|Warming up at PRG Oaks. (Denis Brenan)|
The plan was to spend the day toproping at Go Vertical. but as soon as I walked into the gym, I remembered a suggestion from (seriously badass climber girl) Alison via text two days prior. It was something like, "Get on the new V2 I set. It's on the inside of the pants."
The pants refers to one of the walls in the gym, and I knew exactly where Alison meant. She's teaching a women's bouldering clinic soon and set a handful of easier routes to teach on. This climb was certainly tailored to Alison's climbing style - deliberate, delicate and powerful.
I pulled on my harness and walked over to the boulder wall to warm up, intending to try a few things and move on to the ropes. But the day became bouldering-focused after a few tries on Alison's problem.
The problem, called "Stretch it Out," is a sit start. I hate sit starts. There's something inherently humiliating about pulling yourself three inches off the ground, reaching, the falling those three inches back to Earth and landing square on your bum. Anyway, the start hold is a big, round, hollow formation with plenty of room for both hands. There's a chip for the right foot and the left foot needs to be placed just so on the blank wall. Keeping body tension, you pull, push and lift, reaching for a good pinch with your right hand.
It took me at least five tries to get the start. I did the entire problem without the start on the first try, no big deal. But I had to do the whole thing from the beginning, and there's something about landing right on my butt five times in a row I couldn't handle. I walked away, took the harness off, came back, sat down and sent it. "I should have flashed that," I thought.
|At PRG Oaks on a day where everything felt right! (Denis Brenan)|
There were at least ten familiar faces at the gym on Sunday, and I noticed two other ladies I knew bouldering up random routes around the gym. One of the best things about living in the same place for a while and climbing at the same gym is, if you make an effort, you can make friends with just about everyone who climbs there regularly. Though I certainly don't know everyone, I love walking in the gym doors to a familiar faces.
My two friends were climbing until exhaustion after a few hours of leading that morning and I joined in. The exercise was to boulder up to the first clip of all of the harder lead routes and to top-out height on some of the harder toprope climbs. You only rested for as long as it took the other two to climb. Their enthusiasm was infectious. Before long, I was laughing, smiling, and taking things a lot less seriously. I was also fingertip burning forearm pumping exhausted.
My relationship with and attitude toward climbing ebbs and flows. Being passionate about something means understanding that some days are going to be disappointing and frustrating, though hopefully less numerous than the exciting, ground-breaking days. Recognizing that I needed to take myself out of my typical routine made all the difference, and luckily, I had friends to help me whether they knew it or not.
Any of this sound familiar? Do you struggle with bad days once in a while in your sport? I'd love your tips on how to deal!