For the podcast episode, click here.
When we are training, attempting to challenge ourselves, it is important to distinguish what motivates our goals. If we are driven by energy from the idea of winning, or proving, the shoulds or should nots, then we may be successful for a time, however, the energy motivating our actions can, and usually will eventually, run out. However, if we are inspired by love and joy, our energy can be endless.
Parenting is a wonderful example of providing evidence for this idea. The endless sleepless nights disrupted by the need to feed and settle a child would not be possible for the countless months it takes without that key ingredient, love.
Let's also consider more carefully that word inspire. To be inspired means to be "Inspire comes from the Latin word that means to inflame or to blow in to. When you inspire something, it is as if you are blowing air over a low flame to make it grow." - Vocabulary.com
To be inspired is to be energized. To feel more alive.
When we are pursuing a goal we feel we "must" or "should", we often feel less inspired, or more challenged in the pursuit than we would feel if we were in love with the idea of the challenge.
All of this then is to say, it is essential to identify what you love and move in that direction when setting goals. Viktor Frankl noted this in his book, Man's Search for Meaning, when he describes the long cold march in the cold with his feet poorly shod and in his discomfort and suffering, he remembered his his wife, more importantly, he remembered the depth of his love for his wife. Not even knowing if she was still alive, this memory inspired him to survive so he may see her again.
In the climbing world, the magazines and press revolves around competitors or hard ascents; firsts. A few years ago it was Alex Honnold's first solo climb of El Cap. Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson's first ascent of the Dawn Wall in Yosemite making National mainstream news. More recent trending posts about who won a spot at the Olympic climbing competition and Daniel Woods doing the first US V17,
When I was living out of a vehicle and climbing, more than a few moons ago, I would attend competitions and spend my climbing sessions trying for the next hard redpoint or onsight. I definitely enjoyed days with nothing to do but rock climb, however, I do remember the day I figured out what I really loved.
I was spending my time writing a training book, and took a break to wander around the cliffs of Rifle to see what fellow climbers were up to. My partner and his friends were projecting a 5.14, and struggling to figure out the crux moves. I watched and considered the problem. Eventually I asked for a belay, despite the fact that the hardest thing I had ever one was in the 5.13- level. I hauled my way up to the section where they were struggling, gripped the handholds, reversed the moves and promptly demonstrated a potential sequence. Turns out my idea worked and later the climbers - much stronger than me - could make it through that section. They joked about how I should project the route. In truth, I had no interest in climbing the route, but I was very happy to have been able to unlock a potential sequence and helping others be successful.
Let me know how you made out. And reach out if you want some help deciphering your path to love and fulfillment.
I have often wondered what has drawn me into the web of climbing and entangled me into a life of being on the rock four days a week. I remember getting started. The first day I stumbled and crawled my way up on a 5.6 crack climb on the domes (a generous description) overlooking Pace’s Lake. The sweat that poured over me in the summer heat and the refreshing chill afterwards as the breeze swept over the top of the 250-foot granite bulge. I followed the lead of many, then tried my hand at placing the gear and setting the anchors.
But I still can not distinguish that first moment when I redpoint climbing. At some point, I became more enthralled with being able to climb the route without falling than with just getting to the top. It doesn’t sound very exciting and there are numerous things you can send within a relatively few tries. So what is the big deal?
The deal is the experience of trying repeatedly. The deal is the very real problem solving and then creating the perfect conditions to be successful because it takes more than what you have when you start trying that particular route. The deal is moving into potential and possibility.
More than a few years ago, I went to Hueco Tanks, near El Paso, Texas. I was a newlywed, but my husband had been planning a trip to Europe before we had planned our wedding. He was overseas and I was trying this style of climbing called bouldering with some friends. Despite not being completely alone, I was feeling lonely, missing my partner and his support and encouragement.
Many would wonder at this concept of loneliness for I had with me my own two dogs, a gentle golden retriever who would get inside you if possible and a sprightly Border collie mix. In addition, I was minding the pooch of our friend travelling with my husband around France. Harvest, this little mongrel from Kentucky added a new level of entertainment to our entourage. She was very creative in finding ways to get into trouble and to generally be a pain in my a$$.
I can not lay the blame solely at the feet of our friend’s mutt. My own two beasts were very disturbed at the missing pack leader. The golden was on edge around anyone coming into a twenty-foot radius of my being or our home, an ’84 Toyota van. Sebring, the spry jumper who loves to run was very disturbed with our decision to stay in this God-forsaken place that makes pet owners keep their beasts on leashes.
So each day I would get up at my early hour, eat my breakfast, appreciate my excellent Peet’s coffee and head off to this ten-foot short boulder problem I liked trying. I knew I could do all the moves up to the crux, (or at least my crux), but the top seemed the problem and without a spotter seemed difficult to figure out. Nevertheless, I would commit to giving this thing at least twenty tries and then I could go off and find something easier. Twenty tries may not sound like much, but if you had to move off that razor-sharp edge that was tearing my tips, you may think differently.
It didn’t seem like I was really getting in a lot of climbing. A few warm-ups, twenty tries on a short boulder problem and then usually just a series of failed attempts on a couple of V0’s. I would cycle from the focus and interest on the problem to missing my partner and a sense of loneliness. He had always been there for me. I guess part of me was with him in France.
So here I am thirty tries and three climbing days later. This problem gave me something to focus on. I wanted this boulder problem. I had two, maybe three climbing days left before I was to leave the Park and return to Colorado. I had done a few V4’s onsight, but had not redpointed any hard problems. I have been climbing on the same problem for three days and I have invested time and skin into this one hope. And I want to accomplish something in my own climbing. I felt like I had been climbing the same grade forever. Here was the chance.
Day four, I approach the problem, I’ve had a day off. I feel fresh. I follow my regular warm-up ritual. I have had my Peet’s coffee, I’m wearing my lucky climbing shorts and sports bra, and I am ready to send this thing. Besides, I’m getting really tired of that sharp sidepull edge. I carefully weigh the pros and cons of wearing my Muiras over my Ghibilis. I decided that I will stick with the shoes I know, the Ghibilis. I place my lucky chalk bag on the ground, out of the landing zone. The dogs are parked in the shade and there are no toys to fight over. The crash pad has been carefully placed to protect me from a fall at the upper crux.
It is not too warm yet; the sun is rising still and has not reached its peak of radiating heat into the small cubby of boulders I am climbing in. The problem is still in the shade and I have a few hours before the rock greases in the full sunlight.
I lace up my shoes, layer the chalk on my fingers. As I approach the problem, I rehearse the moves in my head. I get into the starting position, with my left foot out in front of me and my right underneath me in an almost sit down start. I breathe deeply a few times and the gun goes off. I move quickly, reaching for the sharp edge, adjusting my feet, moving the left hand up. I set up for the big move out left to the slopey gaston. I shift the hips, through over with the hands… I’m on the crash pad. I hit it too low, again.
No matter, I can try again. That was just my warm-up. I will rest a few minutes and then give it another shot. I repeat the above performance. This lower section is beginning to feel so easy. Why am I getting stopped on that one move? I’ll rest a little longer. It is no use! Aghh! I thought for sure today I would do this thing!
I know, I’ll have a little something to eat, wander around a bit. Play with the hounds. Then after fifteen minutes, I’ll give it a try. The sun is moving around rather rapidly now. The heat feeling good on my skin. My tips are just beginning to feel a little raw. Do not think about that. Focus on the sequence. Plan how you will conquer this piece of rock. I laced up the shoes again, chalked the hands, looked at the sequence. Closed my eyes and imagined myself on the problem in my mind. I send. I know I can do this thing.
But not this attempt or the next fourteen tries that day. I switched shoes, I talked to some other people who came to test their talent on the same problem. I watched a fox as it watched me. The sun was setting now and I had spent the entire day at this one spot, trying this one problem and I had been defeated for another day.
I was down to three climbing days at the most if I climbed every day until I left. I was planning to leave around five in the morning so I could do the drive in one day and not have to camp anywhere along the way by myself. Should I climb tomorrow or rest? I decided to see how my skin was in the morning.
Another day dawns in the Park. I am up with the first inkling of light. I sneak out into the desert area with my three companions and let them off the leash. Well, actually just two of them got to be off-leash. They are gone, running madly through the cactus. Sebring bounds off to hit her stride. Autumn follows. Another morning with Peet’s coffee and my lucky shorts and sports bra. We make the required stop at the registration and pay station and we are off to my nemesis. The clouds are intermittent today and the temps seem a little cooler, but I think it must have been the breeze. I give myself time to warm up. I don’t feel so bad. Determination to get back to the problem begins to bubble to the surface.
I move into the sheltered spot beside the boulder and once again begin the ritual of getting ready. I gnaw on my Clif Bar as I rehearse the sequence. I carefully wipe my soles of my Ghibilis. I lace up. Chalk up. I begin. I miss the sharp edge. Ow!! The sting of my tips. Okay. I just need to warm up a little more. This excuse works a second time. By the fourth failed attempt at getting to the sharp sidepull, I decide I will just work on the crux move. A few feeble tries later, I come to the conclusion that today should have been a rest day. We pack up the homemade crash pad, the dogs pick up their toys and we return to the van. It will be a rest day. And, if I rest tomorrow too, it will be like two days off.
Later that evening, under the starry sky and light breeze, I think about Nick again. I wonder what he would be doing at that time, probably asleep. I think more and more about trying to go to France earlier than planned. What had we been thinking to plan such a long separation? I felt miserable. I eventually meet up with my friends at the campsite and discuss my day. I am quickly reminded of my own words. A climbing day is a climbing day and a rest day is a rest day. Today was a climbing day. I think about these pearls of wisdom that I was assuming did not apply to me. It had been a long time since I had taken two days off.
I did decide to take two days off. That allowed my skin to heal and my muscles to relax. But it left me with one last day in the park. If I did not send that day, I would just have to leave. The thoughts of self doom crashed around me throughout the night. I awoke feeling sore and tired. Why did I believe I could do such a difficult problem? I had never done moves this hard before, why did I think I could do them now, without Nick’s support and encouragement? Would it really matter to him if I did this thing or not? How much did it matter to me?
This is not exactly the best approach to take to trying to redpoint your project, but there I was feeling anxious. Sorry for myself. I really was ambivalent about what I wanted. I decided I would climb that day and I would try my problem. But more importantly, I was going to leave Hueco the next day and I was going to try to go to France earlier than planned.
I walked onto the top of the boulder. I looked at the holds I had to go to from there. I think I can do it. I tried again. I was on the same holds, same body position. Onto the crash pads, I fell. That boulder behind me seemed suddenly so much closer. I felt that if I blew the next move, I may fall against it. I was alone.
I repeated this progress for two more tries. On the second try I actually moved my feet back onto the wall and slapped my right hand up to the sloper above my left hand. I heard people approaching. I could recognize only one person in the bunch. But all were friendly. We talked about the temperatures, mutual friends. I asked for a spot.
I wanted to do this thing, but now I was feeling a little embarrassed. I was a nobody, pitting myself against this boulder problem that was way too hard. They probably think I’m chasing grades. I told them of my limited chance for success. Of my reasons for selecting this boulder and this line. I got into position. There was another couple of Cordless pads now. Not just my nylon rope bag tarps filled with foam and held together with snaps, (the heavy-duty kind). I get into position, my heart is racing. I decide to remember that it really doesn’t matter. I’m going to France.
I move from the start. I get out to the sharp edge that feels like it is ripping my tips. I shift the feet. Left hand to the pocket. Right foot up to the hole. I shift my hips, reach with the hand. I can feel the fatigue. I grasp the slopey gaston, and readjust. Catch the swing as my feet release from the rock. I get my left foot on and slap the right hand up. I know I would be a loser to jump off now. I slap with the left hand. I can’t see my feet, but I paste them up on the smooth surface. My edge catches on something. It's enough. I move my right hand further over the top. I throw my right leg over the top and roll onto the top of the boulder on my belly. I am gasping for air and shaking widely. I felt uncertain about the descent. I might topple at any moment. The spectators mildly congratulate me as I babble in my adrenaline high and pack up my crash pad. My work in Hueco is done. I’m going to France.
The beauty of climbing is the story it creates for us. Some routes create a drama, some a comedy and others a frightful horror. In these stories, we are the star and we go through an experience that profoundly changes how we see ourselves and our potential.
After the last podcast, I was asked a question about warming up and I would like to address it this week. First and foremost, let me begin with this... you should consider yourself a lab rat or monkey if you prefer. Each human person is different in their genetic make up and history. Even identical twins have been demonstrated to have their own individual preferences and responses. This means that there is no one size fits all or even most. If you come across any recommendations, you should try it out for yourself and consider how YOU respond. It make work for many and may not work for you. Conversely, it may work for you and not many. You may have been doing a particular exercise for many years and now suddenly find it is no longer helping you to relieve that discomfort in your low back or knee. Why? Because your body is also always changing.
So how do you know what to do? What is working and what won't work with the least amount of trial and error? Pay attention and record your experience both in a quantitative way and a qualitative way. Let's use the example of a training session where your plan is to do the following:
As a coach, I already have some questions for you.
There are many variables that will impact how we feel on any given day ranging from what we ate and how we slept the night before, whether we had a busy day the day before, or how stressful the past week, month, year has been. Add in environmental factors, training history, etc and you get the picture... lots of things influence your starting point.
As noted in Malcolm Gladwell's book, Outliers, excellence in performance is the result of 10,000 of dedicated practice. What is this dedicated practice? It is practice where you can answer all the questions I asked above about the warm up and few additional questions to boot.
If you want to get better at something, you need to start by figuring out what your baseline is.
Quantify what your:
How long does it take you to recover? What is heart rate up to?
How much do you like doing these types of exercises?
**Remember, we climb because we enjoy it, therefore it is really important to be able to keep enjoying it. If you notice your motivation going down, try to determine if it is because you don't like all these numbers. Or it could be a particular type of music that influences the way you are enjoying the gym.
How does your energy fluctuate on a given day? For me, anything early in the morning and until about 2 pm and I am ready to go. After 2 pm, I prefer to nap and do more restorative activities. It doesn't mean I never climb late in the day, it means I adjust my training expectations and potentially even my training approach.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So what do I recommend for a warm up?
The key is TRACK IT and get a baseline of what you can do and how much fatigue that creates. Get a sense of whether you get too fatigued too quickly if the heart rate goes up too high too quick, or if you just can't get going if you feel like keeping the heart rate at 50% of max is too low for you. Just like those lab reports you had to do for science, you will record your observations this will inform you how to adapt once you have collected enough information.
Alright... that's it for now. Let me know how figuring out your best warm up works for you. If you have a specific question, comment or send me an email - email@example.com - and I will do my best to help you out.
Check out the latest podcast.... www.buzzsprout.com/1686706/episodes/8121042
#training #progressinaction #growth #climbing #inspiration #intensity #recovery #discipline
Early in February, I challenged followers to try creating a good habit. In my subsequent posts, I have been providing ideas on how to support creating a new habit. Yesterday I read something that I just have to share.
Inspiration comes when we hear, experience something that gets our heart beating, our sense of possibility and of being alive. Or it can scare the sh#t out of us. The difference in the two - our perspective. If we see the potential for injury, we have chosen fear. If we see the possibility of enjoyment, a better future, we have chosen inspiration. Sounds pretty simple, but it is very hard to chose wisely especially in the heat of the moment.
Viktor Frankl, who spent time in concentration camps as a prisoner observed the very real consequences of the choice. Those who chose to live, to aspire for the day of release and who upon that day became disillusioned often then chose death. Where those who chose to live to see a loved one, or for something bigger than the end of the suffering, often chose life again and again.
"I can! I will! I must!"
Reading Dr. Edith Egers book, "The Gift", she states, (paraphrase) "To try is to not actually commit to change. It is to give oneself an excuse. You are either doing something to change or you are not." I should... again, you are currently not doing, and you are now shaming yourself. Not helpful.
As a coach, I hear it all the time... "I can't" and my response is "Can't? or Won't?" There are so many ways one CAN try to learn something, BUT only if one stays curious. As Dr. Egers notes, and as I have written about in previous posts, CURIOSITY is an essential ingredient to growth, to change. Without curiosity in the yoga world we would say you are closed, not open, or very adeptly put - inflexible. Flexibility is not just in the body, but also in our attitude.
Leaning into curiosity.
13-25 years, learning begins to reduce because social norms set in. Our risk/benefit judgement has not yet developed.
Willingness to learn
Willingness to change
Capacity to learn
Capacity to apply new knowledge
What challenge/sacrifice are you willing to tolerate to change?
During this pandemic, it has been a little challenging to have long term goals since our path toward those goals are quite likely disrupted by restrictions and potential closures. But perhaps take a look again at what you have a passion for? Passion comes from having a sense of purpose.
To be conscientious means to pay attention to the details. It is not enough to practice something, but to apply deliberate practice, defined in the Harvard Business Review as 'practice that focuses on tasks beyond your current level of competence and comfort .' This requires self awareness, a good coach or teacher, patience and of course, getting uncomfortable again and again and again.
As we all know, courage is not the absence of fear, rather it is the willingness to face whatever we are afraid of. Being willing to be uncomfortable, to challenge and to apply great strength.
The stamina to apply the action, skill again and again and again, regardless of the outcome.
In this context, resilience may be both physical and psychological. One's ability to recover from an injury and return to pre-injury performance is a demonstration of physical resilience. However, one's ability to meet with disappointment over and over again and to yet continue to try, is psychological resilience.
Consider the following and journal your answers.
I found this very interesting assessment on the Everyday Espionage Podcast with Andrew Bustamante. Consider, and score the following, where 0 is not at all and 10 is laying everything on the line.
Now take your numbers from 1-10 and multiple them together; for example, if you score yourself 6, and 4, your score is equals 6 x 4= 24/100 - this indicates you are not very teachable. A score above 50 would indicate teachability.
I think your level of curiosity is also a factor - so consider the following...
Today is Bell Mobility “Let’s Talk” campaign in support of mental health. COVID has taken away so much from our lives. For many it has also taken away those they love. We wear masks. We gather in smaller groups. We stay six feet apart in public places. We wear masks. Our interactions are limited.
Did you know that one of the first ways we play is when a parent smiles and makes facial expressions with his/her child? This is play that teaches us what facial expressions mean and how to express ourselves with our expression. Now we wear masks. One of the most basic playful expressions has been removed from our lives in public.
This morning as I reflected on my relationships, I was reminded that I am not being very playful.
I know that being playful builds healthy connection and yet I am taking life so seriously right now. (Just one more crime against wisdom to tally up.) Life feels pretty serious right now. COVID, new lockdowns in Canada, 400,000 dead in the US, a major change in power in the US laden with a very evident divide in values, drop in the stock market, the economic impacts of ten months of restrictions and government bailouts. Do not even get me started on anti-vaxers and conspiracy theorists.
Yup... Life feels pretty serious and heartbreaking.
Feb 10, 2020 - I witnessed the end of my father’s life. In those final days and hours we did not talk about politics, our jobs, the work he did. We talked about the memories of times we laughed. We talked about that time my sister and I went hunting with our dad on Boxing Day and he kept right on going while I struggled to get my little sister out of the mud and retrieve her boot. We laughed about the time I our father had to go into the lake to save us from blowing out further from shore. We laughed about the time he and our mother took us clam digging in Walton.
These times when we play are the moments that make our life more meaningful. Yes, success in our jobs gives us purpose and a pay check that affords us time to play. But I prefer to remember the time my son and I went climbing in Texas over the memory of sitting in my office in a concrete building looking at a computer screen that resulted in summer camp success.
Play doesn’t have to be a trip away. We all find play in different ways. Personally I like to explore or to move in my body, which is why climbing has so much appeal to me. according to Dr. Stuart Brown there are eight different play profiles. Here are the eight Dr. Stuart Brown suggests:
Although these eight separate ways of playing, for many of us we gain enjoyment from all areas, we just have a preference or gain a higher degree of joy from a few more than the others. Just for fun, you may want to consider your own preferences. Take a walk down memory lane to when you were younger and how you enjoyed playing with your friends, the games you played. My son loved being competitive AND telling everyone else how to participate... definitely a competitor and director. And he also loves to go on adventures. Though he seems to have less interest in being the collector unless you count redpoint ascents.
If you consider these areas of expression, what may be apparent to you relatively quickly is this... they involve more than one person. The only exception may be the kinesthete - the form of play that involves body expression, like dance. However with our new COVID restricted lives, being able to attend a dance class may be more restricted than it has been in the past.
If any of this resonates with you, the director in me challenges you today to see where you can bring a little play into your day and share in the comments.