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

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...  ;-)

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