Goals: Taking stock at midpoint

Looking rather relaxed for someone who has just over four months to achieve eight of 10 goals.

While most of you are staring down Day 3 of your 2012 New Year’s resolutions, I find myself with less than five months to go on my annual birthday resolutions. Make that “first” annual birthday resolutions: When I turned 55 last May 11 I got to Googling and discovered that 55 is a somewhat pivital year for a male. Among other things, our muscles and organs begin to atrophy; we shrink, on average, 0.4 inches a year; we dehydrate more easily; our joints stiffen … . Suffice it to say that on May 11 of last year I didn’t feel I could wait seven months to set some goals, so I set 10 immediately.  All with a theme of 55.

Here’s a status report:

  1. Run 11 5Ks (11 x 5 = 55). So far, I’ve run three, all last summer. The good news is that 5Ks are a dime a dozen — or more accurately, at least one a weekend, so the opportunities are there. Plus, I’ve ramped up my running of late (prompted by a more immediate and daunting goal, the Uwharrie Mountain Run on Feb. 4) and feel ready to get back into a 5K rythym. I should fess up, though, that on New Year’s Day I blew off a prime 5K opportunity: the Run in the New Year Run, which was, literally, three blocks from my house. But it started at midnight and my wife laid odds, based on my New Year’s Eve track record, that I wouldn’t make it past 10 (I didn’t). Still, I’m optimistic
  2. Climb “The Mummy” at Linville Gorge, a 5.5-rated rock climb. This remains unchecked as well, though again, hope springs eternal. I’ve hooked up with the Triangle Rock Club’s Climbing Meetup, been climbing with them at the TRC and know that when it gets warmer, the group’s leadership (comprised of climbing instructors for the Boy Scouts) will be leadings us outdoors. Asterisk: The leadership being leaders and deciding things like where to go, I may have to substitute another climb of equal or greater difficulty.
  3. Do a 55-mile backpacking trip. Bit of a conundrum here. Two weeks ago, Chris David and I did a 50-mile backpack trip on the North Carolina Bartram Trail and the Appalachian Trail. Chris, who’s been backpacking since the 1960s, said it was the hardest trip he’s done. Hence, the conundrum: Does the level of difficulty compensate for coming up five miles short? I’m inclined to say yes, especially if I can’t pull off a planned 60-mile backpack trip on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail along Falls Lake.
  4. Do a 55-mile canoe trip. Again, unchecked but confidence reigns. I’m in the midst of writing a book on adventure sports in the Carolinas, with paddling as a primary focus. The trip may take place in a kayak rather than a canoe, but the fun factor alone should assure that this happens.
  5. Do 55 continuous push-ups. As I wrote last May: “I’ve been especially slack over the years on strength training; with my muscles atrophying staying strong becomes even more important.” Turns out, I’ve discovered, the “atrophying muscles” claim isn’t speculation. I’ve been doing pushups regularly, three to five times a week, in sets of three or four. On the last set, I do as many as I can pump out. In October, I got up to 38 on that last set and plateaued. I’ve recommitted on this one and hope to cross it from the list by the end of February.
  6. 55: Total of my waist size (30) and BMI (25). Now, three days after the Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year’s bacchanal, is not the time to be taking measure of one’s waist and BMI. Again, check back the end of February.
  7. Resting heart rate of 55. Just measured it: 48. (Confession: It was already 54 when I set the goal.)
  8. 55-mile mountain bike race. That book I mentioned that I’m writing? Mountain biking is another focus area. I’m looking to accomplish this goal at the Pisgah Mountain Bike Adventure Race in May. The race takes place in the Davidson River area near Brevard and ranges from 45 to 70 miles depending upon your orientation skills. That should assure I get in at least 55 miles.
  9. 55 miles on my mountain bike on my birthday. This didn’t happen, I noted at the time, because I had to pick up the kids from school. So when I do it between now and this coming May 11, I’ll add an asterisk. Oh, and at least half of the total — 28 miles — needs to be on singletrack.
  10. Umstead 100 endurance run. First timers such as myself are restricted to just (“just”?) 50 miles in the Umstead 100 endurance run, which is March 31. Alas, I missed the registration deadline and the race is full. In search of an alternative. Suggestions welcome.

Let’s see, according to the 55 for 55 Goals Tote Board that makes me two for 10 with just over four months to go. Wish me luck with my goals, and best of luck with yours in 2012!

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