I went to see a new physio who had some new ideas to compliment advice I'd had before, and initial progress was really good. However after a few weeks I got to a bit of a plateau of my own making.
I'm no stranger to injury, and I'm usually pretty good at taking a positive mental attitude to my rehab; but physio sucks at the best of times, and when nerve pain is involved it's excruciating. This is the third time my L5/S1 disk has gone in the space of a couple of years, and I've been finding it hard to push through the pain barrier.
I started casting around the web for inspiration, but UKC and /r/climbing didn't seem to be cutting it; fortunately help was at hand from sources closer to home.
First came the news that Tom "Slab Master" Le Fanu had climbed his first 8a. Next up were grainy pictures of a head-torch 8a+ ascent from rock athlete Jerome Mowat. Then along came the news that Adam "Beast" Brown had also ticked his first 8a.
|Le Fanu clearly had nothing left to even raise a celebratory smile after La Crema (8a) - photo by Adam Brown|
|Jerome making his outrageous head-torch ascent of Brot de Fonol (8a+) - photo by Adam Brown|
News of some incredible feat by a top climber is really just that; news. But hearing of friends achievements is something else - you know the work they've put in, the highs and the lows, because you've been there with them.
You can feel the buzz they felt when they first thought "this can go". You can feel the deflation they felt when for the next few attempts it didn't. And you can feel the elation they felt when they clipped the chains.
And as great as those vicarious feelings are, you want it all back for real.
Next morning, two insightful blog posts appeared with some excellent photographs and a bit of an old-school vibe. Ramon "discovering Suirana" with the afore-mentioned team of UK based crankers, and Nicola going back to the world of multi-pitch slabs in Italy. It was particularly useful to see new pictures of Finale... I'm going to be there in a few months time, and it reminded me I want to be fit.
A couple of days later, Jerome also put up a great account of his end to the trip.
Thanks to these guys, I've been back in the basement shower room before work, during lunchtimes and after hours for the last two weeks doing back bends till I think I'm going to vomit and poking around in my lower back and glutes with tennis balls, golf balls and rollers till I feel close to passing out.
And it's working.
I *will* make it back to full fitness before our departure date, with a bit of hard work, gritted teeth, and a little help from my friends.
I'll leave you with a great reply and picture I got from Adam when I mailed him for the lowdown:
The one attached is of us just after we each ticked our projects in a very crazy 2 hour window on the last night of the trip. It was honestly the craziest couple of hours of my life. We'd gone back down to the crag (after a 4 hour siesta!) all feeling weak and lazy and unable even to do the easy bits of our project to get warmed up - I think objectively I gave Tom a 30% chance of getting the tick; me 10% and Jerome (on a different proj) also 10%. Then suddenly it all happened - 30 mins later Tom had ticked his second 8a; then I had done my first; but the fact that we'd both succeeded meant Jerome had to crank in the dark. Instead of being down on his chances (esp since he hadn't even managed the crux move in isolation at that point) he just tied on and did the thing. I think we were all in a state of shock (Fatima and Rachel saw us and I think they thought we were mad!). Psyche like that is definitely contagious...!
Indeed it is, Mr Brown. Indeed it is.
|Team Psych after a their night of glory|