Bucket List Update: Mountaineering, Marathons, and Lýðveldið Ísland


Lest you think I just sit around and read productivity books all day (cf. this and that), I figure I should post some of progress on my own life goals list every once and a while.  Since I got back from Africa, here are the goals I’ve been working towards– the ones that I’m most excited about right now.


21.) Climb Mt. Rainier

I am hard pressed to think of a family vacation growing up that didn’t involve either the open water or mountains.  It seemed like my dad’s definition of a relaxing time necessarily involved covering vast changes in elevation on foot.

And while I’ve wanted to climb mountains for years, after Kilimanjaro, I got the bug bad.  Something about staring down on the sunrise over the savanna maybe 😉

I’ve started training for Rainier– training referring more to learning mountaineering skills than, say, spinning classes.  That doesn’t mean you don’t need to be in shape for Rainier– at 14,400, it’s nothing to scoff at.  But an unhurried ascent, good body temperature monitoring, and plenty of water are more important than an olympian circulatory system.

A few weeks ago, I made my first technical climb– Humpback Mountain in the Cascades.  While it’s only a few minutes off I-90, the summit is a lot closer to the moon than it is to Seattle.

On the summit of Humpback Mountain

Next up is snow camping and glacier travel.

A friend of mine is a mountaineering instructor and he’s guiding me through the learning process here.  This is really ideal.  The small group we’ll climb Rainier with will ultimately be more flexible, more fun, and way cheaper than the guided mountaineering tours.

Tracking towards July 2012.

17.) Run a Marathon

I tried to run a marathon once.  I almost finished.  Instead, I passed out on the side of the course around the 25-mile mark and was brought to the ER.  Thus begins a long and arguably anticlimactic story about my heart– but I’ll save that for another time.

In the mean while, I’ve signed up for the NYC 2012 Marathon Lottery.  There’s a chance– somewhere around 20%– that I will be running it this fall.  If not, fine, I’ll find another marathon.

Either way, I’ve got plans.  They’re not nailed down, and I’m hesitant to spill too much before I actually do this, but I want to run the marathon using a training plan that would completely fly in the face of conventional running practice.  It would involve surprisingly little, um, running.

And if that doesn’t work, then maybe I’ll settle for doing a standard marathon.

Tracking towards November 2012 (assuming I get through the lottery)

22.) Take an Extended Pilgrimage in Nature

I’ve left it largely up in the air what exactly this goal means to me– all I know is that I want to get out there for a while and do something slow and reflective in the middle of nowhere.  Well, I’ve come up with an idea.

Check it out.

It’s time to start saving up again.  Fortunately, Iceland digs tourists and flights there are cheap.  Plus, I own most of the gear I need from Boy Scouts.  Unfortunately, hiking across a sovereign nation requires a good bit of vacation time, which I am not exactly rolling in right now.

Tracking towards first half of 2013


So what are you up to these days?  What’s your thing?


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