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Martina's Afterthoughts

After her release from hospital, Martina Navratilova spoke to the media. Here are some of her thoughts on the climb...

Published December 12, 2010 12:00

Martina's Afterthoughts
Martina Navratilova

NAIROBI, Kenya - After her release from hospital, Martina Navratilova spoke to the media. Here are some of her thoughts on the Kilimanjaro climb...

On Wednesday, Day 3 of the climb...
I had a gastrointestinal issue that day. I wasn't sure if I would be able to keep going, but I didn't want to give up. All I needed was some rest that night. And even if it didn't get better, I knew I didn't need to be 100% to get to the top.

On Thursday, Day 4 of the climb...
I came into camp that day at 2:30pm. In the evening I was feeling worse. It was apparent something was going on with my lungs that wasn't normal. I wrote in my diary that afternoon, 'I have never been so utterly exhausted. Everything is taking monumental effort. Going to the bathroom, getting dressed, setting up tent...' The doctor said I had to leave. I left at about 10pm. It took about four and a half hours from there to the car at the bottom. Looking back, it's a good thing I didn't stay overnight - it could have been a hairy situation.

On having to stop the climb...
I thought, 'Dammit, this was supposed to be really fun.' Nobody had fun. It was just pure survival. I was tired and frustrated. It's disappointing. I guess it's good we went down - it wasn't life threatening at the time but it could have eventually become that. It's like I had to retire from a match, except it wasn't painful, I just couldn't breathe or walk properly. Giving up is not in my vocabulary, but the doctor made it very clear. Once I saw the X-rays, I understood.

On how she felt after getting to the bottom...
When I got to the bottom I just wanted to eat something. The whole time on the mountain, my appetite was gone. I thought it was the GI problem I was having, but it was probably something to do with the lungs. I felt better when I got down but I still couldn't breathe properly. Now I can take full breaths of air again.

On the Laureus Sport For Good Foundation...
I saw kids playing the league finals in Mathare. To see their enthusiasm and skill - and believe me, these kids are seriously good soccer players - it was nice to see. They have a safe place to play and it teaches them life skills. It's a great project and I hope everyone will keep donating. The foundation is about trying your best. It's about kids having the opportunity and giving it their best shot. I feel that's what I did. I tried my best but couldn't overcome a physical issue. It wasn't mind over matter this time, unfortunately - otherwise, I think I'd be okay. I'm glad I had this experience and I'm glad I survived it, though.

On the 18 of 27 climbers who did make it to the summit...
I totally salute the 18 people who made it to the top. It's an amazing achievement. I'll see them tomorrow at the airport and congratulate them!

On whether she would try the climb again...
I'd do it in a drier time of year. The doctor thought I shouldn't put it on my bucket list, though - I probably won't be doing it again on that advice.

Previous Climb Coverage: Martina's Blog & Photo Galleries
Day 4 Blog & Day 4/5 Photos
Day 3 Blog & Day 3 Photos
Day 2 Blog & Day 2 Photos
Day 1 Blog & Day 1 Photos

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