Embracing the Off Season


All of the natural world is formed upon cycles.

It’s easy to lose track of that, to quell the cycles that were once such prominent drivers in every aspect of our existence, with our technologically flattened routines. Artificial light, sendentary lifestyles, food-like products, uppers, downers, central heat, air conditioning…

I used to work with horses. I actually lived in a barn. I saw the fields go from barren to lush to barren. I watched the farmers work tirelessly through planting and harvesting seasons. And then nothing. The bright lights that once lit a path late into the dark night for their tractors, now illuminated warm little homes, quiet and still against a backdrop of white snow. They slept, they ate, they recharged.

As it was with us. The training wound down as the ground became frosty and inevitably hardened against the crisp air. Lean muscles pulled taught over bulging ribs hid themselves under blankets of thick fur and a few extra buckets of oats.

A lot of what draws endurance athletes to the sports we live for is a return to simpler, more primal times. To reconnect with nature… it’s cycles… it’s pulse.

We know the warmth of sinking into a soft bed, exhausted. The satisfaction of a full meal into an empty belly. We live these primal cycles every day. We overcome the struggle and find the most profound pleasure in striking balance.

And so it should be.

I’m feeling the full effect of winter. After a long and taxing season of hard training and racing efforts, I’m ok with a few extra bowls of oats and some extra padding on my ribs.

Planting season is after all, right around the corner.

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