I used to hike up to thirteen-thousand feet, everyday.
Out in the Elk Mountains, of western Colorado, with my friend Jason Charboneau, and others, I'd strap my skis to my back, and climb.
Climb into back-country areas looking for untracked snow, an unexplored couloir, a tentative avalanche chute.
Nowadays, they call this "extreme skiing".
We just called it skiing.
In any event, back in 2003, we took a break from the constant touring, to write and rehearse a new album, out in Aspen, Colorado (the album turned out to be "Free The Ethan Daniel Davidson Five"). For about forty days, everyday, we woke up early, tied our skis to our backs, climbed, climbed, climbed for several hours, and skied back down.
One run took all day.
At night, we drank aged tequila and recorded demos in an old barn.
Didn't sleep much.
When we went back on tour, I developed a heart arrhythmia. I was briefly hospitalized, but thankfully it resolved.
The doctors put me on a treadmill, and had me running uphill for quite a while. They said "apart from your heart, you're in excellent condition".
When I spoke to my good friend, long-time PISTONS Strength and Conditioning Coach Arnie Kander, he told me: "you're overtrained. Only professional athletes get this. Most of the guys in the NBA have the same thing. You can't just climb mountains everyday and then go back to sitting in the tourbus. If you're training at an elite level, you can't just suddenly stop. You've got to step your way back down gradually. If you don't, there can be serious consequences."
Having a heart condition at thirty-three -even if temporary- really put the spin on my psychology: I was afraid to ski. I was afraid to move. I was afraid to push myself physically.
I didn't ski for five years.
Eventually, I got back on the horse.
Now I do family skiing with my kids.
I had to learn to slow down.
I had to learn to not be an extremist.
I'm not sure what the message is here, other than to say something like:
life is pretty exciting living out at one extreme edge . . .
And the other extreme edge is debilitating . . .
Don't stop moving.
Step down gradually from the extreme edge.
The middle way is always better.