Ginger, I would encourage you to take this on. If we let others dissuade us because of their fears and their stories and their limitations, then we’re living their lives, not our own. I strongly recommend that you look into the training programs available online. The simple truth is that even if you did hike these mountains (and that’s good practice but that will not prepare you for the altitude) the only value is the hiking, and the physical stamina. They are necessary.
I trained for 7 months, four hours a day. That was overkill, and I had injuries from it. I learned the hard way. Build your strength. Kili is so much more a mental journey, supported by a strong body.Superb, well-trained high altitude climbers bonk on Kili, and that has Jack squat to do with being from Florida. That’s patently nonsense.
Take a look at Peak Planet (https://peakplanet.com/). They are dedicated to safety first, and your comfort is guaranteed without spending eight grand on just the climb. That extra five grand buys you nearly nothing that you don’t get with Peak. I’ve climbed with one of their top guides and I would trust him with my life.
I am no professional athlete, Ginger, but I can tell you that by doing this, you will completely retool your life. Your personal reference points. Even if you don’t summit, this will redirect you in ways you can’t possibly imagine. It’s the kind of adventure that fundamentally rewrites a life script. If there is anything I can to do help out let me know. Meanwhile, train. That’s a superb confidence builder. What you need is endurance. This is a long, long, high climb. You need strong pegs and strong lungs. Work on that, and a balanced plan of running, running steps, hiking, walking with a pack, going to the gym, swimming. Build your cardio capacity. Those things make a huge difference. Get ‘er did, Ginger. Just, get ‘er did. Keep me posted.