WG Note--I wrote this a while back, feel it again now, so it's going up:
The last week has been high-speed. Articles, coaching, home, life, kid, the backlog of travel-delayed work etc, there just wasn't a lot of time to get outside and huck a lung. The first few days of low activity were voluntary, I was just plain worn out after Helmcken and the Knucklebasher comp, and then life started conspiring against getting out for an aerobic burn. I tried once, but felt like my feet were lead... I'm old enough to know when I'm over-trained and just over-done; I needed to rest so I could focus and give energy to what was important, especially coaching and home life, but without an aerobic burn junk accumulates in my body and mind like creosote in a chimney when the fire isn't burning hot enough.
Yesterday I spent pretty much all day in Ikea with my kid; she loves it there, but I'm pretty sure that place is some sort of cynical Swedish mind-fuck program with researchers lurking in the ceiling to see what men will do when pushed too far in a frilly environment. Finally drove back to town, it was later than it should have been, and I was getting more ornery by the minute. As darkness loomed I threw my skis in the car, downed a little silver and blue can, and headed for the Canmore nordic centre.
iPod on, not something I normally do, but I wanted full zone-out. Old Sisters of Mercy, Kid Rock, Minor Threat, Rage, and rage I did. For 90 minutes I was unstoppable. When the playlist ended I realized my pulse rate was insanely high, but I'd held it that high for well over an hour without even thinking about. On some of the steep hills at the Nordic Centre my main goal is often to just keep moving; last night I stabbed the snow with the poles hard enough to hear the carbon flex, and as Henry Rollins sung, "Inhale power, exhale force," I exhaled plastic Ikea junk out of my pores and inhaled clean oxygen. Inhale another ten feet of hill, exhale frustration with people leaving carts in the middle of the goddamn aisle so they can look at Bjornphalluses. Inhale motion, exhale stagnation.
As twilight faded to black I skied with full abandon back down the turns to my car, on the edge of crashing but looking forward to the icy cold of the snow on my face if I did. It would have been prudent to slow down; I poled as hard as I could anytime that looked to be happening. A friend of mine talks about becoming an animal when he's outside. He's right.
I share this with you as a reminder that there is not much in life that can't be made better by going outside and breathing hard. Sometimes we all need a good chimney fire.