Sunday, November 18, 2012

A little about the goals...

You might be wondering why I picked Rainier and an Ironman race...

Rainier: I've had a love for the Adirondack Mountains since I was in boy scouts. Later into my 20's, I became very close to a patient of mine who had leukemia. He was an Adirondack 46er, and when he passed away he left me his ADK 46er belt buckle to inspire me to complete my own 46. I have endeavored to complete them, but have found myself restarting the list with different friends and family at least 3 times in the last 20 years. During my 20's I also had alpine dreams, setting my sites on Denali and maybe, just maybe, some international peaks. But that dream faded, and here in my mid 40's I find myself with only 16 of the 46 Adirondack high peaks under my belt.

My stepson took a job in Seattle out of college, and within a few years living out there he had climbed Rainier. His pictures and story really inspired me and made it seem reasonably possible as long as I got myself in decent shape. So, my plan for the mountain part of my goal:
  • Complete the ADK 46 in the next 3 years. that's 10 peaks a year. If I'm in reasonable shape, then the only limiting factor will be finding enough free days off for hikes.
  • A winter ascent of Mount Washington within the next 5 years. During this time I would also like to work on my winter 46 to get accustomed to winter mountaineering.
  • 5-10 years out: finish winter 46 and climb Rainier.
Ironman: As if the ADK 46, Mt. Washington, and Rainier wasn't enough to get me inspired, right? A month ago, I noticed an old friend of mine posted on Facebook that she had completed the Tri-State Tough Mudder Challenge for 2012. I had seen ads for Tough Mudder on Facebook before but never really took it seriously. Well, it got me interested and, quite frankly, pumped at the thought of training for and running a Tough Mudder challenge. Naturally, I couldn't stop there, and while looking up training ideas I started seeing a lot of triathlon sites pop up. The more I looked into it, the more it started to seem possible. I mean, most of the people who run marathons and triathlons do it for the personal challenge and are not really looking to compete against others.

So, why not, right? Despite having a blown L4-5 disc and a slightly nicked left medial meniscus, there's nothing about myself that can't be changed. I used to be able to run 5-6 minute miles at 6+ miles at a time while I smoked 2 PPD. granted that was 20 years ago, but why couldn't I get myself back up to a decent level of fitness and train for such a challenge? So the plan for the Ironman part of the goal:
  • 2013: Tough Mudder Northeast, August 17th. 
  • 2014: Will look for a local 1/2 marathon and a sprint triathlon. If my team has a good time at TM Northeast, I might look for a Spartan Beast race for 2014.
  • 2015: looking for a local full marathon, and Olympic length triathlon for that year.
  • 2016: Syracuse, NY 70.3 Ironman event.
  • 2017: Ironman Lake Placid.
As you can see, my triathlon ambitions are much more defined, mainly because those types of events have schedules and seem more tangible. I also feel that training for those events will better prepare me for the tougher climbs - especially Rainier. If you falter in a race, you just stop and go home. If you falter on a climb, you're not out of the woods that easily - literally and figuratively.

Ultimately, my goal is to finish everything by my 50th birthday, but schedules, injuries, and finances all play a part. A more feasible reality is to complete everything except the Rainier climb by my 50th, but we'll see.

Anyway, more to come...

Oops... so, what's in a name, anyway?

I kind of started this blog on a whim, and I came up with the title when it wouldn't let me use "Rainier-140.6". After Googling "the Iron Mountain Man" today, I found that there was at least one event with a similar title as well as some other sites that were close. So, sorry to anyone who is looking for something else and happened accidentally on this blog...

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Off the deep end, I go...

320 pounds. That's right, 320 pounds. It's ironic that my all time low is also an all time high. I've battled my weight since I was 10 years old, and I've yo-yo'ed 50-100 pounds at least 4-5 times over the last 30 years. I have jeans in my closet that range from 32 inch to 46 inch waist. And, every time I get "radical" and do some fad diet or weight loss competition, I find myself gaining all the weight back and then some. Shortly after my 44th birthday, I hit an emotional low as well. This past year has been incredibly challenging for me for various reasons, and I found my self worth at rock bottom. Fortunately, I have a wife who is deft at putting things in perspective for me.

Like most of us, I need a goal or a challenge to keep my focus on my diet and exercise plan. If not, I'll just dip into my enormous "excuse" bag and not get anywhere. So, I set my sights on two: a Mount Rainier summit climb and completing the Ironman Triathlon in Lake Placid. Granted, there are a number of smaller goals that will pave the way for these two, but if you're going to dream, dream big. I also realize that these achievements are not that significant to some, but for a guy weighing 320 who gets winded going up a flight of stairs, they're a big deal. I also chose these goals because I know that once achieved, they will lead to more - and that's exactly what I'll need to prevent the dreaded yo-yo effect.

I'm starting this blog mainly as my own personal journal, but it's my hope that sharing my struggles and triumphs will help someone else along the way. More to come...