I know I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again, but man, time really does fly when you’re having a good time! It’s already been a month since the last time of writing, and I’m already back in Alaska! I had a great couple weeks of hard training at altitude, and was able to follow that with some nice chill time up at the Tenderfoot Outfitter backcountry HQ. Being at 10,000ft, not having any service, and being a long way from any kind of civilization was just what the doctor ordered. Personally, I have a hard time not training if I have the opportunity to do so. Knowing this, it was clear that I had to make those opportunities null if I wanted to accomplish my training goal for the week. That goal? Rest. It was the first easy week I’ve had in over a couple months, and it was the perfect place to do so. Between helping pack out elk, ride horses, get plenty of good sleep in the high mountain air, and BS around the wood stove every night, I was able to completely unplug. Now, having been back in AK for a little over a week, I’ve been able to get back onto the ole skinny skis, and start doing what we spend all summer and fall trying to mimic and prepare for! Man is it getting close! If the next several weeks goes by as quickly as the last few have, then I’ll be racing in no time! The majority of the real hard yards of preparation for the season has been done by now, however between now and then, there's one thing you have to make sure to do...
That one critical thing is to take care of your body. The most frustrating thing is to come so close to what you’ve been working towards, and have it slip through your fingers because you neglected the very machine that allows you to do what you do. At the beginning of this fall, my back was pretty tight, which isn’t abnormal for me, and probably isn’t abnormal for a lot of nordic skiers out there. When I was at home in CO over the course of this last altitude block, I hit a point that started to frighten me a little bit because I’d thought I might’ve injured myself. The good news is that while there were certainly a few things out of whack, luckily nothing was injured. On the “bad scale,” I was about an 8/10. Make no mistake, I was a certified “tight a**” as my PT clearly stated. Quite literally!! From my butt all the way up to my skull you would have mistaken my muscles for rebar, and not in a good way. Between Dr. Sue Schappert helping me with chiropractic work, Trent Ezzel at Heights Physical Therapy with all things PT, Cia Mount at Alpine Acupuncture, and my Mom with the magic massage touch, I was able to get down to a 4/10 in a few weeks. Despite the fact that I do a lot of self care utilizing stretching, foam rolling, nomatic compression, mobility, etc, there are some areas that are just tough to get yourself. Your entire posterior chain is one of those areas. Out of all this I learned two crucial things:
One: It’s easier to stay on top of things and maintain than it is to try to get something back to the way it was.
Two: PT, acupuncture, chiropractic & massage work, all make changes to the body. I went to Heights PT and got some manual therapy and dry needling. If you ever get the chance to be dry needled, have them do some work on your quad so you can watch. (Hunter if you read this, don’t watch, you won’t be able to stomach it.) Then a bit later that day I went and got some chiropractic work done. By the time I got home and was supposed to go out and train again, I was pretty tired, and really sore. Heeding my own advice from my last article, I took the afternoon off, drank plenty of water and let my body absorb the work it had just undergone to make the necessary changes. Body work like this needs to be looked at like training in the sense that you have to allow your body to recover from it. The chiro and PT were more of a stress I’m unaccustomed to and I could therefore feel that after the fact, whereas the massage I’d been getting on most days, and was the glue that brought it all together.
Next time I write, it’ll be just about GO-TIME for myself and many other skiers. So do yourself a favor, and give yourself the chance to show what you’ve been working on all year by keeping your body running on all 8 cylinders.
Until next time, Garrett Butts