I’m no expert on preparation

I've signed my teenaged daughter and I up for a big climb this summer. Now what?

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I’ll spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln.


In six months, my daughter Caroline and I are going to try a climb that will, without a doubt, be the most difficult physical challenge of our lives up to this point. Why not, right? After all, only four months ago I was heavier than I have ever been in my life. Seven months prior, I started going to a Christ-centered recovery program because it became clear to me that I don’t drink alcohol like other people. And in a moment of sober clarity, I decided that I needed to repair some damage that I’d done to my relationship with my oldest daughter,  get some much needed bonding time with her before she leaves the house for college, and show her, rather then tell her how to prioritize fitness (emotional, mental and physical) in going after a difficult goal.

I can ascertain through observance that it’s tough being a 17 year-old girl these days. Just trying to manage all of the expectations placed on you; from parents, peers, society, and the church. She never forgets that she’s adopted. She remembers her biological daddy. She knows that he died from alcohol poisoning. And then there I was. She’s got big decisions in front of her. If I can just take her to places and show her that it is possible to get away from all of the noise of contemporary American culture long enough to hear a still small voice, I will be giving her a gift, a tool really, that she can use any time she needs for the rest of her life. For me, I get to focus on something healthy. I get to replace my evening cocktails with trail runs and time in the gym. Instead of being hungover in the morning, I get to practice meditation, read my Bible and write in my journal. As I do, my journal entries get better and better.

We’ve already started training. Caroline’s been great. She’s been to the gym with me up to four times a week and has even gone when I couldn’t make it for some reason and had to do my workout earlier in the day. She encourages me to go to my recovery meetings at church and I encourage her to fuel her body in the right way. We both still love chocolate chip cookies but we’re getting better. More than that we are getting better together and that is one of the gifts of the last few months of training. They say that the further you are from your event, the more broad your training can be and that the closer you are to the big day the more specific the training needs to be. So for now, we’re in the gym building some muscle and on the treadmill or out on the trails running. We get a little downhill skiing in too. But, as we get closer to August we will be climbing some Fourteeners together which should be a treat for the all of us.

I’m no expert on preparation for a mountain climb of this magnitude. There are just too many variables to control. But I can control today. I can go out and do my prescribed workout, a four mile run and do the very best I can. I’ve already won the day this morning with my meditation, bible reading, prayer and journaling. I’m off to a good start and can finish strong. With God’s help, I will end up with another day of sobriety under my belt and in a little bit better shape.

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