2. Eat more food.
Hey, I'm just trying to be realistic! If I really go all out on #1 then #2 is going to happen anyway. ;)
2013 was a rough year for me. For two straight years I stuck to the plan. I climbed a minimum of 20 extra flights of stairs each and every day. Our cat died in the spring of 2013 and some weight started going back on. Like many, I eat more when I'm feeling down. I stuck to the plan just the same though.
In July of 2013, I seriously sprained my ankle. It happened at a rest stop 250 miles from home. I drove the rest of the way and then went straight to the emergency room. Based on its current condition and the swelling, they gave me the talk about how fractures aren't so bad. Fortunately, it wasn't fractured. It was an extremely bad sprain though. It prevented me from doing any climbing at all for months (unless one counts hobbling around the house on crutches), which completely took out the entire summer's hiking season. The lack of activity also put a nail in my weight loss coffin. Needless to say, I was feeling down. Sigh.
Speaking of injuries, our dog Honey has been through many surgeries in the past year or so (to the tune of $12,000+ in various vet bills, liver surgery being the biggest). Her most recent surgery was to have several teeth removed. That was just a few weeks ago. They broke while she was playing with her soft toys. Yeah, soft. Even the vet can't understand how she did that. She said her teeth were really strong and hard to extract, what was left of them anyway. It's a mystery within a conundrum. She's doing excellent right now though and if asked, she'd definitely say the medical attention was worth it. They believe she can live out her normal lifespan.
So anyway, hopefully much of that bad news is now behind me. I've got some pent-up climbing demand and I intend to put it to work. I've been planning to make 2014 a banner year. Midlife crisis? I don't think it is but I would not swear to it in court, lol. I was a bit discouraged recently because my ankle still isn't back to 100% (nearly 6 months later). I slowed down my pace considerably in recent weeks and my ankle is doing pretty well in response. Surprisingly, my legs are holding up great. I did several marathon sessions recently as a test. The forced rest has not hampered my leg strength to a noticeable degree.
The past few months were spent climbing enough to reset the time on the stair climber to a nice starting point in preparation for 2014 (much of it at 50 feet per minute in 5 minute sprints). That's 0 months, 18 days, 0 hours, and 0 minutes of climbing since I purchased it roughly 14 years ago (minus a trivial amount of time that was on it when I bought it new).
I'm going to climb at a consistent 25 feet per minute in 2014. It's a leisurely pace that I can maintain fairly indefinitely. I would have set the pace higher if not for my ankle, but it will be plenty sufficient for what I intend to do. It's definitely enough to make me sweat, especially at the one hour mark (700+ calories per hour at my present weight).
50 miles of vertical is my minimum goal. It will take me 10,560 minutes. That's exactly 7 days and 8 hours of exercise. I'll need to average roughly 30 minutes per day (slightly more than that to cover when I'm potentially sick or out of town of course).
Or bust! That's the minimum time I wish to see a year from now. You won't be getting any updates between now and December 31, 2014. No record keeping this time. I'm letting the climber do the work. I promise to make every effort to post its time on that day (the exception being anything outside of my control), and that should be reason enough to keep me motivated. I like games and this is definitely a game now. This game starts at midnight! This is in addition to any hiking/climbing I do in the real world next summer (and I plan to do plenty).
As a side note, I would not consider doing this had I not turned climbing 20 flights of stairs each and every day into a nearly permanent habit (ankle injury notwithstanding) several years ago. Baby steps for the win.
It is also my intent to make climbing 20 flights of stairs each and every day a permanent habit again. Seems odd to use the "again" word, but it is the best I can do. Would you believe that I actually asked the nurse in the emergency room if I could simply scoot up the stairs on my butt 20 times per day just to keep the habit going? She told me no! The ankle needs to remain elevated and get rest! Seriously. (I'm fairly sure she thought I was nuts for asking. I just really didn't want to end the streak! Hahaha!)
And lastly, Happy New Year!! May prosperity flow like warm slop to pigs on a cold frosty morning! Bliss! Or something like that anyway. Feel free to come up with a better analogy. ;)