Happy Halloween

Time seems to have a life of its own these days and moves along faster than the speed of light. I can’t believe Halloween is just around the corner-wasn’t it just yesterday that I was holding Rayne’s hand as a Russian soldier, trick or treating last year. I know the days pass by much more rapidly when I’m training or engaged in a project, and this week, I was both.

I set out from base camp. I editing the book every step up the Khumbu Icefall, through the Western Cwn and up the Lhotse Face; putting in five to six hours of “butt time” every day. By Friday, I’d completed the copyediting and was rearranging chapters to unfold the beginning of the book in a slightly more chronological factor. It was engaging work and hours passed by without notice. Indeed, leisure researcher, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, calls such experience “flow.” And flow, I did.

I journeyed right back through the past twenty-four months from the decision to undertake Everest through training and then being on the mountain. The phone would ring and I’d jump startled out of the past into the present. It was actually quite jarring. So, I’m feeling like I’m at Camp Four with the book. I’m heading for the summit with one last big read through. I read it aloud to listen for rhythm and anything that might take the reader “out of the book.” I hope to hit the summit by handing it to the publisher on Friday since I get on a plane early Saturday morning to head to Arkansas for a canoe trip and then a conference.

Some training hours got sacrificed to editing this week so I concentrated on doing cardio and hypoxic training. I did another session with Phil Alcock and enjoyed sweating up a storm. He puts me through a series of movements and exercises that work every muscle in my body in functional ways. We also work agility and balance. Some of the moves require intense concentration to make my feet move in new and interesting ways. For example, I’m learning to move forward without first pivoting back-it’s hard to undo 42 years of movement patterns but sure fun to try. Phil’s website is www.corehealthspa.ca. This week he also tested my antioxidant levels and I was pleased to learn all my veggie and fruit eating has been paying off. I had a relatively high level but there is still lots more room for improvement. Pass the V-8!

I read an article in Runner’s World about what folks do with their minds during runs. The author broke it down into four categories: Internal-internal, Internal-external, External-external, External-internal. Basically, it broke down to what my mind paid attention to…first, what it internal or external? So as I did my run this morning-I observed my mind–realizing that I’m mostly an internal focuser until the going gets tough and then I switch over to external focus. For example, I often get a song stuck in my head, an earworm, some people like to call them. This is “internal-external.” I’m paying attention to something inside me but was originally externally received.

An “internal-internal” would be paying attention to how my body is doing-my pulse, my pain, anything coming into my mind from me. Some folks are often external-internal-they are hooked up to their I-pods; they are paying attention to something external (the music) but it’s internal because it’s only playing in their heads. Finally, the external-external is when I pay attention to the colors of the autumn leaves, the sound of my sneakers swooshing through the fallen leaves, or the rush of the stream I’m running beside.

Running for two hours gave me lots of time to think and watch what my mind was paying attention to…today–not much profound–just a broken record of Christmas carols and childhood ditties punctuated by the occasion glimpse of the beauty of my surroundings. The article said that external-external folks tended to have the greatest success in endurance events so I was glad to know that where my mind turned to when the going got tougher and my hamstrings were doing great imitations of overstretched rubber bands wanting to break.

I leave for Chile in four weeks exactly. It’s frightening the amount of work and travel and training I have to do between now and then so I’d best stop writing and get on with the to-do list. I hope you all get more treats than tricks on Halloween.



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