7 Ways to Push Through Pain in the Outdoors and Life

So last weekend, we tried to climb Snowmass Mountain (14,092’) in the snow. Wow, talk about having to push through pain.

To give you an idea, we ended up hiking 22 miles with over 5,000 feet elevation gain in 48 hours. All on about one hour of sleep. With 50-pound packs

Usually when I hike, I have music in my head and cheeseball joy in my heart. But as we descended (slowly) toward the car, I got stuck in a black place. I felt nothing but my sore toes and tired legs and burning hatred of the monster on my back.

As endurance athletes, we’ve all probably experienced these moments (or hours) of suffering. It comes with the territory. There’s not much you can do during a tough race, climb, or hike, but push through the pain.

Or is there? Here are seven tricks to help you tap your reserves of resilience and mental fortitude when the going gets tough. Come to think of it, some of these work off the trail, too.

Continue reading 7 Ways to Push Through Pain in the Outdoors and Life

How to Motivate Yourself to Work Out When You’re Training for Something Big

It you’ve ever trained for a really big mountain — or an epic ride, or just a summer of all-purpose badassery — you know that its tough to keep the fitness momentum going. It’s freaking grueling to motivate yourself to work out week after week for months, especially when a lot of the work is mind-numbingly repetitive.

(And if you’re there right now, I totally feel you. I’m climbing Mount Ranier in July, and some days I’d rather eat a broken glass salad with diesel dressing than do another Stairmaster workout with a backpack.)

But if you’ve got a big feat of badassery in your sights, take heart. Here are five (semi) painless ways to motivate yourself to work out through months of punishing training. Continue reading How to Motivate Yourself to Work Out When You’re Training for Something Big

9 Ways to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others When Everyone Else Is Oh-So Badass

A few weeks ago, I almost quit my high-altitude mountaineering class. Not because it was too hard or too scary. But because when you’re surrounded by die-hard badasses, it’s really hard to stop comparing yourself to others.

Seriously, the boys all carried 80 pounds for fun. The girls were trim size zeroes. Everyone had top-notch gear and a bottomless bank account to buy even more. When we hiked, I was a mile behind. After the hike, I’d eat a hamburger and everyone else would order a gluten free quinoa bowl.

Granted, this stuff was probably more my own distorted perception than reality.  And you know? It was really ridiculous. Because comparing yourself to others has to be one of the most pointless things you can do.

It didn’t improve my motivation or make me a better teammate. (Who wants to hike with Miss Bitter Pants?) Hell, it almost derailed me from a goal I’ve sunk oodles of time and money and passion into.

But how do you rally when it seems like everyone around you is fitter, faster, richer, prettier, skinnier, luckier, more in love, and has a better couch? Here are a few things that have helped me. Continue reading 9 Ways to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others When Everyone Else Is Oh-So Badass