Over the past decade I’ve completed a handful of bucket-list-type challenges that I really enjoyed. This post is about the characteristics of those challenges that I believe made them so engaging. I hope that by documenting them I can continue to find great challenges for myself in the future, and hopefully you can benefit from my experience as well. Across a wide range of challenges, I’ve found that I have the most fun when they hit on most of these attributes: A binary goal that can clearly be marked completed or not Some amount of risk that I will fail, endure physical harm or need to be rescued Unknown unknowns, things I don’t yet know I don’t know about A new location to get to know The need to learn some new skills in order to complete it The need to train and get in some sort of peak shape
This week I’m departing on my longest challenge yet. Longer than the 140.6 Ironman (11 hours), longer than the 152 mile RAMROD (13 hours), and longer than the 98 mile Wonderland (48 hours). This will be a grueling, multi-sport test of my skills and endurance. But also, it will be a relaxing 150+ mile frolic through the backcountry. I’ve come a long way in the last year since my first ultramarathon – a self supported 98 mile run around Mt. Rainier. I was reading back on my pre-adventure post from last year and reflecting on how nervous I was about a lot of things that didn’t end up being that big of a deal, and how not-nervous I was about a few that did. Unlike last year where I had a specific route I wanted to finish, this year I’m just going to go have some fun in the wilderness.