Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Find Your Heels
I was just past 11,000 feet on Mount Rainier, having just got past “The Flats” and about to go into “Disappointment Cleaver,” when the words I have heard so many times started running through my head like a bad Jessica Simpson song. “Find your heels.” It is what we all hear Kelly and Adrian say every workout. Now those words were starting to make sense outside of the usual barrage of wall balls and squats.
My original team had gone from 12 on the first day to seven on the second day and then six on the third day. We were joined with two other rope teams bringing us back up to four rope teams of three. The weather was good and the freezing level was low enough that the snowfields were holding up well. I was feeling good except my calves were starting to cramp. I thought it might have been the altitude when I realized that I was climbing on the balls of my feet instead of walking up correctly by keeping my heels down. That was when those three words started ringing in my head: “Find your heels.” After I kept my heels down and drove up the mountain with my quads and glutes it got much easier. Those three words running through my head reminded me every step what I needed to do to get up the last 3,500 feet.
After five and a half hours of climbing with those three words ringing in my head I made the 14,410-foot summit. My calves weren’t bothering me and I felt great. Ten of the twelve made the top of the crater and three of us made the trip up to the Columbia Crest to sign the summit log. I have climbed mountains over 12,000 feet before and it has never been easy. This was the first time I incorporated Crossfit into my training before a climb.
Crossfit was key in my preparations for the Mount Rainier summit climb. It balanced my workouts by helping me develop the strength and power that allowed me to put myself in a position to make the summit. I want to thank Kelly, Adrian and all the athletes I have the privilege of working out with on Tuesday and Thursday nights. All of you push me to achieve more than I would normally be satisfied with. Thank you and keep your damn heels down.
at 7:25 AM