Thursday, March 31, 2011

And then there's the non-ass-kicking

Sara here.

I've been pretty mum, since ... well ... Teresa's been kicking her own ass, and I've been sitting. A lot. Writing, some... working, a lot... driving some... but definitely not kicking my own ass. This winter was an intentional time of "rest" for me... letting some injuries heal and stabilize, paying attention (for the first time in several years) to some nagging health things (I'm fine, never fear) and some nagging life things, and indulging my desire to improve my still nascent skiing ability. I've run enough to know I can still run... I've been climbing with Teresa and other friends to work my endurance a bit, but very low key... and I went out for my first shoulder season uphill hoof yesterday and my legs are still very much with me. My lungs and abs will come back, over the course of what looks to be a promising springtime of playing outside. My body has been at its peak of fitness for the last three seasons and this spring, it is not. But, it is healthy, and I am enjoying the play of playing outside instead of the work that's been associated with playing outside the last few years.

I don't have an ass-kicking program (though Teresa has inspired me to do a little more this winter than I would have otherwise)... for me, for the first time since 2009, this year isn't really about ass kicking. It's more about having fun. It's more about finding a place of maintenance, where I can feel both strength and flow (as opposed to the last few years, which have been heavy on the strength). It's about finding the body and pace at which I can look forward to years and years of climbing, rather than working for a body that will let me tick higher on the difficulty scale.

I am looking forward to hiking this spring... to the raspy breathing of pushing a little too hard and a little too fast uphill in the cold, crisp, wet air of the pacific northwest spring. I am looking forward to yoga, to help me maintain my flexibility and my connection with my ability to flow rather than exercising force. I am looking forward to climbing moderate routes with good friends, with whom I may not exercise the ideal style, but with whom I feel safe. I am looking forward to many days on sun-warmed rock with dips in the nearest river afterward.

The car is packed for a too-short trip to Bend this weekend. My fingers are crossed that the weather is a little better than we expect, but either way, we'll have a blast.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Addendum to the Ass Kicking

I can no longer put it off. And I certainly cant hide from it. Its time for my confessional. My training plan has a glitch. A fairly large one.... So much for being perfect.
Self-portrait, OR wall. 10-sec timers are challenging...

It was brought  my attention by my fabulous Solo teammate that I'd forgotten one key part of my training plan. Or at least it was brought to my attention that I didnt understand what part of my training meant: Rest. Yep. Simple as it seem, apparently I dont know what that means. Sara had to lay it on the line... A rest day does not mean mowing the front and backyard lawns, does not mean digging up a fairly large tree, nor does it mean shoveling all the dirt out of and then back into the compost bin. It doesnt mean a hike with the dog. It also doesnt mean cleaning the house, top-to-bottom and then scrubbing all the moss off the roof. Sigh. I guess I had it wrong.

Apparently, the definition of a rest, courtesy of my preferred internet dictionary means:

1. the refreshing quiet or repose of sleep: a good night's rest.
2. refreshing ease or inactivity after exertion or labor: to allow an hour for rest.
3. relief or freedom, especially from anything that wearies, troubles, or disturbs. (to this i say "Ha! do you live in the modern world with a job and dead turtles in your backyard?")
4. a period or interval of inactivity, repose, solitude, or tranquillity: to go away for a rest.
5. mental or spiritual calm; tranquillity...
7. cessation or absence of motion: to bring a machine to rest....

–verb (used without object)
15. to refresh oneself, as by sleeping, lying down, or relaxing. (sorry, i dont think i know what this means? in english, please?
16. to relieve weariness by cessation of exertion or labor.
17. to be at ease; have tranquillity or peace...
19. to be quiet or still. (again, je ne comprende pas?)
20. to cease from motion, come to rest; stop.
21. to become or remain inactive....(what?!?!)"

Well. Isnt that interesting? There are a few additional definitions that I did not include, but I think these cover it sufficiently. And blatantly expose my lack of understanding of this simple word and the activity that is supposed to go along with it.

It turns out, my biggest challenge in all of this isn't going to be the bouldering sessions, marathon 20+ lap-to-failure gym sessions, conquering of fear from exposure, longer runs, meditative yoga hours... its the rest that will be the most difficult thing for me to succeed at. I have an old, 1916 house; I have a high-energy dog; I have a job and volunteer obligations; I have friendships to maintain, I have loneliness to battle, I have energy to burn and "shoulds, coulds and woulds" to say no to. What I dont have - or dont allow myself - are times to truly rest. Prepare for the breakdown because this is going to be my true test of mental and physical strength - to resist continuous movement. Give me 50 push-ups! Not an afternoon to fill with..... quiet.

And so I'm revising the plan. Here it is, with revisions. Phew. Am I being a wuss? Or am I finally, as my dear friend Sally would say, "pushing it up" (in lieu of sacking up) and taking on the true challenge?

Now, who wants to join me for few hours of bouldering OR a rest session??

PS - As you can see in the photo, I've been wearing a pair of hand-me-down-lite Evolv XY custom's that I got from Sara. I never thought I'd go back to more "aggressive", velcro shoes - it turns out I have dainty feet with bunionettes... but I'm in love.  Built on the Elektra womens-specific platform, they've got good grip for pulling and toeing in, are comfortable enough to get through a session of 4x4's without agony, and easy off for a break to do crunches and pull-ups. Every shoe has a different last, but when it comes to performance, if these fit your foot, I highly recommend them.