2017 is off to a strong start, if only because I've so far managed to stick to my goal of not injuring myself. Seriously, the amount of lower back and related core injuries I've had over the past couple years has been depressing, and I feel like every time I start to get strong, I mess myself up again.
Rather than leave it entirely to luck, I've tried to be proactive by stretching and foam rolling for at least half an hour every morning, lifting (and I hate lifting) to balance out my muscles, and by taking a break from running for the foreseeable future. While I've managed to run for most of the last year without straining my knees, I can't help but feel that the repeated impact isn't doing my back much good. I've also made it a point to limit myself as much as possible to slab and vertical terrain, which admittedly I've done a pretty poor job of so far. Yesterday I stuck to the plan though, driving up to the Sourlands in New Jersey for a slab that's been on my mind ever since I first saw it four or five years ago. Who would have thought that one of my top three boulders that I wanted to do anywhere would be in New Jersey?
Granted, when I first saw it, I had no idea how hard it was. Walking up the hill toward the boulders at my first Sourland Smackdown, it was the first boulder I saw, and I decided it would make a great warmup. Then I realized it was one of the open projects listed on the scorecard, and went off to find something a little easier to start with. Tim Keenan managed to put it down that day though, calling it From NY with Love, and I've wanted to get back to it ever since.
I tried two weekends ago, only to get there and find everything drenched. Yesterday was perfect though. Bone dry, with a high of 35, and just enough sun to keep me warm in between goes. The boulder actually went down relatively quickly too, though I'll admit I bailed off the top twice before sucking it up and going for the lip. Then I just reminded myself that I might never get conditions that good again, and was embarrassed to find that the move to the lip was way easier than I was making it.
Felt good to put this one down.