Body Composition Optimization

Otherwise known as dieting.

Now, generally speaking, I don’t believe in dieting.  I think the food we eat daily should be optimized towards sustainability. But in the name of experimentation, we’re going all in on this two months of periodized training by capping it off with two weeks of body-comp-optimization.

We started off by agreeing that before, during, and after climbing we would eat whatever we wanted (like we do now.)

Daniel said that he’d give up alcohol for two weeks and cut back on starches.

I already don’t drink, so my thought was I’d give up muffins and chocolate as primary snack foods in favor of something more like nuts and goji berries. Also, I’ve been trying to reduce my caffeine intake in order to be less anxious, which means that my absolute favorite snack – a breve cappuccino – is off the table. (That’s a cappuccino made with half and half instead of milk by the way.)

Our hope was to come home and eat rice and vegetables for dinner every night. We’ll see how that goes.

Day 1: was a climbing day, so we ate whatever we wanted, which for me included a muffin slathered with almond butter. Dinner out at a ramen shop.

Day 2: I decided to skip lunch in favor of a vegan cookie (you know, 480 calories apiece, like these) but was too hungry by 3pm so I added a cheese + chipotle mayo crepe followed by two Lindt chocolate. WIN.

Days 3-14:

Daniel successfully did not drink alcohol. I substituted scones for muffins.

2017-09-02 10.54.53

 

 

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Daypacks + The Ten Essentials

Recently I spent lunchtime designing a daypack and ordering the required objects that I didn’t already have.  I was loosely informed by the idea of “ten essentials” for hiking, plus the amazing book Desert Solitaire (Edward Abbey)- he seems to go on multi-day adventures with little more than a canteen, if that. Though it appears that 1965 was in the days prior to the necessity of water purification, sadly….

Luckily, since Daniel and I will both be carrying daypacks and traveling together, we can split the load (to a certain extent.) See below: My pack all packed up, with extra items that he will carry (food bag, second InReach, leatherman.)

Periodization Training Ep.3 :: Power Endurance

Enter phase 3 of our mini-periodized training season (here’s the overview): Power Endurance. Or otherwise known as, my least favorite type of training.

I’m afraid of falling.  During the strength & power phase we simply came to the realization that we weren’t pushing ourselves because we didn’t want to fall. It’s easier to justify: we’re over 35 and a whole bunch of falling – even onto nice mats- can have an effect. Plus, I twisted an ankle badly bouldering in the gym a few years ago and since then- I just haven’t had a taste for it.

We are doing the power-endurance phase by lead climbing on the lead wall at Salt Pump. It’s stiff and overhanging and long- modeled after Shagg Crag in Maine.

Session 1 – 8.29.17

Warmup- six pitches on auto-belay.

5.9
rest
10b
rest
10a
rest
10c
rest
5.9
(no rest)
5.9 – hung rope twice

Session 2 – 8.31.2017

warmup: 8 pitches autobelay

5.9
rest
10b
rest
10c
rest
10a
rest
5.9
then we ran out of time because the gym closes at 9pm.

Will continue to update.

Forest Food

Daniel loves to cook (thank god because I don’t). He’s skillfully translated this into cooking with fire.  I.e. forest cooking. Nothing like coming back from the weekend and everything you have smells like campfire.

Here’s our basic meal program, as of yet:

  1. Summer Garden Vegetables on the Plancha– or, more commonly known as “sort of like pizza”. Sautéed bell peppers, fresh heirloom tomatoes, olive oil, cracked pepper, all piled on top of a fresh english muffin with hickory smoked cheddar cheese.
  2. Forest Dirty Rice– organic white long grain rice, simmered to a savory perfection with boullion, garlic, bell peppers, onions. Topped with a plancha-fried egg and fresh cracked pepper and salt. Hot sauce optional.
  3. Rainy Italians- fresh mini baguettes, classic american cheese, a drizzle of olive oil and fresh cracked pepper paired with thin sliced orange peppers and tomatoes. Preferably consumed while partially wet, huddled under a tarp, because you couldn’t get the fire to light.
  4. Rainy Rice– Cooked over fresh and dry store-bought firewood, long-grain white rice jazzed up with woodsmoke, boullion, garlic, onion, and bell peppers. Side salad of fresh tomatoes drizzled in olive oil.
  5. Forest Flapjacks– A four hour love affair with breakfast. Campfire and plancha by the river, with classic pancake ingredients. Finished off with cherry jam and butter.
  6. Ask and You shall Receive Lunch- Drive for several hours through the forest. Mention you are getting hungry and we are going to need to pull over and eat the rest of the Rainy Rice. Thirty seconds later, pull into a deserted dispersed camping site, and find the firepit still smoking and hot. Double check for human presence, find none. Heat your rice over the remainder of the coals, then carefully make sure the fire is out before you leave.
  7. Smores– the ever classic smores made with organic milk chocolate, vegan marshmallows, and toasted to perfection over an open fire.

 

 

Periodization Training Ep.2 :: Strength & Power

Endurance training felt effective.  We started with the goal of 20 toprope pitches each in 2 hours. By the fifth session we were doing 20 toprope pitches each in 90 minutes, and the difficulty had increased. We also seem to have inspired several other gym goers to try the same program.

Next part of the cycle is Strength & Power, more popularly known as bouldering.

First Session 8.8.17

Our idea here was to warm up like normal and then do 4x4s, which turned into 5x4s because, apparently, I can’t count.

4x4s are a structured bouldering training routine that looks like this:

  • Pick 4 boulder problems that are easy for you or at least some grades beneath your max ability.
  • All gyms rate things differently, so like routes, it takes a little trial and error to figure out the correct difficulty for you.
  • Preferably, pick problems on different types of walls- some overhang, some slab, some vert. etc
  • Do them without stopping from easiest to hardest.
  • Downclimb them if you can in order to minimize impact on your body from top jumping.
  • Rest 3 minutes after each set of 4 problems.
  • Repeat 4 times.

For session 1, we picked V0s and V1s (they weren’t all rated, so I’m just assuming that is what they were.)  I chose 5 problems, which I literally didn’t realize till halfway through the session when Daniel noted it.

We started with an hour of easy route climbing with friends as a warmup. The sequence of 5 problems including downclimbing took 5 minutes, and the rest took 3 minutes, so all told it was a half hour workout.

It felt dramatically easy compared to the endurance training, so we need to both increase the difficulty of the chosen problem set as well as possibly the quantity.

The only thing I noticed was after a few months of only route climbing, my bouldering callouses were hurting! Different angles, folks.

Second Session 8.10.17

Warmup- half dozen autobelay routes

Program:
v0  – slab
v1 – 100° wall
v1  – arete
v2 – 120°wall

The workout takes 30 minutes exactly, up and downclimbing.

I tried adding in a balancey, fingery v2 on a 95° wall, but quickly discarded that idea because balance + speed is not something I’ve figured out yet. The program doesn’t require fast climbing, but it seems to encourage it.

3rd Session: 8.15.17

V1 slab
V1 115° wall
V2 100° wall
V1 120° wall

I have realized the reason it’s a challenge to make the 4x4s a challenge is because I’m not willing to push to the point of failure (i.e. Falling) while bouldering.

Will continue to update with future sessions.

 

Vehicle Camping : Episode 2 Packing List

Because one of the best parts of having a secret blog is the chance to make extremely detailed lists of things that no one else really cares about.

Episode 2 of B&D go camping adventures was dramatically successful. It included a much improved bedding situation (rev 4 got it perfect) as well as open-fire cooked gourmet meals.

We’re doing this thing called dispersed camping. Generally, on federal lands such as national forests there are spots that allow for camping, but it’s not like a campground. There are no facilities, no water or potties.  But- there is a pre-designated firepit and some flattish land on which to park a tent or car.

By pure chance, we found this off-the-beaten track location for dispersed camping on the same day as one of our other climbing crew. It’s like this long dirt road in the national forest, and every half mile to mile on the side of the road there are pull outs with firepits and evidence of prior camping. We weren’t sure if the camping was free or not, but we bought an annual pass just in case.

Night one it felt very isolated- alone in the remote woods.

Night two we started to sense the patterns of the other camp dwellers coming and going.

By night four it felt more like we were living in a neighborhood of nosy neighbors- we heard the local gossip that the guys camping way down at the end got kicked out, either because of their pitbull or because they had stayed longer than the 14 days.  We saw the tent in one of the best sites that had clearly been there for more than two weeks, but wasn’t going to be disturbed because they were quiet (no 4-wheeler donuts at midnight with firecrackers I guess.)

Every car that goes by you start to recognize, and soon it’s clear that there is more anonymity living in a city than on a dirt road.

Here’s the packing list:

Kitchen:

The major improvement here was we added dinner-making equipment. Daniel decided he was going to cook over open fire, so we added:

  • cast-iron plancha
  • cooking utensils (spatula, stirrer, tongs)
  • knives with covers
  • cutting board
  • “4-burner” cooking pot with secure lid
  • Yeti 45 cooler

In addition to the pre-existing cookgear which includes:

  • Jetboil flash stove
  • ceramic pourover + filters
  • 2 stainless steel coffeecups
  • 2 camp plates
  • camp silverware
  • paper towels
  • bug candles
  • 2 helinox camp chairs
  • 2 sturdy black crates (one for kitchen stuffs and one for clothing)
  • stuff sack
  • food stuffs: challah, babka, kanelbar, peanut butter, provolone, tomatoes, rice, corn, salt, pepper, hot sauce, olive oil, yogurt, beer, ginger ale, grapefruit juice, coffee

General:

  • InReach, charger (we had no cell service at all in the woods)
  • Iphone chargers
  • notebook and pens (always)
  • binoculars – these did not get used but are going to live in the car.
  • 2 bic lighters
  • 2 head lamps
  • first aid kit, extra batteries, tape, lotion, bug spray
  • small pelican case with: leatherman, sewing kit, small scissors, a variety of small biners and rope
  • a nice broom for keeping the car clean
  • an ENO double nest hammock (YES!!)
  • National Park annual pass

Clothing:

  • flip flops, slide-on shoes, and Guide Tennies
  • Visor hats
  • Shorts, pants, tees, and long sleeves
  • Undies, bras, swimsuit
  • All of our clothing lives in Eagle Creek Packing Cubes. He uses blue, I use orange, and dirties go into the white cubes.

Sleeping:

  • The big improvement was getting an additional 3-inch memory foam mattress. Now our car bed is as comfortable as our home bed.
  • I custom fit and sewed mosquito netting with strip magnets to our car windows
  • Pillows + cases
  • Sleeping bags- we go super low-tech here, just two LL Bean basic camp 40 degree + bags, spread out like comforters
  • foam mattress pads (for flattening out the car surface)

Cleaning:

  • 4 Gallons of Spring Water
  • Dr. Bronners
  • trowel, toilet paper, plastic baggies, wipes
  • Sea to Summit Towels  – These were really useful, plus they come in nifty carrying cases that double as ditty bags during river cleaning
  • camping shaving mirror

Climbing Gear:

  • rope, draws, slings
  • harnesses, shoes, chalkbags, belay devices
  • insulated water bottles
  • rope bag
  • backpack

 

Two Months for Training: Overview

We’re spending the month of September near Rumney, NH, so we’ve been building out a periodized climbing training schedule that should optimize our performance while there.

A little background. We are both aspiring good sport climbers.  We’re not aiming to climb 5.14 or anything like.  Comfortably leading 5.11s thru mid 12s sport, anywhere in the world is the general goal. Key in on the word comfortably.

Here’s the overview:

Endurance training is the period that we are in right now. It involves high quantities of easier routes (at the gym.) Details

Outdoor climbing days are freeform.  It’s too hard to control what the day is going to contain- and the reality is, often those days are more about dealing with leading, head, weather, gear, and hiking than anything else.

Strength & power days are bouldering training at the gym. Details.

Power endurance is gym leading of powerful routes- overhanging and pumpy is the goal. Details.

Body comp optimization:  this is something I am going to tentatively implement. It would basically mean a two week period without dessert, and maybe some more vegetables.

Periodization Training Ep.1 :: Endurance

We’re spending the month of September near Rumney, and Tino, the very cool head-route-setter and trainer at Salt Pump recommended that the two months prior could be an easy experiment in periodized training, optimizing for peak when we arrive at Rumney.

Part one of a periodized training regimen is endurance. We’re tackling this by fitting as many toprope (TR) routes into a two hour session at the gym as possible (goal is 20.)

I’m combining this with my new 85% success strategy of training and learning. The idea is: warm-up (about 6 routes); then climb at a level of difficulty that will lead to falls about 1x per route, for the remaining 14 routes of the day.

My first session (7-16-17)  looked like this:

  • All routes are climbed in pairs: 2 in a row, same rope, no untying
  • 30 second rest at most between route pairs for water and fiddling with shoes.
  • The first 8 routes were climbed on autobelay which allows for downclimbing.
  • Then there is a longer rest between every pair as I belay Daniel.

5.7
5.7 repeat/ downclimb
5.9
5.9 repeat /downclimb
5.6
5.6 repeat /downclimb
5.6
5.6 repeat/ downclimb
5.8
5.7
5.7
5.11a (fell 3x)
5.8
5.10a (fell 1x)
5.10b
5.10b repeat, fell 1x
5.10c
5.8
5.10b (fell 3x)
5.7

That is 20 pitches of an average of 42 feet in 2 hours (840 feet). Typically I can onsight 5.10b or easier while toproping at Salt Pump, so falling multiple times on a 10b by the end of the routine indicated a decent fatigue level.

However, when I look at that list of 20 pitches/grades, I’m thinking about how to optimize for 85% input next time we run this program. The program that I ran is too easy; the falls should be happening at a rate of 1-2x per route after warmup.

My Second Session (7-18-17) Looked Like This:

5.7
5.7 repeat /downclimb
5.8
5.8 repeat/ downclimb
5.6
5.6 repeat/ downclimb
5.10a
5.10b
5.10b repeat
5.10a
5.10a repeat
5.10c (fall3x)
5.10c (not a repeat route, 0x falls)
5.10b
5.10b repeat, fall 3x
5.7
5.7 repeat/ downclimb
5.9
5.9 repeat, fall 1x

Generally, this session went better, but was still a little too easy.  The time was compressed, so we only got to 19 routes apiece.

Third Session 7-21-17:

  • We switched to doing 3 routes in a row, for the most part
  • Rests between 3-up routes around 30 seconds
  • Rests between 3-up sets are long enough for partner to climb a 3-up: typically 10 minutes.
  • The consistency of the climbing grade is harder, but the falls are less.  I need to bump-up the difficulty again

5.6
5.6 repeat/ downclimb
5.8
5.8 repeat/ downclimb
5.9
5.7 downclimb
::rest
10a
10a repeat
::rest
10d (fall 1x)
10d repeat
::rest
10a
10a repeat
10a
::rest
10c
10c repeat
5.8
::rest
10c
10c repeat
10a
::rest
10b

Fourth Session: 7.26.17

This session was hard. I think it’s because we started at 10:30am, when our normal workout starts at 4pm or later….anyway, I was almost constantly estimating whether I would actually puke, and if so, could I untie fast enough to get someplace decent….

5.7
5.7 repeat
::rest
5.8
5.8 repeat
5.8
::rest
10c fall 1x
10c repeat fall 1x
10b
::rest
10b
10b repeat fall 1x
5.7
::rest
10c fall 1x
10c repeat fall 1x
5.7
::rest
10a
5.6 downclimb
::rest
5.9
5.7 downclimb
::rest
5.6
5.6 repeat downclimb

Fifth Session: 8.1.17 (improved time from 2 hours to 90 minutes)

5.6
5.6 downclimb repeat
5.8
5.8 downclimb repeat
::rest
5.9
5.7 downclimb
::rest
5.7
5.7 downclimb repeat
5.6
5.6 downclimb repeat
::rest
10b
10b repeat
5.9
::rest
10c
10c repeat fall1x
5.7
::rest
10c
10c repeat fall 1x
10a
::rest
10c
::rest
5.8

Will continue to update this piece for the remainder of endurance.

Reducing Complication

It’s a valuable objective for any endeavor.

We started out with an image in our mind of the extreme overland rig: roof tent, jerry cans, big wheels and big tires, interior cubbies, etc (Spreadsheet V1) : Total added cost $11k, total added weight 1767#.

And then we read this article.

And then we went car camping. Which, as it turns out, is not half bad, and when you couple it with my bearphobia, probably the best way for us to do things.

So now we are working on V2 of the spreadsheet. We call this iterative development. Or is it agile?

The  basic framework is:

  • Car camping (sleeping in vehicle, so mosquito netting and foam pads are key. Working on customizing both to fit and install precisely)
  • Roof rack
  • Two sturdy crates, one for food and cookware; the other for clothing and sleep gear.
  • Climbing gear lives in the two backpacks that we  also use while hiking in (rope backpack for rope and draws; Mystery Ranch backpack for harnesses, shoes, water, food.)
  • New tires and wheels
  • Black out badges and grill (got to have some aesthetic improvements!)

 

Vehicle Camping : Episode 1 Packing List

First off, I have this fear of bears. Mountain lions too, but in New Hampshire or the White Mountains it’s usually bears. This manifests as a state of hyper-vigilance every time I try to go to sleep outdoors.  In my imagination, of course, bears must be noisy.  They are lumbering beasts of a few hundred pounds, and they can’t move through the forest quietly.  A chipmunk can’t even move through the forest quietly, so how could a bear?

We took our first car camping experience together (and first camping experience in years and years) this past weekend in the White Mountain National Forest. There are these beautiful camping spots down an isolated dirt road, right next to a river.

The idea was last minute, and haphazardly planned (6pm Saturday night, roll up to EMS and buy a campstove for the next day, ask around about camping spots, get some local knowledge directions…)

7pm, pull into a spot and start setting up camp.  The plan was to sleep with back of the 4Runner open, and netted for bugs.  It was comfortable enough, but after tossing and turning for three hours and going in and out of bear-hyper-alert state, I had to revise the plan. We turned on our headlamps and transformed the vehicle into a doors closed and locked, windows open and netted little safari camper.

Day two we bought some foam mattress toppers to make the sleeping experience a little more comfortable.

Everything we brought with us actually got used on the trip (minus some food stuffs, but it’s always good to have a little extra of those.) This is my objective in packing- never to overpack.  Just to pack exactly the right amount.

This was the packing list for B&D Camping Adventures, Episode 1:

KITCHEN

 

  • Jetboil flash stove (all we cared about is coffee in the morning, and this was the simplest option available at 6pm Saturday night. The igniter stopped working on the second use, but luckily there were plenty of sticks lying around, and we had brought lighters.)
  • coffee pourover (porcelain), filters, + coffee (this is how we make coffee at home and I can’t understand why anyone would use anything more complicated
  • 2 stainless coffee cups
  • paper towels (these were really handy.)
  • 3 bug candles
  • 2 camp chairs (Helinox Chair 1) Probably one of the best purchases we made. These things are light, easy to put together, and super comfortable. Worth spending extra since they get used so much. We also carried them around as like, stands or something, to help with any project – such as washing in the river.)
  • Foodstuffs: ground coffee, vegan cookies, donuts, peanut butter, jelly, sliced bread, chocolate. (Like, exactly the opposite of a paleo diet.)
  • Sturdy big case (stores kitchen stuff and doubles as table)
  • Sea to Summit Stuff Sack   (holds the breakfast kit)

GENERAL

  • InReach, charger (we had no cell service at all in the woods)
  • Iphone chargers
  • notebook and pens (always)
  • binoculars – these did not get used but are going to live in the car.
  • 2 bic lighters
  • 2 head lamps
  • first aid kit, extra batteries, tape, lotion, bug spray

CLOTHING

  • flip flops, slide-on shoes, and Guide Tennies – I think it’s important to have all three.  Flip flops are good for bathing, but get dirty quickly in uneven ground. Slide on shoes are camp shoes, for getting in and out of bed, and hanging around. Guide Tennies are for hiking and climbing (I did a 5.4 and a 5.7 in them with ease, because it was hot and I didn’t feel like putting on my climbing shoes again.)
  • Visor hats
  • Shorts, pants, tees, and long sleeves
  • Undies, bras, swimsuit
  • All of our clothing lives in Eagle Creek Packing Cubes. He uses blue, I use orange, and dirties go into the white cubes.

SLEEPING

  • Pillows + cases (from home, we use tempurpedic)
  • Sleeping bags- we go super low-tech here, just two LL Bean basic camp 40 degree + bags, spread out like comforters
  • yoga mats (for sleeping on)
  • foam mattress pads (for sleeping on)
  • mosquito netting + cording (in the future I will be sewing in magnets to cut-up pieces of netting, and then attaching them to the windows exactly.

CLEANING

  • 3 Gallons of Spring Water
  • Dr. Bronners
  • trowel, toilet paper, plastic baggies, wipes
  • Sea to Summit Towels  – These were really useful, plus they come in nifty carrying cases that double as ditty bags during river cleaning

CLIMBING GEAR

  • rope, draws, slings
  • harnesses, shoes, chalkbags, belay devices
  • insulated water bottles
  • rope bag
  • backpack