Laying the Foundation

Happy 214th Day of the Year,

How did it get to be August? How did it get to be Sunday evening? It was another rich week of settling back into post-mountain life both looking back and looking ahead. It seems I am often draw to doing home renovations either before or after climbs and Elbrus seems to be no exception. In a moment of sanity, I put the brakes on before the climb so since getting home we have been busy making lots of decisions and getting supplies at hand for when the contractor’s ready to get to work everything will be in place. Working on the house feels a bit like core work–it sets the foundation and is the strength that everything else is built on. Having a home that works well supports me in the rest of my adventures.

It’s a bit like organizing an expedition and sorting through what supplies need to be and when, which tasks need to be done before the next, and deciding on a route and seeking local beta. Along with multiple trips to the building supply store, I also returned to a gentle schedule of physical activity. It was too light a load to be called training but is starting to set the base. I’m cognizant that my Everest climb is at the same moment, far off and just around the corner. I know from past experience that I can hold to a hard schedule of training for five to six months before I lose drive and focus.

I’m trying to layout my training plan so I peak at the right moment next April. I don’t want to start too soon and thereby peak too soon. I also am aware that I’m starting lower on the fitness scale than in the last several years because of this spring’s injury. My commitment is to keep listening to my body, to train as hard as I can, avoid injuries, and get enough rest. I won’t go to the mountain tired this time–that’s a promise I have made with myself. So, I’m going gently at the moment–testing out the discipline I’ll need to muster to get training in with everything else and reminding myself constantly not to go out too hard.

I know that as soon as I start training more seriously, the temptation will be to train very hard so I’m laying out the next eight months in phases that will have different purposes such as laying an aerobic foundation, developing strength, working on balance and technical skills, etc. I spent some of the weekend watching the second season of Everest: Beyond the Limit to start reminding myself of the huge challenge ahead and to look at the gear they were using. I enjoyed the show but could have lived without the TV dramatics and I don’t recommend watching the shows before bed (it makes sleeping a challenge).

I went for my first run in ages. I wanted to see if my ankle was ready. I did some intervals run up the front side of Signal Hill and stopped in to visit my “Summit and Safe Return” letterbox but unfortunately someone had removed the letterbox. I was saddened by its loss but still took some time to express gratitude for my safe return from Elbrus. The good news is that my ankle did OK with the run. I was tender afterward and made sure to do some icing of it and I’ll try again later today or tomorrow for another gentle foray.

In the end, after a week of mulling over the realities of finances, I don’t think I’ll be able to swing Mount Vinson this year. As much as it would be great to have Everest be number seven, I think the stress of having to have so much fundraising done so quickly, would be too stressful and too distracting from the my major project of the year Mount Everest. So unless I win the lottery (wish is quite impossible without buying a ticket) or find a big sponsor in the next week or so, I’ll be hoping to wind up my seven summits bid in 2010. I did finally luck into a points ticket for Australia so I will be heading there in October with Marian for a climb of Mount Kosciuszko (which I both need to learn how to say and spell)!!!

Hope your week was great and you’re having a good summer,


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