Our next challenger

"I think a lot of people who come to visit Mauna Kea come for a reason," said James Kimo Pihana, a ranger with the Office of Mauna Kea Management. "People challenge the mountain. The mountain always wins; it is people who lose. But the mountain accepts challenges."
'To The Summit,' by Bret Yager for the Hawaii Tribune-Herald

So far, so good. I've been meaning to jot down notes about the workouts, and life in general, lately but if there's one thing I've learned in the past year, it's that I don't write much when I'm doing heavy code work during business hours.

I've been surprised by how many people remember me from my prior stints at the gym. Quick, sweaty conversations: where have you been? the new tattoo looks great, when did you get it? are you training for anything?

I've deliberately chosen not to progress as fast as I could have. I started at twenty-five minutes at level three, and have progressed up to forty-five minutes at level six. Memory tells me that I was doing forty-five minutes at level nine when I stopped.

It's not where I was, but it's progress. That, plus keeping a reasonable eye on my calorie intake, seems to be working. Progress is slow, but steady. As July creeps closer, I suspect Adam and I will work out where, exactly, in the forest we want to go rambling, and that will determine the last couple of months of workouts.

That, and the hills of Seattle, will tell me how much more work I need to do before October. After my chat with Alice on my New Year's trip, I worked out the cost of getting Jeff and me to Hawaii to see them and realized that it could be done rather easily, as long as I planned ahead.

A few months later, the slush fund for the trip now has $1600 in it, and as soon as we clear our vacation dates with our respective workplaces, I can buy airfare. We have only the most nebulous of plans for the nine-ish days we'll be there, but the prospect of doing photography at 14,000 feet was exactly what I needed to nudge me back into the cardio work I was so good at a couple of years ago.

So -- Hawaii. One island only: the Big Island. (Hey, it's where our friends live.) By dint of island choice alone, we'll miss most of the major tourist traps; now all I have to do is plot out what camera equipment to take, and do whatever's necessary to prepare myself to deal reasonably well with the altitude so I can do photography atop Mauna Kea.

I don't expect to function well up there; I just want to function well enough so that I can come home with photos that will make you all hate me.

I mean, if that's not a reason for getting back in the gym, I don't know what is.