Saturday, one of my happiest days in recent memory, started with 45 minutes of manual labor.
Steve and I left Silver Spring for our regular weekend shift volunteering for Whitetail’s Mountain Safety Team around noon on Friday, just as the first flakes of what turned into a record-breaking snowstorm started to fall. We skied all night Friday, when snow fell so quickly and heavily, we watched our tracks from our last run disappear on the lift ride back up to the top.
On Saturday, our opening shift required us to shovel out the lifts so they were safe for guests to actually get on. The ski patrollers said they needed a couple of safety teamers to ride over to the lift that services Whitetail’s expert terrain on a snowmobile. Steve and I practically leaped out of our seats to volunteer. After a snowmobile ride that rivaled the coolest roller coasters I’ve ever been on, the patroller and I spent about 45 minutes shoveling at the top of the lift as Steve worked on the bottom. Once it was clear, we were both dripping with sweat, exhausted from the effort.
“Want to take a run?” the patroller said, smiling. I thought you’d never ask!
That first turn on two feet of untouched powder will go down in my mental record book as one of the most joyful moments of my life. Feeling my skis float on top of the snow felt like exhaling: a soft, sweet release I could sink into. My quads were working overtime, but not in the usual way: It felt like doing lunges on a pile of feathers, hard and soft all at once. It was the first of dozens of runs that would leave me aching by the end of the day, not to mention this morning. Every muscle in my body is literally sore to the touch.
I’m highly motivated to keep up my workout routine by having something to train for: a marathon or an open-water swim I need to be in good shape to complete. Last weekend’s blizzard reminded me that I also want to be in shape for the unexpected. I want to be able to plan an impromptu backpacking trip, or to keep skiing until the powder is gone, not until my muscles run out of juice.
Next time I’m doing single-leg squats, or Turkish getups, I’ll be motivated by the knowledge that strength-training now helps me be ready for anything, from shoveling to powder skiing.
What’s motivating you this week?