Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Weekend That Was 5/17-5/18 2014

My wife Christina is a runner, and by that I mean that she runs because she thinks it is fun to run. I run too, but I am not a runner. I do not run because I consider it fun (alright sometimes it is), but because it is one of the most efficient methods for training my cardiovascular system. I think running is hard and painful and would much rather be swimming or biking or anything else for that matter if I could get the same volume out of it. Anyway, I have been doing a lot of running lately (some outside observers might even be fitting me for a "runner" label) for training purposes, and my distances have been starting to approach the length that most folks would consider real distance running. So when Christina mentioned she was running a half-marathon on May 17th, I (for some unknown reason) committed to join her. More foolhardy than that, I said I thought we should push our nearly-two-year-old son, Hank, in his stroller and make a family event out of it...sometimes I wish that I thought more and spoke less.

Christina and me before the run
Once committed there was no turning back, so I worked hard to fit the half-marathon into my training plan. It is about 11.9 miles around our block, and you can tack another half-mile onto that if you start at our house and run the driveway both ways. That route also has the distinct advantage of having close to 900 feet of elevation gain in it. The elevation gain more than makes up for the 0.7 miles it is short of a half-marathon. So I commenced working my way up to running around the block. I finally ran every step last Wednesday, having run/walked or even been picked up short of the full block in the past. I was incredibly psyched when Saturday morning finally rolled around and we were packing up to leave the house! By the time we got to the starting line I decided I wanted
to push Hank the whole way, and I did. Christina and I crossed the finish line together in 2:10:01, which we were pretty happy with considering Christina barely trained, it was my first half-marathon, and I was pushing the Hankster. Not a bad way to start the weekend.

Of course I did not feel like my first half-marathon was enough to make the weekend count, after all, I am a climber not a runner. I decided it would be cool if I could do my first half-marathon and my first 5.12 on the same day. For the non-climbers reading this, 5.12 ("five-twelve") is serious climbing, it is conceivably the point where simply climbing a few days every week is not enough - for most people almost daily training or climbing is required to climb at that level. So after a few hours of recovering from the run I packed my climbing pack and headed to the Lake.

The hike up the CCC trail was a bit of a grind, but I had minimized the gear I was carrying, and I had run into an acquaintance, Doug, in the lot, who was also hiking up the CCC trail, so the conversation kept my mind off the pain in my legs. At the top Doug and I ran into another acquaintance, Erol, and while Doug was planning on searching out some other folks, Erol was pleased to join me on Acid Rock (5.12a), which was my target. I setup the top rope and Erol and I headed toward the base. Once there I discovered I had forgotten my harness. Erol was cool, and lent me his, and belayed me from an anchor we had setup at the base - not the ideal scenario, but we made it work. Within a few minutes a few other folks started to filter in, Nathan, Jon J, John K, Paul, etc. and suddenly there were plenty of harnesses to go around - thanks to everybody involved for the generosity.

On my first attempt I made good progress, and was making quick work of deciphering the route, until the upper crux shut me down. I had burned up what little I had left to get there, and there was very little point in working it further on that attempt. My second attempt went better, and I had more left when I got to the upper crux, not enough to pull it outright, but enough to spend some time working it out. The third attempt was sloppy, I was tired and the first hard move, the "Crouton Check-Valve" shut me down. I rested a while longer, and gave it a fourth go, which was better than the third, but still not enough and I could tell the tank was empty. It was getting late, and I had to run home to get some stuff together for the Wisconsin Climbers' Party at the house of my friends Mike and Melissa. While I was packing up, Jon J tied in for his second attempt, and sent, it was his first 5.12, so congrats to him! It made my day to see him get up the route, and I know that if I come back fresh, I will have a good chance of getting it done next time - first half-marathon and first 5.12 in a day was maybe a bit too ambitious anyway.

John K and Paul came over to my house to help load the truckload of brush that I was bringing to the climbers' party, then, after a quick grocery stop, we headed to Mike and Melissa's. The turnout for the party was huge, and aside from the beer, food, and fire; Jon J put on an excellent slideshow with a little help from Doug and Burt. All-in-all I think everybody in attendance had a great time, many thanks to Mike and Melissa, who are the proprietors of the Mike's Mix Recovery Drink (a great product that has been a huge part of my training nutrition program), for hosting.

After the running, climbing, and partying on Saturday I was almost glad to have mildly tweaked a pair of fingers, and that I received a phone call telling me there were seventy-five baby chicks waiting for me in the Portage, WI post office. I was worked, and I am glad I made the smart decision to bail on the climbing plans I had for Sunday. Instead, I built a brooder for the chicks, napped, and mowed most of my lawn. Not a bad way to finish the weekend!


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James said...


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