still a little stiff but hopefully will be broken in soon. Feet feel pretty good. 
Came home and made me a nice b'fast. And now for some well deserved Call Of Duty.  :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I may have to walk the Half Marathon instead of running it :(

Sunil (my brother) sent me his iTouch (Thanks Sunil). And today Dwight gave me his Nike+ sensor (Thanks Dwight). Both worked perfect - the iTouch+Nike sensor. Did the calibration and was all set to do a 5K. But shins broke down again.... yes. Again. But at least I could test the iTouch with Nike sensor. Whenever I press the home button it tells me (while my songs are playing) how much have I run, in how much time and what is the current pace. Is that cool or what ah?

So, no more serious running for probably a couple weeks more. That $ucks... but well.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

False alarm... Shins not yet fully recovered :(

Have not had a real run since last 7 days. Shins still hurting. Tried all possible solutions.
I think I will wait for another 7 days without running. Don't want my shins impacting my Kilimanjaro trip.
Motivation meter is not where it needs to be.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Looks like I have recovered....nearly 100%

It has been a few weeks since my last post. Training is again picking up. Hiked with my backpack last Saturday. Did about 6 miles. The week was OK. Trying to catch up to my running schedule.

Last week ordered me a pair of hiking shoes from Sierra Trading Post. I would strongly recommend you to use this web site. For one the prices are really good. Lots of items on sale and clearance. And best of all is their customer service. Phones are handled by 'real' people who are in the US of A. There is no hold and you don't have to listen to the music. Yes. That is 24x7. I could not believe it. Last week when I placed my order I called them at about 9pm and within like 15 seconds a lady picks up the phone. They even gave me 20% additional discount over and above the clearance price drop. While I was at it I asked if she could wave off the shipping and guess what.....yes. I got free shipping too. Shoes came in a few days back. Were a size bigger. The box came with a return UPS label. Sent them back today for a smaller size. Called them. No problem at all.

Then this morning was supposed to hike 8 miles with back pack. Weather was not too good. Lots of rain. So, instead went to the gym and ran for two hours. Did about 10.5 miles. Thought I would be dead by then but surprisingly I feel pretty good. Specially after the run when I finished a 'foot long' subway.

Looks like after all I will be able to finish my half-marathon in May.

आज दिवस भर पाउस आहे. पाय थोड़े धुखत आहेत पण जास्ती नाही. आता वर्ती जाऊन थोडा वेळ एखादा पिक्चर पाहीन नाहीतर गेम खेलीन.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Still getting back to normal.... :(

Been some time since I last posted... Shins started causing problems but leveraged that down time to do some other preparations. Getting my new shoes Nike Structure Triax +14 tomorrow. The Fleet Feet guys said this shoe would do me good. This shoe is also listed as Editors Choice in the latest Runners World magazine. So I am pretty excited. Will do a short run on Saturday and see how it goes.

Day before went to Dicks Sporting Goods and did a lot of research on duffel bags, rain coats, and other accessories. Found a great sleeping bag rated to -15F. Came back home and did more research on the sleeping bag and realized that there were many people who have rated that model with a 1* out of 5*s.  :(   So dropped the idea of buying it. Still figuring out a good deal.

My Silio charger is working pretty good but unfortunately there has been no sunlight since the last few days to get it fully charged. Hopefully this weekend.

On the brighter side, today I had lunch with Dwight and his friend Curtis who will be joining us in our attempt to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro. The three of us will be starting training together soon. Curtis has done many marathons before and as you know Dwight has done many triathlons before. So, it is kind of intimidating to be training with them but I will get there soon...

Take care all yall... be safe

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Did my first 5K after 10 days of down time... feel good

My earlier post was about 5 days back when I was thinking about buying a Solar charger for my phone. Finally bought one. The same one - Solio Classic Charger. On the Solio web site it was $99.99 with taxes AND shipping. Well...for people who know me, I will never buy anything unless it is on sale or they give me a discount code or they wave shipping. So, the Solio guys gave me a discount code for 10% off. For a guy like me, thats just a start but not sufficient enough for me to place an order. So, did some more searches and finally bought one on-line for less than $35. Yes. It is the original Solio. Yeah!!!!  Works just awesome. Tested it by charging with a wall socket and also with the laptop. Works like a charm. Now looking forward to test it in the sun. Unfortunately for the last two days it is overcast and snowing. Will have to wait for it.

News on my shin splints - nearly recovered. Went for a 5K run yesterday. Did it in 30 mins and then shins were a slight bit tender. Not bad. Then went to Fleet Feet to get my feet checked. They fitted me with a pair of shoes. Will be running in these shoes for a week or so and if it does not work I have to go back and get a new pair fitted. Looks like they are pretty good but will be sure after running about 15-20 miles in them.

Today is my day to do "hill" with my mask on. Planning on doing 3 miles in one hour with 13 degree incline. Just trying to follow what Dwight is doing. He has all the calculations for height per mile etc...and I am so good with numbers (you know it Kim) that I get dizzy trying to deal with it.  ;-)

Then going with a friend to UDPI... somehow I have fallen in love with their 'sambar'. I never liked it until last year. That's all for now...

Hope you all have a good weekend (of whatever is left of it).
Take care

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Down for the last 4 days with Shin-splints... :(

Last run was done last Wed - 11.1miles/2 hours. Then had a bad case of shin splints on both legs. Grounded for 2 days then was able to walk. Still hurting. Will be another couple days before I get back in shape.

But my grounded time did help me do a lot of R&D on solar chargers for my iPhone. Spent nearly 6-8 hours over last few days doing this research and finally settled on the Solio Classic charger. Great reviews but I am still a little nervous about it. Does it really work as they claim it to be? Finally I ordered one yesterday. Will be about a week before I get it. You know me - short arms deep pockets. Did not want to pay for shipping so will have to wait for a week to get it.

Today is icy... and cold. My car would not come up the driveway. Finally got it up in the 5th attempt. Not sure if I want to go to office tomorrow.

Hopefully my legs will be back in shape really soon so I can start running again.... now looking at some hands/feet warmers that I can carry with me to Kilimanjaro.

Ciao.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Had a good day today...

Met with Ben Luftman this morning. He is the guy from Columbus (was on 10TV) who climbed Kilimanjaro last year. Dwight and I chatted with him for nearly an hour. Here is a clip of him talking to the news reporter from 10TV. One of the most down to earth guy. He gave us really great advice...he even shared with us the things he should have taken with him (that he did not). I am sure we will be talking to him frequently.

This evening, ran 10.6 miles in 2 hours. That is an improvement of .6 miles in one week. Feels really good. Drank a bottle of water after 1 hour. At the end of my run my lips were dry. Will need to start hydrating much much more than I usually do. Wanted to try the Gu Gel today but did not. Probably will do it next Wednesday.

Looking forward to both... the Marathon and Kilimanjaro.   :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ok. So how 'high' is high-altitude?

Altitude is defined on the following scale:

  • High 8,000 - 12,000 feet OR 2,438 - 3,658 meters
  • Very High 12,000 - 18,000 feet OR 3,658 - 5,487 meters
  • Extremely High 18,000+ feet  OR 5,500+ meters


Some interesting comparisons:

  • Mt. Kilimanjaro is about 19,340 feet OR 5,895 meters. That makes it Extremely High.
  • I have jumped from planes at 11,000 feet high
  • Base Camp to Mt. Everest (SouthEast Ridge) is around 17,700 feet and Northeast Ridge is 16,990 feet.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Started training for High-Altitude

Last month we got bad news that Martina Navratilova had to abandon her journey half way to the summit of Kilimanjaro. So, Dwight (my friend with whom I am going to Kilimanjaro) and I were pretty concerned about the chances of our success. Seems like Martina suffered with something called Acute Mountain Sickness, also known as High Altitude Sickness. So, I figured out a way to prepare and train for this. Here is how we started training.

A few weeks back we purchased this "Training Mask" which is used specifically by the US Military for training for high altitude. It was launched for the general public end of Dec 2010. So we purchased this mask and are training using this mask. Dwight is far ahead of me in training with this mask. I have started but currently I can run just about 2 miles with a pace of about 12 minute/mile on a 0-5 degree incline. I am using the 'yellow' nozzle (starter).

This mask has become very popular in the last few weeks since it was launched. If you are planning on going for an high altitude expedition, I would strongly recommend that you have a look at this site. In the process I got to know Casey Danford who helped me with the purchase of the mask. Have a look at Casey's facebook and read the responses on the effectiveness of this mask and how popular it has become.

Here is an article that explains why is AMS caused. Bottom line being that due to reduced pressure at high altitude, the amount of oxygen you inhale is lesser than you normally do. This causes dizziness, nausea, short of breath etc.. So, here is how our "training mask" really works. It has 3 nozzles - yellow (three holes), orange (two holes) and red (one hole). The nozzles restrict the amount of air you can breath in, thereby reducing the amount of oxygen you can inhale. So, naturally you need to put in extra effort to inhale. We use this mask while we are training (running). It makes us tired really fast but that is the training. Very soon (Sept 2011) we will know if the mask really worked for us...  ;-)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Seven months to summit Kilimanjaro.... training in progress

Ran with a pace of 10 minute mile for 8 miles, then cool down for 45 minutes... preparing for a Half Marithon (May 7, 2011). Using the SmartCoach from runners world as my trainer. I am pretty certain that this training will help me in my overall training to make it to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro on Sept 8th, 2011.

Today spent about 3 hours surfing the web for blogs written by various people who have made it to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Felt pretty intimidating. But I am determined and I will try my best to make it. This climb will be in dedication to my Uncle (आबासाहेब महाजन) who has always been my mentor and has encouraged me all along. He took me to the Himalayas for my first expedition to reach about 16,200ft. For more on my uncle see this photo album that I created when I recently went on a hiking trip with him.

While on these websites, I also created a spreadsheet to get me prepared with the things I need to purchase and the things I need to do in preparation for the Kili trip in Sept.

My knee is giving me some problems and so is my Achilles Tendonitis.  So, last week I bought some KT Tape to see if it helps me. I don't know if it is psychological or medical but it does help me in my training runs.