Setbacks and Optimism

14 01 2009

It’s now been twelve days since I injured my chest from coughing. It still hurts. Despite the advice of the campus nurse (although her advice wasn’t that great – she recommended elevating and compressing my chest muscle – what?!?!) I decided to try exercising through my injury last week. This involved jogging slowly for 2.5 miles on Thursday and climbing some easy routes (5.9-10c) in Red Rocks over the weekend. The result was a dramatic increase in pain.

Thanks to Wikipedia, check out the intercostal muscles.

I guess I’ve learned my lesson. It’s so hard to not be able to run or climb, what with two really awesome and motivating trips in the next 6 months (Indian Creek in March and Smith Rock + Squamish in June/July).

However, I’ve been slowly discovering things I can do that don’t aggravate my injury. For example, I can work out individual muscles in the weight room on campus because isolating a particular muscle means my intercostal muscles don’t get used. I think (although I haven’t tried) that I can ride my bike, although not aggressively, and I’m planning on starting to swim (again, not aggressively) next week.

My goal is to really get back into climbing and training a lot, in addition to starting to run again because I have some big plans for the next month. Despite not having a tick list for myself for 2009, I must admit that I have at least two routes that I really want to do this year. They are both at Smith Rock, and one is kind of the warm-up for the other.

The first route is Pure Palm (5.11a), a gorgeous stemming route in the basalt gorge at Smith. I climbed this route 5 or 6 years ago and was SO impressed by the line and the movement. It’s not the only awesome 5.11ish route I hope to climb in the Gorge, but it represents a line I have admired for such a long time that I will be very excited to finally send it.

Thanks to MountainProject, Pure Palm šŸ˜€

But the real goal is an even more beautiful line. When I walked under the perfect dihedral the first time, I was instantly drawn to the line. Sunshine Dihedral (5.11d) is a stunning corner located near many classic hard lines of Smith (To Bolt or Not to Be, for example). It’s a thin crack in a gorgeous stemming corner – a trad line that requires a clear head, gear placement skills, and calves of steel (hence the running).

It would be a huge understatement to say that I’m really excited. šŸ˜€

Anyways, if anyone has had to deal with an intercostal strain before, I would love any suggestions, words of wisdom, etc.





3 responses

15 01 2009
Kate C

Oh man, that sucks. I’ve never been diagnosed with an intercostal injury, but I’ve had my share of extreme muscle soreness after long upper repertory infections. Rest is good. Hot baths are good. Stretching the muscles is really good. There are some yoga poses that can gently stretch and bring movement back to the chest muscles. I would gently try those too.

15 01 2009
Kai Ewert

This podcast session may have some good poses for gently stretching the intercostals, if you want to explore that. Jason Crandell has a very thorough and gentle approach, so that should be just right.
Hope you’ll get better soon.

15 01 2009

Thanks for the advice! I’ll try adding some yoga to my recovery routine šŸ™‚

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