Tele Tech­nique

Make It Hap­pen

SkiTrax - - Contents - by J. Scott Mcgee

If we al­low it to hap­pen, Mas­ters can find many rea­sons to feel sorry for them­selves. Start with the sim­ple re­al­ity that be­ing a Mas­ter ath­lete forces us to ac­cept the in­evitable de­cline of our per­for­mance ca­pac­i­ties for the rest of our lives.

Sure, if we get on a good roll with fit­ness and health, we can do a nice job mit­i­gat­ing declines for a few years. For a spe­cial few (you un­doubt­edly know some­one who fits this de­scrip­tion), it’s pos­si­ble to see that roll ex­tend to a seem­ingly end­less decade or more. But make no mis­take, the re­al­i­ties of ag­ing will even­tu­ally catch up to all of us given enough time.

It is very easy to be­moan these re­al­i­ties and suc­cumb to the dreaded “I’m too old for this” mantra of fu­til­ity. It is also easy to cry in our oat­meal about the seem­ingly non-stop pa­rade of health woes that plague Mas­ter ath­letes. And it is easy to shrug our shoul­ders and ques­tion con­tin­ued de­vo­tion to this sport when snow/weather is clearly go­ing to be an up­hill fight for the re­main­der of our life­times.

Some will un­doubt­edly give in to this buck­et­load of neg­a­tives. Next win­ter, they’ll sim­ply stop tak­ing part in cross-coun­try-ski events, stop pay­ing at­ten­tion to win­ter fit­ness, stop work­ing on tech­nique, ski less and less – they’ll quit. But you don’t want to do that. Lit­er­ally ev­ery re­search study done on mid­dle-age and se­nior pop- ula­tions shows the mas­sive health ben­e­fits of ex­er­cise and main­tain­ing over­all fit­ness. Ev­ery hour you de­vote to get­ting out the door in any sea­son is ar­guably go­ing to de­liver a bet­ter re­turn than any fi­nan­cial in­vest­ment. Main­tain­ing our bod­ies pos­i­tively im­pacts lit­er­ally ev­ery as­pect of our lives.

Win­ter is one of the hard­est sea­sons for most peo­ple in snowy re­gions to main­tain fit­ness – ex­cept when they ski. But even for those who do ski, main­tain­ing mo­ti­va­tion to get out the door in less-than-per­fect con­di­tions can be daunt­ing. This is where main­tain­ing cross-coun­try-ski dreams mat­ters. Whether it is a few cross-coun­try events or a cou­ple of self-made chal­lenges such as big tours or hut-to-hut ad­ven­tures, you don’t light a fit­ness fire without a spark. We all need goals.

Ab­so­lutely the era of cli­mate chaos our planet has en­tered will con­tinue to pose un­end­ing chal­lenges for a rel­a­tively del­i­cate sport such as cross-coun­try ski­ing. We do need snow to ski; that’s an un­de­ni­able fact. Fur­ther, it is also true that Nordic events will be in a con­tin­u­ous state of evo­lu­tion for decades to come in re­sponse to these chal­lenges. But that is all the more rea­son to be an ac­tive will­ing par­tic­i­pant in the sport that still is sur­viv­ing to­day.

For the com­ing year, I urge all Mas­ters to em­brace a phi­los­o­phy of “make it hap­pen.”

If your body isn’t co­op­er­at­ing to your sat­is­fac­tion, change it – deal with it – or get help to find an an­swer. But don’t al­low your­self to “feel old,” make ex­cuses or quit.

Use the snow that comes (even when it’s in April in­stead of Jan­uary!). Find ways to sup­port the ski ar­eas and re­tail­ers in good times and bad. If events in your area aren’t in­spir­ing you, get in­volved and find ways to re-ig­nite your pas­sion. When you have a great ski sea­son, en­joy it for all it’s worth. When it’s a drag sea­son, still find some way to get out to ski.

Above all, we all need to be stead­fast, de­ter­mined and prag­matic about cli­mate chaos. Our sport has no op­tion at this point but to fo­cus on mit­i­ga­tion and re­siliency. The world at large faces many life-chang­ing choices, chal­lenges and cri­sis in the com­ing decades, but for cross-coun­try ski­ing, the cri­sis is al­ready at our door.

Make it hap­pen, folks.

Re­search sup­ports the mas­sive health benefi ts of ex­er­cise and main­tain­ing over­all fi tness.

Set­ting goals and self-made chal­lenges help keep cross-coun­try-ski dreams alive.

Mas­ters skiers the world over need to em­brace a phi­los­o­phy of "make it hap­pen."

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