She climbs – in her own shoes!

I went climbing again yesterday. Alone. Yep, I’m a big brave girl.

I woke up, tired and confused having been woken up five times in the night and deciding I’d be crazy to do the park run. So I was a bit grumpy. Okay, a lot grumpy. I was a grumpy zombie – a winning combination.

My girl’s daddy picked her up and I found myself with a free weekend that was one of those will it – won’t it free weekends. The plan kept changing, so I kept cancelling and rearranging. To get out of my funk, I packed my bag. It was full of contingencies; I had my laptop to work; I had my running kit to er, run; and I had my chalk bag, to climb.

I chucked it all in the car and drove in the direction of the climbing centre. I decided I’d just pop in, on the off chance that they had some shoes that were on my short list. They did. I picked up the left shoe of a pair of La Sportiva Katanas.

There was a woman talking to the guys behind the counter in a ridiculously friendly way. Except, it was obvious that this was the first time she’d been there and so had never met them before. I was immediately struck by how annoying I find premature familiarity. Then I realised that maybe, I’m the dysfunctional one here? Maybe it really is better to be best friends until proven otherwise? A bit like innocent before guilty… But I don’t think I’ll ever be okay with that!

I handed my left shoe over and asked if they had my size. The lady disappeared and came back with two boxes. One that I asked for, and one a half size bigger. This was a good sign, I felt like I wasn’t just being sold to. I felt like this chick knew what she was doing. She told me I could try them out on the traversing wall.

Long story short, I bought the shoes. I now own a pair of katanas – even though they are pink. I went with the smaller size, the inside is leather, so they should give a little. Hopefully! I couldn’t resist, the routes are reset on Monday. This was my last chance on the muscle up left and the barn door pinch. And I was there. I had to try, right? So try I did…

I nailed the barn door – ha. But only after lots of crazy lady swearing to myself. I did it right at the end of my session, I was tired and couldn’t get beyond that, but I was happy. It has eluded me for four weeks. That counted as a win.

I didn’t manage to complete the muscle up left. I must have tried twenty times. I went up the gnarly blue next to it and climbed down the pesky pink. I hung there, in the position I had been trying to get to from the other way. It was basically a Usain Bolt type bow and arrow shape I needed to make, but a real stretch and at 11 O’clock. Whilst I didn’t complete it, I did figure out how to do it – I needed to push up with my feet. Sounds obvious, but my feet are crouched in a sort of diamond pinch shape on the corner of the overhang, so it feels a bit counter intuitive to push away from the wall. I really think that if I did that, with fresh strength, I’d have done it. So I am counting that as a sort of progress in itself.

One of the route setters was passing and asked me how my shoes were. I replied with possibly the least sexy thing I’ve ever said to a guy: “the shoes are good, I wish I’d cut my toenails though”. He didn’t stick around.

I know, I have an issue with premature friendliness, but apparently no filter to stop me oversharing.

Back to the point – I’m happy with my shoes! The toes feel super sensitive and when I tried them out on my favourite routes, everything started to feel much easier. I think the more I get to know them, the better they will be. And, I won’t have to start a new relationship with my shoes every week.

I hadn’t thought they felt very sticky, so I tried the smeary pink route – ah, the mental images I’m painting for you, like poetry – and it was relatively “easy”, so I think that’s fine too.

I’m excited for the next climb. Fresh routes which is always fun. My buddy may bring someone else along too, so that will be interesting too.

I have the ingredients to climb outside now…except for a crash mat…I’ll just have to hold on!

SHE CLIMBS - in her own shoes!

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