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Grandparents, Slipping On Ice, And What We Are Training For

Hi, Friend.

I slipped on ice today - walking from the door to the car.

It's been snowing heavily all morning. It's slushy. It's slippery.

My foot stepped on a slick surface hidden under the fresh snow, and slid forward.

Way forward.

I let out a loud gasp, but… caught myself.

I didn't fall.

I swore under my breath.

You know that feeling of surprise, when you JUST avoid a bad thing from happening by a hair? You are ok, nothing ACTUALLY happened, but your body knows fully well that it almost did, and so your heart rate is up, and you are swimming in adrenaline for a few moments?

In a Spartan championship in Vermont I came barreling down the hill once, moving my feet oh-so-fast to avoid the rocks and roots on a technical slippery single track. It was wet, and I did slip - on both feet, downhill ski style, and caught myself on a big fallen tree trunk with both hands - with a large sharp edge of a broken branch an inch from my stomach. It looked like a spear. So close.

Another time, waddling through water along the shore of Lake Nicaragua, I scrambled across the slippery rocks. It was a three kilometre stretch before the shoreline spit me out at the base of the volcano - I was knee deep in water, waist deep in water, then knee deep again. My trail running shoes had aggressive tread - perfect for muddy trails, but useless on smooth wet rocks. I slip, and fall backwards, thinking in that fraction of a moment of how badly this could end. Let’s see - it’s 2am, I am in Nicaragua, waist deep in water with no one around. Perfect. Just perfect. I landed on my side - hard. Thinking to myself “Ohhhh, this is so gonna bruise tomorrow”, but once again riding that high of “phew, I’m ok”.

Funny how you really do not have to fly to Nicaragua to slip and almost fall, and feel that wave of relief. I’ve done just that in my driveway.

This might be THE most boring story I have told you in these letters yet:

I slipped, but I didn't fall. I didn't hurt myself, I didn't injure myself. I got to continue on with my day.

Goodness, I should write a country song.

But what I DO want to tell you is…

Two of my grandparents slipped and fell, and broke a hip.

Both passed away within a couple of years of those falls.

Few years ago, my brother and I took a kettlebell workshop that was taught by a married couple in their late fifties. I remember admiring the woman who was showing the proper form for a swing. She was built like a train. Like a big, fast, solid train.

"She has nothing to fear, if she falls", I thought.

"The sidewalk might crack, actually..."

This is what I am training for.

I want to pose more danger to the sidewalk when I fall, than the sidewalk poses to me.

And no, no, I cannot control all the things (what a bummer that is, really).

I might still fall, but fall awkwardly, and all the thigh muscle in the world will not save me.

But in the game of chances, I want to try and minimise my own. I want to reduce the likelihood. I want there to ONLY be the shitty luck of the draw. Everything IN my control - I’d very much like to control, thank you.

How old were you when you started thinking about health, and maintaining your bone density, and preventing falls, rather than six packs and biceps?

Because for me that’s 39, apparently.

Can we appreciate the hilarity of this together?

Because surely everyone else out there has this figured out - health, and wellness, and meaning, and everything, and here I am, going “what is this grey hair in my eyebrow, WTFFFFFF?”.

Watch me change course rapidly in the next few months, and start training for a bikini competition, amirite? Just out of spite.



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