In the fall of 2014 I spent two months traveling through the jungles of northern Myanmar in an attempt to climb the highest peak in SE Asia. I came home just before Thanksgiving to all the normal ins and outs of holiday madness only I was so wasted from this expedition I could barely muster the energy to leave my house.
Photo by @taylorfreesolo.
Emily Harrington and I on one of our final days exiting the jungles of Northern Myanmar. Exhausted literally to the bone, my muscles and general fitness were severely hindered by the end of this two month expedition.
Flash forward two months to the present and I am slowly resurfacing. My kids are drawing me out and I’m loving skiing with them. But as a professional athlete that just turned 42 years old, I’ve realized that I can no longer rely on my off-the-couch athleticism and it’s time for me to rethink how I go about training in order to maintain and even excel in my sport. The first problem with being an expedition athlete is that I put so much into being fit for every expedition I go on. What most people don’t realize, however, is that during a normal big mountain climb and ski, expecially if it involves high altitude climbing, you lose all your fitness during the trip and come home completely broken down. Just ask my kids and my husband- they get the most intimate view into the post-expedition physical and mental destruction.
So as January rolls into February and I find myself about to head out for two weeks of climbing in Nepal, I decided to try a new way to train. For the next six months, I’m actually going to try a Mountain Athletics program (download the App) with physical therapist and friend Derek Touhy of Balanced Physical Therapy in Telluride. Between now and June I have a 2 week trip alpine climbing in Nepal, two weeks guiding with CPG in Girdwood, Alaska, and ultimately, I hope to test myself in a totally different realm with a half triathlon in Boulder in June. It’s going to be a long road!
Traveling is possibly the biggest disrupter when it comes to maintaining fitness and adhering to a scheduled training program and enlisting Derek and his version of MA is giving me an amazing platform that I can take on the road with me. I’m really excited to learn from Derek and add another card to my bag of tricks.
I’ve already completed a handful of sessions with Derek and am noticing a difference, mostly in my stability and strength. I’ll continue to blog about it in the coming months as I learn more about the ins and outs of the gym world.