Never Underestimate the Strength You Have 8 RACES Two Days
With the season rapidly approaching, at this time of year I am always filled with excitement and a bit of nostalgia; excitement for the ski season and racing ahead and nostalgic for the wonderful autumn days of the past that were filled with preparation and training. I fondly recall peat bogs redolent of pungent moss and the wonderful smell of the poplars and aspens when running in and around Durango, Colo. No matter that more than 45 years have passed. Smells can be truly evocative and take you back instantly.
The journey of year-round training is really an ongoing journey of self-discovery, and it changes with the aging process and with the goals you have for your own brand of excellence. From elite sport to Masters racing, it’s a noble pursuit. Here are some observations and thoughts I’ve had over the years.
I love to watch the images that our skiers share on social media because they never fail to show pictures of the natural world in which they are training and traveling. It’s good to look up from the tracks. In fact, it’s essential. We must enjoy the treasures that abound. Training is too hard to not enjoy its beauty and the rhythms it creates.
Of course, there are no shortcuts, and making training a lifestyle is a wonderful pursuit. It takes time to work toward building that all-important base. The harder you work, it seems the luckier you get.
Sickness or injury is a fact of life, which athletes – and the rest of us – cannot escape. How you deal with those setbacks matters a lot. You have the strength to overcome those obstacles, and the patience and wisdom to understand that these things will pass. You can find ways of adapting your training to the needs of the moment and the future.
There is, of course, the science of sport, and its realities must be faced – whether it be chronic, nagging injuries or overtraining, but there’s also the soul and heart of sport that helps keep us focused on and comforted by the big picture and the ultimate goal of pressing on. I’ve long thought that learning to be an athlete comes with its natural ebbs and flows, the good times and the bad.
I have a number of Masters racing friends who truly inspire me, for they have long ago heeded the words of Picasso: “It takes a long time to become young.” I agree. They have built their impressive resume through decades of training, year-round. I call it sports play. And yet they redefine their goals to meet the aging process and adapt. Perhaps they are no longer skiing the Birkie, but they are still at the Kortie and relishing in it, still engaged in improving technique or in finding the ultimate new wax job or building more core strength. We are always evolving and moving forward.
As we set forth into the upcoming season, I’m wishing that all your goals will be met this winter. You’ve worked hard and prepared. Sometimes we may even be in competition with our previous selves, but the lessons and joy we attain through training – at all ages – are timeless.
I see great beauty in that.