October: A Month to Learn From

By: CXC Team Member, Alice Flanders 

Holy Crap! Where has the month of October gone? Reflecting back on the past four weeks I feel a little bit like Pocahontas during colors of the wind. This has been by far the warmest, driest, most colorful and most pleasant fall for training in the Keweenaw since I moved here 6 years ago.

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The opening act for this month was the annual Copper Harbor ski. This 24 mile ski meanders along the shore of Lake Superior offering views of bays, sand dunes, rock outcroppings and best of all, treats from the Jam Pot.

This year the weather was wonderful allowing us to see all of Lake Superior’s beauty with perfect clarity. Unfortunately, I was so caught up with my to-do list for the weekend that that’s all I could think about.

Annual Copper Harbor Ski #followthehuskies

Annual Copper Harbor Ski #followthehuskies

The next week, the smack down happened. Only a couple days later, life grabbed me by the shirt collar and body slammed me into the floor. This happens every so often when things get so busy I forget to take care of the little things, like washing my hands before each meal and not drinking enough water.

Feeling like I was hit by a train, constantly trying to keep up with my runny nose, I knew I would have to take some unplanned time off. Unfortunately as soon as I started feeling human again, school decided it was time to build a mountain of homework so high that Everest looked like Panorama Point (Nebraska’s high point). It’s these busy weeks that bring out a renewed appreciation for skiing. It gets me outside, lets me chase sunrises, enjoy the fall weather and gain mental clarity, all while making progress towards bigger goals.

Chasing Sunrises, Location: Portage Lake

Chasing Sunrises, Location: Portage Lake

With the summit of Homework Mountain in sight, the biggest lesson and reminder October has provided is; no matter how busy you may seem, never forget to make pit stops throughout the day to take care of yourself and appreciate what you have. Opportunities are presented to us each day, but if we’re not ready for them they’ll fly by faster than Kikkan Randall in a skate sprint. With so much of my everyday life geared towards making Future Alice better than Present Alice, it’s far too easy to put on the blinders.

Crystal clear waterfalls, snow and my kind of Red Carpet.

Crystal clear waterfalls, snow and my kind of Red Carpet.

With this lesson sitting in the front of my mind, the remainder of this month has been spent stopping at apple trees for a snack during OD’s, playing in the leaves and taking water breaks in the middle of pine forests or next to waterfalls. It’s been spent soaking up every wonderful reminder of how lucky we are to have the world as our training ground. As excited as I am for the snow to come, I know that I still have a lot of work to do before I’m ready for it. I want to be prepared when the snow flies, so with that I’m off to a run. See you on the trails!

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