Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Training to Climb...

With both the McKinley and Rainier climbing seasons just around the corner, I'm sure most of you are dialed into your training. We're following a few climbers as they prepare for their 2010 ascents - they've got excellent training routines and are great examples of climbers who are preparing to be in the best shape of their lives!

Here is the first journal from David - who is preparing to climb Mount Rainier on a 4-day RMI climb.
beshears first journal

April 23, 2010

I’m 53 years old and have spent the last 25 years sitting in front of a computer. Why would I suddenly decide to climb a mountain? Well, it all came about as a result of my son being injured in the war back in 2007 (traumatic brain injury, spinal injuries). I set a goal that he and I were going to climb Rainier come 2010. He was in a vegetative state at the time.

Come November 2009, my son is a lot better but I can see that he’s not going to be ready. I’m afraid that if I tell him “that’s okay, we’ll go next year”, that I’ll be saying that to him every year. I can’t give that to him. Instead I decide to do this first one in his name, and we’ll keep pushing to make him ready for 2011. And if come the next year he’s still not ready, I’ll do the climb alone again, again in his name; and the next year, and the next, until he makes the climb with me. He’s as competitive as I am. It’ll happen.

So I signed up for the July 23 – 26 climb. Good thing I didn’t wait too much longer. Those July slots go fast. By the beginning of December, I think they were mostly filled.

At that time, I was few pounds overweight (okay, twenty) and while I always tried to do the right thing, I never managed to stick with any exercise program for very long. I had a little over half a year to get into the best shape of my life.

I had turned one room of our house into an exercise room for our son’s physical therapy. He still wasn’t able to use it much, but I sure could. It has a treadmill, a recumbent bike, a Bowflex machine and some free weights. Also, my office building in Olympia has five flights of stairs. I could certainly do something with that.

I hung a whiteboard up in my exercise room. On it I drew up a graph. I listed: Treadmill, Stairs, Bike, Bowflex, Outdoor Hike, Stomach Crunches, Free Weights. I gave each a quantity or a time, and a point value, and set total points required for a month.

I decided that I would start easy and allow room to increase the quantity of each item with each passing month, and increase the total points required for each month. For instance, last December I only needed to go on the treadmill for 30 minutes at a brisk pace to earn 100 points. For the stairs, I had to climb 15 flights (5 flights 3 times) three times day (for 45 total), at a comfortable walk. For my outdoor hike (rugged nearby trails), 90 minutes with a light pack. To earn my requisite number of points for a month, I would have to do a couple of the exercises just about every day, though I would take an occasional day off.

It is now coming on the end of April. I’ve been at it three and a half months, and doing pretty good. The variety helped. Having a television hanging in the exercise room was a necessity. Competing with myself and the whiteboard scores was a necessity. I now use the treadmill for 60 minutes at a very brisk pace, but always keep one foot on the tread, incline set and I wear a weighted pack, four times a week. I now run the stairs (making sure I hit every step), 20 flights round trip three times a day (60 total / day), three days a week. My hikes are 2 hours, very brisk pace, carrying 50lbs in my pack. I’m doing 75 stomach crunches in 60 seconds.

I have three months to go. I want to increase endurance. And I will be adding in three full-day conditioning climbs. These will help me monitor how close to being ready I actually am…

Much more to come,


If you want to know more about David and his son's story, check out this article in a local newspaper.

Check back soon for more journals, advice & training inspiration!

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