Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Smoke and the Flapper

You may be aware of the odd summertime sun-blotting atmospheric condition called “haze,” which came about because all of California is on fire. Today’s sky looks something like a bright day in London fog, the sun appearing like a full moon. Check out the SF Chronicle’s report:

But what, you might wonder, does this have to do with my challenge? The high concentration of fire-byproduct in the air makes any sort of training out of the question. Ever done jumping jacks with a cigarette in your mouth? Ever run 10k around a campfire? Bad idea. I haven’t smoked a thing in several dozen hours (all part of the training), yet last night I was in a coughing fit at 2 AM. I suppose meditation training could be a particularly good idea, relying as it does on shallow breathing, but I think today will be an off day from the athletic side of things.

Probably for the best, as well. Monday and Tuesday were long days. After a 5k run Sunday night which gave me some narsty blisters due to ill-fitting hand-me-down cross trainers, I drove to the Great Western Power Co. in Oakland for a somewhat less than inspiring boulder session. After giving up on the pre-set problems, I made my way upstairs into the training room.

If training rooms were pachyderms, this one is an African elephant, Scott’s garage is a pygmy mammoth. It is the Barney to Scott’s Baby Bop, the Shaq to Scott’s Spud Webb. Not a knock against Scott’s wall, of course, just a comment on stature. For instance, one can stand up all the way in this training room, and the wall itself is 60 degrees rather than 30, meaning that I can actually haul myself up by lots of different ways. Finger strength is my weak-point, and so this wall is perfect. I spent a fair interval working on some crimpy, pinchy problems, did some reps on the system board side of the wall, and then spent the last hour doing core and back lifting:

- 3x10 reps lat pulldown
- 3x10 reps seated row
- 3x10 reps bent over dumbbell row
- assorted leg lifts and crunches until it hurt

After a brief rest of running food for a pitifully short hour and a half shift, I came home and did 3 sets each of two different bicep curls. Then to bed.

Tuesday began with a twelve-mile bike ride to the top of Grizzly Peak in the Berkeley hills, a gain of 1000 feet from my house, a brief lunch, then a bike ride down to Ironworks (6 miles), where I enduro-bouldered for about four and a half hours, followed by a brief hangboard session and a bike ride to my post as professional food runner.

When I got to work, the street behind Pyramid was flooded due to a broken water main, and Pyramid actually had to close at 7:30 because the fire sprinklers were not working. If you asked my opinion, I would tell you that it don't matter; we got beer. Well, sadly, another shift cut short and Spenser continues to be hella broke. But the bonus is that my 5 miles of biking home, up the 700 foot hill I live on, was in the light, during a rather hazy and thus colorful sunset.

So Monday and Tuesday combined included roughly 8 hours of bouldering, a fair amount of weights, and about 25 miles of biking with 1700 feet of altitude. I'm exhausted, and that is why the poor air quality forcing a rest day is a blessing of sorts. The trees that are currently en fuego probably disagree, but I am too far away to hear their cries. Also, three days ago, I split my index finger callus, and this is a very painful injury. Crimps hurt, pockets hurt, even washing my hands hurts. An off day might help it heal?

I am starting to realize how bloody hard this is going to be. Even at Ironworks, where the bouldering is contained within one warehouse, it would be hard to do 240 problems including repeats. In 4 hours I did roughly 60 problems. And I didn't have to hike around to find them. Crap. I also fear for the multitudinous Santa Barbara pressout topouts, which I have not been training for. Time to start doing some pushups, I think.

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