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Photofitness and Training for Professional Adventure
Posted on June 29, 2015

Seagulls overhead, waves rolling in beneath your feet, and the colors of the morning sky coming alive. Clearly better than the gym. Whidbey Island, WA. P: Mary Skouras.

When we introduced Eddie Bauer Motion, it was with a vision that our new active training style was designed to build fitness, strength, and endurance for mountain missions. For a glimpse into the essence of that adventure training ethic, we asked Live Your Adventure contributing photographer Shannon Skouras—one of the fittest shooters we know—to take us through her perspective on training to keep up with pro mountain athletes, both visually and verbally. What she provided is a very personal take on why fitness is not just her routine, but an integral part of the life she leads. —LYA Editor

Freestone rivers, the smell of sage, and unlimited sunshine are just a few things Skouras digs about trail running near her home in Naches, WA. P: Andy Mahre

Words by Shannon Skouras, Images by Andy Mahre and Mary Skouras

It’s 5 a.m. The vibration and quiet melody of my alarm stir me from my deep slumber. A cold, wet nose creeps over the side of the bed and nudges my arm. Our pup, Lukos, knows what those sounds mean: it’s time for our first adventure of the day. I quietly roll out of bed so that I don’t wake my partner, Eddie Bauer athlete Andy Mahre. Andy and I will head out into the mountains together later this morning, but for now it’s the warm, cozy bed for him—and the crisp morning desert air for me. I can’t wait for the fresh smell of sage, the firm dirt beneath my feet, and the smile Lukos displays when he is running next to me. In my chosen line of work, the day almost always starts before the sun is up: on a trail, in our workout room or on a gravel road, wherever my feet or wheels take me.

As a professional photographer in the world of extreme athletes, my strength, endurance and athletic abilities are constantly tested. At 5’3″, 110 pounds, I am no giant, so when I add a 40-50 pound camera/gear pack to my load, I need to have the ability to carry it all day—no matter the terrain, activity or conditions. Whether the adventure involves skiing, biking, boot-packing, touring, climbing, paddleboarding (or a combination of all or a few of them), the goal is to be able to keep up with the rest of the crew, even though I may have a load two or three times as heavy as everyone else. To accomplish this, I spend every single day of my life training, physically and mentally. I call it training for life – and without it I would never be able to summit the mountains that I climb or pedal up the ridges that I want to ride. The goal is to do my best to prepare my mind and body for the journey, so that when the time comes to head off on another adventure, I will be ready.

 

Most of my early mornings consist of endurance training. Long trail runs or pedals near our home in Naches, WA, are my poisons of choice. Strength training along the way (using rocks as my weights) breaks up the long endurance sessions and keeps my mind and body in the moment. Awake, refreshed and ready for the day, I head back to the house to make a big breakfast, have some warm coffee, and edit some photos that I shot the day before. The morning sun calls Andy and me outside for a few hours of morning yardwork, and then it’s off to the mountains for a pedal and some trail work together. Eight hours later and with just a hint of daylight left, we make it back home: sweaty, smelly and with some impressive dirt “tan lines.” A long shower, a warm meal, and some evening yoga calms my mind and body and gives me time to reflect on the day, my goals, and the path I have chosen in life.

It’s crazy, but sometimes the bad things that happen in our lives put us directly on the path to the best things that will ever happen to us. I was diagnosed with cancer just three weeks before receiving my undergrad diploma. I was lucky: they caught the cancer in its early stages and the prognosis for recovery was good. But I will never forget my mother’s face when I told her the results. I will never forget saying goodbye to my parents before going into surgery. Most importantly, I will never forget what having cancer did to my life.

 

Eight years later, I am still cancer-free, and very thankful for everything (good and bad) that has happened during my lifetime. When I was diagnosed, I made a decision about how I would live my life from then on: I would create a life for myself that would make me want to jump out of bed every morning. I would push myself out of my comfort zone (even if just a little) and learn something new every single day. And I would never, ever think about giving up. As Andy told me one day when we were three hours into an ascent in the North Cascades, “Don’t focus on the peak, focus on the climb.” The focus should never be on how much farther you have to go. Instead, be proud of how far you have come, and focus your energy on figuring out what you need to do to make that next step a successful one. Yes, there will still be struggles along the way: it’s inevitable. But without those struggles on the journey, the final steps or pedal strokes to the peak just wouldn’t be as sweet. Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will. If you truly want something, you need to have the strength and courage to go out and get it.

Miles to go before I sleep. Skouras logging a trail loop outside Naches, WA. P: Andy Mahre

View the Motion series of training gear Shannon uses to stay photofit at eddiebauer.com. And, to learn more about Shannon’s top gear picks, weekly training routine and favorite fitness activities check out the Live Your Adventure Tumblr feed with the following links:

Shannon’s Weekly Workout Routine for Photo Fitness

Shannon’s Top Five Favorite Photo Fitness Activities

Shannon’s Top Five Gear Picks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: - Monday, June 29th, 2015
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  1. Deb

    Such dedication to fitness and focus on positive outlook.


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