On this mornings training schedule;  a dauntingly delicious 2,029′ ascent to 10,822′ of uphill running at Threshold…my choice for traction up the was my ever faithful, durable, and exquisitely performing; KTS Alu Crampon from my beloved sponsor of many years;  Kahtoola®.   It was, once again, the perfect selection for blistering this workout…errrr, workUP!

Most Noble Fitness Warriors!

My last missive from our lofty perch here at WF Headquarters was about ski training up at Purg.   Placing self-adhesive climbing ‘skins’ to the bottoms of my skis to trek uphill, then, ripping them off and crankin’ telemark turns through super sweet, untracked powder.   Well, though our treasured local ski area is now officially open Friday-Sundays?   It’s far from a ‘soft opening’.   The hardworking snowmaking crews have created a white ribbon of artificial snow running like a white ribbon of manicured snow cone ice so that folks can come up and get at least a ski hit from Friday – Sunday.  Yup, that’s right;   one lift, one run, Demon – appropriately named for these brick hard conditions surrounded by dry slopes.  No local I know has yet paid money to go up there.   In fact,  no one really is writing home about the conditions…it’s desperate, dismal, and December disappointing up there…

Except when you happen to be a mountain yogi within the Wholistic Fitness® Lineage!

I’ve had an entire ski mountain all to myself all month,  just because I am willing and eager to sweat uphill by self-propelled movement!   Who needs the droning of chair lifts when you are spiritually Awake enough to realize the unique joys of sweating uphill to earn your turns on the descent?!  pic by ilg at Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort last week.

Dat’s right Dharma Brothers and Sisters of the Sacred Sweat! Your feeble ilg is still having a GREAT TIME and getting FANTASTIC training up there!  I’ve been skinning up and cranking some fantastic runs down the slopes all November!   In fact, when I stood in the Resort parking lot today and looked up at the ski runs?  Nearly every ski track seen was mine!  Love it!   I’ve had an entire ski mountain all to myself all month,  just because I am willing and eager to sweat uphill by self-propelled movement!   Well,  until we get some natural snowfall,  I’ve swapped out my skis for running crampons.  The snow cover is just too thin to ski….even up at nearly 11,000′.   For those of you who live in snowy lands,  you best be made aware;   my choice for running super steep, hardpacked snowslopes is the mighty KTS Crampons® from one of my beloved sponsors, Kahtoola® whose home base is my old home town of Flagstaff, Arizona.  They make ingenious, world-class snow traction devices of every type from these heavy-duty crampons to ultra-light racing snowshoes with incredibly creative high-mountain traction combinations in between these extremes.   I’ve had these treasured, beat up KTS Crampons for like 5 years and i’ve absolutely put them through the ilg training torture-fest.  Today?   They still performed as beautifully as the day I first took their gleaming spiked and triple flexed-mainsprings up the Sacred Peak of Doko’oosliid (Mt. Humphreys), the highest peak in Arizona!   In this morning’s meager snow offerings – icy artificial, groomed hard pack for the first 23-minutes uphill, then frozen snowmobile tracks for the final 37-minutes up 28% gradient slopes?  Flawless.  My head shakes at wonder why the millions and millions of runners don’t choose to snowshoe or use running crampons up ski slopes in areas where such terrain is available.  Oh well…can’t complain?  I’ve lived 50 years and still have entire mountain resorts to myself!  Go figure….

C’mon…ilg will be HONORED to take you along for my workout this morning…

This is headwall numero uno of uh…well…a LOT!   This is just above ‘Purgy Beach’ at the Base Lodge.   The grooming snowcats growled up and down this initial 800′ section attempting to crush the bijillion gallons of water-transformed into snow ‘whales’ transformed into skiable ‘corduroy’.  Running up this initial headwall immediately skyrocketed my heart rate to over 180 bpms…now,  my Sacred Workout Duty this morning?  Was to hold that high Threshold until I reached the summit of Lift 8;  about 3 vertical miles higher than these initial strides…time to rely on breath technique and mantra!   Inwardly?  I really wanted to see if I could get to the summit in under an hour.   A ‘tall’ order indeed…my best ski-up time was 1’10”.    Yet,  why not set a Noble Goal?

When running uphill at Threshold intensities, every step matters…a LOT!   As I mentioned previously,  my Kahtoola®  KTS Crampons® performed brilliantly up the icy hard pack which greeted my initial 30 minutes of uphill effort.   ‘Performed brilliantly,’ to me means,  instant traction purchase without backslip,  no lateral binding slippage,  no strapping compression points.   Swear I could climb vertical waterfall ice up to WI3 in these babies!  Those are Salomon trail running shoes nestled snugly within my Kahtoola crampons!

This triple-headed monster of a headwall welcomed me after 28-minutes of Threshold uphill running on snow nearing elevation 10,000′.  You wanna talk to ilg about pumped Glutes, Vastus Lateralis, Gastrocnemius’s?   Cyclists?  Runners?  Triathletes?   You don’t think you’d benefit from this type of ilg workout?    If not,  c’mon, follow me or better yet,  beat this ol’ man up these sacred slopes of precious negative ionic bliss!   Makes a StairMaster® workout feel like kindy-garten, baby!   Train outside!  Get out! Be Out!  Breathe Out!

Nearing the summit…hammering!   Was totally killin’ my ski-up time of 1 hour, 10 minutes by nearly 20 minutes,  yet wanted to break the 50-minute barrier…at this point i was within 10 seconds…lungs heaving,  thighs beyond Beyond in a lactic acid purgatory,  my mind was still strong though, and thanks to BodyHealth’s products like MAP Amino Acids,  DeTox, and Complete?

Thanks to the Sacred Water of ASEA® which has DRAMATICALLY improved my Threshold Fitness as well as my Vyana Vayu pranic constitution, and Thanks to the SUNRIDER Whole Food Herbs®?    Cranking to yet another summit in my life?   I felt as youthful as I did when I was 3 decades younger!   Keep driving to the summit, ilg!   You can DO it!!!

ilg calls this posture;  Apresthresholdhellasana.   ilg reckons this is what the common man is afraid of…spewing Sacred Spit after 51 minutes of Threshold uphill running through snow…yes,  feeble ilg missed breaking the 50-minute barrier up the 2,029′ walls of snow by 1 stinkin’ minute.  aaaaargh!!!   That’s okay…in failure, we learn more than through success.   Next week?  If it still hasn’t snowed?  I already have a different route selection that just may save me those few seconds to break 50-minutes.  Such goes the Warrior Mind.

Oh, the descent?

I galloped down the mountain snows in 25’58″…a bit slower than I would have liked,  yet the concussion of running down the brick-hard lower slopes put my lower back into spasm (Ilg was once paralyzed from a winter mountaineering fall and ANY run volume is still extremely testing on my smashed pelvis).   I had to stop 2x on the descent to yogi squat to relieve my lower back/r. hip pain.  This type of intense uphill/downhill effort completely undid another week’s worth of muscle lengthening through yoga…yet,  Ilg reckons that is why my High Performance Yoga® students respect me…they know I am not just some retired ballet or Pilates instructor or some studio-addicted yogi…Ilg gets out and hammers in wholistic ways…

which keeps me an Endless Beginner…


How About You?

Do you train your weaknesses with as much fervor as you do the stuff you are ‘good at’?

The work toward wholeness is Noble…Rare…and oh, so Sacred.

Blessed Be Your Sweat…

feeble ilg


3 Responses to “A Mountain Yogi’s Version of a StairMaster Workout: When the Sacred Snows Run Thin? Run Up (and Down)…”

  1. Kevin Burnett says:

    Now that’s an inspirational workout! I was doing my city version yesterday by running stairs in the rain in San Francisco up by Coit Tower while a few guys drinking from a large bottle and smoking something that smelled really good watched and looked at me like I was crazy.

  2. You go Ilg!

    Yes, very inspirational! I got out for a 25 mile ride today. The 30mph descents in 46 degree temps equated to some kind of chilly wind-chill!

  3. coach says:

    Most Precious Tribal Brothers KB and SS,
    it’s YOU two that inspire ilg!
    just back from a 55-mile Club Ride at 20 mph…rather be skiing!

    head bowed

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