Everything You Got | R2V7/4 #24

The author getting ready to crush (get owned) at the Paradise Boulders.

Four days of rest. Four days of rehab. Four days of mental preparation, all leading up to tomorrow’s session. At the beginning of this summer I set the following goal: to climb V7 by the end of the summer. I have not done it. I have not, some might say, come close. Others might say that I am on the very precipice of greatness, all I need to do is take that step towards the edge…

Tomorrow. High temps around 70. The coldest temps in a long time. A tick list in my head. Which boulders to try. Dirty Dancing V4. Briefs V3. Alfalfa or Spanky? V5. The list goes on.

And on.

And on.

(and then it ends).

Listening to Kid Francescoli to mentally prepare. Doing pushups. Doing hip mobility exercises. Hanging from the ceiling of my boat. And most importantly: drinking yerba mate. The Trader Joe’s variety, 60mg of caffeine per bottle (usually in the cold drink section or over by the rest of the teas; you can always ask if you can’t find it. Also: I just asked today if they had discontinued it because I didn’t see it the other day at the Ballard Trader Joe’s but the guy working assured me they had not. Just an FYI). 60mg of pure psyche. Pure psyche that will have you climbing blocs you never thought possible to climb. You think you’re gonna climb V4 today? Wrong: You’re gonna climb V5. You think you’re gonna climb V7 today? Wrong: You’re gonna climb V2 (you’re going to have an uncharacteristically bad day due to crazy hot temps and a lingering finger injury). The point is this: today is gonna be special. So prepare. Have another sip of yerba mate. Have two. Hell, finish the damn bottle and then crush it in your hands (actually don’t because the bottles are glass. though if you could you probably have crazy strong grip strength).

When any of us strive toward a goal there will come a judgment day. A day when your preparation is put to the test. For me that day is tomorrow. I’ve spent the whole summer preparing. I’ve spent the whole summer mentally preparing. I have dialed in my diet, my training, my meditation, all with the goal of getting to V4 sometime in the next few days. And tomorrow it all pays off. Or it doesn’t. Tomorrow is the day of reckoning. Tomorrow my hands will grab holds and my feet will smear granite. Tomorrow the world will be watching.

And so as you go to bed tonight think of the goal you’ve been working on. How bad do you want it? Why do you want it? The thing about having bouldering goals is that when I wake up in the morning and go for a walk or run stairs to warm-up, I’m not just doing it to make myself feel good. I’m doing it because my focus is laser sharp. I’m doing it because I want to stretch afterward and work on my hip mobility, my shoulder mobility, my pelvic mobility, my tarsal mobility, my elbow mobility, my neck mobility, my social mobility. If you work out because you “want to feel good” or because “you think you should” you’re a damn fool. You need a goal, and you need it to be as specific as possible. Having the goal of climbing V7 and then at the last minute changing it to V4. That’s as specific as it gets. Because when I’m running up those stairs and my heart rate is climbing I know it’ll all be worth it when I get to the lip and people are screaming, “Come on, Mark. Try hard. Come on, Mark. Right now. Everything you got. Strong. Come on, Mark. No, seriously, come on, Mark. We gotta go. It’s getting dark and we have a decently long drive ahead of us plus we kinda wanted to get Chick Fil-A on the way home. So come on, Mark. So strong. Right here. Everything you got. And then let’s pack up the pads and get the hell out of here and maybe even get some tea on the way out. Come on, Mark.”

And then your hand reaches for the lip. They told you it was a jug but actually it’s kind of slopey. But you hold on anyway. The temps have dropped and you hope you don’t drop too. You’re slipping. This could’ve been it. This could’ve been your first V4, everything you’ve been working for. Come on, Mark. Strong. Everything you got. And then you realize there’s actually a really good foot hold that you didn’t notice because you didn’t even look down. And so you use that foothold and the top out is a piece of cake.

You pack up the pads and drive away with your friends. Oh, the satisfaction. Oh, the euphoria. There’s never been a sweeter drive home. The mountains have never felt higher.

And then you get home and realize on Mountain Project it’s only a V3.

– Wetz

 

How to Not Boulder | R2V4 #11

What if I told the most important thing about bouldering was….not bouldering?

What if I told you that?

What if I came to your house in the middle of the night, broke in, started preparing a bowl of cereal with milk in your kitchen and then, when you came down, irate and holding a firearm, I told you, “Hear me, Grasshopper: The way to crushing V10 is to…not climb at all.”

Because this is exactly what I’ve learned ever since I “quit” my job just over two weeks ago. That if you want to crush, if you want to send gnarly blocs, if you want to mangle overhanging walls with tiny crimpy pseudo-holds, what you really need to do is train properly. And, as my new Czech friend Ales explained to me yesterday, thus sparking a sort of apostrophe (see: Hook) on my part, “Rest is an important part of training.”

I think the reason it resonated with me so much is because he employed the word “training.” I like the idea of training, because I like the idea of being an athlete. I’m an athlete. I’m a 36-year-old man-athlete. I have a low resting heart-rate. I’ve done long bike rides and walked across countries. I’ve played just about every sport there is. But now it’s time to start treating myself like an athlete. Eating properly. Training properly. Bouldering properly. Sending properly. RESTING PROPERLY.

Because yesterday I sent nothing at all.

Nothing new, at least.

Last week I climbed 6 OUT OF 7 DAYS, and it almost destroyed me. My shoulder began to fail. About half the knuckles on my hands started to fail. I was literally (figuratively) falling apart. I was not making progress. I was making reverse progress, and not in a good way (though actually totally in a good way because progress can NEVER be in reverse if you have the right attitude. Because what has all this REVERSE PROGRESS DONE? WHAT HAS IT DONE? It’s led me to this amazing realization that if I want to get stronger and send harder that I need to incorporate forced rest days into my training routine. There, I said it: training routine. There, I said it again: training routine. And one last time, I said it again: metacarpophalangeal).

So yeah, I don’t even really want to talk about yesterday’s sesh too much. Ales and I walked up to the clearcut boulders, he sent Cabin Stabbin’ V4 after a few tries. I couldn’t even get close. We walked up to Summer Solstice V3. He flashed it. I barely made progress at all. We went to Bricklayer V2 and I shit my pants at the bottom and didn’t even try it. We went to Midnight Lichen V4, which he flashed, I SORT OF made a tiny bit of progress on, and then he projected Stinkin’ Slopers V5 and eventually sent it in amazing fashion (one of those slopers on that boulder is built out of marshmallows and probably tastes like it. If you’ve been there you know which one I’m talking about).

So today is a FORCED REST DAY. I mean, not stagnation. Just not climbing. Plenty of other stuff.

Which reminds me: I need to go buy some mate…..