Seize and Throttle || Back on the Boat

Ugh, I kind of feel terrible today. Maybe it was all the matcha lattes yesterday. Maybe it was the carb loading before dinner. I just kind of feel…..out of it. Like, not into it. Like, all I wanna do is stare into the distance.

Today marks day three of injecting BPC-157 into my left knee. I know it’s anecdotal, but my knee feels great. Yesterday I even did a little jogging on it, and for the first time it didn’t hurt upon breaking into a trot. I also walked about six miles yesterday, which is one of my highest totals since The Injury. For those of you who are new to this blog, or new to life, or new to injuries, or new to bouldering, or new to Seattle, or new to the world of liveaboards, or new to the world of winter, or new to injecting peptides, I injured my LCL on New Year’s Eve of 2020. Since then I have taken what has probably been the most aggressive approach I’ve ever taken to injury healing. I’m attacking this thing on several fronts: diet, peptides, movement and physical therapy. The “movement” part will hopefully increase significantly after I see my physical therapist next Wednseday. I plan to ask him: “What do you think about me running gross amounts of stairs? Taking them two at a time, etc etc?” I hope his reponse will be: “Mark, you’re ready for stairs.” There are only so many bouldering videos you can watch before you have to get out there and try it yourself. But bouldering videos are a great way to improve. When you get out there on the blocs, you find yourself imitating the pros…

AKA I might go get a Patagonia fleece at REI today.

AKA it was sunny yesterday.

AKA how is the Subi still hanging in there.

AKA Nana’s Green Tea.

Aka unsweetened.

aka.

In other news. My succulent is doing better than ever. I’ve had this succulent at least over a year now. We’ve been through some tough times together, falling in the lake, getting left out in the rain, the pandemic. And we’ve come through these times as better people/plants. She/he/it looks better than I’ve ever seen her/him/it. Her leaves are supple. They’re almost vibrant. I think this summer could really be her summer. I’ll transplant her to a bigger pot. Maybe I’ll even get another succulent of the same species and put them next to each other. Just kind of let them hang out.

Is it time to go to REI now?

Yesterday the best matcha latte of the three was DEFINITELY from Milstead. You see, they mix some kind of madagascar vanilla mixture in with their lattes, making them just a little bit sweet, and a little bit vanilla-y. It was sublime. If I wasn’t doing keto today, I would definitely be back there. And if they didn’t cost almost $7. And if the place was a little less pretentious. And if they didn’t have Nick Drake playing when you walked in. Come on, Nick Drake? Who are we trying to impress here? What year are we in?

The second best matcha latte was from Mr. West in U Village. The problem with theirs is they serve it in a glass….glass and it never seems to be hot enough. Also, they used to slightly sweeten them with honey whether you asked or not. Just, “We know what’s good for you. And what’s good for you is a little honey.” I like when places do that. But now they don’t sweeten them anymore, and they taste like cardboard. But the milk was steamed perfectly.

The third best was from….ok I guess I only had two.

One was a REBBL matcha latte in a bottle. Which of course was delicious.

OK, time to leave the boat and seize and throttle the day. Wish me luck.

– Wetz

Elevation | Road to Recovery

Despite not having much to today today has so far been somewhat of a capital day. I woke up and watched the Liverpool vs. Manchester United game, TRIED to write a blog, took a shower, and then got in my car and went to Whole Foods. At Whole Foods I got: a Rebbl Dark Chocolate Protein drink (I’m not drinking caffeine right now, i.e. tea and coffee, but I do allow myself chocolate. This delectable drink from Rebbl has about 20-30mg of caffeine in the form of cocoa, so I can kind of get messed up), and a Kind Bar. Lately when I get bars I almost exclusively get kind bars, because they have a much lower glycemic index, and I’m obsessed with glycemix indices. A Kind Bar often has about 5g of sugar, and 5g of fiber. Contrast that with a White Chocolate Macadamia Clif Bar, which has 21g of sugar. The choice is clear.

Today is also my first day not wearing a knee sleeve. After my successful visit to Whole Foods I went to The Arboretum, where I walked about two miles.  I did this all while talking to my friend Steve, which was capital since it was great to talk to him and also made me not realize how far I was walking. My knee has felt like crap lately, and this is distressing. I don’t know what to do. I think I’ve decided to just wait till my sports medicine appointment on Wednesday at Swedish. Again, the choice is somewhat clear. If they think it’s really messed up, they’ll refer me for an MRI. And if they think it’s not that bad and just needs time and physical therapy, then I’ll go to Mexico. But I’m done wearing a knee sleeve. I’m done taking ibuprofen. And as of later today or tomorrow I’ll even be done with the General. Time to stop sabotaging myself.

I really hate taking ibuprofen. One day it will be proven how bad it is for us. In two hundred years we’ll look back and be aghast at how we ever put that into our bodies.

Now I’m back on the boat, and it’s almost 2pm. It’s cloudy. I’ve got the heater on. My succulent is looking gorgeous and it’s begging to be transplanted to a bigger pot so it can send out tendrils and start new growths. This succulent and I have been on an amazing journey; it’s the longest I’ve ever had a plant. I’ve left it out in the rain till at was at the point of death, dropped it in the lake, and now, only after much trial and error, have I learned how to properly care for it. The hardest thing about taking care of plants sometimes can be leaving them only. Neglecting them. Is this a metaphor for life? For relationships? Does this succulent love me back?

The problem is now I don’t know what to do with the rest of my day. It’s Sunday. I have no one to hang out with. I do have a shit ton of good books, and I can always go on another walk. I could meditate, something I tell myself I should do every day and almost never do it. I could stretch. I could have lunch. I could listen to the audiobook I just downloaded, The Wisdom of Psychopaths. Or I could lie down for a bit, elevate my knee, and just think about things.

I think I’ll do this last one.

Curative Properties | The Road to V

I’ve always been a huge fan of dandelion tea for its kidney cleansing properties. When I wake up in the morning the first thing I think is, “Dandelions!” and vision of cottony strands blowing in the wind dance in my head. Then I get up, streak into the kitchen to put on the kettle, and hold my cheek against it until it burns, letting me know it’s hot enough to steep.

Dandelions.

Meanwhile…

It’s raining in Seattle and I’m contemplating putting a snus in. Bit early for that, probably. I would leave the house but this is the kind of rain that soaks you to your fibula if you’re not careful. The kind of rain you might drown in if you get stuck in a ditch looking for the keys that just fell out of your pocket. And yet just around the corner from here there’s a prickly pear cactus that’s in full bloom. How does a prickly pear cactus survive in Seattle? Aren’t we supposed to get two inches of rain in the next two days? I hope not. My boat already leaks enough. I also hope that the doctor gives me a referral for an MRI today so I can get the hell out of here. And if she doesn’t? Well, then I guess I just leave. Yes, that’s it. I just leave. I assume that everything in my knee is fine. And I just….leave.

Or I just….stay.

Or I just….leave.

When it’s raining like this I have this strange desire to say, “Fuck this rain, I’m moving to________.” Insert name of place with more desirable weather than Seattle. Mexico? Colombia? Chile? Argentina? Spain? Ha! The weather in Seattle is perfect, if you’re perfectly deranged, which some people are. The weather in Arizona is terrible. It never rains and if you stay too long you might become an anesthesiologist. The weather in Mexico is fine if you’re on a surf vacation for two weeks, but to live on the coast where the highs are in the….and the lows are in the….

And to live in Mexico City with all that pollution…..

And to live in Bogota with all that tinto….

It’s untenable, unfeasible, unreasonable, unfathomable, and frankly, unseasonable.

And yet nevertheless…

(Side note: SBP Fremont is open!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

I’m thinking about what to have for breakfast. I might go to PCC and get some sort of breakfast burrito or smoked salmon or vegetables. But for right now the rain is still far too fierce. I don’t have a rain coat, all I have is a puffy jacket and there’s no way it would keep this monsoon out. We’ve probably gotten an inch in the last half hour. The streets are flooded. This is nearly biblical.

And yet, a breakfast burrito beckons…

Less than two hours till my phone call with the doctor. My whole life hinges on this phone call. My career as a professional boulderer. My career as a professional mason. My career as an ornithologist. What will she say to me? “Listen, Mark, an MRI, really? You’re not worth our imaging…”

Or maybe something along the lines of, “Everyone knows you’re faking it. You felt a ‘tearing in your knee.’ Ha. Good one. I would sooner cut myself than refer you for an MRI.”

I mean, she could say anything.

If I leave Seattle and my boat sinks then, well, that’s fine.

 

 

Chilling on Eastlake Ave in My Car Writing a Blog Post | Road to V4

Well ok, this is a new one for me, blogging from my car outside Seattle Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy. Why am I here, you ask? Why am I sitting in my car on a busy thoroughfare blogging?

The answer is simple: I needed to mix it up.

Yes, friends, I realized something this morning, something frankly disquieting. I’m almost ashamed to admit it, “almost” being the operative word, since I am not at all ashamed to admit it: My life, it would seem, is empty without bouldering.

Now, before you jump to any conclusions, let me just explain a bit. Here’s the deal: The days that I boulder feel incredibly full. I have a sense of purpose. I have a mission. I’m exploring. I’m improving myself, improving my body, and it’s almost impossible to go bouldering without making some kind of progress, however micro that progress is. For example, when Carolyn and I went bouldering the other day I didn’t send anything new. But I still made so much progress. I think I’m starting to learn, for example, how to figure out beta. Before, I had this weird mental block where I would almost try to make problems harder because if they were too easy I thought I was cheating. So I’d find what I figured was the intended beta and then stick to that no matter what because I felt like doing anything outside of that was somehow cheating. Isn’t that insane? Isn’t that absolutely, no-holds-barred, elephant dung crazy??? It is crazy. I know it’s crazy. Because the whole point of bouldering is figuring out the beta that’s gonna get you up the rock. And sometimes the beta you find will be wildly different from the “intended” beta, but everyone climbs differently, and everyone’s body is different, so “intended” beta doesn’t mean “mandatory beta.”

Basically what would happen is this: I’d find a boulder (let’s say it’s V2 in this case), find what felt like V2 beta, and then PUT BLINDERS ON TO ANY OTHRE BETA BECAUSE IF I FOUND BETA THAT MADE IT FEEL V1 I FELT LIKE I WAS CHEATING.

I’m sure some of you can identify with this. Also, there are times when the “cheating” thing is legit. If you stand start a sit start boulder, for example. If you use a detached block that’s “off,” ETC ETC ETC ETC ETC ETC ETC ETC ETC ETC

(etc).

Anyway, we were supposed to be talking about progress. And sitting on Eastlake Ave. feeling cars whiz by.

So this figuring out of how to figure out beta is major progress. This acceptance of making it as easy as possible for me without “cheating” is huge progress and I think is going to allow me to get off the plateau I’ve been on for the past few months (and continue upward). Physically, I know I’m ready to boulder V4, V5 and maybe even harder. Technique-wise, I’m probably ready for those grades, too. But MENTALLY I’ve been stuck at about the V2, V3 level. And moving beyond that mental pleateau is one of the things I’m most excited about right now.

OK what the hell were we talking about. What is the point of this blog post. I have to pee and there are no bathroom prospects anywhere close. The Tottenham vs. Chelsea game starts in just over an hour.

OK, I remember what we were talking about. We were talking about how my life feels empty without bouldering.

Um, that’s pretty much all there is to it. On the days when I DON’T boulder I need to socialize or play the piano or do some good reading or writing if I don’t want it to feel empty. This is something I’m WORKING ON, i.e. accepting the days where I just don’t do much. I know many of you would kill to be in my position, or at least think you would kill to be in my position, because the grass is often, if not always, if not at least sometimes, more green.

If I don’t go bouldering today I won’t be going until Thursday since I can’t boulder tomorrow because I actually have plans.

I think I’m ready to be done chilling on Eastlake Ave. It’s one thing to chill on a quiet side street when you don’t have to pee and it’s quite another altogether to be on a street where the passing cars actually make your car rock side to side and a dude walks by smoking a cigarette and it drifts directly into your vehicle. I wish I was going bouldering today — and I could totally go — but my wrist and ankle will probably appreciate having a couple more days to rest.

Anyway, here’s a photo of where I am right now:

Damn, pretty sick resolution.

OK, time to go find a bathroom.

– Wetzler

 

Sh*t’s Gone Down! | R2V3 #8

So I know you guys have been sitting by your computers or tablets or whatever technological disease-boxes you have just refreshing your browsers, over and over, and over and over again while you shove Cheetos into your gaping maw, hoping for a Where’s Wetzler, Road to V3 update, and here it finally is.

And let me say this: Shit has gone down.

Like, shit that could totally affect my career as a novice boulderer.

The shit is this: My job hours recently got reduced. From the outrageous 40 that most Americans subject themselves to…to….(wait for it)………..

………….(keep waiting)…………….

………….(maybe go grab a drink from the fridge or put the kettle on or something)…………

…………(ok now wait longer just ‘cuz you’re an impatient fuck)…………………

…………(go do some hangboarding)…………………………..

…12.

That’s right: 12. I now work 12 hours a week. Starting Monday, June 15th, the year of most people in this country’s Lord two thousand and twenty, I will work 12 hours per week. Three hours a day, four days a week. Do the trigonometry.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: This means you could, like, boulder all the time, right? You’ll be climbing V7 in, like, a week, right?

Wrong.

Actually, it could mean the exact opposite for my bouldering career. Here’s why.

You see, I’ve always been a little bit addicted to freedom. But this addiction hasn’t always been good for me, because when I have freedom I don’t always know what to do with it. Aka the last 10 or so years of my life.

Enter: My recent job.

In January of this year I got a job working for a non-profit in Seattle that brings high school students from around the world to the US on J-1 visas. This was/is an office job, 9am-5pm, mostly staring at a computer screen. Right before I got this job I started bouldering, and the two complimented each other well because I could go bouldering after work. It was also especially nice when the Seattle Bouldering Project opened up their latest “project” in Fremond, aka Upper Walls. After work I would get on the bus from U-Village, get off in Fremont, and go boulder my ass off (see: watch other people send while I unsuccessfully battled V3′). The thing is, working 9-5 made me crave freedom more than ever, and I channeled that longing/rage for freedom into bouldering, and thus was starting to become pretty obsess/progress at a pretty good clip.

Then came COVID-19 and the lockdown. This temporarily threw a big wrench in my bouldering career. I was living at my parents’ house on the west side of Puget Sound, I didn’t own a crash pad, I’d NEVER bouldered outside, and so for awhile I just….kinda….you know….like…pretty much…aka mostly….aka completely….stopped bouldering. Well, I never stopped completely. But the pulse was pretty faint for awhile. I bouldered on abandoned building near where my parents live, and then I found a boulder outside the city of Poulsbo, a glacial erratic that has lines on it that are about as pretty as…..can’t think of a good analogy right now.

But eventually I started bouldering outside. I got a crash pad. I got Pablo Zuleta’s guide to Western Washington. I got Kelly Sheridan’s guide to Leavenworth, and the point is this: Working my 9-5 job gave me LASER SHARP FOCUS on one activity, and that activity was bouldering. I couldn’t do much else, especially during the lockdown and because of my job. I couldn’t travel. I couldn’t gallivant around the world as I usually do. I couldn’t go on surf trips. So all I thought about was bouldering. And it was great. It’s still great. But friends, it’s in danger. Because now I have freedom. Now I’m only going to be working 12 HOURS A WEEK. And the world is opening up again, friends. You can like, sort do shit now. You can sit outside at cafes. And pretty soon you’re going to be able to cross international borders. You’re going to be able to travel. So does this mean I’ll go back to my old ways?

I’m not sure. And actually, I’m not too worried about it. Like I’ve ALWAYS SAID, if I want to stop bouldering tomorrow, I’ll do it. I’m never going to force myself to do it. But the prospect of stopping makes me sad. I like being obsessed with it. I like getting better at it. I like spending half the day thinking about the beta for V3’s I still can’t do. And I don’t really want that to change.

So, we’ll see what happens. All you need to know for now is this: I’m going bouldering tomorrow. Tomorrow I’m going back to Leavenworth. And this time I’m actually going with a friend. We’re gonna find great V1’s and great V0’s and great slabs and maybe we’ll even try to dyno into the Wenatchee. Who knows. All I know is that the two can co-exist: My freedom and bouldering. This is an exciting new chapter. In fact, instead of being detrimental for my bouldering, it could take it to the next level.

Time will tell.