November 18, 2008 posted by

Shed Days

Reading this article about Oscar De La Hoya reminds me our days in the shed.

Oscar’s Training Camp

As an athlete, nothing is as coveted as when you have time to get away from the distractions of everyday life and can train. Like they say in the surf film In God’s Hands, “beginning tomorrow we train all day, every day.” It’s the mantra all true athletes yearn to live by.

Of course you don’t train all day. In this article The Golden Boy echoes as much reverence for the frat life as anything else. But the romantic notion is that your entire life is focused on getting as fit as you can possibly be. It’s a time you know that you need to seize. And not just because it’s hard to find the time to live this way, but because you know, without a doubt, that you won’t always have the motivation it takes to do it.

I’ve created these scenarios a lot during my life. From “Rocky” training in the hills behind my house as a kid, to the high altitude training camps I organized in high school, to “camp baseball”, a dream that never quite materialized; I’ve sought throughout my life to get away from the world and just train. But nothing I’ve ever done comes close to what we refer to as The Shed Days.

In the early 90’s, my friend Phil and I gave up our comfortable abode in Santa Barbara and moved into a storage shed. We wanted to rock climb as hard as possible and the reason was simple; to focus seriously on training. The shed was a bastion of simplicity in a hectic world. There was no phone, no internet, and very few bills. Only a few of our friends even knew where it was. During the couple of years it lasted we were probably more fit than we’ve ever been. But more importantly, we we’re–as we often referenced–livin’ the dream. We trained hard but we learned even more. It ceased to be about climbing, or even training; it was just about life. It was our Nirvana.

We often talk about going back. Of course we never will. Phil has a new gym he calls The Shed. We both still get after it from time to time, and I’m sure we always will. The limits of human performance has us both entranced. But we’ll never again have the singularity of focus that we did at that one point in time.

I can see exactly why De La Hoya keeps fighting. He knows that one day he’ll lose his edge, but he wants to milk the feeling as long as he can.. It’s probably a guy thing. It’s certainly an athlete thing. And for those who roll like we do, it’s as close to the essence of being as we’ll probably ever get.


  • That’s the attitude of a winner ! And you Steve, you shouldn’t give up for anything, just like Oscar or like Me !

  • So that was you peaking your climbing abilities? This motivates me but the problem with too much motivation is that you often over-train. I developed signs of tendinitis in the left elbow yesterday, Man it took 8 weeks to perfectly heal (right elbow). I gotta back off from the fingerboard and campus board. lol I gotta stop reading articles like this…

  • I'm 100% certain that I spent my best years overtrained.

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