Fishin’ for Pinks

I just can’t do it. I can’t work today. I’m drinking black tea and it’s sunny (sort of) outside and I just had some sardines. I can hear the mallards quacking outside. I feel like maybe it’s mating season, or coming up on mating season, because they seem pretty agitated. But mating season probably isn’t till spring.

The thing is they still haven’t paid me at work, and it’s starting to affect my motivation. I know they’re going to pay me. I know this. At some point, I’ll get paid. But the fact that they still haven’t paid me, that I haven’t seen a dime get transferred into my bank account since I started this job in May, is starting to mess with my head. Why write a bunch of descriptions and exert myself mentally if they’re not even getting their shit together and paying me? It makes me feel a bit not valued.

ANYWAY.

Anyway.

I almost sent a pink at SEATTLE BOULDERING PROJECT FREMONT yesterday.

Here was the (almost) send burn:

I chalked up and did the self talk and arousal stuff (not in the sexual way, you perv; “arousal” is also means just being on high alert, ready for bursts of physical exertion). The self talk is not something I make myself do. It’s just something I notice I do when I’m about to go for close to 100% exertion. I basically walk around, making sure my hands are properly chalked, muttering to myself things like, “Come on, Mark, right here. Everything. Everything you got.”

Basically the things you hear people say in YouTube bouldering videos. And this only happens when I’m trying something at my limit. For a V1 outside or a purple inside at SEATTLE BOULDERING PROJECT FREMONT????? I don’t wander around saying these things to myself.

Anyway, back to the attempt. I did self talk and got properly aroused, and then walked over to the arete. I grabbed the (pretty) good pinch with my right hand, the (decent) pinch with my left, and put my left heel up on the volume around the arete, careful to give it room so when I rocked up my foot could lie flat on the volume. I pulled on. I grabbed the first left hand crimp and readjusted a BUNCH, because I didn’t get it even remotely good on the first snatch. Finally I got it good and started to rock up. I felt my quads and my hips and all other parts of my legs and trunk engage. I felt my weight transfer onto my left foot, and then, when in a pistol squat, brought my right hand over to where my left hand had started. I then tried to reposition my left foot — just a bit — to make it straighter on to the wall and thus easier to stand up.

And then I slowly stood up.

Now, here I was just standing on the volume. Hard part over. Now came the scary part of using a shitty sloper/undercling thing and standing up on a good-but-not-good-when-your-back-is-fucked-and-you-can’t-fall foothold. I didn’t have my chalk with me, and I didn’t want to ask anyone to hand it to me. I couldn’t trust the left foot. My hands were getting progressively sweatier. I couldn’t calm down and just go for it. There was also a random lurker girl standing at the bottom and I was afraid I was going to fall on her. So I stood there for a bit, experimenting with the sloper/undercling, and then gave up.

Still, really close.

I actually got to SEATTLE BOULDERING PROJECT FREMONT!!!!! about an hour before I started climbing. At first I was watching people climb (no one did the pink), and then I was just reading my book. It was raining and shitty and dark outside, so why be on my boat hating life when I could be in a vibrant gym with comfortable spaces surrounded by my favorite activity in the world. Even if it smells ever-so-slightly of BO. And even if you might be breathing in a little chalk. Then I thought, Well, I’ve got nothing else to do, so I might as well climb. I warmed up on the elliptical until my heart rate was about 125. Then I hung for a bit. Then I did some easy routes.

And then I climbed.