Hey there again, PG!
Since my last update, I’ve wrapped up my global tour in China and headed back home to the Bay Area. After spending more than 6 months of the year traveling to over a dozen different countries, it was nice to finally be back home.
During the first several days of being home, I had the opportunity to teach a ninja-based physics course for middle schoolers from Synapse School in Menlo Park. I had been working with the kids remotely via Skype while I was in China, but this was my first time meeting them all in person. We met up at Obstacourse (a newly-opened obstacle gym) and had a great time playing around on the obstacles, analyzing the physics behind the movement, and doing a couple full-course runs as well. I, for one, had a blast and hope the kids enjoyed the experience as well!
While it would have been nice to take a well-deserved rest and recover the minor injury in my right hand, (keep that in mind for later) my competition schedule said otherwise. The weekend after my return to the Bay, I packed up my bag once again and headed out to Denver for the second stop on the 2017 Wolfpack Ninja Tour.
It had been a while since my last venture into the world of ninja sports, but I was really looking forward to heading out to the event for several reasons: 1) I would get to see all my ninja friends again, 2) it would be a great opportunity to test my climbing training on a ninja course, and 3) the main focus of the event is mostly on providing a positive experience for all the kids in attendance and encouraging them to follow healthy, active lifestyles. Couldn’t ask for much more!
As fate would have it, all the focus that I’d devoted to recovering my right hand’s minor injury ended up backfiring. On only my second qualifying run on the course, I whacked my left hand on one of the obstacles, prompting me to back out of the competition following some aggressive swelling. The swelling died down after the first day, and an initial assessment by some physicians at the event told me that my hand would ‘most likely’ be fine.
I took the rest of the week off following the competition, gearing up for my second competition of November: Battle of the Bay. This competition was a part of the USA Climbing Bouldering National Cup Series, meaning that it was one of 4 qualification events for the Bouldering National Championships in February. My goal was to place in the top 30 to earn ranking points towards the National Cup events, and ideally break into the top 8 to clinch a spot in finals.
The competition took place in San Francisco exactly one week following my initial hand injury, in my mind giving me enough time to recover and have a decent shot at performing at my maximum ability. I gave myself a thorough warm-up and pulled on to the first problem of the competition. My left hand underwent a pretty severe amount of pain, but I pushed through it and gritted my way to the top. I shook it off and prepared myself for problem 2. As I pulled on, I knew in the back of my mind that my hand was definitely injured, but I tried to keep going anyways. At the finish hold, I attempted to put all my body weight on my left hand, but the pain at that point had reached an excruciating level. I knew it was time to call it a night.
Fifteen minutes later, I took Caltrain back to a hospital in Mountain View to get my hand x-rayed. Turns out my hand was not only broken, but I had also displaced my 5th metacarpal (bone that connects to the pinky) enough that it required surgery to correct the angular offset. I got surgery the following Monday and began the process of rehabilitation.
While breaking a bone wasn’t as bad as other injuries I’ve had before, it was definitely disheartening initially to face the long road to recovery once again. Getting the surgery meant that I had to pull out of several other competitions I was interested in doing as well as forgoing the possibility of getting some good climbing in over the winter months. Oh well.
On the plus side, I got to take a really exciting trip the day after my surgery to keep my mind off things! I flew to Toronto with my family to see my brother Yuri perform in the newest big-top show from Cirque du Soleil, Volta. Yuri was recruited earlier this year to be in a parkour act with the show and has been doing two shows per day to an audience of hundreds! It was amazing to see Yuri take his passion for movement to new heights on one of the biggest stages in the world. I got to spend some time checking out Toronto with the rest of the family and best friend Charlie which was a fun experience as well!
Next up for me, I’ll be doing some light travel for speaking engagements and resting my hand for the required 8 weeks. After that, it’s off to Boston for a cross-country road trip, then back into training to start off 2018! I’m really looking forward with sharing the upcoming adventures with all of you, stay tuned!