Have you ever been In.the.Zone?
Your body & mind are working just hard enough that everything comes together without overloading.
Your focus narrows & time seems to slow. Your mind & body connect, making micro-responses you may not even be conscious are happening. Your heart is racing but not at the verge of bursting from your chest.
It is your instincts at their most efficient.
In the audio book Blink, Malcolm Gladwell refers to this as the “optimal range of arousal”: when your heart is beating 115 – 145 bpm. He talks about it in the most extreme cases, such as a police officer responding during a gun battle with an assailant, to the less-than-lethal circumstances, like the mindset in which Larry Bird played basketball.
Dave & I have talked about this zone as prioritizing perceptions: tuning in to only the imminent. Obviously, we relate to it most in terms of climbing.
I have this theory that in order to harness this “optimal range of arousal” & be able to “control” it — or at least not lose control — you have to visit the zone often & work on not going over it. Like anything, you have to train in order to be prepared when you are faced with those situations. You have to be willing to put yourself in a state where your heart races, your body is at its limit & your mind teeters between complete focus & utter disarray.
This is Solomon — one of the best climbs. I am far from sending it clean, but it is a perfect project in the physical aspect. It kicks my butt. Next door is Golden Idol: a good “head” project for me. Even though it’s easier, a couple of the clips are sketchy [definition: feels unsafe] for someone my height. All I think is “if I fall before that clip…I’m going to hit that ledge…” This sort of thinking doesn’t work. I have not fallen at these spots on top-rope; but when I think of leading it, I’m so afraid I will. I need to change the way I approach this climb.
After my mental disintegration on the warm-up climb last week, I’ve been trying to figure out how to overcome hitting “the wall”. I think I need to put myself outside of my comfort zone more often & work through it.
I’m anxious to get back our there, get into the zone & work through my fears.
Higher intensity on the rock isn’t the only thing consuming my mind lately.
I have seriously been craving pancakes — buckwheat pancakes to be exact — then Natalie made pretty pumpkin-infused, whole-grain ones Saturday. Oh yeah, we were definitely making pancakes Sunday. These would be the perfect fuel before climbing.
Pumpkin Buckwheat Pancakes
The rain spoiled our plans for climbing, so these became our rainy day pancakes. Pancakes make everything better…even a drizzly day.
These almost didn’t happen though. Somehow the buckwheat flour I scooped from the bulk bin — or thought I scooped — didn’t make it into our grocery bags! Yes, I panicked…but quickly realized I had buckwheat groats. Phew. I was already going to grind quinoa to make flour; why not grind buckwheat as well?
It wasn’t as fine as buckwheat flour you’d buy at the store — more of a meal — but I’d say it worked just fine.
Initially I wasn’t sure what I thought of these dense, grainy, not-so-pretty pancakes — my homemade flours probably lent to the texture — but adding a little pumpkin butter between layers sweetened them just enough.
You can find the recipe here.
Other than making my own flours, I used almond meal instead of corn flour. I also didn’t have molasses on hand, so I just left it out.
I’d say one craving has been satisfied…now if it will just stop storming so we can climb…
What are your rainy day solutions? We played “Ticket to Ride”, then Dave & Christine rocked out on RockBand.
Do you like to push it outside your comfort zone in terms of sports & recreational intensity?