This week’s climbing session started like any other, with me being late. Being late doesn’t bother me, but the lunch time session at my climbing place is 12 – 14:00, so if you’re late, you miss out on your climbing time. Bummer.
I was in good spirits, I’d sung along to my current car playlist the whole way there. It’s been raining constantly, but today, the sun was shining.
So I skipped into the climbing gym, my friend already on the wall. I changed my shoes and made a start.
My training this week has been super successful. I haven’t pushed myself too hard, but I have made buckets of progress. I’ve kept things pretty simple, and I’m still feeling really good about running. I’m making progress with push ups and pull ups and my core is feeling pretty solid.
I think this was a contributing factor to my best climbing session ever, but I don’t think it was the main event.
My head felt clearer than it has in weeks. I felt happy. Things were simple and positive.
After our few warm up routes, we edged around to the >drum roll< blue route. We weren’t the only ones circling it. It starts under the overhang, goes around to the side and then you have to get back under it and over the outside edge of it. It’s HARD. I didn’t finish it, but man, I made some good progress. It was only one hold better, but I felt ecstatic with that!
Then we tried another route I’d failed at last week. I hadn’t been able to roll my shoulder through to the next hold and it was on a slight overhang – which I have a mental block on. I just feel like my fingers aren’t strong enough to keep me on those walls. It was hard, but I totally nailed the route.
Next was the blue route I’d fallen from the very top of last week. I calmed down, thought about my feet, but still managed to find myself stuck half way up. I hung there for a minute, and then managed to use a hold I’d not seen. I made it to the top. But. I was stuck again. Another mental block. But this time on how to get down. Which is stupid, because you can use any colour to get down.
When this happens to me, I have two things happen in my head. My own voice says “I live here now”, as if that’s the end, I have no choice but to accept my fate and stay there. The second thing is that I think I will have to jump.
This time, I did the first thing, but I didn’t jump. Instead, I kept my grip and managed to climb down. So I made it, and I didn’t bail at the end. Boom.
Water break for a review and some general catching up on each other’s weeks. We’re both having a pretty good time at the moment, so that’s great.
Then my friend walked me over to the red route. It’s hard, it’s a traversing route which then goes pretty much vertically up. All with a fairly steep overhang. It’s my nemesis. I couldn’t get to the final traversing hold last time. I could barely touch it. This week? I swooped to that baby like a frickin’ orangutan. Then I held it. No idea what to do with my feet and eventually I let go. I didn’t make any vertical progress but hot dog, I felt like I owned it.
The big pink was next. From under and inside a little cave bit, to go around and over the wall. Again, I didn’t complete it, but I made two holds of progress. Happy.
Another red, all gnarly and looking way too advanced for me. I found myself deciding which hold was my target finish (meaning, I knew I wasn’t going to make it to the end). I stood back, watching my friend do it. He struggled – which always makes me readjust my ambition down a notch! He finished it, puffed. My turn. I didn’t finish it, but I surpassed my estimations.
Next the ugly black route. It’s an up and over, so I get to go down the slide when I’m done. But man, I always make it look so very ugly. This time, I took it slow. Changed my tactics and managed to make it unattractive, instead of vomit-inducingly revolting. Progress!
And now, the spotlight wall. I have this thing about the wall that is right under the light. I don’t like it at all. I should like it, it’s full on vertical, the routes are achievable, but it’s like I just don’t want to be on it. The blue route on here has tiny foot holds. Which give me the willies. I just don’t trust my feet.
I am still hiring shoes when I go, I’ve not managed to justify the cash for my own shoes and the time I’ll need to make sure I get the right ones. This means, every week I’m in new shoes and it’s difficult to form a good relationship straight off the bat! It’s like a first date. Anyway.
I got to the mid point of the climb and stopped. Quite comfortable. But I didn’t like it. I said as much. Over and over. I climbed down and looked at it. Made my friend do the horrible green route that went across mine, he got stuck too. Then told me to get back on the blue route. I got to the mid point, said “I don’t like it” and carried on. I finished it. But I still don’t like it.
The session was nearly over by now. We went back to the pink route that I couldn’t finish. I smeared up the wall, swapped my feet, and managed to edge into the corner. Before I knew it, I could stand up, get some really solid holds, and I slammed my second hand against the top hold like it was a bell.
With time running out, we managed to somehow squeeze in three more successful routes. One which I could finally do in pieces. My friend said that was a good, positive place to finish. But I looked at it sideways, “just one more try…”
I did it. I just put all of the pieces together, and clambered up there.
After 5 minutes on the slack line, we gathered our things, finished our conversation and I had to head out because my babysitting credits are a bit light at the moment.
I had + 295 morale points, a wrecked right hand (which I didn’t realise I favoured as much as I do!). All in under 2 hours. Not to mention a really good workout profile according to what my Garmin recorded.
I was and am so pleased with myself. All I needed was a little clarity and to keep things calm and simple. The foundation of training are all things I’m doing anyway. Tough Mudder? Whatever. This is real life, that’s only one day!