Monday, 12 December 2011

Return of the Blog....

After a summer filled with sporting events, training plans, eating plans, and countless injuries (some mine, some the Frenchman's), you think I'd have had enough of fund-raising fun.

You'd be right.

But I also seem to be a glutton for punishment (chocolate too, but that's another story entirely) and it appears that a summer of hectic cycling training (the Frenchman, not me), early mornings (both of us) and pasta-induced-pot-bellies (unfortunately only I suffered with this, not him), did not teach me enough of a lesson about setting ridiculous goals in the name of charity.

And this time I'm going one further - I'm stepping out from the safety of the blog writing and taking on the challenge myself.  Merde.

In January, I'm attempting to climb to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro: that's 5895 meters, 7 days of trekking without running water, 30 anti-altitude-sickness tablets, 50 degrees disparity in temperature between the base and the summit, 5 immunisations (ouch!), and one pair of the ugliest hiking boots ever made.

Oh yes, and all of this with my dear dad who, depressingly enough, appears to be fitter than I am - at twice my age.

How the hell did I get myself into this one?!  

I can't deny I'm asking myself this question on a regular basis now: occasionally, when others who have climbed it remind me just how hard it will be, but, more commonly, at 6.45am when it's 2 degrees outside and I'm dragging myself out of my nice warm bed to pound the Bankside pavements to try and haul myself up to a decent level of fitness.

I'm not a natural sports woman (when I said pound the pavement, I did mean pound, I'm not in anyway shape or form a natural or graceful runner), I hate any form of cold (I'm writing this while wearing 3 layers with the heating on full whack) and, though I can spot a Chloe bag at 20 paces, I don't know my thermals from my waterproofs, my Colombia from my Craghoppers, or a walking pole from my Grandmother's white stick.

So why on earth would I choose to climb a mountain where I could lose my toe nails on the way down?!?

To cut a long answer to both of these questions quite short,  my father had prostate cancer.  We were lucky: he found it early, recovered well and has just received the all clear.  So we want to raise awareness. And a lot of money. This way, more families can have the same happy ending.

So in the grand scheme of things, missing a few hours sleep isn't the end of the world.  Also the exposure to the cold will do me good... I'm going to need to get used to shivering.

Not only is it insanely cold up Kili (we're talking minus 20 degrees), but also my dad and I are also going to spend 10 days, 24/7 in each others company (normally we can just about make it through the weekend without falling out over something), without a shower for 7 of them and whilst battling the effects of altitude sickness at the same time (cue awful headaches, nausea, dizziness and generally one hell of a bad mood).

Something tells me it'll be those difficult teenage years all over again, just condensed into 10 days.

Yes, I'm beginning to wonder why I didn't just have a bake sale too.....

I've now got 4 weeks left before we leave, some serious fitness to catch up on (sometimes sport and work don't go hand in hand) and a few extra pounds to gain to ensure I don't freeze into an icicle before I get to the top.

But I'm determined to get to the top.  If being a Smallwood has given me anything (apart from crazy hair... no wait, I'm the only one with that) it's a hefty dose of stubbornness.  

And also the awareness that my dad will kick my ass if I don't make it.

To keep motivated, I thought I'd dust off the ol' blog and track how I get on before January.  Though perhaps the Frenchman should be writing it this time: it's his turn to complain about being made to eating boxes of pasta, dragged on freezing runs first thing in the morning and negotiating the minefield that is reassuring a woman that zip-off hiking trousers really don't look that unflattering on her...

What did I say? 4 weeks, two days to go....?


I fear I'd better make some cupcakes.  I've a hell of lot to sell if I'm going to make it to the £20,000 target...

My dad and I are climbing Mount Kilimanjaro from the 4th January 2012 to raise money and awareness for The Prostate Cancer Charity.  It's the first of 5 challenges my family are undertaking over 2012 to raise £20,000.

If you would like to support us, please donate at: 
It's quick, easy and you can gift aid it, so even more money goes to charity!!

Every penny raised will help us put in the hours in training and dig deep on mountain when we're trying to get to the top!! Every little helps, no matter how small, so please, please, please give if you can!

It's Christmas after all!!

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