Friday, 29 April 2011

Honesty is the best policy

Tops off for power at 8.30pm in April, which was nice !

After a couple of weeks of stuttering performance i had a good talk with myself on the way back from Dunnerdale this afternoon - more of which later. Looking at my training diary i can see a pattern of not having enough time to fit exercise/climbing in, getting up early to fit it in before the day starts, failing after a few days because i am knackered, do nothing for a few days and then start again. I've been falling asleep dribbling on myself at 6pm following mainly monosyllabic conversations with my kids and Mrs Biscuit. I think i'm tired. Not just 'i need a good kip and then i'll be fine' tired but REALLY tired.

Twice this week Mrs Biscuit has been good enough to find me some time to get out. Twice i've been sat below a problem thinking that i just can't be arsed pulling hard. At Bees i kidded myself i was having a session concentrating on technique. Not a bad thing, and i certainly need it, but really it was because i didn't have the motivation to do anything worthwhile.

Pretending to do something useful at Carrock

Same story today when i went to look at Greg Chapman's new discovery at Dunnerdale. Lovely location, nice rock ( if you like it rough ) some nice problems but not much mental energy to direct at them. I got one 6C done fairly quick ( Grinder ) but when i couldn't figure a sequence out on another i just gave up. I had driven for an hour to get there with precious time given up by my wife so i should have taken all i could get. Instead i left early because i couldn't be arsed walking to the next section after the Buckstone. This is by no means a reflection on the circuit, which looks like a really nice addition to Lakes bouldering. I'll make the effort to get to the real quality next time.

I think this is telling me i need a break. I'm going to try having a few days of not even thinking about climbing. The last few weeks i have constantly been trying to figure out when/if i can get out, worrying about the time i am losing due to my finger and life and stressing about my goals. Basically it's stopped being fun. I need to face the fact i need a mini break and stop forcing it.

I am determined not to give in to temptation and scrap my goals until after i've got through this period but things are not looking good. I can't find a day in May where i can get to Kilnsey and June is already starting to book up.

The Grinder

Monday, 18 April 2011

AnCap training. WTF ?

Not the problem i was working but another one that looked OK in a photo

Had my first, very, belated session of Anaerobic Capacity training yesterday. I was partnerless due to a party in Borrowdale, snowboarding, Corsica and Yorkshire. Long story. Anyway i headed down to a surprisingly busy Bees ( raised profile from Planet Fear debacle ? ) and had an awesome time playing about on many low grade problems i know well. I realised i was actually running from problem to problem like a small child let loose in a sweet shop. So many problems, so little time. I felt so good. My feet were going just where i wanted them, i could do strong, my timing was there and mantleshelves felt piss - and that doesn't happen often. Climbing is such a happy place to be when it feels good.

I met this guy as well:

who seems a genuinely nice bloke, which counts for a lot in my opinion. Always great to meet people who have a real passion in any field.
I soon got down to business though and started the first of 10 reps on a 10 move (ish) V4 traverse with 5 mins rest. It's a slappy, campussy affair with some footless moves followed by poor slopers with poor feet.

The only word to describe AnCap training is INTENSE. I now know what it's working - power fade. Those times where you're not pumped but you just can't make another move even if it led to fame and glory. I failed on the crux on the 10th rep so i've got the level guessed correctly first time, which was nice.

It felt OK at the time but today my forearms know they were busy yesterday. Bit of a rest and then back to it. At least twice a week i think.

I've also re-jigged my other training. I just haven't got the ability to train after work. I get back, have tea, spend time with the kids, put them to bed, get jobs done and finally settle about 9. If i then said to Emma i am off to do an hours training she'd ( quite rightly ) go nuts. So early mornings are the way ahead. I was up bright and early today and managed a 1/2 hr run with the dog, 240 core movements, 10 ab wheel rolls ( on knees ), 10 front lever extended tucks and 3 sets of the infamous bolton dumbell complexes before the kids got up. What a way to start the day. I think i could actually get into it.

Onwards and upwards !

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Pulley recovery - words of wisdom

Working Hueco Crack (boss start) the day i discovered that taping poorly fingers is BAD

After finally having a good session i am feeling invincible, and with that attitude it can't be long until i get injured again. My finger just didn't seem to be making any decent recovery and i was beginning to get seriously despondent. I remember when i did it that Mat De Val gave me sage words of advice:

" If that was me i'd be down to the offie now and get pissed for 8 weeks 'cos you're not going to be doing any climbing."

Wise words indeed, and gentle mickey taking aside he was pretty spot on. This last week my finger has suddenly improved, after about 6 weeks. It still hurts if i poke it around the pulley area ( note to self: stop poking it around the pulley area, it hurts ) and is too painful to use in the morning for the first 5 minutes. Overnight it seems to go rigid and swollen - yes, i'm still talking about my finger. Once i get going it soon loosens up but i panic everytime i wake up that it's died over night.

So what has caused this sudden change ? I think it was my daughter's pink sponge ball we got to help her with her catching. It fits nicely in an adults hand and has just the right amount of squeeze to it. I stopped the icing and just squeezed all the time for 2 days. Whenever i wasn't using my right hand i was squeezing. Possibly not science and that but it worked for me.

Unfortunately i have left it in the back of Jonny's car and he ran off to Leeds with it. Bugger !

I think the main point though is to try and keep positive, do what you can and be patient.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Triumph - of sorts.

I am happier today than i've been in a while. My poor performance last week seems to have been due to illness. My son had a bug and i thinki got a bit of itl. It was just an underlying feeling of uurgh and it was only when i came out of it i realised i had been ill. Last night we went to Keswick wall. I'd been there earlier in the week working and thought it might be worth another chance. The routes are all fairly similar in style as they are only about 5m tall and seem to involve pulling hard but not much technique. I am not making any comment about why Jonny excelled here on-sighting a 7a+ and flashing a couple of 7a's. I think he just campussed up all the routes without using his feet.

On a more personal note i backed off a couple of 7's but eventually felt brave enough to go for a 7a. The first time i properly cranked down with my right hand i was a strange mix of worried but confident it would be OK. My finger felt fine and i'm sure i would have flashed it were it not for a hold having spun upside down making a positive crimp into a heinous sloper.

It was worth the wait. I'd almost forgotten what a great feeling it was to pull hard on a rope. Today it feels like a different world. I think one of the things that makes climbing so special to many is that it is a lifestyle sport. My holidays are planned round climbing, a lot of my clothes are climbing brands, i go on climbing web sites, most of my friends in Cumbria have been met through climbing. I like climbers, they're generally my kind of people ( as long as there are no Ron Hills, beards or lycra in sight ) and i love climbing. Just not being able to climb as well as i'd like has left me properly grumpy in the rest of my life.

I have some serious thinking to do about my goals, timescales and training time i have available to me now before i go to Spain. Tick lists and goals will have to be reviewed and google docs updated.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Progress ?

Well my initial high spirits soon dwindled. 10 days after i hurt my finger i had a minor op with a predicted 3-7 day recovery. That turned into 3 weeks of misery and sucked the life out of my psyche. I was planning on doing pull ups, core - front lever and ab roll stuff, dumbell complexes etc. but anything that involved me engaging my core was agony. I made a huge mistake of googling complications to do with the op and spending a couple of sleepless nights. Note to self: never google anything health related.

On the plus side we flew to Spain on a house hunting mission and got one first go. Villanueva del Cauche is now my local crag as of 1st August, a whole 6 minutes by car :0) El Chorro is an hour away, Archidona, Loja, El Torcal are all within an hour and there are a few quality local crags not rockfaxed about 15 mins away. Even better is we've found one of our Spanish friends lives in the next village to us - ready made access to partners now too.

All good on that front but i only got back to climbing this last week with a rained off session at St Bees and a very half arsed session at Penrith. I couldn't get up a 7a i got 2nd go a few months ago as i was just too scared to pull hard with my injured finger. Despite keeping up with the ice water treatment it didn't feel too much better after 4 weeks. St Bees was a show of true determination as the heavens opened and it threw it down so we retreated to work the sit start of Hueco Crack. BIG moves but i couldn't get my heel up into the cup from the first move. A problem to do with my static climbing style. I need to take the momentum from the first move and carry it through to help swing the leg up. I'm not going to mention the fact that Jonny got it in a later session 2nd go. I wouldn't give him the satisfaction !

A few weeks off and you lose a lot of climbing ability. Strength, fitness ( what i had left anyway ) and my movement all feel very rusty. I've spent the rest of the week trying to get some AnCap boulder problems sorted for the next few weeks and getting some feel back. I had a session on Dreaming of Red Rocks which left me nearly in tears as i think i am worse on it than i was 2 yrs ago. In some ways it could have been worse as i was supposed to go to Kilnsey and have a look at Comedy. I got a big booking for work i couldn't ignore so it had to be Dreaming instead. I am still aching 2 days later. Drinking until 2 am the night before and then ghyll scrambling until 4pm was not the best way to set myself up for success.

Watching Mario make it look easy was great - for him - and painful for me. He's been on his home board a lot and thinking about it it's perfect for Dreaming and bouldering. He's been doing 10-12 move circuits on it with a decent rest. Sounds like AnCap to me. Dreaming is perfect territory for this. Easy climbing into a roof, a crux on poor slopers and crimps just when you're tired and then all out to the top on steep but good holds. All the climbing is probably about 12 moves. You don't get pumped as such, there isn't enough time, you just get power fade. Inadvertently he has been doing the perfect training. Bastard !

I am writing the week off as a 'getting back into it' week. I now have a google docs schedule set up and a plan to follow. I am hoping more than you can know that it will all come together and this is just a culmination of a lay off and periodisation. I am certainly stronger than i've been previously and seeing Mario improve so much makes me hopeful for what is to come.