Last night, I went climbing at the climbing gym and was talking to my friend McKenzie, who works there. She suggested picking four routes, doing all four, resting for a time, then doing those same four again, resting again, etc. until I couldn’t do any more. “And don’t waste time trying to pick them out,” she said with a smile. She knows I overthink things. I decided to try it and I got a great workout from it! She came in and encouraged me now and then. She came over to me in the gym and said, “Good job!” I really appreciated that and it made a big difference! McKenzie’s trying to help me get in better shape for this trip to Ten Sleep, too. She’s going the weekend before AJ, Emily, and I are, and she’s going with a group of four. She’s kind of in my position as far as being the person in the group who doesn’t climb the higher numbers goes, which I completely identify with! She still climbs well (better than I do!), but it’s a unique position to be the person who is the low man on the totem pole that way, so to speak. In the back of your mind, you kind of worry a bit that you’re holding everybody back or going to be the fool in a way, no matter how comfortable you are with your group of climbing buddies. You just have to be okay with being the one who needs improvement, which levels the scales, because everybody could improve! That’s how I quench the worry, anyway. I’m well aware that I don’t make the approaches as quickly as my climbing partners and that I lag behind and have to rest more. I’m also well aware that I’m not to the point that my climbing partners are in my climbing abilities yet. But I’ll get there. McKenzie and I talked last night and she said, “Every person is different. Every person has their own climbing journey. You just make progress at your own rate. You had an injury [my right ankle] to recover from. Everybody’s got their own things to overcome.” This is why McKenzie is one of my buddies. She reminds me when my brain doubts itself of exactly how I feel about things. She’s funny, keeps a good sense of humor about her even when she’s tired, and is level-headed. I asked her about a trail I’d heard about that goes from the top of the Rims to the bottom, too. “Oh, yeah. Swords Park. It’s a paved trail. Here, I’ll draw you a map.” She drew it out for me and I’m going to try hiking up and down it to build endurance. “There’s even benches all along it.” Awesome! For once, the city planners did something right! Benches for people to sit on!!! Those will be handy. It looks a lot better when you’re sitting on a bench than if you’re just looking like a creep sitting on the side of the trail…which I’ve done before, haha! 😂 People just look at you funny and hurry by. Some of them put their hand on their bear spray that they keep inside their pocket. No worries as long as you don’t make any sudden moves. Smiling and nodding sometimes helps.
So my climbing workout last night was awesome. I even barndoored into a clue as to how to send one of the problems that I’m projecting on! I discovered that, if I allow myself to barndoor to the right, I can get my left foot up on the starting hold and that gives me access to the rest of the problem! I had, to that point, been stuck because I’m not flexible enough to get my right foot up to the starting hold from the position I was in and I was trying it with my right hip in and my hands matched on a hold above. Instead of matching, I had reached a higher hold with my right hand, and with my right hip in, had begun to barndoor and instinctively grabbed a lower hold with my left hand to try to stop myself. In the process, I discovered that my left foot passed by the bottom of the start hold in this position. With a bit of fannagling, I got my left foot up high enough to step up onto that hold! That kind of thing is fantastic progress for me! I love it when those types of small miracles happen!!! It makes me feel good! I count one hold farther on a problem or route as progress, and that keeps me happy. I’m okay with that! I don’t have to impress anybody. Climbing is a decompression exercise for me. It makes me happy, and that’s all that needs to happen!!! Progress is progress, and it’s made one attempt at a time, one move at a time, one breath at a time, one thought to continue trying at a time… I keep thinking about McKenzie’s encouraging statement last night – “Do you think you’ve got one more [route] in you?”