En route to Alaska, and other anxieties

I am sitting at Chicago’s O’Hare airport passing the 4+ hour layover, en route to Anchorage, AK. While skiing in the Chugach is a wonderful opportunity, I was/am having all my usual anxieties around air-travel, pain, and what five days of skiing will do to my body.

Air-travel just plain sucks for every body, I know. But, the effects of extended sitting in an airplane seat, and even at airports, are not pleasant for me. The back pain blows. Even with diabetic compression socks, my left foot/leg in particular swells up, the neuropathy is aggravated, and my foot/ankle mobility on that side worsens considerably – all making for sleepless nights and even gimpier gimpiness.

I am also worrying about the back-pain that arises from skiing. The lack of free, un-fused vertebrae to absorb impact is problematic, and I am also worried about not being good enough to heli-ski because my left leg catches in deep snow. I am hoping these are problems that can be solved before we go heli-skiing (if that indeed happens). The original plan was to go cat-skiing, but rain/lack of snow at the base made this a non-option. I also have to be super-light on my outriggers, because I have developed nerve pain in my hands from that and am now sleeping with a hand-brace at night to help alleviate those symptoms.

I know this trip is meant to be FUN. But, as usual, I am placing pressures on myself to ski “well”. I am sure it will be a wonderful experience. But, this does not stop me from fearing the physical effects during and after the trip, even though I know fearing pain is the worst way to deal with pain. It induces a terrible cycle of fearing pain, fighting it, making the pain worse, and so on.

I also have not climbed regularly/at all since the start of ski season. I know the training cycle is just that: a cycle. While I enjoy training, starting from “scratch” always feels crummy. The story of my life…

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