Good Morning to All,
I often receive kudos for what I do. This morning I am giving myself kudos for what I am not doing. It’s a beautiful Sunday morning and I want nothing more than to be out on a big run. Instead, I’m sitting in my writing chair. Why? Because my legs still haven’t recovered from Thursday’s big climb endurance day (http://bit.ly/jkR4h). After the double climbs (more likely the descents) of Signal Hill, Cuckhold Head, and Quidi Vidi Hill, some kneecap and Achilles pain is lingering and I really trying to be smart about training injuries this time round.
In line with my intent for this to be a “Mountain of Learning”, I want to try to apply all the lessons I’ve learned from past attempts and this week’s lesson is that it is better to take time off early for things to heal than push through. A hard lesson since it is gorgeous outside and I really want to run. I console myself knowing that I am going on a gentle hike this afternoon and hope to replace some running this week with pool time. “I’m six months out from the climb and there is lots of time to get ready!” is the mantra that keeps me in my chair this morning.
Another big installment for the expedition was due this week so that a big motivator to spend some time working on my sponsorship invitation. In the past, I would have called it a “package” but now I am more comfy with the invitation because I see the importance of inviting people to both come along on and invest in the expedition. It makes a tremendous difference to have assistance with the mountain-sized project on many levels. I have fond memories of during my first attempt, supporters dropping off pre-cooked meals so I wouldn’t have to cook, friends saving batteries to power my headlamp, students donating their spare change, and folks buying expedition toques like they were the latest fashion hit.
You can visit my sponsorship invitation here at this link (http://bit.ly/KUom6). Check it out and if you have any suggestions to improve it or if you have any ideas of where I can send it to or people I can meet with to discuss it with–please drop me a line. It does really take a village to climb a mountain and I know there is lots of expertise in my community of support. Seeking sponsorship and financial support for expeditions is one of the toughest things for me to do…I’d rather go climb Signal Hill a hundred times (smile, chuckle).
We also finalized the logo for the expeditions. Using your feedback and some of the realities of embroidery thread, the logo is now is the same red, blue, and green of my adventures that move logo. Both have their inspiration in prayer flags and it felt right to be truer to those colours in the end. I’m really pleased with it and like the sense of connection to previous expeditions it has. I can’t wear to wear it and I think they are starting to get this batch of toques sown on Monday. Some folks already have their orders in! The toques will sell for $20 all in (plus shipping if you need them mailed).
Along with working on sponsorship, I’ve been surfing around looking at airfares, equipment, and training. Heck, this week, in line with my intention to push my limits, I even went to a Zumba class! More like dance than any other exercise class I’ve ever attended, it was pretty entertaining I’m sure to watch me try to move my hips to the Latin-American inspired music…if I can Zumba, anything is possible! I had trouble keeping my heart rate up, I grabbed a skipping rope and tried to make the moves while jumping up and down.
I close my presentations by sharing a number of lessons that the mountains have taught me. When climbing at high altitude, we often have to “Climb High, Sleep Low.” This facilitates our acclimatization and I think work hardens us to the frustrations of going over the same ground over and over again. One of the ways that I train both mentally and physically for this is through intervals. Periods of intense activity are alternated with periods of rest. I’ve added intervals back into my training mix by running them on the backside of Signal Hill. Thursday morning as I was going up and down the hill and almost stepped in some doggie doo, I was reminded of a classic piece of writing I did while training for Denali. I’ll close my update by sharing it once again.
Learning from Doggie Doo
Thursdays mean intervals. Intervals are another word for suffering. They involve running up the backside of Signal Hill at close to max heart rate for 5 one-minute intervals and then running uphill for 3 three-minute intervals at 85% of max heart rate. Basically-it's one big sucking wind experience that humbles the body, mind and soul.
The first interval…I ran very hard and got a ways up the hill. Near the end of the minute, I passed some doggie doo. I noted it in my mind. Beeper rang, I walked down hill past the doggie doo -not quite back to the spot where I started.
The second interval…Ran hard, passed the doggie doo earlier in the run, got higher up the hill. Beeper rang, walked down past the doggie doo again but not as far down as interval one.
The third interval…sucking big wind, passing doggie doo, getting higher on the hill…I realized that I was enjoying running the same strip of trail over and over again-a new experience-have always liked circle routes more than out and back noticed that I kept passing the same doggie doo over and over again…had some universal sense that we are all passing by doggie doo -it was metaphoric connection to our issues/burdens/stuck spots…also some sense of doggie doo as karma and needing to pass it by several times until we are done with it.
The fourth interval…really sucking big wind, passed the doggie doo, got higher on hill…realized that passing the same way, passing the doggie doo filled me with a sense of comfort, surrender and acceptance instead of shame and disappointment…with each interval, I passed the doggie doo sooner and easier than the time before…
The fifth interval…feeling like my lungs were going to escape through my nose, heart beating like wildfire, leaping over the doggie doo–celebrate the end of the 1 minute intervals…take the rest period to walk all the way to the bottom of the hill…
Begin again…running uphill…slightly slower for much longer…have a new definition for suffering…keep feet moving…pass the doggie doo…rejoice…keep feet moving…
Repeat two more times…get to highest spot on the hill today…think I've finally passed the doggie doo for good…look down…there is a new pile of doggie doo to pass…
In the writing, it doesn't seem nearly as profound as it felt at the time…there was just such a sense of relief and compassion in the moment of realization of universal doggie doo…that and surrendering into going over the same ground over and over again but moving a bit further forward each time…both were quite moving and filled me with joy and excitement….Life lessons come in many forms…though never did I think that doggie doo could teach me so much.
Watch where you are stepping and have a good week,
(See you on the 8th)