an immutable tenet

You will never be powerful enough. It’s hard to develop a tenet, let alone an immutable one. I mean, how do you know something you propose as infallible will never be challenged? Easy: think like a sociopath. Stick to your conviction with the ferocity of a religious fundamentalist – no one’s going to tell you Americans aren’t infidels, that you can’t have 37 wives, pornography isn’t evil, or that a comet won’t take you to heaven. You’re crazy. Enjoy it. At least you know the truth.

I know the truth: I will never be powerful enough. And I feel I lost site of this recently. Climbing routes is great; I enjoy the commitment in training for and finally performing on climbs of scale, as opposed to bouldering for shorter sequences. That’s not to say I don’t love bouldering. I do. It’s just that sport routes appeal to me slightly more. But in my effort to build some semblance of endurance for sport routes I neglected to train raw power. And I’ve had enough of that. So, instead of heading to Ventura for routes at Vertical Heaven, I’ll be at the Shed this weekend, campusing. I’m going to campus, train for the one-finger Birthday Challenge pull-up, then swim. Whatever you’re doing this weekend, it can’t be better than training power.

Oh yeah, and I meant to write about last weekend’s climbing – I was at Vertical Heaven with Justin for about 5 hours. It was rad. Then I did a hangboard workout at the Shed on Sunday. Also rad. My body’s able to absorb a larger volume of training now, and I’m going to give it to it – just not this Saturday. That’s the day I’m saving for power training. I’m pissed I couldn’t do 1-4-7 or really two-finger campus much at all on Tuesday. I need more power. Obviously.

lunch water, breathing easy


Mary and her glass chamber.


Biking with Ungerer.


My favorite pulmonologist: Dr. Ungerer.

I saw Dr. Ungerer earlier in the day. He’s still rad. After putting me through his typical battery of breathing exams, we discussed some lingering affects I may experience from last year’s lung trauma. Of specific concern was prolonged muscle weakness, as Ungerer mentioned a recent study has detailed strength impediment in young patients who have spent a week or more in intensive care, and Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) symptoms such as asthma. Muscle weakness has not been an issue for me for several months at least (I assume patients with debilitating strength concerns are not climbing as much as I’m climbing) but lung utilization might not be what it should. Ungerer explained to me the process by which a lung is "hardened" in response to severe pneumonia, how alveoli may not function optimally in such a presentation. We determined medication in my case may be beneficial but certainly not necessary, perhaps for use prior to exercise, in my case swimming, to counter-effect exercise-induced asthma. So he gave me an inhaler that I used later that day before my swim routine. It worked. I can’t say I was skipping across the water but lung capability was undeniably improved and so were my times. There is a concern I have regarding long-term use of any drug. However, my use of an inhaler is not guaranteed for long-term, as a completely healthy lung would not benefit from this medication, nor is its affect today really that dramatic. To quantify its affect, I will say it improves my swimming performance between 10 and 15% – noticeable but not mind-blowing. A competitive swimmer bumping against the inside of his potential performance envelope would surely be grateful for an improvement of that scale but I can do fine without it. So I don’t know – I might use it again. I might even use it regularly for a while. Regardless, the inhaler does not provide me an enormous ergogenic benefit.

I was so pumped up about the prognosis Ungerer gave me that I went climbing at Vertical Heaven after getting out of the pool. The climbing session also was rad and left me totally knackered for the day. Between Ungerer’s stationary bike exam, swimming, then climbing, I was tapped out – good Wednesday.

takin’ this party inside

It’s been raining like mad the past couple weeks, so forget about climbing around Santa Barbara. Unless you like climbing gyms. I do. Phil and I went to Vertical Heaven last Saturday. There’s plenty inherently wrong with gyms. The worst thing is the crowds – and by ‘crowds’ I mean the legions of rippers – and by ‘rippers’ I mean the hippies, stoners, equipment collectors, dropouts from other sports, girl scouts, “artists”, etc. that post up at climbing gyms the world over. Something about this sport is really attractive to the rippers. They do not climb hard and they are stupid. And I’ve learned this: they do not wake up early. So, Phil and I got to Vertical Heaven in Ventura as they opened at 10:30 AM. It was great. We did a bunch of routes in and around their cave then bouldered. This gym is laid out well and the setters have done a great job, making this one of the best gyms I’ve been to. I had forgotten how gymnastic routes are in a gym (obvious, maybe). There was a lot of jumping and swinging around and that’s what’s fun to me.