Tuesday, April 2, 2013

FitSpace and the 'Small Epic'

I think of FitSpace as a mentality insofar as design (a little forethought) can help us navigate our everyday world.  Fitness too is a mental construct; if I think of myself as 'fit' I'm more likely to make healthier choices all the way around from the dinner table to how I choose to work (standing or seated).  The 'design' aspect of fitness, or the forethought that creates the fit environment such as a stand up workstation, can extend into the most unlikely places. 

The small epic is something that I started last year.  Typically it's a 24 hour period.  For example, I'm just coming off of one.  Mine started as the festivities of Easter Sunday were winding down.  I was pretty well ready to go with gear packed once we got home from dinner with family.  After a quick turnaround I was out the door (with Tucker) by about 9.  We drove for three hours up to the Whites (45 min north of Conway), arriving to a trailhead a bit after midnight.  It was raining, cold and very dark.  But also quiet, alas!  I quickly installed my car bunk and curled up in a comfortable bed until morning.  During the night, rain had turned to snow, a wet, slushy snow.  It felt good to lounge a bit waiting for a little extra light and warmth that never really came.  So, up at 7 and on the trail by 8.
The first few hours of my hike to North Baldface were pretty miserable.  The rain persisted, it was cold and I was wet from both sweat and rain.  We were 'in the clouds' and the water seemed to permeate my spirits.  The snow was slushy too like quick sand and I was lucky to be moving a mile an hour.  It dawned on me that there's a big difference between misery and pain.  I was miserable but not in pain, and things could only get better.  Fortunately they did.
It took us about 5 pokey hours to go about 6.5 miles and up 2500 feet in the wet slushy snow.  Above tree line there was no discernable trail to follow (occasional hints).  In addition, the weather stayed pretty socked in until mid afternoon making navigation a little tough (and yes I did go about a mile out of my way).  But ultimately, the day turned gorgeous.
I've always believed that fitness should be fun and therefore something that we WANT to do every day. Fitness should also be challenging. Sure, we can add races to our schedule (by design) that will challenge us, make us better, stronger, and faster but I wonder if Fitness then becomes a byproduct. Perhaps. For me, I think that might be half the story. Racing is a great goal and motivator and I've got a few on my up coming schedule that have been driving me to train harder. But races come and go, and I'd like to think of my fitness at least as a constant (with ebbs and flows of course). For me the 'small epic' is a tremendous test of fitness and an incredible fitness booster. It typically leaves me wrecked for days and that is the point.

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