Monday, December 1, 2014

Ski & Flu Season, and the Athlete's Dark Cycle

Adrian Dingle; Rock Skier

Many of us have been hiking in the mountains this year. Skidding and sparking the rock skis off the rocks.  Swinging ice tools in slushy moss.  And getting ready,,, cause it's almost WINTER... Yeah!!!

And if you're like me, you love winter, and you hate to get sick. Winter comes and everyone starts coughing up yellow, green, and brown phlegm-balls, and passing it around like lunch.

So for years now I have been taking immune support tinctures in the late fall and early winter.  This boasts my immune system for these cold and dark months when we are forced to close all the windows and stay inside.

True, I stayed healthy living in a tent in Joshua Tree, CA. for two winters. But that's southern California desert, and there were lots of people around to climb with. (and hide from rangers with)

But, I got sick as a dog living in a damp teepee type tent-structure in Girdwood, AK.  Don't worry, I was young and dumb. Little phased me then. I was in Alaska to ski and I wanted real experiences. They found me.

Examples of immune support tinctures;
Astragalus, Echinacea, GoldenSeal, Ashwagandha, Hawthorn

Oil of Thieves
For robbing graves and surviving plagues. 

PLEASE NOTE: Always consult your doctor and health care professionals before taking any new form of medicine or drugs.

Now when the flu bug comes through town; I feel it. But I don't go down anymore. No more insane bronchial infections. No more lingering colds that last for weeks on end. And no more worry about my health.

I know how to take care of myself now. For centuries our culture has practiced preventive health care. It's cheap, easy to learn about, and can make a difference in your ski season.

I also know the importance of taking time off each year from being hard core and intense. As an athlete it is important to take brakes, both mentally and physically.

I call this the Dark Cycle. For me it comes in late August and lasts for a month or two. This year, the dark cycle lasted two and half months.  I'd burned myself out, and I needed a huge break.

I broke my strict diet, stayed up late, drank beer, socialized, and generally forgot about being cool all the time.

It was amazing, healthy, and some-what controlled. In the past, when I didn't know to take breaks; I would burn-out and not know why. I'd get frustrated, depressed, fall off the wagon, and end up hitch-hiking around the west coast with hippie girls in need of drug rehabilitation centers.

This year, the dark cycle allowed me to see changes in my life I was not expecting. At first it sucked, and I had to keep myself in check. Mentally I felt like there was a need to go out and keep proving myself. But physically I was flat.

The struggle (to chill-out) lasted over a month. Then when the feeling of being content came, there was this beautiful realization of having meaning in my life that I could see. Yeah, a small victory!

Dealing with the ego is difficult. As athletes, we pick up the sword, we wield our strength, and we attract certain demons because of it. How we deal with our demons determines champions.

In the gym with my trainer Chris Bender.

Coming out of the dark cycle with Amazing Grass smoothies.


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