Sunday, May 3, 2009

Let the Hiking Season Begin! Systems Check: Emotional, Physicial etc...

Its been an interesting transition between hiking and skiing season. I think I have finally figured it out. Next season, I think I'm going to take about 3 weeks off after Academy and try to go somewhere sunny and warm and rest and go surfing with my boys. That's a goal.

Its true, my body needs a break, a real break, but I get crazy if I can't get outside. So I think an active vacation, with the first like 6 days being all about laying around, would be in order if I could swing it financially. Its a goal.

I have so many things swimming around in my head that I want to report about, lets start with a systems check.

Its been 9 days since I was physically active, and as many of you know, I suffer from an eating disorder. When I am nice and active, It goes into remission, because I can focus on feeding my body so it will perform. I eat a lot, whenever I am hungry, and I stop when I feel full.

When I get sick, or I'm not active for over 6 or 7 days, it tends to rear its ugly head, I feel panicked and afraid to eat, and it creeps up on me over the course of a couple of days, until I am in a very scared place about food, my body, and performance.

It happened again when I got back from Academy, and needed a rest. The first four days were fine, I wasn't worried about food, even enjoyed some Ben and Jerry's (without downing the entire tub).

The nature of my eating disorder is binge/punish, no purging, just out of control binge eating, then emotional blackmail until I feel terrible about myself. Its been a long year, I was diagnosed last July (as was my sister, who went to treatment for the same disorder).

Its an interesting thing to grapple with, because training helps me to keep food in perspective, my goal in skiing is so much more important to me that it trumps my food psychosis, so when I'm actively training my body to be as healthy and strong as it can be, I eat well, feel balanced, and am much happier. The one part of the disorder that I was able to conquer was the exorcise anorexia portion, where I used to count calories and exercise myself into the ground to loose weight. I am happy that I don't have the urge to do that anymore, I feel like to meet my goal, my body has to be strong and healthy, whatever it looks like is a result of how healthy it is.

Its when the training goes away due to sickness or rest that I loose my compass.

Because of this, I'm going back into therapy this summer, now that I have a little more time, to make sure that the decisions I am making in this and in other aspects of my life are healthy and appropriate! I'm excited to re-enter therapy, I like to rip off the scab and get to work, its hard to do, but the other side is SO MUCH BETTER!

On the subject of therapy, I want to say how proud I am of Tom and me. I have tried to avoid posting specifically about our relationship, but its pretty important and impactful, and I have to say that I am really really amazed that we've managed to land where we are.

We went to the movies together the other night, and took the boys out on a family rock climbing trip together. Now that we are not romantically involved, and we've both mourned that and moved on as much as we can, we are taking such good care of each other! We are getting along so well, being respectful and helpful to each other. Neither of us wants to get back together, we know its not the right thing, but we aren't mad at each other, we care about each other, we love each other, and we love our kids. So we are very fortunate to have landed in a place where we can truly be great friends, good parents, supportive of each other, and nurture a deep friendship. I'm grateful for our kids and for us that this is where we've ended up. It was hard work to get here, we had to do a lot of honest talk, we had to both be brave. Its still hard to know that it didn't work out, that it won't work out that way, but I think we are both happy that we've got what we do. And I'm glad that we did it in a way that honors both of us and what we need, but takes good care of our kids, to minimize the impact.

So here is the Scary Things systems check:
I was afraid to go to Academy, because my sponsors were going to be there, and I can't do what I'm doing without them, I just don't have the financial resources to buy the gear and be on the road like this. I want to make sure that I'm doing every thing I can to say thank you to them, to promote their gear (and I'm fortunate enough to be sponsored by people whose gear I LOVE), and just to be helpful. I live in a bit of fear that they will say, well, thanks, but we are done... its just not working out.

So showing up at Academy was scary, but it ended up being nothing but good to see the Elan/Dalbello guy, Scott, who originally took a chance on me, we got a run in together, but definitely need to get more turns in than that one of these days, and I got a bunch of runs in with Brent Amsbury, the boot fitting magician, and it was great to connect with him on snow, I met Joel, the CEO and inventor of Skier's Edge, and we hit it off really well, and I met the VIO guys, and that went well as well. When I got home, I found a box from Cloudveil of spring gear to try out, and I just feel totally blessed by all this encouragement and these terrific relationships.

I thought about being scared to go there, and I decided, you know, if they did decide this wasn't working for them today, I would certainty have nothing to complain about!! These companies each took a chance on me, and have made this very difficult year much much easier. If it ended today, I think I would be happy and grateful for all they've done for me so far. So I took a deep breath and moved on from that. I feel like I have a very open communicative relationship with all of them, and I'm grateful for that.

The next scary thing was coming back to school, because my classmates, whom I was very close with before I left for training, were not happy with the fact that I'd made arrangements with the school that gave me permission to miss like two months of class. While I'm still responsible for the material and won't graduate without meeting all the requirements, I do understand that the situation seems unfair to the other students. I was afraid to come back because I used to be very close with a few of the girls who are the most angry and upset about it. It was hard to loose those friendships, but harder to know that they were very unhappy, and I was the cause.

My first day back, I felt very apologetic, like I needed to be very quiet, and silently apologize for being gone, and now for being back, and then to apologize also for any hurt I'd caused. This was, needless to say, not a conducive emotional place to be for learning!!

I took some time and had a meeting with the head of our school, and I decided that as much as I feel bad that this was very hard for everyone involved, I'm in school to learn, and my goal is to graduate. I can't continue to apologize for something that I got permission to do, I need to leave it behind and focus on the future. I finally was able to let it go, and hope that the girls will, as well. Many of my classmates were very understanding and encouraging and helpful, and I'm grateful to those who reached out to me! I miss my deep friendships, but they will either come back or they won't.

Physical Systems check:
My broken wrist has healed nicely, and isn't bothering me anymore. My month long illness is finally over! And my sinuses are very grateful for that. (Sorry for snoring so much at Academy...).

I have chronic tonsillitis, which I've had for about five years, and it gets worse every allergy season. I've concluded that's whats going on with my sore throat right now, Allegra and benadryl seem to help it, but I need a tonsillectomy. I don't have time to do it right now, so I'm gonna do the best I can this summer and work through it, hope to get the surgery done in September in Aspen after the move. The bummer is that when it flares up, my tonsils swell, leak puss and bleed, and my tongue hurts to move. That's very sexy, don't you think? I feel when that is happening like I have the flu, I get all achy in my body, because of the infection.

Its time to get my teeth put back into my head, my mom has agreed to help me with that financially, which is terrific, so I've made appointments to finish all three of my implants. Wow, it will feel good to have all my teeth after a year! One more oral surgery and a dental application and I'm done!

The calf muscle I pulled at Academy is healing, I felt it today on my hike, but I stretched it after, and it feels much better now.

The thing thats bugging me the most physically right now is this series of active trigger points I have in my shoulder that are firing all the time. Last night, I slept on this wooden "thumb" jammed into my shoulder blade to make it stop firing. The sensation goes constantly down into my elbow, up my neck and through my shoulder to the front, like a hot ice pick. Not pleasant. Tamara is working on it again. I got renewed prescriptions for chiro, pt, massage and counseling from my accident, and I'm excited to take care of my body all summer, get it back in balance, and turn down the amount of screaming pain I'm in all the time.OOh, and I'm excited to fix the leg length discrepancy that Brent found from my twisted pelvis. That will help my skiing a lot.

Today, I hiked to M. It's the first hike of the season, and I was worried about where I would be cardiovascularly, since I didn't do a lot of hiking this year, because I was using that time to train wedge turns and wedge christies and bumps for the exam. I had the goal of just walking up to the M, the steep way, at a sustainable pace that felt good for my body, and to go at that pace without stopping.

I was psyched to feel strong and happy on my way up the M, I remember when I started hiking this trail two years ago, how hard it was, how I wanted to turn around every ten feet, how I had to talk myself into keeping going all the time. It was such a huge mental exercise for me. Today, I walked happily up to the M, and I was surprised when I got there! I felt so good, I decided to keep on going. I hiked up to the ridge, feeling strong and happy, keeping bio mechanics in mind, trying to just use my legs in the hip socket, and keep my hips and pelvis out of the walking motion, focusing on hitting the ground with a flat foot, and standing up straight rather than pitching my body forward and using momentum from my torso to move up (which is actually much more work). I didn't wear a backpack or bring any water today, just wanted to go light and easy on this first day. I got to the top in 40 minutes, I think that's about 10 minutes slower than my fastest time last year, which is great!

I feel like I am starting this year's hiking season in slightly better shape than where I left off last year at the end of the summer, and that's exciting. I am constantly amazed at the fact that endurance fitness is something that builds over the course of years, I feel so much stronger in my body and cardio wise than I did three years ago, I'm excited to see where I end up at the end of this season!

Now its time for planning for looking forward:

Goals for the summer are:

Catch up in school, do a good job in school, and graduate from school.

Do a good job on my clients in my private practice, and hand that practice over to someone at the end of the summer with a good list of satisfied clients.

Focus on Energetics, take the Thai massage continuing learning seminar in Jackson.

Go to Aspen and get a good massage job that begins in September, find an apartment that will house all four of us.

Refinance our house and fix it up.

Sell or rent our house in Bozeman.

Sell or get rid of about 80% of our stuff because it won't fit in our Aspen apartment!

Increase muscle mass by 10-12 lbs, increase endurance and speed on the boot pack. Enter the ski season in better fitness than I left it.

Get at least four ski trips in.

Tackle the "major projects list" that needs doing:
Wrap up Jungle Gym Tax situation
Wrap up our fire insurance claim
wrap up my accident insurance claim
send my books off for consideration for publishing
edit and finish my articles and send them off for consideration for publishing
finish the Academy 09 memory book
finish the tryouts memory book

Oh! And go camping with my boys. :-)

I think that's about the size of it. I will be so excited to come out the other end of this year, I knew it was going to be insane and challenging, but so far, I am grateful to say, at the end of ski season, that while it was challenging, and more obstacles presented themselves than I ever could have predicted, with the help and support of my friends, family, mentors and coaches, I met all of my goals for the season. Lets hope the summer goes the same way!

Time to get to work!!


Jongira said...

I do admire your (brutal) self-honesty. You won't get where you're going without it, and I envy that you DO have it.

Make every dream come true, J

a said...

Thanks very much, Jongria! I appreciate it a lot. Sometimes its scary, but I'm practicing being transparent and unashamed of who I am and the choices I've made. So far, its scary, but rewarding, and it makes it easier to notice the choices I AM making and make better and better ones.

I feel very much like a work in progress with a long long journey ahead of me. But it feels like the right path.

Thanks very much for reading, and for your kind comment!