Sunday, July 29, 2018

Habit Forming

I have plenty of weaknesses when it comes to trying to be a real skier, and lack of consistency in training is one of them.  I'm working on that this year, and one way that's working out great is the regularly scheduled, every-two-weeks Bounding Women workout.  Yesterday was toasty again, and I would have hunkered down in my cool dark house reading all day ... EXCEPT that I knew Coach Ozzie and maybe some bounding women would be waiting for me at the cabin!  So I filled up my water bottles and headed to the sunny hot mountains.

And it was a scorcher.  There were three of us Suffer Sisters, along with Ozzie, and we gamely tackled the uphills and downhills of the Cabin Creek trails.  Ozzie was merciful to us and skipped the trip around Ozbaldy -- it was just too damn hot -- but we did do one of the other hills twice to compensate.  He noticed at one point that we were slacking off in the heat, our bounding wilting into a shuffle, so he stopped us and gave us another demo of proper bounding technique.  I'm finding that bounding alongside him, trying to match his stride and cadence, is immensely helpful.  "If you can see it, you can do it."  Somehow, knowing that your friends are sharing your pain makes it easier and for sure more fun; as always, I am so grateful that people will come and do this workout with me, even in these ridiculous conditions!  Plus, the wild strawberries are almost ready!

Today was even hotter and the sky was smoky with forest fires.  I wasted valuable relatively-cool hours this morning debating with myself about whether I deserved a rest day, whether it was seriously too hot to be outside, whether, in my infinitesimally small bit of the vast uncaring universe, it even mattered existentially if I roller skied or not.  Then the other part of my brain reminded me that I'm trying to build a habit of consistency, of getting out there every day, that ski season is only five months away and my competition is probably training today, and that the day was only getting hotter, not cooler, the longer I dilly-dallied.

So I got in my car and headed north, to the Centennial Trail.  I called it a win just to get in my car and drive away, I gave myself bonus points for actually parking my car at the trailhead and putting on my boots and skis, and I showered praise on myself for skiing away from my car and down the oven-temperature asphalt.  Today, I decided, was not a day for strength or intensity -- way too hot for that.  It was a day for slowing things down and focusing on technique: weight transfer, driving forward with the driving leg, reaching for another inch or two with each stride, as Ozzie told us yesterday.  I told myself I'd be happy with five repeats of the gentle hill, and after I did five and hadn't died of heat stroke, I thought I could do one more. Six.  Could I do seven?  I could, and I did.  One more?  Yes.  Nine?  Yes.  Ten?  Oh yes, but then my water bottle was dry and my brain was bubbling in my helmet, so I stopped and slowly rolled back to my car and the shady tree I parked under and the cold thermos of Nuun waiting for me.

A tough weekend, but the training habit is just a little more firmly in place, winter is another week closer, and I am hugely satisfied as I head back into the work week.

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