Everest Base Camp/Kalapathhar Trek2018


Suzanne Weaver

Training for altitude at sea level

October 21, 2018

When the opportunity presented to climb to Mt. Everest Basecamp and raise money to fuel cancer research through the MMRF, I didn’t even have to think about it. I was all in!! I also didn’t think about the fact that I had no mountaineering experience, a very demanding job that would make training very challenging and I live a sea level… details, details.

A mentor of mine is fond of reminding me that “while it’s important to do things right, it’s more important to do the right things!” While I wasn’t sure how I would do it, I knew this was the right thing to do! For me it will be the adventure of a lifetime and push me to my limits, but more importantly, it will help fund vital research that will enable the MMRF to keep its momentum going – extending the lives of patients with multiple myeloma and bringing successful treatments to market for many other types of cancer.

So, here we are three weeks from setting out on the journey of a lifetime and I feel like I am finally in a good groove with my training and my secret weapon is starting to pay dividends. My daughter has a friend whose parents just happened to own a hypoxia tent and they were kind enough to let me borrow it. I wasn’t sure if it would make a noticeable difference in preparing me to tackle the highest mountain in the world but I thought, “What do I have to lose?” Well, it turns out one thing I had to lose was sleep (at first). The only good thing about how I felt those first two weeks (like a sleep-deprived zombie) was that I figured it must be doing something! Each night I would increase the simulated elevation by around 500 ft. and each night my body struggled to adjust leaving me in a fog the next day. Well, I’m happy to report that after three weeks, I’m sleeping at around 9,000 ft. and feeling a definite difference in my training ad I’ve even got my wits about me at work! The tent will gradually take me to 12,500 ft. where I will sleep for about a week before I head out.

Currently training consists of lifting in the morning before work and then after work, strapping a 40-pound weight vest on and hitting the stair climber for 60 to 90 minutes.
I’m also lucky enough to have a spouse who is a nutritional expert in charge of my diet. After a breast cancer diagnosis in 2013, she completely changed her (and our) eating habits and I’m happy to say she’s healthier now than ever before in her life, and when I remember to do what I’m told, I am too! So, these last few weeks I will be pushing myself hard, sleeping at altitude, eating clean and looking forward to meeting up with my amazing teammates in Kathmandu, Nepal where this epic adventure begins!

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