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Training Takes a Hike

April 15, 2012

If these spikes could talk! The Alpine Ascents International base camp view on Mt. Rainier.

I’m climbing Mt Rainier in July and having climbed it twice before, I fully understand how much energy, strength and stamina one needs to get to the summit.  So I started my training in February doing 30 minute treadmill action in my basement along with a bunch of exercises including 100 jumping jacks fairly religiously 4 times per week.  I also participate in ski racing in the winter, so that was helping me get into shape as well.

Ski racing in Idaho became a non-event when 32 inches of snow fell in 48 hours.  Powder day(s)!   And it was the powder, not the race course, that nearly did me in. Skiing through the trees in amazing powder up to my knees was soft and oh so fun!  I went to the left thinking I could circumnavigate the little tree that was present in my path.  Thet tree had other ideas.  My left leg stopped right there and I kept going…..and going….down the hill…with a bit of a delay in my ski  binding release.

I hyperextended my knee, not a good injury to sustain.  By the time I was back in my room, the swelling hit and wow, who put those balloons in my knee?   Thankfully, I don’t have any ligament or meniscus damage; something a hyperextension injury almost always includes.

I have just resumed my training.  I only have 3 months until my Rainier Climb to Fight Breast Cancer climb.   Today was a beautiful sunny day in Seattle with the temperature in the 50’s.  I went down to a local Seattle park, Greenlake, and I walked, and then ran a little, ran the stairs at the amphitheatre, and repeated 2.8 miles around the lake.  I was humbled as I was out of breath when I ran and could only do 5 stair rounds up and down.

I keep trying to recite the words “You are an athlete” and after today, I was doubting that statement.  I know if I persevere, my strength will come back, I will run around the lake without stopping, I will do 10 sets of stairs in addition to the running, and I will be an athlete.

As I was running, I was so ticked that this injury occurred yet at the same time was grateful it wasn’t worse.  It interrupted my training.  Then I thought, that’s probably how people diagnosed with cancer feel, it interrupted their life plans. How selfish was I to be upset at such a small, yes significant, but small injury?  It’s not cancer.  People with that diagnosis have to cancel vacations, cancel work, cancel play, pretty much cancel life as they know it for a few months.  Talk about being put on-hold.   I only had to cancel my life for 4 weeks and it seemed like an eternity.   People undergoing chemo have 6 months to cancel out, and then they have to wait to hear the most wonderful words in the universe:  “No Evidence of Disease.”

I just want to be called an athlete.  They want to be called a survivor.   That’s why I’m climbing.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Don Malbrough permalink
    April 27, 2012 12:53 am

    don’t givee up your struggle to be called an athelete am 59 and one thing I would love to do is do something like this perhaps a little less challenging like Mt. Hood etc love the scenery

    • May 7, 2012 1:17 am

      Hi Don! The Climb to Fight BC actually has a climb on Mt Hood….and we have had 60’odd year olds be successful at climbing…..and I’m not giving up the struggle–that’s for sure! 🙂

  2. Chris Harper permalink
    May 10, 2012 1:58 pm

    Your story keeps me inspired to keep up my hopes of becoming a better athlete than I once was. I also have a dream to climb Mt. Rainier, maybe we could be climbing buddies. Look me up on facebook Chris Harper from Morgantown

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