This past January, on a Monday night at around 8 PM, I was pulling into my driveway after a long day of work. My house has a small carport with a storage closet where my bikes and some yard tools live. So I was not expecting to see a sheet of fast-flowing water pouring out from beneath the door. But I immediately knew what it was: the cold temperatures had caused a pipe to burst.
While I was grateful that this had only been going for a short time and was occurring somewhere that I could see clearly (as opposed to under the house), I was tired and frustrated and may have thrown a little bit of a temper tantrum before trying to figure things out. Not looking forward to hanging around outside or in a crawlspace on a Monday night in 16-degree weather.
Plumbing issues are not my strong point. Which is to say that I was pacing around frantically, googling how to shut off the main water line in my house. Several pages informed me that the main water shut off should be near the entrance to the crawl space. Mine was not.
My crawl space is vast and low. It is filled with pipes and wires and columns, many of which look mismatched and randomly placed from years of changes and repairs. Once I realized the internet was not going to be much help in this case, I set out to find the shutoff valve as fast as possible.
And in so doing, I ended up having a fantastic time. I’ve been training with GMB methods and programs for well over a year now, and as a result was able to maneuver around beneath the house with grace and ease. Locomotion work with the Elements program in particular was most helpful of all. I stepped and dove and crawled and rolled around all these obstacles, all the while feeling like a spy dodging motion-sensor lasers. I found the valve — which ended up being in the furthest possible corner — and shut it off. Then I sat in the dirt and smiled.
This was my favorite practical application of my training, thus far. It’s the kind of thing I think about when people ask me why I train so often/hard. I want to be able to find joy in my body and mindset even in a crisis moment. I want to feel safe climbing a tall ladder to paint a high wall, because I know my balance is solid and that even if something went wrong I can respond to it quickly and well. Or worse still, if something completely out of my control like a car wreck occurs, I want to know that I’ve done what I could to make myself resilient so that I might continue living happily in this beautiful world.
I train not just to be prepared for the worst, but to make every moment better. For me, solid physical fundamentals is not a vanity thing, much less a chore. Rather, it’s a chance to enhance everything. Even a late night in a cold crawlspace.