5 Ways To Win At Being Injured

Three months ago, I was skiing around on a glacier in Alaska when I broke through a snow bridge, took a whip into the bottom of a crevasse and tore my right ACL. Not a recommended course of action, for so many reasons. Alas, here I am in Seattle, six weeks post op. And while there are certainly things I would rather be doing than hanging tough in the city, here are five ways that I’m ensuring that I’m still happy camping despite not being able to climb.

1) Learning about my body

As an athlete I spend a lot of time working hard to make sure my body is in tip-top shape to accomplish my goals in the mountains. The recovery from an ACL reconstruction is six to nine months, and it’s proving a fabulous time for learning about how my body works—and not only in the sense of recovery, although that’s certainly a huge component. I’ve been tweaking my diet to see what makes me run best. I figured out that cheese is not my best friend, so now I only eat nice cheese. I’ve also learned that I don’t need two liters of coffee per day, who knew?

In the gym, I’ve been able to make sure my body is in balance, and have had time to train my upper body very specifically. I’m super pumped to put it back together and go rock climbing—I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s going to feel very good. Lastly, I know more about knee health and care than I ever expected that I might. This is knowledge I’ll be able to use to keep these creaky bones moving hard and fast for many years to come. Now if that isn’t winning, I don't know what is!

2) Reading

I love reading and learning. Normally it’s not something for which I have heaps of time. Right now I have lots of time for it. Currently I’m reading Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East by Scott Anderson and very much enjoying it. Winning.

3) Securing ‘sensitive guy points’

One of my climbing heroes here in Seattle introduced me to the idea of ‘sensitive guy points.’ This is the notion that as an alpinist, we spend a lot of time away from home, meaning that when we are home we need to accrue as many of these points as possible to keep our lady pals happy. Right now I’m home LOTS, meaning I have lots of time to make coffees in the morning, and dinners in the evenings as well as curl up for the odd episode of Mad Men.

My SGP account is getting quite full, so when I’m back at it there will be lots of spending power available. Once again, winning! (To be clear, a huge part of this is winning is simply due to being able to spend lots of time with my lovely lady pal.)

4) Getting creative

Normal, non-injured, life for me is a very science-based affair. For four to five months of the year I work in geophysics and the rest of the year I approach climbing with a scientific mindset. Being plugged into the city allows for lots of creative outlet in the venues of film, writing and music which has felt very healthy and has been a ton of fun. Using the right side of my brain = winning.

5) Learning to sunbathe

As our local hip hop legend rhymes: “There ain’t nothing better than summer in the Northwest.” Once again, winning.