AN ACTIVE OFF SEASON: DIFFERENTIATION THROUGH ICE
Climbing has the potential of being a year-round sport. There is always good weather to find during the year. Though, I cannot think of a sport in which athletes are expected to Peak Perform at all times during the year. In order to keep a healthy routine, maximize psyche, and remain non-injured, I think that it is really important to have rest periods; also known as, an Off Season.
Due to my school schedule, I have the most consecutive free time to travel and to climb during the summer. Essentially, from mid May until the beginning of September, I have a break from University. This time off from school is my time to really maximize my climbing trip schedule and to chase after my goals that I set for my season. For this plan to work, from February into May, I am training for my upcoming objectives. Therefore, I always hope to be in my best shape by early summer and into early fall. Then, during the Fall, I wind my training down and focus on Sport Specific Training, including Strength Training and High Intensity Intervals.
That said, December and into January, I am kind of in hibernation. I have been skiing since I was three and in the past, I have spent December skiing in Mont Tremblant, Quebec with my family. This was always my Dad’s tradition. Mont Tremblant was his favorite place in the World. Growing up I spent almost every summer, winter, and spring there with my family. The last time I was in Mont Tremblant was when I road tripped up with my Dad from New York at the end of May. This was just a few weeks before he passed away unexpectedly, and this is one of my last memories that I have with him. I have felt a little timid to return to that sacred place knowing that I won’t be able to share it with him again. This space still feels emotionally raw to me. I have been reluctant to face this emptiness. I do look forward to returning, though, Christmas wasn’t the time yet.
Instead, my family and I celebrated my Grandma’s 90th birthday and Christmas in Toronto where my Grandma, cousins, and Aunts/Uncles live. Instead of skiing this winter, though, I actually will be learning a new sport… Ice Climbing!
I am thankful to have been invited to compete in the Invitational Elite Division in Ouray, Colorado July 10-12 despite my absolutely negligible experience ever trying Mixed, nor Ice climbing. Though, ice climbing intrigues me for a few reasons. First of all, ice climbing is another dimension to Climbing that I am completely unfamiliar with. I think that differentiation in a sport is healthy and a great way to break through plateaus. Diversification is important in training, and this is an indirect way to get back into my Sport Climbing training for the New Year. Secondly, it’s hard to expand my comfort zone without removing myself from what I am familiar with and having new experiences outside of this known. Ice Climbing, to me, is a mental challenge. Thirdly, I have notoriously terrible circulation in my extremities, ie Reynauds. I also get cold really easily, and I would opt for hot climbing conditions over cold the majority of times. Though, ice climbing will also be an exciting new challenge!
So, from the end of December until January 8th I will be learning how to Ice Climb, and then having my first competition, with zero expectations and hopefully less fear than what I feel now, in Ouray, on the 10th of January!
Will Mayo (My Sensai), Gord Macarthur, and Maury Birdwell have generously offered to be my ice climbing coach. We will start in Vail, then head to Ouray. Time to leave hibernation…
My Current Top 3 Fears:
1. The ice breaking or melting
2. The numbing cold
3. Whacking myself with the ice axe
Here we go!!!