If it’s Saturday, it’s pull day! This weekend I had a date with 60 kg…up ten kg from last week. I also upped the weight in my pack by 10 kg as well. The result. Humility.
You see, after last week’s great pull, I felt terrific, on-task, on training plan, and like there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do. Add 20 more kg to the equation…and presto…the tipping point.
I remember the tipping point well from my polar training course. Below a certain weight, the sled moved pretty easily. Or more precisely, I could get it going pretty easily. Once the weight passed a certain point, the task of overcoming inertia was much tougher and stopping became a battle of getting going again. Today I relived that experience and felt totally humbled by the task of pulling my 60 kg sled. It was both mentally and physically tough and almost instantly, I was sweating.
Now if you ask any of the students in my winter outdoor education course, they will tell you that one of my favourite course mantras is “sweat is evil.” With the increase in temps today, the only way I could have kept from sweating while pulling such a load would have been to do it in shorts and a t-shirt (synthetic, of course). Marian loved this picture of me that she took while we were on a short break because some of my sweat has condensed on my facial hair.
I was grateful for my MEC merino wool hoodie base layer-it’s my fav of late and I can easily put the hood up if a breeze comes up. In training mode, it’s not the worst thing in the world if I sweat because I know I am headed home to a warm house in a warm car. When I pull my sled in Greenland, I will have to sort out how to stay dryer by wearing even less or by moving more slowly. I’ll have to dry out any wet clothing on my body every evening so there will be great incentive to try to stay dryer/sweat less.
We covered just over 6 kilometres in three hours of pulling. Not exactly a Indy 500 pace but slow and steady wins the race in most cases. The snow was super soft today so it took much greater effort to move the sled today and the sled’s developed a “friction fin” as I call it. The sled is cracked along the bottom and has a piece that hangs down and creates additional drag and funnels snow into the sled along with the 60 kg of road salt. Maybe next year I can get a job with the City of St. John’s as a human powered snow plow/salt truck.
The schedule called for ten kilometres but the combo of slow travel and time of day caused a rethink at the 3 km out mark. A morning/early afternoon of doing my taxes had us heading out a little later than intended and given the humility lesson I received, 6 km was a good workout for today. I am at least 10 kg ahead of schedule and I can do my extra 4 km of pulling tomorrow after a bit of recovery.
Being humbled by the load, brings lots of questions to bear: What will the pull up the Brede Glacier be like? How heavy will our sleds on the onset be? Wow-if I feel like this after three hours, what’s it going to feel like after six or nine hours of pulling? How are my teammates training? How long will the snow on the trails last? Can I pull off everything I need to do to be ready for April 11? How much is this going to hurt tomorrow? What does this feel so much harder this week? Where’s that next trail junction? Etc. Etc. Etc.
It’s all good. The questions. The hard work. The doubt. The humility. Spending time with my sweetie in the woods. Wondering. Wandering. Salt water streaming from my pores. The sled that loves to run into trees. Super soft snow. Being tired enough to fall face first into dinner. It’s all good.