Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Climb in green!!!

First, I want to wish everyone a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!  Don’t forget to wear green so you don’t get blood blisters from getting pinched so much today!!!

Yesterday, I tried out my timed behavior plan “laps” in order to get from my doctor’s office to being on the wall climbing at the climbing gym and it worked very smoothly…until I accidentally hit the reset button on my phone and erased my data before I had most of it written down.  Oh, well.  The Doc said there’d be glitches, so there’s my glitch.  I had given the numbers a cursory glance before fumbling to that mistake, so I wrote down roughly what I remembered of the numbers and made a note of the glitch.  I’ll have to be more aware of where I’m putting my fingers on my iPhone screen next time…  Anyway, the point it that it worked, and it worked really well!  There were actually no glitches during the process of working through these behavior plan laps (four of them) to get me climbing on the wall.  That’s fantastic!  I was very impressed.  I had shown the Doc my behavior plans and he remarked that they were very detailed.  He also noticed that I had identified what I call my “choke points”, or places where I get hung up in the process and have trouble getting through to the next behavior, which he thought was really good.  “I’m excited to see how this works for you!”  I was, too!  I’m really glad that it worked so well, at least from the point of shaking the Doc’s hand to getting on the wall (glitch came after that when I was recording split/lap times in my log).  Record-keeping is just to compare outliers and why they might be present if there are any.  It’s also for the purposes of eliminating behaviors that may need to be addressed or eliminated or changed in some way to, as my doctor put it, “Maximize your climbing time.”

Maximizing my climbing time.  Sounds like something I ought to do each and every day of the rest of my life!!!  I’m so stoked to be back to climbing after this long series of illnesses!!!  I don’t feel as depressed today and I took it relatively easy on the wall yesterday as not to hurt myself accidentally or to tweak anything that’s healing from being tweaked (like my shoulder).  I worked almost exclusively on the bouldering wall up on the mezzanine, which is referred to as “Boulder Land”.  They almost completely reset the entire wall since I was in last, but they left some of the routes intact.  I was glad for the change and the familiar problems both!  The Green Arête problem that I like working is still up and so is the Yellow Dihedral problem.  Lots of VB’s were put up that use open feet, which I can easily turn into V0’s or V1’s with my footwork, which is something I need to practice.  I’m really serious about footwork.  If I have nothing else high up on a crag somewhere or in a precarious position on a boulder, I need to have good feet and good foot technique.  I know that for a fact from experience indoors and out.  If a foot pops off the hold on me, I’m in trouble.  If I trust my feet, I do amazing things.  There’s a lot more than just footwork to climbing, but footwork is so often overlooked, and therefore sloppy, that it’s sickening to watch.  There are a lot of people at the crags and at the climbing gyms that I’ve watched and said to myself, “You know, if they paid attention to their footwork, they could climb at least a full grade harder,” and it’s true!!!  Climbing doesn’t come down to grades for me.  It comes down to technique and movement and balance – all the factors that come together to create a style and a level of climbing that increases as I work on these factors to improve them in myself.  I only climb at a V0-V2 level, but people make remarks all the time on my technique, particularly my footwork, and how impressed they are with it.  I’m proud of that.  I’m proud of it because it takes discipline and work.  It takes focus and drive to stay on a path that is more difficult because you make it so yourself in order to gain the higher ground on which to stand (or climb, in this case).  It’s something to be earned through practice, which includes failure, and eventually, success.  Sure, I could scramble up the wall willy-nilly like some of these college kids do with no technique and limbs everywhere, but where would that get me?  Well, it only gets you so far, and then you have to resort to technique, and at my height – just 5′ 2″ tall – technique becomes exponentially more important!!!

I’ll share with you all that I weighed myself this morning and have lost three pounds this week!!!  That’s exciting!!!  I have a lot more to lose, but it’s lost one pound at a time and many small behaviors at a time.  I had a talk with Scott, one of the owners of the climbing gym, while we were pedaling away on our respective exercise bikes at the gym a couple of months ago, and he said when he first saw me, he thought, “I want to see her get fit,” because I have such a passion for climbing.  That meant a lot to me.  “You know what I see in you?  I see drive.”  He talked to me about all the little decisions we make every day that we don’t even think about, like what we put in our mouths to eat and what we drink – how many calories we take in through something as benign as Gatorade, which is toted as a replacement for electrolytes during a workout and implies that it “belongs” in a gym and as part of your workout.  The fact is that, if you just biked for a half an hour at a moderate pace and finished it off by drinking a 12-oz. bottle of Gatorade, you just zeroed out your gains if you’re counting calories!!!  Scott pointed that out to me, which I appreciate, because it made me aware of the choices I make outside the gym – little ones, all the time, every day – that have a huge effect on what I’m trying to do inside the gym and where my progress could go if I monitored those things.  Scott said, “I’ll make you a deal.  Just think of it this way.  When you’re about to put something in your mouth, I’m going to be sitting on your shoulder right here,” and he tapped his shoulder next to his ear, “saying, ‘Chris, what are you putting in your mouth?  Chris, what are you drinking?’  Just think about that.  Do we have a deal?”  I replied that we did, and Scott said, “Okay.  I’m going to hold you to it.”  And he has, which I’m grateful for.  I have all these people in the climbing community – this support system – helping me with my climbing goals and rooting for me and encouraging me and helping me to be accountable to myself for the things that I might not even be aware that I’m doing, and it’s great!!!  Climbing is very unique in that, though it is a very individual journey, we’re all making that journey and we all, collectively, need each other to make the journey.  When one of us sends a route, we all celebrate, because it’s a success for all of us!!!  When we lose one of our own, we all mourn, because we have lost not only a companion, but a part of ourselves, and we know that it could be us any day, any time.

One thing’s for certain: I want to be a success story.  For climbing, for fitness, for mental health, for overcoming the odds, and even for being old, haha!  I want to be that person who can inspire someone – anyone – who wants to improve and change their lives and have a better experience through climbing and fitness to go for it!!!  You can do it!!!  It’s not going to be easy.  No.  Don’t be fooled.  I don’t want anyone to have any illusions about it being easy.  It’s not.  I struggle every day, but I struggle, and that’s the point.  I put in the effort, no matter how “small” it may seem.  I do it.  It requires action.  DO IT!!!

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