Off-season Traditions

Everyone has traditions. Whether it’s certain family get-togethers, summertime camping, or holiday activities, everyone has them. They bring with them a barrage of memories, mostly great ones, although not always!! I grew up in a hunting and fishing family. We used to go fishing, at the same place, at the same time, for 3 weeks, every summer (although my parents still do, I haven’t been in a few years as it falls smack-dab in the middle of race season.) My first hunting trip with my dad was when I was 13; freshly started high-school, I was off for some great northern exploits with a rather large hunting group (consisting of a bunch of fire fighters, it managed to get damn rowdy at times; once the Appletons Estate Jamaican Rum came out at night, it was like a comedy show!) I’ve been hunting every fall with my dad (and now with my mum too,) and it seems to have become another tradition for me. I love everything about it: the little trail-mix baggies (homemade by mum of course, a big mix of whatever she deems good enough for us;) the fall colours on the trees after the first good overnight freeze; the evening hot-tub/bathing sessions (which include the rule that you can’t get out until you’ve found a satellite in the evening sky, which isn’t difficult when there’s no light pollution to steal the show;) sitting around the wood burning stove dad made out of a propane cylinder (to heat our tent that we live in,) eating mum’s great pre-made home cooked meals, sipping away at a cold beer (which may seem counter-intuitive up there in the cold, but is there EVER a time when a cold beer doesn’t fit the bill?) When I start to think about this new(ish) tradition of mine, I can’t help but think about all the finer details that make it so great! This year I brought up a box full of different single-serve craft brews to test out; I discovered a few beers that I like (but a whole bunch that I don’t!!)

‘Discovering’ some new brews
It just so happens that the hunting season starts right at the end of race season, so it’s a PERFECT time to escape from civilization (yes, I do mean that in every sense of the word; there isn’t ANY reception anywhere even CLOSE to where we hunt, rendering our cell phones as nothing more than a flashy paper weight, to prevent our reading material from flying away,) and give myself the mental and physical break I need to recharge from a long season of training and racing. I’m almost 3 weeks into the ‘off-season’ break, and friday looks like it’ll be the re-start of training! FINALLY!!! I tell you, going that long without training, I’m feeling pretty antsy and chomping at the bit. But it’s a healthy (and necessary) break from the rigours of training. I feel my energy levels are ridiculous (even WITHOUT a sip of coffee, I always feel ready to go!) I’m able to run up a few flights of stairs without my legs screaming at me with fatigue. A few of the many signs I’m ready to start going again. It’ll be back to the basics, building up slowly and steadily to make a solid foundation for 2013. 
It’s time to ‘Chop wood, carry water’; put in the hard work through the winter that’ll payoff in the summer. 
‘Chop wood’ in the most literal sense of the word!!
As unsuccessful as out hunt was in filling the freezers, it was successful in the sense that it filled me to the brim with a new eagerness to start the long-haul to the 2013 season. It isn’t going to be easy, but nothing worth it’s weight in beans ever was! Should be a fun fall/winter, sounds like there might be some fun ‘new’ training adventures on the agenda!
Happy training!

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