Winter Is Easy
Winter is probably the easiest time of year for me when considering what to do: ski. The big decisions I have to make each day are things like do I telemark or alpine? Do I tour or ride the lifts? Do I stay local or drive north to experience bigger and more varied terrain? Do I fly solo or try and hustle up some company? On rare occasions, I break up my winter routine of skiing and more skiing with an occasional ice climbing trip, a visit to the local rock gym, or, on the rarest of occasions, dusting off my snowboard.
With the arrival of summer weather, I find myself at a crossroads of what to do. Unlike winter, summer does not present an interest as dominating as skiing to me. Most days, I am torn between a desire to ride my bike, trail run, or climb. Some days I get lucky and the weather or my work schedule make the decision of what to do for me. Working an opening shift more often than not means a pre-work trail run. Rain in the forecast will find me seeking solace at the rock gym, and a closing shift with good weather is the perfect opportunity to log some miles on the bike.
The desire to be good at all of the activities mentioned above fuels an unrealistic belief that I can juggle all of these activities. Sure, when sitting on the couch, the notion of hitting the rock gym after your morning bike ride sounds great…but truth be told, at the end of a fifty mile bike ride my body is more inclined to sit and read than rally and hit the gym. The same can be said for the idea of a trail run after a morning on the rocks. The reality is that even when I tear myself away from the couch, the second activity is somewhat lackluster. Not only is the fatigue evident in my performance, but–even worse–much of the enjoyment has disappeared. It has ceased to be something I enjoy doing; rather, it has become something I should do, or feel obligated to do.
So far this season, I’ve been favoring the activities which people are available for. If there are people around to climb, I climb; if I have a riding partner, I ride. I’ve even made a little time to run with Ashley so far this summer–something I avoided almost entirely last year mostly due to the fact that she had become much faster than me. It has been hard to accept the fact that Ashley has gotten much faster than me (she should be, she runs a lot more than I do), that the occasional rider blows past me on the local roads, and that some climbers use my projects as their warm ups. I think these are the sacrifices you make when you don’t specialize in one activity. On a positive note, I’m sure that trying to keep up with Ashley, not letting the stranger pass me without a little fight, and being around stronger climbers is pushing me toward being better in all disciplines.
While I may never run the race I dream of, or be the fastest person on the road, or the strongest person at the crag, the diversity of activity keeps me psyched. If I don’t feel like doing something, I don’t; instead, I lean toward whatever activity is calling me that day. Also, I believe that the participating in numerous activities helps avoid the type of overuse injuries that plague every type of specialized athlete. It’s hard to recognize that, to some extent, you are limiting your performance and perhaps not maximizing your potential…but hey, I was never going to be Kilian Jornet, Lance Armstrong, or Chris Sharma anyway. Sometimes I get lost in my own head–and the struggle to be faster or stronger–but in the end, it’s just about getting outside and enjoying yourself.