Sunday, March 2, 2014

Feb 24 - Mar 2

2/24/2014
Mon - First Flatiron (:58, 1600')
There was still a little lingering snow on the slab this morning, so I had to be very deliberate in many spots---a slip anywhere on the First would be highly unpleasant and easily fatal in a lot of places---and the trail back down to my bike was its usual hideous mix of snow and ice. So it was a slow lap. I should really just bring Microspikes for the trip back down the hill, but also don't want to unnecessarily dull them. Typical spring-time concerns.
          Despite the day quickly warming to somewhere near the +60F mark, time constraints forced me into the convenience of the gym for a couple hours of climbing with jLu. At least the pleasant weather meant no indoor crowds. Jenny was intent on leading more routes (in the gym it's really easy to just stay on top-rope and keep trying stuff beyond your ability), so we headed to the most overhanging wall and grunted our way up juggy but strenuous routes where falling typically meant dangling in the air instead of slamming into plastic. I continue to feel mostly like a fish out of water there, but every now and then I'm able to experience an extremely fleeting sense of flow and ease. Heavy emphasis on fleeting.

2/25/2014
Tue - Climbing Gym
Leg had some twinges in it, so I just headed back to the gym today with jLu. It sucked. I'm finding that climbing, like running---like any activity, I suppose, where a concurrent engagement of mind and body is required---follows a rhythm of inexplicable good days and bad days. Of feeling sometimes "on" and sometimes very "off". Today I was really off. Struggling on top-rope on grades that typically serve as warm-ups. So it goes.

2/26/2014
Wed - Pretty low ebb. Bad mood all day. An unsolicited bit of advice: don't construct your coping-with-life mechanisms around something as capricious and physically abusive as running up and down mountains. 

2/27/2014
Thu - Took another day off, due to indecision. Joe was heading out for a run with our friend Jeff Valliere, but before that we got a cup of jav together at Trident. I've been pretty bummed lately with the now seven week hiatus from running, so it was good to sit down and solve some of the world's problems with Joe. Joe knows me well enough to tolerate my bitching but then predictably counters with the unflagging optimism and stoke that is the hallmark of his personality. My leg still hurt when I walked out of the cafe, but thanks to our conversation I felt a little more in control of my mood, capable of sprinkling in bits of positive attitude. His is a valuable friendship.
          Later in the morning I had another acupuncture appointment with Allison (I also submitted to the needling on Tuesday), and it was hugely beneficial. Allison was able to finally get the musculature in my hip to respond a bit and the short session induced some instantaneous improvement in the pain levels in my leg. Improvement which unexpectedly and encouragingly remained through the rest of the day.

2/28/2014
Fri - 1st Flatiron+Green (1:14, 3000')
Temps are moderate this morning, but it seems a bit breezy as I bike up to Chautauqua. This isn't an issue until I emerge from the First's east face onto its North Arete and begin the final traverse to the summit. I usually dance up this section in a veritable trot, but today near-constant gusts from the west force me into an anxious cower as I try not to get blown from the rock. Things are even worse on the downclimb (which descends a ramp and ledge system on the western and southerly aspects of the rock), but once I'm back on level ground I enjoy a comparably pleasant march to the top of the mountain.
          The gale on the slab's summit reminds me of a line from the DeLillo book I read this week, The Body Artist, "There's something about the wind. It strips you of assurances, working into you, continuous, making you feel the hidden thinness of everything around you." This is something I've felt innumerable times---most often above treeline---even when not on exposed, death-fall terrain. Wind is psychologically unnerving; it unfailingly makes me feel desperate and vulnerable. On the descent I'm ever mindful of my hip, but---much to my joy---it registers nary a murmur and I'm able to jog pain-free back down to my bike.
          In the late afternoon, I meet Joe for a couple of quick pitches on the Elephant Buttresses in Boulder Canyon. It's our first time climbing together outside in several months, and once the sun drops behind the mountain things get surprisingly cold in a hurry, a reminder that, despite the day's warmth, it's still winter.

3/1/2014
Sat - Green Mountain (1:24, 3000')
When I wake up, the cloud ceiling is low, but it hasn't started precipitating yet. However, after the hour that it takes to drink a cup of coffee and get suited up, there is already 2-3" of snow on the ground and it's dumping down more. This makes the usually trivial pedal up to Chautauqua an adventure in itself, and I flounder a few blocks before the trailhead, locking my bike on a random street corner. I enjoy fresh tracks on the mountain, though, and when I arrive at the summit I am greeted by a solitary set of footprints and the singular magic that occurs when you unexpectedly break through a ceiling of clouds. I've really missed the trails these past couple months and getting to experience the local peaks in their frosted beauty. I guess the silver lining to injury is that the mundane is injected with a freshness and renewed appreciation.

3/2/2014
Sun - Green Mountain (1:34, 3000')
The single digit temps and icy streets convince me to try running to the mountain instead of biking. The forecasted high of +40F seems unlikely until I get to 7500' or so on the mountain and it feels as if I've suddenly stepped into a warm room. The air even takes on a certain mustiness, and as I gain the ridge an opaque ocean of gray clouds spreads out below me. Winter has its treats. Running back down the hill, though, crossing the temperature threshold is like dropping into an ice box and I quickly re-don my jacket and extra gloves. Much to my delight, the hip feels like it is almost strengthening with the extra time on my feet and I finish back at my doorstep more optimistic than I've been about my running in a long, long time. Maintaining the momentum of my health in an upward trajectory will require constant vigilance, however.

Longs Peak
Haven't been up here in a while...
The Third

33 comments:

Buzz said...

Saw your tracks join the trail from the sneak route - at least presumed that was you this morning. Insanely cold in town - 4 degrees this morning - but like you say, semi-reasonable up top. Spring would be welcomed by me.

Dallas Green said...

Very cool and equally impressive photo of the Third... makes you feel as though your in some snow globe something about the Flatties and the Wintry Mix that makes everything seem surreal.

I hope the hip loosens its grip and starts to comply with your demands/goals.



Michael Baetz said...

Your reflection on wind reminds me of similar experiences of climbing rock when raining. After leading six pitches in an approaching storm where he rock was peppered with ephemeral waterfalls, I found myself on easy terrain fifteen feet above the last belay, mind worn and simply unable to move on. I down climbed and handed over the rack to my climbing partner and let him take us the rest of the to the top. Good stuff.

Court5km said...

I'm sure you may not want to try something new, but on the chance you do... you could try taking a Vinyasa style yoga class @ Corepower in Boulder. Vinyasa yoga is like running to me because it is breathe linked to flowing movement and is non-impact. It engages every muscle in your body and brings blood flow and energy-- and the heat is relaxing! Yoga has helped me heal and move through injuries and is a great mental and physical practice for when you can and cant run! Hope the injury goes away tho -very frustrating.

Jeff Valliere said...

Wish you could have joined us for the run on Thurs. Yeah, always good talking to Joe, he has such a great sense of perspective and optimism on all things, running related and otherwise. Despite all his talking (and claiming to be still getting over the flu), he was working me over pretty good. Glad you are slowly getting back on the hill, that inversion yesterday was awesome, I was way over dressing on the upper half of Green yesterday (happened upon Gavin at the start and shared a lap with him).

Dallas Green said...

Ran into this today via Vimeo thought you would find this both interesting and maybe draw some inspiration from it as well.

I know I did... 100 Vertical Kilometers Back Country Adventure!

http://vimeo.com/85984777


camadamson1 said...

Purely out of curiosity, what are you climbing grade wise? Any long term plans to climb outside- or rather does any line or climb really inspire you?

great week

-Cameron

Javier said...

So... it seems Cervantes finally has given you a bit of strenght ;-) Some books, as some peaks, should be re-read after some months (or years) to enjoy it!! Hehehehe. (That said... I'm still waiting to arrive that moment to re-read it!!)

this bee's knees. said...

"An unsolicited bit of advice: don't construct your coping-with-life mechanisms around something as capricious and physically abusive as running up and down mountains." I'm no fan of bumper stickers, but I'd make an exception for one that said that (uh'course I'd need a bigger bumper). Chin up, TK.

HannahGreen said...

Man, we really need to hang out. I need someone to lament over injuries with. It's tough (I've been through several stress fractures over the past 3 years) but i know, just like running, it's mind over matter. I too get impatient, both with training and injuries but am slowly learning to calm down. I try to fill the running void, which at times seems impossible (damn my interests, haha!), with other things like yoga, art, school etc. I need to try climbing. But I think about running constantly, daydreaming of floating pain free through the high country. I'm not trying be a Debbie Downer, but I can relate. Maybe some day our paths will cross be it on Green or around the coffee shops and hopefully we'll both be injury free!!!

Joe said...

Running up mountains is how I cope with my life post Iraq, that is why staying healthy is so vital. But combine it with a couple more pilars, like when you were in grad school. Maybe crank up the reading, like when you were a full time student. I am nursing a wonky knee right now so I am cranking up my research for graduate school.

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I found an interesting band out of Iceland thanks to good ol' KEXP. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khW_Z3alJjk

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Javier said...

Anton, are those really the forthcoming MT110 v2?

http://www.corredorminimalista.com/2014/02/hacia-donde-va-new-balance-con-su-gama.html

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