Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Optimism, faith and mindfulness - my journey to the La Luz Trail

I began my fit life journey with the launch of this blog back in December 2008 (follow this link to read my first post). It's been trip full of ups and downs, highs and lows. But it's always been a journey moving forward. Even when I'm knocked down, I get back up and learn from the experience. I rely on optimism, faith and mindfulness of purpose to keep on going, even when I stumble hard.

The first year of my journey was a kind of half-ass attempt; I lacked a specific, measurable goal. But in January of 2010 I set a very specific goal - to lose 200 pounds, to nearly halve my body weight, from 420 to 220, and overcome obesity by my 40th birthday. The plan was to celebrate my success by coming out to Albuquerque on my birthday last year and hike the famous La Luz Trail - nearly 10 miles with an elevation gain of 3,775 ft (1,151 m) and a grade of 12%. It would have been an amazing a capstone to my blog, I thought.

The La Luz Trail from the upper tram terminal. From the lower terminal, it's
about 10 miles to this point. This pic was taken on a recent 10-mile hike
of the 10K and Crest Trails - read about it on my Man of Merit blog.
Well, life has a funny way of altering plans. Once I reached 255 pounds, with just 35 pounds to go, I decided I needed to take a break from the strict diet of 1,800 calories a day I had been on for nearly a year and a half. I would continue to exercise, but I wanted to give myself a break, eat like a "normal" person and let my body adjust. It was a great idea, one that I don't regret in the slightest.

But over the course of the past year since I transitioned from "weight loss" to "weight maintenance", my body has adjusted to a comfortable weight 25 pounds heavier than my low weight. I'm now close to 280 again, and as I've blogged recently, I'm trying to re-gain focus and begin losing weight again in pursuit of my ultimate goal. 

Now I am at a point where big changes must be made again. As a result, I've decided that I'm going to take a big leap and attempt hiking the La Luz Trail now, in celebration of my 41st birthday. I know I'm fit enough to take on the challenge, even though I'm nearly 60 pounds heavier than I wanted to be when hiking it. So I figure, why wait until reaching my goal? Why not use it as inspiration to push forward again in pursuit of it?

I'll be taking the hike on Saturday, August 11, two days after I turn 41. This hike will not only mark the beginning of the next phase of my journey, it is also to be a conditioning hike for the epic 20-mile Cactus-to-Clouds hike I'll be taking sometime during the next year.

I want to thank my friend and fellow Toastmaster Leanne Yanabu for organizing this hike. This will be the toughest hike in terms of elevation gain I've done, so it's nice to know that she's done it before - makes me feel more confident about tackling such a strenuous hike.

I also want to thank all of you who read my blogs and encourage me along my path. I get lots of feedback from folks who say I inspire them - but really, you all inspire me!!! So please, keep reading, keep commenting and I WILL reach my goal. Then we can all celebrate together!


  1. Keep pushing Brian! Thank you for clearing the path...I walk in your footsteps to a healthier and lighter life!

    Excellent post!


  2. Thanks, Laina! Can't wait until we can join each other on the trail...sometime soon!