Monday, March 31, 2014

March 24 - 30

Mon - Climbing Gym
          Today was my ninth day climbing out of the last 10 days, seven of those with Joe, including today. As such, both of us are starting to feel a little accumulative fatigue and niggles in our shoulders, wrists, forearms. Only three of those nine days have been outdoors, but even on days I've been climbing outside I've often hit an evening session at the gym; with this morning's snow showers, Joe and I took yet another trip to Movement.
          Despite the flurries, the gym was surprisingly and pleasantly deserted. We suspected this might have had something to do with Spring Break, but it was a pleasure to not have to wait for any routes and to basically have the run of the place. My skills are still mediocre to most, but I've become secure in my current abilities and am pleased to continue to see a gradual improvement. I will be largely absent from Boulder for May through September, so next month is likely the last pass I'll buy until next fall, but I've finally grown to enjoy the gym as a valid way of getting out and using my body when the lower extremities are preventing any other kind of activity and conditions are preventing getting on real rock.

Tue - Anenome Ridge (0:44, 1200') + climbing gym
          Today was the first truly 100% pain-free run I've had since the first week of January. It's amazing how momentous that feels. Most of all, it makes me realize just how debilitating chronic pain can be to both the mind and body. I cruise up Sunshine Canyon on the buttery single-track that I refer to as the "Cali Trail" because of its exceedingly smooth, buffed-out tread. I've raced enough in California (American River, Miwok, Western States) to know that trail builders in the Golden State will not tolerate neither rock nor root :-) The run back along the ridgeline is glorious---Spring is inexorably making its inroads, much to my delight, and my euphoria at being able to run without a hitch in my stride is palpable. I feel fat and out of shape, but the pure kinesthetics of running never fail to induce joy.
          The past two weeks I've been conducting a new set of physical therapy exercises to strengthen the musculature of my hips---specifically targeting weak glute medius muscles---and the diligence seems to finally be paying off. The exercises are tedious, awkward, and time-consuming (30min, 3x/day), but most of all, require a focus and specific attention that I hadn't been applying before. If done with a lack of focus, it is very easy for the over-developed, stronger muscles in the hips (as I understand it, in my case, these are the psoas and tensor fasciae latae (TFL)) to take over for the weaker glute medius and just perpetuate and reinforce the very cycle of imbalance that we're trying to correct.
          In the evening, Joe and I hit one final climbing session at the gym before he flies to Alaska tomorrow. It was a pretty weak effort on both our parts---the fingers and arms are just thrashed at this point and need a couple days off.

Wed - Mt. Sanitas & Anenome (1:08, 2000')
Another completely pain-free outing, but the second bump up to the Anenome Ridge just about did me in. I am unfit right now. In the afternoon, I had my third physical therapy appointment with Bob Cranny. I feel like I'm really learning stuff here about what I need to do to stay healthy long-term. I suppose, like most things, it will come down to whether or not I can exert some discipline.

Thu - Mt. Sanitas (0:55, 1600') + climbing gym
          I get up early today to snag a lap on what is probably Boulder's most popular peak before frantically biking to Movement for an 8:30am rendezvous with Caroline. The ambiance on the mountain this morning is unexpectedly rich---low clouds are swirling even on this diminutive summit---and the early hour means not many people are out with their dogs just yet.
          Later in the day, I download and watch Seb's latest installment in Kilian's Summits of My Life chronicles. I think it's really good and improves on some of the things that I felt were slightly lacking in A Fine Line. I have the utmost respect for Seb as an outdoor filmmaker---if you haven't already, definitely check out his antics in I Believe I Can Fly (Flight of the Frenchies) and Petit Bus Rouge. I like how Seb brings a playful-bordering-on-madcap sensibility to what people are doing in the mountains. Only because of his own athletic capabilities is he able to so evocatively capture some of the most cutting-edge pursuits.

Fri - Green Mt. (1:43, 3000')
To my surprise, a skiff of snow fell overnight, so I change my plans from scrambling to a pure running outing. The fresh flakes over the bulletproof ice on the Ranger trail offer sufficient purchase for my 110's lugs on the uphill, but the downhill proves to be a different story; the trail seems better suited for ice skates than running shoes. There's an occasional murmur of infirmity in my hip on the downhill, but it doesn't seem too serious. Nevertheless, it's a good reminder that I'm not out of the woods yet and that after almost three months the tenacity of this bullshit isn't going to vanish magically. At this point, I've probably gotta just commit to making hip exercises a part of my standard routine, even once everything seems solid.

Sat - As I jogged down the street this morning I detected a recurrence of the slight but nagging pain in my upper, lateral left leg (same old shit) from yesterday morning, so I stopped and walked back home. Earlier in the process, I probably would've continued to run through this, but I know now that that doesn't work with this particular ailment. It's a fairly glorious spring day, but some persistent clouds at least partially assuage my angst at not having an available climbing partner for getting on some rock.
          Earlier this week I finished DeLillo's Libra, a novel that fictionally embellishes on most of the known facts about Lee Harvey Oswald and the JFK assassination (Oswald's birthday was Oct 18, hence the sign in the astrological title). Despite the rather obvious themes in the book about the difficulty of making sense of the world, in the evening, in an attempt to do just that, I watch a pair of documentary programs online regarding the JFK assassination. One is a Nova special that examines the forensic ballistics (seems to support a single shooter), and the other is a Frontline biopic on Oswald (most aspects of which made it into DeLillo's work). It feels good to finally learn some things about one of the most notorious political events of the 20th Century. It all seems particularly pertinent with the 50th anniversary of the assassination a few months ago and the current kerfuffle going on over in Russia/Ukraine.

Sun - First Flatiron+Amphitheater (1:13, 2000')
          The hip seemed to respond positively to yesterday's rest, so this morning I bike up to Chautauqua for some leisurely scrambling. I resolve to hike the whole day, but I have a hard time heading uphill without really putting some effort into it and getting a sweat going, even if I'm not running. All the ice has finally melted out of the approach, though, and I'm happy to step onto the rock with a dry pair of shoes for once. This lends itself to particularly efficient footwork and I scamper up the 1000' face in 14m45s in stellar conditions---almost calm winds and pleasant temps despite the cloud cover.
          After downclimbing, I decide to hike down to the Amphitheater on the descent for a quick circuit of three of the four Roach Classics there---I scramble up the South Face of the 2nd Pinnacle, downclimb into the Amphitheater itself, and then tick the 5.5 finger crack on the West Face of T-Zero before finishing with a summit of the First Pinnacle via its exposed Southeast Face. The last 30' of this one always garners my undivided attention. Even a short outing like this, with no running, does so much to improve the tenor of my day.

This is a song from my second-favorite band ever (a very close second), TV On The Radio:

TVOTR's lead singer, Tunde Adebimpe, has a side-project called Higgins Waterproof Black Magic Band. Massive Attack recently did a couple remixes of some HWBMB songs that I think I like even more than the originals:


Long said...

Feel better, dude.

gary aronhalt said...

Hey man... I know there are tons of us pulling for you to stay healthy! Glad to hear it's coming along.

Dallas Green said...

There is nothing more emasculating than going to the gym or laying on your living room floor on your Girl Friends Yoga Mat doing Leg Lifts/Bridges/Donkey Kicks and even jumping on the thigh machine in the gym and doing inner and outer thigh strengthening while guys on the bench press stare at you ha!

Hang in there!

Also when is the 110v2's coming out I assume April Correct?

Rain said...

It's hard to keep up with those exercises. 30 minutes 3x a day is a lot...stick with it if it's helping though!
Interesting about the JFK thing...I am going to look up that book. It has always intrigued me.

vis said...

DeLillo is an American treasure. What else you been reading?

Juice said...

+10 to Anton for the use of kerfuffle
+10 to Jaleel for the beatbox &
+10 to Kyp for his general badassery

I've been really digging the newest Real Estate and The War on Drugs albums. Both dovetail seamlessly in to a beautiful spring day.

Barry Bliss said...

Hi Anton.
You might enjoy this little documentary, if not the production, the subject matter.

Lynn said...

Hi Anton. Thanks for stopping to chat with me for a second on your way up Green Mtn on the 28th. You're right, it was an ice skating rink that day. I wish you all the best on your recovery.


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Gregory Stipe said...

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good taste of music too. learned this in the unbreakable docu :-) good stuff

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