Sunday, June 3, 2012

Life Gives You Lemons

Note: written back in April sometime. I'm playing catch up.

There’s a saying that I’m sure you’ve heard: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” They fail to mention that lemonade tastes like crap.
It's the sugar that makes it taste good. The saying is not, "Sometimes life gives you sugar."

I’ve haven’t written anything here for months mostly because I’ve had the feeling that I don’t have anything to write about. Last summer and fall marked a high point for me in my climbing. I felt great at Ten Sleep and most importantly, I fired off my ‘mega-proj’ at my home crag here at the New. After that I just kind of lost motivation for climbing. I had no more projects to stay excited about. It was winter time and harder than usual to muster the proverbial ‘psyche.’

But more than anything I just felt off. I was waking up every day just feeling old and I made a point of telling Elissa this daily which I’m sure she appreciated. I couldn’t bring myself to climb or train at home. I felt down and out and chalked it up to either, 1: The send of the project. Or 2: My body needing rest. Maybe that’s a cop out but when I look back, I haven’t been ‘not sore’ for like 10 years. I don’t think I’ve taken more than a week off of climbing for a decade so I figured maybe my body was telling me to rest. Training coaches and top climbers all talk about the importance of rest and many of them suggest taking off a full month per year. Well, maybe I overdid it by barely climbing for 4 months!

About 6 weeks ago I started feeling some odd pain in my lower back and figured I tweaked something climbing. It got worse and soon enough I knew it wasn’t a muscle related injury. I started checking online and diagnosed myself with a kidney stone which is odd because I’m relatively healthy by modern American standards. But kidneys stones are a mystery and appear for different reasons in random people. So the internet advised me to eat lemons which I attacked at a rate of three per day. Maybe it helped but probably not.

Either way, I finally went to the doctor to make sure I didn’t have some damn kidney cancer or something. I got a CT scan, MRI, and blood work and there was no sign of the stone. But I knew something was wrong and there was something inside me. I named him Lee Harvey because when he strikes it’s like getting shot from a far off grassy knoll and not hearing the report. He is a sneaky bastard willing to shoot me in my sleep, at my desk chair, or in the middle of a 5.12X rated run-out (which of course I’ve avoided ONLY because of Lee Harvey).
They start off small and harmless. Then they try to kill you.

During my last Dr. visit, Lee Harvey struck with a hollow point bullet and I immediately turned as white as a Grand Wizard and almost lost my lunch. I broke out in August rapist sweat and by the third shot to the back I saw the world spin and almost went face down and passed out. The last thing I remember was seeing the crux of the mega-proj flash before my eyes and then St. Peter’s gates appeared. Right before I went face down, I sacked up thinking, “Keep it together man! Don’t die now! Someday you might be get sponsored and be on Youtube!”

I’m kidding, but honestly it’s scary when your body lets you down and it makes you realize just how fragile we really are. Looking at those CT scans changes your perspective on life for a minute. We are actually just a bag of guts. A bag of thousands of nasty guts that all have a purpose and if even one of them lets you down, it’s curtains. It makes climbing completely meaningless and just general life seem somehow a little more important. I’m not delusional, trying to be all inspirational like, “Oh, I’m a cancer survivor” or some garbage like that. I’m just saying, it sucks when your body lets you down. When I get sick, I get pissed and usually swear off being around people ever!

Anyway, I’m not entirely sure ‘cause I have felt a few little dying kicks from Lee Harvey, but I think that bastard plopped into my bladder. Drown in my piss pool you son of a bitch! I haven’t seen him come flying out of my pee hole yet but if I do I’ll be sure to post his picture on Facebook or something.

Hopefully it’s over and if general feeling is any indication I think it is. For the first day in 4 months I looked at my training wall today and felt ready to get back at it. It was depressing. Nothing showcases your physical state like the benchmark of the home wall. I used to be able to do many sets of 100+ laps on the hit strips, now I’m at 60. 20mm edge pull ups used to be somewhere around 20, now I’m at 7. Balls….Oh well, gotta start somewhere. And honestly, I probably did need the rest.

This is not to say that I have been completely unproductive. We cranked out another issue of DPM. I’ve been trying my best to post more quality than quantity online which I think I’ve accomplished a bit. And I got some climbing in. Overall, I got about three weeks in at the Red and it was really fun. Got to hang out with my boy Suburban Wankster and talk shit all day. Elissa was there for spring break for about ten days which was awesome. Honestly, the best part about it was not really caring about climbing. I looked back at my pictures and found that over the past few months I took more pictures of little things than anything else. I wasn’t invested in heavy projecting or hard climbing. I literally stopped to smell the flowers and it was nice. But there is a time and a place for acting like a bitch and now is not that time! Back to ROCK CLIMBING!!!
Elissa on Stain (5.12c) at the Red.

We’ve got a wicked summer trip planned. I’m blasting out of here in a week or so and heading to Rifle to get back in shape. That place does it for me. A little climbing on the front range. Elissa flies into Denver mid-June then we head north. Back to Ten Sleep for a quick visit and then on to Canada. I got my Bow Valley guidebook in the mail today and it looks sick up there. Limestone and grizzly bears. Bring it.   
We had a killer day at Long Point. I got to climb The Ginger Assassin, Levi's sick new 12d trad route out the crack in the roof.

Hanging out at the cliffs with Steve Hedgecock. Dude keeps it real.

 The wildflowers at the Red were poppin'. Trillium.
Elissa lookin' diesel on Harvest (5.12d).
Nice try Red River Gorge. Nice try... Chinese Red Buds and the ironic sign you see on the way to Miguel's.
 Pat Goodman starting out 'the General' project. This 40-foot roof crack at the Meadow is much, much, harder than it looks. And it looks pretty hard.
Still photos can't potray my cries of pain. I lasted about 5 minutes on this torture test.


Lydia McD. said...

Whoa. Kidney stone. Yes, I AM looking forward to hearing/seeing/reading about it if it passes the rest of the way out. Graphic pics are a necessity for the future of medicine.

Went to Lower Meadow today. Is that a project of yours to the right of Toxic Hueco? Or did you send? Or neither? Anyway, keep writing.

Tradguy said...

Yeah, Like Lydia said, "Keep Writing". Not like Lydia said about the graphic pictures for the future of medicine.

Mike Williams said...

yeah lydia, project to the right of Toxic is called Trident (5.13d). I sent it last fall. Pretty cool rig. There's a pic somewhere a few posts back.

I was not able to capture the kidney stone. I think I peed it out at Beauty Mt. and didn't even know it. Oh well. Next time...