Big Climbing Crash and a Graph

Yep, I’ve made a graph. It was only a matter of time really. I’ve saved it to the end, for maximum suspense. Read on…

I thought I was going to have to skip this week’s climbing session but I made it! I was late and I went fast to get there, but I made it.

I considered getting changed in installments at various traffic lights but instead I resisted that mess and did it all in the tiny cubicle at the wall.

Today’s session was TOUGH. I don’t feel rested during this “easy” week. I feel achey, weak and stiff. I’m not enjoying it. I want to get back into my routine and doing what I want to do, when.

After my quick warm up, we went around to my nemesis project. I managed to complete it, but we had to break it down and even cheat a little bit. By cheat, I mean that I stretched super far, instead of going up a level that spooked me out. The angle and tension was better for making me feel safe if I stretched, rather than climbing closer to the final hold. I don’t know if this actually counts as cheating? I tapped out, both hands and it was controlled, even to the floor.

Breaking it down meant finding similar holds and situations lower to the ground. Not for fear, for ease of practice just letting go and hanging with one hand. Then swapping. I wasn’t great at it – it’s a definite weakness, but I managed to put it all together and complete it.

My focus before my next climb is the dead hang. Two handed, single handed and swapping hands, without putting feet down. I hadn’t considered skeletal changes. When it comes to hands and fingers and clinging on, I’d thought of this in terms of traditional strength. I mean muscles, mostly. I had not thought about my actual bones.

I read an article (Pinterest) about skeletal changes that happen if you climb consistently. How long it can take. How good it is for you. And how you should drink milk to facilitate the changes. I hadn’t thought of any of this stuff.

I made some major progress on the pink route that starts low, goes under an overhang and then back out over the edge. I can’t reach it easily so I have to do a dynamic move to get there. It’s dramatic, for me, but I can do it repetitively. Once there, I have to pinch with my feet on two smaller holds on the corner and muscle up to make it to the next hold. I can do the muscle up bit, but I freak out when I’m left hanging on one arm. THEME. I will be training this weakness out of myself! I feel pleased with my progress on this pink route.

I had a few good climbs. I was thinking about my feet and my hips and staying balanced. But it felt like progress was slow.

Then it was back to the black sloper route. It’s over the arête. I’m two holds from the top. Today I made it to one from the top. Then, my hand slipped off the sloper. Second hold from the top, down to the mat. I managed to hit my foot on something which sent my right knee into my jaw. I landed on the mat, on my back with a ringing headache. My teeth on edge.

“I’m okay!”

People had seen me fall. But I wasn’t embarrassed and didn’t feel stupid. I just got up and we went to the next route. That’s new for me – not being embarrassed or feeling stupid. It may not be actual climbing progress, but I’ll take that score for my confidence count!

We finished on some routes we’d done previously, to prove we could. The tricky blue up the edge and the smeary pink. It was a shorter session, but we were both knackered by the end.

I guess this is a cycle I need to get used to.

Week One

The routes get reset and so you try all of the basic ones. Novelty score is high this week.

Week Two

You start picking out favourites to warm up and practice on. You also pick out your projects to work towards completing. You start to identify new skills and reinforce existing ones.

Weeks Three, Four and Five

Everything is familiar. You have your comfy places and you know your warm up. Then it’s straight into challenges. These sessions are where the progress graph seems to round off for me. But actually, I think it’s just a different type of progress. It’s more focussed and it’s where the challenge is. The smaller steps are where I learn new things and new ways to do things.

I’m trying to figure out how my personal progress fits in with the route refresh pattern. To figure out if I’m plateauing or if it’s a natural part of the rotation.

Phases of climbing progress vs. age of routes set

I hope you agree that it was worth the wait for the graph. I fear it won’t be the last.

I am going to resist the urge to start my dead hang training today what with the Tough Mudder actually happening tomorrow. One more sleep and then I’ll be in the van, to the course and in the mud. Crikey I feel tired just thinking about it!

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