I am a lazy person. So lazy that were I Independently wealthy and left to my own devices I would probably spend most of my time holed up with a huge bowl of rigatoni and watching The Wire for like the fourth time. That I’m not independently wealthy would really only offset the couch-sitting and Wire-watching to the evening hours, though, if there wasn’t a yang to my lazy yin. See, in addition to being lazy, I also have a lot of anxiety about the fact that I’m lazy. And that tends to keep me pretty busy.
There’s nothing quite like a good adventure to keep the lazies at bay, and TomRob and I have got one cooked up for this spring that we think sounds pretty neat. It involves skis, bikes and a week or two in May, and I, for one, can’t wait. We’ve got a couple of magazines interested and have managed to scrape together a little bit of support here and there, and it’s always humbling/invigorating to have others take a material interest in your follies. It’s also sort of terrifying.
Obviously a sponsor or editor understands that itineraries sometimes change, or that you might have to call an audible here or there in the interest of safety, but they’d be understandably upset to find out that you played the lazy card and just rode Uber around Portland to drink at different breweries for two weeks (unless you were writing for VICE, I suppose). And obviously we wouldn’t have pitched the trip if that was even an option in our minds, but the other night I woke up at around 3am with the thought: This might be really hard. And not just regular old, eat-a-lot-and-crash-out, Type-2-fun hard, but the kind of difficult that blows deadlines or curtails itself into what amounts to bait and switch.
What if I can’t do it?
Now, the bar for what counts as physical fitness in this town has been set pretty high. It feels sometimes like you can’t swing a cat without hitting a pro runner or cyclist. Another byproduct of being a lazy person is that I am not one of these professional athletes, even by a long shot. Any time I race I strive only for adequacy.
Exercise in Missoula is as much a social pursuit as it is about fitness. If you’re going to spend time with a friend, more often than not you’re going to be running, riding, or skiing. But while the baseline for fitness here is probably above national average, a brutal trip is a brutal trip, and it’s been years since I worked out hard ten days in a row.
In fact, my exercise regimen over the last few years has been based almost entirely on the following three pillars:
1) Avoid diabetes
2) Still fit in that American Flag Speedo (it was kind of expensive)
3) Survive adventures
We’ve got plenty of time before we take off, and with the fear of failure in mind it seems like as good a time as any to check in on the ‘ol fitness. I’ve picked the nice, arbitrary, Fibonacci number of 3 as the number of hours that I’ll exercise every day for the next ten days. This is, certainly, meant to serve as training, but more so to help me figure out whether or not this trip will kill me by the end.
Because no study (even a wildly unscientific one) is worth the paper it’s printed on without some way to measure results, I’ve developed a metric for this one. I like to call it the Perceived Likelihood Of Death, or PLOD Index. So over the next ten days, while I exercise for at least three hours a day, I will record on hourly intervals how likely I think it is that this trip kills me, and chart them on the PLOD Plot. The scale is 1-100, as in percentage of certainty of death.
I’ll also make an effort to give
nightly occasional updates here.