Redemption as Motivation

TW: weight loss

August 12, 2019.  Right Turn and I set out on an ambitious hike. A 3-day traverse, covering 17.5 miles and 6,800 feet of elevation gain.  We did not complete that hike.  Not even close.  Not even the first day. It was such a rough hike that it took two blog posts to tell the story. 

We wanted redemption in 2020.  Then you know, global pandemic and all that.  Part of the traverse included a hut stay and those were closed.  I write this in May of 2021 and huts are now open, 60%+ of the population is vaccinated (including myself and my hiking buddies).  This is it, the time for redemption.

Redemption (or at least fear of failure) is a huge motivator.  

Prior to our hike in 2019, I kept telling myself “I need to lose weight”.  Guess what? I didn’t lose any weight.  I was 30+ pounds over weight when we hiked that day.  Roughly the size of a fully packed backpack.  That’s right, I was carrying the equivalent of an extra backpack.  I knew I needed to lose the weight prior to that trip, but it didn’t happen.  I wasn’t motivated enough.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. When you’re at home, the cost of “ultralight” gear seems outrageous!  $300 for a blanket?!  Forget it.  But on trail, you’d sell your first born for a few ounces off your pack.  Meanwhile, I was carrying an extra 30 pounds on my body.  

Once home, I did invest in a few new gear items.  I recently made a few more purchases.  I’ve spent hundreds of dollars and have reduced my base packweight by four pounds.  That’s a LOT in gear weight, but nothing compared to what I could stop carrying on my own body.

Three months after the trip, I joined a gym.  My thought process was the gym would help me lose weight.  I joined a cross-functional fitness gym, which means lots of box step-ups, and ring rows, and a million other things that would translate perfectly into the strength and movements that would help me on this hike.  There was a stretch of that hike that felt like a million box step-ups.  There were at least two places on the hike that required me to pull myself up with my arms.  I went fairly consistently after joining, until once again, pandemic.

I had started to lose some weight, but not much.  Annnnnnd pandemic.  I’d gained more some weight, 14 pounds over what I was, when I already needed to lose 30.

So now, we’re starting to come out of a pandemic.  My hiking buddies and I are making plans.  Picking dates, making hut reservations!  The redemption hike is on!  Once again in August.

I’ve recently gone back to my gym’s group classes.  I was doing 2x/week personal training for a few months, but now that I’m back to classes, I’m going more like 4x/week.  And will go as often as I can.

I recently joined WW and am back to my “Wildcat weight”, aka the weight I was on that hike.  Anything I lose from here on out will be immensely helpful.  And way cheaper than new gear.

Fear of failure is more motivating than anything has ever been.  “Oh I should lose weight” doesn’t motivate nearly as much as “I will NEVER repeat how bad that hike was, I will do everything in my power to make it better”.

Fear of failure also helps me “embrace the suck”.  Box step ups in class?  Let’s do it, it’s training for my hike.  Super steep part on this 52 with a view hike?  Let’s do it, it’s training for my hike.  

So the big redemption hike is three months away.  I have several hikes planned to work my way up.  I plan to hit the gym as much as possible.  I plan to keep losing weight.  I will likely talk about it non-stop.

I will get up that mountain and finish the traverse.  I will likely cry when we hit our bail out point.  And again at the summit, and the hut, and the finish of the traverse.  But they will be delicious happy tears of redemption and I can’t wait.

One comment

  1. […] my control, my big redemption hike, that was scheduled for 2 1/2 weeks from now, that has been blogged about ad nauseam, has been cancelled. Or at least tentatively rescheduled. Possibly next month, possibly next year, […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s