11 - 11

Finally, an Update

Sorry I haven't been able to update in a week. I was away from an Internet connection until yesterday, plus there's this headache thing, which I will get to later. First, let me catch up.

When last I wrote I was off to Reed's to play ping-pong. First though, I had to finish running stairs. I said at the halfway point that it was going very well. It continued to go well. It didn't continue to be easy. My legs started getting rubbery, as I expected they would. The last few were very hard. If you read the analysis of this event, you will know that I was more worried about the lingering effects than completing it. There were some lingering affects.

Next up was ping-pong. This is supposed to be one of those fun events. I had to drive through traffic to Redlands and got there a little late. We set up the table and I had to start right in. We were at John and Jen's house (see Reed's challenge for details). They cooked Reed and I dinner but there was little time to enjoy it. I played for about 4 hours straight. I have never thought of ping-pong as physical, but after the stairs and all those games in a row I might as well have been playing tennis. I would often not go after tough shots to conserve energy unless I knew for sure that I could get to them. We finished just before midnight. Brian and Katherine (cyclists from Reed's challenge) also showed up after a wine tasting event. They were pretty buzzed so they, thankfully, provided short matches. For the record I won every match except against Reed, whom I lost every match to.

Sunday was 40 pitches at Margheritaville, a slabby (not steep) climbing area near where Reed grew up. Hoping for nice weather, for once, it was not to be. However, the threat of rain never materialized and the day went without incident. I hadn't set any rules for the day because I hadn't climbed at the area before. The routes tended to be quite spread out and many didn't have convenient anchors so it was hard to do a lot of pitches fast. I ended up repeating routes--most of them-- once. So I probably did 24 different routes, and 16 of them twice. Reed and I were both very tired so the day was a struggle. At once point we unroped and soloed a bunch of easy routes. It was sunny and warm at this area as well, so I thought it was the most enjoyable part of the day. Reed saved a good sandbag for the end. He kept saying that we should really do these particular routes, even though they were over this hill and exposed to the wind. When we got there I was aghast because they were pure friction, not a a hold in sight. One was 5.10 and one was 5.8. It was hard to tell the difference. When I finished the first one, my feet hurt so bad that I stood on my knees just to get my feet off the ground.

We were suppose to go back to Redlands and play foosball that night and were both tired and not looking forward to it. We stopped by Reed's parents house to see if they had arrived home from a trip to China. They had just arrived so we had dinner with them instead. Sitting around the house, hearing about a vacation and looking at photos turned out to be one of my most enjoyable nights in a long time. It's funny how, when you are just pushing all the time, simple things like an evening at home can have a whole new perspective. It reminded my of Lance "Big Tex" Armstrong's cycling experience in Spain. When his wife (girlfriend and the time) said that she was going to Spain on vacation he responded with "Why Spain? It's a dustbowl." because he'd only seen it while doing the Vuelta. He ended up going with her and was surprised to find it a beautiful country. Now I can see what he meant. When you're wrapped up in something so physical all you can think about is finishing what you are doing. You may look around and think "Wow, this is pretty" but you really can't appreciate it because you are so focused, or in pain, or something. 

The next day I was totally knackered. The slab climbing in combo with the stairs had rendered my legs useless. It hurt like crazy to touch any part of them. It was time for All-American day, which seemed more appropriate taking place in Redlands than LA or Santa Barbara. I started with 2 Gland Slam breakfasts. This was more Denny's food than anyone should ever eat. Reed went to work and I took up residence on his Lay-Z-Boy to do battle with daytime television. Jesus Christ, it was an insane experience!

I started with some court show, Power of Attorney, maybe. It caught my eye because the lawyer and the defendant were both laughing during cross examination. The show was such a sham the players could barely keep a straight face. These shows are very popular. I think there was a different one on some network the entire day. When I last watched TV the only court show was Judge Whopner, or something like that.

The talk shows were crazy. Sally Jesse was boring; Ricki Lake was professional but you can still tell that the entire thing is a joke. And Jenny Jones! Jesus! This show must be targeting the under 70 IQ sector of society. That being said, it was probably the most entertaining and over-the-top of the talk shows.

And the soaps? The line up was Port Charles, The Young and the Restless, As The World Turns, and All My Children. The latter was the best, by far. It was crazy, insane, and about as ludicrous as any show I've seen. The actors all behaved like they were on Ecstasy or something. I would watch this show again. It made ATWT's seem awfully boring. I thought the soap operas were much funnier than the talk shows, maybe because they were often supposed to be serious. It could talk about them for awhile, for sure. One thing I noticed was that there seemed to be four distinct acting styles present: The models, untrained models turned actors (men were usually distinguished by 2-day stubble). These people tended to posture all the time, bobbing their heads slightly while speaking their lines, kind of like Steve Martin as a wild and crazy guy. The second was the kids trying to become stars. They would overact as dramatically as possible, going into wild emotional outbursts at every turn. The third was the professional. These actors were older and you could tell that they were in it for the long-run paycheck. They said there lines and got out, with no pretense of "I want to attract the attention of a movie producer". I imagine these were the folks with families to feed and they were happy to have the work. The fourth was the soap star. These were often people that had experienced some big-time fame, perhaps a big movie role or something. They were the most fun to watch because they acted as though they could get away with anything. They would act as "large" as possible, arms flailing, eyes rolling, screaming, ranting ... whatever. It was like they had license to experiment with any crazy ideas they could muster up. I got the feeling that many were making fun of what they did for a living. I don't know, maybe they're bitter because they hadn't become movie stars.

I then had to watch four movies, eat two more Grand Slams, 4 hot dogs, 4 bags of chips, 4 hostess products, drink 4 beers, 4 cocktails, and smoke 4 cigarettes. By the end of the day I was pretty worked. I'm pretty sure that there are some people who live every day like this. I have no idea how they do it. It made it easier that I was super tired. I really had no trouble with the sedentary element but it was a hard day. The last GS wasn't fun. Actually, not much of the eating was fun.

Was it harder than eating the fritters?


The next day I drove home and got right into my bed. That afternoon I started work on 40 pages of The H.E.R.D., which I finished the next afternoon. It's about a herd of sharks that live in the desert. I wrote 43 pages. On review it's not the best thing I've ever written but it's not bad, certainly good enough to get made, I think. I won't go into details yet. I would post it but I wrote it in Final Draft and if you don't have FD you can't open it. I finished the next afternoon and decided to not drive to SB that night, and not bike on Thursday.

Why? Because I had a headache. I've never had headaches in my life (except when hungover, of course). Now it felt like I was hungover all the time.  It had been bothering me since that day in the quarters, now 2 weeks past and I was getting worried. I had tried changing location, diet, and now sleeping in a proper bed and it just kept getting worse. Now it hurt all the time.

Thursday I tried for another training day at the boulders on Pine Mountain. It didn't go well and on my way home it was hard to focus on the road. I was about ready to call in the birthday challenge right there. I attempted to update my diary but it hurt too much to look at the screen, so I went to sleep.

The next morning I went to see Kevin Brown at Precision Biomechanics. He figured I was pretty out of whack and did a bunch of work on me and gave me some stretches to do. He then made an appointment with a chiropractor in town, Bruce Yung. He also said that my back and neck were way out of line. He took some x-rays, then adjusted me, saying, "I'm not sure how much this will help", meaning I'm pretty messed up. Because of my birthday challenge he thought is was appropriate to only charge me 40 dollars. Pretty cool.

Between both of them they helped a lot. My headache is not gone (I woke up a few times last night) but much, much better and I now have a more positive outlook. I completed two events yesterday and will try to do three today, so I need to go. I will elaborate on all this later.

By the way, we are still having crazy weather, with record low temperatures.

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