Training Gains – A Female Climber Perspective

By | Climbing, Gym Climbing, Staying Healthy, Training, Trip Journal | No Comments

We’ve been back in the Bay Area for about a week now and are on an edit Jumbo Love + gym training regime for the month. We are both feeling really weak right now since we barely climbed the past few weeks of filming, but are determined to get back in shape before we head to Wyoming in July. Current status: extremely sore, but hopeful because I know the training schedule I set for myself is solid. Here’s a piece I wrote for Mojagear.com (original here) last month on the training program we use as our guide – The Rock Climber’s Training Manual.   Recently on The RV Project blog, I wrote about our perceived reality of living on the road (we are going to be climbing all the time = getting hella strong and crushing) versus actual reality (weather, work and travel commitments make it next to impossible to continue to improve at climbing without a plan). We’ve spent the past 3 years pretending like we had all the time in the world, that our lives were as carefree as our Instagram portrays. Finally, we’ve accepted our reality – coming to terms with the fact that we’re busy, really busy. And, furthermore, we want to be busy. Just climbing hasn’t gotten us appreciably stronger, we’ve both plateaued. The only way we thought we could break through is to regain some structure. We needed a plan, we needed goals, or we were going to continue to disappoint ourselves. As Spenser described, after a lot of…

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Fighting the Fear

By | Climbing, Staying Healthy, Training, Trip Journal | 2 Comments

“Discomfort is a common barrier to hard work. Usually, hard work is unpleasant. In addition to the obvious aversion to pain and suffering that tempts climbers to give less than their best, athletes are also encouraged to “listen to their body” or “back off at the first sign of injury.” These pieces of advice, while fundamental and necessary, create a murky line that atheletes are reluctant to cross for fear of injury or wasted effort. The solution to this conundrum is for each athlete to incrementally push ever so slightly beyond their comfort zone, monitor the effects, and then analyze the results. If all goes well, the athlete can push that much further beyond her previous limits the next time around. Though it may sound complicated, this is relatively straightforward to do with diligent application of the previously discussed training principles and contributing factors. This methodical approach to progressive overload is the essence of this training program” – The Rock Climber’s Training Manual. Spenser mentioned that we’ve set some lofty goals. In my mind I’m like this: but I’m actually usually like this: Sigh. Fear. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of crossing the line. Fear of disappointing. That simple four letter word tends to hold each of us back in its own way. When it comes to climbing, I realized a while back that the fear of getting hurt (often exhibiting itself as fear of falling) prevents me from trying hard. Until now, I really never wanted to do anything about…

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The Final Countdown to My Birthday Challenge

By | Birthday Challenges, Climbing, Training | 7 Comments

I’m not normally the kind of guy to spray the world about my birthday. I’ve never been one for huge laser tag parties or making all my friends invite their friends to a big group takeover of some moderately expensive restaurant. Birthdays are weird…the only time I’ve felt compelled or entitled to a big gathering of any sort was when I turned it into a charity event. Interestingly, that one was also a birthday challenge. This time, I’m spraying for a few reasons. I’m stoked. I’m kinda marketing for our EpicTV series, and my challenge will be part of it. I have trouble following through with audacious personal goals unless other people know about them. I have a lot less trouble with audacious goals if others expect me to at least try really hard. One more thing: if I can, in some way, inspire others to do something similarly audacious (physical or otherwise), that’s all for the better. I really, really hope this isn’t spilling over into obnoxious narcissism (my parents are psychologists, so I’m very self-conscious about this sort of thing). But I digress… Last night I hiked a tripod up to the 3rd peak and stashed it, so that Vikki will only have a camera bag to carry with her to film my first element on Tuesday. It was my second time up there in two days and my legs are feeling it today, but I’ve got three days to rest and a killer set of recovery tools in the…

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Hair on Fire

By | Birthday Challenges, Gym Climbing, Training | No Comments

I’m not ready to turn 30. The saying goes that time flies when you’re having fun. Strangely, I find that time flies when I’m standing still. Take the past two months for example. The RV Project moved its headquarters into my parents’ house, where we soaked up the comforts of a house and a doting mother and father who love to cook delicious food. A 2 month hiatus from the road seemed like a great chance to catch up with the videos we’re making, do some needed maintenance on the trailer, see our non-nomadic friends, and for me to prepare for my upcoming Birthday Challenge. The problem is, it feels like I’m just starting to train, and we’ve already left. It’s now less than a month from my birthday, and I am already dreading many of the elements I’ve set for myself. I’m not in poor shape, but the list of challenges is long. Time is fast dwindling, moreso as I’ll want to taper for a week or so before the challenge. I spent most of my time in the gym lifting weights and gaining endurance. I followed the format of Phase 1 of John Long’s Workout From Hell. I’d done the entire cycle once before, and remember feeling much pain and suffering during the 30-rep phase, but I also recall that my body felt as solid as a tree, as though bullets would bounce off my chest. I figured this would be a good way to train for my 300,000-pound lifting day,…

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Recovery Road is a Long One

By | The Interior, Training, Trip Journal | One Comment

Until our last day of climbing in Red Rocks, Las Vegas, I hadn’t bouldered since December 21st. That was the day I somehow fell from the pinch on Saigon Direct, missed the pads, and cracked my heel in two. I wanted to use the forced rest period to address another injury of mine, that being chronic tendonitis of the right elbow, or medial epicondylosis if you’re inclined to use specific terms. Nearly 4 months and hours and hours of physical therapy later and I cannot say that it’s gone. I can say, however, that my condition has improved, and I am now back to trying hard. Except for a couple of days of sport climbing, I didn’t climb in Bishop after the foot injury. Three months later, As a reintegration to movement, Evan Ludmer and I did a little bit of trad climbing in Vegas, ticking the incredible classics Epinephrine and Sour Mash. At this point, my elbow wasn’t really hurting, but still made the crepitus-like noise that it has been making all year. I figured that keeping the climbing to a vertical 5.9/5.10 level would be okay, and it was. I decided to try some easy bouldering. For the purposes of this blog post, I’m using grades to discuss relative strength within one person (me). It is not my intention to use grades as ego markers. They are brought up here only to illustrate a point, and in our idiosyncratic sport, grades are the best approximation we have for a standard rubric. For the first couple…

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In Celebration

By | Bouldering, Climbing, The Exterior, Training, Trip Journal | 4 Comments

Last week, we met Katie and Niko at the local Joe’s Valley watering hole, The Food Ranch. The similarities were pretty conspicuous from the get-go: another couple on a year-long road trip, blogging and videoing their way through the experience. The main difference is that they are 2 months in, while we’re on year 2. We immediately got along great and became fast climbing partners and even (gasp) friends. As the amiable couple left to Moab for the week, Spenser and I mulled over a large realization they had brought to our attention: we’ve been on the road for almost 14 months! This awareness was a bit shocking to both Spenser and I. The year-mark came and went, without the least bit of recognition. It was an organic occurrence for us, it didn’t mean nothing to us, but it didn’t exactly mean anything either. Why didn’t we celebrate? Wait, celebrate what? “Congratulations on living your life,” seems very silly to me. I should mention I’m also not much for celebrating birthdays. Celebrating a year of being on the road is along the same vein. At least now I know why Spenser and I have been having such a difficult time answering people when they keep asking us how much longer we’ll be on the road for. The short answer is, we don’t know. We can’t really think about it. This is our life. We’re happy, much happier than we were in the Bay Area. We still enjoy gong back to…

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Are Piercings Worth the Price?

By | Climbing, Staying Healthy, The Exterior, The Interior, Training, Trip Journal | 8 Comments

As Spenser said in the last post, we have arrived to sandstone heaven. I could not be happier. Colorado has beautiful stone and a multitude of great climbs, but Joe’s Valley is just easy. Especially after a summer consisting of driving an hour and a half, hiking another hour a half, climbing, hiking over talus for a half hour, climbing, and repeating. Free camping, boulders everywhere, and a town with everything you need just a short ride away. It’s been effortless getting used to life at Joe’s. But I’m getting carried away. The point of this post is to talk about piercings! Let’s go back to where my curiosity with this began. Towards the end of our first climbing day at Left Fork, we met Mina Leslie-Wujastyk and David Mason. Mina and I started talking about physical therapy and the recurrent shoulder/neck injury she used to struggle with. Mina’s shoulder would act up, especially during training, much like my injury (similar neck pain with numbness down the arm). She went to a chiropractor in Britain that was more on the alternative side of things and he told her that her piercings could be hindering her recovery. Piercings? Really? Her chiropractor explained that because of the repetitive stress on her body from traveling, climbing hard, training, and so on, her immune system was already working overtime. To add the piercings on top of all that was possibly the straw that broke the camel’s back, in a way. Since her immune system…

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No Pain, No Gain…No, Really.

By | Climbing, Staying Healthy, The Exterior, Training, Trip Journal | 8 Comments

Again, I’ve made the mistake of ignoring the nagging feeling in the back of my mind, that feeling that something is just not right with my body. The first time was when I ended up getting diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Not sure why I didn’t learn my lesson the first time… I was in physical therapy before leaving on this road trip for recurring shoulder pain. I made some minimal changes, but overall I didn’t trust my physical therapist. I thought she was full of it. Ok, just partially full of it. She assigned a few back exercises and stretches and sternly told me that I needed to climb less frequently for a while. Whenever I asked for an explanation, she gave me a half-ass response. Whenever I asked a follow-up question, she dismissed me. She was scatterbrained and always in a rush and I didn’t like that about her mode of therapy. So I only half listened to her. I was so busy with work and leaving my life in SF (renting out my apartment, packing up, etc.) that I barely had time to climb anyway – I was focused on getting out of the Bay Area and on the road. I changed up my daily habits a bit, things that were obvious to me, such as not holding the phone between my shoulder and head while typing and carrying an ergonomic backpack during my daily walks to/form the BART station. My shoulder pain went away without me doing…

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Time to Try Hard

By | Climbing, Staying Healthy, The Exterior, Training, Trip Journal | 4 Comments

I’ve just fallen in love with the concept of training. I don’t enjoy training…yet. And yikes, if you know me, you know that’s a crazy sentence. Like Spenser mentioned in the last post, we’ve been in Colorado over two months. Since being in Colorado, Spenser and I have kicked up our training several notches. Through this, I’ve realized that my quit threshold is extremely low… What is a quit threshold, you ask? I see it as the moment you lose your “grrr,” when you stop trying hard. It’s completely psychological. You could do one, two, or even three more push-ups/crunches/squats, but you choose not to. You essentially give up. You know that the extra effort won’t kill you, so why do you stop? The negative impact is not solely felt in your training, this attitude will eventually permeate throughout all your actions. It could mean that you will not make that last move on the climb you’ve been projecting, or that you will lack the mental gumption to study hard for class that you need to excel in. So here we are. In Colorado, surrounded by ridiculously strong climbers. Living with Brad Jackson, a training master. He knows how to train smart, not just hard. So…exactly why are we not taking FULL advantage of this? When this realization finally hit me, I felt like quite a bonehead. The past 2 months have been the most active months in my entire life. Hiking to and from Rocky Mountain National Park, at high altitude, training hard…but…

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