Monday, December 29, 2014

Eyes Up Going Into the New Year

The Training Partner texted:
What are you doing Friday [after Christmas]?
I replied:
Whining about how old and fat and stiff I am for awhile.  Then probably going out and trying to overcompensate and end up hurting myself.  Then feeling sorry for myself and the whole cycle starts all over again.
He asked if I had been reading his diary.
The past couple of weeks I've been feeling as if I'm falling apart.  I'm afraid to lay off exercise to heal.  I'll balloon up like one of those Macy parade characters.  But I'm determined to get fit for the coming year of running.
One day of easy bouldering caused my tendonitis to flare up.  I've laid off climbing for eight years hoping it would get better.  Obviously ignoring the problem isn't going to make it go away.
I've lost all of my previous climbing fitness.  I'm stiff as a board, I can hardly hold my body weight on big easy holds, and I'm carrying the equivalent of a small dog when I try to escape the earth’s gravitational pull.
A climbing friend who is fired up about developing a new bouldering area has inspired me to revisit my old haunts and writings on the matter.  Looking back through my climbing journals I discovered that between 1999 and 2002 I "put up" over 500 boulder problems in the Red River Gorge area.  The pinnacle of my efforts was a sublime overhanging obtuse arĂȘte in an obscure area near home.  Fifteen feet tall, overhanging three feet, and desperate for the grade of V3: Who Remembers Briseis? was the bouldering experience I searched for those three years I tromped around with my crashpads and my dogs looking for boulders.
Who Remembers Briseis? V3
The Greek Boulders
The other day when I visited the area (out of curiosity more than any other reason) I discovered I lack the ability to get my feet off the ground on the problem.
Finally I might have discovered my motivation.  Twelve years gone I'm not the climber I once was and I hate it.  I want to feel strong again.  I don't have to feel young, but I will be strong once more.
Saturday Jefe and I rode our bikes.  It had been too long.  I only rode twenty-seven miles but it felt like enough.  I had originally thought to do the fifty-two mile Gorge loop ride from home.  I realized that would be folly.  While the ride was nothing special other than a good time out on the roads I did manage a PR on High Rock from South Fork. 
I really began enjoying the ride out beyond Rosslyn.  Traffic was light late morning on Saturday, and after I turned onto South Fork Road there was no traffic whatsoever.  In fact, I can’t remember a single car passing me/us until we were five miles from Stanton on Furnace Mountain.  By then I was over twenty miles into my ride.
Santa brought me lots of good running stuff.  Mandy and I got each other new shoes a bit early for Christmas so I already had those.  But I got some tights, a wrist mount GPS with HR monitor, and a few other things.  We had a gluttonous holiday stretch so yesterday I felt the strong urge to run.  I've been in a holding pattern at 197 lbs.  So I ran.
I went down to the park about an hour before dark with no intentions other than to run my standard 5k.  I have a hard time running farther there.  I get bored to tears after six laps around the park so that's all I ever manage.
It was drizzly and grey—my favorite running conditions—and I was out of the gate in good spirits.  On the first lap I knew I was on a strong pace.  By the third lap I knew I had a shot at an adult 5k PR.  I never looked back.  My pace and my heart rate kept climbing until I redlined just as I reached 3.1 miles.  It was a PR by fourteen seconds.
A High Rock PR on the bike and a respectable and unexpected 5k PR at the park...and I'm as fat as I've ever been.  The auld war wound pestered me after the ride, but I felt downright teenage after my blistering run.  I did three sets of dead hangs on the playground afterward.  Baby steps.  And I've got to start somewhere on the long climb out of my funk. 
So here we go...

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