Answers to two obvious questions the title of this post may have spurred: Yes, I’m aware it’s June, and the first day of summer. No, I haven’t lost my mind.
You may recall that last winter, before I snapped my wrist in half snowboarding, Steve and I secured spots in this year’s candidate class to be ski patrollers at Whitetail, in Mercersburg, Penn., where we’ve spent the past two winters volunteering with the Mountain Safety Team. On Thursday, we attended our orientation meeting in Damascus, Md., kicking off what one instructor joked would be “the longest ski season of our lives,” thanks to Outdoor Emergency Care classes every Tuesday and Thursday night from August 31 through the start of the ski season, at which point we start ski and toboggan training (toboggan=the sled in which we will transport injured skiers down the mountain).
Obviously, we’ve got a while until the first snowfall. But the kickoff meeting made me realize that I’ve still got a looong way to go in terms of getting enough of my strength back to feel confident doing things like hauling sleds. So this week, my desire to be ready to go once the snow starts falling is motivating me to start seriously strength-training again.
I’m also motivated by:
Dumbbell push-ups. As of last week, I’m a proud occupational-therapy graduate (hooray!). At my last appointment, my therapist asked if there’s anything I still can’t do that I’d like to be able to, and I confessed that regular push-ups—the kind that require your wrists to bend at 90-degree angles and support your body weight—are still nearly impossible. His answer: Use dumbbells as handles, which is much better for your wrists, anyway. And man! Does that ever give your chest a good workout! Check out this helpful how-to from Oxygen magazine.
Getting outside. Next month, we’ll head to Pennsylvania for a two-night, pseudo-backpacking trip to the Michaux State Forest. On Sunday, we got our hiking legs ready with a quick hiking trip to Harpers Ferry, W.Va. The steep incline challenged our quads and elevated our heart rates, while the stunning vistas soothed our souls—sort of the whole point of hiking and camping, and even more motivation to stay strong enough to enjoy it.
In the “don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone” department: Last week, I learned that my regular pool, the Takoma Aquatic Center, would close for the summer for renovations. It was a flashback to a year ago, when my beloved pool at National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda was razed, wrecking my routine and threatening my training schedule. Heartbroken, I immediately started searching for other pools near my home—until DC’s Department of Parks and Recreation announced my pool wouldn’t be closing, after all. It’s like the swimming gods were testing my motivation, and I passed.
Taking things one bird at a time. Last week, my work to-do list, plus my running and swimming training goals, left me feeling a little overwhelmed. This great analogy of Anne Lamott’s about taking writing one small step at a time brought me back to earth: “Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. [It] was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said. ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.’”
What’s motivating you this week?