My legs are shot. Have been for a while. Very tiny broken bone in the socket of my big toe. Broke it the first time in a match a long time ago and every time it almost heals it re-breaks. On the same side, the ankle is popped. Finally got some good advice from a physical therapist and it is slowly improving. On the other side, I tried to brace to block a pair of rolling bodies in Greece last month and something popped from my knee to my hip. It doesn't hurt most of the time, but the knee has collapsed suddenly a couple of times since then and the hip doesn't like certain angles at all...
Just whining. It has interfered with working out and I can feel my wind getting weaker, imagine my legs atrophying...
Movement is a physical skill and takes physical practice. It does degrade over time.
Not quite changing the subject-- went caving yesterday with my son. I used to love it, but years ago, when I hit that stage where my adrenal glands were completely burned out, I gave it up. I gave a lot of things up. Caving became just a hike underground. Kayaking was a cold, wet, upper-body workout. Climbing Mt. Adams was just a cold uphill hike in the snow. No adrenaline, no thrill, no joy. The petty annoyance of getting the gear together wasn't balanced by the excitement of the climb anymore.
Anyway, the boy said we hadn't hit a cave together in a long time. Years, in fact. And he wanted to. And hike and shoot a little, as well. Side effect of all the travel and my lovely wife reorganizing our home multiple times while I was away, I couldn't find my technical gear. Somewhere in the house or the garage is a big bag of carabiners and jumars and webbing and extra helmets and gloves and kneepads and... couldn't find it.
So, since it was all free solo, we limited the climbing. Some.
At first, everything hurt. Knees, ankle, broken toe. And I was clumsy. Clumsy by my own standards, anyway. In a lava tube, you spend most of the time moving over breakdown, piles of rock fallen from the ceiling. It is the ultimate broken-country hiking. The lava has never weathered and is sharp. Some is stable, much is not and shifts under your feet. Holes and spikes. Slippery areas from the constant drip.
I remembered, in that dark place, that this was what I loved. Not the view, although it is always cool to see something rare. But the feeling of moving, swiftly, reading the rocks with a glance but mostly by feel. Adapting as a rock started to roll and using the roll or countering it. I had forgotten, but in the dark I remembered. And my body remembered. Starting like a clumsy noob with twinges of limping pain in an hour I was flowing again, foot-to-foot, using gravity in a falling run sometimes, pushing off boulders or wall with my hands to leap rock to rock to rock... and my ankle didn't hurt much. And I didn't notice the twinges from the toe. The other knee started to collapse a few times, but even that was better.
It was a good time. Found a new beautiful place to camp. Did a little tracking. Got my son to tighten up his grouping to almost acceptable standards. I'll be sore later today, but it was glorious to move like that again.
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