Boot camp and beyond

Detox weakness
14 November 2006 (Tuesday), 10:19 pm
Filed under: Climbing, NaBloPoMo

Today’s after work climbing adventure with Vivian and Michael was an off day. I skipped any sort of warm-up route and started with one of the 5.9s that made me think I was going to die last time I tried it. I got to the same scary move-to-the-other-wall point and couldn’t get the strength to get to a hold that was a bit of a reach.

Some of the weakness was probably psychosomatic, but since I didn’t feel as freaked out as the other time I think more of it was a result of the detox. I tried two 5.8s, one of which I’ve completed before, and only got about half way up the wall both times. Quitting didn’t feel particularly good, but I did feel like I was still learning and improving on the lower half.

The last route I tried, another 5.8, had no overhangs so I didn’t need as much power and I was able to get to the top quite quickly despite increasing gastrointestinal discomfort. It was good to finish as a non-quitter but next time I’d better be less of a delicate flower.


Gang Aft Agley-ing
8 November 2006 (Wednesday), 11:47 pm
Filed under: Climbing, NaBloPoMo, Outside boot camp log

Okay, so it wasn’t one of the best laid plans, but the plan to go climbing after work didn’t pan out. As I was leaving work I realized I’d left my harness and climbing shoes in a bag at home. Michael was going anyway and I didn’t want to let this near-daily work out habit slip so I resigned myself to paying the stupid tax and renting gear I already own. When we arrived at Cliffhanger it looked packed. Assuming the hordes were going to increase the waiting around:climbing ratio, I was no longer willing to pay for the opportunity to stuff my feet into shoes in which who knows how many other people had sweated. So I walked back to work.

I was still at work when Michael came back from bouldering, so at least I had company for most of the walk home. Given that I walked to and from work, and Cliffhanger, and a meeting, and lunch, I still consider myself to have exercised today. From Gmaps Pedometer, it appears I walked at least 5.7496 miles. Some of that was uphill both ways, too. So that my biceps and triceps won’t atrophy, tomorrow morning I’ll do some push ups and dips and next week I’ll be climbing on Tuesday. With my red shoes that no one but me has sweated in.

Why pay for personal training?
16 October 2006 (Monday), 11:35 pm
Filed under: Climbing, Outside boot camp log

This whole personal training thing is causing me to reevaluate my previously uninformed biases about the practice of using a personal trainer. I always figured people who went to personal trainers were hardcore athletes or actors/public figures whose bodies were pivotal to their ability to earn money, or executives who had more money than time and were intensity junkies, or women with body image disorders, or rich people who were bored and had nothing better to do and (if you believe stupid TV show premises) might be having affairs with their trainers. The one friend of mine (that I know of) who’s signed up for regular personal training sessions in the past fits the intensity junky/short on time generalization.

Based on my stereotyping categories, the need for intensity seems closest to my motivation too. I went climbing tonight for the second time since injuring my foot in August; the intensity of it, even at the fairly novice level I’m at, definitely appeals to me though I often whine about it as I suffer through the pain or fear it causes.

Michael, my climbing buddy, has been pushing me to attempt more overhangs, because they sketch me out. Tonight I both proved to myself that I’m no longer intimidated by the mild overhang at the top of a 5.7 route on one wall, and freaked out on two other routes (a 5.8 and a 5.9) because I was quite certain I was going to die. I knew on one level it was entirely irrational, because Michael wasn’t going to drop me and if I lost hold of the wall I was at most going to bruise myself. But despite not being afraid of heights and trusting Michael, the rope and the knots not to screw up, when my body weight is pulling me away from the wall and I need to move one of my arms to the next hold, my fear of falling of kicks into overdrive. As does my ability to visualize myself swinging towards an angly bit at the edge of an overhang and splitting open my head or poking an eye out, even though laws of physics would have to be violated for that to happen. I didn’t complete either of the scary routes but I came close on the 5.8 and I felt great about it when I got down to the ground again. So yes, putting myself in difficult or challenging situations must be something I enjoy, or I wouldn’t keep doing it.

Why am I revisiting the assumptions about why people hire personal trainers? Because I’ve paid for two sessions a week until November 5th and it makes sense to articulate why I’m doing this, in order to achieve as much as possible out of it. Plus this guy thinks it’s important. Additionally, this morning T’ai wasn’t able to make it so Chrissy and I were left to train ourselves, which highlighted to me the benefit having a trainer provides. Thus, a list (I like lists, if you haven’t already noticed; I am also overfond of parenthetical asides):

1. Accountability, both financial and personal: having a walking/climbing/running/dancing buddy who is counting on me to show up and work out with them is helpful; having a trainer counting on me to show up plus having money committed that I don’t want to waste is even more helpful.

2. Being pushed to my limits and discovering I’m capable of more than I thought: this morning Chrissy and I did a reasonably thorough and hard workout. I wasn’t exhausted the way I was after last Wednesday’s session, though, even though we repeated the two most challenging exercises: dips with our feet up on a stability ball, and push ups with one hand on a medicine ball and the other hand on the mat (rolling the ball from one hand to the other in between each push up). I’d told Rob the RMT about them at my massage Wednesday afternoon, and he accused T’ai of violating the Geneva convention with that sort of torture. This morning, though, I stopped just short of torturing myself; I may have done more reps of the dips, but didn’t do as many of the push ups, and didn’t feel as rubbery-yet-accomplished after either.

Which brings me to the third reason — there are more, but if I get to bed right this instant I still won’t get 7 hours of sleep, so three will do for now:

3. Variety: I’ve been surprised by all the new exercises T’ai has thrown at us. They’re almost all things I can do at home on my own or with Mounir, but every session we do something new. Variety rocks. I hate being bored; being challenged to try something new, even if I wouldn’t inflict it on the most evil war criminal in the history of war criminals, is fun. I could buy (and have bought) DVDs that will push me and provide the physical part of the challenge, but having a trainer means someone else is responsible for keeping it new and mentally challenging.

Arms and shoulders: less sore than my right foot
29 August 2006 (Tuesday), 9:15 pm
Filed under: Climbing, Injury

Push ups in the morning followed by climbing (three 5.7 routes and three 5.8 routes — lately I’ve been doing a few 5.9s, but was too tired today) yesterday evening resulted in a little upper-body soreness today; my fatigue-induced clutziness resulted in far more pain in my foot. I sent the following email to my friend Tim this afternoon. He had an MRI done on his foot last year when it went all kerflooey, so I figured he’d be sympathetic. Continue reading