56 (and still counting!)

A year ago today, I wrote about all the things I planned to do in my 55th year. 55 things, in fact, all tied to the number 55. My inspiration came in large part from a National Institutes of Health report noting that men generally start dropping weight and, the report added, start falling apart at 55. If that’s the case, I thought, then I need to start working extra hard.

Ridiculously hard, according to the list of goals I compiled. Spend 55 nights in a tent, for instance. Or do a 50-mile trail run, a 55-mile mountain bike race, do 55 pushups in a row, run 11 5Ks. Individually, doable. But cumulatively a challenge even if I’d had the financial luxury of devoting my entire year to just these goals. I did manage a couple: I did a 55(ish)-mile backpack trip in December and my resting heart rate is 55 (though it was 54 a year ago).

While I didn’t check off the majority of my 55 goals, the year was far from a wash. I gravitated away from 5Ks to the less-punishing, longer trail runs, completing the 12-mile MST Challenge and the 20-mile version of the Uwharrie Mountain Run. In the climbing world, I didn’t do a 5.5 climb outdoors, but I have done a 5.9 indoors. I didn’t do a 55-mile mountain bike race, but I did manage to survive Charlie Storm’s 42-mile January Mountain Bike Marathon. And, I’m in the process of getting my open water recertification in Scuba. Not a bad 55th year.

This year, I’ll still have goals but they won’t be arbitrarily set over a health report and too much caffeine. Instead, my goal is to constantly have a goal. Knock off one event, make sure another is lined up to keep me from slacking off. My 56th gets off to a good start with two epics: Next Wednesday, my buddy Alan and I will celebrate our birthdays (his is May 10) by riding 60 (his age) miles at Umstead, Crabtree and surrounding environs. Then, the following Monday I get to serve as Diane Van Deren’s trail guide for the day as she runs across North Carolina. I’ll be doing somewhere between 31 and 39 miles with her as part of the MST Endurance Run.

Not a bad start to year 56. Here’s hoping it ends just as well.

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