Sunday, September 11, 2016

How Healthy Lifestyles Help Huntresses

I pride myself on being an athlete. After several years of physical and mental overhaul I feel I am a strong person who has learned a lot about myself through the pain and perseverance that comes with making it through triathlons, marathons, and all of the other endurance events I've participated in.

When triathlon season closes each year, my next season of adventures is just beginning- hunting season. I've been a hunter since college, starting with waterfowl and other migratory game birds, and eventually began focusing on deer hunting since I'm a big believer in eating what I shoot, and I am just not a big fan of duck!

Last season I took up bow hunting, and with it, added a whole new set of physical challenges to my winter activities. Hunting requires stamina, patience, strength, and fortitude. It's important that, as hunters, we take care of our health in order to perform successful and ethical hunts. Being an athlete has taught me a few lessons that make being a hunter a richer experience.

The benefits of swim-bike-run go beyond race season!

Being an athlete has taught me patience. Training for three sports requires a lot of time-management and the ability to be flexible. Life can get in the way, and so can the weather, but whether giant leaps and bounds, or tiny baby steps, I know that increasing my abilities takes time and as long as I keep it up, I'll get to where I want to be. 6 hour bike rides have helped me learn to manage boredom, being alone with my own thoughts, and taking in the world around me to find peace. All of that is helpful when you're spending hours in the tree stand, or when I have to go out 6 times in the woods before coming back successful!

You don't get better overnight, and you don't get better sitting on your butt.

Being an athlete has taught me concentration. If you get distracted while riding, running, or even swimming, you lose your pacing, or your power, and miss your goals. If you start staring at the clouds or checking your Instagram on your phone in the stand, you miss a deer walking right by you. I am, of course, sharing these examples from a friend's experience....;) Stay in the game, focus, or your hard work and preparation are wasted!

Keeping my pace, tracking nutrition needs, and ensuring I'm fueled and balanced takes work!

Being an athlete has given me endurance.  During a hunt, I will typically hike 3 miles, climb a tree, and if I'm lucky, hold a 60 pound draw on my bow, and retrieve, clean, skin, and quarter a deer that can weigh over 100 pounds. Needless to say, being an athlete comes in handy. Hours on the bike, running hill repeats, swimming miles in open water. My heart, legs, arms, and mind are all prepped for the challenges at hand!

60lb pack run in the rain with  my bow or an Ironman? Both pretty hard!

Being an athlete has increased my grit. In my short racing career, have seen great success in perfect conditions, and crushing failure in even more crushing conditions. Hunting, naturally, requires me to be outside, and with the weather in Texas being unpredictable, I can start in the morning with warm sunshine and end the day in sleet and rain. Training for races on my limited schedule with a full time job and social life, sometimes I have to work through those conditions- blazing heat, rain, cold, anything to get the training session in and be prepared for race day.

You work through pain, you work through non-ideal conditions, and your work goes even further. 

Being an athlete has given me dedication. It takes dedication to train, prep, and race any race, and more so a 140.6 mile one. It takes all the lessons from above and more to keep in mind, every day, that the work, the sweat, the effort I'm pouring from my heart and soul are worth it, and then when I cross a finish line, I know it's true, and I want more. Hunting is no different. There is more failure than success, and the work can be overwhelming. However, the returns are always worth it and always leave you wanting more.

It took a few misses before I finally got a hit!

Fresh, grass-fed, organic, and affordable venison fajita salad!

Being an athlete has helped me put it all together. Life as a grownup can be overwhelming. Work is draining, relationships with family take work, bills never stop, and we constantly seek balance and introspective reflection on what we are doing to make sure the life we are living is fulfilling. Being an athlete is an outlet, and a lens to the rest of my world. It is a way to see myself and build my worth in this world as a strong individual. Training and huntingares a connection to nature, to my food, and to the world around me. My heartbeat is in the outdoors, and my endeavors in racing and hunting help me look both inside and out, and put my life in perspective.

If nothing else, I get to keep being outside even when race season is over!

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