Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Two Days In A Row

Over the past couple years I have stayed away from two things: bouldering and climbing on consecutive days. This is because whenever I did either of these, I got hurt. And these weren't good injuries either. I'm not talking about the easy-to-accept psychologically leg breaks or crushed skulls. I'm talking those lingering my-elbow-feels-fine-today-but-really-isn't kind of injuries that kept me out for weeks at a time. And when I'd come back, it was always too early. But that was when I weighed a whopping 187lbs.

A year later, I'm sitting at 164lbs and feel much more as if I can do static moves without stressing my joints and tendons. A year ago, I was barely able to hold myself on a hard 5.10. Now, I can get my way up the route using technique most of the way. Granted, I've lost a lot of strength from the weight loss, but I've gained a lot more (including harder grades under my belt).

Anyway, I climbed on Sunday and climbed hard and moderately well (knocking off a couple of stiff 10s that I hadn't been able to do clean). I had no intention of climbing before at least Wednesday this week(turns out to be Thursday). But I was convinced to show up Monday and climb anyway - but to boulder, not to rope up - the feared double whammy.

To be clear, I was hesitant. Not only because the suggested climbing style was one that I've always struggled with (both proficiently and health wise), but also because I've been making steady strides both in terms of weight loss and climbing ability. I have to say that both of these improvements are because I've climbed a lot, but also taken care to ensure that I'm not doing too much. A year ago, I was a physical wreck: had constant pain and soreness; various, lingering injuries that kept me from participating in my favorite activity; sleepless nights; no consistent rest and generally feeling ill. I don't feel those symptoms these days (well, I'm still tired sometimes, but not as a general rule anymore - now, I can tell when I'm tired and it is usually related to a specific event). But now, I'm happy with the results and I did not want to set myself back. I want to keep climbing, not prevent myself from doing so.

As I said, I was convinced to go and, in the end, I felt OK. I was nervous about all the big, dynamic moves you usually see boulderers do, but I kept it simple by sticking to V4 at the hardest and V2 at the most frequent. I was tired, but that was mostly from climbing on Sunday. Anyway, I thought I felt a twinge in my thigh and by the night's end my biceps were hurting pretty badly, but it was a good hurt, as if I had done a solid amount of exercise and my body was finding a way to thank me later.

We roped up at the end of the night and I still felt strong enough to get up a hard 10 and easy 11 to finish off. I still felt more graceful on the roped climbs, a little more in control than on the boulders, but I can't complain with the results. I guess you can learn from jumping with both feet - so long as you're willing to jump into the fire and believe it's not that hot.

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