It seems like friends have been turning 60 all around me this summer and, if there is any place with an aquifer of youth, it must be Bend, Oregon. The women I know are not wearing black and throwing in the towel. They are celebrating - and I'm not talking about little old lady tea parties.
They grew up and went to school in the pre-Title IX days. (Title IX, now known as the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act, became law in 1972.) Dani, who turns 60 in October, recalls, "When I was in school they wouldn't let me take auto mechanics class. They said I would be a distraction. I could take home economics."
She played basketball, but had to wear a skirt and stay behind half-court. Today, Title IX is the name of a women's sports apparel catalog that features real women leading active lives as their models. They really ought to come to Bend for their next photo shoot:
Cheryl is a geologist who just completed mountain biking the Trans Canada trail from Fernie to Vancouver. She loves French cooking and big dogs.
Patty is a psychologist and yoga instructor who just returned from a weeklong backpack trip. Her next adventure is sea kayaking in Canada.
Judy is an entrepreneur and a grandmother. She was last spotted stand-up surfing in Tofino.
If you're out riding our trails or paddling our lakes or climbing our mountains, I'm sure you've met (or been passed by) some of these inspirational women. I only hope to continue to follow in their bootprints and ski tracks. My thanks to all of you for blazing the trail!
MEAT IS THE NEW RICE
We've all heard the virtues of a high protein/low-carb diet... but I'm not talking about that. Proper nutrition is certainly important, but sooner or later most outdoor athletes suffer an injury. For some odd reason, I happen to attract more than my fair share. This time, I've got a disconcerting popping and generalized aching in my good shoulder (which used to be my bad shoulder until my good shoulder became my bad shoulder). It's possible that it's related to a weekend of extreme gardening combined with kayak racing.
The staple of injury treatment has been RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation).
Which is all fine and dandy, but it's a bummer to sit on the sofa with a bag of frozen peas and an Ace bandage wrapped around your knee when you really want to be outside playing. While discussing my latest pain, a local physician asked, "Did you know that MEAT is the new RICE?"
I had visions of propping a frozen flank steak on my shoulder. "It stands for Movement, Exercise, Analgesics and Treatment," she said. Movement enhances blood flow to the injured area, delivering nutrients and removing waste products.
"Cool!" I replied. "I think I'll pop some painkillers and go for a paddle!" And I headed out the door quickly before someone could tell me that was a stupid idea.
Now, I'm thinking that a lot of outdoor enthusiasts are also semi-vegetarians and may be opposed to the concept of MEAT. For them, there is FISH. Most of the medical community yet is unaware of FISH (Fun, Ice cream, Sunshine and Hope.)
Personally, I think the best prescription for injuries is EPL, which doesn't spell anything but does sound a little bit like "Apple." Acronyms aside, this protocol comes from the literary world rather than the sports medicine research labs. "Eat, Pray, Love" is the best selling novel by Elizabeth Gilbert in which a young woman gets over a nasty divorce by eating her way through Italy, praying her way through India and loving her way through Bali. Think about it. If the strategy works for mending broken hearts, why not sprained ankles and torn rotator cuffs?
The next time you pull a hamstring, try eating a pint of Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey, praying to your Higher Power for healing and enlightenment and then loving the one that you're with. I bet you'll feel better.