Ever since I had ankle surgery I’ve had this block against skinning uphill. A physical block at first because my ankle joint just wasn’t interested in moving that way last winter – supportive ski boot or no. But somewhere along the way I also grew myself a nice little mental block against uphill winter movement.
This block has kept me from more time doing one of my most favorite things – skiing. Because, generally, if I skin up, then I get to have a fun ski down. If I can skin, then I get strong enough to go on backcountry adventures with Mike and our people. If I can skin, then I’m still in the game.
So… what’s the deal with the block, then?
Geez Louise, who the hell knows.
Maybe it stemmed from residual fear of the unknown levels of pain that may or may not accompany that movement. Maybe it grew from another fear of this injury not healing the way it’s supposed to and me not wanting to discover that I, in fact, could no longer skin. Maybe it was based in a soft sense of quiet comfort that came from having one less decision about what to do on winter days. Maybe it was a safe place to stay for a little longer – to hang out in the seat of having an injury as an effective exit strategy.
Regardless of the reason/s, I haven’t skinned up anything in two years.
A crew from school rallied after the long day and hoofed it up the mountain, slow and steady. I was with my school family, there was zero pressure about performance or speed, and our destination was not too far away (and stocked with yummy food!). My ankle started barking at the last little hill but it had been silent the whole way up until that point, so I’m taking it as a win.
Yes, it’s super swollen now. Yes, I’m gonna have a little ice break (or two) tomorrow. But I did it. I took The Ankle uphill. I broke through that long-standing block and now am on the other side of the experience… and (of course) it wasn’t bad at all. Who knows the next time I’ll head uphill on snow this winter but when I do, I’ll be doing it with the knowledge that it can be done.
Proud of you! Way to conquer that block and that hill! I loved this line–A crew from school rallied after the long day and hoofed it up the mountain, slow and steady. — the rally and hoof of it; the pace and pitch of that slow and steady. Thanks for bringing me along.
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