Walking up those familiar stairs again. I’ve lost count on how many times I’ve climbed up them. 22 in total. Accompanied by thumping sounds that emanates from the top floor, again familiar. Maybe I should be afraid of what lies in waiting, but oddly, it is part of the reason why I climb up these stairs. Time after time again.
This is where the hockey season is built. In one and a half hour slots, each one spent getting ready for something that is months away. Much like life in hockey in general, life is condensed into an everlasting continuum of routine and repetition.
The familiar grip of cold iron on the calloused hands. Tuning into breathing and the up/down movement. Every repetition is slightly painful, but that is the purpose. It is a sign that you are pushing. Pushing to get better, stronger, faster.
In between are 15 second splits where you are allowed to rest.
Yks, kaks, kolme, nelja…. As I count closer to 15 my counting turns from Finnish to English, as if to prepare me for the next series. Up, down, up, down, breathe in, breathe out. Tune into the breathing and use it to your advantage. Come one, just one more. You’ve got this. You tell yourself as the burn is getting more and more intense. And THUMP. Another 15 seconds of rest.
This could be classed as insanity and some might say my time could be better spent, but it is more than just training for a season. It is a release. A release that is a series of up to one and a half minutes of work and 15 seconds of rest. All together it takes an hour or hour and a half of my day. A fraction.
Tuning into the sound of the music that I’ve picked… “no that’s not heavy enough. I need something that’s aggressive”.. Quickly switching to something heavier before gripping the bar. Again. Lifting the weight off the ground, making sure your form is good by subconsciously telling yourself “back straight, head up, lift from the legs”.
By the time the hour and a half assault on your muscles is complete, you are ready to walk down those same, familiar stairs. 22 in total. The sound of the thumps is getting more and more distant. You feel a bit broken. Your muscles are sore. There’s sweat dripping from every part of your body. You feel like you have conquered something and feel ready to do it all again the next day.
Somehow as you get into your car, you begin to count… yks, kaks, kolme nelja.. A life broken into series, sets and 15 seconds. All to better yourself on the ice.