So time for some athlete musings, another blog to slide into the “chasing the unicorn chronicles”.
If you aren’t quite sure what I’m talking about, click the link here to go back to the first chronicle. Basically it’s in addition (a side note) to my weekly blogs, an athlete’s thoughts and perspective on life.
Fitness and health.
Two simple words that mean such different things to many people and provoke different ideas. The definitions themselves change from person to person.
It’s Christmas break and I’m writing this as I fly up to Alaska to spend it with my girlfriend. Across the aisle of the plane is a lady who is able to rest her chin on top of her belly/ bust (due to the enormity of her bulk) and nap. I’ll admit I am a little jealous (as I can’t find a comfortable position to sleep in). I wonder what her definitions are compared to mine.
One of the greatest benefits of being an athlete is being fit. I know this sounds stupid, but it is actually something we take for granted. It never crosses my mind that it will be a tough ride when I jump on my bike and ride from one end of Bozeman to the other side of the city through the snow. I just power away and relish the feeling of whipping past cars stuck in traffic. For some people it’s a task. For others, they can’t manage it at all.
During last year I had a small moment where it dawned on me and it’s the spark of this idea that has lead me to sit down and write. I was backcountry skiing in Alaska with a bunch of friends. It was my first time and for a lot of others. Like me, they were all athletes and our friends that took us were either x-athletes or coaches. Skinning up a mountain and backcountry skiing was a completely new skill set for me (yes it is similar to cross-country, but not quite). I was terrible at the start and I definitely didn’t have the turning technique down as we zigzagged up the mountain, I fell over a lot and tripped myself frequently. However we all kept up with each other and no one was dropped. One of our “guides” even commented, “I love backcountry skiing with nordies, they can always keep up”. We definitely didn’t do it pretty, but we all just chugged along up a mountain to a glacier.
Fitness trumps technique.
We didn’t have the required skill set, but we were able to overcome it. The same can be said for mountain biking and me. Now I’m not trying to brag and say we can do anything because we are fit. I clearly can’t identify an avalanche danger or out ski it, nor could I just ride down a crazy rock garden section unscathed. What I am trying to say is, to a certain level, you can use an alternative ability to overcome a skill deficiency. And perhaps the greatest alternative skill set is fitness. It’s fairly liberating, realising that you can overcome so many more challenges by adapting different skills to help you achieve an end result. I think in our current day and age, fitness is going to become so much more crucial in our lives, yet it’s a thing too many people lose. It’s something everyone should be conscious of and proactive in achieving a small measure of it.
Fitness is a by-product of training.
I’m not training to be fit, I’m training to win races. It just helps a lot! I think for my own sanity and to keep being able to live the life I want, post racing, I will always need to train. I will always need to be fit. After all a rolling stone gathers no moss.
So perhaps it’s more fitting than usual for me to say.
Train hard, rest easy, live for the moment.