Back and Gone Again!

So, I think I’m back. The pain in my elbow has gone, but now I’m home in Ontario, living on the family farm, playing cards, cross country skiing and drinking beers, the way it should be this time of year.  Of course, I’ll sneak off at some point today and do some gentle deadhangs and some pullups, but I’ll keep it quick, there’s presents to wrap.  My optimism is good.  As far as I’m concerned it’s already the NEW YEAR.   The minute that our days start getting longer again, (WINTER SOLSTICE) is the minute that I’m in a better mood.  I’m solar powered, what can I say.  I need the sun.  So HAPPY NEW YEAR to all.  From here on out, things are looking brighter!

Btw, Thanks for all the amazing comments below.  I had no idea my tiny little vent session would trigger so many people feeling the same ups and downs of it all.  After reading them carefully, it seems that many of you are suffering from something the same or much worse than I was at the time, so I started feeling bad for complaining at all, it’s not like anything was broken, just a bit of a flair up, like hemorrhoids I guess, smirk.  I think I was just in a sour mood.  Which now seems so damn trivial, especially because it has seemed to clear up quicker than I thought it would.   Sometimes you just have to admit ‘outloud’ that you made a mistake, you learned your lesson and that you’re committed to fixing the problem (maybe Tiger Woods had something to do with it?).  I took the advice of the readers below and some of my own as well, I rested more, constantly drank water, massaged my elbows, took a little bit of Ibuprofen from time to time to help reduce inflammation, and I iced for three evenings in a row, 15 minutes on, 15 minutes off, for an hour.

So to pick up, I went to the gym on Sunday, (because the sideways rain persists) not sure what to expect, not feeling strong, but not weak either.  There was a great crew of fun people in the house, so that had a lot to do with it, but I warmed up and sent some moderate classics, then I sent some more difficult classics and worked on a few projects of mine, falling at the same high point as before the weight vest session fiasco and feeling no discomfort.  I was thrilled, however, I was still being cautious too, but I’m glad to report that the things I did to repair the damage did work indeed, and still today, no pain. Taking good care of yourself really does work, imagine that.

Here’s what I learned so that hopefully you won’t do the same.

#1.   I don’t care how strong you think you feel, do not start adding weight unless you’ve worked up to it.  I think the standard is 3-5 percent of your body weight.  Which seems about accurate for me.  On my second day in a row I was doing 15 -20 pounds, like I said below, BAD IDEA.  I’m about 165 pounds, give or take.  I should have started with 5 pounds, and done that for at least 4 weeks.  Then 10 pounds for another month, 2 – 3 days a week.  Then, maybe if I still feel good, introduce 15 lbs.  Pay attention, listen, and either continue, or back off from there.  20 Lbs is a lot, not for our muscles but for our delicate connective tissue, that much should have taken me 4- 6 months,  NOT 2 days, and  certainly NOT 2 days in a row.  It’s almost embarrassing.  Looking back to this episode nearly 3 weeks ago, I can’t seem to recall what compelled me to think I should do it?

#2.   It’s okay to relax and do nothing, because when you climb and/or train 3-5 days a week, doing nothing, is DEFINITELY still doing SOMETHING.  And not just something, but something important.  Don’t let anyone tell you you’re being lazy, don’t let the guilt set in.  If you are trying hard and you know your body well, resting is one of the best things you can do.

I think I got lucky in this case, I could have done some serious damage, but as it turns out, the pit of regression I dug for myself wasn’t as deep as I had initially thought.  Stay in the positive people, don’t get sucked into too much, too fast. It’s easy to do when things are going good.  3-5 days a week, 1-3 hours a day.  That’s my new rule.  QUALITY, NOT QUANTITY.

Happy Holidays From Canada

This is what happens when you’re bored on the farm, you recycle old MacLean’s Magazines and make your own Digital Holiday Greeting Cards.  Hope it’s a good one for everyone out there.  Especially you Chris, Beef and Lan chilling in Hampi.  I’m so jealous.  Not really. Okay, a little bit.

  • Roger

    Happy Holidays Sonnie!

  • Allan

    Hey Sonnie… Lay off the dead hangs, thats what ruined my elbows… still got it 18 months later. Just keep the blood flowing through them and they will get better.

  • Adam

    thanks for the heads up on the weight vest. Happy holidays!

  • Sonnie

    Hey Allan, I’m sorry to hear about your experience, but for me, I would completely disagree. Deadhangs are maybe the only exercise that has never caused pain in my elbows. When I do them I focus on the fingers mostly and I never really do more than a 30 minute session. Even now, after what happened they still don’t hurt to hang. What board did you use? I’ve heard some of the old school rounded boards like the Pusher caused gnarly tension, I recommend pulling straight down, and not trying to do excessive movements, just dead weight, but be sure to engage the core first. It’s really the footless campusing that will torment the the elbows (especially coming down) at least for me, I guess that’s “my” weakest link. Keep icing, hope they get better man.

  • Allan

    Hey Sonnie… Glad to hear you have a good understanding on your body, thats the most important thing 🙂 I’ve had problems with nearly every tendon in my arm, so we could be talking about different parts. I do however understand your feeling as Ive had them myself many times over, one week climbing pain free, next week in pain after I drive for a few hours… I’ve found that the pain usually comes in 48 hours after the activity if its injured.

    Good luck with your recovery, tendonitis is a life long thing, don’t be surprised if it comes back, just be ready to take some rest and treat it properly.


  • elias

    yo sonnie, good to hear about your recovery, sometimes drama is necessary to let it all out… in your case it really worked haha. I was thinking about it in the gym cos I started to campus like 2 months ago and I’ve noticed some improvement in my finger strength, i wanted to do some crazy shit and train harder for new year’s trip(im going to a place like hueco tanks-not quite- 300 kms north mexico city called EL DIENTE- THE TOOTH), but I’ll let it flow and train wisely and crush when i get there, it’s just about fun isn’t it??? i hope you all have a CRIMPY CHRISTMAS AND A CRANKY NEW YEAR…

  • coolhandluke

    Happy Holidays!