Strangely Enough

‎”Strangely enough in my life as a climber, it is the pursuit of this vain objective that inspired me the most, maybe futile games are the best ones to play”

I found this on written after a climbing video, I thought it was a great sentiment. Do things for the love of them not necessarily any other reason. You get out what you put in, climbing especially.

Climbing is such an under appreciated sport, and also one of the few that the addicts get almost no attention whats so ever. I think it  is more about the feelings you experience from the falls to the sends. It is a coaster of emotions and every route has it’s own specific journey one that is always worth taking.

30 Day Yoga Challenge

I have two of the greatest, most open minded and free spirited roommates. They are yoga fanatics and advocates, who place high value on flexibility and balance. They are very athletic and are both great climbers. All of us ran in college my athletic career just lasted a bit longer than theirs. They quit the team their sophomore year and I continued, but that is a story for a different day.

I have been coming back from a running injury that put me out of commission for two months. It will sound small, but I had tendentious in my right ankle. I think the deal breaker was when I ran on it until I could barely walk, and my ankle then got swallow to double the normal size. It was unbelievably painful and running on it, sounds like a stupid idea and it was, I know. I like many runners was under the impression that it would just go away. Also I claim to be blinded by love, the love of running. It brings happiness and joy to my life.

I don’t regret being hurt although I hate how much fitness I have lost. I had never been this injured before; I had never had a stress fracture (knock on wood) or broke a bone in my life (knock on wood). Being injured and having that much down time kind of brought me to some realizations. If I had to pick I would say I have learned two major things. Lesson one that my body cannot (and shouldn’t have to) handle everything that is thrown at it and two don’t take advantage of your gifts. Running, climbing and any physical activity is a gift, it is not a privilege and we should treat it that way. I will never push my body like that again, an injury is an injury and when your body needs down time take it now rather than later. A side lesson that I learned is that even if you get hurt you aren’t going to start at square one. Yes, you will have to take some steps backward, but your body retains muscle memory and you’ll come back from it.

My runs currently last about 30 minutes and I have yet to do a work out, so I am still building into it. I have been lifting with focus on my balance and ankle strengthening. This is to rid my body of the tiny bit of tightness that remains since I am still not 100%.

Last week my roomies challenged me. They both think that I should be doing yoga more than I am now. Not only to help cure my current injury, but also to increase my flexibility and reduce stress. I decided to take it a step further. Since I haven’t competed in a while I said, “Well it takes 30 days to make a habit, so I will do at least 20 minutes of yoga a day for 30days”.

Thus far I have got 11 days under my belt and counting. This has not been easy, I am a track coach at NMU so last weekend we got back from the meet at 2:00am. When I finally reached home I realized I still needed to do my “yoga challenge”.  I dribbled into downward dog, held a wobbly warrior one and almost feel asleep in savasana, but I did it. After my 20 minutes I crashed with a dreamlike feeling of accomplishment. I was also proud of myself because sometimes after I get home from meets I eat more. I am not sure why, because I am not practically hungry and it is also bad because I go to bed right after. This time instead I did my yoga and afterward nothing sounded better than bed.

I know it has only been 11 days, but I have noticed some improvements. I have an increased flexibility in my shoulders. I have very tight shoulders as runners tend to have, but each time I do yoga I feel better and better. I also feel like my balance has improved in my lifting exercise routines. I am also a boulder lover and I feel and increase in hip flexibility and I am more fluid with my movements when I climb.

The idea that yoga is a lifestyle may have more truth than we think. It is not just doing poses, but also taking care of your body. Eating right, resting when you need rest and taking care of the little things. Don’t knock it till you have tried it. There may be no proof that stretching prevents injury, but there is no arguing with how you feel after a good yoga session. Just try it. Join me in my 30 day challenge and let me know how you feel after the 30 days are up. I can guarantee you won’t look back.

My 23 year.

I just turned 24 yesterday. I want to say it has been a rough year. I would like to say it was hard getting used to living away from my family and friends in a jungle of uncertainties. But, I won’t. I refuse to, because with all of my fear came knowledge and realization of life’s workings. A lesson more valuable than any perfectly peachy year.

We don’t always have to be happy. Let me rephrase our perception of what happy is doesn’t always have to include puppies and cherry pie. I am happy I know that for sure. I just want to state that with out the dark to contrast to the light, we may always be in this utmost state of gray. I choose to taste the bitter just because when the sweet does come it will taste just that much sweeter. I am excited for tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow…

Cheers,

JG

The Dreaded Month to Month

Drove up to Marquette the day before yesterday. Luckily there was no snow, well hardly any snow. We hit some flurries about 80 miles from the bridge after that it was smooth sailing. We have made a commitment to not drive down to see family until the snow melts. Right now we are looking for a place to live. We were supposed to stay in this house, but then because of zoning issues we can’t until February. Thus we need a seedy month to month apartment.

No one likes when you ask that question. You: In the casual of voice tones, “Wow this place is beautiful, but do you rent month to month?” This question is undoubtedly met with a blank stare that turns into eye squinting in a suspicious fashion. As if to say, what are these cats up to? We weakly smile back and look at the floor. No matter how confident you are with this message someone, finds a way to say no. Our only hope now lies in the hands of a Realtor by the name of Vicky, who asked us point blank, “How are you going to pay for this place?”. Lucky after a long summer of working for a living, (as we are told is a great idea) my friend Ian would be able to cough up the cash right then and there. Vicky nodded appreciatively, still she said dismissively, “We will call you”.  I was like so people don’t want money orrr?? I hate this situation because I can give you references that tell you I am a great person, if you wanted references you should ask for them on the application. What information do you need?!  I am not going to go AWOL and refuse to pay the rent and I wouldn’t go Gallagher on the place. I just need space thats warm and I can make food and do abs in. Still the hunt continues.

In other news, I was hit with on of the greatest ideas of a lifetime, or so it appears. It was during my morning runners high, so it may not be as great as I think. I will look into it further then see what people think. Most likely call my mom and see what she thinks then go from there. Moms are good for telling you what ideas are really bad ones. For example, should I jump off this cliff, or duck tap my hands together and try to drive. Moms aren’t as great with telling you when ideas are just kinda bad and not life threatening. Usually my mom supports me no matter what, which is nice way to reinforce bad-ish ideas. Also a nice way to keep me inspired, it is a trade off I am willing to make.

WO: 10 Miles
Conditions: 14 degrees

G to the Power of Three

My sister just got back in town from Saba, which is a medical school in the Caribbean. Which means I would only see her twice a year, for her two week break. One in May, one at Christmas. She has just finally finished up the two year program and is home for good. Now she has to study for two months and take another test. The final of all finals as I understand it and then she will be placed at a hospital to do clinical. She wants to stay in Michigan, but I am not sure where she will be placed, and neither does she.

When I was younger it was always us three, it is such a comfort feeling to have her back in my life. I have two older sisters who are twins, Katie is the one going to medical school and Jenni is going to Wayne State’s law school. They are a year and a half older then I am so we were all pretty close. It is funny how much more confident you become when you have someone who really loves you standing by your side. Together we are invincible, seriously though you don’t want to mess with the Gross girls. 😉 To this day they are the only people to love me no matter what. It doesn’t matter how much I piss off a sister, she will always stand up for me, or be there when I really need her. I am truly lucky to have such wonderful people in my life.

Now I just have to figure out a way to get them climbing… Jenni is scared of falling, I mean but aren’t we all at first. I think if you always see the negative in everything it is kind hard to see the positives. My attitude is, yea you could die, and on to the next thing. It is a work in progress, such is life. 🙂

From left to right: Jenni, Katie and Me

WO: 10miles(5x2min 600 pace HA!)/4strides/2hours climb
Conditions: 20 degrees

First Lead Climb

Most of my day was time put towards changing my stupid head light that burnt out. I have a 1991 Jeep Cherokee Briarwood (which means it has wood paneling on the side). The reason I am telling you this is because you realize (if you know anything about cars) that the light bulb is not changed easily by just raising the hood. Jeeps made back then, you have to go though the front  which is torturous in the freezing cold. Plus my screws were staring to rust and even with a ton of WD-40 it was still hard to not to strip them. We got the light back in the car and it works it is just a bit tilted. I think that is good enough for now, it works and I won’t get a ticket, done.

Then I went climbing, which was awesome. I felt like I hadn’t climbed in weeks even though I had. At Wayne State’s rock wall, were I climb they had just recently had a competition. Which means new routes! I was super stoked and I climbed a few 5-10s with little difficulty. Either they are making easier problems or I am getting better. That left me feeling fairly confident. I decided to lead a few routes for the first time. They were 5-7s, but still. I did not get as nervous as I thought I would. I think it was because I knew that I would not fall. I am kind of disappointed that I did not fall, because I really want to get that over with. Another reason for my confidence I would have to say the way is only 25 feet up, so not really that high at all. It is a very good place to learn.

Oh YouTube ( Admittedly, this video is kind of bad, but here is an idea of what the I am talking about).

WO:10miles/2hours climb
Conditions:20 degrees?

127 Hours

I am sure you can guess what this blog is about. During the day I worked on company stuff nothing too exciting, just this and that. I received my new serger blade whhaaahoooo! Pretty exciting for me, everyone else is like what is a serger, stop being so excited. Anyway, later that day I went to see 127 Hours with a few friends. We went to Birmingham, the ritzy part of Michigan.

For some reason, I had not read the book 127 Hours which I should have. I thought 127 Hours was a climbing movie and it was not until later that I discovered it was about a man who had his arm caught between a rock, and well a rock. This dilemma subsequently lead to him chopping his arm off. The movie was set in Utah?? I think, and it had some epic boulders and I wanted to climb soo bad! The directer, Danny Boyal was the same dude who did AHH! Trainspotting. Which if you have not seen, than you should just because of the emotional roller coaster it puts you through. He also did Slumdog Millionaire and 28 Days Later, I mean it is all good stuff, congrats Danny Boyal.

I think the worse part of the movie I mean, “graphic” wise is the scene where he has to cut through his nerve bundle with a dull blade and the electric guitar sounds. It was so well done! I was right there squirming and gagging, like I could feel my nerve being pulled and cut, so gross. For a few days I was stuck with that awesome (sarcasm) image in my mind over and over. In my expert opinion, I would say it was a great movie about humen surval when pushed to its limits. I am all about testing limits and it was very inspiring in that way. I am not sure if I could of done it.

WO:10miles(Threshold..1x7min,1x5min,2x3min)/GS
Conditions:Winter 🙂

More Layers

I woke up and started reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, big mistake that is such a good book!  I read for a while and then decided to go running and let the snow melt a bit before I had to make the dreaded drive home. I ran through town and was going all sorts of directions. I started out going into the wind or so I thought then I turned the corner and found where the real wind was. I was seven mins into my run, and thought I should go back for more layers. So, then I headed back to Ian’s house by that time I was almost at 15mins and I was like well it isn’t that bad. Plus yesterday in that crazy snow my friend and x-teammate Pat ran without a hat and gloves. I was like if he can do that, I can run with a few less layers.

I took off toward out of town, until the sidewalk ended. At that point I crossed the street and turned, promptly falling on my butt/hip. I hurriedly and got up and did the I am ok look and kept going. I went into Neighborhoods and at one point to the hospital parking lot because it was clear. It was sort or circles of circles. Not one of my best runs. Plus, I had no idea where to go really since I had never been there before. Anyway I made it back to Ian’s.

We then both set to the task of digging out what used to be my car from piled snow, with out a snow scrapper. We had to slash warm water on the door handle to get it to open. The car started fine, after sitting for three solid days in the cold. I put the four-wheel-drive in action and away I went. I made it to Berkley, but not with out a few nervious moments.

WO:10miles
Conditions:15degrees

Serious Snow!

It was Sunday and we woke up later then I would like. I was feeling particularly bad about the fact that Nicole had no internet and I had not been able to do anything company wise in a few days. I got up and started to read the last few chapters of Fashion for Profit, by Fransis Harder. Nicole woke up soon after, and came down stairs her head in her phone. I gazed outside at the huge snow flakes floating down. The entire world outside was now utterly covers in that fluffy white stuff. Yugh!

We still had yet to drive to Chelsea, well I had to drive to Berkley after that which I had pretty much decided that I was not doing today. When Ian woke up we kind of discussed over plans for departure and came to a 3:00pm conclusion. Nicole and I put the space heater on in the bathroom and dressed for the snow in the warm air. Ian had arranged for an old teammate to meet for a run, as well so all bundled up, we exited the shelter together.

I said before this that snow was drifting down. Well I was wrong, snow pleted me in my eye repeatedly. The wind was so strong and the ground had all turned to this slushy yucky mess. We ran toward the rivertrail and got to it just in time to make our turn around. We were laughing at how dumb we must look half blind from snow and wildly running and bumping into one another. The entire experence was one of the best I have had in a while.

After we both packed up our things we headed to Chelsea driving not as slow as I would of liked. My friend Ian had taken over control of driving while I white knuckled the door handle. It was about all I could do to not yell SLOW DOWN, every two to three mins. We did make it all in one piece and there was dinner already prepared! Ian’s mom is a great cook, or oatmeal makes everything taste better after a few days or eating it 🙂

WO:40mins
Conditions: Read above section 🙂

The drive

Goo goo! We drove from Marquette to Petoskey correction, I drove from Marquette to Petoskey. The girl who is scared of driving in the snow had to drive threw a winter storm. I over came it, it was a good challenge for me, and I am glad to say no freak outs or ditches or rolling of cars. After dropping off my friend at his house, we switched drivers, though the rest of the drive to East Lansing was not too bad.

We arrived at my friend Emily’s house around 7:00pm. She lives with a few other of my old teammates about a mile from old MSU sniff, sniff. She made us quiche with whole grain flower and veggies …Yummm. Then we caught up about life and such, well as much as you can in the few hours we had. Emily took me to her boyfriend’s Christmas pary, just for a change of scenery. I didn’t know anyone, but it was fun anyway. Then I left to go visit with my friend Nicole where I subsiqently spent the night.

WO:12ish mile run/6strides
Conditions:15 degrees but not too windy