For various reasons it's been nearly two months since my last post, so there's a lot to report!
For quite a while, since before Christmas really, my arm has been unable to straighten out the last 20 degrees. Despite the best efforts of the physio and lots of exercise on my part, it simply refused to move past this point. Some days it would feel like an absolute stop as if bone was the issue then on other days there seemed to be a bit of spring at the end of the travel. In the last few weeks however it has improved to around 15 degrees left to go. Maybe it's just going to take a long time to get it fully straightened.
A visit to the specialist in Sheffield got cancelled and put back to the end of April so I'll have to wait a bit longer to see what he reckons to my progress or lack thereof.
None of this has stopped me climbing however. One trip to Stockport Wall in February was the start then with the winter conditions receding I've been getting out on the crags! First call was Almscliff - not one of my favourite crags but always one that it likely to be dry, or at least drying. I stuck resolutely to the low grade routes on Low Man. It was surprising just how clunky everything felt, probably nerves as much as anything but I didn't get moving freely until the fourth or fifth route.
Last weekend saw a trip to Widdop boulders. Unfortunately the thaw meant that many problems were damp, probably because the snow on top of the boulders had melted. This meant that I had limited things to do, but even Mike and Gaz had soon run out of harder problems so we headed down the valley to Scout Hut Crag and some super steep traversing. The rock here is very rough so it wasn't long before holes started appearing in my soft hands! Fortunately this happened about the same time as my shoulders and arms gave up.
The following day was back to Yorkshire Limestone and the usual suspect of Robin Proctor's Scar. Again I was really awkward in my movements on the first couple of routes, both F5+, but by the third route, an F6a, I was moving much more smoothly. Steve fancied the F7a+ at the right hand end so he led The Marshall Plan a F6b+ to get to the shared belay so he could get the quickdraws in and have a work of the moves on a rope. I followed and again my lack of stamina showed and I struggled, not with the moves which weren't too hard but with linking them together. Still, things will improve. Then it was over to Crummackdale to grab one of the brilliant HVS slab routes - Olympus - in the setting sun.
Monday and Tuesday I certainly knew I'd been out climbing! My shoulders and arms were quite sore.
As for running, I've done very little this year. The deep snow around us has made things awkward plus all the back lanes were icy (and actually harder to run on than off-road) so for most of January I hardly did any running. In fact I nearly doubled my mileage with just one race! The Wadsworth Trog in early Feb was perhaps a little ambitious given the lack of miles in my legs. And so it proved, I got to the halfway stage then really began to struggle. This wasn't helped by slipping Bambi style on ice and picking up a groin strain. Thus I lost about half an hour on the second half. In the end I finished in 73rd out of around 120.
Having done the Trog, the following morning I was on a plane to Atlanta for work! Nine hours in an airline seat is not the best recovery regimen. On my return from Atlanta - a bit of a nightmare in that it took 48hrs due to cancelled and delayed flights following about a centimetre of snow at the airport, plus my bag took a different route to me so only got back home 60hrs after I did - I picked up a cold. So that stopped me from running for a couple of weeks. Currently I don't have much enthusiasm for running and when I do go for a run as I did on Wednesday evening, lovely sunset and just perfect conditions, the groin strain flares up and I struggle to even walk the following day. I suppose I'll just have to take my time with it. Very frustrating though.
Hopefully this year will be better both weather and luck wise - last year nothing seemed to go to plan.