Monday, 24 November 2014

ENVY

My evolution as a climber and a person, passed through envy. 
For some time in the past - and I'm sure there are many traces of it in this blog - I've been envious. Envious of those who could go climbing, those who could climb the problems that I wanted to climb, those who could reap the rewards of the training they'd been doing. 
It was horrible. 
Let me talk about envy. Envy is a bad beast. To the contrary of what many may think, envy is a judgement. When we envy someone, we judge that person: we think that they don't deserve what they have, and that somehow in doing so they detract something from us, something that should belong to us. 
So, envy is a lot more than we're used to think. 
When I was envying my friends who could climb lots, my thoughts were along these lines, even though I didn't realize it and, had I realized, I would have enever admitted: 
"I'm envious because they can climb the problems that I can't try. They climb them just because they have the time to stick at them. They're not as strong as I am. They're just more lucky in having more time and more opportunities. They don't deserve those climbs, I deserve them because I put in a lot more effort and dedication than they do." I could go on forever. 
The sense of frustration that comes with this kind of thinking need not to be mentioned. 
I don't know how things changed. 
I think that I had to go through a complete chaos to finally emerge on the other side. I had to question not only my climbing, but every aspect of my life, and how every aspect of my life had been affected, for good or bad, by climbing. 
It took me a lot of time to finally bury the hatchet with climbing, and this came with an added bonus: my envy had gone. I can feel it trying to raise its ugly head at times, but it's just the shadow of what it used to be. 
I could say that envy became something different: it became the knowledge that my life is different from my friends' lives, and from anyone else's life. 
Go figure. 
Years and years to come to this conclusion. Ha! 
I exchanged climbing for training, and finally found some kind of peace. Others may have time, I have not. There's nothing to be envious about, that's just how things go. Maybe I also exchanged envy for a little sadness and disappointment, but that's a victory! 
I was thinking about it just yesterday evening, right before starting my warm up. Never seeing the opportunity to actually put all the training efforts to good use, makes training really really hard, mentally. 
You sow, you sow, you sow, and you don't know when or whether you'll reap. 
How do you deal with this? 
It's very easy: you either quit sowing, or you keep sowing. Make your choice. 

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

SIC TRANSIT GLORIA MUNDI

I will remember this past month forever. It's been one of the densest, most intense periods of my life. 
I've been studying a lot, writing appellation acts, criminal and civil cases, and attending classes in the weekends. 
I've been pulling on wooden edges and plastic holds. 
I stepped on stage again after more than 15 years, to act and sing in a musical that a friend of mine wrote for our contrada, Istrice, and that sold out two nights in the main theater in town, raising more that 5.000 Euros for charity. 
Finally, I've been - briefly - climbing on rock. One single day, just one day of the nearly three weeks of perfect, clear weather that we've had, but what a day. I climbed some new, easy problems, nearly climbed a project that is around 8a+, and opened a beautiful arete. 
Now I'm here in my bedroom writing this with my left knee wrapped in ice and swollen after I got my meniscus surgery yesterday. 
It seems all over now, while I roll left and right to change position and ease the pain and discomfort: the stage, the public, the pointless training, the perfect rock. The pointless training. The pointless training. The pointless training nearly made me climb 8a+ on Sunday, on the first day on rock after 6 weeks. The fifth day on rock since the beginning of Summer. Is it really pointless? 
It's been great and beautiful. When I was there with my headtorch, rushing another pointless - yes pointless - attempt on the project, I thought: "Right, I'm gonna come back tomorrow evening and finish this." I had forgotten I had to be in hospital... Ahaha! 
I thrashed my hands, that now seem bitten by a dog, and got home. I really really wanted to get this done before this layoff, but it did not happen. I did not make it happen. But I tried with all my will and skin. 
Next time. The path is right. 
Study, train, love and destroy. 

A few pics and videos of this incredible Autumn so far. 
                        Below, the beautiful prow I climbed last Sunday. 

Below, a new PB on paused rep one armers. 
                                          

                                               Below, the Move. 
                                                           http://vimeo.com/109309457

                                   Below, the new PB on the circuit. 
                                                           http://vimeo.com/108706275

                        Below, a sore soul, a sore knee two sore hands. 








Thursday, 18 September 2014

BODY AND MIND, BUT MOSTLY MIND

If my body sometimes is giving me signs that it may give up (back pain, meniscus, strained finger) my mind is not. 
My mind is strong and therefore my body is as strong. 
My mind is young and sparky and indestructible, therefore my body is young and sparky and indestructable. 

Body. 
The numbers say so: after a recent body exam, I found out that my body composition sits just shy of the one of bodybuilders, at the extreme top of that of "athletes". And I'm 42 motherfuckers. 
Anyway, this is not important. Well, it is, but not for you. Just for me. 
I have been on rock, and I had fun, despite thrashing my lower back. I need to sort it out properly, otherwise everything in terms of training and power gains is useless.
Despite injuries and ridiculously few and brief training sessions, I managed to retain some ability to cling onto holds: I am currently focusing on super short system sessions, almost no board climbing except some attempts on the project circuit. I've been trying it for 13 months now... Still 4 moves to go, but now I always complete it with one resting. I get to hold number 25 with exploding forearms, fall down, wait a little bit then get to 30. 
This led me to think about the mysteries of endurance training: I am progressing on the circuit without training Power Endurance (or even Stamina) at all, or at least in no structured way. I have only been doing some laps on 12 moves long problems pausing 5 seconds on every hold, for a minute and half more or less of climbing; and some one foot bouldering on the same 12 moves long problems with 6 kg on. No repeated problems, no feet on campusing for Power Endurance, nothing. 
Could it simply be that I am reaping the fruits of the structured training I did until May? Hmmm.... it seems a long time ago to be still progressing. Who knows. 
As soon as temps and humidity go down, I need to test myself with the objectivity of a stop watch. 
I tried a variation of the foot on campusing, under the form of not campusing, not moving at all. It's very cool. Becoming able to shake out in such a position could lead to interesting things in the future. 

Mind. 
I'm stuffing my mind with notions, preparing myself at best for the most important exam of my life. 

"Who are you?"
I ask this question to myself many times a day, and I always have the right answer. 


Some pics. 
Higher, he luxurious foothold that I use for foot on power campusing and for the new excercise, with its majestic 1 cm of contact surface (As Keith once told me: "You can't come off from 1 cm thick footholds!"). At least it's incut, it's almost like cheating. Lower, the bleedin' bivy ledge is use for Power Endurance. "You are weak" written on it. 

Trying what will become my hardest problem. 


 The books I've studied in the last months, in the spare time from work. 


SAN Power edge. The big one. Those guys are selective. 


Staying there, staying put, shaking out. 65 kilos locked between the foothold and the crimp like a steel beam. Breathe, feel the greatness. Who needs real climbing? Not me.