Active Recovery

I’m working on Active Recovery in my personal life as well as my professional life.

As a mountain biker, this is a term used to define the continuous momentum after a hard push or steep incline (aka a long slog). Honing this skill takes practice, mental toughness and a tenacity for improvement. Even when my lungs are burning, my legs are shaking and my mind is screaming to take a break.

I’ve learned though, the amount of energy needed to get going after I allow myself to stop (or in some recent cases, throw down my bike in defeat) isn’t worth the small amount of rest. I’ve realized gathering up the momentum to get back on the bike, start from a stand-still, overcome the mental block of having just completely stopped, just isn’t worth it. If I can get past the initial urge to quit, to slow my pedaling, shift into a lowest gear instead of hopping off my bike, concentrate on my breathing to slow my heart rate, keep my mind focused on moving forward, all while continuing to pedal, I am in much better shape, both physically and mentally.

Active recovery applies to any strenuous, tough, or arduous life task and something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately with so many uncertainties, so many things on my plate. It can be overwhelming at times, often causing my to-do-list to go out the window, the wheels in my head to start spinning in no particular direction and the actual accomplishing of tasks to flee the scene. Scattered is the state I have found myself in over the past few weeks and active recovery is something I’m conciously working on.

It’s ok to slow down, and can be beneficial after a hard push towards something. To allow yourself to focus on the goal at hand, not every little thing you need to accomplish, has helped. But I’ve realized that I need to just keep pedaling, no matter how slow, no matter how small the task is or how long I still have to climb. Concentrate on my breathing, keep my mind focused on the positive outcome I want and I move forward.

And dang, the summit is almost always worth it.

Two Years of Marriage: Love & Investment

It’s been two years since we said ‘I do’ in front of Uncle Rico, our friends and family…and the past year has been a whirlwind!

To start, we had a wonderful day celebrating our 2 year anniversary….a pretty chill, very Colorado celebration. I took a half a day of work and we headed to Boulder, where Mike whipped me up Bear Peak -a pretty aggressive up hill climb (2,700+ vertical feet in 3 miles!).

Ski season is fast approaching and this was a great kick start to the preparation I need to do to get my legs into peak shape. Last ski season was a recovery year for sure (since I had been less than a year out of ACL surgery from my backcountry ski accident), but I am ready to put the excuses aside this year and get after it.

After the awesome climb, we headed to Four Noses Brewing, one of our favorite local breweries. They have a ton of amazing beers on tap – including several IPAs (Mike got the Whimsy) and a Palisade Peaches Sour, that I drank up happily! We carried a bottle of sour and a six pack home with us, where we enjoyed our beautiful backyard (we just got a waterfall & landscaping, so it’s pretty dang cool!)

When relaxing in the oasis that is our home, that we’ve spent the last 5 years creating, I asked Mike what he’s learned in the past 2 years of marriage. To paraphrase, he said that happiness has been his biggest lesson. The simple pursuit of happy is really the foundation of our relationship. Through the difficult times we’ve encountered over this past 2nd year of marriage, when I have stopped to think about the goal we’re aiming for, this principle has helped me put things in perspective. We are both extraordinarily hard workers when the real work needs to be done – we join forces, roll up our sleeves, and put our backs into the jobs we excel in.

For example, this year, we have been working on an investment that was supposed to be a quick fix and flip (will definitely need to dedicate a whole post to this!) and it has turned out to be a huge, adding over 1,000 square foot, year plus time-frame, savings borrowing project. And guess what? The outcome wouldn’t be any different if we had been miserable with all of the downfall we encountered. Actually, scratch that, it would have. We would have been miserable.

Instead, we took the ups and downs in stride, discussed them calmly, trusted in each other, invested in the decision we made and moved forward. All the while, remaining positive, happy in our choice, and that has fueled the success. This truly is the way we have tackled challenges this year….and it’s worked beautifully. The things that come up that are getting in the way of our happiness – whether that’s together or personally, as individuals – I’ve had candid conversations with him and myself about.

Year two in marriage has tested us for sure – financially, emotionally, fundamentally – and I believe we are stronger for it.

Cheers to many more years of happy!

 

Intentional Progress

I’ve been climbing lots of mountains this summer….14’ers they’re called in Colorado.

 

View from Quandary Peak
View from Quandary Peak

Quandary

Kelso RIdge
Kelso RIdge

Kelso Ridge of Torrey’s & Grays Peak

Snowmass
Snowmass

Snowmass

Challenging, sometimes death defying mountains that not only test your physical strength and stamina, but your mental state. I found myself questioning my capabilities several times, hesitating more than I ever have when faced with a gnarly cliff, full expose, jagged rocks, steep gullies with loose tallas and skree. I couldn’t seem to catch my breathe at times, so I’d stop….thus prolonging the summit. Never had I experienced anything so mentally challenging, physically demanding, but naturally beautiful and peaceful all at the same time.

It’s made me think of how I choose to concur, tackle, face life’s challenges. My girlfriend and I do yoga almost every Wednesday and recently, I listened to a teacher discuss intentional progress. This resonated so deeply with me! To intentionally seek that next step, be aware and alert to what’s needed to get there, then actively put it all into motion!? It sounds so obvious, doesn’t it? Yes, that’s where I want to go….and I got there. Duhhhhh!

But I stopped to think about how many times I had just gone through the motions of something. A work project, a family obligation, a hard climb. You trudge through it, hoping it will soon come to an end.  Climbing some of those mountains, there were times I couldn’t find my intent – I just wanted to get through it. The thought of intentional progress awakened something in me.

If I can learn to do things with intentional progress, to fully commit, be in the moment and focus on completing the task with my full being…oh what a lesson that will be.

Happy progress!