The blog of the adventures (or mis-adventures) of an active mountain woman.

“Normal” and a minor retraction

Lest you think I’m all gloom and doom, I can assure you I appreciate my beautiful backyard and the amazing fall weather!

What is it about the human psyche that relaxes when things are “normal”?  Sure, “exceptional” might be sometimes desired but mostly worries are assuaged by the term “normal”. At a point in my life (pregnancy) where nothing fits my old definition of normal, I find this particularly fascinating and frustrating.

My old normal is unattainable. That whole “if you did activity x before pregnancy, you can continue it during!” is total crap. I am an aggressive single-track mountain biker. I don’t crash every time I ride, but definitely every season and sometimes every month. Of course this isn’t a good activity to continue during pregnancy. And I have no clue how a climbing harness would fit me now – my normal harness certainly wouldn’t and I don’t see a rapid weight load around my waist being a good idea right.

In the past, I have been critical of mountain athletes that lose their entire sense of self when they can’t ski after a blown knee, for example. They lose their identity as a person and often fall into a deep funk. I now have more compassion for these people. And it turns out it’s not all physiological.

The IMAX film Adrenaline Rush: The Science of Risk (which I have yet to see due to the utter lack of IMAX theaters near anywhere I have lived) notes that humans are the only animals who seek danger and risk their lives for fun. According to a synopsis of the movie, many extreme athletes have significantly lower levels of an enzyme called monoamine oxidase B. These people have a higher resistance to arousal of certain sections of the brain, meaning that it takes a higher amount of stimulation in order to get the same level of excitement and pleasure others get out of less extreme activities. This makes a lot of sense to me as it would appear that my mother-in-law and husband get this excitement from seeing me stand on the countertops (which I have yet to fall off thank you) while I need a nice exposed arete to get the same high. And of course, we can’t forget about the oft quoted sensitivity to dopamine also present in thrill-seekers.

So for now, I can’t think of a single way to get my monoamine oxidase B OR dopamine fix. My normal has also been changed and I for one am glad to say that this whole “sharing my body” thing is temporary. Yup, I said it – and the “pregnancy is wonderful” police are welcome to beat down my door. If I don’t answer, it’s because I’m cleaning projectile vomit off my shower curtain again. And that’s just not normal.

2 Responses to ““Normal” and a minor retraction”

  1. LMFAO!!!!!!! A pregnant chick mountain biking, now THAT would be quite the sight…. And I am sure any OBGYN who saw you cruising down a steep terrain would kick him or herself out of fear you might fall and… god forbid, eff up the baby! I know you’re smarter than that! :)

    Oh and question: When is… the B-Word… due? The second you pop this sucker out, we are heading to SUSHI! I will fly my booty back out to WY just for that meal! LOL

  2. Oh Gigi always so animated :-) The baby is due January 15 and I may have to send Colby to the sushi restaurant while I’m still in the hospital! I’m serious! But I will go out with you, too – maybe you should come to Jackson when Colby and I go there to ski in the spring? I think yes!

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