pole running

Jai Jai Ma, Jai Jai Ma!  Hey Ma Durga!

as Donna DeLory sings, “I want to feel what You Feel/i want to see what is real Beyond this Illusion!” …and, one of the most effective ways i’ve found to discover just That, is crushin’ a hard uphill run with ski poles…like my morning workout today…come join me!

about this time of the year, as twiglets of various alpine flora begin their crayola demise,  i begin running with ski poles in preparation for my nordic ski racing season which begins in earnest like in another 5 months here in the ever-roasty-yet-suprisingly-wet mountain hamlet of Durango.  But, hey, whose counting, right?

in the pic above, which i painstakingly attempted to solo capture for all of Thee, i am on the summit of my ‘backyard mountain’;  Animas Mountain.  i just ran up 2,500′ in less than 2.5 miles in under 35 minutes.  go ahead;  you try… the elevation here is 8,600′.  i am happy. ilg is all-Ways happy in my Beloved San Juans…here i am trying to make my right bicep appear larger than it really is.  this condition is well-known among honest American Males. it is called, “Geez-I-Bet-People,-Especially- Girls,-Will Really-Be-More-Impressed-With-Me-If-My-Biceps-Look-Bigger-And-Perhaps-Even-More-Vein-i-er” Syndrome.

we never outgrown this affliction, mind you.  even us Endurance Athletes…we still want to look like Arnold and run like a wolf.

as evidenced above.

now, onto the more technical aspects and philosophical discussions of the larger (far larger) subject than my biceps which is; note-ably;  pole running.

pole running 2

now, in this pic…yet another self-shot attained by much more effort and dampening of my personal training effect than could possibly be justified by the paltry income from this blog (thus the Dharma Service is secured yet again), i am attempting to show you how powerfully running with ski poles helps self-propel one up hills…instead, as you can see for your mighty limb’d self,  i look more like an aging grandmother and the ski poles, instead of looking like Dharmic Swords Swinging From Manjushree Himself, appear more like crutches.

it is my sweat-based, sincere prayer however, that you understand what i was attempting to self-shoot;  running with ski poles decrease the concussion imparted upon and impacted upon the pelvic girdle, which for this formerly paralyzed mountain yogi, means a whole LOT!  running with ski poles helps lift the entire thoracic cage, thus lengthening the side body – particularly the crucial superior illiac crest/thoracolumbar fascial sheath.  this is opposite of traditional no-pole running which compacts, thus shortening that same region.

i first began running with ski poles here in Durango, up and down these same mountains in the early seventies when my nordic ski coaches would have us do ski pole running sprints up Chapman Ski Hill (seen in photo below above my left shoulder).   next year, inspired by HP Yogi Peter (profiled in this Teaching Blog a week ago after i raced the Kennebec Challenge),  i’m going to start racing these high mountain running races with them.  i used to philosophically consider running with ski poles, “running with crutches”.   now?  nearing age 50 and a lifetime of searing neural pain from a paralyzed spine and smashed pelvis?  sign me up!  ski pole running takes the stress – no matter how minutely – off my arthritic, pathetic axial and appendicular skeleton.  it also increases my self-propulsion.

pole running 3

here is another interesteing pic from this morning, taken just for Thee.  it’s me…again.  of course.  here, i appear to be hovering – glider like – over my beloved mountain hamlet of Durango (means; with water, BTW, FYI,LOL).  the only reason why i would describe this pic as ‘interesting’ is from a collapsed intentional perspective.  see,  ilg wasn’t satisfied with the magnitude of my scrawny biceps in the opening pic (i peeked quickly after i took it).  so,  i figger’d on the descent instead of tracking on the Mantra which i had been doing, ‘why, i’ll just take another pic and make sure the lighting makes my biceps look even bigger!’…this fine notion was shortly circumvented when i forgot to take the camera off the “DETAIL” setting which is precisely why the Gambel Oak in the right foreground looks so deliciously Herculean and my out of focus biceps still looks as it ever was;  insouciant.


Besides tripling your caloric expenditure and quadrapuling the potentiality of your time to ventilatory threshold and creating ripped deltoids, triceps, biceps, and brachioradialis’s?   Running with ski poles armors the running warrior/warrioress with what surely must be a false sense of bravado when running solo among the wild things.  Bring on the bears!  the mountain lions!  the reservation dogs!  i don’t care, for i am running with union-carbide equip’d ski tips that will puncture you from here to Kingdom C(om)e!   do NOT mess with me!!!

fortunately,  this morning this snake is missing a rear rattler which would have meant that i would have been forced to use my ski poles to Snake Lift Dance the beautiful creature out of my path…however,  lacking a rattle, i knew this to be but a beautiful Bull Snake.

let’s summarize the benefits of Ski Pole Running which i cleverly snuck into your subconscious by way of witty writing above:

1) if you are a nordic ski racer or snowshoe racer you MUST begin running up steep mountains with ski poles right about now…it’s a no brainer:  shoulder torso, arm, and core development is greatly enhanced along with neural enhancement of “arms drive the legs” sport physiologic wisdom.

2) waaaaay greater caloric expenditure and cardio/pulmonary fitness than traditional running or cycling

3) ripped shoulders, arms, and abs

4) timing/safety/bravado enhancement

5) less joint concussion, greater self-propulsion


every moment is miracle,

every workout is a Divine Step toward Enlightenment (unless you are wearing iPods)…

may God’s Love be with you all-Ways and thank you for supporting like ski poles our precious Path, so wholistic, so sincere in the dark ocean of Kali Yuga…we’ll all-ways find each other…

cuz we’ll recognize the sweat on the skin and the shine within the eyes and the compassionate radiance from our hearts…

Om Mani Padme Hung

head bowed,


5 Responses to “Not Just Another Pole-ish Joke; Pole Running Season Begins!”

  1. Kit Johaneson says:

    Great training for Mt Taylor if you are taking up Coach’s challenge.

  2. py says:

    Om So Ti!
    Be ready to smile into the stares of dog walkers as you “moosehuf” and puff up the hills.
    “The path works when you work the path.”
    Got me up to the top of Tzidool as well.

    Rinpo Championji, those biceps are HUGE (astral-ly).


  3. py says:

    Nate (we can call him that, right?) is looking beautiful in the pics as well.

  4. coach says:

    Precious PY,
    you can call him whatever you want!…here is what is funny; it’s a women’s version yet fits my (i guess) feminine physique just dandy!

  5. Sandra Lee says:

    wow- i only seen 2 small snakes so far this year.

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