Thursday, February 8, 2018

Training, It's All Training Anyways *

Well, we all want to train, at least that is what we tell ourselves. You work hard, you're busy, there's a lot to do, a lot going on. Training...

It is never optimal. You're too tired, didn't sleep enough. There's that nagging injury. It's raining.
There was no ice in early winter in Vermont when I was there in 2016. Here I was with time to use to get fit, train, get better... but what to do? I didn't accept that I was screwed. I built a training wall and got after it. You see the small logs at the bottom right on the ground? Those were the trees I cut down by hand with an axe as I cleared the land. My training was climbing the "ply-ice", chopping down trees & splitting wood.
Later, some ice formed around the area. By a freak of nature, an ice drip formed on the telephone pole in our front yard. Don't ask me how, I have no idea. I climbed it and thought of it as a gift for the iceless purgatory I endured in November and December. It was a first ascent, free solo, I named it "Pole Dance", WI5. Maybe I should have shone better style, and have done it with less clothes?
Some people peel the casing from their Weißwurst before dipping it in the sweet mustard and washing it down with a swig of Weißbier. Some don't. I first saw that peeling thing somewhere in a finer establishment in Munich - too fancy for me. that's for sure. I just eat the sucker. No peeling. I want everything that life has to offer, casing and all.
On this day, I wanted to climb something else. The days goal held the lure of a test-piece, tick-list, sparkling little nugget that i could wear on my sleeve to satiate my ego. The object of my wanting wasn't fully formed and wasn't safe - though it was running with a small cascade of ice-cold water. My partner and I climbed the routes next door. They were easier, but we got pumped out silly until we couldn't hold on to our tools any longer. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.
Consciously or unconsciously, we all spend time in this corner. Try to recognise it sooner and sooner in yourself and your soul will appreciate it. Laugh at yourself when the realisation hits you. Maybe reflect a bit on why you've gotten mired in the gooey mess.
There are prices to be paid when you start smelling the remnants of sitting in the wrong corner of the bar. So you change, reinvent yourself, try to do a little better. "Wow!", you think to yourself, "this is great!" But, some people get threatened. You have left the main stream. Bonatti climbed the north face of the Matterhorn alone, in winter, by a new route. He persevered, fought for his life, suffered. What happened when he gave one of his first presentations to fellow climbers about his groundbreaking assent?  His tires were slashed on his car outside of the venue. Don't expect a parade with roses. It ain't gonna happen...
So, I try to just do my thing and smile at all of it. The freezing cold, the wind, the rain, the less than ideal conditions - both internally and externally - and just let it be for what it is.
At the end of the day, you sometimes can descend by hitching a ride on a comfy lift to the valley floor, there's just one more sip of hot tea left in the thermos and you've had a day that flows by as if in a dream. Let it be. Let it go. Be Grateful. But don't expect it.

* paraphrasing the well known quip by the late Alex Lowe

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