16 March 2012

A compliment, a hill and a whole lot of brownie...

A lot of people out there in Running Blogland are hurting and a lot of people out there in the general world are depressed, I am a member of that intersecting group...

I know I'm not alone in there...but I didn't know who wanted to be named ;-)

Yesterday, however, my spirits were lifted for a bit, and it was really nice. I got to go to my climbing lesson...which was bound to be awesome in and of itself. It amazes me how challenging climbing is. I sweat and breathe hard, and my heart rate rises. My arms and legs shake. My hands and fingers stop working. It. Is. Awesome.

The plan yesterday was to work hard and challenge myself. I worked to failure. I am so glad that failure in the climbing gym ≠ bye, bye, XL like it might out on the face of Half Dome! The first route I worked on had an overhang. Overhangs are really hard if you have zero upper body strength, like me :) I decided that since I suck at overhangs so badly, I will attack them until I am proficient at and like them....thereby turning a weakness into a strength.

It was demanding work. I fell off the wall a few times. I learned that letting go and hanging out in your harness 20 feet up off the ground to shake out your arms is not only acceptable but is common practice and even encouraged. Resting while working out? You're kidding me?! Even with these condoned shake outs, by the end, I couldn't even hook my fingers over a handhold. On my last route up, with each move I was waiting for every millimeter of slack to be taken up before proceeding to the next hold....so essentially, my instructor was hauling my weakling butt up the wall! Nonetheless, I was working. Hard.

When I came down from the top and she was helping me untie because remember, my hands were useless, she said, "I usually really hate doing this..." Thinking she meant helping people untie,  I apologized. She said, "No, no! Private lessons...I usually really don't like giving them because they are usually kids whose parents sign them up and I'm pretty much just babysitting them. It is so much better and more fun to do it with someone like you who likes it and is into it and really works for it!" When I got into my car, my injured and depressed self cried because that's seriously one of the best compliments I've received in awhile. Thank you, Awesome Climbing Instructor Lady!

In line with trying to get some sweat going two days in a row but not really being able to run and knowing I need to get ready for a massively hilly race in 10 days, I decided to walk up a monster hill this morning...in the rain.

What it looked like as I was getting off the freeway...
I drive around with a helmet-cam on so no need to worry about the safety of my photography ;-)

I tried to channel the honey badger...

Scary, right? 
Be glad you aren't a cobra...or a big-ass hill 'cuz I'll take you down!

It was not as much fun as I had envisioned. In fact, it was kind of boring. Hard and boring. To amuse myself (and probably not you, too) I made some little videos...going for a nasal and annoying voice à la Randall in an exceptionally lame attempt to simulate the honey badger video...

halfway up

three-quarters of the way up

So...ummmm... yeah...way lamer than you thought, right? it happens...

Going up wasn't painful. My hip felt completely fine. But the way down started getting uncomfortable pretty quickly. I tried changing things up and did the ol' balance-beam-on-the-curb routine, which actually helped :)

I did this for over half of the way down.

And I used the walking backwards option, too (not while on the curb). This took a ton of strain off my piriformis while allowing me to catch this gem of a lawn ornament...

Seriously, who doesn't want a little boy fishing with barbed wire in his or her front yard?
Wondering where I might score one of these. I think my gnome is lonely...

All this depression exercise juiced my appetite. Go, brownies!!! Thanks to Bob's Red Mill and their gluten-free baking mixes, I foolishly made a large pan of brownies while home alone.

Much like that last sip of milk left in the carton or that last potato chip left in the bag, I left that last quarter of a brownie in the row...because finishing a whole row by myself in a 10-minute time span would be both lamentable and inconceivable.

Happy Weekend, Everyone :)

Ever run a race for which you were entirely UNprepared? How'd it go?


  1. Sounds like you have an AWESOME climbing instructor. A good teacher makes all the difference. Loved the videos and the Honey Badger reference. I'm going to use that mantra for my next race (which is a half marathon in one month, and I'm nowhere near ready! Too much skiing!!)

  2. I leave the brownie edges too. They are usually too crispy for me to enjoy as much as the interior pieces.

  3. My family gives me crap all the time because I leave the edges of the brownies. Seriously, I will eat out the ENTIRE center of the pan, except for the 1/4" around the edges. lol

  4. Loved the videos (I laughed out loud), Honey Badger don't care :-). Thanks for sharing.

    Cool about the climbing instructor. She's not used to belaying (I did have to look up how to spell that) for a driven individual, so it sounds like a real win-win.

  5. And here I thought the climbing instructor normally not liking to untie people was totally going somewhere else. But I know why. I just watched a couple episodes of Coupling, and I have Jeff Murdoch in my head. Channeling a honey badger is good.

  6. You are so funny and definitely a risk taker!! I know about feeling down! I was stuck in a dark hole and just now am climbing out but know that that hole is still there. Don't give in and Don't give in...you are still making a difference in the lives around you and that COUNTS!

  7. I love that you're taking climbing lessons. I've tried our Y's climbing wall a couple times...I suck at it. There's this adventure camp in Northern IL where part of the camp is learning to rappel and similar stuff. Sounds sooo cool. In theory, anyway. In reality I'd be peeing my pants, so no one would want to belay me. :)

    My last totally unprepared race was that 30K back in November. I finished...uh...3rd last...but I finished. Good enough for me.

  8. I don't want to be in either part of the pie. Damn hips! I'm totally happy to take you up on your offer for hip therapy.... And I exchange I'll do a song and dance to cure any feelings of depression

  9. My boy is a climbing instructor. He really enjoys working with the dedicated athletes. The kids and parties are just part of the job. I'll keep a lookout for that little fishing boy. I want one too.

  10. I'm right there with you in that intersection...I love that you're climbing - sounds like you had a great instructor who recognized an awesome athlete! Hang in there - happy weekend!

  11. Glad you found a fun new activity! I think you should have eaten the last brownie. When I make brownies, I usually have to end up cutting them in squares and putting them on a plate so that nobody sees how many I've eaten from the pan:) Have a great weekend!

  12. Way to channel your inner honey badger!! Your videos made me miss the rain. It never rains here. I hate that. I miss hearing rain on the roof.

    Here is another compliment: You have heart and guts and insight. It is hard not to notice!!

  13. I love that you are taking climbing lessons! Way to get a whole body workout! Sometimes I think about stopping running and finding something to keep my whole body fit, but then I remember how I can just step out my front door and run. Everything else involves driving and someone else's schedule.

    Hang in there! (And remember those rice crispy treats I made? I ate the entire pan. My kids don't even know I made any...)

  14. Your climbing lesson sounds like so much fun!! Good for you! I took a 6 week rock climbing class with my best friend in college, and it was one of my favorite experiences in all four years of college! We loved it, and it's such a good FUN strength workout!

  15. One of these days I will find the time (lack of time is one of the favorite excuses of mine) and do some rock climbing. I tried it a couple of times and loved it.
    Now I need to just kick my lazy ass off the bed and start moving.

  16. Races not prepared for??? hmm, lets see...all the ones I have signed up for in the oh so sneaky near future...and my surgeon didn't clear me again yesterday!!! Unprepared??? I would say so! And you can mention my name right along with ya in the middle of that venn diagram ;) I'll stand with ya!

    Awesome climbing compliment...I tried climbing last year before my hip surgery and really struggled with pain there...so glad you are able to do this pain free! Love your videos and sense of humor ;)

  17. I will be running completely unprepared next weekend, it's my second half and I haven't had a run over 6.5 miles since my first half 2 months ago. I'm scared!!
    Glad the climbing is going so well and that you rocked the instructors socks off!!
    Those brownies look amazing!! I want some!! But I'm all caveman these days and can't eat sugar...

  18. I'm right in the middle of your venn diagram with you (but I'm sure you would have guessed that!). I need to try a climbing gym. The regular gym just annoys me and the only thing I sort of like is the spin class and that sucker fills up early on a Saturday morning so I didn't even get to spin today. And boy my mood shows it!
    Good luck next weekend --

  19. I don't like running, but I do like walking, so am totally with you there! And I love Randall. The honey badger is a scary beast, though! I'd love to walk with you sometime.

  20. I'm sorry you are sad :(

    Those brownies look delish. I get the gluten free kind from Trader Joe's - no one else in my family really likes them - so I end up eating half a pan when I make them. Not.exaggerating.I.eat.half.a.pan. Brownie are a big weakness - but we all gotta have 'em right? xoxo

  21. I try to resist making brownies too often, because the exact same thing happens to me. :) There really are so many injured bloggers! It's somewhat encouraging to not be alone in this, but too bad that it's so common. Way to go on the climbing, that is something I've never tried, but looks like an awesome workout!

  22. You are running a good leg at the race! The Montclair area and surrounds are nice to run through, but yes, they are hilly. But the Honey Badger don't take no S* from nobody. So you will be fine.

    I had a half marathon that was a lottery system and so I had to sign up really early and by the time the race came I was out of shape. It was a really long, hot, race and I was sore before it even ended and pretty much immobilized afterward. I did run the whole thing though. I was so mad at myself for not training properly!

  23. I love the brownie edges... I probably would've eaten all the edges plus one giant piece right out of the middle... just because I'm the mom and I can. :)

    I can't believe you didn't walk down the hill on the curb backwards, where are your skills... ha ha.

    I tried climbing a few times in college. It's hard work and I have puny little chicken arms that can't support the rest of my bodyweight (ie I didn't do very well).

    Sorry you're injured and unhappy. I'm thinking happy healing thoughts for you. :)

  24. Yummy brownies. I might make some today :) My mental state considered it probably wouldn't be a good idea.

    My husband and I were planning on climbing Half Dome then in the same year he was relocated to Ohio. One day :)

  25. ..pffttt...part of a row of brownies...puleeeeze! Once you put the camera away you ate another row, admit it!
    I happened to have loved the video of the bad-ass honey-badger who doesn't give a shit. I snorted out loud at that. It wasn't lame at all. Wait till you see my vlog of the day of the comp. Now THAT will be lame. So happy you had that reaction after your climbing session...not that you cried, but that you felt that intense emotion that was the opposite of depression. :)

  26. I get it now...yes, injured and depressed. Not a good combination. I swear, if I didn't run (or do some vigorous exercise) I'd need to be medicated.
    And, I've totally eaten a whole row of brownies before...in a 10 minute time period.


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