Saturday, October 29, 2011

Co op / Rathmines


Filmed by:
Ron Browner
Trish Fox

Dec Tormey
Trish Fox

Trish Fox

Paul Basic, HBR (Michael Menert Remix)

Thanks to:
All the members of the Co op, Rathmines.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Bank.

So to counter the moaning I did on Thursday, I think it's important to acknowledge a good session...

Today I climbed as well as I ever have before at the board for 3 hours - sent two new problems, and came away feeling really good about my climbing...

This training thing is a head trip.

We had a chat about it and I agree that the time spent at the board shouldn't have success or failure attached to it. It's simply time spent training.

Full stop.

'Good' session or 'bad' session it's money in the bank. Always.

I wish the rain would timetable itself for the weekdays so I might get on some actual rock...

If it craps out tomorrow as well, it'll have been about 3 weeks since I was on rock by next weekend...

What's that about?!

Train, train, train, train train, train,

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Tonight was one of those nights.

I got to the wall and my body and brain said 'nope' in perfect unison...

It was one of those sessions when I had to think to myself, what have I been doing all this time and why isn't it paying off?!

I had to MAKE myself attempt every problem and every move. Frustration crept in and I found myself getting annoyed that I couldn't do moves that usually come easy, or I could do a move one minute, and not the next. Or, I'd do a hard move, and then bail off the easy move that followed...


My brain soon lost interest and psyche just plummeted. At the end of the session I thought, I'm just wasting my time with all this core conditioning - that's why I failed tonight - I spend too much time doing sit ups and not enough time climbing...

Hang on...

So I knew that wasn't right, I sat down and had a drink of water and tried to focus on the positives...

What positives?, I thought... Hmmm, the 3 hours I spent in the Co op tonight seemed to be a write-off...

Ok so,

1) I just spent 3 hours climbing... failing at every attempt, but climbing never the less
2) I tried 2 new problems
3) This is the first 'bad session' I've had in AGES.
4) The warm ups I did tonight were my projects not so long ago.

Ok - they're the positives,

So I went and did some conditioning... but not as much as I'd normally do...

I have to think to myself now though, that every session can't be amazing - and every session isn't amazing - so maybe today I'm just tired, or I'm not 100% or whatever, but I think it's worth pinning down when I feel like this.

Since I started this training bracket, I've become far stronger than I was, and even though I know that, I constantly expect a lot of myself and constantly want to do the next problem and the next move... I have to realise that some days, that might not happen...

Rarely enough does it happen... but I was ready to give up on tonight's training -

I have to make do with whatever my body can handle on these days and walk away knowing that I put the time in, and in the long run it's going to pay off.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Year Old!

My blog's a year old :)
And just over 20,000 hits...

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Alarm clock went off at 7.30am this morning and I was out the door to meet Howard for 8am.

We drove to Parkwest to steal old mattresses from a damp skip and got told off by some manager dude who said we weren't insured to be in his skip taking mattresses...

We had them packed in the van by the time he came along, so there wasn't much he could do about it.

Met Ron back at the Co op and we all donned face masks to prevent dying of suffocation through inhalation of clouds of thick dust and chalk which seemed to take endless repetitions of hoovering and sweeping to clear.

Once that was done, the new mattresses were laid down and we had a coffee and croissant break... After which came possibly the most frustrating job I've ever undertaken to complete.

Stitching mattresses together with pretty blunt screwdrivers and ties is something I'll definitely shy away from doing again, however - the mattresses are now stitched in place and stitched to the ground so they shouldn't ever move again...


It was an immense team effort and after laying down and tying the tarp in place, it all seemed absolutely worth it.

Ron, Simon, Howard, Michael, Dec, Chris and I worked our asses off today - it took about 7 hours... but I think you'll agree...

It was worth it:

I now need to sleep for quite some time...

Absolutely SHATTERED.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Physio session went well this evening in that nothing's broken/fractured, as I feared might be the case...

Walking is so sore I had to get a taxi from the Stephen's Green Luas Stop to Pearse Street Physio... which is only about a 10min walk... 30 second taxi journey.

Aidan examined my foot and asked why I had callouses all over my toes...

Climbing shoes.

He had the problem identified quickly and gave me various exercises to do.

I'm suffering from

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis is defined by various sources as irritation and swelling of the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot. Plantar fascia is the very thick band of tissue that holds up the bones on the bottom of the foot. This fascia can become inflammed, making walking difficult and very painful.

Taken from:

He said that somewhere along the way on Saturday, when I was out climbing I must have stretched my foot 'this way'...

He put my foot in the exact position it would have been in during my 15 or so attempts on Andy's Arete...

I said, yeah... I probably did have it that way once or twice... as my heart sank...

The weird thing is, it didn't hurt at the time, or on the walk out... it only became painful later on that evening.

So I've various exercises to complete 2 or 3 times a day, and I'm back for a check up next week.

It's the finger board and the campus board only for the next week...

My Left Foot.

Left alone these things rarely get better –

About a week ago there was something loose in the sole of my foot. It wasn’t sore – it just moved about as I walked, and left me quite nervous about what might have been happening.

Oddly enough, when I put shoes on, the ‘something’ in the sole of my foot stopped moving about. Perhaps it's the support of the shoe that fixes in place whatever is loose.

It doesn't bother my climbing one little bit.

On Saturday night, whilst walking to get into town, my foot started hurting for no reason at all… I get twinges and niggles all the time and thought little of it.

That night, my foot got worse and worse and I went into this sort of denial and didn’t complain about it and refused to believe it was anything that couldn’t be sorted out by a good night’s sleep.

It’s Tuesday now and I can’t walk on it at all.

The pain in my foot and whatever’s loose in the base of it seem to be completely separate as problems – when whatever’s loose starts to move, it doesn’t cause the pain which is occurring in the outside part of my foot below my ankle, and half way down from my little toe.

Physio’s booked for 5pm…

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Yes... Just Bouldering.

I've come to climbing later than would have been ideal now that I know how much I love it.

I was a good gymnast and maybe I wouldn't have taken to climbing as quickly as I have without the years I spent in the gym... In fact, no maybe about it.

I'm intrigued by the limits of how the human body can move. I'm endlessly entertained by the videos online of climbers, gymnasts, free runners, skateboarders, cyclists, surfers, etc who are pushing the limits of what's possible everyday. Some of my favorites:

Someone does something and I think, that has to be chance, or a one off, and then the next video comes along. Mind-blowing.

Gymnastics and trampolining are fast sports - fast reactions, fast movement, fast twitch. The reason I think I stuck with them for so many years is because I got a real buzz out of seeing how far I could push my body.

Climbing is no different, however I don't just want to climb generally, simply because, specifics and details are what I've always been interested in.

I don't get a buzz from being up high, or the long journey of a multi-pitch route. I've little or no interest in acquiring climbing gear or learning how to place it. I spend enough time with my own thoughts without climbing leaving me 50m up and alone too.

There is no doubt though, that I find videos and stories of people performing all the many things that don't float my boat, very impressive indeed.

I was asked last night: So you just boulder?...


It's the purity of bouldering that I love. I don't need to know how to do anything else, except climb. I'm harnessing one skill, climbing. There's nothing else to think about, just climbing. Nowhere to hide, I can do the move, or I can't and try as I may - there's no excuses.

I get a rush of adrenaline from sticking that one move that I couldn't do before, then putting it in sequence (perhaps trampolining and bouldering are alike in that sense - a skill is learned, then put in a sequence of skills in order to execute the final piece as a whole). I suppose it's the learned mechanics of a beautiful problem that leaves me obsessed. More than anything, though - I can perform the hardest possible moves that I'm capable of, without fearing anything.

The learning curve is sharp too, boulderers arrive at a problem and take quick turns - try, fail, try fail, try fail... One boulderer unlocks the move, everyone gets it - next move... try, fail, try, fail... until suddenly there's a sequence on the go and the problem comes together.

Everyone's psyched on the same move. The one hold.

Bouldering can be super personal as well though.

I suppose bouldering has me so intrigued and motivated because while I'm attempting the hardest move I can possible do - in that moment when I believe it can be done and really go for it, there's nothing else on my mind.

I love to train, and I put in about 4 evenings a week. Some evenings at the board are good, and some not so good, but I'm always looking forward to the next session. When I train indoors, I'm focused on only one thing: Preparing my body for bouldering.


Saturday, October 8, 2011


Darragh got on to me first thing this morning and after the abysmal Rugby defeat and asked if I was going to the first leg of the Irish Bouldering League today...

The forecast was too good not to check out the granite in Wicklow, so I said I'd give it a miss and go do some real climbing.

Darragh said I'd better get a move on, as it was forecast to rain at 10.10am.

As Claire and I drove towards Glendalough... and at exactly 10 minutes past 10... It started to rain.

That was some freakishly accurate forecasting by Darragh!!

It turned out to be only a quick shower and then the sun came out again. It was cold, it was dry - we'd made the correct decision!!!

We warmed up well on 'Big Jim' and both Claire and I were pretty psyched to go try Andy's Arete. We worked hard on the stand start and made some serious progress.

Claire opened the line up for me today as she demoed a right hand slap on the arete before catching the crimp up high. The momentary slap on the arete balances me and allows me to pause so I can accurately hit the crimp....

That's when my foot doesn't slip, which happened more often than not today.

However - I did catch the crimp and stood up to move my foot, before disaster struck and my left foot slipped. I never regained the position again, and subsequent attempts saw a regression if anything.

The left arm needs to lock off on a crimp and after a good few attempts, I was just getting tired.

Claire has an innate sense of balance when climbing and has little or no problem with placing and weighting her foot on the arete. Catching the high crimp and moving her left hand up higher again it seemed like it was all over...

Foot slip.

The two of us had worked hard and figured out a lot about the line. We were happy to walk away from it, but I think there's a good chance it'll get done in the next session or two.

While over at Big Jane we were joined by 6 deer. They came all the way over, I'm sure to say hello, and had little or no problem with me taking some nice photos of them :)

Bambi and co

We headed over across the river again and met up with Kev and Tom. It had become a little warm at that point and the slopers of the Egg Boulder were kind of out of commission.

Tom on Tim's Mantle

Tom pondering.

I snuck in a send of the stand start to 'Tim's Mantle' though my heel was slipping again, but somehow I managed to hang on and finish it.

The sit start didn't happen today - I just couldn't hold the greasy slopers.

Spent, we headed off back to the car. It had been a wonderful day of bouldering, sunshine, raindeer, figrolls and Claire brought along a flask of tea.


Friday, October 7, 2011

"A novelist is a rock climber, wandering endlessly toward the finish making moves well within his reach.
A poet is a boulderer, where every word means more than words themselves."

- Pedronaut.