My goal was to have simulated each day of the climb at some point prior to going. Now, obviously there is no way for me to actually simulate the experience. I live in the Midwest – Chicago specifically. There is no altitude here and everything is very flat. BUT – I’m hoping to at least put in the hours of walking. So according to the breakdown of my route, day 1 is about 3-4 hours of walking a total of 6km (3.7 miles). Yesterday was a gorgeous day by Chicago in February standards. It was about 48 degrees and sunny. I drove out to the Skokie Lagoons which is roughly 5.9 miles of paved trail. It’s actually not ideal in that much of it runs directly alongside I-94 and at times can be heavily congested with bicyclists. But it’s familiar, has parking and feels somewhat safe. So for a single female – will do just fine. For a gorgeous Saturday morning/afternoon it was actually quite empty. I walked the 4 miles in about 3 hours. Very leisurely pace and stopped in a few areas to enjoy the scenery. I used my altitude training mask for the first hour and eventually became annoyed with the sound of my own breathing. I talked to my mom for the remainder of the time and it flew by.
I technically put in the time and the mileage to “simulate” day 1 but I know that walking through the Skokie Lagoons is nowhere near what the actual experience of day 1 on Kilimanjaro will be like…even with this goofy training mask.