Go Climb a Rock

Indeed, I’m not sure if you have seen some of the new technologies being introduced by University grad students, enabling people to use gecko-like gloves and shoes to help in climbing, but that technology is moving right along, along with high-tech materials to make all the climbing gear super light-weight. You’ll be able to carry more rope, and hardware along with you. This means you can climb more safely as you can carry more gear without expending any more energy to maintain your performance and agility.

Right now, the gecko gloves and shoes aren’t quite there yet, but the technology is coming along, and climbing to the next level. Soon all of this will be miniaturized, and it will add safety, as well as help a climber hang in there. How might this work you wonder? Well, as you reach with your gecko glove you will place the glove flat on to the rock and squeeze the inside of the glove which will become your handle. When you are ready to go forward again, you will peel the glove back on the handle, allowing it to unhook itself, for the next move.

The soles of your climbing shoes will be similar, and much wider than what you are used to. Meanwhile, your shoes will be pointed so you can wedge them in the cracks, and this will enable you to peel away from the sticky soled shoes, and the pointed end back which you have waged in the rocks.

The new ropes will probably be made at of carbon fiber, but ultra-flexible, and no worries, because it will be stronger than steel, and extremely light and easy to use. The flexibility will offer rubber band like features similar to a pole vault allowing to do new maneuvers. The future of rock climbing and all these great technologies will be here within the next 10 to 20 years. So even if you are growing older and worried about your future body strength, these new materials and technologies might make up the difference.

You may be able to climb vertical rocks until well into your 80s and 90s. Wouldn’t that be cool? Think of all the experience you will have by then. Please consider all this and think on it.

Stages Of An Injured Runner

Whenever a runner get’s what I call a little “glitch” – you always go out for your run as if nothing is wrong. You may feel something that doesn’t feel quite right; but, you can justify it easily. “I ran hard yesterday, so it’s just a little muscle soreness”. “I didn’t warm up properly, so it will go away as soon as I warm up”. When you’re in this stage – actually sometimes whatever you’re feeling will feel better as you keep running. So, you think nothing is wrong – finish your run – no stretching – no icing.

Then, you’ll move on to the next stage. In this stage, whatever you’re feeling feels a little worse – but you can run through it. You think that you’ll be alright as long as you stretch before and after, cut your mileage and ice. You do more stretching and icing than you’ve ever done in your life. (Yes, I have been there!) The funny thing is, depending on what the “glitch is” – this can actually help you to get over whatever it is. However, if it is something more serious, all the icing in the world won’t help. But, you just know that it’s just a temporary thing and as long as you keep icing and stretching – you’ll be just fine!

And, now we get to the last stage. During this stage, you may actually be limping as you are attempting to run. That grimace on your face is not from the cold wind – but from the pain that you are feeling when you are running. Finally, you can barely put one foot on the ground without crying. Then, you know that it’s time to get it looked at.

Those are the 3 stages that I’ve found occur in injured runners. The first two have happened to me – even though sometimes in Stage 2, I’ll make an appointment with my miracle working chiropractor to get fixed. And, knock on wood; he usually helps me to stay on the road. But, I do know of the Stage 3 runners.

Chi Running in Half Marathons

The technique in Chi running starts with body loosening exercise which are like the Qigong exercises and these are to be executed before running. The body of the runner has to be aligned in a vertical column to avoid any back injuries and assists in correct breathing. The runner must lean forward while running so he or she will be pulled by gravity giving him or her greater momentum. This takes the stain off on the legs. The runner must run with a mid-foot strike to avoid pulled hamstrings, strained ankles or shin splints. His or her stride has to be opened out back. He or she should lessen if not stop swinging his or her arms so as to keep them from crossing the centerline of the body.

A steady cadence should be maintained during the run. The speed should be based on the angle of the lean not on the cadence whether one is trying to move up his or her speed or slow it down. The runner must relax his or her body and focus on his or her breathing. The runner must scan his or her body so as to eliminate any discomfort, tension or pain and improve running time and speed up his or her recovery time. He or she should concentrate on the alignment of his or her form.

Chi running is beneficial to all types of runners in half marathons from the beginners to the seasoned, runners with weight problems and those with back problems. For beginners, they will learn the proper bio mechanics of running at the start whereas for seasoned runners, they will be able to avoid injuries such as strained muscles, sprained ankles or knee problems. Runners with back problems such as back muscle inflexibility or lack of strength in the back muscles will learn the correct posture and be able to practice maintaining this. With the proper techniques employed a runner’s back will become stronger.

Proper stretching will likewise make the runner’s back flexible. A runner should have a healthy diet. A lot of overweight people join half marathons so as to shed off some unwanted pounds. It helps them become stronger and slimmer. It helps the runner gain energy in order to be more active in their daily lives and boost one’s metabolism.

Seasoned runners do not favor chi running because for them this is less powerful. But the aim of chi running is to be able to run in a balance and effortless manner. Chi running is excellent for all types of runners who want their health improved in full and half marathons

Different Rock Climbing Rope

Choosing the right rope for your climbing activity saves you money and aggravation: ensuring your safety in knowing that you have the right equipment on hand when you’re feeling all alone, hanging on the vertical side of a sheer-faced rock wall. When you’re up there; on a climb, no thought is more comforting than the knowledge that you have the right rope securely fastened into your rock climbing harness.

Whether your passion is mountaineering, trad rock climbing, sport climbing or ice climbing, you need to understand the limitations of the types of ropes available to you for your particular style of climbing. Such are the advances in rock climbing rope technology that the manufacturers have fine tuned their products to meet the ever diversifying and always strenuous demands of climbing as a sport of many flavours.

There are five important technical characteristics of a rope that every climber needs to be aware of – the diameter, elongation, impact force, fall rating and the weight of the rope (grams per meter). In addition the less measurable qualities of flexibility and toughness are critical to your performance as you approach your technical limit on a particular project.

Climbing Rope Types

  • Workhorse Singles: 10.1-11mm diameter, 65-77g/m. The workhorse single is adequately protected against rough and sharp rocks and its larger diameter makes it easy to grasp for both the climber clipping gear on the lead and the belayer who is safeguarding him. Although a bit on the heavy side, it is perfect for top roping, redpointing sport routes and generally as a first rope. The 10 – 11mm climbing rope can endure severe and regular use making it ideal for activity companies, guides and outdoor centres.
  • All-Around Singles: 9.5-10mm diameter, 60-64g/m. This is the preferred single rope for more experienced climbers. This type of rope has lower weight and thickness, but frequently a good fall rating. It is the most commonly used rope for the majority of sport climbers and is considered as the perfect rope for sport and trad climbing where the lines of the routes don’t wander around too much.
  • Skinny Singles: 8.9-9.4mm diameter, 52-59g/m. The name says it all – the rope is thin and lightweight. It is the preferred rope if you plan to climb long routes but you should be aware that because if its reduced bulk and light weight, skinny singles do not have a great deal of durability against sharp and rough rocks. If you anticipate taking a lot of falls, it is prudent to make sure you are using a belay device that will match the thinner diameter and provide adequate friction. Modern belay devices such as Black Diamond’s ATC series are well matched to this type of rope.
  • Half Rope: 8-9mm diameter, 41-53 g/m. Half ropes are used in pairs, with the two strands of rope being clipped into alternate gear placements. There are two facets to this style of ropework. The system is designed to reduce the severity of the consequences of a rope being severed due to a climber’s fall or abrasion against a sharp rock face or edge, it is unlikely 2 will be cut at the same time and each is strong enough to hold a fall. Secondly, on routes where the line is complex and protection is not found in a straight line, using one rope on your left and another for gear placements to the right, significantly reduces rope drag. It is also the rope of choice when it comes to rappelling as you can tie the two ropes together to increase the rappel distance to a full rope length. However, the bulk and weight of half ropes make them more wearisome to carry than traditional single rock climbing ropes.
  • Twin: 7-8mm diameter, 37-42g/m. These really are the skinny ropes. Similar to half ropes but are lighter and less bulky. They provide the climber some of the same advantage of half ropes and at lesser weight to the climber. However they must both be clipped into each piece of gear, as they are not rated to survive a big fall as a single strand. Their fall rating is also much lower as there is far less nylon to soak up the energy of a high factor fall. This results in much greater damage every time they do have to hold a fall. Similarly to half ropes they also allow for greater rappelling distance but they can also be very slippery on abseil due to their lighter weight and small diameter. They demand extreme care and are not for the faint hearted.

There are quite a few considerations to bear in mind when choosing a climbing rope. As well as the details laid out above, you need to consider whether the climbing rope has sufficient flexibility, whether weight is a concern; can you easily tie knots with the rope and for winter climbers and masochists how does it behave in wet or icy conditions?

I hope the simple explanation above will help you make sure that you settle on the right rope for the type of climbing you will undertake. If you like challenges and you are highly active, then you will probably end up having several types of rock climbing rope for each of the specific climbing sessions that you do.

Socializing For Backpackers

Ok, let’s talk about socializing while backpacking on the trail. As some of you who have read my posts know I like the trails from late October until mid April. Most of the two legged animals are at home keeping warm. I like the feeling that I am all alone, self-sufficient and enjoying it.

However, no matter when I have gone backpacking, most of the time you will run into someone else. I have been out until Christmas Eve with snow on the ground and I have met another backpacker. And it was cold also. but there have been out for extended backpacks and I have not seen another human being.

You should think ahead on how to socialize while backpacking on the trail. My usual meeting conversation goes something like, hello, where are you headed to, where are you from, good day to you. I’ll answer some of the same questions but I don’t encourage more. I personally am not out there to meet people in fact I would rather not.

Most of the time at the campsite I will socialize a bit on topical issues. Strangers don’t have to know your personal life story. They don’t need to know specific details on who your are or where you live.

My caution to folks just starting backpacking alone or solo is when meeting one or another group on the trail is to greet, and move on. I don’t tell anyone where I am heading to. I don’t tell anyone where I just came from. If you get that sudden feeling of not being comfortable with this meeting, you can say you are meeting another person up the trail who is waiting for you. Or, that your backpacking buddy is just behind you on the trail.

I have never felt threatened while out backpacking. But you need to be aware of your surroundings, see and hear what is going on. There have been undesirable events occur on the trails. I do not let those event stop me from backpacking solo. I don’t go armed or carry an expensive watch or other jewelery for everyone I meet to take a look at. To sum this up, let common sense rule.

Caring For Black Toenails

Black toenails are generally found in long distance runners. Rubbing the toes against the toe box of your running shoe for long periods of time will cause a blood blister under your toe nail. They can also be found in runners that do a lot of downhill running. As you go down hills, your toes will thrust into the front of your shoes.

You can do your part to help prevent black toenails. First of all, make sure that you are wearing running shoes that fit you correctly. The best thing is to be fitted at a qualified running store. A general rule of thumb is that your running shoes should be ½ size larger than your regular street shoes. In addition to the rubbing of your toes into your shoe’s toe box, your feet will expand as you run long distances. A shoe fitted properly will keep you running comfortably.

Another way to help prevent black toenails is to make sure that your toenails are always trimmed. I also recommend going for a pedicure every 3-4 weeks to make sure that your feet and toenails are properly taken care of. I do this myself, and I’ve heard from many runners how they have avoided black toenails altogether since they started getting regular pedicures.

Black toenails are uncomfortable, but not usually so much that you cannot run. Eventually, it will run its course and the toenail will fall off. If you do find that the pressure is too much for you, there is a home remedy that you can do. However, you need to be cautious doing this. Sterilize your toenail with alcohol and a pin with a lit match. While the pin is still hot, you can gently press it into the center of your toenail to drain it. It really sounds worse than it is – and you will be immediately better. But, I would only recommend doing this if the pain is simply unbearable.

Black toenails are common – and usually just a nuisance. However, if you find that it isn’t getting better after a time – or it becomes red, please see a doctor about it.

Belay Glasses

You’ve probably seen those odd-looking glasses with prisms mounted where the lenses would normally be. They are for lying down in bed or elsewhere and reading a book or watching TV comfortably without getting a neck ache due to poor posture.

They were featured in the movie The Bucket List where they were worn by Jack Nicholson’s character, Edward, in that memorable ‘6 Month to live’ scene where the doctor delivers the bad news about his patient’s ill-health. Edwards is lying down, apparently staring at the ceiling. To the doctors surprise he is actually watching the TV on the wall behind him!

Bedtime TV watching and book reading was all that I thought Prism Glasses were intended for. But I was wrong!

There is a version of prism glasses where the prism mirrors are reversed. So that instead of the wearer seeing their feet – or probably more interestingly their book or TV – these glasses actually look upward!

Standing up and looking straight ahead when wearing a pair of these glasses you would see either the ceiling or sky, depending on if you were indoors or outside, of course.

In this format these specs are known as Belay Glasses. Belaying is the term used by Rock Climbers for their activities of climbing rock walls and the sides of mountains using ropes and other equipment. Hence Belay Glasses!

By wearing them the climber can not only keep a watchful eye on anything that may come their way from above, but also look for, and find, their next hand-hold. All without having to crane their head back and most probably suffering neck ache. A condition that is so common among Belayers that it is known as Belayer’s Neck.

Belay Glasses give increased comfort and greater safety to Rock Climbers and are a popular item of belaying device that is carried by many Belayers as a regular part of their outdoor and indoor rock climbing gear.

But it’s not just Rock Climbers who can benefit from using these specs. In fact anyone who spends their day working on equipment above their heads would find them a real boon.

Electricians often spend a lot of time working on electrical equipment that is affixed to the ceiling. Light fittings and cooling fans, for instance. Being able to keep their head level and not tilted backward makes this work much more comfortable. Not having to constantly keep straightening out their neck muscles could also mean they get more done in a shorter space of time too.

Window Cleaners don’t just work from ladders these days. The smart ones use those long telescoping window cleaning poles. These can often be very long indeed, reaching up several storeys in some cases. The strain on the window cleaner’s neck can be quite severe, often resulting in discomfort or even pain. By using Belay Glasses they can see the squeegee at the top of the pole while at the same time keeping their head straight and looking forward.

But it’s not only in the working environment where these glasses can have such a beneficial effect. They are perfect for certain leisure activities too.

Kite Flying is a great way to relax and is good exercise too. By its very nature it means you will be getting plenty of fresh air at the same time. However the strain of constantly looking up at the high-flying kite can really hurt those neck muscles and joints! Often the strain becomes too much and the kite has to brought down to a lower altitude or even landed. The neck then has to be massaged to relieve the pain and discomfort before the next flight. But by wearing a pair of glasses flying time can be greatly extended while at the same time neck ache can be almost eliminated.

Model airplane flying is a similar activity where Belay Glasses could be a great benefit. Because forward vision is not impaired by the prisms – you simply look over the top of them – the ‘plane can be kept in view at all times whether at close to ground level or high up in the air. Once again flying times could be greatly extended and comfort levels vastly improved with neck ache avoided almost totally.

So, although designed for Rock Climbers, Belay Glasses can be of immense benefit to many people in other areas too. Anywhere, in fact, where being able to see above head height is required and neck ache is to be avoided.

Belay Glasses are a fairly new type of belaying device that is fast becoming a very popular addition to the Belayer’s usual outdoor and indoor rock climbing gear.

Trail Running

If you are new to trail running, you want to pick your trails in the beginning wisely. Choose trails that are flat. You may be wanting to run up and down mountains – and eventually you’ll be able to. But, just like long distance running on the roads, you need to start out slowly. Run the flat trails first and work up to more challenging ones.

Make sure that you are wearing trail running shoes. Most running shoes companies make shoes that are specifically made for trail runners. These shoes have a more rigid sole and are sturdier to withstand the trail surfaces.

Start out slowly. You’ll find that running on the trails is different than running on the roads. It is harder on the body. So slow your pace, especially when you first start doing trail runs. You will also want to run fewer miles on the trails that you do in your road runs.

Look straight ahead as you run on the trails. You want to keep your head up and not look at your feet. This is important in all running – but extremely important if you are trail running. You want to be able to see anything that you may trip over – tree roots, rocks, etc.

It’s alright to walk on a trail run. You may be a stickler for no walking breaks on the roads, but sometimes you may have to on the trail. There may be some terrain that you may have to walk through – or to maintain control once you start going up and down hills.

You also may want to run with someone when you run on the trails. There will be different things that could happen out on the trails, so having someone with you is a good idea. If you prefer running by yourself (which I totally understand), make sure that you let someone know what trail you are running on and what time you anticipate being back.

Running on the trails can be a great experience – and a good workout. But, it is different than running on the roads. Make sure you are following the above tips and you’ll be fine.

Running for Weight Loss Diet

Set a realistic goal

The fastest way to suffer from physical and mental burnout is by setting an unrealistic and off the charter goal. Many weight loss enthusiasts make the mistake of overestimating the exact numbers of calories burned on the running track and underestimating the calories consumed with every meal, thus leading to frustration and losing enthusiasm for the whole resolution.

As a result, if you’re looking to achieve the best results for the long haul, then your goals must safely guide you toward your destination. For that, set small goals and build gradually. Start with a 2-pound target per week and gradually build on that until you attain the desired bodyweight.

Eat frequently throughout the day

Weight loss is no excuse for starving yourself by skipping on meals. In fact, doing so can spell disaster on your training program and health status. If you’re a regular meal skipper, then expect low energy levels (thus mediocre performance on the running track), and a slow metabolism as your calorie burn rate will be slowed to a crawl due to the starvation mode response. This can only lead to more frustration, weight plateaus or even gains.

Instead, make sure to keep your body well fueled by eating 4-5 small meals, every three to four hours. Don’t eat to satisfy your hunger, eat for performance. The way you can go about that is to eat 2-3 hours before the running session and immediately afterwards. During these time-blocks, your body is more primed to use the calorie intake as energy (mainly glycogen) instead of storing it as fat on your body.

To make sure that you’re eating for performance, you need to plan your workouts sessions around your eating schedule. For instance, if you’re a morning runner, make sure to ingest something light for at least a half an hour before the workout (depending on your schedule), then make sure to replenish your energy tanks afterwards by consuming a healthy breakfast full with the good carbs, lean protein, fats, and of course, plenty of water.

Improve Lung Capacity For Running

I’ve already chosen my musical instruments and I live at 600 feet above sea level so I need some sensible tips that will work for me.

Breathe Deeply. What you’re doing here is expanding your lung capacity and your chest’s ability to take in air. Practice these steps:

  • Exhale completely. I mean push it ALL out. Get it all out so you can accept more fresh clean air into your lungs.
  • Inhale deeply into your abdomen. Breathe the way babies do. You never see a baby pumping up its chest. Their bellies rise and fall with every little breath. Do the same. Expand your belly as you inhale forcing your belly-button away from your spine.
  • Then hold that breath there for a count of 3 to 5.
  • Then you can exhale completely again.

Breathe against resistance. The purpose of this exercise is to strengthen the muscles that help you to breathe.

  • Inhale deeply. Take in lots of air.
  • Purse your lips. That is – hold them together with only a small opening.
  • Exhale forcefully. You should be making lots of noise as the air exits your mouth.

Inhale more than you think you can. The idea here is to expand your airways and lung capacity. By breathing in more volume than you normally do, you will gradually increase your lungs’ capacity for air.

  • Inhale deeply through your nose. This should be a deep breath in until you cannot bring any more air into your lungs.
  • Purse your lips and sip in air repeatedly until you cannot take in any more.
  • Hold your breath for a few seconds.
  • Relax and let the air exit through your mouth.
  • Repeat

Exhale more than you think you can. As with inhaling more than you think you can, this exercise will increase lung capacity and your ability to expel stale air from your lungs.

  • Breathe deeply into your lungs and chest.
  • Hold your breath for a few seconds.
  • Exhale forcefully through your mouth until you cannot expel any more air.
  • Place your hands on your abdomen and use them to help press more air from your lungs. Leaning forward slightly as you force air from your lungs may help you expel even more air.
  • Repeat

Exercise in water. This last tip helps to increase the strength of the muscles that help you to breathe.

Because water is heavier than air, when you’re in water it presses against your chest increasing the force needed to breathe. It’s like the water pressure you feel on your ears when you dive.