By Kit DesLauriers
I live, train and ski professionally in the Rocky Mountains but just woke up from spending my third consecutive night at sea level and am now sitting on a porch overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. This may sound idyllic except for the fact that after I go home to Jackson, WY in a few days, only two weeks remain before I leave for an expedition to ski an 8000m peak on the border of Nepal and China. Flat Massachusetts coastline is not what I need right now.
Today is my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary, which is why I’m visiting them in New England, and it’s a great moment for me to reflect on the priorities and focus of my training. In addition to being a daughter, I’m a professional skier, a wife, a mother, and an author so the discipline, and flexibility, that I bring to my training has to reflect my other responsibilities. There was a time in my life when things were much simpler and keeping an unwavering training focus was easier, but instead of pining for that time, I’m fine with the fact my 6 and 7 year old can hang out in a gym, run short distances for fun, and lately have learned what a pulse oximeter is and what it measures.
To keep my focus on training for my upcoming expedition while upholding the goal of allowing our kids their annual summer cousin time and attending my parents milestone celebration, I arranged to have a tent from Hypoxico Altitude Training Systems sent to our rented beach cottage here in Massachusetts. I’ve been sleeping on a twin mattress on the floor with the Hypoxico generator humming away next to my head delivering the equivalent oxygen of a 13,000’ above sea level elevation. Everyone else listens to the sound of waves at night but I wake up intermittently in this plastic walled tent and check my oxygen saturation to see that I’m within a safe realm. I already know the answer depending on the level of headache I might have.
In the morning, I grab the set of 10 and 12 pound weights that I borrowed from my parents basement gym and put them into a backpack I brought with me then spend some time doing weighted step ups on the porch bench after an easy run around the charming Oceanside neighborhood. On alternate days I take the sandbag that I brought from home (empty while traveling) and do some sandbag get-ups on the beach.
Its true that I long to be home running up and down the Tetons and doing precisely designed core chassis training sessions at Mountain Athlete, but during family time that bit of reality goes unsaid and I try to stay in the moment of body surfing with the kids and preparing party details for co- hosting one hundred guests on my parents lawn this evening. The reality is that there is a time and a place for everything if we are going to achieve our many goals in life, some of which are short term like this 8000m peak I’m about to go attempt, and others are much longer like matching my parents’ (and their parents’ before them) 50th wedding anniversaries. All of which take dedication, focus, and commitment.
Kit DesLauriers is a world-renowned skier and alpinist. She was the first person to ski the Seven Summits and recently published a book chronicling her accomplishments titled “Higher Love”. She is an athlete ambassador for The North Face and Mountain Athlete. She currently lives in Jackson, Wyoming.