Smile & Flow

This week I was putting on an event/conference for four days in Portland. Since I was still in town I was able to sneak in some training, but I was TIRED.

Working a 12 hour day, only to come home and do two hours of biking in the dark is hard (though, the bike ride itself was mostly good).

On Thursday I did my fastest set of Tabor laps yet (10 laps of stairs (1,200ft gain) in 46 minutes). I was pretty worn down, but it felt really good to sweat a bit. I was in a rush because I was squeaking this in between ending my conference at 7:00PM, biking home, biking to Tabor, climbing the stairs, biking home again, and then rushing to meet friends at the 9:00PM showing of Captain Marvel. Heh.

I also have taken to listening to podcasts when I do Tabor stairs to ease the monotony. Usually Outside Online, Alpinist, or Safety Third.

For this particular jaunt up Tabor I listened to this episode where they interviewed ultra runner Katie Arnold. She’s a total badass, and she talks a bit about how when she was running the Leadville 100 in 2018 (which, she did after badly breaking her leg two years earlier) she wrote “Flow” and “Smile” on her hands. And then she won the race, her first ever 100 miler.

I’m familiar with the concept that smiling helps to lessen how hard something feels, and I’ve certainly gotten into flow states while running, cycling, skiing, and climbing.

But I was running (slow jogging?) my butt up and down concrete steps over and over, in a rush, and for a few minutes I found the idea of “flowing” up the Tabor stairs sort of absurd.

That being said, after another few laps I came around to the idea that I was moving up into the trees, and back down to the ground, and up, and down, and up, and down. Flow state? Okay, maybe not quite. But maybe flowing a bit more. And sure, I supposed I could smile a bit too. After all, I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be doing this, to have legs to carry me up and down, to be climbing stairs on my backyard volcano, and to be alive. So, smile and flow.

Maybe I’ll come up with my own words but, for now, I’m going to borrow those.

Author: cartwheelsandcake

Cyclist, climber, hiker, trail runner, back country skier, dabbling mountaineer Lover of cake, chocolate, brownies, and sweets. Excellent napper.

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